Wednesday, January 3, 2007

happy birthday mom

Mom's birthday was today. She looks the same as she did when I was in elementary school, minus a few grey hairs, so it's hard to believe she's lived over half a century (sorry Mom!). It always takes me awhile to "calculate" how old my parents are these days. 19XX subtracted from 2007... But what was worse was when I turned 27 a couple of weeks ago and mom said to me, "you're getting old." "What? me? I'm not old," I said as I cried inside. Age is just a number, right? 30 is the new 20? So that would make me...17?

Anyway, back to the birthday. I cooked dinner for my parents last night; actually, this was the first time I really cooked for them. Let's just hope they don't get used to it. Only kidding. We started with steamed mussels: quite excellent if I do say so myself. Followed by asparagus wrapped in prosciutto: a bit salty even though I used just half a strip for each stalk. The main course was a seafood tagliatelle served in a tomato sauce: I must have been inspired by my New Year's Eve meal. We drank Bear's Lair Chardonnay from Trader Joe's, which I also used for steaming the mussels. The night ended with my solo of singing the Birthday Song and scarfing down the mocha cake (chorus et al.) with green tea. There I go again with the tea. Happy Birthday Mommy!

Mom's Birthday Dinner Menu

Asparagus wrapped with prosciutto
1 asparagus bunch
12 strips of prosciutto, cut in half, lengthwise

Trim the woody bottoms off the asparagus. Wrap prosciutto around asparagus and line them up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalk.

Steamed mussels in white wine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1-1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb mussels, washed
few springs of tarragon

Add the garlic and shallots to a pot. Pour the white wine and add the mussels (only the closed ones). Add the tarragon. Bring to a gentle boil until the mussels open up (discard any that did not open). Serve with bread.

Seafood tagliatelle in tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 jar tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 lb clams, washed
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 fillet red snapper, cut into bite-size cubes
reserved starch water
1/2 lb Tagliatelle

Sweat the garlic and shallot in olive oil in a large saute pan on low heat until opaque. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cook the tagliatelle to al dente.

Add the clams to the tomato sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes covered. Once the first two clams start to open up, add the shrimp, and then then the fish. Once the shrimp and fish are cooked, add the pasta to the sauce. Ladle a couple of spoons of the pasta water to loosen the sauce. Stir to mix. Place and serve.

This menu should yield 4 servings aplenty.

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