Posts tagged ‘party’

June 14, 2011

Shrimp Salad in a Cup

This year has been pretty big for my husband and me. I graduated medical school and am starting my first real job. We moved into our first house, and my husband graduated his Weekend MBA program. I am so incredibly proud of him for being able to accomplish this (and do extremely well in the program) while having a full time job. In celebration of this,  a couple weeks ago, I threw him a graduation party at our home.It was an open house and had mostly appetizers and finger foods. This was one of the finger foods that went over extremely well. This shrimp salad in a cup is extremely easy to make and is perfect for summer get togethers. It’s light and refreshing and looks impressive as well.

Shrimp Salad in a Cup


15 Mini phyllo cups

1 cup finely chopped pineapple
1 cup finely chopped green apple
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
white head less shrimp, one for each cup (keep the shrimp tail)
1 tsp dry parsley leaves
In a bowl, mix the shrimp with salt, pepper and dry parley leaves.
Line the shrimps in a baking pan and roast them for 10 minutes at 400 F.
In another bowl, mix pineapple, green apple and cilantro with some salt and pepper.
Pour a spoon of salad mix into the cup and then, place the shrimp on top.

Source: Adapted from Sunshine & Simple

May 5, 2011

A Tale of Two Pecan Pies

2 Pecan Pies

Yes, I know it’s not the ‘season’ for pecan pie, but when I found out that it was my good friend Bree’s birthday last week and that pecan pie is her absolute favorite dessert, I just had to make it. Never mind that I had never made pecan pie before, much less tasted pecan pie, but I was pretty determined to make a good one! One problem that I’ve always had with pecan pie is that my husband is deathly allergic to nuts, so I try to avoid using them in the kitchen. However, since we’re moving this weekend, I figured that a few pecans in a kitchen that we would no longer be using couldn’t kill him (right?).

I had planned to only make one pecan pie (recipe #1), but when I took it out of the oven, it just didn’t look right. I had followed the instructions to a tee, but it looked like it may have been slightly overbaked. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I knew I couldn’t bring a dried out pie to a friend’s birthday, so I searched for a second recicpe, and thus found recipe #2. Following this one’s directions carefully, I came out with a much lighter looking pie. I ended up taking both to Bree’s house for a ‘pie taste test’. Her husband actually preferred the first recipe pie and Bree preferred the second, so I guess there really was no clear winner, but they both said the pies were great. My recommendation if you’re making the first recipe is to keep a close eye on it if you don’t want an overly dark pie. Otherwise, enjoy!

Pecan Pie #1


1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo corn syrup
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I used the pie dough from this recipe)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a saucepan, melt the butter, but don’t let it brown. Mix in the sugar and corn syrupand cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Stir in the eggs. Mix well. Stir in the pecans.
Pour into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour or until firm when shaken.

Source: Sara’s Secrets – Food Network

Pecan Pie #2

1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (I used the pie dough from this recipe)
4 large eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. with rack set in lowest position.
Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. With floured fingers, fold overhang under itself to form a rim; pinch between thumb and forefinger to form a uniform edge around rim of pie plate. Crimp with fingertips. Transfer dough-lined pie plate to refrigerator.
Make filling: In a large bowl, whisk eggs, corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth; mix in pecans. Pour mixture into chilled pie crust; place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling jiggles slightly in the center when gently shaken, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool pie completely in plate, 5 to 6 hours. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Source: Martha Stewart

April 4, 2011

Teddy Bear Cupcakes for a Teddy Bear Picnic


Teddy Bear Cupcakes

I know I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, but honestly, it hasn’t been without good reason. We’ve had some major life-changing events in the past few weeks that have kept me pretty busy.

A short summary of the past few weeks for us:

– I ‘matched’ into a surgical residency position. This basically means that I got my first job! I know that I’ll have to work harder than I ever have in my life, but the way I look at it is that I’ll be doing exactly what I want to be doing (surgery)…I’ll just be doing a whole lot of it. So I’m thrilled to start this new stage in my medical education.

