It was my birthday this week, and it turned out to be one of the best ones in a while. Chris and I have been away from each other on my birthday for the past couple of years, and this was extra special just because he was there and being so great to me all day long. He woke me up with a cup of coffee under my nose (not really out of the ordinary) and lured me into the dining room, which was all aglow with this spread:I had been sleeping soundly, and he had been up for an hour in the dark, whipping up whole wheat blueberry pancakes and soysages and coffee and orange juice. This is extra special, you see, because he is not exactly an experienced pancake-maker. I was very proud of him. Also, he really hates wrapping presents - he told me that you can tell that he loves me because he wrapped ALL of those presents. I always kind of considered his family tradition of unwrapping presents in the morning with birthday breakfast (and not after dinner with birthday cake, which is my family tradition) to be cheating, but this whole fabulous experience kind of debunked that theory (especially since I was not even supposed to get presents this year). This bonus gift came at the end:Anyways, I told him after that fantastic breakfast it really didn't matter what happened during the rest of my busy day - he had set the tone right and that was all that mattered. I ended up having a really nice day, especially capped off with dinner and drinks at Malibu with some of our great friends.
Then, he upped the ante even more by cooking dinner for me the next night! He made another of our Giada favorites, Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds, and Breadcrumbs. I don't have a picture, but you can look at the one with the recipe here. To sum it up: Boil a pound of penne or rigatoni. Place a 5 oz. bag of garlic-flavored croutons and 1/4 c. toasted slivered almonds in a food processor until like breadcrumbs. Toss pasta with crouton mix and 3/4 c. olive oil and/or pasta water. Top with a jar of roasted red peppers that have been julienned and a rinsed can of garbanzo beans (that is our own addition - it makes it really good). It's cheap, fast, easy, and really really good - the makings of a perfect weeknight dinner.