Monday, February 27, 2012

Birthday Dinner

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One of the traditions I have carried over from my family's birthdays over the years is the classic birthday dinner. My mom used to let us pick whatever we wanted for dinner on our birthday, including dessert, and make it for us that one special day of the year.

I love being able to do that for my husband, it's a great excuse for me to go all out on a meal with prep and buying more expensive ingredients we don't usually splurge on.
This year he requested pot roast for dinner, which I haven't made in over a year - so I was hunting for a great recipe. I found one (a Paula Deen original) I put my own spin on and it turned out really well, I'll definitely be doing it again!

For dessert, he was trying to choose between Boston Cream Pie and Tiramisu...finally landing on tiramisu. I love tiramisu and haven't made it since back in Indiana post-college, so it was definitely a welcome change and challenge.

Neither of these recipes are extremely complicated and both turned out to be really tasty, so I hope you'll take one on yourself or share your favorite versions with me!

Birthday Pot Roast

- One 3-4 lb. Boneless beef roast
- Salt
- Pepper
- Garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil
- One yellow or white onion (sliced thin)
- 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup Red wine
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Beef broth
- 3/4 cup water

- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 lb. Baby carrots
- 3 lbs. Small potatoes (quartered)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix 1 tbsp. of salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning onto the roast, coating well on all sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet on med-high heat, searing it well on each side so it develops a good crust.

2. Place the meat in a roaster pan. Add onions and garlic to skillet for 1 to 2 minutes to absorb leftover roast juice. Add back to the roaster pan with meat, carrots, potatoes and bay leaves.

Whisk the mushroom soup, wine, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth into a bowl. It'll look kind of weird and pinkish - but I promise it makes a seriously delicious gravy! Pour over the roast and add water. Cover pan with foil and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until tender. Be sure to remove and discard the bay leaves before serving.

Classic Tiramisu

- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 16 ounces Mascarpone cheese
- 1-1/2 cups brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup coffee liqueur (optional)
- 40 store-bought ladyfingers or pound cake sliced into “fingers”
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Cocoa powder
- Bittersweet chocolate


In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and cup of sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in mascarpone until well incorporated.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with a generous pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into mascarpone mixture.

In a small bowl combine coffee and coffee liqueur. Dip ladyfingers (or cake strips) into coffee-liqueur mixture and lay in rows in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone cream on top. Make one more layer of ladyfingers and top with the remaining mascarpone cream.

4. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream on top, then dust with cocoa powder and garnish with grated and/or shaved bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

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