Instead of waiting until next week, we had our "date-night" last night. We went for a fabulous dinner where my boyfriend had the amazing idea to order all the appetizers on the menu instead of each choosing an appetizer and entree. The appetizers all sounded much more interesting, and that is how I prefer to eat anyways - lots of different little things. When faced with only a couple of bites of something (that you have to share, no less!) you really have to take the time to eat slowly, savour every bite, and really think about what you are eating. I am a slow eater by nature, but my boyfriend really benefits from being forced to slow down. I'll spare you the details of all the appetizer courses, but have to mention the dessert, which was by far the most interesting and creative dessert I have ever had. It involved chocolate and beets. I wish we had taken a picture - there were these little beet "pearls", made who knows how, that were just delightful...
ANYWAYS, you don't care about what we ate last night, you care about what we ate tonight. The moral of that whole story was that I think my boyfriend got re-inspired to really play in the kitchen...so much so that he made us each two plates. Maybe he was over-compensating after last night where he never got a plate of food all to himself?
In addition to dinner portions of meat from our CSA, we sometimes get random additions, such as bones for soup. A couple of weeks ago we got ham hocks. Thinking that there wouldn't be that much meat on the smaller of the two, we decided to use it to flavor some collard greens (which is one of the traditional uses). But in the end there was enough meat for us to actually eat, too. I was really surprised by the texture: it reminded me a lot of the dark meat of a smoked turkey, right down to the way the fat was attached...is that weird?
Plate 1: Roast beef with home-made barbecue sauce and a fried mashed potato and celery root cake topped with goat cheese (locally made and incredibly flavorful).
Plate 2: Collard greens, another fried mashed potato and celery root cake, and pieces of ham hock
To use the ham hock as a flavorer (?), the ham hock was boiled in chicken stock with garlic and onion for about 20 minutes, then we cooked the collards in that stock.