Husband’s 40th Birthday Bash

Party kicked off at 6 p.m. and didn’t end until well after midnight.

Food was demolished.

My voice was hoarse the next day from laughing so hard.

Nobody up-chucked, choked, went into anaphylaxis or spurted drink out of their noses (although this last one is often a sign of party success).

And my husband pronounced it, “the best party ever.”

We had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed ushering in my husband’s 40th year with such a fabulous group of people.

The evening started off with jellied gin gimlets concocted by my dear friend and apparently mixologist (who knew?) Christina. These were absolutely delicious and fun to pass around as people walked through the door. We also snacked on roasted red pepper dip and Vietnamese summer rolls — big hit! Thank you Mekong!

Summer Rolls from Mekong Delta

Summer Rolls from Mekong Delta

Jellied Gin Gimlets

Jellied Gin Gimlets

Roasted red pepper dip

Roasted red pepper dip

It’s hard to compete with squares o’ jellied alcohol and spring rolls, but the Chinese BBQ pork was also scarfed up, as it always is. This dish was actually part of the first home-cooked meal I ever made for my then boyfriend/now husband while we were dating. It was lick-your-fingers worthy back then and still is. Make it! Make it! Make it!  I wish we had pictures but we were having entirely too much fun and by the time we remembered to whip out a camera, piggy was gone. Well, not entirely gone. I squirreled away some leftover oinker to ensure we had some to enjoy the next day. Oops, hostess party foul. 🙂

Apparently the soba noodle salad with peanut dressing packed some fiery heat, but that certainly didn’t deter anyone from digging in for seconds. One of our guests actually said (mid-forkful mind you), “my ass is going to fall out tomorrow, but it’s sooo good and sooo worth it.” Don’t let this proclamation scare you off, however. You can easily decrease the spice if you wish, although I personally don’t recommend it. And actually, the recipe as written isn’t very spicy at all, I added the extra kick.

Party-goers also enjoyed coconut rice, Thai spicy ground chicken and a delightful and aromatic clay pot Singapore chicken courtesy of the mixologist’s other half, Chuck. Fantastic food all the way around.

And then came dessert. My go-to baker and dessert whiz Erin out-did herself.  She produced decadent dark chocolate ganache raspberry brownies and piles and piles of chocolate chip cookies — the birthday boy’s favorites. Both desserts are equally dangerous to have in the house. For some reason, however, both my husband and I keep “forgetting” to take the remainder to our respective offices. Yeah right. Let’s face it, we’re hogging them.

Husband's Favorite

Husband’s Favorite

Weekly Menu — 4/27/2013

Week of April 27th

Saturday night is my husband’s 40th birthday bash and we are hosting a dinner & game party for 16 — whew. 🙂 I am going with an Asian theme per my dear husband’s request so expect to see a large menu for Saturday. I am trying to stick with simple dishes that can be made ahead of time so I can play with our friends rather than be stuck in the kitchen. So what’s on tap for the remainder of the week? An easy and tentative menu based on any party leftovers and how much (or how little) I feel like being in the kitchen.

Saturday:
  • Asian summer rolls with peanut sauce: I won’t easily part with my peanut sauce recipe. In fact, I am not going to. I have spent years perfecting this sauce and could eat it with a spoon. YUM. So, you’ll have to bribe me, feed me, ply me with good wine or tempt me with jewelry (I don’t say no to diamonds or Tiffany’s) to get my spicy peanut sauce recipe. I will confess, however, that although I have made my own spring rolls many times, I am not going to go to the trouble for this party. We are getting a platter from our favorite Vietnamese restaurant instead. I’ll just swap out their peanut sauce for my own. 
  • Roasted red pepper dip with rice crackers & crudites: This is a fast, easy and delicious appetizer. I don’t bother with the white bread the recipe calls for as it really doesn’t need it. I also sometimes add feta for a creamier dip or hot pepper flakes or harissa for a spicy kick. Or both! Make it your own. Leftovers are great on sandwiches. 
  • Chinese BBQ pork loin with garlic dipping sauce: This dish always gets gobbled up. It’s great for parties as it’s even better at room temperature, so make it ahead and enjoy your guests. 
  • Thai spicy ground chicken with toasted rice
  • Coconut rice: Simply toss freshly steamed rice with toasted coconut flakes and chopped cilantro. You can even simmer the rice in coconut milk instead of water if you wish. 
  • Soba noodle salad: Toss cooled noodles with peanut sauce (thinned with soy sauce and lime juice) and any slivered or julienned vegetables you have on hand. I like to add colorful bell peppers, carrots and sugar snap peas. Toss in fresh Thai basil, cilantro and mint just before serving and top with chopped peanuts. Delicious cold or at room temp. 
  • Spicy cabbage salad with garlic & lime
  • Dessert — thankfully, somebody else offered to bring this

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Sunday:
  • Farmer’s market menu: basically whatever looks delicious this morning at the farmer’s market. Something simple. 

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Monday:
  • Chicken-tortilla soup with all the fixings: My friend and fellow cook and dirty martini drinker Eryn passed this recipe along to me. She recommends adding more spice, but says it’s definitely worth a re-make and makes great lunches the next day. Cheers Eryn! 
  • Simple green salad

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Tuesday:
  • Party leftovers, hopefully

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Wednesday:
  • Poached eggs over roasted mushrooms
  • Green salad

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Thursday:
  • Leftover tortilla soup

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Friday:
  • Date night — out to dinner we go!

African Adobo-Rubbed Tuna Steaks

Show-stopper alert! I have made this dish so many times I can now do it without the recipe at hand. This dish never fails to impress. Not only are the flavors and textures an incredible mix of fresh citrus, heady spices, cool crunch and creaminess, but the dish plates beautifully. Once the adobo spice mixture is made (I often double the batch to keep some on hand in my spice cabinet), the dish comes together fast, so don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. I urge you to make this dish now and don’t hesitate to serve it to company. You will not regret it. In fact, once you have tasted this spectacular combination, you will make it over and over again all summer long. Enjoy!

Seared Tuna Fresh off the Grill -- Yeah Husband!

Seared Tuna Fresh off the Grill — Yeah Husband!

Plated Adobo Tuna

Plated Adobo Tuna

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