Family Birthdays


In our family birthdays are celebrated in a major way until you are 18.  Even though we have loved the tradition for the past 35+ years, the last of the grandkids turns 18 next year.  Knowing this our gathering this past gathering was especially sweet.  My middle sister is an amazing cook even though she doesn’t know that she is.  She compares herself to sister #1 who is imaginative and resourceful and to sister #3 who is formally trained and classic food knowledgeable.  Her style is the assembly of many complimentary courses and plenty of it.  “Plenty” also describes her use of butter, Parmesan, cream and garlic-which makes everything rich and delectable (but not low fat).

Her recent menu was approved by the birthday boy.  Spaghetti and whole wheat penne with an Italian sausage and zucchini sauce, a decadent Alfredo sauce and her specialty-tequila chicken.  She served this with Caesar salad and bread sticks but also set out sauteed mushrooms and crumbled bacon.  For dessert she made a 5 layer chocolate cake, with real butter icing.  Whereas I make a lower fat Alfredo sauce-essentially a white sauce with garlic and Parmesan, hers is the real deal with a base of butter, whipping cream and half and half cream.  This is painstakingly stirred until it is a “stick to a noodle” consistency.

Someone commented on her chicken recipe this weekend: “How can you go wrong using tequila, cilantro, lime and cream.  I have substituted the chicken with shrimp to fancy the recipe up for an even more special occasion.  Here’s the recipe: in a medium sauce pan , saute the cilantro, garlic and jalapeno pepper in 2 T of butter over medium hear for 4-5 minutes.  Add 1/2 c chicken stock, 3 T tequila and 2 T fresh lime juice.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to a past-like consistency.  Set aside.  Pour 3 T soya sauce over 1 1/4 lb. cubed boneless chicken breasts and set aside for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute 1/4 of a sliced red onion and a thinly sliced red pepper, a half of a thinly sliced yellow pepper and a 1/2 of a thinly sliced green pepper in a T of butter.  Meanwhile cook desired amount of fettuccine noodles.  When the peppers have wilted, add the chicken and soya sauce.  Toss and add the reserved tequila/lime paste and cream.  Bring to a boil.  Gently simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick.  Toss with well drained fettuccine and garnish with cilantro.IMG_9800

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