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.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blog Party#12: Passport Party---The Round-Up


Hello, and welcome to the one-year anniversary of Blog Party! I'm so happy you could make it...I know how busy we all get this time of year, so it really means a lot to me that you made it.

That's right; this is the twelfth time we've gotten together to share our love of appetizers and cocktails, the twelfth Saturday we've set aside to eat and mingle...and make new friends!

And because our friends live all over this glorious planet of ours, we're celebrating travel this month: the foods and drinks we love from the countries we've visited, and the ones we dream to see.

I found myself in a rather nostalgic mood when planning for tonight's party, and thought the best way to set the mood this evening would be with some vintage travel posters, available at AllPosters.com...they have pages and pages of the most gorgeous artwork.

I was drawn to a few in particular, which I think fit in well with our little party tonight.

First, there's this fabulous travel posters for Florida

Oooh...this is one plane ride I'd get excited for: Cairo...by Air!

And here's a trip I'd love to take; Gibraltar, Egypt, and India!

To keep the global/traveling theme, I've also hung up these really cute White Lantern String Lights

and some Traditional Mexican Celebration Banners

Ok...I don't smoke, or allow it in my house. But I won't complain if you bite off the ends of the Havana-esque Chocolate Cigars!

If you're drinking the hard stuff tonight (and don't worry; I have the cab company on speed dial), you may want to try it out in these funky Tiki Shot Glasses.

All these nifty pieces, and much more, can found at Plum Party, a ridiculously cool party store.

And for tonight's music? Well, they've yet to steer me wrong, so we're dipping into my go-to music source, Putamayo.

I think you'll enjoy Travel the World with Putamayo (Alex loves Mambo Yo Yo), but I know you'll love Music from the Chocolate Lands...I mean, is that a foodie CD, or what?

Alright...house and table decorated, music's playing, now it's time to pull up a steamer trunk and see where are guests have gone, are going, and what's on the menu!

Our first guest tonight is barbie2be, who's finally going to have to explain that name to me! She's rather fond of Italy, it appears (!), so we get to enjoy her Bruschetta Margarita...just gorgeous! So simple, but just delicious. Plus it uses the colors of the Italian flag! And I think there'll be a line for those Limoncello Shots! Thank you so much, barbie2be, for being here for this special night!

Ashwini's here! So glad you could make it! And you're going to love her story from her surprise trip to Singapore; what's this about jumping ferries??
For tonight's party, Ashwini made some inspired Mini Tortilla Quiches...I definitely want to try one with roasted red pepper hummus; I love that stuff!
Thank you for coming, Ashwini; it really means a lot!

Sara returns to Blog Party, and she's dreaming of Spain...hey, that's on my travel wish list, too!
Sara's made a couple of appetizers for our party, starting with some Fierce Potatoes---Patatas Bravas; Matt and I've made something like this before, and he really liked them, so be sure to get yours before he finds them!
And Sara also got creative, with Serrano-Stuffed Mushroom Caps...very clever!
And those fruity Sangria's are going to go fast, I'm sure.
So happy you could be here tonight, Sara!

Our next guest is a newcomer, so everyone say 'hello' to Peabody, Ok?
While she may be new to Blog Party, Peabody definitely knows what she's doing, giving us a Mexican-Pacific Northwest fusion treat with Tostadita De Salmon; very clever, indeed!
My brother-in-law and his wife live in Portland, so I know how abundant the salmon is...and what a neat way to use it.
Peabody finishes up by criss-crossing the globe to give us a tangy Key Lime Gimlet, too...yep; I think she's going to fit right in here!
Thank you so much for rushing to join tonight's party, Peabody; we're all happy to meet you!

Another newbie tonight; Chris didn't have to travel far to make it to the party, that's for sure! (And why couldn't he have discovered my blog in time for last month's party?? Oh, well...)
Chris also takes down to Mexico, with an almost-healthy sounding (you'll learn there's not much of that going on here!) Veggie Burrito. Sounds good to me!
Chris has also provided all the fixings for Pina Coladas...but just in case, I have paper umbrellas over on the sideboard.
Glad you could make it to your very first Blog Party, Chris.

Haalo and her gorgeous food (and photos!) are back...hooray!
Haalo's taking us to Japan with her Chicken Yakitori...yeah, I don't eat meat, and all I can think is 'wow...those chicken skewers look really good'. Bad, Haalo...bad! Do not tempt the vegetarian!
All's forgiven since I've taken a look at her cocktail for tonight...it's a green!... Japanese Slipper...very cool!
Thank you, Haalo, for being here practically every month, and especially tonight!

My favorite German (and I do, in fact, know quite a few!), Ulrike, decided she just couldn't miss the party and let me down, despite not knowing what to make for tonight...aw, thank you!
Thanks to a business trip her husband took, Ulrike was inspired by Chile, making Chilean Empanadas.
Oooh...I have a feeling they're going to go fast, so hurry and grab a couple!
And to quench your thirst, she's also made enough Pisco Sour's to last all night.
Ulrike...seriously, thanks for making this party. I appreciate it. And remind me to give you my dulce de leche-filled chocolate cupcake recipe!

Last through the door, but most certainly not least, here's Anni!
Anni takes us back to Spain...I assume we have no complaints?...I thought not...with a lovely Tapas Platter, consisting of olives, and melon, and stinging nettle cheese (that's new to me!), and more. And because it's just so...right, Anni's also mixed up more fruity Sangria...yum.
Hey, Anni...thanks for coming tonight...and where the heck are you in the Bay area, exactly?

Right. My turn.

