Last night, I had the pleasure of having dinner with my good friend MFF at Amicci's in Baltimore's Little Italy. After a delicious meal of house salad with calamari (MFF had a Caesar salad with shrimp), garlic bread and a glass of red wine (full-bodied Chianti), we walked across the street to the parking lot of Da Mimmo's to watch a big screen presentation of "Throw Down with Bobby Flay" featuring one of Baltimore's own Catholic priests, Fr. Leo Patalinghug. Bobby and Fr. Leo were in a contest to create the best fajita and Fr. Leo won. You may be familiar with Fr. Leo - he is a cookbook author, creator and host of "Grace Before Meals." His message is pretty simple -- the act of creating and sharing a meal can strengthen all kinds of relationships -- Check out his website at www.gracebeforemeals.com
Now that our children, K & J, are out of the house, I realize just how important it was to gather together nightly for a meal. At the time, J didn't think so -- Here is a sample scenario circa 2004-05:
Dad: (with a smile) "How was your day"? J: (without a smile) Fine. (then dead silence..) Dad: (still smiling) "What did you do at school today"? J: (still not smiling) Nothing.....(silence continues throughout the rest of the meal)And so it went. Now that D and I eat alone (don't get me wrong, every night is a date night when your children are gone), I do miss a crowded table and the "stimulating conversation" we shared with the angst filled teenaged boy (who has turned in to a fine young man BTW!).
Mom tries to make small talk to break the silence, but to no avail.
If you don't know about GBM, visit the website. Here is a recipe that I have tried that is just delish -
Mushrooms Stuffed with Honey Sausages
Ingredients: Olive oil, Mushrooms, Sausage, Honey, Blue Cheese, Fresh Spinach
How to make it: Add olive oil to Pan. Cut stems off large mushrooms and place cap-up in the pan. Carmelize for a few minutes. Remove casing from sausage. Form meat into mini meatballs and cook in a second pan. Add ½ cup water and allow meat to cook in the steam. Add a few tablespoons of honey and blue cheese to the pan. Fill mushrooms with meatballs and pour honey sauce over top. Add Spinach to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Plate spinach, place mushrooms around it in a circle.