Monday, January 19, 2009

Battle Cindy

After Rick beat Cindy in the last Tinfoil Chef, he was supposed to next go up against Violet's Friend. But then Cindy's man, J.G.G., asked for a surprise birthday tinfoil chef challenge featuring "Cindy's Favorite Things" on Saturday, Violet's friend had to work, so I was roped in to challenge Rick. This was all, of course, much to Peanut's chagrin. I decided that rather than try to remember Cindy's favorite foods, I would go with a thematic approach and prepare dishes that reminded me of her, her past, and her personality. Here were my feature raw ingredients:

Cindy has a very... um... embarrassing? no... vibrant... past, that includes re-enacting the Civil War. So, the first thing I made Saturday morning was some hardtack.

This is a very hard and dry bread that Civil War soldiers ate during battle, and looks like this:

But, that was served only after Peanut and I transported all of our food to Rick and Jack's house, and started the evening off by making Cindy a Flirtini (should be obvious why I chose this drink- it's made with 2 parts champagne, 2 parts pineapple juice, and 1 part vodka- Rick made sangria, but I forgot to take a picture!!!):

For my appetizer, I served Shrimp Bisque. Why does this remind me of Cindy? Well, it was the appetizer she made when she beat me at the first tinfoil chef almost a year ago. I served the hardtack with the bisque.

Rick, on the other hand, started things off with a with his own muffaletta (a sandwich native to New Orleans), with his own homemade muffaletta bread and a small cup of delicious French onion soup!

On her actual birthday, Cindy and I had drinks together at Rick's place of employ where we discussed, among other things, our support for the Palestinians in Gaza. I decided to break out my Axis of Evil Cookbook and make a traditional Palestinian dish: Maqlubeh, which is an upside-down meat and vegetable rice casserole made with lamb, zucchini, peppers, and cauliflower and is quite delicious!

Rick, on the other hand, pulled a true Cindy and made quite an amazing citrus infused pork loin.

Then came dessert. Rick bought special materials and made (i.e., deep-fried!!!) cannoli's.

This is where I begin to suspect foul play- look who helped him fill the cannoli's?

I, on the other hand, took a more... low-key (?) approach and make Cindy a dessert that I thought she would especially enjoy: dirt. This is the famed dish of layered Oreo crumbs and vanilla pudding, with gummy worms throughout, served in a flower pot, and decorated with homemade flowers:

The Result? I lost. Again. BY FIFTY POINTS! And before you think I was shafted because it was hosted at Rick's while I had to transport everything, Jack made it clear that I lost mostly in the taste category. Phew! That was a relief (yes- that was a hint of sarcasm). I didn't get a pic of all of the judges who conspired against me, but please give a hard time to at least the following culprits:




Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cupcakes are SO 2008

Before they become passe, & with Mountie's help, Peanut and I decided to have some folks over to ring in the New Year with cupcakes and cocktails (not that I expect the latter to go out of fashion any time soon). We started making them Tuesday night: Peanut couldn't have been happier:

Javier came over in the afternoon, after we went to the gym, to lend a helping hand. He described putting the glaze on the mini marscapone cupcakes like "painting a doll house, uh..., I mean, toy plane".

I named each of the seven cupcakes after a particularly person, and came up with labels to help describe them. For example, the "Classically Cliff" are chocolate with vanilla frosting. It looked like this:

And so, we had (in NO particular order, though Peanut claims his were the crowd favorite):

1. Peanut's Petit Fours: Marscapone with strawberry glaze

2. Holy Javier!: Banana with maple glaze

3. Classically Cliff: Chocolate with vanilla frosting

4. DJ Double D's Delight: Chocolate Orange with Limoncello frosting:

5. Martin's Missed Maturity: Vanilla cake with fresh strawberry frosting baked in an ice cream cone

6. Jack's Joy: Red velvet with cream cheese frosting

7. Mountie's Maple Mayhem: Pumpkin with maple cream cheese frosting.

I was too slow to get pics of the other folk who brought cupcakes, though think there was a peanut butter theme: Thanks Mountie, Lady & Emily, Billy & Scarlet, and Gregory & Big D!

And then, we popped the bubbly!


I can't believe Martin actually posed like this :

So I quickly had to call on Vixen to de-nerdify my camera.

Peanut designated himself as bartender (with Tom with his sexy new stache in the background)

I was happy to be called upon to introduce our international guests to the concept of cupcakes: Jean Claude with Mountie.

Guy with my gym buddy Lou, who's still looking good even though I'm not there to crack the whip!

I was forced to pose like this for this picture to prove that I was wearing JEANS, not TIGHTS.

I was so lucky to have THREE of my yoga teachers in attendance! Anni-Frid with yoga teacher TranquilTim.

Yoga teachers 2 & 3: Billy and Scarlet.

Where's Peanut? Javier and Ozzie.

George and Cliff- sad that I didn't make coconut cupcakes, they found an alternative.

Dancing with Anni-Frid and Agnetha!!!

Cute pic of Lance and Charles:

A riddle: Which of these three people actually has a twin but has been previously confused as MY twin? Emily, Lady, and Zero:

Sparkles couldn't find any Whitney Houston on my iPod to dance to :(

How adorable! Whitey and James:

Peanut sandwiched by Anni-Frid and "wishes he could cook, and dance, better than me" Zero (as in, Zero Mostel).

Larry and Guy leaving:

So, the doorbell rang after everyone had left. I was still happy to see my boys Wesley and Elmer!

May 2009 be filled with many more dinner parties with family and friends!