When eating on my own, I enjoy very much having simple but lush meals like tonight's. I made myself a beef & Brie sandwich with walnuts & an asparagus & goat cheese salad with pine nuts & basil. I also had a cocktail, not something I usually do at home much. It's a Trader Vic's recipe, but I made it a great deal milder than the original recipe. It's called a Rangoon Ruby. The original calls for a highball filled with ice cubes to start. You add 2 oz. vodka, 1.5 oz. cranberry juice, 1/4 oz. lime juice. Then, you top it off with sparkling water & stir gently. Well, wimp that I am, I used about 3 times as much cranberry juice. I also used Stoli Vanil instead of plain vodka, which added some nice depth.
To make the beef & Brie sandwich, just toast some bread. I used oatmeal bread because I didn't want to stop at the store for crusty French bread. But I think that would be better. Then, put a couple thin slices of roast beef on top, along with a layer of Brie. Broil until the cheese is melty. Meanwhile, toast some walnuts. Scatter them across the cheese before serving. This might be really good done with granny smith apple slices & cheddar, too.
Asparagus & Goat Cheese Salad:
This is my adaptation for 1 of a Southern Living recipe from March 2006. Tear some Boston lettuce into bite-size pieces & put in a bowl. Steam some asparagus until it's crisp-tender. Drop several cherub tomatoes on top of the lettuce. Arrange asparagus on top. Scatter some crumbled goat cheese across the salad. I used Blue Jacket Dairy Silver Lake Chevre. Toast some pine nuts & scatter them over everything. Whisk 2 tbsp. chopped basil, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 scant tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, & 1/2 tsp. pepper together well. Whisk in 1/2 c. olive oil & drizzle over salad. If you are lazy & just chiffonade the basil, like I did, it will taste just fine.