A Belated Happy Birthday to Me!

I’m 24! Oh my. A double dozen years have I now lived. I mean, that and almost two weeks. Because I was going to post about it and then I got a cold and then a massive work load of things which kept me from posting. But here I am now!

I had an epiphany for how I wanted to celebrate, for I had always wanted to do a chopped challenge. You know the TV show, Chopped? I’m a bit of a foodie and love the Food Network, and have certainly watched some Chopped. I always love thinking through what I would be doing with the ingredients. So I asked my Dad to create me an appetizer and entree basket. (Dessert was relegated to gingerbread cake with caramel gelato. I wasn’t going to risk that on a chance basket. Yum yum.) Dad got totally into into it. He in fact got a little sadistic with it. I think he had almost as much putting it together as I did carrying it out.

My first basket

For the app round he gave me bok choy, kiwis, onion potato chips, and scallops. He knew I’d never eaten scallops, let alone cooked scallops, let alone liked much seafood in general. Oh, he schemed. But I was happy for the challenge. I tried breading them in the potato chips, but the chips kinda fell off. Didn’t keep me from cooking them to a perfect condition though. Also they weren’t half bad. I put them on top of a seared bok choi wedge, added some red onions for taste, and then had the bright idea to blend the kiwis with some rice wine vinegar. The dressing was honestly one of the best things I made all evening. I’m going to try it on fruit salads, though I don’t think it would be amiss on a regular lettuce one either.

Plating is harder than it looks

I plated with time to spare. Yay! It needed some apple, or something to give it a bit more dimension, but overall wasn’t half bad. It’s not the prettiest thing on the plate, I have some serious work to do on my plating skills.

Seared bok choy salad with potato chip crusted scallops and a kiwi dressing.

Second basket!

Sirloin steak, blue cheese, dark espresso chocolate, and candied peanuts. Hmm.

Sweet potatoes with candied peanuts and chili powder.

Lots of sweets here. I chopped the peanuts and added them to a skillet with sliced sweet potatoes and some chili powder. My most favorite thing of the night! A little sweet, a little spicy, and sooo good. Especially the second batch, which I didn’t burn.

Blue cheese stuffed steak with chocolate wine sauce, served with candied peanut sweet potatoes

They let me run a little over on time, because I started late on the steak (lesson learned there) and faced with a raw meal or a cooked one, they let me fudge on the time. This turned out a fantastic dish. I’m lucky there was enough peanuts with my peanut gallery eating them while I cooked  (haha, pun intentional). It was a great evening with my folks and we all had a lot of fun! 10/10, will definitely be doing it again.

The next day saw me celebrating with some of my girl friends. We went out to Walkers Grill downtown, a place I’ve always heard great things about. It was fantastic. I had a Basil Haven drink (it had St. Germaine in it, one of my all time favorite alcohols) which I must recreate at home sometime, a chipotle flatbread, and some blueberry tart thing for dessert. Yummy Yum. We talked for hours and had a delightful time.

Photo credit to my beautiful Kayla Kay

23 years of age had a lot of hits and a lot of misses for me. But overall I loved my life adventures. The two days I celebrated my birthday on were certainly a cap to it all.

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