I am soooo happy the weather is warmer. I will blame my new found biking freedom on the lack of blogging lately, and leave it at that 🙂
I hope to make it up by posting the menu and some recipes for the birthday party I am throwing for my partner this week. It is going to be mind blowing (well, I hope…..I did promise that the food would bring “unimaginable joys” – is that too tall an order?)
I started cooking a week or two ago, braising a whole pork shoulder in a spicy soy, ginger, fermented bean paste marinade. I sliced the meat and reduced the braising liquid down to a glaze. This, along with spicy tofu for the veggies in the crowd, will go into Vietnamese tacos with pickled carrots, cabbage, cilantro and jalapenos, with a drizzle of sweet and spicy chili aioli.
I also started the ice in advance, since I can only make one batch per 24 hour period (due to having to re-freeze the canister of my ice-cream machine). All told, I made a salted caramel ice cream (the clear favorite so far), an espresso ice cream with chocolate ganache chunks, and a blueberry-strawberry-cabernet sorbet (I got the idea from a co-worker who brought that in for a potluck once – so good!). I will also be making a rhubarb pudding cake and a blueberry cobbler to go with.
The food-food will be mostly apps and such. I just pulled a batch of grissini out of the oven (long thin breadsticks) which I will wrap with prosciutto and possibly tuck in a leaf or two of basil or arugula. I’ll be doing a flatbread topped with Indian-spiced mustard greens, sweet potato-kimchi pancakes, zucchini-dill-feta fritters (as seen previously on this blog), dates stuffed with manchego and wrapped in bacon and caramelized onion and smoked gouda quesadillas. Although there are 3 pork dishes (as requested), I made sure to do the majority of the food with no meat – the only dish without a veggie option will be the grissini, so I think we’ll be fine. I’ve also been brewing a big batch (4 bottles of wine) of sangria and some citrus-spice rum punch. I’ve bottled up some extra ginger-spice syrup as prizes for a silly game I’ve got planned as well.
I have spent quite a bit of time taste-testing, so hopefully I’ll still have my appetite come party-time. I’ll post the recipes that seem to be “winners” after the party.