Birthday Dinner


I always enjoy cooking but I hate spending the money to cook good/healthy food.  Since my birthday is coming up I can easily justify this expense and cook a great meal for Will and I.  Here are the recipes that I am looking forward to trying out and I hope you will too!

* Recipes can be found at Williams Sonoma

Main Course:

Herbed Chicken Paillard

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves,
     about 1 1/4 lb. total, pounded to
     1/3-inch thickness
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. chicken demi-glace
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon



Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate. Dredge the chicken in the flour, coating the pieces completely; shake off the excess.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil until almost smoking. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side; add more butter and oil to the pan if needed. Transfer the chicken to a warmed plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallot to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vermouth, stock and demi-glace and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chives, parsley and tarragon, and season with salt and pepper.

Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce. Transfer the chicken to a platter and spoon the sauce on top. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Side Dish:

Summer Vegetable Tian

  • 3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
     1/8-inch strips
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 small zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 2 small crookneck squash, cut into
     1/8-inch rounds
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. plum tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs



Preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil.

In a fry pan over medium heat, warm 5 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the onion-pepper mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the zucchini, crookneck squash, 5 Tbs. of the oil, the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to coat evenly. Arrange the zucchini, crookneck squash and tomato slices on the onion-pepper mixture, overlapping the rows. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the cheese and bread crumbs. Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top. Bake for 15 minutes more.

Turn the oven to broil and broil until the cheese is golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.


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