Saturday we had a busy day and I said to my husband, “I really wish we could go out to eat at a fancy restaurant for dinner,” but we just don’t have the money. He did get a big paycheck this week because he’s been working a lot of hours, so we decided to splurge and make a fancy dinner. Actually, it wasn’t a big splurge, we got some steaks (natural but not grass-fed) on sale for $5, a lemon for 50 cents, shallots for 75 cents, and some organic swiss chard for $2. Everything else was already in the pantry.
I pulled out my copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (mine was from a tag sale or library sale, it’s a classic copy), and The French Market: More Recipes from a French Kitchen.
For the main dish, I settled on steaks cooked in butter and olive oil, with a bearnaise sauce. This was the first time I made bearnaise, but Julia Child’s directions were easy, and it was amazing. It is just butter, egg yolks, vinegar, wine, shallots, and herbs, and I have been OK with butter, so I am happy to have a sauce that I can eat. I also made Vineyard Swiss Chard from The French Market and finally found a way that I can get my husband to eat Swiss chard; it’s made with lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts, and raisins. For dessert, I made Îles Flottantes from The French Market, which is a custard with meringues and caramel on top. I burned the caramel because I got distracted at the last minute, so I left it off, but it was still amazing. Again, I just used goat’s milk, eggs, and sugar, so it’s inexpensive yet elegant. (You are supposed to top it with sliced almonds, but I didn’t have any and we just left them off). Julia’s recipe also looks good, but is more almond-y and complicated.
It was so much fun to have an elegant dinner for maybe $10. We decided that the same quality dinner out would have cost $60 at the very least, but more likely around $100. I think it was a good splurge.
Go visit GNOWFGLINS to see what’s twisting in every one else’s kitchen!