December 29, 2009
White Dog helped us put together a birthday dinner for Chef Richard last night. Even though he is a very appreciative friend, cooking for a classically trained haute chef is just a tad intimidating. All day we braised lamb shanks in Mediterranean spices and wine; White Dog reminded me when her sniffer told her it was time to baste or turn them. We snapped luscious thin asparagus in preparation for last-minute steaming. White Dog doesn't like to eat these, but enjoys gnawing the stalks to shreds. When Steve got home he made a red wine, rosemary, and garlic reduction for over the lamb. Just as Richard arrived, White Dog and I finished topping beautiful purple baby Peruvian potatoes with creme fraiche (one of White Dog's licking favorites) and tiny daubs of orange salmon caviar. Richard brought his favorite beet salad with goat cheese (another White Dog top 10) and we sat down to a candlelit feast honoring our special friend. Coffee accompanied ginger and passion fruit gelatos; then we opened presents. Richard really liked White Dog's gift of lavender foot balm and crazy colorful socks; she got a famous ear and scalp massage for her efforts. It was a warm wonderful evening celebrating friendship. Happiest of Birthday Wishes to a dear friend from all of us!