Thursday, July 5, 2012

8 Stores, 40 Kuna Asparagus, & 2 In-Laws

I'm cooking for my in-laws tonight and I'm nervous!!! I don't know why I get so nervous to cook for them, maybe because my father-in-law is sometimes a picky eater and maybe it's because the last time I cooked for them, Tomislav ran out for bread just as soon as we sat down because his father doesn't like to eat dinner without bread (and of course I thought since we were having a Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice, he wouldn't need bread. I was wrong, I now know better!), but most likely it's because Tomislav's Mom is a chef. And everyone loves her cooking. And I like my cooking and I know Tomislav likes my cooking but I like different things than the traditional Croatian norm. So I've planned this meal out and I'm really excited about it. But I'm super nervous that things will go wrong. It's requiring a lot of steps from me to make this happen but I'm willing to spend all day on it because I want it to be great and delicious!

I went to the biggest market in Zagreb this morning, Dolac, to hunt for asparagus. I know that asparagus grows wild on the seaside and I also know it's crazy expensive here but I could not believe that at this huge market with so many vendors selling their home grown veggies, no one had any asparagus! I started my search in center city and stopped at 7 more places (plus Tomislav checked one store near his work!) until I finally found good looking asparagus...for 40 Kuna. Yikes. That's some expensive asparagus, like almost $8!

Anyway, whatever, I'm glad I got it because I'm so excited about this dish. Back in April, when there was one day of nice weather, Tomi and I went to the island Krk for the day. We got lunch at this delicious and authentic seaside restaurant that was recommended to us. Local, fresh, and so so tasty. Tomislav got this homemade pasta with shrimp and asparagus in a creamy tomato sauce. Oh my gosh. It was unbelievable how good this dish was! The flavors were so bold and fresh and totally unexpected. It blew my mind and I quickly asked the waiter to confirm the ingredients with me, tomatoes, garlic, white wine, cooking cream...but there's something so special there. There's something to it that gives it that extra delicious and flavorful taste and today I'm gonna try to figure out what it is! I hope Tomislav will be surprised because I haven't told him the menu and I really hope it tastes at least half as good as this place.

 So unassuming, but this pasta - oh, this pasta sure packs a punch. You will gobble this up so fast and afterward be like, "What is that, that makes it taste so amazing?!"

Last weekend, on our way back from Krk, we stopped by the same restaurant so we could have the dish again. It was even better than I remembered. I'm so motivated to recreate it today! Here's what I'm up to, right now I'm slow roasting cherry tomatoes a la Smitten Kitchen.  I can't believe how delicious these get after cooking low and slow in the oven. It's so low that it really doesn't heat up the apartment at all (thank God because it's been 100 degrees here everyday and we don't have AC!).

2 more hours and these babies will be perfect!

Anyway, I'm also roasting garlic and this is all for an idea I had to stuff ciabatta bread with garlic, sun dried tomatoes (which I can't find in Croatia, hence the slow roasting), and parsley in hopes that the bread will be a big hit with T-Slav's Dad! Then, I've got the pasta dish to make and finally I will put together some kind of a big, fresh salad to go with the rest of the meal. I have some veggies that my Mother-In-Law gave me from her garden so I think it'll go nicely with the rest of the meal.

If you have any suggestions for how I can make tonight's dinner even better, please let me know! Trying not to be concerned with table cloths and things like that right now but I'm totally in housewife-mode! And I really don't have a table cloth for tonight. Yikessssss!


  1. You're too cute! I don't have any great suggestions but I know it'll be a hit - all of the recipes you post look amazing - and I can tell you're putting in the time today! roasted garlic is MY FAV! Oh garlic :) Can't wait to hear how it went!

    1. Omg the roasted garlic was sooooooooo good! His parents were dying over the bread! We ate all 3 loaves (between the 5 of us) in minutes! And I don't know what I was thinking all these years - roasted garlic is amaaaaaazing and I'm gonna be eating it all the time now! Yum!

  2. Sounds like a delicious meal--especially the stuffed bread! Yum. I have no idea what that secret ingredient might be... All I know is Damjan uses way more olive oil than I would ever use, and his pasta is always delicious. :)

    Asparagus season is over, unfortunately, which is why it's so hard to find now. Glad you were able to track some down!

    1. Lol! That's so funny about his olive oil usage.

      So, I figured the season must be over but I thought maybe one little village still had some somewhere! Especially bc we had it on the seaside last weekend but idk maybe they get it from Italy over there. They were pretty good, I'm glad I managed to find them! (Most random store ever - I stopped at every single diona/konzum after Dolac in the direction of our apartment and I ended up getting it at the little Konzum in our neighborhood in Borovje. I'm pretty sure they had them in the Konzum downstairs at the Cvjetni mall/center thing.

      Omg but the bread was sooooooooooooo good! Oh I wish I had some more right now!



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