The Gift of Dinner

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This past weekend was the first Saturday night I had free from a Harvard Sailing Team show or baking obligation for as long as I can remember.  It was both exhilarating and somewhat overwhelming to have a COMPLETELY FREE weekend night.  Presented with the option to do whatever I wanted on a Saturday night, I was having trouble making a plan.  Fortunately, Marina stepped in, and before  I went out of my mind with the inability to make a weekend decision, a plan was made for me.  

Marina, my dear friend, and fellow-blogger invited me and David over to her apartment on Saturday night for a home-cooked meal in honor of David’s birthday.  After playing hostess to many a dinner party and other food-driven gatherings (her Taco Party was the Williamsburg food event of the season, as far as I’m concerned), she’s developed quite the reputation for cooking up fantastic feasts.  And David’s intimate birthday dinner was no exception.  The menu was thoughtfully planned according to some of David’s quirky food pickyness (he’s not a mayo guy, for one), and was one of the most generous birthday gift ideas I’ve ever been on the receiving end of…sometimes it pays to be the birthday boy’s girlfriend.  

It was difficult to resist devouring the food the second the plates hit the table, but somehow I was able to snap a few photos before I dug in.  Here are photos from almost every aspect of the delicious meal.

IMG_0384 Refreshing homemade mint lemonade!

*no photo* – Artichoke olive crostini.  Seriously yummy.  I could have easily eaten these all night, but I was encouraged to take it easy since there was a lot of food soon coming our way; I supposed that’s one of the only circumstances under which I will lay off the hors d’oeuvres.

IMG_0386Italian stuffed squash blossoms, and sweet corn salad with roasted beets.  I don’t feel like this photos quite does this dish justice.  These squash blossoms were stuffed with ricotta cheese, and the corn salad and beets had the perfectly cool and refreshing taste for such a hot summer night.

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IMG_0405And the star of the evening, pan-roasted brick chicken.  I’ve known that the Italian tradition of cooking a chicken under a brick makes it super tasty, but I never quite understood why.  Now I know that it’s because the weight of the brick on top of the chicken literally squeezes all the flavors and juices out of it (duh)…or at least that’s what I took from the whole experience.  (And thank you, Billy, for sticking your neck out to procure the necessary brick.  You’re a boy of bravery and brawn).

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IMG_0412Here’s the complete main course, plated up with the sides of homemade frites (they’re double-fried, that’s their secret!) and heirloom tomato salad.  YUMMY.

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IMG_0417 Even though our bellies were beyond full at this point, when a dessert like this comes out of the fridge, you find a way to make room.  I call it my Dessert Pocket – that little extra pocket of tummy room that you keep on reserve for emergency cases, like this dessert.  This dessert, a recipe borrowed from one of my new favorite Williamsburg restaurants, Marlow & Sons, is a dessert I find myself craving at least once a week.  When it comes to sweets, I’m a sucker for the combination of salty and sweet, and this dessert (like Trader Joe’s killer dark chocolate covered pretzels) has mastered that combo perfectly.  It’s the chocolate caramel tart with sea salt.  Holy shnikeys.  I am weak for that thing.

An evening of incredible home-cooked food made with love, the company of friends, and a few rounds of drunken Bananagrams, and I was set.  Marina, thank you for being such a generous host.  Next time, our place!  Do you like hot dogs and scrambled eggs?

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One Response to “The Gift of Dinner”

  1. marina Says:

    How did I miss this post? I just saw it. Very sweet, thank you Fan. Can’t wait for dinner at chez vous!

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