Four Course Meal – Part Two

Here is the continuation of Michael’s 36th Birthday Four Course Meal. Part One can be read here. It feels like an Academy Award speech! First, Happy Birthday Michael! Second, thank you Andy for your help!

It was important to me to try some new recipes and also be able to time everything right. I really appreciate all the help my brother gave me planning this meal.


Third Course

Pasta with Broccolini, Pickled Goat Horn Peppers and Goat Cheese

Pasta with Broccolini, Pickled Goat Horn Peppers and Goat Cheese
1 lb dried short pasta
1 bunch of broccolini
1 lemon’s zest
2 Tbs pickled goat horn peppers, (and a little of their oil)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Parmesan for garnish

Do you know how hard it was to track down “Pickled Goat Horn Peppers?” I was at a loss–Googling it, asking every foodie I know for a suggestion on what it was and where to find it–to no avail. Then I asked my friend Star. She asked HER friend who happens to be a chef at Gino’s in Sellwood. He knew exactly what it was and where to find it: New Seasons! I stopped by it and after much searching I found the Pickled Goat Horn Peppers! Score!

The pasta dish was really simple and luckily I timed everything correctly. I blanched the broccolini and once the pasta was cooked I mixed in all the ingredients. The ham was heating in the oven and it was almost ready as well. I started making the Madeira Sauce. I’d never used a shallot before so that was a new experience for me.


Ham with Madeira Sauce

from my Brother Andy

1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbls.)
1 cup Madeira
1 Tbls. minced fresh parsley leaves
1 Tbls. minced fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbls. Dijon mustard
1 Tbls. juice from 1 lemon
(Go easy on the lemon juice, it is really easy to over lemon things.)
3 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened
Salt and ground black pepper

Set skillet over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 1 minute. Add Madeira; increase heat to high. Simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, whisk in parsley, thyme, mustard, lemon juice, and butter until butter has melted and sauce is slightly thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Andy’s Wine Suggestion: Burgundy/Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, A young Zinfandel.

Lisa’s Wine Purchase: Rascal Pinot Noir (Oregon)

The third course (the main course) was perfect. Everything was delicious and flavorful. I was so happy they had turned out after the fail of a soup.

The Madeira sauce went perfectly with the ham. The shallots and mustard were mild but complimented the ham very well. The pasta dish was good. The Goat Horn Peppers were a spicy surprise in the dish that was unexpected but amusing. I didn’t get enough goat cheese (note: pay attention to recipes when buying ingredients!) but the pasta wasn’t lacking anything as a result.

The Pinot Noir was a lucky buy too. It was mild for a Pinot Noir and did not overpower any of the flavors in the main dish. I was so happy I had selected the right wine.

I will definitely be making this pasta and ham dish again!

Michael loved the dish too, so that made me happy. I redeemed myself after the soup! He opened some more presents and we chatted and laughed over our wine. I had one glass of the Pinot.


Fourth Course

Cheese and toasted walnuts.

Cheese: Colston Bassett Stilton, Pyrenees Green Peppercorn, and Cana de Oveja.

Andy’s Wine Suggestion: Port (specifically Otima Tawny Port 10 year or Fonseca)

Lisa’s Wine Purchase: Penfold’s Club Tawny Port

Michael was surprised about the “dessert” course. There was no chocolate! I thought this was a different thing for us to experience and he enjoyed it as the last course. He loves cheese.

The Stilton was powerful. I thought that one would be Michael’s favorite because he likes blue cheese so much but he said he preferred it on salads. The other two cheeses I bought were a major hit though. The smooth, creamy textures and the mild flavors were outstanding. The toasted walnuts were a great combination with the cheese.

I’m not a fan of dessert wines as a general rule. The Port was STRONG. Not only was 18% alcohol it was decadently sweet. Holy Moly. But surprisingly the Port went really well with the nutty and cheesy flavors! I had half a serving of the Port wine because it was just so strong. And it all hit me at the end of the meal. Check back later for the “outtakes.” Haha!

QUESTION: Have you ever attempted something complicated and involved like this? Would you?





Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

12 thoughts on “Four Course Meal – Part Two”

  1. Why, yes, I’d be happy to come over and help you finish off the port! 🙂

    Happy Birthday to Michael! You should be so proud of yourself for trying so many new things at once. That’s huge!

    The pasta looks awesome, and even though we don’t eat ham I bet that sauce would also be good on chicken. The whole meal looks delicious (though I’ll take your word for it on the soup). Congrats!

    1. I bet chicken would work well with it. Or turkey.

      If you want the rest of that Port I will gladly save it for you and give it to you when we see you! I doubt either of us will be drinking it. Holy moly!

  2. I love that you did a cheese course at the end! I *LOVE* getting this in restaurants. I’ll take cheese over chocolate any day of the week!

    1. I knew Michael would like the cheese course instead of a “real” dessert. It’s not necessarily for me. I’d much prefer a decadent chocolate SOMETHING but this was fun! It was different and the Port was sweet enough that there’s no way I could have had chocolate with it.

  3. Normally, I don’t eat pork. However, reading through this I got so excited about the ham I had to stop and call my husband! It looks so yummy and I can honestly say this is the first time ever that I have even considered cooking ham for my own consumption! Hubby got so excited at the idea of eating pork he agreed before I fulling described it to him!
    For a girl who doesn’t cook, you are shaping up to be quite the lil’ chef!
    Great job on you meal!
    Happy Birthday to Michael as well.

    1. Thank you for the cheer Christi! You know how to brighten a girl’s day. 😉

      I HATED ham for years. Like for years. Even after I gave up my vegetarian ways and started eating meat again I still avoided ham. Then I had some baked ham at a friend’s Christmas party (with the cherries and pineapple) and thought, “Maybe I need to reconsider my hatred of ham.” I was slowly converted. I like it now and it’s such a light meat that it goes with everything and I don’t feel like I’m unhealthy when I eat it.

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