vendredi 5 août 2005

SVU is our drug.

I was ready to make anything my friend wanted for dinner. It was her birthday, after all, and what she said went.

Secretly, though, I was pulling for duck, as I have many recipes in my files that I have yet to try. Or perhaps a delicate salmon, or some yummy soft shell crabs. Perhaps even a hearty steak or juicy lamb chops. And for the birthday cake, a margarita chiffon cake, which would've been oh-so-appropriate for our crowd.

But that would've been my meal. Not hers. And it's not my birthday (yet. 35 days, if you're counting. But I'm not, because then I'll officially be in my mid-20s and that's not okay). So her requests were:
  • macaroni and cheese
  • make-your-own tacos
  • make-your-own burritos
  • baked beans
  • hot dogs
  • ice cream cake from Dairy Queen
It's like she's turning 7, not 27. But no matter. At the very least, it'll be good preparation for when I have rugrats and they don't want bouillabaisse, the picky wretches.

But really. I couldn't just pop some cans and be done with it. No, I had to make as much as I feasibly could from scratch. Because I'm like that, you know.

So, in the top left corner, you have various improvised taco fillings. In that picture, clockwise from top left, you have your more commonly found beef taco filling; then a chicken and sausage one (seasoned with a lot of chili powder), then a pork and bell pepper (seasoned with cumin and cayenne), and some baked beans (flavoured with bacon and maple syrup). Luckily, one of my friends came over early to help me make all this and pour drinks, because I might have gone crazy had I had to do it all myself. That looks like a lot of food for 4 girls - oh, but we're eaters. There was barely enough meat leftover to fill one lousy teeny tupperware container.

Then there are also the taco toppings, and check out the ingenious way to reheat taco shells! I always used to just put them on a baking sheet, but this way is just as good, if not better! My friends are so smart. And yes, those are hot dogs on the George Foreman. Those Oscar Mayer all-beef weenies are really good, even if one of my friends refers to all sausage as "lips and assholes". It's sort of true, if you think about it.

I really wanted to make the hot dogs into different animals, but I couldn't dredge up that last-minute Martha Stewart in me to do it. But it would have been so cute. Another time, perhaps.

And no, there's no mac and cheese because there was so much food already! We may be eaters, but there is a limit to how much we can consume. And besides, there was birthday cake to be had!

Yes, I stuck candles in the whipped cream that had slid down the sides of the cake.
It adds a particularly festive and classy atmosphere, doesn't it?

The birthday cake, however, was a touch harder to make. And by a touch, I mean I am never making an ice cream cake again. Or let's correct that - I'm never making a sponge cake again, as I followed this recipe and the sponge cake? More like a thin layer of clafouti batter. I guess I overbeat the eggs, but they didn't tell me when to stop. Next time, I'm making pound cake if I'm making this damn thing from scratch. For the rest of the recipe, I improvised - Frangelico instead of almond liqueur, vanilla bean ice cream (because I couldn't find hazelnut, grr) instead of whatever was recommended (note to self: buy ice cream machine, mmm), chocolate chunks scattered throughout, and the whipped cream was doctored with crème de cacao and more Frangelico.

On the left, let's play a game called where's the ice cream cake? We had to jimmyrig it precariously in the freezer and hope that the whipped cream didn't get everywhere. (A second game: How many bottles of alcohol are in the freezer? It's a trick question! Bonus points if you can guess all the different kinds, too.)

And on the right, there you have a slice of cake. See the disappointingly weird layers of cake? Oh well. It still tasted good, and that's all that counts, right?

Of course we had drinks. The birthday girl likes mojitos, so I bought some real cachaça. Doesn't the label on the bottle look like it's promising death if you drink its contents? Mmm, but let me tell you - way better than regular ol' Bacardi by far.

And we spent the evening watching SVU (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not) and laughing and eating and doing back bends, which is NOT EASY anymore. We are all getting old. You look really skinny when you're in that position, which is really important if you've just spent a night eating tacos. (And then you are sore the whole next day - perhaps this should be added to my gym workout? My horoscope tells me today to take up practices which encourage flexibility.) But we're not old enough to stop having tons of birthday fun on a Wednesday night (the real drinking celebration is tonight).