Friday, May 8, 2009

Ben's birthday bash

Today was Ben's birthday and he wanted a party and I aim to please. It was a good week of preparation here and there with most of Wednesday and all of Friday spent on party-related stuff.

Beverages were easy: Beer, Soda, Seltzer, Juice, and people brought wine.

Appetizer: Cheeses from the share and crackers

Marinated grilled steak from Epicurious
Peppers and onions for fajitas - I just cut them and cooked them at high heat in a little oil
Tortillas (I bought these, I'm not completely insane)
Refried beans (Just followed the directions on the back of the pinto bean can)
Grated cheese
Fresh salsa
Green chile salsa
Corn chips
Cilantro potato salad from Epicurious
Baked beans
Fresh pineapple (it just looked good)

Carrot Cake from Epicurious
Rice Krispy Treats (recipe from the box)

The recipes: Marinated Steak from Epicurious

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast with Tequila Marinade

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup tequila
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 2-pound beef loin tri-tip roasts, trimmed

I followed the recipe for the marinade pretty much as is. I couldn't find tr-tip roasts so I subbed two flank steak and 4 lbs of some other steak. I marinaded it for about 24 hours even though the recipe calls for only about 2 hours. I outsourced the grilling to a more capable person and this was terrific. Many thumbs up!

I'm not giving the recipe for the potato salad because I won't be making it again. It was ok, but not good enough that I'll make it again. Part of the problem was that the potatoes I used were from the share and they were red all the way though. People thought it was ham or some other type of meat.


This started as a recipe in Mark Bittman's book "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" but I didn't really measure anything and it's different than his recipe. This went over very well and sadly, there are no leftovers.

6 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
About 1 c minced red onion
Juice and zest from 2 1/2 limes
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced

Mix well.

Fresh Salsa

No real recipe on this but here is it, approximately

8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and chopped
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of two limes

Mix well

Green Chili Salsa

I completely made this one up and it was pretty good. I didn't like it as much as the other salsa though.

2 small cans fire roasted diced green chilies
1 minced jalapeno pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c minced red onion
1/2 c chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Juice from 1/2 a lime

Mix well

Kerry's Baked Beans

1 lb dried beans (I used white beans)
1 tsp baking soda
1 c maple syrup
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb bacon (I subbed ham since I had it)
2 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt

Retain the cooking water from the beans

Clean and pick over the beans. Soak overnight in water with the baking soda. Put chopped onion on the bottom of a pan, add all the other ingredients, top with the bacon/ham, cover with the bean cooking water. Bake at 325F for 8 hours, adding more water if necessary. I actually made this in the crock pot on high and finished it in the oven as directed.

Triple-Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The only changes I made were 1) I added about half a can of drained pineapple to the cake 2) Eliminated the raisins because I don't really like them in baked goods and 3) Added an extra cup of powdered sugar to the icing so there would be a little more icing since I remembered that it doesn't seem like quite enough for the cake when I made it in the past. Procedurally I made the cake layers about a week in advance and froze them wrapped in plastic wrap. I made the frosting a couple of days in advance and kept it refrigerated so all I had to do today was assemble the cake.

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup raisins

4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

Lots of people raved about this cake it's nice and moist with a nice balance of flavor.

Overall verdict on the menu: Very tasty but a whole lot of chopping!

1 comment:

beth said...

The marinated steak was heavenly! I am stealing this reipce.