Dinner with the Liegey’s. Most of you may know that throughout my childhood, I did not have an average family with whom I spent time around the dinner table. Where I ate yummy food, laughed most of the time and being completely obnoxious and loud was welcomed. When I tell people about the Liegey’s I always tell them that I consider them “my family”. I am able to walk in the door without knocking, I am always greeted with the best hugs and maybe some smart-allec comments from Steve ;). Sometimes I walk in and there is shouting, chaos and food being prepped, all of which puts the biggest smile on my face. The Liegey’s have a way of making Dan and I feel comfortable, and they are a family that I know I could go to their house whenever and they would love it. There is nothing like having people in your life who make you feel right at home when you feel like you were without one for so long...
What is going to be on the menu for tonight? I honestly really appreciate a good theme. I like when things match up and flow so this Sunday, we are kind of having a French theme dinner! One of my goals in life is to walk the streets of Paris, sip on a café au lait, enjoy a croissant and take in all the scenic views. I know I will be going to Paris soon but while I am waiting I guess I will bring a little France to me and others. The menu for this Sunday is Cheese spread (Brie and Gruyere), crackers and local apple butter, Simple French Bistro Salad (that you can make anytime), French Dip Sandwiches AND real deal French Chocolate Mousse made by the lovely Cara.
French dip sandwiches. I mean these are one of the tastiest and most flavorful sandwiches that exist and a personal favorite. A lot of the recipes for this called for a crock pot, but I wanted to do something different. I found this recipe by The Pioneer Woman and most know that her recipes are SICK. She is such a good cook! However I must say, roasting a boneless rib eye roast made me nervous. I did not want to mess up this piece of beautiful meat and resort to buying $5 Little Caesars pizzas to save the night. Cooking is a learning process. Almost every time I cook or bake, I am learning something new even though it might end up being a not-so-fun learning experience, like melting a whole in the bottom of your roasting pan while in the middle of cooking the Au jus sauce, which the Au jus is a must and takes a French dip to a whole other level. Oh geez, more on that later.
So, I am a new cook and news cooks do not have all the fancy kitchen wear that the Pioneer Woman has. I noticed that her roasting pan looked way bigger than mine. She also said that to roast a 4-5lb rib eye roast, should take about 20-25 minutes. Wrongo. My roasting pan was much smaller and I had to constantly check the temperature. I barely felt like it warming up but it did get there; it only took about an hour and 15 minutes.
Two things I learned here:
- Just because a recipe gives you a time limit does not mean it is even close to being accurate. I would at least double the time.
- It is always best to make something for company that you already made before. It took me longer to make the roast that I allocated time for. Needless to say, it came out delicious. The Liegey’s were trying the meat as Steve was cutting it for us (carve master). Love it!
The sauce. The Pioneer Woman put her roasting pan straight on the stove, so I can too right? I don’t think so (haha). The sauce obviously starts with the meat drippings in the pan (FLAVOR). This is where you start caramelizing your onions! Then you add other spices and liquids and let it simmer so the flavors can really enhance with each other. Everything was going great and then I started smelling something that was burning. I immediately said, “Oh, crap” and knew that my version of a “roasting pan” was not working out. What I learned here is: I am always allowed to move a sauce to a regular pot if I don’t think I should put the pan directly on the stove.
Woo. I am glad that is over. Let’s move on to something that is so new-cook friendly--the Simple Bistro French Salad. I know that this will become a regular in my house. It is so easy to make and would taste good with any meal. I bought two bags of bagged lettuce that contained two different lettuces, green butter leaf and red romaine. I love buying already prepared lettuce! It saves me so much time and it is SO easy to throw together in a bowl. Please check out the recipe below. You can make this any week night, add it to any meal or just make a protein and put it on top…#feelinghealthy.
Chocolate French Mousse. Cara is amazing. She made this legit mousse that is from the New York Times Best Seller Why French Kids Eat Everything, and this dessert is out of this world incredible! It only uses a few ingredients--chocolate, butter, egg whites, salt, and orange zest. Literally, the "hardest" part about this dessert is whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks in order to get them to fold into the melted chocolate and butter!
I have to say, this dinner was one of my favorites. The meat was challenging for me to make, but it came out good (feeling accomplished) and everyone enjoyed it so much. Some people even ate seconds, which is my favorite thing ever! I felt like I was feeding my family when the Liegey’s were here. From the moment Steve said, “What’s up Baby girl” with a huge hug, to when the family was really taking a liking to the cheese and crackers I put out ;) and to when Bonnie set a date for Dan and I to come over their house for dinner, the whole evening was nothing but love. Building relationships like these is not an overnight process. It takes multiple times of going to someone’s house, being together at various functions, making time and prioritizing that relationship. Make time for others: Relationships are what we are all here for after all! Bon Appetit!