Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekly Roundup - September 21, 2012

LEGO Cupcakes - Every year as that September chill begins to permeate the air, my sister begins brainstorming the perfect birthday theme for her boyfriend Duncan. In the past Duncan has been thrown everything from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party, a Baller party, to this years LEGO party! Despite turning 27 years old, Duncan still has a great appreciation for the simplicity and intricacies of different games and toys, with LEGO being one of his favourites, and really, with such a classic brilliant toy/game, who could blame him? I wanted to make a LEGO themed dessert for for the party, and although I found some really cool LEGO cake recipes out on the web, my sister felt that good 'ol classic chocolate cupcakes with LEGO coloured icing, topped with sweet LEGO candy would do the trick.

Poppin' Bottles - Thanks to my sister Justine's champagne birthday this past April (a champagne birthday is when you turn the age of your birthday date, ie. Justine's turned 22 on April 22 this year!) her boyfriend Duncan discovered his affinity for Moet Champagne. As a special birthday gift to himself, D bought some Moet to share with some of the early arriving guests (myself). Dude sure knows how to do it up big!

Pin the Head on LEGO Man - To fit the birthday theme each year, Justine always creates a pin the ____ on the ___ game, with those blanks being filled with whatever character fits the theme. This year for D's LEGO party, Justine created a pin the head and logo on the LEGO man game. Guests always have a great time letting the kid in them come out as they spin around blindfolded trying to place the pin the the correct spot.

Happy Birthday D! - Here's Duncan and my beautiful sister Justine smiling as we sing happy birthday to D and light up the candles on his LEGO cupcakes! 
Figs - What a delicious indulgence! I had to create something special for these little babies. 
TO Craft Beer Week - After spending a long day hiking around a ravine, helping my sister with her photography assignment, I needed something to help me unwind. When I heard that my mom was having a tough day as well, I suggested we head to a restaurant participating in Toronto Craft Beer week for a pint. With a pit stop in the Annex that evening, it was super convenient to head to Grapefruit Moon for some grub and craft beer. Our server suggested we try a just-tapped pumpkin ale that other guests had been raving about. With a cool Fall chill in the air, it seemed fitting to try the pumpkin ale. Although festive sounding, I was disappointed with the lack of spice in the beer and how light it was. I was expecting more of a bold flavour. Still new to craft beer, this was a good opportunity for me to learn what types of questions I should be asking when ordering beer, and to help me learn what exactly I like.

Attacked - I love the family-friendly idea of having old games stocked at Grapefruit Moon for guests to grab and play at their table, but I wasn't so fond of this freaky doll that decided to and on me out of nowhere in the middle of dinner. There was no one around to knock the doll. It was possessed. I was scared.

Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese Prosciutto & Balsamic Reduction - It always seems to surprise me how quickly figs can go bad. I always find myself scrambling to try and come up with a use or recipe for the figs as they hit their final days. Just as I always do, the first place I go to for recipe inspiration is my fridge. I see what other ingredients I have that would compliment my inspiration (this time figs), and begin writing out different recipe combos and ideas. After sketching out various fig combos, I decided to make Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto, and top them with a drizzle of sweet and sticky balsamic reduction. Sweet, salty, creamy, with just a hint of crispness around the edges of the prosciutto, these roasted figs were the perfect little bite to tide me over as a mid-day snack. I'll post the recipe soon so you can make up these easy little dazzlers for your next cocktail party!

Recipe Brainstorm - Here's a pic of the initial process that I go through to come up with a recipe. I start with an idea and build from there, coming up with as many different options that I can think of that tickle my fancy at that particular moment. As you can see here, my roasted fig recipe could have been very different stuffed with gouda instead of goat cheese, and topped with a drizzle of honey. Different, but just as delicious sounding, I think I'll have to try this one out another time!
The Big Cannoli - Although my mom says she hates having so many meetings all the time, I don't mind at all, as she is kind enough to bring me leftover snacks from the meetings almost every time! The leftovers are always delish, but nothing beats the leftover cannoli that my mom brings back for me every so often! One awesome staff member heads out to The Big Cannoli in Woodbridge whenever she can to pickup an order of some of the best cannoli's I've had in Ontario. Here is that perfect, delicious cannoli, with creamy and silky mascarpone and lemon filling, and the crisp outer shell, dusted generously with powder sugar. Mmmm the best! Thanks mom!

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Listening To:
Radiohead - Creep

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