Wait no more, it is here. Grab your coffee or tea, sit back and marvel at another wonderful year of Valentine's Dining in our home. Knowing that new readers trickle in, I present first the links to the previous year's posts so this year's is better appreciated.
Year one - in which they cook by themselves for the first time
Year two - in which I apparently didn't blog about their delicious Italian meal
Year three - in which they prepare a German meal
Year four - in which they prepare a French meal
Now that your appetite is great, anticipation is high, I give you wait no longer.
Valentine's Day, February 14th, is a day highly anticipated in our home. David and I love the restaurant we've been dining at the past several years. The children love coming up with a surprise menu and cooking a scrumptious meal for us. But this year February 14th was highly anticipated in our home for another reason. Hannah returned home to us after a lovely three week trip to England.
In planning this England trip with Hannah, David and I were sorry that we would miss our annual reservations at Sous La Maison, but decided the opportunity for our daughter was more important. We were, therefore, quite grateful when the restaurant staff informed us one day that they had overbooked for Valentine's Day and would like to move our reservations till Friday evening, the 17th of February. After a bit of incredulousness that this restaurant where we have dined for the past several years would bump us, their very loyal customers who tout their restaurant far and near, we accepted their apologies and the new reservations.
On Thursday, February 16th, I took the staff along with me to the grocery store. They had placed certain ingredients on my list for me to purchase, soy sauce, Romano cheese, and spinach. That was easy enough, but then they told me they had to buy something that I shouldn't see, so off the three girls trotted ahead of me in Aldi. They made their purchase, hid it in the van, and returned to help me with the remaining grocery list. Of course my curiosity was piqued, and it was even more so that evening when they told me I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am on Friday morning.
The anticipated day arrived. David and I arose earlier than normal on Friday morning in order to enjoy our breakfast and for me to strain the yogurt and take out a couple of chicken breasts prior to our 8:00 deadline. While Hannah and Ellie set to work in the kitchen, David did Latin with Nathan and Abby and I made plans for the rest of the day. I asked if it would be helpful for me not to be around in the afternoon and after hearing their positive response, I told them I needed to be around in the morning, but would leave after lunch.
It wasn't too difficult to stay out of the kitchen that morning. I worked with the three youngest on some of their school work, took a couple of them to a speech lesson, and one to a music lesson. Since I couldn't be in the kitchen, I couldn't make lunch for the family. Anticipating eating a substantial meal in the evening, I told the girls to fix us a salad topped with grilled chicken breasts. After lunch, I left with David who had visits to make in the town with the library. He dropped me off and I sat for the next two hours with my Mac Book and Gulliver's Travels catching up on blog posts, article reading, and what Gulliver was doing. Having spoken with the children who suggested we not come home until our reservations at 6pm, when David was finished with his visits and came to pick me up, he suggested we do a little clothes shopping at the outlet mall not far away.
We arrived at the appointed time and the staff at Sous la Maison were ready and waiting. As soon as we sat down at our normal table, which was decorated as always with the red table cloth and a lace covering, the staff came and began the classical music cd, lit the candle-abra, filled our glasses with a Gnarley Head Cabernet, and delivered the Salad. Note: all descriptions are from the menu.
|This salad contains lettuces, and a variation of vegetables and cheeses. It is served with Creamy Italian dressing.|
It was a delicious start to our meal which was quickly followed by Shrimp Francesca.
|Shrimp Francesca is a mouth-savoring combination of shrimp, cheese, and our perfect selection of spices.|
|Our marinated London Broil boasts a medium-rare ribeye steak, topped with select spices and a dry red wine. It is served with broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and a Cabernet wine.|
|This is the way I like my steak - oh so delicious!|
Now the pièce de résistance:
|The sweet taste of our Strawberry Cheesecake is sure to steal your heart, and your stomach. This cheesecake is the signature dish of Rachel M., who sends her highest regards. It is served with strawberries.|
This dessert was why I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am, and it was so worth that sacrifice. I have never tasted a more delicious, melt-in-your mouth cheesecake. It was light, fluffy, and very easily stole our hearts and stomachs. While in England, Hannah shared with Jonathan and Rachel what they were planning to fix for us and mentioned looking for a strawberry cheesecake recipe. Rachel said she had one that was very good, and Jonathan concurred. We are quite thankful she was willing to share the recipe. I don't think I'll make a different type of cheesecake ever again, this one is better than any I have ever made. I can't believe how delicious it was and how perfect it turned out for them, especially considering this was the first time Hannah or Ellie had ever attempted this type of dessert. It truly was the perfect end to a perfect meal.
We once again sing the praise of the staff of Sous La Maison. They are a delightful, thoughtful, talented group of young people with whom we are so blessed.
|Hannah, Ellie, Nathan, Abby, and Samuel|