It was Hitesh’s birthday last weekend and the kids and I were debating if we should make reservations at a nice restaurant for this occasion, but the girls pointed out that Dad will be coming back from a long week’s business trip and they assumed he would want to relax at home on his birthday on the weekend. So began the planning for a stay at home birthday dinner for Hitesh.
Hitesh loves beets, the rest of us don’t. He loves bitter veggies, the rest of us don’t. Hitesh’s birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity to make all the veggies that he loves that the rest of don’t care for much. What I had in mind was a beet salad, a bitter radicchio and mushroom pasta, and brownies for dessert. Here is a look at our February birthday dinner menu.
Bitter Veggies, Beets and Brownies Birthday Dinner Menu
Roasted Beets and Baby Spinach Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Conchiglie al Forno with Mushrooms and Radicchio Pasta by Ina Garten
Rioja Spanish Red Wine
Dark Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla ice cream
Roasted Beets and Baby Spinach Salad: Seriously folks, except for Hitesh our entire family hates beets – actually hate is a strong word – we don’t like beets. When I made this beet salad the only takers were Hitesh and me (I made it which means I had to try it). Rani our salad kid tried it too, and I have to say we absolutely loved it. What makes the salad taste so good is the addition of garlic when roasting the veggies and the vinaigrette. Letting the roasted beets sit in the vinaigrette mellows out the beet flavor while adding a nice tang to the beets.
Pasta with Radicchio and Mushrooms in Creamy Cheese Sauce: Conchiglie al Forno with Mushrooms and Radicchio Pasta by Ina Garten I’ve saved this pasta recipe with radicchio for months waiting for an excuse to make it because I knew the kids wouldn’t like the bitter radicchio. Hitesh’s birthday was the perfect time to make this dish as he loves bitter veggies and the kids had no choice but to go with it. The only modifications I made to this recipe is using only 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil (instead of 6 tbsp butter), and I added 4 cloves of crushed garlic which gives the pasta great flavor (original recipe has no garlic, as Sri pointed out “How can an Italian pasta not have garlic?”). The bitter radicchio mellows out when it is cooked while the mushrooms and cheeses add their own unique flavors to the dish. The end result is a restaurant quality pasta that is decadently delicious. Actually this makes sense because the recipe comes from Ina’s friend Johanne Killeen who owns an award-winning Italian restaurant in the Hampton’s. This pasta is outstanding. Even the kids devoured it!
Dark Chocolate Brownies: This brownie recipe comes from my friend Rose who makes the moistest, gooiest, chocolaty brownies ever! I have to mention that in our ultimate wisdom we tried another brownie recipe from foodnetwork and it was a bust 😞. Then I told the kids to make Rose Aunty’s brownies and her recipe turned out awesome!!👏👌 Dark Chocolate Brownies.
Give this bitter veggies, beets and brownie menu a try for your next special dinner or gathering. It’s A menu worth replicating.