Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Dinner For Wende

Our baby daughter turned 35 on Friday and she came down for a special request dinner – seafood. I wish it weren’t such a weak spot in my cooking skills. I decided on mussels for an appetizer and grilled shrimp and salmon for the main course. So the menu was as follows and we ate each course before preparing the next one - it was a leisurely 2 hour dinner:

Salmon spread taste test for a pre-appetizer

Moules Mariniere (whatever that means) for an appetizer

Salad – Strawberry spinach or Caesar

Grilled shrimp & salmon and hasselback potato

Ghirardelli chocolate squares for dessert

I posted the salmon spread the other day and like the others so far, Wende prefered the dill or caper added versions to the plain. For the mussels, I used Mary’s recipe, from One Perfect Bite.

We hadn't had mussels in a long time and had always just steamed them and dipped in butter, but I like this better as they were delicious.  It would take a very big bowl of them to make a meal of though.

I did the shrimp the same as the shrimp the other day, which was olive oil brushed on, a light sprinkling of Emeril's Essence, with added cayenne, on both sides and two applications, per side, of the butter sauce, below, while grilling.

Butter sauce:
1 ½ sticks butter
Juice from 3 lemon wedges
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

I decided to try this same process on the salmon, but gave it a heavier spice coating - not quite as heavy as I would for blackening in a pan.  While I flipped an buttered the shrimp 3 times, I only flipped and buttered the salmon once.

Since this was to be a special meal, I broke out the charcoal grill and cooked everything direct over a single layer of coals - which cooked faster than my under-functioning gasser. 

The shrimp tasted similar to the other day, but everything had a nice smokiness provided by the butter hitting the coals - it got so smoky, I could hardly see what I was doing.  The salmon had a similar taste to pan blacked, but not as strong and I'll definitely do this again.  This was my first hasselback potato and I thought it was a nice change, but I believe I prefer a plain ole baked potato and they're easier.

The menu was unknown to Wende until she got here and she said we'd hit some of her favorites and was hoping for mussels.  Since we hadn't fixed them in such a long time, it must have been mental tyelepathy.

I wish all of our children were close enough to come over for birthday dinner.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Very nice dinner Larry! And nice job on all that seafood. I'm a pretty confident cook, but get nervous when trying to prepare any seafood for guests. It's my weakspot.

  2. Happy birthday to your daughter! What a great birthday dinner! Everything looks wonderful, Larry!
    We just had hassleback potatoes last night... I prefer just plain old baked potatoes too!

  3. I'm not all that great with seafood, either, Larry. Looks like you did exceptionally well.

  4. Wow, great birthday dinner, Larry. What a special treat for your daughter. I love leisurely dinners like this when the food and the company are so good.

  5. Happy Birthday to your Wende. Looks like you fixed her a perfect dinner.... It all sounds delicious...

    Hope you are enjoying this mild weather..

  6. What a great dad you are! I think Wende had a very special and delicious birthday dinner... everything looks fantastic.

  7. Wende, the baby daughterJanuary 31, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    It was definitely a fantastic birthday dinner! I thought it was all great. The hasselback potatoes were a nice change, though I think they could have used more of the sauce to make them really spectacular. Personally, I like my potatoes diced and tossed with olive oil, garlic...and whatever fresh herbs I have available. Daddy really doesn't, and I'm ok with that. Although I'll bet they'd be terrific the next day topped with a fried egg. ;)

    But thanks for all the birthday wishes, and thanks, Dad, for such a wonderful birthday dinner!

  8. Larry, What a good Dad you are! Just what she wanted for dinner... Everything looked great, especially the salmon! Nice job for a guy who isn't too confident cooking seafood! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  9. Laughing about Wende's egg comment.

    Looks like you rocked this meal, Larry. Some weakness you have there.... ;)

  10. Happy Birthday, Wende! Your dad is wonderful, and I know he misses having his kids around (I miss mine, too).

  11. Larry, what a wonderful and appetizing event! I wish I lived closer too. ;)

    I'm with you: I wish my children were all closer for a birthday dinner.

  12. Happy Birthday to Wende - that is one fine birthday meal. I can't believe she didn't want some of your awesome smoked meats!! Don't feel bad Larry. My one and only son lives a few miles away and they are always on the run so much I can barely catch up with them!! He actually just turned 30 recently - a milestone birthday for him. My DIL threw a great surprise birthday party for him at the Slovenian Lodge and actually managed to pull it off. It was emotional for me watching the slideshow of all his baby pictures flashing on the screen all night - seems just yesterday he was that little boy.

    The link for your shrimp isn't working btw. When I clicked on it it actually logged me out! Thought you might want to know.

  13. Such a fantastic birthday dinner. I'd feel super special if I was your kid, Larry! In fact, how do you feel about adopting me? :)

    New to your site. Love it here already. Can't wait to poke around some more.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner


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