First up was the dish I intended to make: potatoes (remember Part I?) and baby carrots tossed in a mustard and rosemary sauce. I altered a recipe from a certain domestic queen's magazine, and the actual sauce came out light and flavorful. It pairs well with small golden potatoes, and is absolutely perfection on the carrots.
Whipping up the sauce...
... while simmering the taters and carrots.
Unfortunately, that lovely strong flavor is probably best for someone who loves mustard, lemon juice, and a bit of "bite," and that someone is not J. He initially gave the entire thing a "generous C" but later revised it to a C+ for the sauce and an A- for the perfectly-cooked veggies themselves. Myself, I thought the intense flavor wasn't too overwhelming, but would've tasted better if left to rest and served not-piping-hot.
I had planned on sticking to a basic teriyaki beef on the stovetop, but at the last minute I added in some chopped onion for caramelizing with the beef. As it turns out, this was a good move -- J gave it a confident A and called it one of the top meats I've made so far. Who knew?
Plated and ready to eat.
I know it's only May, but with the warm weather we just had to break out the summer beverages. In this case it was Sam Adams Summer Ale, a seasonal favorite in this household. Rather than drink it straight from the bottle, we typically elect to serve it ice-cold in chilled pilsners. And these aren't just any glasses, they're my grandmother's from her days of hosting house parties in her basement (complete with checkered tablecloths, tealights, and working bar), circa 1940.
So, the overall score for this dinner turned out to be a B-, thanks mostly to a stellar beef and not-so-stellar mustard sauce. I still plan to experiment with new sauces, but will take care in the future to judge the flavor strength before I serve. Mustard remains on the tentative ingredient list for now, but its future use will depend on how well I combine it with something else.
What have I learned? Not every dinner is going to be a winner (ha), onions taste great but their lingering odor is annoying, and J can be very diplomatic when he wants to. Cheers to better luck next time!