I turned 23 in early March (yes, I'm a Pisces) and decided to celebrate at home with my family instead of our norm of going out to eat. My mom and I are both Ina Garten devotees and wanted to cook several new-to-us Ina recipes. Every dish was simple to make and yet so so good.
I wanted to include a cocktail to make the evening feel more festive. Ina Garten's cosmopolitans can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until ready to serve; perfect for entertaining (or, ya know, for three people). We made a big pitcher of mix to start the evening and they were a hit (even my dad, who is a scotch drinker, went back for seconds).
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Cosmopolitans
For the first course, my mom made a simple arugula salad so as to not compete with the richness of the other dishes. She added halved cherry tomatoes, big parmesan shaves, kalamata olives, and a simple lemon vinaigrette to beds of crisp arugula.
So simple. So easy. So good.
Simple Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:
2 parts olive oil, 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
The star of the show was the tagliarelle pasta with truffle butter. This recipe only takes a few minutes to whip up and tastes seriously gourmet. We had a hard time tracking down white truffle butter but were able to find Aux Delices Des Bois Black Truffle Butter at The Fresh Market. We purchased the Cipriani Tagliarelle that Ina recommends there as well, but you can easily order that from Amazon.
[To clarify: I did not have a “side” serving of pasta. Happy Birthday to me.]
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa's Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter
I’m not the biggest red meat eater, but for my birthday I decided, why not? We had filet mignon seasoned with salt and pepper, seared in a cast iron skillet, and finished in the oven. I had never cooked steak before, but the recipe was easy to follow and delicious. A perfect accompaniment to the pasta.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa’s Steakhouse Steaks
For dessert, I made Coeur a la Crème, which is basically sweetened cream in the shape of a heart (coeur is the French word for “heart”). This dessert is made the day before and sets up in the fridge overnight. When it’s time to serve, you remove the cream from the mold and top with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce (also made the day before). Ina’s recipe makes one giant serving, but I ordered individual heart-shaped cheese molds from Amazon, so everyone gets their own. I ordered 6 molds but had enough cream to fill 8. My dad told me this was his favorite thing I had ever made and ended up eating 3 servings! This was very good leftover and we enjoyed it for the rest of the week.
Get the Recipe: The Barefoot Contessa’s Coeur a la Crème
Get the Look:
We kept the tablescape simple, jazzing up our everyday white dishes with pops of pink. I was able to find pink roses and white hydrangeas at Whole Foods, which made the perfect centerpiece. Add in some pink napkins, candles, and my mom’s pink floral china, and the table was set. My mom surprised me with a bunch of white balloons, which made our dining room even more festive without being over the top.
Thanks for reading!