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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Facebook Group

Are you on Facebook?

Looking for another place to share your food blog? 

Enjoy taking pictures of food and sharing them with others?

Dying to tell someone about the amazing meal you had last night?

Then find the Facebook Group "Leave me alone, I'm eating! :)"
(Yes, the smiley face is included)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farmers Markets

I just love this time of year...even if it is still grey and drizzling out...it's the time when the Farmer's Markets start sprouting (pun intended) up everywhere!

I love just wandering around and seeing the beautiful colors of fresh fruits and vegetables.I could wander and take pictures, smell the delicious fragrances and people watch all day.

I miss living in downtown Oakland and having an amazing market only a few blocks away. Now, in Portland, I have half a dozen ones only a few (driving) minutes away. Either place. I don't care. I just love Farmer's Markets. I try to go every weekend (if I can).

Earlier this month Serious Eats website posted an article about 7 Tips for Making the Most of the Farmer's Markets. I agree with every single tip and try to remember them every time I go shopping. So I wanted to share them here.

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7 Tips for Making the Most of the Farmer's Markets

Tip #1 - Shop Around: As tempting as those heirloom tomatoes or that huge stalk of brussels sprouts looks on the first table, even at a farmers' market, location is everything. At larger markets, you can expect the stalls nearest the entrance and exits or the ones closest to public transportation to sport heftier prices than the stalls further in from the periphery. I always try and take a quick walk all the way up and down the market taking note of who has what and what they're charging before jumping into any purchase. (It's so true! I've found the exact same produce, typically the same quality, for way cheaper in the further back stalls. Not to mention often these ones will be less picked over because they're further off the beaten path).

Tip #2 - Visit Early for Selection, Late for Price: Absolutely have to get your hands on some ramps or morels? You probably want to get to the market early to pick up the rarities before they go. On the other hand, late shopping has its benefits too. As the market day approaches its finish, many farmer's with extra produce will pass off the goods at bargain-basement prices. Just last week I picked up a dozen laid-that-morning eggs from Ronnybrook for 50¢ less than what I pay for organic eggs in the supermarket. Last year I snagged a few flats of overripe heirloom tomato seconds for $1 a pound—perfect for filling my winter pantry with jars of sauce. (I prefer going early because you don't have the same amount of crowds as mid-day and the vegetables look better; haven't started to wilt with the heat)

Tip #3 - Bring Your Own Bag: Bringing a sturdy, reusable shopping bag to the farmer's market not only makes sense for the environment, it's also nicer to the farmers and easier on your hands (our sturdy handles are way more comfortable than cheap plastic loops). (How could you think this is a bad idea? Who cares if everything is just getting piled on top of one another? The only trick is don't put a heavy bag of potatoes on top of those ripe peaches you just bought....squish)

Tip #4 - Communicate: Nobody knows their product better than the farmer's that produce them, and farmers' markets give you the opportunity to hear what's what straight from the horse's mouth. Make regular visits, and you may even find yourself getting better bargains or being offered special products for your loyalty. (When I was living in Oakland, I had one vendor that always had the best citrus. I'd take the offered samples, buy a variety here and there and after a while became a "regular". So often they'd weigh my bags and then toss in a handful of extra goodies here and there. Communication helps)

Tip #5 - Leave Your Shopping List Open: In fact, unless you really have to, don't go with a shopping list at all—go with a budget instead. Farmers' markets by their very nature are dynamic things that change from week to week both in terms of availability and quality. Be open to shopping around for the best ingredients whether they were part of your original plan or not, and you'll end up with a much better bounty. (Who goes to a Farmer's Market and only buys what's on their list?! I go with a few things I want to see if I can find sure...but then 2/3 of what I come home with wasn't even on my mind before I found them. Tamales, blueberry bread, earrings....so many amazing things. Keep an open mind people!)