-My husband graduated from his MBA program in the top 20 percent of his class. For the past two years, he’s been working full time and doing a weekend MBA program and I am extremely proud of him for graduating and doing so well.

-We started looking for a home. This was so exciting at first, but it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. We lost one home to another offer and are now in a bidding war on another home. Maybe it’s some sort of first-time-home-buyers curse? Anyways, I’m hoping it works out.

So as you see, it’s been busy, but hopefully things will slow down a bit and I can actually update it now since I have lots of great recipes waiting to be posted.

These cupcakes were made together with my good friend and great baking buddy Bree (who I know I’ve mentioned several times in this blog). Her daughter turned one last weekend and since her nickname is Brynne Bear, Bree thought that it was most appropriate to throw her a teddy bear picnic. She actually found this recipe in the Jewish Chronicle Online (a bit random) but these were  so adorable a cinch to make. For the base cupcake, we used my favorite Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake batter…always a winner.The frosting wasn’t overly sweet, which was a perfect contrast to the cupcakes. The only catch with the frosting is that the directions were in grams and while this was not a problem for me (since I recently purchased a kitchen scale to make macarons with), I know that many people do not own a scale. Bree and I were having a bit too much fun baking, chatting and sipping wine that I didn’t think to count how much chocolate and butter 75 grams is, but I will definitely take note of this next time.  And the decorations? Well, I think they speak for themselves. Bree reported back that everyone was very impressed, especially the birthday girl.

Happy Birthday Brynne!

Teddy Bear Chocolate Cupcakes

For the cupcakes


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

For the frosting:


75g semisweet baking chocolate
75g butter
2 tsp powdered sugar
pinch of salt


Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of warm water, then allow to cool for five minutes.
Beat the butter and sugar together with a pinch of salt, then beat in the cooled chocolate.
The icing will be very soft, so refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through until firmer, but spreadable. Swirl the buttercream over the cakes using a palette knife.

For the decorations:


Ready to roll white icing
Chocolate buttons
Chocolate M&Ms
Black writing icing


Make small balls of white icing and flatten into oval shapes.
Place in the center of each cupcake and attach and M&M for the nose using a little of the writing icing.
Draw on a mouth using a tube of black writing icing and add chocolate buttons for ears and M&Ms for eyes.

Source: Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake , The Jewish Chronicle Online

January 31, 2011

Three-Cheese Mini Mac and Cheese Bites


Mac and Cheese Bites

It is my true belief that mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food.  Who wouldn’t be comforted by creamy, cheesy warm noodles?  When I was looking for a comforting warm appetizer that I could make for Superbowl Sunday, these little bites of comfort popped into my head (because whether you’re cheering for the Steelers or the Packers, who doesn’t want to be comforted when the opposing team runs for a touchdown?).

This recipe is simple but makes A LOT of mac and cheese  bites…about sixty…which is great for a big party, but for those of you who aren’t having a huge party, you might want to consider halving the recipe.

Mac and Cheese Bites


1/2 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-pupose flour
1 cup whole milk
4 oz aged white cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz Gruyère, grated
2 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1/4 cup Panko crumbs
pinch of Kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 425º F.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the manufacturer’s directions. Drain the macaroni completely and set aside.
Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small bowl combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Panko. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and Gruyère and whisk until the cheeses are completely melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. Fold in the macaroni and season with salt.
Evenly fill the prepared muffin tins with the macaroni and cheese, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the Panko and cheese mixture evenly over the tops.
Bake the mini macs until they are sizzling and golden on top, about 10-12 minutes rotating the pans halfway through baking.
Remove from the oven and let the mini macs cool for 5 minutes.
Using a the edge of a small offset spatula, carefully remove the mini macs abd transfer to a platter and serve.

