Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Hubby!

We celebrated Mark's birthday with a special dinner at home last night. When I asked our toddler what kind of cake we should make for Daddy, he said, "A pancake!" Pancake Cake? Sure, why not!? I've been dreaming about Martha Stewart's Crepe Cake since Halloween... I modified the composition from her hazelnut laced recipe to a banana and chocolate laden tower of richness. The birthday boy, and his boy, approved.
Happy Birthday to the love of my life... and the biggest fan of my Menus for the Week!
Event~ Birthday Dinner for Three (Well, technically four...)
Southwest Chicken Pizza- inspired by Brick Oven Restaurant
Spinach salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Chocolate-Banana Crepe Cake

For the Southwest Chicken Pizza:
1 Boboli Thin Crust Pizza Dough or other thin pre-cooked pizza crust (Of course, you can always make your own!)
1/2 cup chipotle or sun-dried tomato pesto
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (We used chicken that Mark smoked this weekend!)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1/4 c grated parmesan 

Place rack at top of oven. PH oven to 500 degrees. While pre-heating, assemble pizza, as follows: spread a thin layer of pesto over crust, sprinkle evenly with cheese, arrange chicken, onion and tomatoes on top of cheese. Once oven has reached temperature- switch to top-broil mode. Place pizza on rack and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, slightly golden-brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and parmesan cheese. Slice into wedges and enjoy!

For the Salad and Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh spinach per serving
1/4 c sliced, peeled cucumbers per serving
1/4 c chopped celery per serving

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 cup mayo
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cracked fresh peppercorns
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Make dressing according to package directions. Add in peppercorns and parmesan. Chill and serve over veggies. (And save it... makes quite a bit!)

For the Chocolate~Banana Crepe Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 bananas, sliced thinly
For Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c sugar
1/4 milk

Combine flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and let sit 30 minutes or chill for up to 2 days. 
Place small to medium skillet, or crepe pan over medium heat; add 1/2 tsp butter. When butter begins to turn color, slowly pour 1/4 c batter into pan, covering the bottom with a thin layer of batter. Tilt and rotate pan to coat evenly. Cook until crepe bubbles and the bottom is lightly brown. Remove from heat source (Don't turn off heat!) Flip crepe over with a spatula or with your fingers. Cook second side until browned, but not evenly. Place crepe on a plate. Place 3-4 banana slices on top of crepe. Repeat process, layering crepes and bananas until cake is 4-6 inches high. 
When crepes are done, make Chocolate Ganache Sauce. In a small pot, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Heat pan over med hi heat and slowly add milk, stirring. Continue to add milk and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has formed a smooth consistency. Pour evenly over crepe and bananas, allowing chocolate to drip over edges. Eat and swoon. 

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