My Birthday Dinner

17th Nov 2006

Birthday_21 I (Blake) turned 24 yesterday and, in celebration, my girlfriend thought up and orchestrated a gorgeous meal of French provincial food.  From the surf to the turf, we ate, drank, and otherwise acted like shameless hedonists.  Since I'm groggy and barely awake this morning, and don't much feel like working very hard, I'll just put up some pictures and perhaps post the recipes some other time.  Above, the moment when we decided to put candles in the big slabs of espresso chocolate cake that we trimmed off to make the other layers fit together, because we couldn't wait to the real cake to set.  Pictures after the jump. Birthday_1 Balthazar's mussel recipe--with thyme, shallots, celery, creme fraiche , white wine. Birthday_2 The remains of the dead. Birthday_3 The face of unmitigated contentment. Birthday_7 The first course wine, a Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine, 2005. Birthday_9 4 cups of heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate (called ganache), which came into play later. Birthday_10 Course 2: lamb chops marinated in thyme, olive oil, and lemon juice; a bean salad with herbs and oil-cured olives (the kind that look a bit wrinkly). Birthday_13 Perfectly medium rare.  This lamb tasted so marvelous I'm going to avoid demeaning it using language. Birthday_23 The second course wine, a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from 2003.  Fabulously rich with a faint hint of espresso. Birthday_18 Pouring the ganache onto the espresso-inflected chocolate cake. Birthday_16 It was really hard to resist eating the ganache straight with a spoon (I did put some in a pan with milk and whisked to make a gloriously thick hot chocolate). Birthday_21_1 And the candles!  Happy birthday to me.


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