Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A 30th Wedding Anniversary Menu and A Winner for the Giveaway!

So I don't date myself too much here, not MY 30th wedding anniversary, but rather a 30th wedding anniversary party that my parents and I hosted for my aunt and uncle who got married on the same day as my birthday. I was a bratty flower girl at their wedding, and as a surprise to me, they rolled out a birthday cake onto the reception floor which I got to cut, and then I graciously returned the favor by throwing a tantrum for all their wedding gifts.

My aunt, the young bride, who was probably exasperated with me at that point for stealing their thunder, steely bartered one gift to me in exchange for good behavior. Thinking I had won the duel, I smartly marched up and selected the largest and shiniest gift box, only to open it up and find a three speed metal blender.


As pay back, I threw them an impromptu little party last week because my parents were in town unseasonably and my mom always complains how she never gets to do anything for her little sister's anniversary.
Since I now pretty much exclusively cook out of all your blogs, this turned out to be another installment of I Ate Your Food, and since I needed to post my giveaway winner..I rolled it all into one post! Scroll down for the winner...yes, I am evil that way.

Here is the menu that my mom and I drummed up for the party. Our idea was to re-create their wedding reception menu, which none of us could actually remember. Yes, I remember my STEEL BLENDER but failed to remember other details of the evening. My dad vaguely described roast chicken, potatoes and salad and so we ran with it:

Lentil Soup With Sauteed Scallops
Garlic Rolls
Hearts of Palm Salad With Cilantro Vinaigrette
Flavors of India Roasted Cornish Hens With Carrots, Celery and Leeks
Hasselback Potatoes
Broiled Salmon with Spicy Mushroom Sauce and Saffron Rice
Lemon Coconut Cake with Raspberry Preserves

As is the case with all meals, as the dinner progressed, I got caught up and couldn't take pictures of all the items, so I'm just leaving a link to the master recipes that I used =(.
But as is always the case, many thanks to all the talented bloggers out there whose recipes I use with much success.

My only note would be to serve this soup piping hot. I tried to use a soup warmer thingy seen in the pic that I had bought, and it ended up not working right, so my soup reached the table barely warm, a point my loud guests noted quickly. Grrr....

Garlic Rolls - the detailed and step-by-step instructions on Suhaina and Nag's Edible Garden blogs are testament enough. These were killer rolls, perfect in every way and my favorite part of the meal!

Hearts of Palm Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette - adapted from Food and Wine magazine Recipe by Carolina Buia and Isabel González.
2/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped (subst. for shallots) 
juice of 1 lemon 
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar (subst. for honey) 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

2 clementine/oranges, peeled and sliced into segments (pith removed) 
1 14-ounce jar of hearts of palm, drained and sliced 
2 bunches Romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried and chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
a few grape tomatoes, halved
1.In a blender, combine the ingredients for the dressing except olive oil and salt and pepper. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
2. Toss together all ingredients for the salad, serve immediately with dressing.

Flavors of India Roasted Cornish Hens With Carrots, Celery and Leeks - I adapted this recipe from Whole Foods website.
I substituted Cornish hens (one per two guests) and the recipe came out perfect.  I added 2 cups each chopped carrots, leeks and celery to the roasting pan with the hens and served the veggies alongside the meat. They still took a good 1.5 - 2 hours to cook, but came out moist and flavorful.

Broiled Salmon with Spicy Mushroom Sauce and Saffron Rice - again entirely sourced from Bong Mom's Cookbook.
I've made this recipe several times now, and I love the mushroom sauce that goes with the easy to bake salmon.

Hasselback Potatoes - these truly deserve their own post, but here is some eye candy to enjoy in the meantime. I adapted the recipe from Seasaltwithfood and added flavored ranch butter to the potatoes as they baked.
They need to be served right away, which I made a mistake on, I made them well in advance, so they lost some of their appeal when sitting out and growing cold.

..and finally dessert. I had to make them cake, in honor for my cake all those years ago, so I chose Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake, which truly was perfect in every single way. What a keeper of a recipe. I ran out of time with this item, so instead of buttercream icing, I just used whipped cream both in the filling and to cover the cake.

Apologies for zero pictures, I kick myself for not grabbing my camera before everything was chopped up and eaten!
And now for the winner of my first ever blog giveaway. The $40 gift card goes to comment #....

........1! As pronounced by random number generator - that is Divya all the way in India who blogs at Easycooking. Congratulations Divya, and thanks to all who participated!

To be honest, I always though the first and last comments were unlucky as they stood no chance against all the other numbers, but I guess that proved my theory wrong! Bang, the first comment got selected, early bird gets the the form of a gift card =).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's My Birthday and I'll Have a Giveaway If I Want To....

Because it's my birthday....

I didn't make this cake for my birthday by the way, I made it for the last Wilton Course #2 I attended. But I'm mighty  proud of it.

And because Christmas is around the corner. And I finally got the tree up....

...And because I just realized this is my 101-st post....

One of you bloggers out there will win a $40 email gift card.

Funded by me.

Because even though I use a lot, A LOT, they have no clue who I am.

But I thought I should use them for my party.

Now I know giveaways are supposed to attract readership, so everyone does the multiple Twitter and Facebook re-post and re-tweets and yada-yada postings tied to their giveaways, but frankly, I tried Twitter and couldn't stand it, and I have been too thick or dense to attach my blog to Facebook yet.

Instead I thought this giveaway should just be for other bloggers out there who took the time to stop by and leave a comment about what they would buy if they were the winner.
So make sure you mention your blog name, so I can pay you a visit in return.

Easy peasy.
No twitter, tweets, toots, no multiple comments.

And thank you to all those bloggers out there who give me unlimited amounts of reading pleasure, I really and truly have learnt so much from so many of you.

** Re-post - this giveaway is now closed. Thanks for all the entries =) **
Rules -
1. Only one entry per person, please. Duplicates will be deleted.
2. This giveaway is open till midnight CST Monday December 20th, 2010.
3. ONE winner will be picked randomly using random number generator and contacted via email on Tuesday December 21st. If the person does not respond within 36 hours, another winner will be picked...and so on.....
4. The prize is a $40 gift card that will be emailed to the winner. According to the website, the gift card can only be used on and not on it's other sites like,,,, You are eligible if you think this is appropriate for you. 
5. The prize is funded by me. Just because.....I love blogging =)