Saturday, March 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday (Friday) was my birthday. It has now been 27 years since my mother interrupted my father, who was watching a movie about cave men, to go to the hospital. 27 years since that know-it-all nurse got the smackdown from my Grandma Hedwig. At least I like to think of it as a smackdown. If you want to know the story, you can ask my mom (haha).

Anyway, what better way to celebrate my birthday than to try a new recipe for beer-battered cod (which I have never made before), and cooking for nearly 20 people? There is NO better way, says I! The menu (sans pictures, since my hands were WAY too messy):

Chips and Homemade Salsa - I am on a quest to find the perfect salsa for Paul. I used PW's Restaurant Style Salsa recipe, except I used mostly fresh Roma tomatoes instead of canned. Yay for fresh tomatoes! I did use one can of Rotel, since I love the green chile flavor. One step closer! Next time I am going to use less than one whole jalapeno (or maybe a smaller one than I used this time), and try green onions instead of yellow. We'll see how it goes.

Beer-battered cod - I have very little experience cooking fish. Much less frying fish. Much less frying fish in beer batter. Much less frying fish in beer batter for lots of people. So while I way overestimated how much fish I would need, it was good because some may have gotten a little...overdone. I used this recipe that I found on a blog about English food. It was pretty darn tasty. I also discovered that the electric frying pan works much better for this than one on a stove top. More consistent results. So I will use that exclusively next time I make beer-battered cod.

Roasted Potato Wedges - These have become a favorite in my house lately. Really easy, really tasty, and really flexible. Another PW recipe, of course. They were not crispy unfortunately, having spent some time keeping warm in the oven, but still tasted good. I would like to try traditional chips with the fish next time though.

Green salad - Just some green leaf lettuce with various toppings to choose from. Nothing fancy, but I love salad lately. Especially with red bell peppers. Mmmm. Thanks Dad for cutting everything!

French bread - Compliments of Mike Pable, thank you, sir.

Red Velvet Cupcakes - Bakerella came through for me on this one. I took her Red Velvet Cake recipe she just posted recently, and used it to make cupcakes. (If you're interested, bake time was about 20-22 minutes, and you could probably get away with half the frosting, I had a ton leftover). Thank you, Brian, for frosting the cupcakes for me! I didn't realize at first just how much 2 ounces of food coloring is. Those little bottles? Only 0.25 ounces. I had two of them handy, so I ended up with 0.5 ounces in the recipe instead of 2. Still turned out red, just not as deep red as Bakerella's pretty pictures. But it didn't really matter because they still tasted great! I fell in love with red velvet cake after having one of Coldstone's ice cream cakes - where they layer red velvet cake with cake batter ice cream. Super yum! And super yum again for these cupcakes.

In addition to tasty food, I also acquired some much-needed cooking implements for my kitchen. Paul got me a meat tenderizer, so next time I make Chicken Parmigiana I can really pound those puppies flat! No, not puppies. Chicken breast. He also got me a candy/oil thermometer, which will come in handy next time I make...beer-battered cod! Or marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are good. Papae got me a wooden cutting board, which is substantially bigger than the plastic one I have been using. Hallelujah! That will make my chopping/mincing/slicing much easier. The book of crock pot recipes from Deb and Clint will come in handy as I try to expand my slow-cooking repertoire. And the fancy cake platters from my parents means that I won't have to present my baking masterpieces on my dingy plates anymore!

It was a great evening, and nice to spend time with family. I wish I had something philosophical to say about aging, but baby #2 is kicking me in the ribs and the bladder at the same time. Makes it a little hard to have a contemplative moment. I'll get back to you on that...maybe next year :-)

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