Thank you everyone for your congratulations! (And thank you also for your comments on the song. I'm blushing. It's been far too long since my voice was out in a Public Space.) I realized, after posting the slide-show, that some of the pictures were obscured by the photo titles. To rectify this, I've posted the original picture files on my Flickr account in their own set, located here. (Especially for people like my mom, who would appreciate seeing The Whole Thing.)
Our anniversary day was busy, but ended well. While Greg was at work on Monday, I worked on getting the slide-show together and recording the song for it (recording the vocals with no children around to make noises took some planning!). Somehow, I also managed to throw together a Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, feed the children dinner (boxed macaroni and cheese, because I needed a little break), put them to bed, and tidied the kitchen. Then, in the time it took Greg to park the car and walk up the stairs, I changed from Mommy Uniform to Date Night Clothing. I was like Superman. Or Supermom. Whatever.
Dinner was take-out from the local Asian Bistro, and it was nice to be able to decompress at last after a busy day, and, well...to "date". And then, my friends, there was dessert.
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic-Black-Pepper Glazed Strawberries
Dudes: this dessert is dead sexy, and stupid-easy. If you can wrap your brain around making whipped cream, you're home free on this baby.
Here's what's involved: heat cream and sugar. Add vanilla. Add softened gelatin. Pour into wineglasses (or ramekins if you plan to unmold them). Chill at least 2 hours. That's it. (I used David Lebovitz' recipe, found here.)
For the strawberries, I simply cut them, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar, ground a few twists of black pepper over it, and sprinkled on sugar to taste. After being gently stirred together, it was ready to top and serve. Juicy, sweet, slightly sour from the balsamic, with a tiny hit of heat from the black pepper.
We found the flavor combination perfect, but this dessert begs for variation and playing around with different ideas. I could imagine this with blueberries doused in maple syrup, blackberries with a bit of brown sugar, peaches with caramelized honey (cook honey over medium heat until it caramelizes, cool slightly, toss with fruit), etc.
But that's enough about romance and food. How about tiny children doing a craft project gone awry?
It all started with a great idea to keep the boys happy during their quiet time. Q-tips, washable Elmer's glue, bits of yarn (goodness knows I've got plenty of that!), and paper = happy, contented times.
No words are needed.