Birthday dinner

Our dear friend celebrated a 50th birthday so I wanted to cook her a special dinner.  I was out of town for work all week last week and got home late Friday evening.  We had a hectic weekend so I had to make it manageable.  Here is what I did:

First course – tuna carpaccio and tuna tartar from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook. I have admired the picture of this in the cookbook many times and decided to go for it – also because it is almost all do-ahead.  I bought a hunk of fresh tuna (if you ask nicely they will usually cut a fresh piece from a loin for you.)  You cut thin slices of tuna and then pound it between pieces of wax paper until it is almost translucent.  (I got better with practice and the bright side is that any mess ups can go into the tartar.)

In this case the tartar is finely diced tuna that is tossed at the last minute with a marinade of 2 TB soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 2 tsp sesame oil. You put a piece of carpaccio on the plate, drizzle with wasabi mayonnaise and then top with a mound of the tartar.  It was outstanding – not a bit leftover.

For the main course, we grilled strip steaks with one of our favorite marinades:

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oreganoe bout
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.

Since the dressing has some kick to it, you don’t need to smother your meat with it.  (This is also excellent with chicken and pork.)  I put some in the bottom of a glass baking dish, put the steaks on top and then put about 1 TB of marinade on each steak.  Since it was a celebration we decided to splurge on the steaks.  We bought the steaks from John Brown’s Butcher shop.  They were out of this world!  Keith said they were easier to grill since they were almost exactly the same size.  The steaks weren’t huge but there was no waste – every bite was amazing.  Definitely a do-over for a special occasion.

The salad was mache topped with a sherry/shallot vinaigrette that I shook up in a jar and warm goat cheese.  I sliced the goat cheese into rounds, dipped each round in olive oil and then a mixture of panko and chopped pistachios and heated them in a 400 degree oven for 3 minutes.  (You want the cheese to be soft but not oozing.)

My cheat was to use the Little Potato company roasted potatoes.  I decided that I couldn’t do any better myself and it saved me some time.  I used the garlic/herb.

Dessert was Ina’s Mocha Icebox cake.  It is so amazing although I use Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookies instead of Tate’s.  (We did a blind taste test a few years ago and we preferred Otterbein’s.

Sorry that I was having so much fun I didn’t take any pictures!



About emenuplan
I love to cook and love to eat. I work full time and have a family so managing good meals during the week requires organization. I'm hoping to share my weekly menu plans and recipes to make things a little easier for those who want to follow along.

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