Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cheeseburger in Paradise

I just saw JIMMY BUFFETT in concert! I don't go see a lot of concerts, but I LOVE Buffett and have seen him four times in concert. Now, Buffett is a lot like a football game; a bunch of fans who know all the stats (aka latest songs) as well as the classic plays (the oldies). Now, all good football fans tailgate, and Buffett fans are no different.

And my family are the reigning monarch of wonderful tailgates. The Buffett concert tailgate has to be one of the best so far. We have tons of food, and great friends to eat the food. We had pork roast, chicken salad, clams, fruit kabobs, veggies, hummus, cheese. The food menu was endless.

One of Buffett's most famous songs is "Cheeseburger in Paradise." The song's chorus says:

I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well good god almighty which way do I steer for my cheeseburger in paradise!

I used that song as inspiration for one of my two desserts for the tailgate. My first dessert was a margarita cake, and I used a box mix. Instead of water, I added margarita mix to the funetti cake mix. The cake has a nice lime taste that went great with butter cream frosting. It also had a Margaritaville vibe!

The second dessert were Dessert Burgers complete with lettuce, ketchup, and cheese.

Aren't they cute?? Everyone LOVED them; even random people came up to steal one or two! hehe. They were super easy to make too. I used white cake box mix and regular brownie mix to make the bun and burger. The bun is a cupcake cut in half and the burger is brownie shaped with a circle cookiecutter. I followed the box directions and didn't do anything fancy or added to them. The only "special" thing I did was not fill up the cupcake compartments to the max. I wanted to make sure they stayed relatively flat to give them a more burger effect.

The cheese is yellow colored marzipan, which was rolled out very thin and then cut into a square that overlapped the edges of the brownie to make it look like it had melted. The lettuce is shredded coconut mixed with a touch of icing to make it clump; the the mixture was dyed green. A s-curve of red-dyed icing mimicking ketchup completed the burger illusion.  

Even with very full bellies, we rolled over the concert where we danced the night away as we sang along with good ol' Jimmy, who didn't fall off the stage! He did not disappoint. Great songs were sang, moves were busted, and happiness was boundless.

I have been to other Buffett concerts before, but not with godparents, god-brothers, best childhood friend, parents, and husband. I did not know one night could contain so much hilarity.  My god-brothers busted out stick on mustaches for everyone, along with glow and the dark leis. We danced, sang along, determined I was the woman to blame! (Heck my shirt even said its, I couldn't deny it!) My father and godfather danced around with glow sticks. My godmother was her joyous, care-free self, and had the best smile all night. (Hard to believe those boys have grown up; I can tell some pretty embarrassing stories about them!) The whole concert ended with tried, happy Parrotheads playing ring around the shark and quoting Monty Python (Your mother smells of elderberries!) Enjoy some of the concert pictures!!
Duck led the way to the concert!!

We have pencil thin mustaches so we can solve some mysteries too!

We finned to the right, finned to the left

I've known her for 16 years and we are growing older but not up!
My hubby dancing with his other woman!

God-brothers! They are all grown up, but they are the people my parents warned me about!


My wonderful parents

I don't know, I don't know where I"m gonna go when the volcano blows!

My fantastic godparents!

I made that! I can cook and craft!

We are the knights who say.....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Second Class Menu with First Class Taste

Last night, Trae and I went to a Titanic Memorial Dinner at a local Irish pub. This Irish pub is great at having a special themed dinner that is  pre-priced with a pre-set menu once a month. (And the price is great for the amount of food you get. You could go to a chain restaurant and not get the same quality or same quantity for the same price!) So far Trae and I have participated in three of these dinners: A Murder Mystery, Shakespeare Abridged, and the Titanic Dinner. Each time we have met new people and have enlightening conversation to go with a great meal.

The Titanic dinner replicated the second class menu shown below. Each course on the menu was served, and was paired with a wonderful wine. I honestlly don't think I even ate that much in one sitting on our cruise honeymoon!!


The pub encouraged period dress, and I took that as a chance to see if I could still fit into my prom dress from junior year. Now, to date myself, my junior year was around the time that blockbuster movie Titanic came out. Prom dresses that year were modeled after Kate Winslet's costumes from the movie, and my dress looked just like one the from the dramatic scene were Kate/Rose almost thrusts herself over-board but is convinced by a handsome Leo/ Jack not to.

A miracle occurred and the dress fit! I then made an awesome hair piece to go with the dress with the help of my trusty glue-gun.

 The complete picture:

Trae didn't dress up, but he was excited to escort his fancy lady to dinner. We were some of the first to arrive, and the staff at the pub was very excited that someone had dressed up. Overall out of the 50 dinner guests, only three people dressed up, and I have to outfit was the best!

