Three Salads, a Cake and a Cheers for a Birthday Girl
A poolside self-serve bar, a table full of delicious munchies, a dessert table, a dj set up on the deck... what more can you ask for at a birthday party? The weather was still warm and going strong at the end of August. Perfect for Champagne sipping, toe wading, snack nibbling, celebrating A's birthday. She was having some delicious bbq catered and so I was commissioned for three salads to complement the meats.
Potato and Green Bean Salad with Blue Cheese, Walnuts & Mustard Dressing
What a mess this salad looks! :/ It was delicious however with its roasted potatoes, crisp-tender blached green beans, crumbled Danish blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and a dijon-herb dressing. Something nice and hearty to stand up to the bbq. I should have added the crumbled blue cheese after I got to A's house though. Doh!
Corn Salad with Green Pepper, Lime & Pea Shoots
I really wanted to make Grant's Corn and Snap Pea salad so much. I went to three different markets hoping to find some fresh snap peas. Even went to the Santa Monica farmer's market on Saturday for one last desperate search but the season had ended and snap peas had gone. Boo~ sadly I did not once buy any snap peas this whole summer. What's wrong with me?!
So I decided to just make a simple corn salad. I stopped by the Japanese farm stand and got some beautiful green bell peppers and the sprouts table for some refreshing pea shoots. I took off all the husk and silk from the corn, lightly rubbed on some olive, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and roasted them in the oven. Meanwhile I diced up the green bell peppers and some red onion. Once the corn had cooled a bit, I cut off all the kernels and combined it with the onion and pepper along with lime juice, pea shoots, a pinch of cayenne, and olive oil. Surprisingly, my makeshift corn salad was people's favorite.
Cherry Tomato & Arugula with Pickled Onion & Buttermilk Dressing
This was my favorite salad though. I had also picked up some Arugula at the Japanese farm stand. It was so tender and fresh. So much better than the bagged baby arugula at the markets which I do turn to often. The leaves were so beautiful and springy green. Paired with juicy cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion, herbs & a light buttermilk dressing, this salad was necessary item for my bbq plate. I had pickled the red onion the night before to add some zing to the salad but raw red onion would have worked nicely too.
The desserts got their own table! Going clockwise from the top-right, cupcakes from Sprinkles, treats from Phoenix bakery in downtown, Ellen's fab chocolate cookies, "White Trash Hostess Plate", and the last one is from me! Yes this savory girl made some dessert. Hey, it's a special occasion. I can break out the dessert diva once in a while.
Chocolate Custard Cake with Ganache, Roasted Pistachios & Fleur de Sel
Upon reading Tokyoastrogirl's post on Boca Negra and seeing how easy the recipe was, I knew this had to immediately go on my shortlist of Desserts I Can (and Willing) Make. I added my own touch though by pouring some ganache over the top, sprinkling with roasted chopped pistachios and fleur de sel. The chocolate custard cake was so smooth and rich while the ganache added some extra richness, gleam and glam on top along with the crunchy pistachios and delicious salt crystals.