Tip #6 - Do Your Research: Only a thorough on-site evaluation will tell you what's best on any particular day, but it pays to know in advance what to expect. Are we at the height of asparagus season, or is it more likely the farmer's are pushing stalks that are past their prime? Should you be focusing on the sprouts or the squash? You wouldn't want to miss out on the short Greengage season because you're busy filling your bag up with the apples that'll still be around for weeks to come, right? (Right...sure...uhhuh...whatever. I mean I do pay attention to what is in season and when...on some level. Mostly because now that I'm in Portland I can't get certain things all year long like I could in California. Asparagus, artichokes, peaches, GOOD citrus...these are things I have in my head so I know when to start scouring the country side for them.)

Tip #7 - Spread the Love: A lot of farmers' markets these days feature one or two really large farms that seem to sell a virtual supermarket's worth of produce, and often they sell really great stuff, but chances are they don't have the very best of everything. It pays to spend time visiting multiple stalls to pick and choose the best from each one. The farmers won't get offended. I promise. (I absolutely agree. Don't feel obligated to buy everything from one stall and don't worry if you are just going one stall over. This isn't a popularity contest. Everyone knows you just want the best product. Besides better to help everyone out a little than only one person out a lot. Right?)

 
*       *       *
I also found a pretty cool interactive map (for those of you in Portland) of the Farmer's Markets on Oregonlive. 

The link also has information about the (Portland-proper) market's such as times, dates and websites. Pretty cool. :)

I can't wait for this weekend - 3 days off and come rain or shine I'm going to a Farmer's Market!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ban on Shark Fin

Read this article in the Asian Reporter this afternoon.
What are your thoughts? Discrimination or preservation?

*      *     *

Proposed shark fin ban makes waves in San Francisco
From The Asian Reporter, V21, #10 (May 16, 2011), page 8.

By Robin Hindery

SAN FRANCISCO — A California proposal to outlaw the title ingredient in shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, has turned into a recipe for controversy in San Francisco, a city that is nearly one-third Asian and home to the nation’s oldest Chinatown.

A bill moving through the state legislature would ban the sale, distribution, and possession of shark fins. State and federal laws prohibit shark finning in U.S. waters, but do not address the importation of fins from other countries.

Supporters say shark finning is inhumane and a threat to the ocean ecosystem. They say an estimated 73 million sharks are slaughtered each year, mainly for shark fin soup, which can sell for more than $80 a bowl and is often served at weddings and banquets.

"The collapse of shark populations because of overfishing is a conservation issue of global concern, and the demand for fins drives overfishing of sharks," said Mike Sutton, director of the Center for the Future of the Oceans at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located about 115 miles south of San Francisco.

Alex Ong, chef at the Pan-Asian restaurant Betelnut in San Francisco’s Marina district, said the broth in shark fin soup is what provides most of the flavor, and the fins themselves can be easily substituted by other seafood or even creatively disguised starch.

Ong said when he saw video footage of fisherman slicing off sharks’ fins and tossing the animals back into the ocean to die, the images hit him "right in the gut" and he vowed to work to stop the practice.

But critics of the proposed ban say the consumption of shark fins is a cherished cultural tradition.

"This is traditional for us. When you say no to shark fin, that’s profiling," said Henry Cheung, president of Charlie Seafood Inc., a San Francisco-based wholesaler and importer. "The law doesn’t ban shark meat or a handbag made with shark skin — just fins. I myself believe it’s unfair."

Cheung also questioned the need for a ban on a product he says is already losing popularity, particularly among young people. He said his business stopped importing shark fins years ago due to declining demand.

In a statement issued February 14, the day the legislation was introduced, state senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), called the measure "an unfair attack on Asian culture and cuisine."

Yee, who officially kicked off his campaign for mayor of San Francisco this month, said efforts should be focused on strengthening conservation efforts and increasing penalties for illegally killing sharks.

In addition to local chefs and politicians, a few celebrities have jumped into the debate.

Chinese basketball star Yao Ming is loaning his celebrity to the anti-finning movement, appearing on city busses and billboards urging residents in Chinese and English to "Join me, say no to shark fin soup." The Houston Rockets center came to town to film a public service announcement for the international conservation group WildAid.

Shark fins also may prove an unexpected ingredient in this year’s mayoral race, which includes three prominent Asian-American candidates: Yee, board of supervisors president David Chiu, and assessor-recorder Phil Ting.

