Rabbit Polenta with Porcini Mushrooms

I wanted to do something special for Valentine’s day, so I searched through my pantry for amazing ingredients to serve as inspiration. I saw my reserves of Porcini mushrooms and started thinking of something to pair it with. Remembering a beautiful Rabbit and Porcini Bourgignon I created last year, I decided to mushrooms with rabbit, but to go in the white wine direction. I purchased a big hunk of prosciutto from the market and I had a plan! A delicious slow cooked stew of rabbit and mushroom flavored by white wine and prosciutto would fit the bill!

Escalivada of Roast Vegetables

When I first started reading about Catalan food, this is the dish that I kept seeing at the top of every “you must try this” dish. This easy and rustic dish is very satisfying. It works beautifully on its own, or as a pairing to a series of other dishes, or perhaps a platter of roast meats. I chose some of my favorite vegetables to roast, but, you can change up the vegetables by season. Perhaps some asparagus and summer squash in the warmer months. Or leeks in the winter? The best part, you can make this ahead and serve it chilled! This is an amazing quality for a dinner where you are preparing several dishes.

Salt Baked Sea Bass

Seafood is paramount in Catalan cooking! That is why I wanted to serve some whole fish for our Catalan dinner. This simple and beautiful recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner, but is also impressive enough for any feast! Simply stuff the cleaned, intact fish with a few sprigs of rosemary and encrust them in a mixture of egg whites, salt, bay leaves and thyme. So delicious!

Rabbit Paella with Artichokes

One of the stars of our Catalan dinner was the Rabbit Paella with Artichokes. Many of the dishes on our menu were Pescatarian, a nod to the thriving fish markets in Barcelona and the whole Catalan region. To balance this out, I wanted to add some meat to our menu. Chicken seemed boring, and I have been cooking a lot of lamb of late, so I decided to go with some game. I couldn’t get my hands on more venison in time, so I decided to go for rabbit.

Mussels in Escabeche

I was really excited to cook some mussels and decided that they would fit perfectly in the first course. I wanted something light and flavorful, that would give the guests an opportunity to make a bit of a mess and dip some bread into the delicious broth. The broth can be cooked in advance and reheated when you are ready to serve. The broth gives beauty to this fairly expensive and easy to cook dish. Slowly roasted veggies are extenuated with fish stock, paprika, and a mixture of white wine and vinegar. It is really amazing. I will keep the Escabeche on hand in my freezer for future mussel cravings! Serve it with some crusty bread like Baguette or Ciabatta!

Curried Carrot Soup with Roast Rainbow Carrots

I have been wanting to prepare something bright and colorful, and I came across organic rainbow carrots at Wegmans the other day. The beautiful colors inspired me to go for a curry. Honestly, I wanted the excuse to add some turmeric to see how pretty the soup would be…and I had some ginger laying around in the fridge, waiting for a purpose.

Proven├žal Greens Soup

Proven├žal Greens Soup is my get rid of leftovers meal. And it is awesome! I always manage to buy the wrong amounts of kale, or spinach, leeks, or some other green for my recipes and they sit there staring at me from the fridge. I combine them together to create this soup. A couple of eggs help to thicken and bring heartiness to the dish.

Squid Rice with Shrimp and Aioli

I have been particularly interested in squid ink. I love the idea of it and have wanted to use it for a very long time, I figured this would be my opportunity. Here, we combine squid ink and calamari to create a wonderful tinny, “oceany” flavor. The black rice is enlivened with coral shrimp or prawns (I didn’t have prawns on hand but believe it would be a more delicious flavor/presentation) and a garlicky aioli. Find my Aioli recipe here.