Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Like Bubble Gum

This month marked the 30th birthday of my good friend E. A few of us decided that she needed to celebrate the start of her fourth decade of life in style. The first surprise was a visit from her mom. We had been scheming for weeks. Mama C flew in late Wednesday night (a few days before her actual birthday) and stayed at my place. The next day we made a pit stop at the wonderful Dunkin' Donuts and headed to work. I told E that I brought her a coffee and donuts and her mom! She was speechless.
The next surprise was the party on Saturday afternoon. Since E's birthday was on Easter weekend she'd asked for a bunny cake. Little did she know that our dear friend LadyBoyd was slaving away on the most awesome bunny cake ever. And since it was Easter after all, a carrot cake accompanied it. Have I ever said how much I love LadyBoyd (and her cake skills)? E has a small obsession with kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, Rachel Ray, and all things cooking related. So, we (LadyBoyd, R, & I) came up with the perfect gift: a Taste of Italy cooking class at the local Viking Cooking School. It was a test of patience for E since she had to wait until last night for all the action. It was a lot of fun. The mouth-watering menu consisted of grilled portabella mushrooms with herb butter, herb and cheese flan, pan seared veal with fennel tomato sauce, herb pasta, and almond cake. We all worked together on the meal.

Reading the menu before starting the chopping.

Having a little fun at the mixer.

Food processors are fun!

Dinner's ready!

My favorite part of the meal was the herb cheese flan. I've always been a fan of sweet caramel flan, but this light, savory flan we made is without comparison. I will be making it again even if it's just for me and the cats. And since I learned how to make it, I had to try the veal. Sorry to report I wasn't impressed. Being a vegetarian (more out of habit than the whole PETA angle), I wasn't happy with the lack of flavor or the texture. Just like the time I tried filet mignon at the meat palace, the texture reminded me of (please don't laugh!) old bubble gum--lots of chewing, but no bubbles. But all in all we had a blast!

Cheers! Here's to your 4th decade, E!