For the first time, Nick was not with any of his family on his birthday. Last year, I spent it with him in Boston, taking him and several friends out for dinner. This year he was on his own apart from birthday wishes via mail and e-mail and phone.
To make up for that, when he came home last week for a few days, I did a lot of cooking with him in mind. His plane was scheduled to land about midnight on Wednesday. It turned into Thursday before it actually arrived, but no matter. When we got home, I welcomed him with cookies and cow - chocolate chunk cookies and a big glass of milk.
Thursday morning when he finally got up, he had freshly baked cinnamon rolls, which I had made on Wednesday and put in the refrigerator overnight to rise. They were gooey with walnut caramel and he managed to eat a couple while adjusting to the time zone. That night was his official birthday dinner: ribs (which of course take a long time - overnight brine, one rub and then 2 hours of roasting, another rub and a 30 minute trip to the grill). I cut up watermelon and cantaloupe, had corn on the cob and topped it off with cherry pie, which I made on Thursday before I started the ribs.
I also made pizza dough on Thursday, which I divided into 4 separate balls and refrigerated overnight. But before our pizza dinner, Nick had his "special request" breakfast: over-easy fried egg sandwich on buttered toast with tomato and cheddar, accompanied by a fruit salad (watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple and orange - all fresh, all tasty!).
Pizzas were made to order. I assembled a variety of toppings: figs, goat cheese, prosciutto, salami, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, sausage. We don't usually use sauce on our pizzas, since we all like a lavish pour of olive oil instead. Bob likes figs, goat cheese and prosciutto, with maybe a few olives. Nick likes fresh tomatoes, basil, olives and prosciutto, but also had a second pizza which was split into the garden-side (all veg and cheese) and the main course side (some Salumi Salami and a little sausage with cheese and other additions). The pizzas take only minutes to cook in a hot oven on a pizza stone (I actually make them on parchment paper, slide the paper and the pizza on the stone - easy-peasy and no sticking or mess to clean up). These are definitely not kitchen-sink pizzas - just a few select ingredients placed sparingly around the dough.
Last night we had pasta using a recipe I had found recently - it was OK, but not memorable. Tonight Nick is attending a wedding, so no dinner needed for him. I did make him the traditional Dutch baby for "brunch" this afternoon when he finally woke up.
Tomorrow night he heads back to Boston, but will be here for chicken enchiladas before I take him to the airport. It's been a fun several days - he is so appreciative of the meals I make for him. He'll get to take some cookies and cinnamon rolls with him, if he has room in his bag. And then it is back to what passes for normal around here.