Monday, June 14, 2010

Birthday Meals

Last week I turned 33.

I have no problem admitting my age. I'm happy to be in my thirties with several years separating me from my wild, crazy, dramatic 20's. Ugh.

The thirties are pretty mellow. I naturally wake up around 5 a.m. I crawl between my ever-so-soft 400 thread count sheets around 10 p.m. I catch a wine buzz pretty quickly.

If given a choice between going out and ironing laundry, I probably would pick ironing. And if you were to tell me in my 20's that by 33 I would pick laundry over going out, I would have probably slapped you. Just for the drama of it.

Of all my birthdays, though, this one was my most mellow, which I assume is a sign of maturity rather than getting old. I didn't expect anything. I didn't anticipate anything. I just went with the flow and kept a positive attitude. I was cool, almost zen-like.

I started the day with 6 a.m. yoga. I went to work where I was surprised with delicious Lemon Rosemary Cupcakes made by a very sweet friend and co-worker.

When I came home for lunch FD made me a cheese quesadilla with Canal Junction's Charloe (MY FAVORITE CHEESE RIGHT NOW! BUY SOME!) and Frontera Grill's Salsa with Roasted Garlic and Tomatillos. I figure if I can't eat at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill I might as well pay the extra money and buy his stellar salsa at Kroger. The side dish was a small portion of the Santa Fe Quinoa Salad recipe I made from Food Wine. One of the best summer salads I've made it, the quinoa created a nutty flavor while the black beans, peppers and cocktail onions added some crunch and spice. Without a doubt this easy to make recipe is going to be a stand-by for us, especially because of how light and filling it was.

For dinner, FD was in Cleveland to support the prose poem anthology he co-edited. But our friends and neighbors A&J insisted that I not eat alone on my birthday and invited me over for wine, salad, Lettuce Wraps and dessert. It smelled so good and I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture and I didn't use my fork (for the lettuce wraps). Imagine PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps--only way better--with red romaine picked from the garden only an hour earlier. Now imagine a perfectly seasoned filling of ground turkey, peppers, and spices with a homemade peanut sauce with just the right amount of kick. My intention was to eat two. I ate six. Okay, maybe eight. I'm sure A&J think I'm a some champion competitive eater. When something that good is placed in front of me, I don't have any control. Even with the help of Weight Watchers. God help me. A Lost Angel Chardonnay perfectly accompanied the heat of lettuce wraps and the Muscat paired nicely with the mini apple torte and mini carrot cake I bought that afternoon from Bella Cuisine at the BG Farmer's Market.

But out of all my birthday foods possibly the most fun was delivered today by the baker herself. One of my all-time favorite people, SEM, baked me up a fierce chocolate cake with Hello Kitty's picture in icing. I love eating. But I adore eating something cute that is made of chocolate. While SEM was worried her cake wouldn't be all that tasty, after she left I devoured 1/4 of it with a glass of Happy Badger milk. All birthday long I had been craving chocolate cake. For some cosmic reason, I couldn't find it. So when I opened the door to SEM holding out a Hello Kitty chocolate cake, I almost cried. (Okay, maybe I am as dramatic as I was in my 20's...but at least now it's only over food.) What really got me was SEM coupled my two favorite things: food and Hello Kitty.

I've had many good birthday meals prepared by my family, my in-laws, my husband, my friends, and Revolver. And all of them are dear to me. I might not exactly remember every dish, but I always remember the love put into every meal.


  1. I love it! Happy birthday, my dear!

  2. Happy belated birthday. :)

    I'm turning 30 next month, and I can already tell it's going to be a good age for me.

    Hey, maybe you should come visit and we can go to Frontera together. It's in Chicago, right??

  3. My birthday was last week too. Happy belated, fellow Gemini. May the food be with you.

  4. Wow, props to Sara on that cake. I'm impressed.