The weekend found TBHITW and I all alone. The girl was staying with friends and the boy was attending a two day interview at his summer camp in the hopes of being accepted into the Counselor in Training program (he made the grade!).
Two whole days with nothing to do except what we wanted to do.
And how did we choose to fill the hours?
We dreamed of course.
We talked about our future.
The land, the new house.
And for me, any future plans have to include a few animals. Yes, I'm one of those kind of people.
I am an animal lover.
We have our Holly Bear now. And some koi in a backyard pond. Do fish count as pets?
Anyway, we talked and I googled. There is a lot of information out there regarding small farm animals. Much more research and of course some solid courses are needed in the future but for now we have decided we would like:
Some Pygmy Goats AND some Alpacas
Alpacas are known to be gentle, intelligent animals and are raised for their luxurious fiber. Pygmy goats are well, just look at them, how cute are they? And their milk is sweeter and has more nutrients than cow's milk; not to mention goat cheese making is on my list of kitchen activities.
Of course we will also have some chickens. And TBHITW wants to add two Miniature Australian Shepherds to the mix as Holly will be entering her golden years (or at least middle age years) by then and may be more content laying in front of the fire instead of herding alpacas, goats and chickens.
All the dreaming and talking and planning put us in the mood for a romantic dinner for two. This is an elegant meal that is luxurious to eat, yet easy to make. While one of you tends the scallops and vinaigrette, the other can stir the polenta. While stirring, dream your own dreams.
Scallops with Hazelnut Vinaigrette over Soft Polenta: serves 2
1/2 pound fresh caught scallops
4 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, rough chopped
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup arugula
First, make the polenta:
2 cups chicken broth, simmering
4 tablespoons polenta (quick cooking kind)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Bring the broth to a simmer. Whisk in the polenta (slowly, no lumps). Cook until thick (about 5 minutes). Switch to a wooden spoon. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Set to very, very low. Stir occasionally while you make the scallops.
For the scallops:
Place the butter in a large saute pan and melt over medium low heat until melted and foamy.
Pour off the butter (save). Do not wipe out the pan.
Dry the scallops on a paper towel and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Heat the pan over medium heat and add the scallops. Turn after 2 minutes. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove to a warm plate and keep warm by loosely tenting with foil.
Put the reserved melted butter back in the pan and add the shallots. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes, just until soft. Add the hazelnuts and toss around to warm. Add the white balsamic vinegar and heat through - it will sizzle up. Toss in the arugula.
Quickly, finish the polenta by stirring in the butter and cream. Ladle some polenta into two shallow bowls. Top with some scallops. Drizzle the hazelnut vinaigrette over the scallops and serve.
A Cook's Notes: of course every romantic meal needs an equally romantic dessert and what is more romantic than something chocolate? Tomorrow I'll give you the fastest, easiest make ahead recipe in the world for Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes. Until then, Bon Appetit!