A meal fit for Tom's 39th

My dear, spring chicken husband turned 39 yesterday. 39 sounds different my side of 40, but I'm cool with it. Other than the presence of the Vulgar Talking Yam, I have loved every bit of turning and being 40.

But anyway, Tom.

Because we went away and celebrated for the long weekend, I admit to y'all that when I realized, Monday night, that the next day was his actual birthday, I was a bit shocked. Like, it occurred to me that I always cook T a birthday meal and wanted to do so again this year, but I don't usually wing it so dramatically.

Which is why it is crucial to have high-quality, tasty ingredients in your freezer, fridge, and pantry. Staples, if you will. I didn't have to buy a single thing for this evening, and voila!

EntreeThe Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella

 ready for the oven

ready for the oven

 cooked!

cooked!

Have y'all ever had this dish? My aunt Wendy used to make it regularly (or what seemed like regularly to me), and I always adored it. The chicken and prunes, wine and olives, bay leaves and garlic, capers and brown sugar all meld together in such a savory, pleasurable way. Mamma mia!

Prunes, bay leaves, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano: pantry
Olives, capers: fridge
Chicken: freezer

Sides: A festive winter salad and some cinnamon and bay pearled couscous all the better to sop Marbella sauce with.

 Can you even? Blood oranges, Sumo mandarins, satsumas, lettuces, olive oil, aged Balsamic, salt and pepper

Can you even? Blood oranges, Sumo mandarins, satsumas, lettuces, olive oil, aged Balsamic, salt and pepper

 pearled couscous with shallots, cinnamon, a bay leaf, salt, lemon zest

pearled couscous with shallots, cinnamon, a bay leaf, salt, lemon zest

Lettuce, butter: fridge
Balsamic, olive oil, couscous, shallots, herbs: pantry
Oranges: counter top

Dessert: Blackberry Pie because T is trying to be healthful 

 The boys chose tool candles because "Daddy can fix anything!"

The boys chose tool candles because "Daddy can fix anything!"

Blackberries: freezer
Flour, oil, salt, sugar, corn starch: pantry
Milk: fridge