What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 15, 2010

The birthday Feast and the greatest challenge ever

We have a tradition in our home: birthday person picks their dinner (and cake). This tradition has been a fun one to implement. It is cheaper than fine dining but reason to enough to splurge on meals and get all fancy, and it has also forced me to extend my own cooking capabilities~not to mention the outworking of which is gift in and of itself. All of these things say nothing about the immense pleasure of being doted on like royalty.

For feasting, I always bring out a new tablecloth and do some special napkin folds. I *like* to have fresh flowers, but since it is winter and none were available~ I improvised with brown ribbon as a table runner, some stones and a few pictures of Matt scattered as the centerpiece. Another essential for feasting?! Water goblets. Water goblets are an absolute MUST.

In the beginning of this tradition, Matt's requests were simple (looking back, perhaps that is because I was such a novice in the kitchen in those days) but lately, he has been getting more...inventive. One year I made veal parmesan and for the cost of the veal he OUGHT to have felt like royalty. I had never made veal (not exactly in our budget to eat that way every night) and was more than a bit apprehensive but turns out... He said it was the best veal he had ever had. THIS year, though, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. He asked for salmon.


I hate fish. I hate the smell of fish. The look of fish. The smell of fish. The thought of fish. And definitely the smell of fish. And I feel that adamant in my non-pregnant state, let alone in this constant-nausea state. I can't walk by the fish department of a local grocery without holding my breathe. But I was DETERMINED. (I was also very afraid I was going to be sick.) My goal, of course, was to show him I loved him SO MUCH that I would do the unthinkable. COOK FISH.

I spent the morning buying groceries and every moment after (until dinner) in the kitchen.

I spent $34.00 at the grocery store. I bought strawberries, a mango, oranges, cilantro, a salmon filet, TWO london broils (B1G1F), an artisan loaf, and romaine lettuce. We had the wine already. We dined like KINGS for a price far less than the cost of a fancy restaurant (WITHOUT the wine) plus I only used ONE london broil and only half of the remaining ingredients (except salmon) so we are enjoying those still.

A frugal, meaningful birthday gift? A homemade FEAST.

The full menu:

Hors d' oeuvre:
Fruit salsa with cinnamon tortillas
First Course:
Caesar salad with freshly grated parmesan and homemade dressing
Main Course:
Salmon with horshradish cream sauce
London Broil (for the rest of us-and him too)
Crash Hot Potatoes
Steamed broccoli
From-scratch Yellow Cake with Peanut Butter frosting.

And of course~ a DELICIOUS white wine. Oh MY, that was good.

The end result of the salmon? The first five bites were taken with eyes closed and audible groans of pleasure and those groans continued until the end. He declared it the best salmon he ever had! (and Matt doesn't just *say* that, you know?!) Chaaaaa-CHING!

I did it!!! Without being sick!!! (but I unashamedly held my breathe and prayed real hard)

I served the "courses" separately (just like fine-dining) and only took a picture of that salmon (for proof). I wish I would have gotten a picture of that bruschetta. SO beautiful and SOOOOOOOO delicious. oh my.

Because of EVERYTHING I had going on all at once, I iced and decorated the cake in five minutes. It wasn't exceptionally pretty but it was exceptionally edible.

I thought it was very precious that when Matt saw all the work I had done on his behalf, he stole away upstairs and changed into a suit. He has such a special way of encouraging people in their pursuits.

He is truly charming, and SO worth the work. (and the smell of fish.) My dearest birthday boy.


Kris in TN said...

I love your posts like this - the ones that show the immense love in your home. I think it is absolutely adorable that your sweet hubby got dressed up for his fine birthday dinner.

You sure have a true gem in your husband!


p.s. I still haven't mailed you the box of goodies. It'll go out this week, I promise! It'll be by "slow boat to China" a.k.a. Media Mail. tee-hee!

...they call me mommy... said...

PS-How did you make the salmon? I have a WHOLE one in my freezer from a friend!

Out for an Adventure said...

AMAZING!! I hate fish as well. Smell, look, and the taste. But, I've had salmon before and was pleased with it's non fish like taste. It was in a lemony sauce. Reading this post makes me hungry!!
You, m'dear, should take a look into the culinary industry! Not kidding. By the looks of it, you cooked and garnished that meal like a true chef!
<3, LauraD

Out for an Adventure said...

p.s. Are those little icing hearts on the cake?? That is way adorable!!

Wendy said...

I love the Newmans...this was such a joy to read I actually felt like I was there..haha. Great job on the Salmon...I like Salmon, but am not skilled at cooking fish.

I LOVE the picture of Andrew looking over the book that Matt was reading...He really looked like it was a treasure!

So sad for you and all of your sickies...that really is the worst! Let me know if you end up getting it...I might be able to come down and help out.

Tracy said...

I love fish, most any kind, and salmon is one of my favorites! Thankfully, we all love it. Matt's entire meal looks wonderful.

So, I'm wondering why someone had to sit way down at the far end of the table?

New Beginnings... said...

You do have a wonderful husband Rebecca. Loved that he went upstairs to change into a suit because he knew you had made his dinner so special.
Hope you don't get sick too. We have that here too so must be something going around :(
By the way, I have some exciting news to share...John asked me to marry him on Valentines Day and I have accepted!

Rebecca said...

Kris~honestly, I had TOTALLY forgot! My mind---I worry about it. OFTEN.

Amy~ I grilled the Salmon on the grill for 2 minutes each side (should have gone HIGH heat because the sear marks weren't as noticable as I would have liked) and then let it rest on the counter for an hour or so (which allowed the temperature to become uniform) and then baked it at 325 for 20 minutes.

Tracy~you made me laugh! That is Corynn's seat WAY over there and I often call her Cinderella because she seems so far away---but you see, she is partial to her baby sister and wants to be her meal-partner. Adele' sits in the blue booster seat. :-)

Jen~CONGRATULATIONS! I can't think of a more romantic way to propose! I am wracking my brains to figure out if you are my friend Jen from a few years back or another Jen? Following you to your blog doesn't give me any clues. Tell me Tell me!

New Beginnings... said...

I am Jen that used to be mom2liznatesam. Lived in MD...we were able to get together once before you moved back to NY. I havent' done too much with that blog yet.

Rebecca said...

Oh Jen! I THOUGHT it was you. I worded the question "Are you the Jen that deserves (along with her children) to be incredibly happy?"

And then I thought-if you WEREN'T "that" Jen, then you would probably feel bad with that description (as if you DIDN'T deserve to be happy) so I deleted it.

ok-That likely made NO sense.

Jen, I am incredibly overjoyed for you and your children to hear such wonderful news! I guess I have some catching up to do on you!