Monday, July 25, 2011

Steph's Birthday Celebration

Stephanie and David came into town on Friday night so we could celebrate Steph's birthday on Saturday. We started our day with fresh bagels from Einstein's with an assortment of cream cheese and a fruit platter of freshly sliced mango, pineapple and strawberries. A lovely and easy way to start the day.

Steph chose curried chicken salad (a Barefoot Contessa recipe) that we have had before. You start with skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves that get rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled generously with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven for 40 minutes. When it cooled enough to handle, I removed the skin and bones and cut the meat into chunks. The dressing was made with mayo, white wine, Major Grey's chutney, and curry powder. I added chopped celery, scallions and a handful of raisins. I mixed it well and refrigerated it until serving time. I actually made the chicken salad on Friday, so it made lunch time a breeze. We had it in pita breads with an assortment of chips. She chose Rice pudding for dessert which was interesting. For the record, I am not a rice pudding fan. I have tried it once or twice and it just doesn't work for me. I got on the food network site and found a rather simple recipe that had 5 stars and decided to make that one. The recipe served 4 people and since there were 11 of us, I tripled the recipe. I followed the recipe to a tee except for the last step of cooking until slightly thickened and silky. I did not take into account the fact that it would further thicken as it cooled in the refrigerator. We ended up with a huge bowl of really thick rice. It was flavorful and I did try to thin it out with more milk but overall I don't think anyone will be requesting this one again.

Dinner was Samosas stuffed with the traditional spicy potato and pea filling and fried until golden brown served with two different chutneys. They were yummy! I finally have the dough for the samosas mastered (YEAH). The entree was Chicken Tikka Masala and I tinkered with that recipe which was not as successful as I hoped it would be. I have used crushed tomatoes in the past and found that it came out a little too heavy on tomatoes, so this time I decided to use a container of strained tomatoes and I kept adding water to try to get the right consistency. It turned out a little too thin so I will need to tinker with the recipe again. My plan is to tinker with it for just me and Gerry instead of a table of 10. I served it with Cumin-Scented Rice and Naan bread that I found at an Indian market. We ended the day's food choices with the classic Canadian Brown Sugar Pie.

My lesson for the day was not to tinker too much with recipes when cooking for a crowd. Most of the food was really good and it was a great day celebrating Stephanie.

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