To overcome our winter doldrums and to contrast our "white-out" meal last week, tonight we used the wonderful colors of nature to brighten our evening. Our night started with a wonderful smoky cheese and sun-dried tomato spread made by SB. This was a great appetizer served with crostini that provided both a touch of color and a burst of flavor.
Our main course veered into both the orange and green portions of the color wheel. The butternut squash and leek gratins were light, flavorful and provided a nice warm feeling on another cold night. A side dish for the gratins was the surprising star of the evening. The sugar snap peas were prepared simply and are an awesome go-to side. These peas were boiled briefly then simply stirred with some butter and lemon then adorned with a handful of toasted almonds.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add peas; cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain peas in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 teaspoon cooking water.
Combine peas, reserved cooking water, butter, and lemon rind, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle with almonds, salt, and pepper; toss gently to combine.
The dessert of the evening was another simple, yet surprisingly good dish. The eclair cake is simple to prepare, yet provides a luxurious flavor. This no-cook dessert is a great little trick to have in your pocket when you need a quick dish to impress others.