Sunday, May 30, 2010

Birthday Party

My birthday plans have been thwarted repeatedly this year... first we were supposed to have a backyard bbq on the long weekend (a tradition for the past 3 years.) It rained, so we postponed it to this weekend. It rained, so we made a reservation at a restaurant. But the restaurant wouldn't reserve for more than 10 people, and we had more than 10, so we decided to host a last-minute house party instead.

Without realizing it, my menu seemed to lean heavily towards a cheese-theme. I made:

  • Baked Brie with Marmalade, Jalapeno, and Crushed Pecans
  • Assorted Cheeses (Mushroom Oka, Smoked Gouda, Bruschetta Goat Cheese, and Edam, plus a few that my friend brought) and deli meats (Hungarian Salami, Mild something-that-started-with-"c", and Hot Genoa Salami) with baguettes and crackers
  • Meditteranean Pizza (covered in mozza) - premade at the grocery store
  • Mini Maple Cheesecakes

I also made a huge punchbowl of Sangria that was heavenly (nothing smells better than citrus fruit soaking up red wine!), and a pitcher of Raspberry Mojitos.

Here are the recipes:

1 brie wheel, rind cut off the top
1/4 c. apricot jam or marmalade
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
handful of crushed pecans

Mix together the marmalade and jalapeno. Make a few little holes in the brie and spread the marmalade overtop. Top with pecans, and bake in the oven until it's gooey. Serve with baguettes and/or crackers. (We made awesome little open-faced sandwiches with a slice of baguette, a slice of deli meat, and the baked brie on top. YUM!)

(This was before it went in the oven. After it came out of the oven, it was a big sloppy mess, but it was fantastic!!!)

MAPLE CHEESECAKES (from Kraft What's Cooking)
3 pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
3 eggs
Maple Leaf cookies

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in maple syrup, and then add eggs one at a time, mixing well. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, and slice Maple Leaf cookies in half with a sharp knife. Lay each half (icing side up) in a cupcake liner, and top with the cream cheese mixture. (The recipe says it only makes 12 mini-cheesecakes, but I made 3 dozen! I could have filled the cupcake liners a little bit more, but I wasn't sure if they would rise a lot, so I only filled them about half-full.) Bake at 350 F for 17 minutes.

This recipe would be great with Oreos too!

6 key limes, squeezed
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
20-30 mint leaves
1/2 c. Summer Berry simple syrup (recipe below)
1 c. raspberry rum (this was a Bacardi brand I found at the liquor store. Use white rum if you like.)
3-4 c. club soda
3-4 c. raspberry gingerale

Mix together first 5 ingredients. (To make simple syrup, bring 1/2 c. water to a boil and stir in 1/2 c. sugar. Instead of using all white sugar, I used about 2 tbsp. Summer Berry Fruit Dip Mix. Boil gently until sugar dissolves. Pour through a strainer to get rid of the little berry pieces.) Before serving, pour in club soda and gingerale.

(Sorry, no picture of the Mojitos. It turned out blurry.)

1 bottle red wine
1/2 c. blueberry vodka
2 c. blueberry pomegranate juice
2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
2 limes, sliced
1 can pineapple slices, with juice
3-4 c. club soda
3-4 c. raspberry gingerale

In a large punchbowl, pour first three ingredients overtop of fruit slices. Refrigerate for a few hours (preferably overnight.) Before serving, pour in club soda and gingerale. Feel free to add other fruits as well. (I had strawberries and blueberries to add, but my punchbowl was kind of full, so I decided to leave them out.)

We had a great time, despite all the inclement weather and last-minute changes! Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with me!
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