Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Prince Charming!!!!!

My Prince Charming turned the magical age of....38, on January 8th. I have strived to make his birthdays something of a celebration. In the 8 years we have been together he never gets excited about his birthday, and of course this translates into...he doesn't get excited about my birthday. I love my birthday. My Mom always helped to make that day such a special day for me, made me feel celebrated and special. She would take me out shopping, I was normally always able to get one complete outfit, with shoes, earrings, the works to me. Then she would cook my favorite meal, I always chose beef and noodles. And I normally picked pie, rather than cake. So I have tried to bring that tradition to our family.
The Girl is usually having her birthday with her Mother these days, but we do get to celebrate her.
My goal this year was to stretch out the Birthday Celebration time for my Prince Charming to encompass several days, not just one.
So, for my Prince Charming, on the date of his birth I made his current favorite meal, which is Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Gravy. Oh My Goodness what a rich and absolutely delicious meal. The Blue Cheese Gravy could be served in a bowl by itself its so wonderful! So, I made this, he loves it. I baked a cake. I tried to be creative.
I don't decorate cakes beautifully like my sister the lady.
So, from a packaged white cake mix, I made a cake. I made some instant Vanilla pudding and instead of butter cream icing I used whipped cream, instead.
My Prince Charming love colors, so on the surface of the cake I sprinkled food coloring dots and swirled them together in a fun pattern, with the thought that the colors would seep down into the cake and create color swirls, that you would be able to see when you cut into it. That didn't happen until about 2 days after we'd initially cut the cake.
So, the cake was over done, a bit more than brown around the edges. The pudding turned out really nice, and who can make whipped cream turn bad. So I put the cake together as I had it. And I sprinkled rainbow sprinkles on the top. I didn't really want to do candles, because well we are at the age where we don't pay attention to the number, okay!
The reaction from the cake was. "Mom, you can make this one again."
The most important thing was that My Prince Charming was pleased and felt celebrated. Then I announced that for his "Present" we would be going to a restaurant on Monday the 12th of January. A place called Texas de Brazil.
I had gotten him a new pair of jeans and a nice new shirt for Christmas, and requested that My Prince Charming don these new clothes for our dinner out. As much as I love my Prince Charming his way of dressing himself is rather basic. Jeans, tee shirts, with the tee shirt tucked in. I don't tuck tee-shirts in. So the new shirt was a tee shirt and an over shirt. You wear the tee shirt tucked in, but the over shirt you leave out, and un buttoned. So he comes out and has the whole thing tucked in. So I gently asked him to un-tuck the over shirt and unbuttoned it for him. He said he felt undressed. Then he put a baseball type cap on. I don't like that look so much. After 8 years of seeing his beautiful head, he decides now to cover it up? So, I have to just sigh, tell him I think he looks better with out the hat, but that I love him regardless.
We go to the restaurant. I see that he is not the only man wearing a baseball cap. This restaurant is not a fast food or even casual place its a "white table cloth" type place. Where the waiters are trained on super etiquette and serving is an art form.
We are seated and listen to the nice waiter explain to us the procedure on how things work at this restaurant. There is a central area where there are salads, cheese, specialty salamis, soups, yummy things. Then when we are ready we flip this little disk over to the Green side, and these traditionally dressed Brazilian gauchos come round with swords full of meat. Oh my goodness!
Let me gently remind the followers of Good Queen Lyn, that she has a device around her stomach that hinders the amount of food that Good Queen Lyn can eat. Which has been working wonders, but limits some things. So I am very selective on the items that I take from the central area. I have a nice piece of endive, 2 spears of asparagus, some yummy Manchengo Cheese, fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, and 2 green olives. I am back at our table well before My Prince Charming and The Girl. I have to chew all of my food, like 30 times...before another bite can be taken, which helps the tummy to feel fuller faster. So I did not want to fill up on the side yummies, so I could save room for the meat.
My Prince Charming and The Girl are somewhat luckier that they can still stuff themselves into oblivion with out nasty side effects. I was very pleased to see that The Girl had picked some rather delectable items and enjoyed the experience of tasting new things. She had some heart of palm, which is an item that I would not have thought that she would have chosen. She shared some with us. It tasted like artichoke to me. She decided that she could survive on an deserted island if there was palm trees about, because of the heart of palm could be eaten.
Its fun to hear how she thinks, sometimes.
Then it was time for meat.
I was the first to turn my disk from red to green.
I had to remind myself that I could only have a few bites of each kind of meat. There was beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sausage. All prepared over an open grill flavored only by the meats' natural juice and some sea salt.
There was a specialty cut of meat I can't for the life of me remember the name, but I was lucky to receive a sliver of the outside crust, the part that gets the licking of the flame. It was like heaven, it melted in my mouth! It was my favorite of the night.

