On Thursday last week, E came over to make sugar cookies for St. Patty's day. She brought her mixer and we made about 65 sugar cookies. After the dough was made for the cookies, we made delicious but not green enough icing. We mixed dried egg whites (I think?) with confectioner sugar in the mixer and added 2-3 drops of green food coloring. That was just the beginning because by the end, we had added half of the food coloring to attain the deep forest green color, which we couldn't. To move the process along, we had an assembly line. I rolled out the dough, baked the cookies and E was in charge of icing and sprinkling them with sprinkles. It took few hours to make the cookies but they were totally worth it. They tasted really well. Hats off to Alton Brown for a great sugar cookie recipe. The husband, E & I all agreed that the sugar cookies weren't too sweet so that made them taste much better. For that matter, all of the Friday night guests said the same thing about the cookies. They were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
The next day, we had a farewell party for NG and celebrated the Irish holiday. We invited about 12 people and they all showed. It's always good to have a full house at the party. Fortunately it was potluck therefore I didn't have a lot to make on my own. I made aloo tikki, deviled eggs for appetizers. N & S came early to help with early preparation and to hang out before it got too loud. N & I made pulao, which was succulent. Some friends brought chicken dow pyaza, mutter paneer & chicken tandoori. All very tasty. Although I had never heard of chicken dow pyaza, it was one of my favorite chicken dishes. Someone brought a huge bottle of Jack Daniels. One of our friends from Cleveland, AS brought beer, lots and lots of beer. I think he was under the assumption that the party was for the entire weekend. :) I must admit out of all of the husband's friends I enjoy AS' company the most. He really knows how to have a good time, makes jokes and appreciates life to the fullest.
That Saturday, it was a girls night out to celebrate my birthday. I was really excited to invite E, N, & B for the birthday dinner at Cactus Pear. Cactus Pear is one of my favorite southwestern/Mexican restaurant in the area we live in. It's owned by an Indian guy who also owns some Indian restaurant in the city. It has a modern flare but the food has the fusion kick. E & I shared portabella & Caribbean chicken fajitas. I liked the chicken but I loved the mushroom fajitas. We also ordered a pitcher of margaritas and everyone enjoyed them. Even N, who hasn't had a lot to drink in her life, had a glass. I think she said this was her second time drinking, ever. Not that I am a big alcoholic, but I couldn't imagine going so long without having a drink, or at least trying alcohol. I think this reflects her young years. She grew up with a very conservative family where even eggs are forbidden. B got me a plant that she had in her backyard. I have to plant it in mine to see what it is. I hope it isn't anything illegal. ;) E bought me a crockpot, which I've wanted for months. It'll be great to have especially now that I have a job so I can cook something all day just to have it ready when we both come home from work. N gave me an authentic Rajasthani (from Rajasthan, a state in India) necklace with earrings and a bracelet to wear with American clothes. I was really pleased with everyone's gifts. I am truly grateful to have good friends like them.
That Sunday, we went to N & S' place for lunch and then to J & B's (friends of E& D’s) place for our cooking club. Fortunately I didn't have to make anything for lunch so I had some time to prepare food for the evening. I made stuffed cabbage which I think was a hit. Everyone was pleased to know that I stuffed my cabbage with lamb, rice, onions, garlic, green peppers & celery. Since it was a Hungarian/ Eastern European dinner, I used lots and lots of Hungarian paprika. I also made browned onion kugels. E, one great cook that she is, prepared potato & cheese pierogies along with mushroom & lamb pierogies. She really put the time and effort into them, and it showed because they were simply delicious. B made chicken paprikash which was really good and had a little taste of Indian spices. The husband and I agreed that was really impressive, however we weren't as impressed with the dumplings that go with the paprikash. They were too doughy for us. As always T prepared yummy cookies and black forest cake that wasn't heavy. Heavy in the sense that it didn't make you feel full/stuffed after the first bite. The cake was rich in taste but very light, just how I think black forest cakes should be. T is a great cook but she's amazing when it comes to desserts. She has a niche for making impressive desserts. During dinner at J & B's place, we finalized that the next cooking club will be at our place since the theme is Indian food. Excited might be an understatement.
All in all, the entire weekend was great fun.