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Sep 27, 2009 09:11 PM

What do you think of this menu for bf's birthday eve dinner?

I always try to do something special for his bday...this year we have even less money than usual so would rather not go out but make a delicous meal at home.

Thinking of the following (please remember I am not a world class cook so maybe this doesn't "go together"

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
Artichoke Ravioli (on the side) with parmesean cheese on top (no red sauce)
steamed broccoli

Then pignoli and rainbow cookies (homemade) for dessert...


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  1. It sounds lovely and from the heart.
    Maybe switch out the brococoli for something more interesting? Roasted delicata squash perhaps? Or a nice salad to start or finish?
    I take it he's not a big chocolate person...

    1. I think it sounds a gift of love.

      4 Replies
      1. re: critter101

        Thanks to you both - so sweet. What is delicata squash? Yes something more interesting for a vegetable would be very nice. I am not that creative...

        Correct tabaja - not really a big chocolate person! He likes it but he is more into pastry - cookies, turnovers, etc...we get pignoli cookies from the local bakery that are awesome but I thought he'd think it cute if I made some (hence the post from a few days ago)...

        1. re: lovessushi

          I should have asked the ravioli-holding question in this thread instead of making a new one...anyway, also have a quick question about the cookies - can I make them on Monday or Tuesday and serve on Wednesday? How do I keep them fresh in the interim?

          1. re: lovessushi

            Always store soft cookies and crispy cookies separately. Tuesday for Wednesday service is fine (unless you're a cookie fiend and can't help nibbling them to nothing between Tues & Weds).

            Maybe instead of broccoli, a zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and bell pepper stir fry in EVOO with some basil and oregano sprinkled on.

            1. re: weezycom

              Yes...I could see eating them all between Tues and Wed. - ;-)

              So just separately in airtight containers? or does that matter?

              That stir fry sounds nice - deifnitely something i would like though unfortunately he wouldn't - not a zuchinni and bell pepper fan! Strange, I know :-)

      2. If you are looking for a diff vegie presentation - I've been playing with savory tarts and I bet you could do a heart shaped one with the puff pastry. I filled it with gruyier cheese and roasted asparagus (on one) the other was sauteed mushrooms/garlic on the gruyier. I did them separate in case my guests didn't like mush. I somewhat followed this site's:

        I didn't like my first attempt when I used ricotta/parm as the base (pics attached of the not so great tarts


        Have fun, your menu sounds wonderful

        1 Reply
        1. re: lexpatti

          Thank you! I hadn't thought of a tart...cute and I think he'd really like that...I will investigate...

          If I made the tart I guess I'd want the filling to be rather light as the artichoke ravioli seem kind of heavy along with the chicken...

        2. It sounds like a lovely meal, and I'm sure it will be much appreciated.

          I'd serve the ravioli as a starter. Then the Chicken Marsala with a light salad and a nice baguette. Then your cookies for dessert (with perhaps a small scoop of fruit gelato).

          1. Instead of broccoli, I would suggest steamed broccolini tossed in garlic butter & olive oil and finished w/ parmesan or, my favorite, Locatelli Romano. I would also suggest a brown butter sauce and shaved romano for your ravioli and I think, as someone else suggested, that it should be served as a first course.

            20 Replies
            1. re: lynnlato

              Channa and lynnlato I think that's a much better idea to serve the ravioli as a first course - and I like the idea of the brown butter sauce. Broccoli sounds delicious as well - I've never cooked with it.

              Also the idea of fruit gelato is perfect - I was wondering what to serve alongside-

              1. re: lovessushi

                And here we are at another year.... so glad we've made it :)

                I never quite got around to the above last year - he wound up going on a diet a few days before his bday!!
                But this year he is

                I am looking for a seafood soup I think - I can't think of what it's called - but the soup that has a red base and lots of different types of seafood in it...zuppa de pesce? Sorry if that's not it. But does anyone know what I'm talking about and can recommend a good recipe?

                What would you serve with that? Just bread?

