Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream and Fondant

The real main event of my birthday party meal was, of course, the cake! And what a cake it was–it took me nearly the whole week to prepare between baking the layers, freezing and defrosting them, filling and sealing it, and then decorating it with fondant and icing. Since I had to make up my own recipe for the icing, it didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping, since I’m clearly not experienced enough at this just yet. However, it impressed my friends, and that’s what really counts!

I’m only including the recipe for the red velvet cake layers this time because the buttercream and icing were things I put together on the fly and I completely don’t remember what I did in any sort of detail. I bought the fondant from a craft store because I definitely didn’t want to mess that up–I’ll experiment with making my own sometime in the future.

Continue reading

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Sauce

For the main dish of my birthday party dinner, I put together a simple pasta dish with pieces of chicken and a light lemon sauce. Butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice comprised the simple sauce which was tossed with chicken and then some ziti. Just before serving, I added some freshly-grated parmigiano (yay for my new Magic Bullet!). Despite preparing a total of two pounds of pasta, there were very little left-overs.

Continue reading

Stracciatella Soup

In keeping with the Italian theme of my party, I started off dinner with a nice, steaming pot of stracciatella soup. Stracciatella is an Italian-style egg-drop soup; the name literally refers to “tiny pieces,” and reflects the fact that unlike Asian egg-drop soup which has a thickened broth that maintains the threads of egg drizzled in, the pieces of egg in stracciatella are so tiny that the soup has more of a creamy texture than a piecey-egg texture. Of course, the other ingredients give it a much different flavor, too, but that is the primary difference.

Continue reading

Tomato-and-Basil-Topped Bruschetta

Another appetizer I had at my birthday party this year was a simple bruschetta with tomatoes and fresh basil. Along with fresh pieces of garlic and some freshly ground black pepper, this was one fantasticly fresh-tasting topping for toasted slices of a bakery loaf of Italian bread.

Continue reading

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

One of the snack foods/appetizers I put together for my birthday party just over a week ago was a dip made with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Other ingredients included fresh oregano that I’ve been growing myself, some dried thyme, garlic powder, milk, and some freshly ground black pepper. To serve it, I had some plain ridged potato chips and onion and garlic chips.

Continue reading