Whenever I want a really nice meal, I start dating again.
- Susan Healy
Dates. Early-in-the-process-of-meeting-someone-and-getting-to-know-them dates. And oh my hell, first dates. In as much as dating is supposed to be fun, and exciting, and basically what most people pinpoint as the gateway bridge to the rest of their lives…it always brought me to a level of panic and dread similar only to that associated with the dentist. There is something about attempting to put your best foot forward, trying to avoid revealing too many of your eccentricities too soon, that feels unnatural and uncomfortable.
Despite the above mentioned loathing, I will say that I did always handle a date more easily if I cooked. Whether it was a way to control the environment, the pace, and most certainly the menu, I’m not sure, but it worked. Because on dates? You judge. Which means you are most likely being judged in return. I was always far more comfortable putting my food on the table than any of the skeletons in my sizable closet.
This is a great dish to make for a date night. The combination of salty smoked salmon and creamy tangy goat cheese is basic in concept yet complex in flavor. It's decadent and rich, and simple enough to put together ahead of time, so you can get ready without worrying about your date showing up to find you sweaty-faced and frantically trying to finish dinner.
Smoked Salmon & Goat Cheese Gratin (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)
5-6 peeled potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 cups milk
8 oz. smoked salmon
1 cup goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 350, then boil potatoes in salted water for about 5 minutes, drain.
- Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add flour, salt & pepper and milk; stir until thick and bubbly, then remove from heat.
- In a greased dish, layer half the potatoes. Sprinkle the smoked salmon on top of potatoes and then cover with half of the sauce and half of the goat cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes and sauce. (Save remaining cheese.)
- Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncover and add remaining cheese. Bake an additional 35 minutes and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I do not miss those days. I couldn’t be more elated that I’ve found the person that is right for me, that fits me and gets me and puts me in my place when I need it. If I needed one more reason to add to my never-ending list of why I love him, it would be that he pulled me out of the pool.
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