This week my husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. In past years we would go out for an elaborate dinner some place downtown and stay out late drinking wine and eating things like oysters or foie gras. We would buy each other thoughtful gifts and anniversary cards. I even wrote him a poem one year. But after 9 years of marriage, we’ve become a little less ambitious on our anniversary. We still get each other cards and my husband usually buys me flowers but we’ve lowered expectations a little. Our life is filled with more tater tots than foie gras these days. But that's just fine with me.
This year having a nice dinner at home with our daughter sounded like a perfect way to celebrate. It was on a Wednesday after all.
Even though our anniversary was on a Wednesday and it was 9 years, not a big fancy anniversary year like 10 or 15 – I still wanted to make something special for dinner. But my good intentions were quickly washed away with a chest cold, a case of laryngitis, and a work deadline. I was all set to forget the whole thing and order a pizza (who celebrates 9 years anyway) when I decided to go to Trader Joe’s and see what I could come up with that would require the least amount of effort. I didn’t really have anything in mind but I was hoping to find something pre-made or frozen that I could whip up on short notice.
I wandered over to the meat section and found a Balsamic and Pepper marinated leg of lamb, which looked interesting. I threw the lamb in my cart, feeling guilty as I always do about lamb for some reason. I saw figs were on sale for $4.99. I grabbed some goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary, a Trader Joe’s blueberry pie and some French vanilla ice cream for dessert. At the check-out the cashier informed me that the Trader Joe’s French vanilla ice cream has won awards and people travel from all over just to buy their ice cream. Through my laryngitis strained voice, I told the cashier about my anniversary dinner plans. I whispered “thank you” and went on my merry way.
Things were starting to come together and 9 years started to feel worth celebrating – it’s a long time to be married to one person, my own parents weren’t even married 9 years. My mother kindly reminded me of that earlier in the day.
So here is what we had for dinner and honestly it was one of the easiest meals that I’ve ever made. The salad was the star of the show. And yes, the ice cream was as good as promised.
The leg of lamb took 2 hours to make (I just followed the package instructions) and I added peeled whole baby potatoes to the roasting pan. I took 2 tablespoons of butter and smashed in the rosemary with salt and pepper. I put dollops of the rosemary/butter mixture on top of the potatoes. I covered the dish with aluminum foil and removed it after 1.5 hours to let the potatoes brown. I let everything set for 10 minutes while I made the fig and goat cheese salad. The recipe for the salad is below.
Fig & Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients: Mixed greens, olive oil – 1 tbsp, balsamic vinegar – 1 tbsp, 6 figs, goat cheese, ¼ cup walnuts
Directions: Salad greens of your choice, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cut the stems off the figs and slice in half. Sprinkle figs with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The figs are done when they looks soft and have released some of their juices into the pan. While the figs are still hot, place on top of the salad. Put goat cheese on top of the salad and sprinkle with walnuts. Then pour some of the wonderful fig juices from the pan over the top.
Honestly, this was so good that I ate the salad for dinner the following evening too. The thing about figs is that they pair so well with cheese and salty meats like prosciutto – their texture and flavor completely change when cooked. Try it. I’m sure you’ll love it.