Italian Pear Almond Cake
This is not our happiest holiday season. Beyond the interminably gray weather, which is not very cheery, we've lost two friends recently. We lit an extra candle on the table to remember Doug and Stevie, who was a good friend to my brother. I think we'll make this a tradition for our special meals, a candle as a small remembrance for those who were close but are now gone from our lives.
For a starter there was Seared Scallops with Mint, Peas, and Bacon (web). This is a pea sauce, topped with seared scallops then a garnish of peas, mint, and bacon (I used lardons). The serving sizes in the recipe are odd. For four people, the recipe asks for 12 scallops totaling 1-1/2 pounds. Now, I live right next door to the coast, so fairly well-supplied with seafood, and six scallops (for a half recipe) totaled 4-1/8 ounces, about a sixth of what was asked. Puzzling. With my six scallops, I made half the pea sauce. A very nice starter that is easy to make and very yummy.
We didn't make it to a marché de noël this year, so we didn't have any venison or other festive meat. Instead I made Bricked Game Hens with Savoy Cabbage on Polenta Croûtes (Polenta, p74). I cooked two coquelets, each about the size of a Cornish game hen, but we ate only one. (Ed used to easily eat a whole one, but we have leftovers for another night.) The cabbage was especially nice and easy, finely sliced, then sautéed with a bit of finely chopped shallot and chicken stock. When it's done-ish, stir in a spoonful of grainy mustard.
Then we finished the last little bit of Brillat-Savarin we had, on plain crackers.
The wine was, um, undistinguished, but we did manage to finish the bottle over the course of our meal. We both forgot to buy something nice at the shop this week, and our stash is almost empty so this was all that was available.
For dessert, there was Italian Pear Almond Cake (web) which was very tasty. This was supposed to serve eight, but the two of us finished off half. Oh well, supposedly it doesn't keep well, and I'd hate for it to go bad.
A nice meal altogether, accompanied only by Oscar, while Sophie slept upstairs.