The meal was amazing, and everything was cooked from scratch at the pub. I never would have put tapioca in a beef broth soup. I only think of it as something sweet for pudding or bubble tea. The sweetness added a whole new level to an ordinary broth soup. The cranberry sauce was divine, not the average Turkey Day stuff. I also never expect an Irish pub to make a curry chicken that rivaled any that I had at an Indian restaurant. Wine jelly with the coconut cookie topped with ice cream is a triple-flavor combination is astounding. The smoothness of the wine jelly mixed perfectly with crunch of the cookie, and made a fruity topping for the ice cream.  Each course was served with a tasting of a different wine that had been carefully paired to compliment its course's flavor. Overall, this dinner was a foodie's delight.

The owner of the restaurant got all of the recipes from this book: Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes. He told me about how he and his wife tested all of the recipes out before making them for the dinner. (Apparently it took his wife three tries to get the wine jelly right! I hope I have luck when I make it!)
I know that once the cookbook arrives at our apartment, I will be writing a lot about  my Titanic trails and errors! I love when a dinner not only makes a great memory, but also leads to memories to be made. Now Amazon, hurry up and bring me my book!! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Romantical Me

I love romance. Anyone born  and breed on Disney loves romance, and I love Disney. I might be an English major but some equations are simple. Disney + Fanatical= Hopeless Romantic.

However, I do not need dancing candlesticks or jazz playing alligators to have romance, but I do require a bowl of pasta and candles!

Around April the weather started to warm up, and it made me eager to get outside. (I also have retained the Disney child-like glee and have been known to run happy circles in warm weather!) My desire to be outside mixed with my craving for Chinese food (lo mien noodles, yum!) made for an impromptu romantic setting.

I picked up the food before Trae got home from work, and went to work on sweeping the porch. I  put together our two mismatched TV trays on the porch, and then threw a black table cloth over them. I put out my black and white Chinese inspired tea cups on the porch railing and inserted tea lights into the cups.

Trae knew I was picking up Chinese food, but he was very surprised that our porch has been turned into an outdoor Chinese bistro!

Romance doesn't have to be time extensive and even expensive; it can be creative and fun! I hate the fact that people automatically associate romance with money. Romance comes from the heart, and not the wallet. And I love romancing my husband, especially at the spur of the moment!

Even the kitties got in on the outdoor action:

See the tongue? It is ready for some whisker licking good food!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where's the Colonel?

Apparently, the Colonel is in Corbin, Kentucky after you turn at light number seven.

The first weekend of April was a wonderful mini-vacation in Louisville, Kentucky for a friend's 30th birthday. The weekend was stupendous! We saw Churchill Downs, played with an interactive art instillation, heard Glee renditions, and debated Dante/ Carson McCullers on the street at 2am.

Louisville is a quaint little place with snazzy shops. I loved seeing where my friend was getting her PhD at the University of Louisville. Trying on hats at the Kentucky Derby gift shop was great. (I am going to try make a cuff from my "Lucky Penny" smashed penny I got at the gift shop using tips from Epbot's blog!)  The birthday girl took us to the best places to eat, and to a great show. I even through my first White Castle drive-through. When we went out for girl's night, the birthday girl had on a rockin' hot pink leather dress with fabulous gold sparkling shoes! As a whole, we were all an odd pairing of people, from Goth, Prep, Vintage, and Unique.

Well, the drive down was very long; however, with only four hours of sleep, the drive back was even longer. Around two pm, my tummy and my travel companion's tummy started to rumble. We had already decided that for some reason, greasy food just sounded wonderful.The call of grease appeared to be answered when a huge billboard said ORIGINAL KFC THIS EXIT.  Upon exiting, we say sign that said "Turn right at light number seven" plastered with the Colonel's smiling face and black tie.

We started counting. Seventh red light we turn. Bumpy roads took us into the abandoned town of Corbin, where more side streets led to trailers and small mill homes. People looked at us from their porches with smirks. They knew what these two out-of-towners had done. They had counted. After many more wrong turns and asking a native female with a faded Looney Tones t-shirt driving a yellow hotrod for directions, we too realized our mistake. We had counted.

Apparently small rectangular green signs hang from Corbin's stop lights. The sings have numbers adorned on them. So, if you ever go in search of the original KFC, do not count. Read the signs. Within minutes of following the nice lady's directions, we were turning at sign-identified light number seven. Moments after turning, the Colonel's smiling face was seen in the sky, guiding us to our destination. After over thirty minutes of rambling, we had found our way.

(I could easily make a Biblical spin off about finding our way...
The Colonel is my chicken; I shall not want.
He maketh me to drive to light seven;
He leadeth me down the still streets;
He fillith my belly;
He leadeth me into the consumption of calories for His name sake.)

Sorry! This little parody came into my head and since the husband laughed, I felt I should share!

Anyways, back on track...In this blog, I talk about how memories and relationships are built around food. Hardly ever when you bite into something do you think to yourself, "I will remember this moment every time I eat blank." Well, biting into that KFC, I knew that whenever I ate KFC in the future, I would be tasting Victory! That's right....VICTORY, and let me tell, Victory never tasted more like chicken....delicious delicious chicken.

Please ignore the messy hair...It is lack of sleep, long car ride hair.

Overall, my Kentucky mini-vacation was a wonderful time! It was great to show how even though we scattered after graduating, we value friendship so much that we are willing to drive to random locations to spend time together.