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What's Cooking?: A Birthday Tradition


A tradition I’ve created in my family since my children were young was to let them request a special menu for their birthdays. They looked forward to suggesting dishes they would like to have for their birthday dinner.  When they were young, the menu was simpler like fried chicken, pizza, lasagna or noodles.  As they grew up, their palates and food selections also did, with the exception of my youngest who still requests lasagna.  

The menu has extended to stuffed pork chops, shrimp po’ boys, braise barbecue ribs, exotic ethnic dishes, and countless types of lasagna.  It has been fun and still is!  Now I continue this tradition with my daughter-in-law who requested for her August birthday a pasta dish (she loves PASTA!) and “my” chocolate raspberry tart.   I made cappellini pasta in a light cream sauce with clams and these plump meaty New Zealand green shell mussels.  To this delicious broth, I added baby peas, chopped onions, mushrooms and sweet red pepper.   My husband likes the clear clam broth so he was happy while the rest of us delved into the creamy broth.  Both good and so satisfying!

The ooos and ahhs came when I brought out the chocolate raspberry tart with the beautiful red raspberries against the canvas of silky deep chocolate and a pinch of fresh leafy mint on top.  My daughter-in-law took a photo of the tart I made (pictured above).   I cannot claim creating this recipe.  It belongs to Martha Stewart but making it was so simple that I have to share it with you.  Just click to the recipe site below.   There was hardly any cooking involved except to bake the cookie crust, and heat the heavy cream to melt the chocolate bits.  Then all the assembled tart needed was refrigeration.  The directions say 30 minutes to set but I would recommend more time in the fridge to make the filling firmer unless you prefer it creamy.   This was an added convenience because this dessert can be made the day before.  Of course, if you like extra raspberries like I do, add to your heart’s content.   I hope you will get those “wows” like I do whenever you make this lusciously rich dessert.



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