Tuesday, June 5, 2012

East Coast/West Coast Birthdays

Over the last few years my birthdays took a backseat to a lot of unvoidable grief in my family's life so I decided this year to celebrate with gusto because I'm so sincerely grateful to be here.  As in here, on this planet.  Alive and well.  If not busy and stressed and trying to count my calories like the rest of the world.  So it is with pleasure I talk about a few foodie elements to both my birthday in New York City and my birthday in Malibu (honestly it doesn't get much better) that are truly worth mentioning.

First and foremost, my dear friend and partner in the business, Shannon surprised me with a bespoke apron as a birthday gift.  I haven't received a handmade stitch of clothing since I was a child so I nearly burst into tears when presented with my bright brown, red, and yellow, two fabric, overlay with a pocket, pleats and thick waistband apron. 

Needless to say, the ever thinking social marketing guru that she's become suggested we have our line of Secret Ingredients' aprons to sell at our next Secret Table.  I concur.  But someone else is going to have to make them as Shannon is will be too busy with all the hats she wears in the business.

Next up, I have to share the ridiculously delicious red wine and chocolate cake my dear friend and new business partner (but sssshhhhh, it's a secret for now), Tricia Davey, baked me for my birthday.  Schlepped it across town and more than likely on and off a subway before presenting it at our working lunch replete with French Candles whilst singing Happy Birthday in French!  We are both Europhiles... email tricia@secretingredients.us for the complete recipe. 

My friends are positively genius are they not?  What made this cake so indescribably good was the sweet and savory combination.  In fact, I dubbed it the perfect adult alcoholic brownie as you could really taste the red wine embedded in the thick and rich chocolate mold.   Trix, who is always on the lookout for how to "lighten" things up topped with tart Greek yogurt which I love too as this adds a teeny component of nutrition while cutting back on calories and palate numbing sweetness.   I love ths cake and it will be up on our website soon available for all of our clients to sample.  My late father loved chocolate and red wine post a great dinner so this one's for you dad -- I still wish you were here to enjoy all the great food, great wine and beautiful people in my life.

And finally, for my West Coast birthday sur la plage I cooked!  My guests got  to sample an almost entirely vegetarian menu inspired by Mediterranean flavors and the fresh herbs of summer.  Anything I could cook with dill, Italian parsley, basil, and mint went into the menu planning.  And despite the oohs and aahs that all dishes elicited my fresh pea, mint, and goat cheese puree won the day as the official taste of summer.

There's alchemy in this combination and I'm here to tell you the sweetness of the peas combined with the unapologetic brightness of the mint, the droll creaminess of the goat cheese and tart but breezy taste of lemon juice and zest created an otherworldy spread.  I served on toast points but any thin crisp cracker will do.  Email me at events@secretingredients.us for the complete recipe. 

For this party I was not responsible for my cake and dear friends Wendy and Virginia Plumb surprised me with my favorite Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting.  That's our official taster and she agreed it was the best cake ever!

So with love and gratitude I sign off from this two week celebration and hope to sharing lots more birthdays with everyone in the future.