The best part (for me) of tonight's feast was having the boy guess the two ingredients that went through all four dishes. He got it in one go.
First course: Haricots verts and grape tomato salad with creme fraiche dressing
Finding creme fraiche and haricots verts was not as much fun as hoped! I think I spent more time food shopping than cooking the whole feast. First, I swore that our old giant had creme fraiche. Regardless, it quickly became clear that our new Safeway did not. Sigh. I could have swapped green beans in for haricots verts no problem, but there was no chance of me switching sour cream for creme fraiche. Once the boy and I got back from Safeway, I headed out and fought through the Trader Joe's nearest us, which has an awful parking lot. I ended up grabbing two bags of haricots verts and two small tubs of creme fraiche -- just in case!
This salad was phenomenal. I overcooked the haricots verts ever so slightly, but they were still fresh. The boy had to show me how to toss a salad. My helpless efforts only got us this far:
It took all of 10-15 minutes to throw this together, and the result was just incredible. We mm'd and ahh'd and maybe even swore a little at how good it was. I particularly loved the haricots verts. Green beans would have substituted fine for them, but they are just a little more delicate than regular green beans, which let the creme fraiche dressing work its magic. 9 yums out of 10, and below 100 calories for 1/4 of the recipe.
Second course: Watermelon Salad
One of our good friends brought over a watermelon when she visited us recently, so we're still working through it. The boy helped by cutting some into cubes. I cut up about half a shallot and tossed it in with the cubes. I then put together about 2-3 tablespoons creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a squeeze of agave nectar, a dot of vanilla extract, and about 3 tablespoons of basil. This dressing was then tossed with the watermelon and shallots, and the resulting mix was divided between two bowls for a tasty and fairly simple fruit salad.
This was nice and fresh. The shallots and basil gave it a little zing, a little savory touch to counter the sweetness a little. I may use a teaspoon fewer shallots next time though--delicious! The fruit salad comes in at 8 yums out of 10.
Third Course: Basil steamed tilapia with lemon creme sauce
The original recipe called for halibut, but the Safeway had none. I substituted in tilapia, which concerned readings will be delighted to know is pretty sustainable when farmed. This was a great choice in terms of flavor (tilapia is not at all fishy!), but made handling more difficult. The fish ended up being so flaky that it could not be picked up without falling apart. I also bought seafood stock at the store rather than making it myself. It turned out so well that I don't think anyone would miss such a substitution!
Fourth course: Seared peaches with balsamic reduction
Figs, alas, were nowhere to be found, not even at Trader Joe's. I didn't enjoy the prep for this as much, only because I did not have cling-free peaches, which made getting the pits out . . . well, the pits. I smooshed a few peaches beyond all recognition -- not pictured, of course! However, in terms of taste, the peaches were great, and the balsamic reduction combined with the creme fraiche really made for a delicious sweet-savory topping. What an amazing dessert! This came in probably close to 130-150 calories, 8-8.5 yums out of 10.
All in all, an amazing, yet healthy dinner. Loads of fruits and veggies, as well as those two common ingrediants. For those of you who absolutely must know, the answer was: basil and creme fraiche for the win! Really happy with how everything turned out, and looking forward to all the amazing leftovers tomorrow.