Shrimp burgers with remoulade sauce, Zucchini Fritters, Scallops with Shiitake Mushrooms and Tortellinis, Shrimp in Clay Pot, grilled Salmon over tossed salad … I could go on and on about the fabulous gourmet meals that I have had the complete pleasure to savor recently. You might think that I’m talking about the great restaurants we’ve been going to and the fabulous meals they serve, but you’d be wrong. These are all meals Chez Michael has created and served in the last month.
Michael has always been a fabulous chef, but retirement has really brought out his skill and creativity. Even though he has often worked 70+ hours a week he could always pull together a tremendous meal. Now, with the pressure of everyday work gone, Michael has more time to think about meals, what he would like to cook and has more time for preparation if he wants to try something time-consuming and/or complex.
And I am the lucky recipient of his gourmet mastery.
Michael rarely, if ever, follows a recipe. If he is thinking about a dish he hasn’t made before, he might check the web and read three or four different versions of something new and then he creates his own masterpiece. I have to admit though, it makes it tough to eat a better meal when we go out – we almost always eat better at home (unless we are eating at The Paper Canoe, a Duck restaurant that I will write about in another post – And then it’s a tie for quality and eating there just expands Michael’s ideas for interesting, flavorful meals.)
I joyfully take on the assistant role – chopping, organizing, cleaning, making salad and setting the table, plus manning the kitchen stove if part of the meal entails grilling. Michael is a master griller and everything comes off the grill perfectly – every time; something I’ve never mastered. The two things that just blow me away are steaks and seafood. How can they be perfect EVERY time? It’s gotten to the point that it is very hard for me to order grilled seafood in a restaurant because I know I’ll be disappointed.
When we got to the Outer Banks, there was no outdoor gas grill. This was a major issue for us as Michael grills probably 4 to 5 times per week. We made an agreement to split the cost to buy one with the owner and we need to remove it when we leave. It’s too much of a liability for him here – where the wind is so strong and renters could be negligent. A previous renter had the former grill in an enclosed space under the house and didn’t turn off the gas. One spark and the whole house could have gone up in flames, YIKES! No wonder there wasn’t a grill here when we arrived.
Michael’s most recent creation was Shrimp in clay pot. It was so good, we bought more ingredients so he can make it again in the near future. After each meal, we talk about what could have been improved. Often, this is a very tough conversation. Michael is so good at making wonderful meals it’s hard to think of any improvements. Often it’s a case of a slight change in seasoning, or in this case, all the recipes he researched said to leave the Shrimp shells on and we decided we’d like the dish better if they were taken off before serving.
If you want a gourmet meal, stop by where ever we are living and Michael will demonstrate his magic and we’ll have a wonderful meal together. Mangia! Salut! Cheers! – YUM!