Ambitious and Delicious Dinner

January 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Those are just a couple of the adjectives that would aptly describe my birthday dinner, oh just a week or so ago. This post, and the next few, will focus on just how filing (in a literal sense) my birthday was. Opting to stay in instead of go out on the 18th, I decided my mom and I would attempt some dishes that we never had before. She kept apologizing that I was making my own birthday meal; I kept reiterating how it was actually fun for me since I like to cook. A gift all around, plus, she paid for all the groceries.

I veered away from my usual fancy dinner = steak mindset and found an appropriately festive-sounding salmon dish. Wild Salmon, Orzo and Arugula Pesto en Papillote.  Even the name itself sounds just a tad exotic and unfamiliar, just a little bit past the everyday meat-and-three route. It was just what I was looking for. Our salmon might not have been wild, but I’m just thankful that the Publix 12 miles from my house has it. Mention arugula to me and you’ve got my attention. Papillote? Don’t mind if I do after I look up what that means.

I took the helm on the main dish while my mom whipped up our supporting role: Savory Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes. It had me at shallots and rosemary, Gruyere and brown sugar bacon. My mom and I flitted around the stove for the better part of 2 hours, slicing, whirring, dicing, hollowing out hot sweet potatoes, whipping, slicing lemons paper (or at least cardstock) thin, layering, en papillote-ing, and, finally, plating. birthdaydinner2013

The sweet potatoes will challenge all you thought you knew about baking them and topping them with only brown sugar and marshmallows or maple syrup and cinnamon. Salmon, arugula, and orzo will be the new Three’s Company of your dreams. What I’m trying to say is, this dinner rivaled the best fine dining birthday dinners I’ve had. Perfect menu choices and a perfectly fine evening of putting it all together made for a very memorable celebration.

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