Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mum's Birthday Dinner!

Two Fridays ago I hosted my Mum's birthday dinner at our house! I was a little concerned because I really was at a loss for what to cook AND there were going to be 8 of us. I hate having those parties where everyone is out and about throughout the house enjoying the party and the host/hostess is stuck in the kitchen milling away. In order to avoid this fiasco, I knew that I had to do some serious preliminary work! 

After asking Mum what she wanted to eat for a few days, we finally figured out a menu. The menu was set as:
  • President's Choice Puff Pastry Hors D'oeuvres - provided by one of our guests
  • Homemade Torpedo Shrimp
  • Cheese and crackers - an oldie but a goodie
  • Grilled Steak - provided by our other guests
  • Roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pearl onions
  • Spicy Garlic Shrimp
  • Sautéed creamy mushrooms 
  • Garden salad with maple red wine vinaigrette
  • and the pièce de résistance!!!! Lemon Galore Cheesecake! 
Do you see why I needed to do some preliminary prep work!?!? By the advice of my darling friend, Sophie, who is a very talented pastry chef, I made the cheesecake the night before. I used her basic cheesecake recipe but grated some lemon zest in it too! Then, I made some of Ina Garten's Lemon Curd (from her Lemon Curd Tart) and slapped that on top of the cheesecake inside of a cream cheese frosting boarder. And then, if heaven hadn't produced this cheesecake, I made some candied lemon slices and put em on top! Now you understand why I've called it Lemon Galore Cheesecake!

This cheesecake was so delicious (if I may say so myself!). 

As for the torpedo shrimp, they may have been the easiest thing EVER to create! I took some raw shrimp, shelled them and skewered them so that they were straight. Once skewered, season them however you like. Cut two sheets of phylo pastry layered on top of each other in 3.5 inch by 2 inch strips and wrap the shrimp. Bake them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes and serve with a spicy dipping sauce (I used Sweet Chilli Sauce for Chicken)

I swear the Spicy Garlic Shrimp recipe was truly a sign from above. I woke up that morning and turned on the tv to my favourite channel - The Food Network. There I found my favourite French Canadian chef, Ricardo Larrivée making what else but his Garlicky Paprika Shrimp at that exact moment! It was perfect and I wouldn't have asked for anything better. They were simple, quick to make and divine and I swear you MUST follow Ricardo's suggestion to have some bread handy to sop up the sauce because it is heaven! 
The sauce is simmering

I'm sorry for the photo quality... this was another one of those days where I was bouncing between my digital camera and my blackberry's camera! There were about 5000000000 things going on on top of that so my brain was a little fried and I was just trying to grab shots of whatever I could with whatever I could at the moment. Phew! That's my rant. I hope we can still be friends.

As for the rest of the meal, here is it in pieces (again, thinking of taking a photo of my plate before I dug in was not an option... 24 of cooking makes for a very hungry gal!).
Creamy Sautéed Mushrooms
Fantastically grilled steaks
Roasted baby potatoes, sweet potatoes and pearl onions
Garden Salad with Maple Red Wine Vinaigrette
And just to add a bit of fun to this post, here is a pic of the two birthday girls - Debbie was my babysitter when I was in kindergarten and she celebrated her birthday the week before my Mum. 
The birthday girls (Left - Debbie, Right - Mumma!)
The birthday girl opening presents!
Happy Sunday guys! Keep cooking! 


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