Sunday, April 14, 2013

Matt's Birthday Dinner Extravaganza!

Matt was in the frozen tundra (opening day for the Detroit Tigers) on his real birthday, so I decided a really awesome belated birthday dinner was the best thing to do!

My goals in planning a menu are to cook things that taste really good, are at least semi-healthy, and also leave us feeling really good!  Which is why we don't eat a lot of things meat-related and I don't eat anything lactose-related. so coming up with a menu is always a bit of a challenge. Good thing i'm usually up for a challenge!

So without further adieu, I present...

Matt's Happy 28th Birthday Dinner!

He liked the menu!


Fresh Tomato Bruscetta

Recipe adapted from my mom

Cut angled slices from a baguette.
Brush with olive oil.
Put on a cookie sheet (NOT with parchment paper. You will burn down your house.)
Put in the broiler. 
Do not step away from the broiler. It helps to keep your hand on the oven handle and not let go until your bread is nice and toasty. If you let go, it will probably burn.
Let the toasted bread sit out until cool enough to touch.
Rub a cut-in-half garlic clove on the toasty bread.
Put these things in your magic bullet and make it go:

It will look yucky. Drain out the water in a mesh strainer. It will look pretty.
Top the toasts with the tomato/basil mixture.
Eat them all. 
Share some with the birthday boy too.

Asparagus and Marinated Artichoke Salad

Adapted from Curtis Stone
(It was so good I forgot to stop and take a picture!)

Blanch 20 asparagus spears and 2-inch cut stems in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl of ice water.
Dry in a colander with a paper towel.
Put in a bowl with some mixed greens.
Add some chopped marinated artichoke (Mine came from a jar from Trader Joe's)

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil (recipe called for sunflower oil but it was crazy expensive!)
Half of a shallot
Mix it up until the shallot is chopped in the magic bullet!

Toss the dressing with the salad and help yourselves to seconds!

Main Course

Mustard Glazed Salmon in Phyllo

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Cut raw salmon into portion-sized rectangles
Remove the skin 
(Does anyone know the best way to do this? I have such a hard time! Maybe I need a set of kitchen knives that didn't come with a box of Omaha Steaks)
Season with salt and pepper
Brush with dijon mustard
Set salmon aside to focus on the phyllo

Here's what I learned about phyllo:
It comes in a roll of very thin, square sheets.
It dries out very quickly.  Keep the sheets under a damp paper towel and work fast!

Melt some "butter" in a bowl in the microwave (I used vegan "buttery spread")
Put one sheet out on a work surface (I used a plastic cutting board)
Brush with the butter.
Add another sheet.
Brush with butter.
Repeat with about 8 sheets.
Cut the square in half so you have two rectangles.

Put your salmon in the middle of the rectangle and fold it up like a package.
Set in a greased baking dish and brush the top with oil.

Bake at 325 for approximately 20 minutes until the dough is nice and flaky and the fish is just done.

PLEASE wait for it to cool down before digging in to the flaky, tangy, buttery deliciousness!


"Killer" Pumpkin Pie

(Disclaimer: If you knew my track record for baking, you'd think I was crazy for attempting to bake a pie. From scratch. In high school, my parents came home to the kitchen covered in melted marshmallow, and me, crying on the kitchen floor covered in a failed fondant experiment. So I approach baking projects with an air of "Well at least there's ice cream in the freezer!")

 The crust!

 The filling! The recipe said mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. I say Bah Humbug to extra dirty dishes! Beat the scrambled eggs in the empty pumpkin can.

 The recipe made a little too much filling!  This was a full pie!

 I got it into the oven without spilling it!  Then I realized the recipe said to put the pie on a cookie sheet in the oven.

So I spilled the pie on the oven door putting it on a cookie sheet. (It could have been a lot worse)
Pie time!  Enjoy while watching "Waiting for Guffman"

The Table

 Some people decorate their table with little chocolates or confetti. When I make you birthday dinner, you get new earplugs!

 Le Menu

Happy Birthday to Youuuuu!
I love that guy!
 (right before we burned our tongues on the scorching yet scrumptious salmon)

To many more happy birthdays to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment