Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Vegas, Baby! Blog Party#5; the Round-Up


It's a shame, really. Clearly, not enough of our foodie friends took this month's Blog Party theme to heart. Tonight is all about saying STOP. Telling the world, 'I'm going to step back, relax, and take some time for me'.

I suppose the craziness of the-week-before-Christmas got to everyone. Everyone but our special Blog Party guests, that is!

This month, Blog Party was all about indulgences...foods, drinks, other things...ehem. If it makes you happy, go for it. Because in a few short days, we're all going to be living like Puritans! At least for the first couple weeks of January...

In keeping with our 'go all out' theme, I've turned to some people who know how to throw fabulous, themed, parties; Shindigz is a company I first became aware of about five years ago. They kept sending me their Prom catalog...I couldn't figure out why.

But I took a look at their stuff, and found myself wishing I knew enough people who would be up for a fantastic theme party...and that I was independently wealthy!

Shindigz will sell you everything you need for a memorable night, except for the food and guests (!); decorations, table settings, balloons, you name it.

And they just happen to have a Casino Night section...imagine a gigantic mural, with the Blog Party logo emblazoned across!

Or these humongous dice? And giant playing cards?

And I know I can always count on the uber-cool Plum Party to set the mood.

They have a great Casino Pack; with plates, cups, tablecloth, and more.

How about a Roulette Wheel Chip 'n Dip Set? Or Chocolate Dice? Either way you go, you'll be set for your very own Vegas, Baby! party!

Now that we've got the house decked out, let's get on to the tunes (one of my favorite things to do...cleaning the house? Not so much!).

And I look no further than one of my favorite music publishers, Ultra Lounge.

A CD I've had for some time, and absolutely adore, the appropriately titled Vegas Baby!

And because Christmas is coming, why not throw on their Ultimate Christmas Carols?

Ok, now it's time meet our guests, and taste the food!

So happy to have you back, Glutton Rabbit! Oooh...look: sushi! One of my favorite foods, as I think you all know...and Rabbit's brought us Ebiko and Unagi Sushi. Ok, maybe I won't eat it, since it's fish, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate how gorgeous it is! And I may take you up on that vegetarian offer one of these days...
Rabbit's also brought along Jasmine Green Tea with Lime...sounds so good!
Thanks so much for coming to the party...

Cathy took our theme to heart...she's been crazy busy, teaching cooking classes and baking wedding cakes (repeat after me, Cath: Never Again); so a little time out for some decadent treats was most welcomed!
Cathy is a converted Vegas fan (for those who've never been? I highly recommend at least one visit...), so she knows what kind of spread to bring to our party. Let's see, there's the Saffron Crisps, which I think I'll position right here next to me,
Grilled Lemongrass Beef and Onion Rolls
(Matt's called dibs), and Phyllo Cups with Seared Duck and Blueberry Cassis Reduction...ooh; classy! And I'll gladly take a flute of that Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade. I'm so glad you took the time to come to the party!

Always happy to have Kai at the party; and wait till you see what's she's brought! She's also gotten into the spirit of things, realizing we do so much, for so many...it's a good idea to stop and be (dare I say it?) selfish for this one day!
Kai totally had me at Cream-O Cheesecake...Cream-O's are her local version of Oreos. And from her description, I might just like the Cream-O's better.
See, cheesecake is really one of my favorite favorite favorite things. I love it. Which is why I never eat it. But tonight? Hand it over, and no one gets hurt!
Kai's also brought us Mango Parfait to drink...how wonderful to have a backyard overflowing with mangoes! It's all perfect, Kai; thanks for coming.

One of the reasons I love hosting Blog Party is the chance to meet new foodie bloggers. This month, we have a new (to the party, at least) guest: Celia, it's great to have you here!
It turns out Celia and her hubby were celebrating 15 years together (can we get her a round of applause?), so she set out a grand, indulgent, feast. The big star of the evening was Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Skewers...and they are almost too gorgeous to eat! Ok, I said almost. Celia also incorporated some Parma Ham, and more of the Smoked Salmon, into other some short-cut appetizers...smart thinking! She didn't forget the kids, either; wings, grapes, chips and more keeps them occupied.
A bottle of Cava to keep up the celebratory mood...not too bad for your first Blog Party contribution, thanks; and we definitely hope you'll come back next month!

Our earliest guests (which I love), Johanna went Vegas, Baby! crazy for us. She didn't just bring a dish or two; no, Johanna decided to bring eleven kinds of appetizers to the party! Wow..is all I can say.
Perhaps the most interesting dish would have to be her Spoons of Marinated Soba Noodles with Crab Meat & Sesame. I go crazy for anything served in spoons...it's just so cute!...and these are no exception. And be sure to check out all the other, just as amazing, dishes Johanna's made...we'll not go hungry tonight!
And of course, she brought Champagne...what could be better? I'm so happy you could join us for Blog Party this month!