San Francisco is home to the largest percentage of Asian Americans of any county in the continental U.S. Political observers expect voter turnout from that community to be high in November, following the momentum generated earlier this year by the appointment of Edwin Lee as interim mayor — the city’s first Asian-American leader.

Chiu and Ting appeared at a news conference organized by WildAid and expressed their support for a shark fin ban.

Afterward, Ting said the legislation presented an "important opportunity to talk about the importance of sustainability," but that he didn’t think it was among Asian-American voters’ top concerns.

"The economy, jobs, the city budget — Chinese-American voters are focused on those issues," he said.

A poll released May 6 by the Monterey Bay Aquarium indicated strong support of a fin ban among Californians. More than three-quarters of the 600 registered voters surveyed said they support the bill. Of the 218 respondents who were Chinese American, 70 percent said they support it.

"There’s an attempt to portray this debate as an east-versus-west cultural thing," said Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid. "The reality is this is east and west versus a small minority of people."

The measure is awaiting a hearing by the state assembly. Hawaii has already adopted a ban, and similar legislation is advancing in Oregon and Washington state.


CONTROVERSIAL CUISINE. National Basketball Association player Yao Ming (left) sits near an inflatable shark during a break from filming a public service announcement about banning shark fin soup in Chinatown in San Francisco. A California proposal to outlaw the title ingredient in shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy, has turned into a recipe for controversy in the city, home to the nation’s oldest Chinatown. A bill moving through the state legislature would ban the sale, distribution, and possession of shark fins. Supporters say shark finning is inhumane and a threat to the ocean ecosystem, but critics say the consumption of shark fins is a cherished part of Chinese culture. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cinnamon Pumpkin Empanada

I found this recipe on a blog called Sook's Kitchen and boy does it look yummy. I'm a big fan of pumpkin (real pumpkin not just "pumpkin flavored") but it's so hard to find canned pumpkin all year round. So this past Thanksgiving (the MOMENT I saw pumpkin on the shelves) I stocked up on a number of cans.

This past weekend I made a Sweet Brie Ring (also found on Sook's Kitchen) for my sister's birthday breakfast. I think this weekend (or perhaps for dessert one evening) I'll be making these Cinnamon Pumpkin Empanadas.

This recipe sure does make me wish it was Autumn (although I'm also still waiting for Spring and Summer to show up).

Ingredients:

Pumpkin filling-
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

Empanada Dough- (I have to be honest...I'm most likely going to use a premade dough)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1/2 oz) packages dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour, divided in half
3/4 cup vegetable shortening

Directions:

For the filling: Mix ingredients together and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine water, sugar, salt, yeast, baking powder, and cinnamon. Using an electric mixer, gradually blend in half of the flour. Add shortening and thoroughly mix, then gradually blend in remaining flour.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts, then shape each of those parts into 4 dough balls. Slap the dough balls between the palms of your well-floured hands until somewhat flattened, then roll out on a floured surface into circles approximately 4 inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick. Put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of pumpkin filling in the center of each circle, fold over, and seal edges by moistening slightly and pressing lightly with a fork on both sides.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes (watch carefully as they can burn quickly).

Sweet Brie Ring

We made this on Sunday morning for my sister's birthday. It was way rich but way yummy. Here are a few pictures I took while prepping the Brie Ring (super fast to make btw) - the ingredient list and directions are at the bottom.


This is enough for 2 rings. But we found 1 was more than enough.

Preheat to 400*

Remove Brie from paper wrapper and place in middle

Arrange crescents around the brie

Sprinkle brown sugar on the top

Now it's ready to bake!

In the oven for 20 minutes

And it's ready to devour!



Ingredients:
2 Pillsbury crescent roll tubes (the large ones work best)
1 round baby brie
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Brown sugar


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with sides on it with a Pam or oil.
Place 1 round baby brie in the center of the baking sheet and put the crescent dough around the brie. 

Spread the butter over the top of the bread evenly. 
Sprinkle approximately 1/8-inch brown sugar on top of the dough and a little less on the brie. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. 
Cool at least for 10 minutes so you don't burn yourself on the sugar. 
Pull apart the individual crescents and spread cheese on the bread.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quick Chocolat Fix

Sometimes you just need something ooey-gooey and chocolate. At some point we clipped a magazine recipe for chocolate cake in a cup. Two nights ago it hit the spot.

