Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tonight it would have been really great for Craig and I to have a date night. For many years we resisted the very notion of date nights. But eventually we got it: if you don't plan the time, it does not just magically appear. We have always been good at supporting each other in going out with a friend, even taking a few days to get away to the city to work, see friends and rest. One of the first times we stepped out of the house together, on a date, and strode out to the car holding hands, the thrill was dizzying.
Sometimes though, getting organized to go on a date does not happen, particularly during seizure periods when schedules scatter like confetti in the wind. So we have a date sub genre: the Home Date aka Having a Nice Dinner at Home Together While the Sitter Wrangles the Kids Date. We are fortunate to have a wonderful babysitter who is a participant in our family, a meaningful companion to the girls, and an incredibly loving, skillful and intuitive person. A couple of times now, after a week of lots of work and seizures when it felt like Craig and I had not communicated about anything but logistics, we had a Home Date. Craig made a nice dinner, we opened a bottle of wine and we just sat and talked.
Alice helped feed the kids, we focused on each other through that. We had a glass of wine while we ate. Alice got the kids in the tub, in their pjs and in bed, We stayed at the table together, savoring our conversation, speaking in complete sentences and actually finishing a thought. We finished our dinner, slowly, had another glass of wine. We relaxed and enjoyed each other like on a real date, only we did not have to drive and could split that final little bit of wine at the end of the bottle. I love the feeling after a second glass of wine. It is warm and diffuse, it relaxes muscles and eases concerns.
I told Craig the next morning that I loved getting out on actual dates, but I really liked Home Dates as well because I always knew the food was going to be amazing. It got me thinking about dates. I think they feel so good because it is a moment of promise to put each other first. In a busy life, with children and their literally constant demands, putting yourself and your loved one first is an incredible statement of purpose. A date says: I love you, and I enjoy you.
Craig made a simple, beautiful meal with an easy clean up for our date: scallops, rice and arugula salad. The arugula was a big thrill, the first bunches to appear at the Farmers' Market this spring. Here is the scallops recipe:
Seared Sea Scallops with Preserved Lemon and Parsley Pesto
For pesto, clean and rinse 1/4 of a preserved lemon (check out the Canal House gals for how to make these amazingly useful delicacies!) Julienne and finely dice. Finely dice about 2 tablespoons or so of parsley. Mix the lemon and parsley, add a dash of sansho pepper, a grind of black pepper and mix in a small bowl with really high grade olive oil.
Cut the green part of a couple of scallions into 2" lengths, split open and julienne. Set aside in cold water.
Rinse scallops and pat dry. Season lightly with french (or other mild) sea salt. Drizzle with olive oil (a cooking grade).
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. When hot, add scallops. Cook until just done (about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness.) They should be a lovely color with dark grill marks and just warm in the center when cut open.
Arrange cooked scallops on a plate. Put a dab of the pesto in the center of each scallop. Shower with scallions.