Sarah knows that any good party is judged by it's desserts, so thank heaven she's brought along the omigosh; I'm going to die (happily), Kahlua Fudge Cheesecake Brownies! As if Kai hadn't already done me in, Sarah obliterated the last vestige's of self-control with these multi-layered, I'll-need-a-new-pants-size bars. But that's exactly what this event is all about!
Maybe I'll eat two...sure, why not!
And she's even serving up Kahlua & Coffee, to help those cheesecake bars go down a bit easier; yum.
Sarah, I'm thrilled you could come, and if I ever make it back to LA, or you find yourself (gawd forbid) in Knoxville; we'll do this for real: promise.

Now, what kind of hostess would I be if I didn't prepare some of my favorite things???

A very, very bad one. That's what kind.

And you're what? Shocked and surprised? I'm a sushi-addict. First up, beautiful little Kappa Maki.

For the carnivorous, some Smoked Salmon with Caviar...yep, you guessed right. Matt created that one!

I love those slightly-sweet Inari...

Because it's so difficult to find around here, we just had to include these oh-so perfect Tomago

We do eat more than sushi, though...one of our favorite snack-like foods: Miniature Crouqe Monsieurs; slices of baguette, sandwiching chunks of Gruyere and prosciutto (or, for the vegetarians, fake ham), lightly grilled. Heavenly.

Again, with the decadence! Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Caviar. Very simple to make, but oh my...what a presentation!

And please help yourself to the Caramelized Brie; sugar and water cooked till amber, and poured over a wheel of Brie. Press in some pecans, and serve with toast or crackers.

I also know the value of a good dessert, and so I gave in and made myself a batch of Peanut Butter Cups. A mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate (Ghiradelli), with a sweetened peanut butter filling. Yum.

And my drink contribution? Well, one, I don't drink alcohol (mainly for taste reasons), and two, this is about what I want, right? So...anyone care for a Shirley Temple, made with our house-made ginger syrup???

Ok, folks; that's a wrap. Enough talking, let's get down to the eating! Everyone's brought amazing dishes and drinks, and I think we've had a pretty good time. And hey; a smaller crowd means better conversations...and more food for everyone!

I thank you all for coming; it's been a blast. We've all taken a little time to reward ourselves for a heck of a year, made some friends, and shared some recipes.

Stay as long as you like, after all...it's Vegas, Baby!

Check back New Year's Day for January's theme, and have a great night.

And remember: What happens at Blog Party, stays at Blog Party.

(sorry Sarah, but I'd had that planned for weeks!)

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9 Thoughts for food:

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Stephanie, thanks for hosting yet another great party! Perfect way to start the final weekend of shopping.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger celia kusinera said...

Thanks for your wonderful greeting Stephanie. And great round up!
I hope I will be a regular of this blog party. What an excuse to create nibbles everytime. :)

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Cath, you're so welcome! I love doing this, and I'm happy you could find time to come.

Final week? Seriously? Thanks to the 'net, we've been sooo done for ages!

May I never set foot in another shopping mall again!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Glutton Rabbit, weren't they just amazing? Those of us who came to the party completely got the theme, that's for sure.

Yes, we made sushi...it's one of my favorite foods, so how could I not??

Inari is so fabulous! And it's amazing how some places can totally screw it up. Once, I found diced carrot in it...

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Celia, you're so welcome! And why not...fifteen years of marriage is worth noting!

I hope you become a regular, as well...the more the merrier. And that is the whole point of Blog Party; a chance to make those little bites!

Thanks again for coming to the party!

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey stephanie! thanks so much for a VERY fun theme (i actually did go to vegas two weekends ago, LOL)

it' always so much fun...can't wait to see what the enxt theme is - SUPER BOWL!??!?!??!


At 12:18 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Sarah!

I want to go back (still need to visit the M&M's museum!), but that'll have to wait till Alex is a bit older.

No, not Super Bowl...we've already done 'game night', but I've got a couple of ideas kicking around.

But I should hurry...this year is quickly coming to an end.


At 8:36 AM, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Very fun. You do a great job writing this up. I keep meaning to participate, but life gets in the way.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Kalyn!

You, there really is no such thing as too early a submission. If you see the theme announcement at the beginning of the month, and find yourself with a bit of time two days later? I certainly won't turn down your entry!

Early is good; late, bad. Never joining the fun? Just not right.

Hopefully, you'll find a Sunday afternoon free in January, and join our next party!


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