Matt's birthday was on St Patrick's day. It always is, of course, so we always make him green pancakes for breakfast.
This year the kids served him his breakfast wearing the ties we got him for a present.
But the REAL present was that we cleaned out the garage for him. It took ALL day the day before his birthday. We never cleaned out our garage before we even moved into our house and the previous owners had left behind some real trash. Add to that all the junk we've thrown in there over the last 2 years and we hardly had room to park our one car in our 2-car garage! So, it was an epic day. Cleaning it with me actually wore Samuel out which I didn't think could happen. He kept saying to me: "can't I even get a REST!....ANY kind of REST!?"
So then the big guy put on his new greenish tie (for St Patty's day) and went to work.
And then the real fun began.
I cooked for about 8 hours that day! We started with my mom's recipe for Oreo Ice Cream dessert (Matt's favorite). You mix a can of evaporated milk with 4 squares of baker's chocolate and a cup of sugar until it's boiling. Then you boil it for 8 minutes stirring constantly. This is the top layer.
Then, while that is cooling, (and it MUST cool all the way) you chop up (or bang up in a bag) an entire bag of oreos. This is for the first layer. As in, it is the crust. You mix that with a stick of melted butter and then press it into the bottom of a 13X9 pan.
I happened to get OREO brand but you can use the store generic and it's just as good.
Then you take a BOX of vanilla ice cream (1/2 gallon) and slice it into 1/2 inch slices until you have covered the oreo crust in the pan. Mush it up until it's one smooth layer.
Then, after freezing that for a while (to keep the ice cream from getting too melty) you put your TOTALLY cooled chocolate topping on the top and then cover in peanuts if you so desire. I forgot to take a picture of the end result, but I found this one online. This is pretty much what it looks like except that this one seemed to use a peanut butter ice cream or something.
But that was just the beginning of my cooking. I then attempted to make Julia Child's beef bourguignon which is an epic recipe apparently. It took forever and had about 18 steps. I won't give the whole recipe here because if you want to make it, you can see it here: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/beef_bourguignon/. But really, don't do it.
This was cooking the pork belly.
Then there was browning the meat.
"Searing" it, to be exact.
Then, things just got out of control. There was tomato paste and wine and cognac and tiny chopped carrots and large chopped carrots....
...and pearl onions which had to be blanched and then peeled (after soaking them in ice water)....
....and mushrooms to be chopped and sauteed, (except, after that I removed them altogether...we just needed the "essence" of them because Matt doesn't really like mushrooms).
And then it boiled and simmered and it went on and on....
....until it was done.
And then we ate it with friends.
And then we had the dessert. Happy Birthday Matt! We love you. And next year, I promise to go grab a sack of White Castle hamburgers for your birthday instead so you don't have to watch the kids for 3 hours after work and listen to me cry while I finish "surprising" you with this fabulous dinner.