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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birthday Dinner

Even though the weather was not cooperating last night giving me the warmth and sunshine I craved to be able to sit outside and have cocktails on the patio dinner was a success! I kept it simple and made things ahead so I could actually stand around and do nothing when the the birthday boy and his lady arrived.
I made a roasted red bell pepper hummus with fresh veggies and warmed pita bread for an appetizer. The recipe is as easy as 1 can of chick peas drained (juice reserved), 1 whole roasted red bell pepper seeded, sliced and skinned, 3 Tlb. of fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tlb of Tahini, 1 minced clove of garlic (I think I used two), 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. cayenne, 1/4 tsp. salt. Toss all of that into your food processor and hit the button. If you need to thin out your hummus use a tiny bit of the reserved chick pea juice.
The next thing I put together a little bit a head of time was a Italian salad, which was made up of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, sizable amount of shredded fresh basil and fresh mozzarella ciliegine (small balls). I dressed the salad with a little homemade balsamic olive oil dressing. There is no exact amount for this. You just eyeball it and adjust according to your own taste. Don't forget the salt and pepper.
For dessert I put together a angel food cake and topped each slice with a couple of spoonfuls of marionberry/raspberry sauce that I made with berries from our annual family berry picking last summer, and healthy dollops of whipped mascarpone cheese. I took 1 cup of mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup warmed honey and 1/2 tsp of rose water and whipped it. Now if you want a lighter texture you can reduce the cheese or add more whipping cream. The choice is yours to make. It turned out great you get this spongy, cheesy, sweet and tart thing going on in your mouth.
The berry sauce was easy. I thawed a couple of cups (like 3) of mixed berries then I put them in a sauce pot added about a 1/3 cup of white sugar and a little cornstarch and presto changeo! you have a quick sweet and tangy sauce. The main course was grilled 1/3 lb burgers (I weighed each one) sorry I didn't get any pictures of the burgers grilling but the light was gone by the time we started grilling. The best thing about this entire birthday party was I made everything ahead of time. The hummus I actually made three days ahead the flavors had time to marry which gave the hummus a really rich and vibrant flavor, the veggies I cut up and stored in the fridge. The mascarpone cheese, cake and berry sauce all made ahead. I even made up the salad and dressing about an hour ahead along with the hamburger patties. The only thing that needed doing was grilling and guess what...not my job. My bf is the master griller and he made some awesome burgers last night.
F.Y.I Birthday boy and his lady...yes I knew angel food was the favorite cake...I hear things and store it away in my mental rolladex...I listen a lot and talk little .

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