Pear Salad, Halibut, Vegetable Ragout & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, oh my!

I took the day off today.  Dave and I decided we'd have some fun.  We did work a little in the morning, I logged in while he ran off to base for an hour or so then we went to a movie and out to lunch.  We had lunch at the Downtowner in St. Paul.  While we were there we decided what I would make for dinner.

We bought a cookbook a couple of years ago called "Tasting the Wine Country" by Sharon O'Connor.  I never made a recipe out of it!  It was time!

We decided on three recipes all from the same B&B, Madrona Manor, in our favorite place in the wine country, Healdsburg.  We've never been to the Madrona Manor but after making these recipes it will be on our list for the next visit!

The first recipe was Pear Salad with Watercress, Blue Cheese and Port Wine Vinaigrette.  I'll be honest, we didn't search out watercress and frisee as the recipe stated, we just bought some very nice mixed greens!

This vinaigrette is delicious!  I'm not a port drinker.  We have a couple of bottles in the house that are probably 10 years old!  We have a friend who enjoys port so our bar stocks it.  We haven't seen our port drinker in far too long (where have you been Kevin?!) so there was plenty more than the cup I needed for the vinaigrette.

The port is reduced to 1/4 cup and added to three tablespoons red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of minced shallot, 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  It's delicious!  The salad is the greens, diced pears and blue cheese.  We had some yummy Moody Blue blue cheese that went perfect with the pears!  To make the garnish, use a melon-baller on a pear!

Honestly the recipe for the vinaigrette made far too much.  Had I dressed the salad as directed it would have been soup!  The good news is there's some left over for tomorrow!

The starchy side for dinner was Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. Simple.  Yukon gold potatoes, milk, butter and EVOO are mashed together to make a wonderful side!  I did use a garlic infused EVOO in the potatoes.  I just couldn't help myself!

Our veggie side was Spring Vegetable Ragout.  This one really shocked me.  I wasn't even going to make because I don't like lima beans and I'm not a huge fan of peas either.  Then decided that I had to at least try it.  The veggie mixture was fa-fa-fava beans and peas.  I'm not a fan of fava beans.  I don't like the texture and they just taste, well, green.  I can't say that any more, I'm a convert, these were delicious.

To start the veggies you blanch a bunch of basil then puree it with olive oil and let it drain.  The beans and peas are boiled in vegetable broth then the basil puree and a little butter are added.  I ate them all!

An added benefit to these veggies is you end up with some extra basil infused olive oil to use another day!

Finally the main course, Pan-Seared Halibut.  Dave and I love halibut!  The fish is simply seared in a pan until done and served over the veggies and potatoes.

We opened a Seghesio Home Ranch Zinfandel to go with it.  I know, god forbid red wine with fish but they're the recipe and the wine are both from Healdsburg so we figured we were ok!  The recommended wine for the meal was a marsanne. Well, we didn't have any of that in the house!

We're both stuffed.  We're going to head out with the dogs for walk then I'm making bananas foster for dessert!  Even picked up some Haagen Dazs!

Tomorrow... treadmill.... definitely the treadmill!

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