Chocolate Cake - Just One Slice

2 Tb flour
3 Tb sugar
2 Tb unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg
2 Tb milk
2 Tb vegetable oil
2 Tb chocolate chips
Small splash vanilla extract

1. Add dry ingredients to a coffee mug and mix well.
2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour in milk and veg oil - mix well.
4. Add chocolate chips and vanilla extract, mix again.
5. Microwave mug for two minutes. Cake may rise over top but will deflate once taken out.

Careful! Inside will be gooey and hot!

Iced or Hot?

Okay...I came across this website via someone's blog.  Basically you enter in your zip code (bottom of screen) and the website will tell you whether or not it's "Iced Coffee Time".I have to say while it's a cute idea (tying the weather forecast with the results) I just don't think there's ever a wrong time for Iced (or Hot) Coffee.



Also, I don't like being told what to do.

Who needs cookbooks? I need cookbooks!

When I saw the title of this article in the Seattle Times my first reaction was "Um? I do!" 

I love my cookbooks! 

I have ones that were my grandmothers. I have ones that cost me $0.50, that I bought when a nearby Borders was going out of business. Heck, I bought The Classic Party Fare Cookbook to get inspired and find ideas for my sister's bridal shower.

Sure I do get some of my recipes online. But when we're struggling for dinner ideas there's nothing better than gathering a few handfuls of cookbooks, spreading them out on the couch with me and reconnecting with old friends (i.e. my books).  

I understand the allure of going digital. We have my mother's old faded yellow recipe box full of loose-leaf index cards and magazine cut outs. I had been working on transcribing the magazine recipes onto 3x5 cards, to make the box a bit more organized. 

Perhaps it does make sense to take these and put them into a digital form. The author makes a good point about easier to search a Word document than a stack of index cards....but to me that's half the fun. 

You (re)discover old recipes that haven't been made in ages. You come across a card in your great grandmother's chicken scratch writing but still have no problem making out every single word. 

For me cooking isn't just making food. It's reconnecting with your past. It's forging your way into the future. It's life. It's love. It's happiness. 

What do you think? 
Are you a cookbook or computer cooker?

*     *     *

Who needs cookbooks when you have a computer?
Creating a digital recipe box may help you clear out clutter and easily use recipes on the go.

By Jim Buchta
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

It all started with a move.

Not a downsizing, but an upsizing to a place with more storage and a bigger kitchen.

But when I opened the cabinet where I store my cookbooks, magazines and thousands of recipes that I've been saving for the past couple of decades, I was horrified. Had I become a hoarder?

I started pulling them out and making giveaway piles, but it wasn't long before the stacks were so tall that the dog couldn't find his way to the door. That was the moment I decided to pare down my cookbooks and shift my recipe collection from the sagging shelves of a big front hall cabinet to a thumbprint-size digital folder on the desktop of my 13-inch laptop, where I quickly discovered that I am not a pioneer in this endeavor.
The Internet is full of discussions, apps and suggestions on how to create a digital recipe box. With tablets, iPads and other devices becoming ever more portable, it's a process that I haven't yet come to regret.

Not that I'll ever get rid of the vintage book of cocktail recipes from the Savoy Hotel in London that I got from my friend Deb, whose parents picked it up during their honeymoon in the 1930s. Or the cookbook that I received from a woman I met in Sitka, Alaska, while we ate a spontaneous supper on the small tugboat she'd just piloted through the Inside Passage. Or the collection of Buchta family recipes that my cousin, Lisa, collected from some of the ancient aunties.

The giveaway pile grew and so did the stack of recipes set for scanning. I had already started to copy recipes that I found on the Internet into a folder on my desktop computer, and I made a commitment to continue the digital collection.

The decision required some mental gymnastics. A laptop is no substitute for the batter-stained pages of a favorite food magazine — especially for someone obsessed with food.

I had started collecting recipes when I was a kid. My grandmother was a chef and a caterer. My folks saw prepared foods as a luxury we didn't need or want. And my mom kept adding to a big box of recipes and newspaper clippings, which I took refuge in when I was bored and while other kids were building forts. I built forts, too, but mine always had a kitchen.

