Saturday, September 13, 2008

The big girl's night feast

I will preface this by saying that I made several things tonight that I'd never made before. Some worked out better than others. But that's part of cooking - trial and error. I have signed up for a cake decorating class next month so hopefully this will just be a "before pic" at some point.

I had six friends over to play pokeno (like bingo but with a deck of cards). Everyone brought a $10 white elephant gift, and whenever someone won a round, they got to pick a gift. You could also steal the gift that someone else had already chosen. Once a gift had been stolen twice, it was frozen. Whatever was under your chair at the end of the night was yours to keep.

So on to the food.

I did a cheese and bacon dip as the appetizer. It's quite yummy and quite easy. No pictures of it but it was quite tasty.

Main Course
The main course was stuffed pork loin with rice pilaf and a strawberry and pecan salad.

Pork Loin
Here's the pork loin before it went in the oven. It's stuffed with spinach, bacon, cream cheese and spices.

And here it is sliced and ready to serve. The flavor was just amazing. Next time I think I'd cut the salt out since pork is already a salty meat.

There are no pics of the strawberry and pecan salad, but it's pretty yummy, too.

The sweet stuff
This cake was definitely the hard part of the day. This was the first time I made a cake from scratch much less a layer cake at high altitude. The recipe didn't have any high altitude modifications, and it in hindsight it definitely needed them.

I started out with orange zest and sugar. It smelled so yummy.

The recipe also called for "cake flour" which I didn't realize when I made my shopping list. So I found some modifications online which involved using 3/4 cup flour and 2T corn starch for each cup of cake flour in the recipe.

Here's the batter once everything was in.

And the batter in the pans. I should have realized at this point that there wasn't a lot of batter and the cakes would be pretty thin. But I trudged along.

Once the cakes had cooled, I sliced them down the center and filled raspberry jam and buttercream frosting.

Then I iced the whole thing and added some decorative fruit.

Although the berries started to run after a while.

And here is what it looked like once it'd been cut up. the layers were too thin, so everything got a little soggy. But it tasted pretty good. Next time I think I'd cut down on the orange zest but it was an interesting first attempt.

I also made stuffed strawberries. Here they are before they were stuffed.

And here they are after they had been stuffed (and we'd eaten half of them).