The Culinary Benefit in Birthdays

as promised The Solitary Cook

When you happen to live with someone who is as gifted in the art of meal preparation as David Montgomery is, even turning 51 is something to look forward to. Not that shabby with the gifts either, like the framed quill pen above, or the new novel by journalist Miriam Towes, Women Talking, an engrossing page turner heavily inspired by a series of late night rapes of women and girls in an isolated, fundamentalist Mennonite community.

But the real birthday highlight, of course, was the delicious six course Japanese meal I was treated to. The Japanese theme, a nod to my birth and early childhood spent living in Tokyo, Japan.

We started with chilled buckwheat soba noodles drizzled in rice vinegar and sprinkled with green onion.

Next on the menu, Gomae, a delicious spinach salad with a sesame/chive dressing served ice cold.

On to my favorite course of the evening, a lightly battered Lotus Root Tempura with a ginger chili dip. If you’re wondering, Lotus Root tastes similar to a sweet radish with more of a spicy kick.

A palate cleansing lime sorbet was next.

The main course was a not entirely traditional Japanese salmon, cooked cedar plank style and topped with an orange chipotle sauce on a bed of watercress, with a side of minced brussel sprouts sauteed and pan fried with bacon. Yes, they are every bit as good as they sound.

Finally, and please don’t blame David for this. My favorite birthday cake is the cheap, grocery store butter cream icing variety. The kind you need a litre of milk with to even finish. He graciously obliged.

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