The handsome Brazilian Gauchos began after the other, after the a frenzy of meaty delights.....*Sigh*
There was leg of lamb, lamb chops, flank steak, fillet Mignon, Pork Tenderloin, Pork cutlets with Parmesan cheese, legs of chicken crusted with Parmesan cheese, and these yummy Brazilian sausages that were so good, the casing had that yummy pop, when you bite into it, and there was a little back of the tongue heat, my favorite.
My Prince Charming was such a dear, his intention was to eat what I could not. Our waiter could not understand this, and tried unsuccessfully to get My Prince Charming a clean plate from which to eat his own food. My Prince Charming said he felt so wasteful in changing plates from the sides course to the meat course, because that would mean more dishes for the poor dishwasher to wash. He's such a sweet man!
I ate all that I wanted to, and did not feel like I over ate. I tasted all the meat that I wanted. I tried to take small enough pieces that I would not have to waste a lot. My Prince Charming did take much of my meat, but he was also able to have fresh hot pieces for himself. When we all decided we'd had all we could, we left feeling good. My Prince Charming and The Girl felt more that a little stuffed, the uncomfortable overstuffed feeling. I felt sorry for them. I did not feel that way at all. I felt full and satisfied.
My Prince Charming felt celebrated and special. Everyone at the restaurant wished him a Happy Birthday.
I believe that my goal was accomplished, just as I had wished.

Cooking, eating, Joy had by all!

Greetings from the Kitchen of Good Queen Lyn...
One of the things that my Prince Charming gave to me on the day that we celebrate our Dear Savior's birth, is a "game" that is used on the Nintendo DS, Called Personal Trainer: Cooking. This is NOT your Cookin' Mama.
The game has "Real" recipes from all over the world. So I asked the Girl and Prince Charming what they would like me to experiment with first. They both said, "Anything you want."
So, since we can go out anytime and get adequate Chinese food, I decided to pick something completely foreign to all of us. CURRY.
So I picked the United Kingdom, and found a recipe for Chicken Tikki Masala, which is England's national favorite dish. So with The Girl loving everything British, right now, I picked that.
I got to get some new spices, Turmeric, and Garam Masala. Neither of which I have ever cooked with before.
I got some nice plump Chicken breasts, some fresh parsley, (I only needed a teaspoon, so I have a HUGE bunch that I will have to use up...)
So I make the Turmeric Rice that you are suppose to eat with the Tikki Masala. Isn't that a fun sounding name, Tikki Masala, so silly and exotic at the same time. Didn't think that was possible, did you?
The rice is sauted in butter first, new concept for me. Then you add the tumeric which turns the rice a beautiful yellow/gold, and adds a really nice perfume to the rice dish, then you add the chicken stock, and let it simmer till fluffy and done.
So, I marinate the cubed up chicken in yogurt, garlic, ginger, Gram Masala. Then made the sauce, using onions, Tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cumin, Gram Masala, and a little water. You let that get all happy in the pan, simmering while the chicken cooks in yet another pan. You add the chicken and all of the marinade and cook the chicken till not longer pink, then you add the tomato/onion sauce to the chicken. Let that all dance around the pan for a bit to marry the flavors, then Voila! The dish is complete. I was nervous to serve this to the Girl, as she can be rather picky about ANYTHING I cook. I knew that my Prince Charming would like it, and honestly it tasted much better than I thought, and I really liked it. The marinade left the chicken tender and juicy. The sauce was nice and I really liked the spice combination. So the verdict from the Girl, "Hey Mom, you can make this again!"
So we have one winner. I let her pick the next dish to try out of the recipes. With the stipulation that it not be Chinese. We have Chinese food A LOT. I like Chinese food, don't get me wrong, but the Girl could eat it day in day out, every day of the week. I can go a few months without the fix. So she chose Bacon and Potato Soup, from Germany. So will let you know how that went.