Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday Weekend Part 1!


My birthday was last Friday, so my sister and her fiancée drove to Pittsburgh for the weekend to celebrate! We had an awesome time and ate lots of delicious food. We ate and drank quite a variety of things, and of course I forgot to document it all (including the ridiculous amounts of cheese we bought and ate). So here are a few highlights of our Friday night.

I don’t remember the last time I made a cake, and I definitely haven’t cooked any sort of baked good since college. I saw this recipe for a lemon basil cake and thought it would be amazing and decided to give it a shot. The two stores I went to didn’t have fresh basil, so it ended up being a lemon no-basil cake. There really wasn’t anything crazy about this cake other than the lemon zest. I mean, I used a box mix. I did end up using apple sauce instead of oil though, which made it super moist (and healthier I guess).


While the cake baked and I cleaned my apartment in anticipation of my guests, I had a birthday drink of Courvoisier with an ice cube! This was a $1.99 impulse buy at the state store. I love the tiny bottles!


I had every intention of at least making my own icing since it was a box mix, but at the last minute I got a can of vanilla icing and dyed it purple. I’ve never made my own icing, so it probably would have tasted bad anyway! Plus, this store-bought icing was delicious.


Everyone finally arrived Friday evening, and we stuffed ourselves with Trader Joe’s Spanakopita, cheese, dips, crackers, wine, and beer. Emily and I then made this amazing Bruchetta with Ricotta, Honey, and Lemon Zest. This is the ruler of all appetizers. It’s also ridiculously easy. First, we broiled sliced a sliced baguette with olive oil until they were nicely toasted. Then, Emily rubbed the tops with a halved garlic clove. This gave the bread a surprising amount of garlic flavor!



The toasted pieces then got topped with a nice layer of ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey.


The last step is to sprinkle on lemon zest. See? Easy!! These were incredibly tasty, and I wish this wasn’t the first time I had this flavor combination. I fell in love, and I’m pretty sure everyone else loved them too. They were also dangerously perfect with dry red wine.


Our night naturally progressed to the House of 1000 Beers. My first beer (which was on the house!) was a Dark Horse Blueberry Stout. This is a seriously delicious beer. Not sweet at all, but very strong blueberry flavors! This beer could definitely do some damage – I loved it!!


I’d say by the look of this table that we had a pretty great night! Okay, so the three guys of our group did most of this damage, but I still got to try a couple new beers! Definitely a successful birthday…and a great birthday overall!!


Round two tomorrow! :)