So back to the purging. There's another reason why — like so many other kindred, hoarding souls I've met on the Internet — I have crossed to the dark side. More families than ever travel, but don't have room in the SUV to haul around their kids and the cookbooks as they go from house to house.

Like a lot of modern families, mine roams gypsy-like among several kitchens in different states. Many times I've volunteered to cook a big family meal in Minneapolis only to realize that the corn souffle recipe from my friend Rose, for example, was in the messy drawer at the family farm in Wisconsin. Or that the Thanksgiving menu and corresponding shopping list that I'd carefully planned through much trial and error over the years was in a file folder 350 miles away from the meal.

A constant companion

So it was a no-brainer to keep my recipes in something I never leave home without: my laptop, which gets backed up regularly, has seemingly infinite storage space (unlike even my new and bigger kitchen) and is always at my side. That's not to say it was easy to say goodbye to the stacks of Saveur, Cooking Light and Bon App├ętit magazines piled up in my front hall.

Even though I cross-checked the printed magazines with the websites to make sure that the content really is available online, those glossy covers reminded me of a mouthwatering meal I'd made, or wanted to make. Or of a place I wanted to go. Or of a brainless afternoon lying in a bathtub and dreaming about my next meal.

And so, after flirting for a moment about the illogical prospect of just mailing my castoffs to similar-minded friends, out they went, six or seven big plastic bins of books, recipes and clippings, to Half-Price Books, where I got a few coins for each magazine, just enough to fund a few treats from Caribou.

Was it the right decision? Time will tell.

For now, I'm still packing for my move and am relieved that the cookbooks I haven't used for years and the recipes that I could never find won't be among the things I have to schlep.

And I'm relieved that during my next family cooking assignment, I won't have to decide which recipes to pack. All I'll have to worry about is where I put my laptop.


WHY GO DIGITAL?

PROS
• You'll have your recipes wherever you have your laptop.
• No more stacks of disorganized magazines or books.
• It's much easier to search a Word document than it is a box of disorganized recipes.

CONS
• Not as much fun — or practical — to read recipes in the bathtub on your laptop.
• Electronic recipes don't develop the same "character" as a cookbook does. (And definitely not the same smudges.)
• Few cookbooks have a digital counterpart, though most magazines and newspapers have easy-to-search recipes online.

MY DIGITAL RECIPE FILE

My approach is relatively low-tech: I maintain online subscriptions to my favorite magazines, including Saveur, CookingLight and Cook's Illustrated, which all have terrific websites.

When I find an online recipe that I like, I copy-and-paste and save it in a text file in a folder on my desktop. If I have a hard copy, I scan it. On my computer I have a generic "food" folder where I keep all kinds of recipes, which are very easy to search using keywords.

If you're saving a PDF file, be sure to rename it with a word that's easy to search, otherwise you'll end up with a default name that will mean nothing to your search tool. In addition, I have several other electronic folders for specialty foods that are particularly timely. Right now I have one for honey recipes, a Thanksgiving menu, desserts and a few others. I also have an extensive "food" bookmark where I save links to cooking blogs and food magazine websites, all of which have easy-to-search recipe directories. And where would I be without Epicurious?

HOW OTHERS DO IT

There are a growing number of programs, websites, apps and software programs designed to help cooks stay organized. For example, there's a new app designed for the iPad called Serving Size. It's $4.99. Even Martha Stewart is getting into the act. Her "Martha Stewart Makes Cookies iPad app costs $5, but every recipe has a photo, something you don't find in all cookbooks. And there's video, too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bravo Blais

I'm definitely a Richard Blais fan. I wanted him to win his first season of Top Chef and was very happy when he won the All-Star Season. I also am a fan of fruity-vodka drinks and the one at the end of this article looks very yummy. 

*     *     *


The Chef With the Dragon Fruit
By George Gene Gustines
Photographs by Rob Loud

Alaskan Halibut with fava beans, browned butter foam and picked glassworts,
one of the dishes prepared by Richard Blais.


