Although many of us pretend to forget our birthdays as we grow older, in point of fact all we really do is forget how old we're getting to be - funny thing, that. But our natal date is inscribed in our brains and so should be celebrated. After all, it often seems like the world is out to kill us and many of us never thought we'd live this long. I'm already (mumble) old. So even though I'm too old for parties, when my B'day rolls around I pull out all the stops and cook something special.
Appetizer - Parmesan Crisps: Ready in 15 minutes, these darlings are better than crackers and a cheese-lover's delight. Be sure to use genuine Parmigiano Reggiano because the quality of the ingredients really counts here.
Entree and Sides - Salmon in Parchment: Think of this meal as a birthday present in it's own right. Salmon, slices of potato, and sugar snap peas are seasoned with dill, vermouth, butter, and lemon juice, then wrapped in parchment and baked to perfection. Cut a slit in the top and let the birthday boy or girl tear it open themselves.
Dessert - Apple Crisp: Sure, a cake is traditional, but this crisp is exceptional and there's no reason you can't stick a few candles in it. Although the recipe calls for apples, with a bit of adjustment it's equally good with blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and even rhubarb (although if you use rhubarb you'll need to increase the sugar a good bit).