"Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home for there the heart can rest." -Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Birthday seafood dinner surprise: all about cooking

My husband's birthday was 2 weeks ago. I surprised him with a romantic dinner at home that he was in awe when he saw gourmet on the table! I started out with homemade cream of celery with sherry soup served alongside whole grain dinner rolls and organic sweet cream butter. Next came out was the main course: Baked lobster tail, grilled seafood kabobs (jumbo shrimp, scallops, red onions, zucchini from my garden and yellow squash), grilled corn, and his favorite garlic mashed potatoes. Our special menu paired well with Luna Pinot Grigio which was light and delicate in flavor with hints of citrus. This wonderful bottle of wine had the perfect acidity and balance for seafood.   

What I did to the lobster: First, I clarified the butter and added fresh chives from my garden, a dash of Old Bay seasoning, dried parsley, and a clove of minced garlic. I poured the butter mixture on the Lobster but reserved half to serve on the side. I sprinkled the beautiful lobster with sea salt, ground black pepper, and a little paprika for color. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees f for 20-25 minutes until lobster meat is opaque and internal temperature is 180 degrees f.   

Jumbo shrimp and scallops were marinated for about 20 minutes with melted butter, dill, fresh parsley, Old Bay, sea salt, and black pepper before grilling and basted with the same mixture on the grill. Veggies were brushed with extra virgin olive oil, Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning and ground Black Pepper was added for flavor. For the corn I poured melted butter then sprinkled a little sea salt, paprika, and fresh parsley before grilling. Keep some of the husk, it seals the sweetness and flavor of the corn! 

Garlic mashed potatoes was simple: Boil Potatoes until tender then remove skin. Mash the potatoes, mix in 2-3 cloves minced garlic, onion powder, unsalted butter, milk, dried parsley, Old Bay, sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste. Toss some finely chopped fresh chives to the mashed potatoes and serve.

I followed this cream of celery with sherry soup recipe from a book. I thought it needed something extra so I added my own thing: Shredded parmesan cheese and mild cheddar cheese to give the soup a creamier texture. The sherry was a little bitter so I diluted it with more cream and that helped. 

Bryan munching the corn and leaving nothing on the plate. Dinner turned out to be successful regardless of 'certain things' that went wrong in the cabin's kitchen that day. First, I was calm and organized to begin with but then the leaking white cake batter on spring form pans in the oven had me crying, my white cake didn't rise and was partially burnt. I needed to do dessert all over, it was a huge waste of time. Next, it started sprinkling outside while grilling the seafood kabobs and butter on the electric grill caused a mini fire that made me panic, I ran frantically in the kitchen to get water to put the fire out! The craziness that evening would've been a perfect TV episode for a reality show.       

The high altitude recipe I carefully followed for the white cake was flawed, pathetic, and a major disaster! I was short on time so I whipped up quick chocolate cake instead, made chocolate sourcream frosting, and topped the cake with chocolate and white chocolate shavings. I'm not great with decorating but the flavor turned out pretty good. Sometimes things don't happen as planned but in the end what matters is being with the one you love. My husband's lovely birthday dinner was indeed memorable.        

For the next day or two what can you do with leftover scallops and garlic mashed potatoes? I came up with this idea for a quick brunch that was absolutely flavorful and satisfying: Scallops potato cakes with eggs over English muffin topped with asiago cream sauce

Here's what I did: We had some uncooked scallops left in the freezer so I thawed them out in a bowl of cold water then pat dry with paper towels. You can substitute crabs or lobsters too (would be better if they were already cooked). Next, sautée about 1/3 cup finely chopped red onions in a little butter with olive oil until fragrant, then add scallops. Slice cooked scallops into small pieces, add scallops with red onions to your left over mashed potatoes and form into a patty like a crab cake. We ended up with 4 scallop potato cakes.  

In a small bowl beat 2 large egg yolks. Pour about 1/2 cup flour in a medium plate seasoned with onion powder, dash of sea salt, and ground black pepper. Dip each scallop cake into egg yolks then coat with flour mixture. Fry in a large pan with olive oil on medium heat until golden. Meanwhile in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup butter, sautée 1-2 cloves garlic over low heat for about 2 minutes, add heavy whipping cream then bring to a boil and gently simmer. Fold in shredded asiago cheese stirring frequently (don't boil sauce, you want a creamy consistency), season with dried parsley, sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste. Simmer sauce on very low to keep warm.  

Toast sliced English muffins with a little butter in the oven. (You can use whole wheat or sourdough English muffins if you prefer). In another pan with olive oil, fry eggs with a dash of salt over easy. Take your English muffin and arrange on a plate, add the fried egg on top first, next the scallop cake, and then drizzle with asiago cream sauce. Finally, garnish with chopped green onions and you have a savory brunch from leftovers. It's almost like eggs Benedict with a twist. If you have any questions about the recipes above, feel free to ask me. Just remember to cook with love! ♥

Have a marvelous weekend!         


  1. You ' whipped up ' a chocolate cake after the other fell flat ? Gee whiz woman, I wish I was married to you ! But then I would be about 50 lbs. heavier. I may have to add you to the blogs I can't read anymore, as too many are making me feel inadequate on many areas. Your husband is one lucky man ! tell him that, take care, Gina

  2. Gina, thanks for the comment, you made me and my husband laugh! You're an amazing woman and so great with gardening. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. The food looks absolutely delicious!

  4. Priscilla ~ What a trooper you are. That dinner looks fabulous. You can tell by the pictures that your DH thoroughly enjoyed his bday dinner, made with love by his own sweet lady.

    I want to try your garlic mashed potato recipe. I too love to cook and bake, especially special dinners for DH and myself. Sometimes when I serve dinner he says 'what's the occasion?", when there isn't one, and that always makes me feel good.

    Happy cooking and baking. We all have disasters, but we keep right on, because it's worth it.


  5. Happy Belated Birthday to your hubby. So sweet of you to cook a beautiful dinner for him! This kind of disasters always put a smile on your face when you think about it later, kind of special, isn't it? Have a lovely day!

  6. The food looks yummy and I loved reading all about the disasters that you endured to make a meal for your guy. With all that love put into the food...it had to taste good!

  7. Thank you all for the awesome comments. I appreciate your visit, I have to get busy in the Fall garden and I'll post photos soon. Stay tuned!

  8. Priscilla! Wow what a spread you prepared! I think I love the soup the most, as soup is one of my favorite dinners at this time of year. Happy belated birthday to your husband!

  9. Wow, girl, you really went all out. I love preparing special, stay-at-home meals. Everything looks delicious.


I'm glad you stopped by. I love reading your comments and thank you for taking the time. Have a wonderful day! :-)

♥ Priscilla