Who is my favorite sister? I’ll give you a hint: she’s extremely smart, loves good food, and lives west of the Mississippi. I wore her hand-me-downs (and hand-me-ups) when I was younger. I look forward to seeing her every Christmas. Lastly, her birthday is on August 13th.
The answer(s) is in this picture!
That’s right! Both of my sisters were born on August 13th … six years apart. When I was little, I remember wondering what it was like to share a birthday with my sister. Neither of them seemed to mind, but that nonchalance could have been due to their understanding personalities. Also, when I say that I wore their hand-me-downs AND hand-me-ups, I wasn’t kidding: Courtney is younger than me, but she’s been taller than me since she was about 10 years old. Yeah, I feel … short :)
So! In honor of BOTH of my sisters’ birthdays, I made some special grub. I hope to whet their appetites so that they’ll be looking forward to when I can actually make them a birthday meal.
First up: tacos! When we were growing up, my older sister D would always request tacos for dinner. I always looked forward to tacos, too, especially those little bowls of taco toppings.
D’s Birthday Tacos
1/2 Tbsp veggie oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 hot pepper (jalapeno, etc.)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup beer (!)
6 – 8 oz. of some sort of protein. We didn’t have beef, so I defrosted and crumbled up a couple of veggie burgers. Beans, tofu, chicken, even tuna would also suffice. Note un: If you use a veggie burger as your protein, make sure you actually like the taste of it. Because I didn’t.
Salt and pepper.
3 – 4 tortillas or taco shells
Lettuce and tomato
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent.
While the onion is sauteing, roast your hot pepper. You can roast the pepper by broiling it in an oven or toaster oven until the outside blackens. If you’re like me and you don’t want to turn on the oven in the middle of summer to roast a tiny little pepper, you can use this handy device:
Or, if you have a gas stove, just use heat-safe tongs to hold the pepper in the flames. Be careful, of course.
When the pepper is cool, peel off the skin, mince, and add to the onion along with the minced garlic and protein (crumbled veggie burgers here). Saute for one minute.
Add tomato paste and heat through. Pour in beer and use a spoon to scape all the tasty bits off the bottom (deglaze). Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste. Note deux: If you are using veggie burgers as your protein, you may wish to exclude the salt, as veggie burgers tend to be very high in sodium.
Prepare the rest of your fixin’s. Preparing the taco toppings was always my favorite part. Well, specifically this part:
That would be a delectable smoked cheese from Sugarbush Farm in Vermont. Most of the cheese made it in the tacos and not in my mouth, I swear.
As I alluded to before, I wasn’t crazy about the veggie burgers I chose for the taco filling, but if I had used some other protein the filling would have been EPIC! The beer was a nice extra :)
Now, I DO have another sister. One who happens to be a Master Gardener. You’ve previously met Courtney in this guest post, and I’m sure you’ll agree that you just can’t get enough of her! In honor of her green thumb, I decided to have a simple heirloom tomato and wax bean side “salad”.
I prepared the tomato by slicing it and sprinkling it with a little sugar. Before you explode on me, I just want to clarify that yes, I PREFER tomatoes best with their natural sweetness and no additional enhancement. However, sugar on tomatoes is a common simple dish that I enjoyed in China and wanted to recreate at home. While I won’t be sweetening my tomatoes often, a little sugar was a nice treat for a special occasion. Even if that special occasion isn’t technically my OWN birthday.
Lastly, a peanut butter mousse cake to finish the birthday dinner:
Preparing the chocolate ganache, made from 1/4 cup heated cream poured over 2.5 ounces chocolate, then stirred until the chocolate melts:
Peter spreading ganache over the frozen mousse cake:
Happy Birthday to my favorite sisterS in the whole wide world! I cant wait to see you both soon! :D