Monday, April 03, 2006

Birthday Party = Lots of Food

Saturday, April 1st, was my 25th birthday and my uncle's 55th. To celebrate I invited the whole family up to my house. The plan for the party was a casual get together with lots of good food and good drinks. I think I succeeded.

The food plan was to have a wide variety of appetizers. There were simple snacks like chips and vegetables (with homemade dips) and then slightly more elaborate hot foods. The vegetables were all purchased fresh from the West Side Market on Friday morning and I washed, cut, blanched (the ones that required it), and arranged them all. The hot foods consisted of skewered chicken (with either a Thai peanut sauce or an Italian basalmic sauce), mini hamburgers, sausage cheese balls, savory parmesan bites, and mini-new potato bites. A few of the foods have links to the Kraft Foods website where I got a lot of my inspiration. The plan for the vegie tray was in my America's Test Kitchen cookbook (which is highly recommended!) and the skewered chicken and mini-burgers were my own creations.

Everyone really liked the mini-burgers and they were the first food to run out. To make the burgers I used an 80/20 beef to which I added some French onion soup mix and some bacon fat (the bacon was required for the potato bites and bacon fat adds a lot of flavor so I figured why not splurge). I cooked the small burgers on the griddle until they were mostly done then placed each patty on a brown-and-serve roll that had been cut in half and topped with colby cheese. The burgers were then tossed into the oven to finish cooking and let the buns brown up. The end result was some really tasty little burgers.

The chicken was fairly simple too. I cut up breast meat into strips and marinated them in either the peanut sauce or the balsamic sauce. The peanut sauce had peanut butter, peanut oil, water, ginger, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and a few other spices. The balsamic sauce was a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, water, salt, pepper, rosemary, and spices. Both batches of chicken marinated overnight. In an ideal case I would have grilled the chicken but since I was making a lot and didn't have the time to stand by the grill I baked the skewered chicken. Everyone seemed to really enjoy these too.

There was a wide variety of drinks for the party but the one that stood out the most was a new rum by Bacardi. It called Ciclon and is infused with Agave Tequila and Lime. When I saw it at the store it looked interesting so I picked up the bottle. And as it turns out, it tastes really good. I thought it was best mixed with a lemon lime soda but my dad preferred it as a shot. He was encouraging others to give it a try too.

And I almost forgot to mention the cake. As I continue to master my skills at cake baking I made this cake. The whole cake was iced in buttercream icing and then I colored a bit of the icing blue for decoration. The border around the cake came out looking nice but my hand writing with icing needs major work. One evening I should put together a small batch of icing and just practice writing. But, back to the cake; the cake is half chocolate and half vanilla and was filled with vanilla pudding (the cooked variety, not instant). The pan I used was an 11x14" pan which I think is a half-sheet size. Everyone enjoyed it and many went back for seconds (or thirds).

By the end of the evening very little food (and Ciclon) remained. There was one piece of the parmesan bites and some vegetables left as well as some cake. I was wore out, but it was worth it. I think everyone had a fun time and that was my goal.

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At 6:02 PM, Blogger tim said...

I'm in love with your blog! This post gave me several ideas for an upcoming event. Thanks! Keep cooking.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Jeremiah Scott said...

Tim, Im glad to see that you like the stuff I've been making. If you (or anyone else) would like more info about anything on here, just let me know.

At 12:30 PM, Blogger holly_44109 said...

Your birthday party food all looks great! I love do to a bunch of appetizers like that - i think it's a great way to entertain.


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