Move over, pomegranate. And please give a warm welcome to dragon fruit, fiery red and spiky — and the newest poster child for fruit with health benefits.

The fruit first came to my attention earlier this month when it had to be used as an ingredient during a challenge on the opening episode of this season’s “Top Chef: Masters.” Then there was an April 14 Business Week article, “Enter the Dragon Fruit,” about how it was seeping into “America’s consciousness — and the economy.” Last night, the twin forces of alcohol and reality television came together, and the result wasn’t someone getting kicked off “The Real World” but the unveiling of Skyy Vodka’s newest infused flavor. If you guessed dragon fruit, you’ve been paying attention!

The coming-out party for Skyy Infusions Dragon Fruit featured six cocktails mixed with the new flavor and paired with a dinner menu prepared by Richard Blais, who won the all-star edition of “Top Chef” last month. The event began with appetizers and a trio of cocktails: the Blaisin’ Dragon, the Red Dragon and the Dragon Fruit Sparkling Seduction. The winner was the Blaisin’ Dragon, with a slice of seared pineapple, which was the perfect refreshing spring drink.

Richard Blais creating pearls of vodka in liquid nitrogen for an oyster appetizer


As the cocktails were sampled, Blais worked the room, overseeing volunteers from the Culinary Institute of America, his alma mater, and demonstrating one of his favorite tools of the trade: liquid nitrogen. The cryogenic fluid, with its waft of mist, looked even more like something out of a mad scientist’s lab in person than it does on TV. Blais explained that because it is so cold, you should never put your fingers in it (and he did) or place it on your hair (and he did). Perhaps that’s the grooming secret behind his signature spiky coif, which, he confessed, was vaguely reminiscent of the dragon fruit itself and, maybe, why Skyy offered him the job. He then demonstrated how he used the fluid to make “vodka pearls” for an oyster appetizer that was one of the hits of the night for its clean and citrusy taste and its presentation. (The shell sat on a small, circular transparent dish on a bed of sand and next to a miniature starfish, which may or may not have been edible.).

The event was reminiscent of a “Top Chef” challenge: Blais had to use dragon fruit as an ingredient in each drink and course. The first dish was hamachi (tender) splashed with the flavored vodka (subtle), fried clams (a tad too crunchy) and smoked mayonnaise (delicious). It came with a drink called the Muddled Dragon. The next course was Alaskan halibut with fava beans, browned butter foam and pickled glassworts; the fellow diners I spoke to could easily have had seconds or thirds. This was paired with a cocktail called the Dragon’s Cup.

For the final course, the cocktail was the Magic Dragon, which included fresh lime juice, orange curacao, kaffir lime leaves and vanilla bean. And the crowning moment was dessert: a wonderful corn bread with candied dragon fruit and pistachio ice cream. Bravo, Mr. Blais!

BLAISIN’ DRAGON

2 ounces Skyy Infusions Dragon Fruit vodka
1/2 fresh squeezed lime
1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
Splash of orange juice
Fresh pineapple
1 grilled pineapple ring.

Slice and sear pineapple ring on a grill, remove and cool. (Place a few wedges in the freezer for garnish.)

Muddle fresh pineapple with lemon juice and lime juice and orange juice in a shaker. Pour ice in shaker and add vodka. Shake vigorously. Rim chilled martini glass with coarse sugar in the raw. Pour cocktail into glass and garnish with a frozen grilled pineapple wedge and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bridal Shower Pictures

This past Sunday I threw a Bridal Shower for my sister and her partner. I spent two months planning, organizing and test running the menu. And then cooked Friday night, all day Saturday and the better part of Sunday morning putting the final touches on everything. I was so busy cooking I didn't have much time to stop and take pictures. Here is what I did manage to capture on film.

We adapted a few recipes from here - including the Asian style meatballs





I also made 3 types of cupcakes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mini Cupcakes


 


Vanilla cupcakes with a strawberry filling



Angelfood cupcakes with a lemon curd center and coconut/almond tops
Since my sister is vegan I tried to make food for her too.

Sauted Veggie wonton cups

Cashew Mushroom Pate

Martha's Pasta Crunch (<big bummer)

The food came out beautiful as did the decorations and table settings:








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