Prepping for Tom's birthday dinner...Here's the menu...

Photo of the beautiful Crocodile River taken from Marloth Park on this date in 2013. For more, please click here.
Tomorrow's birthday dinner for Tom is the first big meal I've made for guests in over 10 months. When deciding on the menu for his birthday dinner tomorrow, I found it necessary to consider several factors: one, the limited space in the kitchen; two, that the various dishes are easy to prepare; Tom's taste preferences (along with our guests); and limited space for serving a variety of side dishes.

While at the market last weekend, we noticed good prices on New York Strip steaks. They looked meaty with little visible fat and although the portions are big, everyone can take a "doggy bag" home if they'd like.

We purchased two packages of five steaks each and separated the seven we'd need for the meal, keeping three for the two of us at some point in the future and freezing all of them. Steak on its own may not be all that exciting for some so we also purchased a bag of jumbo butterflied prawns. 

Each plate will have a steak and prawns. Thus, the menu rolled out as follows:

  • New York Strip steaks, cooked to order on the grill
  • Jumbo garlic broiled butterflied prawns
  • Baked potatoes with sour cream and fresh chives
  • Asian green beans with light spices, bacon, sauteed garlic, and onion
  • Sauteed Portabello mushrooms
  • Par 30 Salad: a delicious tossed salad from a recipe, in our old lives, from a restaurant on at a nearby golf course. Romaine lettuce, green onions, bacon, slivered almonds tossed in a slightly sweet and tangy homemade dressing
  • Garlic bread, topped with fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese
  • Tom's favorite lemon cake, infused with vanilla pudding, crushed pineapple and topped with Cool Whip
The items on this menu that work for me is the steak, prawns, green beans, mushrooms, and salad. This is an ideal meal for me and hopefully for everyone else.

We'll dine by 4:00 or 4:30 pm due to a Vikings game which will be on TV starting at 6:15 pm. All of us, from Minnesota, will watch the game. We have enough chairs and seating to make this work for the seven of us. 

Most likely, I'll serve the cake at half time or sooner, when everyone's ready for the final course. I've always loved this cake so I have to remind myself not to lick my fingers or take a single taste.

I decided against serving any snacks or appetizers before the meal when all it does is make everyone full before the meal is served. It's disappointing for the cook to find guests already full before the main meal is served. And, it's hard for the guests who wish they had "room" to eat the main meal. 

Today, we took off for the Safeway market for a few last-minute items while our laundry was drying. We were back in time by a few minutes before it was done. Returning back to the house, we put all the laundry away and I started chopping and dicing for tomorrow's meal.

Soon, we'll juice all the lemons for tomorrow's Lemon Drop Martinis. We picked all the lemons from Mary and Eugene's lemon tree in front of their property. Colleen provided a bottle of Sapphire Gin and a bottle of Absolute Vodka to use for the martinis.

After our 3:00 pm main meal today: roast chicken, salad and rice (for Tom) he'll vacuum all the floors and I'll wash them. This morning I did some cleaning so we'll be all set by the end of the day as I continue to work on the above side dishes. I've already finished the green beans and will continue to chop and dice for the salad.

First thing in the morning, I'll make the cake, marinated the steaks, prep the prawns, potatoes, and garlic bread. I'm doing as much as I can today to ensure tomorrow is easy.

Hopefully, the day will be as warm and sunny as it is today with a high of 72F (22C).  May you have a warm and sunny day as you plan and prepare for the holiday season.
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Photo from one year ago today, December 22, 2018:
The baby bushbuck took cover behind mom when she wasn't sure what to do when she saw us. For more photos, please click here.

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