You can find A Few Fond Farewells: Part 1 here. In a week, my favorite dinner guest is getting hitched and moving to New Orleans. Of course that meant I had to give her a spectacular send-off! I picked out my menu from Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Coincidentally, it happened to be very similar to the ‘Taste of Gourmet’ menu in the back of the book. Great minds think alike! “Gourmet” is the perfect word to describe what I was going for. When I have guests, I like to make something fancier than what I make on a daily basis for myself but not so ambitious that it becomes overly complicated or unnecessarily expensive. The menu I picked out looked just right.
Since Michele is moving to New Orleans, serving Tal Ronnen’s Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes was a no-brainer. I’ve been reading endless raves of these seafood patties and have been waiting for the perfect moment to try them out. They were incredible as was the remoulade that topped them. I made a few tweaks to the recipe such as using sprouted grain bread for the breadcrumbs and whipping up my own raw vegan mayo instead of using store-bought. J and Michele agreed that the crab cakes tasted more like salmon cakes. It’s been way too long since I’ve eaten fish, so I didn’t have much of a frame of reference. I think I know what they mean though. The cakes were really delicate and almost flaky. We started with 2 cakes each and all went in for thirds. Then, J went in for fourths!
I had a main and a dessert picked out, but I still needed a side to round out the meal. I was never a seafood lover and have only eaten a crab cake or two in my life (essentially a bread cake with a crab-like aftertaste that came from the grocery store deli). I wasn’t sure what is traditionally served with crab cakes. After consulting my oh-so-knowledgable friend (ok, so it was google), I had a few ideas. Corn on the cob would have been great, but it’s not in season. Asparagus spears? Yum! But, I’ve already made a dinner with asparagus for my cousin and I wanted something completely different. Potato salad? No way. That would be too heavy.
Since I’ve been practically living on citrus lately, I thought a citrus salad would be delightful. Plus, it tied into the dessert theme. I checked out the salad section in CSK and there it was. Lettuces and Citrus, the perfect salad for a spring evening, comprised of butter lettuce, orange and grapefruit segments, toasted pecans, and a light and spicy wine vinaigrette.
This salad was the big surprise of the night. Now, I love salads. I mean, I love salads. I make my salads into meals, and I know that it doesn’t have to be extravagant to be a killer salad. But, this simple salad surprised me. The butter lettuce was so pleasantly mild and crunchy. The grapefruit and mandarin orange were splashes of sweetness that subdued the spicy red pepper flakes. The earthy toasted pecans leveled out the waves of sweet and spice, and brought me back from whatever magical salad dreamland I’d been carried off to. I wished that I could scoop up the whole bowl of salad in my arms and savor every last bit all by myself.
When I wasn’t drifting off into salad dreamland, I was loving every minute of my last dinner date with Michele (at least, the last one for a long while). We had all the windows open and the breeze smelled like a looming rainstorm. Ahhh! Since mother nature decided not to grace us with a storm, we ate dessert in the backyard. Even Tucker got dessert. We gave him a vegan dog bone and he trotted away to a corner of the yard to eat in peace!While I’m going to miss my cousin, I can’t wait for her to experience life in a new city for the first time with the love of her life. Oh, and she better have her guestroom ready!
Farewells = party time; new adventures; wishing you had another giant bowl of salad. Ok, joking about that last one. Kinda. Whether it’s saying goodbye to a band you really love or a cousin/friend who was one of your best friends growing up, nothing is ever really lost. Things just get bigger and better, and the best thing about farewells are the great things to come.