I had a wonderful birthday last week. Thanks, family and friends, for making it so great. Marmee made the most wonderful birthday cake. I am requesting it every year from now on. It was a chocolate cake with some pumpkin in the batter, which made it very moist. The orange frosting was addictive. It had cream cheese, chocolate, cinnamon, heavy cream - a few of my favorite things. To top it off, there was a chocolate ganache that looked beautiful and tasted even better.
I actually got up early on the morn of my birthday to make a German Chocolate Fair Cake. I had been promising to take one to work for awhile, and since I share my birthday with two other people in our little department, I thought it would be a good day to eat cake! I was a little nervous about taking it, though, what with all the high expectations. I tried to be careful and meticulous measuring and mixing, but I only realized after the cakes were out of the oven that I had forgotten to put the salt in the cake batter. There was a definite difference. The cake was still gone in a flash, so we won't advertise that.
This weekend Chet and I went down to Dallas to see Spoon and The New Pornographers at the House of Blues. Those are a couple of my favorite bands. If you haven't heard the latest Spoon album, you can stream it here. It's called Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, because all of the other possible album titles were already taken. It was a great show. We also hit La Duni for dinner Friday and Whole Foods on the way out of town yesterday afternoon. I had such a fun time. He didn't try to push me off the bridges and overpasses.
I was glad to get an extra hour of sleep last night. I would not have made it to church on time without it. That wouldn't have been good, since I had the lesson for the kiddos. I had to take quite a nap this afternoon, too. I'm not used to this wild, fast-paced lifestyle. The last rock concert I remember going to was Chicago many years ago. I was probably among the youngest fans there, and I distinctly remember that the people behind me were angry that I was standing and singing along. "Young whippersnapper!"
Tonight for dinner, I used my new Le Creuset Grill Pan to make panini sandwiches. I thought I should have Chet over to inaugurate my birthday gift. Here's what I did, more or less. It was a bit hodge podge tonight. I thought the panini were good, but they would have been even better with some roasted peppers and crazy condiments. They're very quick and easy to put together. Anyone can cook... not that everyone should, but:
* boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* olive oil
* fresh rosemary, chopped
* garlic, minced
* black pepper
* thick, crusty bread, sliced (used Whole Foods French bread)
* cheese slices (used Pepper Jack)
Add a small amount of oil to a grill pan and heat pan on medium-high heat. Pound chicken breasts to a uniform thickness. Brush chicken with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Place chicken in pan and cook for a few minutes on each side until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink. Remove from pan. Put cheese slices on each bread slice. Place chicken breasts on the bread slices and cover them with another slice of bread. Brush outer sides of bread with olive oil and place in grill pan. Cover with panini press or weight. (I used a dutch oven. Those are heavy enough to break a toe or two. I just covered the bottom of the dutch oven in foil and set it right on top of the sandwiches.) Cook sandwiches for 3-4 minutes per side or until cheese melts. Remove from heat and serve.
The pan made lovely grill marks on the chicken and panini. Plus the pan is orange and matches my mixer. And it's heavy enough to use as a weapon, in case the knives are out of reach when your alarm clock goes off. I get an extra hour of sleep again tonight, right?