Oh. Hey you. Yes you. With your head behind a screen. Siting on the couch. I remember you.
You were that guy that used to go for long walks with me in that spring we fell in love, where we took walks with no purpose or destination but to wonder and hold hands and talk until the sun went down.
You were that guy who adventured with me through the streets of Paris curating the most perfect picnic that we would take to the lawn of the Eiffel tower toasting and tasting under the starry night sky of our favorite city.
You were the guy who would explore the world of cuisines in our own backyard, with no plans, no reservations, no babysitters, no curfews.
And you were that guy who held my hand over bowls of unlimited spaghetti at the local pub as we giggled in shock and surprise at the little test that told us our lives were about to change forever. And you promised me our lives weren't going to change forever, that we would still be us, dating each other like we did that first spring and all the years after, walking, tasting, exploring, adventuring.
Well here we sit. No plans, no adventures, no fancy meals. It has changed. We knew it would.
Go for dates, they say. You must not forget to keep dating. It's good for the kids. It's good for you. Make it a priority.
So we do. Here and there. But it will never be as it once was. It takes planning. So much planning. Planning that requires more energy than we have right now, sitting here, on this couch, behind our phone screens.
But what if tonight we tried. Just a little. Not too much. No babysitters. No fancy meals. Not too many dishes to clean up.
What if we made a cocktail, just a bunch of good liquors poured together into a glass of ice (Need a good one? We have plenty. Try this latest one. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one) Look at that. Now you're fancy. This cocktail needs a snack. Something you can throw into a pan, a fresh spring vegetable, cheap and easy to find, with a bunch of butter and bread to soak it up. Quick, while the butter does its work, march those kids upstairs, convince them nothing fun will happen while they close their eyes and dream. And by the time you have managed all of that, your perfect little snack to pair with the perfect little cocktail is waiting for you on a plate.
This Leek Confit Crostini is something I return to so often for our date nights in. It elevates a salad-for-dinner kind of meal, because bread and butter and blue cheese are perfectly decadent. So simple, only a few ingredients, butter and leeks sizzle together doing all the work for you under a covered lid. Add to toasted bread and top with blue cheese. Done. You will think it's too easy to be special. You will be wrong.
Maybe you can't survive on bread and onions and cheese and alcohol alone. No worries, throw a pizza in the oven, the frozen kind you save for the babysitters. Because you have snacks and cocktails so you're already fancy. That pizza can't take that from you.
Hi you. It's good to see you. I missed you. Let's eat and drink and look at our phones together.
Date night restored.
Leek Confit Crostini
Not changed at all from the original recipe by Smitten Kitchen, because it just can't get better than this.
1 1/2 pounds leeks (about 3 big leeks), lengthwise and white and pale green parts sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 generous cups of slices)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing toasts
Freshly ground black pepper
16 baguette-sized 1/2-inch slices of bread of your choice (I used a french baguette)
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (a soft or crumbly goat cheese would also work)
Few drops of lemon juice (optional)
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks and use your hands to pump them up and down in the water a bit, separating the rings and letting the dirt and grit fall to the bottom. Transfer to a dish or plate for a minute; no need to dry them.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium. Once hot, add butter and olive oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices, still wet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leeks for 25 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.
While leeks cook, brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Run under broiler until lightly toasted. You may either spread the cheese you’re using on now, while the toasts are hot, or sprinkle it on at the end. Divide leeks among toasts. Sprinkle with cheese, if you haven’t spread it underneath. Add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Eat at once or gently rewarm a bit later.