For those of you who are married out there, or love the thrill of dating, remember that feeling you got when you’d get an email, text message, or a missed call from that special person with whom you were in smit? It’s a fun feeling – butterflies, excitement, and an urgency to return the message, but of course not too urgent for fear of looking too eager? (Man, dating was exhausting). Well, I hate to say it, that feeling does kind of dwindle when you get married. That is, unless, your husband deploys with the military.
Silver lining, might you assume? Absolutely. I completely could drone on and on about how much I miss my husband, and how I got into a slump and didn’t feel like cooking, thus didn’t have much to blog about, and how he wasn’t here to help me assemble the desk, and then help me take the desk back when the drill-holes didn’t line up correctly. Even when my wonderful dad was visiting for a few weeks, and we had a great time traveling to Atlanta, and he lovingly cut my grass for me (because I won’t touch that machine lest I care to lose a toe), there was still a pinge of longing for my out-at-sea husband. Yes, I could complain, and maybe even you would understand. Having a husband in the middle of who-knows-where trying to find who-knows-what can leave a lot to the imagination. But, it can also bring about a spark.
Every little “bing” of my phone indicating a new email has started to bring about that dating feeling again. Silly, right? We’ve even been flirting – imagine! Over government email, no less. Hey, I figure, if we can make some government looky-loo smile from our deployment banter, then by all means, read away! So, as a tip to all you military wives out there, imagine you and your deployed husband are dating again – it will make the time, the emails, and all the longing just go by a bit more smoothly.
There is one thing that came up in our emails this week, reminding me of why we put so much importance on our little home traditions. Rob and I always have Sunday Night Dinner, and I made a point last Sunday (during a particularly slump-feeling weekend), to make something that I knew Rob would love. I did, and for the first time in a long time, the cooking felt good, natural, and like there wasn’t something missing. This is probably because at the exact same time, Rob was trying to recreate Sunday Night Dinner on his boat with his crew. I read about it Monday morning in his email, and it just made me smile. For that moment last Sunday night, we were sharing the same thought, feeling, and energy, thus making Sunday Night Dinner feel so less empty with only one at the table (well, two if you count Sig sniffing his way around the dining room).
The meal was simple yet unbelievably good. Making a creamy tomato soup with absolutely NO cream was divine, and made me feel less guilty about indulging. The simply s&p-baked halibut was a cold seawater treat. Atop the delightful combo sprinkled thinly sliced, quick-pickled celery providing a crunch and tang, balancing the subtle creaminess perfectly. Honestly, even as a left-over lunch, the meal was still delicious.
So unbeknownst to us, Rob and I had our Sunday Night Dinner together while being so far away. It clearly would have been better in person, but if anything, it shows us our strength in tradition, love, and the things (and food) we love.
Make this for someone you love – even if it’s just you! Enjoy!
Creamy Tomato Puree
(makes about 1 quart)
- 2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, squeeze-seeded, and diced
- 3 1-inch thick slices of left-over country bread (or French bread), crusts removed
- 1 c non-fat milk
- 2 c water
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
- 2 tbs olive oil
With the bread cubes in a mixing bowl, pour over the non-fat milk and add the rosemary sprig. Using your hands, massage, press, and work the bread pieces until saturated with the milk. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Once fragrant, add the tomatoes and the red pepper flakes, then season with s&p and sauté occasionally until soft.
Squeeze the milk mostly out of the bread, add the bread to the tomatoes, and stir well to combine. Discard the milk. Add the water, and bring to a boil.
When boiling, turn off the heat. Then using an immersion blender (or spooning into a stand-up blender), puree the mixture until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.
- 2 lb halibut filet
- 2 pinches of salt per side
- 1 pinch of cracked black pepper per side
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a baking dish, prepare the halibut by sprinkling over the salt, pepper, and olive oil. Make sure both sides are coated, and then lay the sprig of fresh rosemary on the top of the filet. The herb will roast and become crispy – a great garnish for the end of the meal.
Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish just starts to flake when probed with a fork.
Cardamom Pickled Celery
(makes about ¼ pt)
- 2 stalks celery, cleaned , and finely sliced into ½ moons
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- pinch of s&p
Mix everything together, stirring occasionally, until ready to serve.
In a shallow bowl, spoon out the thick, creamy tomato puree. Then gently place a piece of halibut on top. Sprinkle over some pickled celery, and a few pieces of the crispy rosemary. Enjoy!