As I mentioned previously my mom was on a trip to Chicago for my cousin's marathon. Tonight she came home and told us all about the wonderful time she had connecting with her sisters and her niece. It's a good reminder about investing in your relationships with family; to continue with that theme we had a welcome home family dinner. I am thankful for family dinners.
My sister Allie's boyfriend Joe and I cooked. It's a really simple but impressive meal. We started off with delicious fresh French bread and butter. The butter is from Wisconsin and is very creamy and has a great flavor. Next we made Marcella Hazan's simple spaghetti sauce. It's ridiculous how easy it is; San Marzano tomatoes, butter, and a cut onion simmered together into a glorious and rich sauce. Ugh! I love it way too much for my own good. My favorite pictures and version come from Smitten Kitchen. Their take can be found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/01/tomato-sauce-with-butter-and-onions/
Joe is quite the gourmand and his favorite version adds a small bit of thinly sliced red onions and parsley marinated in red wine vinegar. It really adds a little something extra to enhance the dish. Since he prepared it for me I haven't gone back to just the sauce alone.
We added a simple arugula, lemon and Parmesan salad with a spicy Italian sausage link. Red wine was of course abundant. I had saved two bottles of wine for +6 years and broken them out. They were the '07 and '08 Reserve Shiraz from Yellowtail vineyard and even though they were the same wine they were night and day in flavor. The 2007 was acidic with strong notes of tobacco and leather to me. The 2008 was sweeter and smoother with more fruit.
It was a great way o relax and reconnect with each other. I wish my other siblings had been there. I really relish having all my people together in one place. Hopefully soon we can all get on the same page and coordinate our calendar.