Category Archives: Friday Date Nights

Often after a busy week, we like to take the time to cook together. One of us picks a recipe, gets the ingredients and we meet in the kitchen on a Friday night (usually with a beverage and some music playing in the background).

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Beside bacon, we’ve never been big pork lovers.  It’s not something we order off the menu when out, we tend to lean towards seafood or beef if given the choice, but lately we’ve decided to give the other white meat a fair chance.  If you’re as uncertain about the variety of pork options, how to cook it, recipes, etc. as we are, there is a great Canadian website putporkonyourfork.com that provides you with all the nutritional information you need and more.
For this particular Friday Date Night we’ve decided on nice pork tenderloin (I feel like I’m trying to convince myself still).
Friday Date Night #5
The food: Roasted Pork Tenderloin (recipe courtesy of Farm Boy)
The mood: Adele
I’m not going to lie, what drew me to this particular recipe was that we had almost all ingredients except the fresh ginger (didn’t even have any in the freezer) and light sour cream.  The marinade was simply to concoct, and we once again relied on our Magic Bullet to purée the ingredients together, little mess and easy clean up, everything goes right into the dishwasher.
Once the pork tenderloin was in the oven, we moved on to making the sauce.  It too was simple to make, however, I thought it would yield more and it certainly wasn’t going to be enough for the entire meal.

Cooked to a perfect 160 degrees, the tenderloin was succulent, moist and flavourful.  I wondered if we had marinated the pork longer than recommended 30 minutes would we have tasted more of the garlic and ginger in the meat?  Either way, paired with a side of steamed asparagus, listening to Adele (an artist I introduced Greg too that evening), is not too bad a way to spend a Friday night right?~ kM

Barley Risotto with Bacon

We’ve never tried any of Chef Michael Smith’s recipes before, we’ve watched Chef at Home numerous times, always commented on how effortless his cooking looked, so after seeing an episode where he made a Barley Risotto with Bacon, we thought “done!”, and this is our next Friday Date Night.
Friday Date Night #4
The food: Barley Risotto with Bacon and Caesar Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing (recipes courtesy of Chef Michael Smith)
The beverage: Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
The mood: The Decemberists
I love risotto, but have always been afraid to make it, the constant stirring, the visions of Gordan Ramsey yelling at me because it was undercooked, overcooked, etc.  Apparently barley is a little more forgiving that arborio rice, so we figured we had that on our side, and to makes things even better Greg decided he wanted to take ownership of the risotto, so I tackled the salad.  Sounded like a great deal to me, a little bit of washing, chopping, grating, and my salad was ready.  Greg on the other hand was in for the long haul, and it was 🙂
The evening started off like other Friday Date Nights: wine poured, music playing, pots simmering.  However, on this particular Friday, as we listened to the melancholy tones of The Decemberists, we suddenly hear a persistent  cymbal in the song, or was it?  Nope it wasn’t, it was our carbon monoxide detector and it wouldn’t stop.  So a phone call to the Ottawa Fire Department, and we had to abandon the risotto (Greg was defiant and kept going back into the house to stir it) to wait outside until the alarm was checked out.  Nothing to worry about, the firemen commented on the wonderful aroma coming from our kitchen, and after a 30 minute delay we were back to cooking.
The barley risotto was still a lot of work, adding the broth, stirring, adding more broth.  So this isn’t a quick replacement to the more traditional risotto, but it was just as good!  The smokey taste from the bacon, the parmesan cheese and onion were obviously a great combination.  The salad was equally as good and the best part was definitely the homemade croutons.  Made from fresh Italian bread, they were larger than the store-bought variety and still a little warm.  The dressing was extremely easy to make, especially with the use of our Magic Bullet.  The dressing was tangy, but not sour from the fresh lemon juice, and much lighter than its creamier cousin.
Paired with a sparkling wine, our risotto and salad were the perfect reward after a lot of hard work (and waiting). ~kM