                I think carrot cake for dessert - I was thinking of getting one from a local bakery, but it has been very hard to find a bakery I like that also makes carrot cake. I will post that separately though...
                I was looking at the cook's illustrated recipe for carrot cake- any thoughts as to how that one is or could someone recommend a better recipe? He likes cream cheese frosting - no raisins and no pineapple.

                Thank you!!

                1. re: lovessushi

                  Zuppa di pesce is a type of fish soup with a tomato/wine base - here is a recipe that gets good reviews:

                  You might also be thinking of cioppino, which is an American fish stew with a tomato base. Google it and you'll find a million recipes, or perhaps some Hounds will chime in with theirs. Either way, crusty bread along with it is an absolute must! If you're up for making your own, Jim Lahey's No-Knead recipe is no-fail and makes AMAZING bread - my friends refer to it as "crack bread." The broccolini with garlic and oil that someone suggested earlier would be a nice vegetable accompaniment, or you could serve a salad.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    I think I was thinking of the cioppino - thank you! But I will google both and take a look. Also good to hear that bread is good - I had been considering making it - a friend told me about it and I was hesitant to try.

                    1. re: lovessushi

                      not to throw another one into it but could it have been a portugese seafood soup? Like this one:

                      It has a name but I can't find it. I went searching after having it at a restaurant and loving it.

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        Thank you lexpatti -it was definitely cioppino or zuppa di pesce - but thanks anyway - your recipe looks good too - I will add it to the list of things to try :)

                        1. re: lexpatti

                          @lexpatti - were you thinking of moqueca?

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            yes yes yes, that's it. I couldn't even find my original post when I went a searching for recipes (after that restaurant experience) - thank you.

                            1. re: lexpatti

                              i remembered that thread - that's why i figured you were talking about moqueca ;)


                    2. re: lovessushi

                      re: the carrot cake, i've heard great things about the CI recipe. i'd add a little ground ginger to it (maybe 1/2 tsp), and i love the *flavor* of walnuts in my carrot cake but i can't stand soggy/soft nuts, so i'd probably garnish the cake with finely chopped, toasted walnuts (maybe press them onto the sides the way some people do with shredded coconut).

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Thanks ghg - good to hear - I like the idea of ginger too. Never though of adding them on the outside...very good idea!
                        What do you think about making it on Thursday night? Bday is Friday. If I do that how do I keep it fresh? I've never made a cake a day ahead. I'm still just as clueless as a few years ago.. ;)

                        1. re: lovessushi

                          you're not "clueless," just a little culinarily challenged ;)

                          carrot cake is actually even better if you can make it at least a day in advance. *however,* you can't frost it too far ahead of time. so, bake the cake layers a day or two before and make the frosting up to a day in both in the refrigerator. the day of his birthday, remove everything from the fridge and let it all come to room temperature; whip the frosting with a hand mixer to make sure it's fluffy & uniform, and frost the cake.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Aw :) You always know the right thing to say ;)

                            This is great - now I have a plan of attack! ;) Thank you :)

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              With carrot cake, make absolutely sure you don't serve it ice cold. It might seem "stale" if too cold, even if it isn't. At room temperature, it loosens up a bit.

                        2. re: lovessushi

                          I love the idea of a hearty soup for dinner. Definitely serve it with a nice loaf of bread. If your soup bowls can go in the oven, heat them up for a few minutes before serving- it's a nice touch.

                          For another course.. what about a salad with fall ingredients? Maybe something with pears or cranberries and arugula?

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            That's a great idea about the salad and the bowls - I hadn't considered a salad...he would love something with cranberries

                            1. re: lovessushi

                              My mother in law makes a delicios salad with dried cranberries- red leaf lettuce, dried cranberries, toasted slivered almonds. The dressing a balsamic vinaigrette with fresh orange juice.

                          2. re: lovessushi

                            Cioppino is great with toasted garlic bread.

                            1. re: sbp

                              Ooh what a great idea!! I will definitely do that!!