Monday, September 24, 2012

A Birthday Dinner

Today is my mother's birthday. I have promised not to disclose how old she is on the internet, because I am a great daughter, but obviously we did a lil' bit o' celebratin' at the Hunter household.

Now, if you know anything about me (which I hoooope you do...since you're reading this), you probably know that I tend to take on cooking projects when I have very little to do and/or it's cold outside. My dad works evenings and so he wasn't around this evening for dinner; therefore, we made a big dinner yesterday.

I hauled out my French cooking cookbook (A Little Taste of . . . France) which helpfully gives the grams and their inferior cups/tablespoons/ounces conversions. After reading through the whole book multiple times, going through pinterest, and doing a little hemming and hawing, we chose a decidedly French menu. A quick American-style starter of mushroom and onion pull-apart bread (a pinterest find), followed by a main course of baked garlic prawns and vegetable (tomatoes, zucchini) tian, with individual chocolate-mint soufflés for dessert.

I will not say I did it all without help; I hate peeling/deveining shrimp, I often needed a third hand with the soufflés, and Mom basically did the pull-apart bread all by herself while I prepared the creme patissière soufflé base. However, it was my project, and it came out above what I expected. The run-down:

1. Pull-apart bread: we should have used something other than the 2-day-old loaf we did use...I think it needed more onion flavor, but it was yummy and easy
2. Baked Garlic Prawns: suuuuper tasty and simple (butter, olive oil, shrimp, garlic, red pepper...that's it!!), would have been better with French butter (like everything!)
3. Vegetable Tian: decidedly French, especially as the recipe didn't call for salt or pepper...a very easy and pretty way to cook vegetables, and it was tasty with the Gruyère cheese
4. Chocolate-mint Soufflés: a soufflé is something I've been hoping to tackle for a while was intimidating and I was CERTAIN my soufflés wouldn't rise, especially since I made a random substitution of crème de menthe instead of chocolate liqueur...well they did rise! and were quite tasty, very rich, could have done a better job folding in the egg whites, and my measurements weren't so precise...but I'll call it a success anyway, homie

Now, please enjoy some photos of our bounty, don't be too jealous, and if you're nice and lovely, maybe I'll cook for you someday. ;-) Also, don't forget to wish my amazing momma a happy birthday!!

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