ravenously

food.

Birthday dinner

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It was awesome seeing everyone who showed up (Mike, Curran, Matthew, Anna, Tim, Kathryn, Nick, Jessica, Sylvie, Sean, Kael, Liz, and Liz.)

Also, aside from the chicken and dairy products Rahul brought home from the Oscar Mayer store yesterday, I didn’t have to buy anything for this meal–it was all made from stuff I had in the pantry/fridge/yard.

Here’s what I cooked for my 32nd birthday (had the party on Saturday but my birthday’s on the following Wednesday this year):

Cheesecake cupcakes: (modified this recipe)

6 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
16 ounces sour cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar. Stir in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla. Spoon into cupcake pans to fill about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
To make the sour cream topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into the well on the top of each cupcake.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until set. Set cupcake pans on racks to cool, do not remove cupcakes from the pan until they are completely cool. For a finishing touch, you can add a dollop of your favorite pie filling on top.

Lime shortbread (basic recipe from Joy of Cooking with lime zest and juice and cocoa nibs added in)

Shrimp chips (deep-fried the way Mom used to make them, from the little clear, hard, plastic-like rounds that puff and curl in 2 seconds)

Cranberry-almond kasha
2 cups kasha
1 Tbsp butter
4 cups water
1/2 cup (?) frozen cranberries
1/2 cup (?) Trader Joe’s tamari almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced

Mince the garlic. Saute in the butter over medium heat until fragrant, then add the kasha and toast for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the water and cranberries, cover, and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the kasha is cooked through, then mix in the tamari almonds and minced scallion.

Chicken in coconut milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
1 large slice fresh ginger
4 large chicken breasts
1 can coconut milk
1 large (double-sized) can diced tomatoes
1/2 package Chinese black wood ear fungus
1 package dried Manzanita boletes
1 head black garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
Dried cilantro
1 cup baby carrots, cut into rounds
2 scallions, chopped
Fresh oregano, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Cumin
Nutmeg
3-4 dried curry leaves
4 small Thai bird peppers (or jalapenos), minced
Cooking wine

Cook the garlic, onions, ginger, and chicken breasts in the butter until they are starting to brown. Deglaze with a splash of cooking wine, then add the coconut milk, tomatoes, peppers, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and curry leaves. Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer.
Rehydrate the mushrooms in boiling water. Drain and chop any large pieces of mushroom to bite size, and add to the pot along with a splash of the mushroom cooking water. Add the baby carrots and black garlic.
Simmer till the chicken is cooked through, cutting it into bite-size pieces once it’s tender enough. Add the cilantro. I let the whole thing simmer probably 2 hours, till the sauce was reduced quite a bit, and then added the fresh oregano and scallions.

Beet and chestnut salad
1 package cooked, peeled beets
1 package cooked, peeled chestnuts
1/3 small yellow onion
Apple cider vinegar
1 scallion
Toasted sesame oil
Salt
Fresh mint leaves

Mince the onion and leave to soak in the apple cider vinegar while you prepare the other ingredients.
Dice the beets and chestnuts, mince the scallion and mint, and add the onion with a splash of vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil. Season to taste with the salt. Mix together and serve.

Bean dip with veggies (modified from Cook’s Illustrated recipe)
1 24-ounce jar Great Northern beans
1/4 cup fresh curly parsley
2 scallions
2 limes
2 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and rinsed
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat)
Salt
Pepper
Ground coriander
Chili sesame oil

Mince the garlic and lime zest and leave to macerate in the lime juice while preparing the other ingredients.
Reserve 3 Tbsp of the bean liquid, then drain and rinse the rest of the beans. Add the beans, liquid, peas, yogurt, parsley, garlic mixture, seasonings, and the white and light green parts of the scallions to the food processor. Blend until smooth. Garnish with the green part of the scallions, chopped, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, baby bell peppers.

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Written by orata

April 15, 2012 at 1:06 am

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