A loved ones birthday is always a special day. Have you ever thought about what makes birthdays so special? When you think about it, they’re a great opportunity for friends and family to get together and celebrate the birth of those people who are near and dear to our hearts. Add to that, a great meal to share with each other and you have a worthwhile gathering. Growing up, my Mother would ask me and my sisters every year what we wanted for our birthday dinner. We would always request something that we relished, like lobster or steak. Year after year she made us feel overwhelmingly special on our birthdays by carrying out this practice.
This week a good friend had a birthday. Keeping with the tradition, I asked her what her favorite meal is. “Steak” was her enthusiastic reply. That is how this birthday meal began. One by one, menu items were added to complete the perfect meal designed just for her.
We got the party started with a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon and a birthday toast. For dinner, we started with the classic steak-house wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and crumbled bacon. Filet Mignon was the main attraction. It was wrapped in bacon and cooked to a medium-rare temperature then topped with a gremolata (garlic, parsley and lemon) compound butter.
This compound butter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. Use it as needed to add flavor to steaks, fish, pork, chicken, or use it to cook omelettes.
The steak was paired with asparagus and creamy hollandaise sauce and a big bold 2004 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon. For dessert, the cake was brought out, we sang “Happy Birthday” and a wish was made. The cake was a rich, dark chocolate sachertorte with raspberry filling and whipped almond cream flowers.
Eduard Sacher completed his culinary training in Vienna with the Royal and Imperial Pastry Chef at the Demel bakery and chocolatier, during which time he perfected his father's sachertorte recipe. The cake was first served at the Demel and later at the Hotel Sacher, established by Eduard in 1876. Since then, the cake remains among the most famous of Vienna's culinary specialties.
It is a privilege and an honor to be asked to celebrate a birthday with a friend. This is one birthday celebration that will undoubtedly go down in my book as one of the most memorable.