Source: The Galley Gourmet

January 24, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs


Pizza Bites

We’re a month past Christmas and not quite to Valentine’s day…so what’s there to celebrate? Well…football of course! The Superbowl is coming up quick so if you’re anything like me, you’re scavenging the internet for easy to make appetizers for ‘the big game’. These pizza puffs were a part of my ‘mini-food’ for the baby shower (more of that food is still to come) but they are probably more fitting for a football Sunday.

Since I don’t eat pepperoni, I left the taste-testing to the party-goers at the baby shower and the pizza expert himself–my husband…and they definitely passed the test. Pizza in one bite? Who wouldn’t like it?

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs


3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces pepperoni, cut into small cubes (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped finely


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through, then stir in 1 Tablespoon basil. Serve the puffs with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Source: Adapted from: Noble Pig

January 21, 2011

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting


Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Be forewarned, these cupcakes are rich and decadent and absolutely irresistable.

That’s why I knew when I brought them into the office last week for one of the attendings’ birthdays, they would go over well. To begin with, this particular attending has a serious  love of coffee. He buys coffee beans from all over the world and mixes it with crazy  ingredients and roasts it…and it’s delicious.

When I found  out that he was having a birthday lunch (note, when I find out that someone is having a birthday party, I get a compulsion to bake), I knew  I just had to make cupcakes with coffee in them. These don’t just ‘have coffee in them’, but there’s coffee in the batter and in the frosting. To top it all off (no pun intended), they are topped with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Needless to say, everyone in the office thoroughly enjoyed the cupcakes …even though they had just plain Eight O’Clock coffee in them and not fancy Nicaraguan or South African coffee.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting


3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons strong coffee (or three tablespoons warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon instant coffee)

4 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate covered espresso beans for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12-cupcake pan with liners.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cocoa) in a medium bowl.
Beat the egg and egg white gently with a fork, then stir in the buttermilk, vanilla, melted butter, and coffee. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until most of the lumps are gone. Divide evenly among the cupcake tins and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, dissolve the coffee in the warm water. Beat the butter, coffee-water, and vanilla in a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until creamy and spreadable, adding a few drops of milk if too dry. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Top with chocolate covered espresso beans.

Adapted from: Cate’s World Kitchen

January 13, 2011

Baby Shower


Baby Shower

Last weekend, I helped host a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Molly. She’s actually the reason that I know my husband as I was friends with her in college before I met Francis. Molly is expecting her first child in March, a little baby girl, and I couldn’t be more excited to meet my FIFTH niece.

The theme of her baby shower was pink and yellow and rubber dickies. We tried to make ‘baby food’ as in miniature foods and make a lot of red/pink and yellow foods. It was a ‘brunch’ shower so there weren’t too many ‘heavy’ foods.

We also decorated with pink and yellow table clothes, pink and yellow tye-dye onsies and pink and yellow rubber ducky center pieces. Overall, I think this first shower that I’ve ever hosted was   a great success! Everyone seemed to really love the food and thought the decorations were adorable.

As favors, we gave out pink and yellow duck sugar cookies and little boxes of homemade truffles.We also had small bowls of the homemade truffles on each table so people could help themselves.







Dessert table

The food (recipes will be  coming in the following days):


Pomegranate lemonade
Regular lemonade

Main  Food:

Pizza bites  and pizza sauce
Mini mac and cheese bites
Mini blueberry muffins
Mini cranberry muffins
Spinach and artichoke dip in a pumpernickel breadbowl
Leek and Red Pepper mini-quiches
Fruit salad


Raspberry cream puffs
Oreo truffles (also in favor boxes)
Peppermint truffles (also in favor boxes)
Cookie dough truffles (also in favor boxes)
Berry trifle


Boxes of oreo, peppermint and cookie dough truffles
Pink and yellow duck sugar cookies

And just because I couldn’t resist…my niece Katie looking absolutely adorable at the shower: