end-of-summer langoustine rolls & a birthday recap

My birthday came and went and now I’m left in that post-birthday haze that always plagues me the second week of September. You are no longer special. Back to reality. Go clean the litter box. It’s just so much fun having attention, gifts, food, and surprises lavished on you, and being able to avoid doing life’s mundane tasks by simply stating: “I’m the birthday girl.” (Except now that I am 25, it makes me a “birthday woman,” which is not cute…)

It was  definitely one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, making the withdrawals that much worse. The boyfriend turned my birthday into a birthday week, surprising me with baked goods, chocolates, a piñata and lots of little gifts every day leading up to my actual birthday. We had our first celebration the week before at my Dad’s, where Dhiren surprised us with a piñata. I can’t remember the last time I’ve hit a piñata, or laughed that hard….There’s something so unsettling about being blindfolded, spun around, feeling disoriented and vulnerable, while your Dad knocks you in the head with a paper-mâché owl. Observe:

On my birthday itself, I woke up to presents & a massive owl balloon.

He  then took me to 26 Beach Restaurant in Venice for brunch, where I gorged myself on lemon ricotta French toast, one of the best croissant sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life and of course, some of Dhiren’s food as well! After we stuffed ourselves, we headed over to the gorgeous Getty Villa in Malibu, saw some cool museum things & worked up an appetite for dinner across town at Osteria Mozza.

This was a big surprise, since Dhiren had me put Angelini Osteria (our normal celebration spot) into the GPS. Waiting for us at the restaurant was my friend Vanessa, who had been texting me as we went to dinner, making me feel incredibly guilty that we didn’t invite her. I had absolutely no idea she was there. Then, to compound the shock, Leah, my best friend since high school, showed up mid-meal after telling me a couple days before that she was stuck in Dubai. We had a fabulous meal which included an array of foods I can’t even remember. We then headed to the Groundlings where my third surprise awaited in the form of my friend Iris, who joined us for the show.

Needless to say, I was kind of in a daze the entire evening.

The day after my birthday we went to celebrate with my grandparents and mom, who made me a Thanksgiving dinner, the most delicious from-scratch chocolate cake with Swiss Buttercream and gave me a KitchenAid with Dhiren! I also received some awesome cutting mats, an emulsifier and a set of French bakeware.

It was a fabulous birthday and totally worth not being able to fit in my pants!

Back to the present. I’ve been craving lobster rolls for a LONG time ever since I stumbled across a recipe online, and decided to utilize my KitchenAid for the first time to mix it all together! I was initially worried that I wouldn’t get much use out of the KitchenAid, but I can easily see how it is going to make my life a lot simpler and neater, especially since I am not talented at swirling around those hand-held mixers.

Now I didn’t actually use lobster in these because langoustine was simply more convenient and I avoided making two grocery store trips.

Ingredients (makes 3-4 small sandwiches like the one pictures)

  • 1 package of frozen langoustine tails (Trader Joe’s sells a 12 oz package)
  • 1/8 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon of dill
  • 1 Tablespoon, fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • pepper to taste
  • 3-4 rolls, or French baguette (as pictured)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Recipe:

1. Defrost langoustine tails, and chop. Dump into a bowl. 

I love my new Martha Stewart chopping mats!

2. Add the celery, dill, parsley, salt and pepper and mix for a couple minutes until well blended. 

3. Top roll or baguette with salad mixture and brush butter on the top.

Took about 10 minutes. This makes a nice addition to the usual egg & chicken salad routine!

Birthday Post 2011

Today is my birthday and it’s been a fabulous year full of food, friends, family, travel and life! I’ve been reflecting on all the amazing times I’ve had over the past year and feel super blessed to have the life I do! Here are some highlights & awards:

Favorite Restaurant: Angelini Osteria (going there  tonight for my birthday din-din) Fresh, delicious, flavorful gourmet Italiano with an L.A. feel. Love the vibe, the intimacy and the food. I haven’t been to Mozza or Bocca, but I have a feeling this place isn’t easily topped.

Favorite Restaurant Runner Up: Cucina Urbana in San Diego. This is like the Bottega Louie of S.D. but it doesn’t have the pretense, anorexic-looking hipster Los Angelinas and the food was a notch better. Smaller portions, better, quirkier ambience.

Best breakfast: My Dad’s house. Seriously, my Dad makes the most amazing waffles ever. Sadly I don’t have any pictures, but hopefully I’ll fix that this weekend!

Best pastry: Lobster Tails from Court Bakery in Brooklyn. Crunchy, light and flaky on the outside, creamy, thick and sweet on the inside. Amazing pastry. Sadly you can’t find them anywhere near California (if you know of any place that has them, send me a message).

Favorite Dessert from my kitchen: Coconut Creme Pie. I was really impressed with my pie. I did not however, use fresh coconut or my own crust, but nonetheless, this was the best dessert I think I made all year.

Favorite meal from my kitchen: Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna. Though, I’m super proud of my risotto, I thought this lasagna turned out amazing for my taste buds.

Favorite meaty meal: Lamb chops with apricot preserve and baked carrots.

Worst dish this past year: Egg soufleé a la microwave. This was quite possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve single-handedly made in my life. SO bland, mushy, uncooked, and simply revolting. So glad I’ve ditched the microwave too.

Favorite moment when I ate too much and got sick: Max’s Birthday Party catered by Ciao Cupcake. I think I ate 10 cupcakes that day, no joke.

Cooking goals for this birthday year:

  • Lobster Tails. I need to learn how to make them and give them as Christmas presents
  • Pad Thai (made it before years ago and it came out super dry)
  • Paneer from scratch
  • Mozzarella from scratch
  • Ice cream cake- always wanted to make an ice cream cake.
  • More curry!
  • Fondant-covered cakes
  • Healthier recipes! Now that I’ve started Weight Watchers, I can still eat whatever I want in moderate portions, but I want to learn some recipes that have fewer points and are healthier.
So happy birthday to me, and here’s to more eating, healthier recipes, and lots of cooking!

(PS: I’ve started noticing WordPress is now beginning to run ads on my blog. Not cool. So not cool.)