Mushroom, Chicken and Leek Pot Pie

After being on holidays, we both felt like we needed a quiet Friday in to relax after being back at work.  The mood was subdued, neither of us eager to jump up and get things started in the kitchen.  This recipe was the perfect choice for this evening, in particular it was not overly labour intensive, yet it also had a sense of comfort (maybe even the laziness) we seemed to both be seeking.
Friday Date Night #3
The food: Mushroom, Chicken and Leek Pot Pie (recipe courtesy of Mushrooms Canada)
The beverage: Chateau des Charmes Barrel Fermented Chardonnay VQA
The mood: Melissa McClelland
We had many of the ingredients already on hand (i.e. chicken stock, oil, tarragon, salt, pepper, egg, etc.), so it was a quick trip to the grocery store for fresh produce, always appreciated when battling the weekend crowds.  When I say it was just one of those days, well we went even as far and bought the pre-sliced mushrooms, enough said right? Overall there was a lot of cheating in this recipe, using pre-bought frozen pastry for the top crust of the pie, would make this recipe perfect for any weeknight.
Now we’d heard of tarragon,  and love it in many French dishes including a good béarnaise sauce (Mmmmm), but it wasn’t until we were sautéing the mushroom and leeks along with it that we really appreciated its aroma and began to look forward to the end result. 
And the end result was a golden pot pie steaming on our plates, cautious not to burn our tongues (nothing a little Chardonnay couldn’t fix) we were anxious to try our first ever homemade pot pie.
The crust was flaky (always the best part right?), we both felt the mushrooms probably could have been cooked a little longer and there just seemed to be something missing whether it was a little garlic or white wine.  The Chardonnay was a nice pairing, it’s medium-bodied flavour was a nice contrast to the tanginess of the  leeks.
As the warmer, sunny weather approaches we tend to look forward to barbequeing and fresh salads, so any chance to make a few more winter classics while listening to one of our favourite artists and not feeling guilty about being indoors is always welcomed. ~kM

Quick Jambalaya

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, we prepared a recipe we’ve made a number of times.  It’s an easy take on jambalaya that we came across one time when looking for a one-pot meal to make for a large family gathering that could easily be made into a double-batch.  The recipe is now one of our “go-tos”, we LOVE its simplicity and spice!
Friday Date Night #2
The food: Quick Jambalaya (recipe courtesy of Kraft Foods)
The beverage: Gouden Carolus (Belgium beer)
The mood: Harry Connick Jr.
We always seem to find it difficult to cut sausage, it seems to get sticky and messy.  If there is a trick to cutting it, please fellow foodies we beg you to share it with us. We used white rice (however often substituted it for brown), and we usually add whatever we have left in our crisper, this time it was half a green and half a red pepper, and some onion. We both like added zing to our food sometimes, and you wouldn’t think that just a half cup of barbeque sauce could be enough heat, but it definitely does the trick.  Greg was pretty hungry, so this quick version of jambalaya was perfect for this Friday Day Night!
It was all me this week (the recipe, the booze and the tunes), lucky for Greg he works across the street from a grocery store so he picked up a couple of the missing ingredients.  It was a no-frills-week, eating our meal side-by-side on the sofa, sipping beer right out of the bottle while listening to the southern sounds of Harry.  Close your eyes and you’re in New Orleans (just without the beads and the hangover).  ~kM

Perfect Pasta!

This is our first blogpost for Friday Date Nights, and we’re pretty excited.  It’s easy to get busy with work, hobbies, life, but we try our best to make Friday Greg and Kelly Nights.  It’s not complicated, it involves good food, good drink and good music, and we cook and enjoy it together.  Our hope is that our posts inspire others to spend time in the kitchen with someone special.
For our first Friday Date Night, I (Kelly) chose the recipe and picked the wine (with the help from Claire @gadgetgirl_ca), Greg was in charge of the groceries and the music.
Friday Date Night #1
The food: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pasta (recipe courtesy of Bite Me)
The beverage: Pascual Toso Sauvignon Blanc
The mood: Justin Rutledge
There was a long list of ingredients, and quite of bit of food preparation.  These are two things you have to take into consideration when picking a recipe for Friday Date Nights.  If it takes too long to prep or cook you may have to save your recipe for another time.
Anyways, between the two of us we divided and conquered.  Chopping spinach, seeding tomatoes, caramelizing onions.  Once the pasta was tossed, the smell was infectious, it filled the air.  Once platted, the final touch was to sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese and crumble on the goat cheese – we took a little liberty there.

And here is the best part, we sat down, and it was…perfect.  Pasta cooked al dente, the combination of the caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar, plus the goat cheese was heavenly.  Because there was no creamy sauce, the dish wasn’t too heavy for a late night dinner.  We even made it again on the Sunday when “the parents” came over.  Paired with the crisp Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc, which was recommended would bring out the goat cheese, and it did so without hesitation.  Factor in the mellow demeanor of Justin Rutledge and it was just the relaxing evening we needed. ~kM