Every now and then, it is really nice to share a special meal with my husband. Before we had kids, having a romantic meal together - at home or out was an easy task. Once the kids came along, it became more of a challenge. Sure, we could get a babysitter and eat out, but the cost of a really nice meal plus a babysitter can really add up fast.
So, we started to improvise. Most years, for our anniversary, my husband and I go out to lunch. The kids are at daycare / school, so there is no added child care costs, but the meals are a little less romantic than they might be at a nice candlelit dinner. We also share a number of special meals at home. Sometimes, my husband and I will sit down to dinner after the kids are in bed, but even more frequently, I will make a special dinner and allow the kids to join us. We don't get to have as much direct conversation during a dinner with the kids, but it is still nice to enjoy a special meal together.
When my husband was traveling one time for work, they went out for seafood and he tried marlin. This has been a favorite of his since. We rarely see it on local menus, but our grocery store carries it from time to time, in season. Because we can't get it any time we want, when we see it, we typically will pick some up to make a special meal. I found a simple preparation for the marlin that is easy and tasty. When we have the marlin, I like to make different side dishes/accompaniments to go with it. One of my favorite soups is Roasted Red Pepper Bisque. The recipe that I use, courtesy of the cafeteria where I work, is a good flavorful, easy to prepare version of this soup. In addition to the soup, grilled onions and coleslaw help round out the meal.
Roasted Red Pepper Bisque
1 large sweet onion, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1 tsp olive oil
1 15oz can roasted red peppers, quartered
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 12-15 oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 12-15 oz can Italian-style plum tomato with juice
1/2 c heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh chopped basil & sour cream for garnish
Combine onions, garlic and olive oil in a soup pot. Lightly saute on medium low heat until onions are tender and translucent. Do not allow onions to brown.
Add roasted peppers, dried thyme, chicken broth, and tomatoes with juices to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, allowing the soup to reduce for about 15 minutes. Puree mixture in a food processor. Add heavy cream while pureeing. Return to pot and heat through. Add black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream and fresh basil.
Marlin Steaks with Balsamic Vinegar
2 marlin steaks (14-16 oz)
3 tbsp butter
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
Season steaks with salt and lemon pepper. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Melt butter and whisk in balsamic vinegar. Grill steaks over hot coals (we use gas, so I just set it to high) for 5 minutes per side, basting with butter mixture.
Place onions with outer skins intact on top of hot grill for 10-15 minutes. Outer skin will char, inside flesh will be soft. Remove charred outer skin and serve with steaks.
Stop at local deli and buy 1# of your favorite slaw. Okay, okay, I know you can make slaw and when cabbage is on sale, I do, but it really is a lot easier just to buy it.
For more romantic meal ideas and recipes, head over to Life As Mom for the Ultimate Recipe Swap: A Romantic Meal. Jessica and her husband are celebrating their anniversary, so be sure to wish them a happy one.
For some additional recipes, check out the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.