creating a meal

it is telling of the excitement in our house these days - that it has taken one week for me to get around to blogging about this little dinner that i hosted for the "IKEA girls" {a small group of us, who worked together at IKEA have continued to keep in touch via a monthly dinner that we take turns hosting} i haven't hosted since our house-mates arrived from finland last august, and given the fact that one of my house-mates was 9 months pregnant on the night i was to host, i took the opportunity to host the dinner in the airstream this time. it turned out to be a cold day, despite glimpses of spring weather prior, so i cranked-up the space heater, cleaned the place up (from a previous "boys night") and did about 15 minutes worth of decorating. wish i would have had time to get some FRESH flowers.....

i kept the menu simple - considering the fact that the food needed to be transported (through the cold air) from the house to the camper, and since i really wanted to host the party exclusively in the airstream, i focused on food that could be made relatively in advance. i whipped-up (no recipe) a SPRING ROLL salad: made with vermicilli-rice noodles, sliced romain lettuce, bean sprouts and julianed carrots, cucumbers and red peppers. i made a simple dressing with vinegar, oil, soy sauce & sugar and topped with freshly roasted/crushed peanuts. and FRIED RICE: i started with fresh garlic and onions in some grapeseed oil, then added some diced sausage and let it cook-up before adding already-cooked jasmine rice to the pan. i then drizzled/squirted a good amount of soy sauce (not enough to make the rice brown, though!) and a bit of fish sauce and stirred to mix throughly, before making a hole in the middle of the rice so that i could see the bottom of the pan. i then cracked 2 eggs into that hole, added salt to the egg, and began mixing it all up so the egg started to coat the rice. once the egg wass evening mixed, i stirred periodically until i could hear the rice start to "fry" ... this is when i added the vegetables, adding a bit of salt with them so they take on some flavor. i added fresh snap peas, broccoli and red pepper this time, but my fried rice is different every time.

for desert i decided to try a new cookie recipe that my dear friend, meg, forwarded to me from -- the SUMO SWEETS won the top prize in their recent cookie bake-off bonaza. they are very different from the types of cookies that i would normally make, but they sure are tasty! (so tasty in fact, i made a second batch the following day for a shower i was going to!) things i learned: i prefer cutting the white sugar down - either by half (1/2 cup), or by adjusting both sugars and doing half white half brown sugar (3/4 cup each). i also didn't use nearly as much of the honey as they say you need and feel that could be cut in half (while maintaining the same amount of wasabi powder). perhaps the most important part is with the bake time - follow their instructions - they look a bit under-cooked at the 8-10 minute mark, but they taste better than if you let them cook until they look more "done" -- if they start to get golden-brown, you've cooked them too long. if you put the honey on immediately, it kind of gets absorbed into the cookie, which is really lovely, but be sure you sprinkle the sesame seeds right away so that they stick to the honey before it gets absorbed. i honey&sprinkled them in batches of 3 instead of doing the whole sheet and going back to sprinkle. i must admit, it felt pretty good to see that mine looked just like the picture they provided. YUM> i highly recommend them!

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