Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

today is my momma's birthday. to celebrate, i had mom and dad over for dinner last night. i had a special menu planned based on things i thought she would like.

since it has been so cold (and snowy), i thought soup was a good idea. i planned some small, bite-sized goodies to eat before the soup.

the menu
ginger brie bites
crab with chives on crackers
field greens with pecans, cherry tomatoes, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette
wild mushroom soup
molten chocolate lava cakes with whipped cream

ok, so check out the preparation process:

wild mushroom soup

the soup was surprisingly easy. i just sauteed onions, garlic, and mushrooms. then add some white wine, mushrooms stock and chicken stock and let simmer for a half an hour or so.

the only thing left is puree the soup and add a little milk. that's it! so easy and very tasty. the mushroom flavor was very rich and complex thanks to 3 different kinds of mushrooms - shiitake, baby bella, and oyster.

i topped each serving with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.

Wild Mushroom Soup (inspired by robin miller's recipe on
(makes 5-6 servings)

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (i used oyster, shiitake, & baby bella), stemmed and sliced
1 medium chopped onion
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups mushrooms stock
1 cup dry white wine
freshly gound black pepper
1 cup milk
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

saute onions, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms in olive oil in large stock pot until tender, about 10 minutes. add white wine, mushroom stock, and chicken stock. bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

puree soup using an immersion blender. add milk and keep warm. do not let the soup come back to a boil or milk will curdle. top each bowl with a little grated parmesan cheese if desired.

ginger brie bites
i had something like this tasty bite at the 2007 women's housing coalition fundraiser at the baltimore railroad museum. i have been thinking about them ever since. i decided it was time to try and duplicate them. i really had no idea where to start except that it tasted like ginger snaps in the crust and i knew there was brie on them. so, my first attempt was pretty close. i will definitely make these again and maybe try adding something to the topping with the brie. not quite sure what though, maybe apricot jam?? i'll let you know when i try them again. for now, they are quite good, a mix of savory and sweet. plus, they are super easy to make yet they have a very elegant presentation.

Ginger Brie Bites
(makes 24 mini bites)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts
24 ginger snaps
1/3 stick unsalted butter, melted
brie cheese

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

in food processor, combine toasted walnuts and ginger snaps and pulse until finely ground. add melted butter and stir to combine. press a teaspoon of ginger snap mix into greased mini muffin tins.

bake for 5 minutes. remove tins and place a cube of brie into each ginger cup and bake for an additional 5 minutes. let cool slightly then serve.

chive crab salad on crackers
i had a pound of jumbo lump crab meat that i had frozen and hadn't used over the holidays. i know mom loves crab so i decided to try a new crab recipe. now i am usually very hesitant to do this for lots of reasons. but mostly, i'm from maryland, so i'm a crab purist. first, one must always use real crab meat (lumb or jumbo lump is preferred). one must always let the taste of the crab meat shine through in recipes. anything added must just be a compliment to the crab, it mustn't overpower. when i happened upon this recipe on, i knew i had to try it. it was so simple. with a couple of changes, it has been added to my recipe box. it's so nice and light. similar to a crab dip but not as heavy and rich. it tastes almost summery. so good!

Chive Crab Salad (based on crab with dill on cayenne toasts recipe from

1/2 lb jumbo lump crab meat
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
wheat crackers or small baguette toasts

mix all ingredients together being careful not to break up crab lumps. scoop teaspoons of mixture onto crackers just before serving.

molten chocolate lava cakes
the final dish of the evening was a dish of hot goey chocolate topped with whipped cream. it was pure excellence. my mom has always had a soft spot for chocolate, rich, dark, hot, goey chocolate. i knew immediately she would love this. and, she did. it was a bit much for me at the end of the meal. i did manage to eat half of my ramekin but my stomach made me regret it. i was too full. it was however, worth every bite.

i followed the recipe word for word from

*Happy, Happy Birthday Mom!*
i love you more than you know

1 comment:

  1. Page you are an incredible daughter and cook! My dinner was so special. The crab crackers with those big jumbo lumps were so delicious and the ginger brie bites made a very good treat before the soup. The molten chocolate lava cakes were sooooo rich and soooo yummy (can't wait to have that again). Thank you for another fun evening with you and E and for making my Birthday so special. I love you dearly,


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