Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More totally awesome cooking tales: Eric's birthday picnic

The courses, and how I messed them up:

Fresh Pea Salad

(from Heidi Swanson's wonderful 101 Cookbooks which is the primary reason I am slightly less fat than I used to be. Still just as Funky, though.)
How to mess it up: Instead of a seeded serrano chili in the dressing, use a habenero.

A giant pressed sandwich.
I did not mess this up. It was really good.

Take one baugette. Slice it as if it is the world's largest hot dog bun. Use your fingers to pull out the places where the fresh bread has wadded up.

Assemble a sandwich using, in any order:
roasted red peppers (dry them off just a little)
fresh mozzerella (in slices or little blobs, drained)
basil leaves
butter lettuce
tiny little slivers of cured meat (in this case, Lebanon Bologne)
a little smoked provolone (because they had it at the farmer's market)
I might had had a tomato, too, although who buys tomatoes in April?

drizzle with a tiny thread of olive oil. Squish together and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and find a way to fit it into the fridge.

Before the picnic, wrap it in foil and find a way to fit it in the cooler.

My way involved bending it in the middle.

Serve at the picnic with salt, pepper, and the insanely spicy salad dressing that nearly killed you when you tried it on the pea salad. It goes really, really well with the sandwich.

Utz Kettle Cooked Potato Chips.
These cannot be messed up, as they are the most delicious chip on earth. If we're going to poison ourselves with junk food, by God, it had better be worth it.

Cardamom Iced Tea with honey in sports bottles. I did not mess this up either.

And the birthday cake: Pound Cake with Strawberries and Whipped cream.

Wash, de-leaf and slice a box of strawberries. Put them in a tupperware container with a splash of balsamic vinegar and about a quarter-cup of sugar. Keep in fridge for the day, shaking occasionally.

Make a sour cream poundcake.

Cream together 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, a 7 oz container of plain yogurt (we had Fage, yippee) and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Mix that.

Okay, here's your chance to mess it up: add one egg and one cup of flour and mix completely. Do this twice more, until you have added 3 eggs and 3 c. flour.

There, you just messed it up. The recipe actually calls for TWO eggs at a time. For a total of SIX eggs.

The recipe also says to "pour" the "batter" into a greased and floured loaf pan. Dude, even when you use 6 eggs - I'm guessing this would be true if you used a dozen - this is by no stretch of the imagination "batter" and it will never, ever pour. It's okay. Really. Transfer with a spatula and a huge spoon.

Also, this cake is too big for my largest loaf pan. It overflowed, even without the 3 more eggs. You could easily make 2 decent-sized pound cakes from this recipe.

Bake at 325 for about 75 minutes.

This is delicious. The number of eggs does not matter at all. Sure, it's 'substantial', but that makes it excellent for absorbing the strawberry juice and contrasting with the whipped cream.

Also on this picnic, try to fly kites, regardless of the wind situation.

Happy Birthday.

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