Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Inaugural Fancy Schmancy Tastebud Dancey

Yesterday at around 2 in the afternoon I started thinking about what Jason and I were going to do for dinner. We like to cook, and most nights we'll make something pretty good -- fish, steak, grilled chicken, different kinds of veggies, yummy salads. But I'd been feeling like we were coming back to the same well too many times and was getting bored with our repertoire. So I decided to look for a fun new recipe to make.

The Food Network's website is really great for finding all different kinds of recipes, and I ultimately decided on an Italian recipe for chicken served with gnocci. I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home to pick up the ingredients, and we started cooking as soon as we got home. We decided that we would start a new weekly tradition on Wednesday nights, in which we would pick out a recipe from one of our cookbooks or a magazine and cook together.

The dish called for pieces of chicken sauteed with onion, garlic and figs, and then simmered in red wine reduction and chicken stock, seasoned with lemon zest, parsley, thyme, and a couple of other things. The cooked gnocci is sauteed in butter with chives, salt, pepper and nutmet, and then garnished with pancetta.

It was insanely delicious. I've never eaten or cooked with figs before (except for fig newtons), and they have a rich sweetness that complemented beautifully the salty, onion-y, wine-y taste of the sauce. Jason and I sat there eating and sort of laughing to ourselves, like we and our tastebuds had stumbled into paradise and couldn't quite believe it. Jason said, "So, have you thought about how we're going to top this fancy schmancy tastebud dancey for next week?"

"'Fancy schmancy tastebud dancey?' Did you just think of that? That's awesome."

"Yeah, I'm feeling pretty clever right about now."

"So are your tastebuds dancing?"

"There's a riot in my mouth. It's mayhem in there."

"That's what we'll call it! Our new tradition will have a name: Fancy Schmancy Tastebud Dancey!"

"I'm thinking c-h in the spelling of 'schmancy'."

"Absolutely. s-c-h-m-a-n-c-y."

"'Hello, Bob? I'm sorry, I can't go drinking with you that night. That's Fancy Schmancy Tastebud Dancey night.'"

"Hee! Should we do an acronym? Call it FSTD?"

"No, I don't want to give anything food-related a name with 'STD' in the title."

"OK. So it will be our weekly Fancy Schmancy Tastebud Dancey."

And that's how traditions are born in our house. Next week we're making a New Orleans redfish served with a smoked mushroom salad. Yum.

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