Colin’s 30th Birthday Meal

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This year my lovely Colin turns 30 and requested we eat at home since his family is coming to town and we’d be eating out all weekend. I wanted to make sure it was a really special meal, so I put together the following four-course deliciousness:


First Course – Curried Carrot Ginger Crab Soup


Second Course – Hoisin & Beer Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mushroom Grits and Garlic Sautéed Green & Purple Wax Beans


Third Course – Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Blood Orange Butter Sauce and Soy Blanched Watercress



Fourth Course – Dark Chocolate Sorbet with Fresh Berries and Dark Chocolate Liqueur



The food turned out great and we had such a good time slowly making our way through the meal, taking breaks to set up the next course, clean up, and drink more wine. 🙂

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Thanks to Brian for the Beef short ribs recipe. It is SO flavorful!!!! I used Young’s Double Chocolate Stout beer and the flavor was so rich and delicious. I only cooked 2 ribs and braised them for about 1.25 hrs and finished in the oven for about 20 min. Highly, highly recommend this recipe.

The Blood Orange Butter sauce also added a perfect tang to the rich sea bass. I definitely only used about 1/2 a stick of butter (as opposed to the two), and my sauce was a lil chunky from the orange separating from the butter.

Look how beautiful the oranges are!


I seared the sea bass skin side down (DEFINITELY MUST HAVE the SKIN!) for 7 min. Flipped it over and finished it in the a 400 degree oven for about 10 min. It was perfectly done – just flaky, but still succulent, with a great crispiness to the skin.


The Dark Chocolate sorbet was unbelievably decadent! I used Ghirardelli cocoa and two bars of good dark chocolate. So intensely delicious, but lighter b/c there was no cream. Very, very easy to make for such flavor. Colin is a chocoholic and he loved it!


And now for the recipes! The Curried Carrot Ginger Crab soup is spicy and rich and adding a squeeze of lime at the end just sets off all the flavors really well. You can also make this without the crab, but i wanted to add something more special to it for his bday. 🙂

Curried Carrot Ginger Crab Soup


1/2 bag of carrots
2 inch piece of ginger peeled and diced
1 box of chicken broth/stock (I used Central Market Organics Chicken Broth)
1/2 onion diced
2 TB curry powder
1 tsp paprika
4 whole peppercorns
2 tsp black pepper
3 TB sugar
1/2 cup lump crab meat

Fresh basil, chiffonaded
Scallions chopped finely
Wedges of lime

1. Heat chicken broth to boil, add carrots, ginger, onion, curry powder, paprika, peppercorns and bring back to boil. Skim any scum that appears.

2. Lower heat to medium and let simmer about 20 min. Add sugar and black pepper (adjust the amts to your taste) simmer another 20 min. Add more curry powder if you like.

3. Pour everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Careful about the top popping off from the heat!

4. Pour blended soup back in pan and add crab meat. Bring back to boil then lower and simmer about 10 min.

5. Place basil and scallions in a bowl and pour soup over top. Serve with at least 2 lime wedges.

The mushroom grits were a lovely setting for the short ribs and very easy to make. I LOVE grits, but Colin usually doesn’t. This recipe may have converted him! I can see this being done with other veggies too, like zucchini

Mushroom Grits

4 packets instant grits
5 baby bella mushrooms sliced and halved (or any kind you like)
1 can chicken broth
1/4 cup fat free half and half
2 sprigs thyme leaves
dash black pepper

1. Heat about 1 TB butter and thyme in a small pot

2. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened

3. Add grits, chicken broth and stir to cook about 3 min. Add half and half, black pepper.


Happy Birthday, Baby and Happy Feasting to all!