Well, before I met Matt, I'd barely visited the states surrounding Pennsylvania. Oh, yeah...there was that trip to the Canadian side of the Falls with our German exchange group!

Shortly after we met, he took a trip to Africa.
Once we were together, I managed to work my way through the Left...I mean, West, Coast. A year later, he also had the opportunity to visit India and Nepal.

After our wedding, we flew to Ireland for our honeymoon, and not long after I discovered I was pregnant, we packed up a U-Haul and drove from California to Tennessee by way of I-40.

So, between the two of us, we have seen a few places. Narrowing our choices wasn't easy.

First we have Momos.

It seems like everyone in the world has this kind of food: South Americans have Empanadas, Italians have ravioli, the Slavs have Pierogis, the Japanese have Gyoza. The Nepalese version is Momos. Our try at them is a paneer and vegetable (and turmeric and ginger and several different peppers) filled wonton, which is then steamed.

Next, Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs.

No, we're not been to Vietnam, but since becoming friends with Cath, it's a place Matt and I are keen to visit.

Chicken pieces are ground with scallions, mint (from the garden!), and a few other spices, formed into balls, rolled in sugar, then baked; giving them an interesting light glaze.

Serve them in lettuce cups with diced red onion, cucumber and mint.

I call this my "Ode to Ireland".

While on our honeymoon, Matt ate salmon every single day. I'm not kidding. Every day. Whether we were at a B&B for breakfast, a small-town restaurant for lunch, or one of the castles for dinner. Salmon, every day. Sometimes? Twice a day!

Something else we noted early on; no matter where we went, we were served what Matt came to call 'a plate of chips as big as your head'. We didn't complain, of course; fried potatoes are good!

So, I created my little tribute to that wonderful week and a half in the Emerald Isle; fried potato slices, topped with creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, served on a Waterford crystal tray, which is in turn sitting on Irish lace (hey, have to use it at some point). According to Matt, very tasty stuff.

By now, you know I always make a dessert. Staying in Ireland, it's Bite-Sized Deep-Fried Mars (Milky Way) Bars.

No, seriously.

Day one of our two-night stay in Dingle, we found a little diner-like place for dinner. On the menu? Deep-fried Mars bars.

We both thought it was funny, but I eventually decided I had to try it.

Oh, my god...it's just so sick and wrong, but so good, at the same time!

Thankfully, these itty bitty pieces make it easier not to hate yourself when you bite into the fried batter, and sink your teeth into the melted caramel and chocolate.
They're surprisingly good, and the perfect size.

Oh, go on...you can hit the stairmaster tomorrow!

Neither of us have been to Italy, but Matt, in particular, would love to find himself wandering the Italian countryside. Put me on the coast, and I'd happily go along.

In honor of yet another country we've yet to visit, a Torani syrup salut! to Italy.

Ok...now that we've all met, and seen what's on the table, it's time to start eating.

Thank you, all, for making the twelfth Blog Party such a good one. And for making this past year so much fun!

I quite literally couldn't do this without all of you, so thank you.

Be sure to ask for recipes, and don't forget to come back 1 August to see what I have in store for our next party!!!

Tagged with: + + + + + + + +

12 Thoughts for food:

At 2:26 AM, Blogger anni said...

Hi, Stephanie!

Hey, glad I could make it. Whew!

Looks like a grand party! Yay, Sara! Great minds think alike. More Sangria, all around.

We're in the heart of Wine Country up Sonoma County way. Near Jack London's Valley of the Moon. Our country cottage is about an hour plus North of the Golden Gate.

We had temp of 115 degrees today! Thank goodness for friends with a swimming pool.

Happy Anniversary! Can hardly wait to see the next Block Party theme!

Anni :-)

At 4:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great party!

I'm curious what next.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Anni, I'm glad you could make it, too!

Oooh...nice area. Despite living in Oakland almost three years (he was there much longer), Matt and I never made it North to wine country.

I guess it'll have to join the already long-list of things to do whenever we get back.

115? Good grief; I'm barely surviving the mid-to-upper 80's Knoxville's throwing at us. Of course here, the heat's compounded by a crushingly high humidity factor.

Thanks...and I do hope to see you next month!

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Ulrike...and I'm really happy you could join in. You're now one of my 'regulars', you know!

I'm still putting the finishing touches on August's theme, but with just over a week to go, I'd better get moving!

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Great job, everyone! What a great variety and they all look tasty! I'm starving now;)

Thanks Stephanie for hosting us all! I am looking forward to next month.

Theme idea? One month you could do appetizers that you would serve before a BBQ. That's a tough one because so much effort is put on smoking the meats from 4 to 12 hours, the appetizer really needs to be something to kick of the meal (or to buy time when your smoker temps were a little low, lol)

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At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy seeing what other people come up with for the same theme. Everything looks wonderful....I'll be sure to RSVP for the next one.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Sara said...

wonderful wonderful roundup! i am looking forward to hearing about the next party.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger barbie2be said...

what a bunch of yummy, yummies! can't wait to see whats up for august!

stephanie/annie, i am in the bay area too. down in san jose. it was 105 on saturday. :(

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Chris, thanks for the idea! I'm always open to new themes; I may be a creative gal, but I do occasionally hit a 'block'.

I'll see if I can't work it in at some point, although I do have the rest of the 'warm weather' (at least in our part of the world) months covered.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Peabody, I feel the same way! And I will be looking forward to seeing you next month.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Sara!

Can you believe August is just a few days away???

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

barbie2be; that's too hot!

I think Matt used to live in San Jose...I'l have to ask.


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