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A Very Special Birthday Dinner

April 22, 2011

Today was a day full of new traditions.

A couple years ago my Aunt, Uncle and I decided that instead of spending money on materialistic birthday presents, that we’d create a memorable dinner.

Best tradition EVER!

Pretty much, the birthday boy/girl picks a dinner of their choice.  Then my Aunt or me build a whole menu surrounding that.  The menu includes an appetizer, salad, entree [complete with starch and vegetable] and a dessert.

My Uncle’s birthday was a little over a week ago, so he was up for his dinner of choice!

Originally he chose chilean sea bass.  Unfortunately, it was $25.99 at the Fresh Market and $19.99 at Harris Teeter.

Uh, yeah.  We changed the game plan. Chilean sea bass became red snapper!

My plan for the rest of the meal was to go with the season, and just get inspired  by the food at the market.

I was dead set on using some gorgeous asparagus that I found.

I also found these great radishes at the store!

They had such a beautiful color and were a good size.  I loved that the greens were still attached.

I went outside the box and bought something new.  Sunchokes.

Aka Jerusalem artichokes.

I love experimenting with new things!

I had some bacon in the freezer.

So I defrosted it and made some fig glazed bacon.

Seriously the best thing since sliced bread.

Glaze your bacon people!!!

I wanted to keep the vegetables fresh and flavorful to go along with the snapper.

I chose leeks, radishes and cipollini onions and caramelized them with some butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I also roasted some grape tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roasting the tomatoes bring them to a whole different level.

The meal ended up being pretty fantastic.

We started off with an asparagus tart as an appetizer.

   

Puff pastry, asparagus, lemon zest, gruyere and pecorino romano cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Simple and delicious.

Then we moved onto the salad course.

Dare I say my favorite course?!

I preconceived this salad the other day, and have been dreaming of it ever since.

It did not disappoint.

Baby spinach salad with fig glazed bacon.  Tossed in a shallot, sherry vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg.

Goodness gracious me. Amazing.

I may have to post a recipe for this up here just so you all can try it.

The main course was awesome too!

Pan seared red snapper [olive oil, salt and pepper] on top of a sunchoke puree and served with roasted and caramelized vegetables and spinach fettucini.

I’m obsessed with these vegetables.

It’s the first time I’ve ever cooked a radish too!  It’s totally different than it’s raw form. I love it.

The birthday boy loved it too.  🙂

He ate every bit of his dinner, ending with his happy dance in his chair.

That makes it all worth the effort and is more priceless than anything store bought.

I cannot take credit for dessert.

My Aunt made it from one of the recipes in this month’s Bon Appetit.

Ricotta cheesecake with a hint of lemon.

This was some seriously good cheesecake.

Thank you Bon Appetit!

   

Accompanied with an espresso of course.

What a perfect ending to a memorable day.

Off to watch the King’s Speech!

Farmer’s Markets tomorrow! SO excited.  If you’re in Charlotte and are going to either Atherton or Regional Farmer’s Market, let me know, love to see some of you there!

Goodnight 🙂

Vanessa

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. gail wohlin permalink
    April 23, 2011 6:37 pm

    i’M BLOWN AWAY BY THE ENTIRE MENU. I LOVE EVERYTHING AND WANT THE RECIPES FOR ALL OF IT. I GOT THE CHEESECAKE RECIPE FROM DIANE AND CAN’T WAIT TO TRY IT. FIG GLAZED BACON? I MUST HAVE IT.

    • April 24, 2011 10:08 pm

      Thank you Gail! Glad you got the cheesecake recipe, it’s amazing! The bacon is SO easy. I Just the laid the bacon on a sheet pan and brushed it with some fig jam. It glazes itself as it cooks in the oven. Of course it doesn’t have to be fig jam. The possibilities are endless 🙂

      • gail wohlin permalink
        April 27, 2011 4:56 pm

        I would love it if you would post your recipe for that delicious looking salad.

      • April 27, 2011 8:59 pm

        Posted 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. Farmer’s Market Saturdays « Life Undeveloped.
  2. A Very Special Birthday Salad « Life Undeveloped.

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