For this instalment in my birthday month celebrations, joined by two good friends who bring wine, dessert, and home baked nutritious cookies—my favourite types of gifts: edible!—I serve a menu chez Maggie, where we celebrate for every occasion, comprised of 3 courses and paired with beverages of choice, featuring as the main course (le plat principal):
Mushroom Risotto & Citrus Winter Greens Dinner
We begin with a toast of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon red wine to our health and to celebrate my birthday month occasion. The aperitif accompanies the tender and sweet grilled peppers and zucchini medallions topped with feta mixed olive tapenade—one of the last remnants of the gift basket I won as top fundraiser last August while Kayaking to Inspire Health. The vegetables are grilled in the oven with olive oil, garlic and a red Thai chili pepper.
For a delightful chef’s special surprise, one of my dinner companions delivers gigantic oysters freshly harvested on one of the Pacific Gulf Islands that very day. We steam the tantalising beasts in a little bit of water for 10 minutes at 400F in the oven in my large turkey roaster as a makeshift oyster steamer.
Served with lime juice, the oysters are a mouthwatering, fun dinner activity and treat.
As usual, I “Maggify” the recipe a little by spicing it up with red Thai chili peppers and garlic, and sweeten it while adding more sulfur rich nutrients within the sautéed onions.
The result is highly impressive, never having tried this recipe before, taking a culinary risk that is enjoyed by our little dinner party.
The vinaigrette ingredients of the Winter Greens with Roasted Citrus Vinaigrette include:
- lemon and 3-4 mandarines, cut in half and oven roasted
- garlic, minced
- red Thai chili pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and black pepper, to taste
I mix the roasted pulp of the citrus with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients using my handheld smoothie blender. I slice up the lemon rind for an added sweet-and-sour touch to the stir fried winter greens.
The veggie winter greens ingredients include:
- olive oil, for sautéeing the onions and winter greens
- onion, sliced
- purple kale, shredded and ribs saved for another dish
- 1/2 or 1 medium radicchio, halved and thinly sliced
- 2-3 Belgian endives, halved and thinly sliced
- cilantro for garnish
- black sesame seeds for garnish
I marinade the shredded kale in some of the vinaigrette prior to lightly wilting it in my skillet while I sautée the onions. I combine the remaining roasted citrus vinaigrette, warmed kale, sautéed onions, radicchio and Belgian endive for a few minutes in the skillet. I garnish these with black sesame seeds and serve it from the skillet.
We are treated with a triple dessert, courtesy of my enthusiastic dinner companions. We begin with a mint-chocolate cake—as apparently one cannot have a birthday celebration without a birthday cake—which I am pleasantly surprised I actually enjoy, being a big fan of chocolate, but not of cake, and even less, of chocolate cake. This cake is delicious!
We also enjoy one of my favourite desserts: apple crumble, as well as “the everything cookies” made likewise with TLC by my dinner companion.
We sip on my recently discovered and quickly made favourite roasted dandelion root tea, and polish off the bottle of the Australian Cabernet Sauvignon red wine. An evening among friends, feelings of love and appreciation abound—a true birthday celebration!
Meal ideas & recipes from Whole Foods Market.