Serious birthday dining

Today is Diane’s birthday, and so, as usual, we’ve invited some friends over for dinner and New Year’s Eve TV-watching.

Diane does most of the cooking (somehow, this seems unfair, but no one ever said life was fair); she made “Michelle’s Chicken” (from the IBM Research cookbook), Butternut Squash with Ginger, and Amaretto Carrots, all of which were delicious.

I made dessert; at Alwin’s recommendation, I made the “Simple Chocolate Sheet Cake” from America’s Test Kitchen. But, rather than make the Creamy Milk Chocolate Frosting that went with it, I chose Hershey’s “Especially Dark” frosting on the theory that a dark chocolate cake deserves dark chocolate frosting (that, and the fact that I’d’ve had to buy a whole bottle of Karo Syrup for two spoonfuls if I wanted to do the milk chocolate frosting). The consensus at the table was that this was a good decision — even Sam, who’s not a chocolate person, had a slice (though he didn’t have seconds, so I failed to convert him). I inadvertently modified the frosting recipe by omitting the vanilla (the phone was ringing a lot as I was making the frosting), but no one seemed to mind.

The diet starts tomorrow.

Happy New Year!