My birthday party says it all.
Take a look at this group picture and guess how many countries are represented in it.
China, Malaysia, South Korea, America, France, Ghana, not that many really, ha ha. We come from four different continents, can you imagine?
Unintentionally, I cooked various finger food that in a way demonstrated a level of cultural diversity as well. I know, I made my own birthday cake, then I made my own birthday party food, no, I made up most of them, you'd think I'm crazy or pathetic, but if you truly know me, you would know how much I enjoyed every minute of it. The stress I had running around in and out of my kitchen, cutting beef at one point and then seasoning zucchini the next second. Oven door was opened and closed almost continuously. I was running out of baking sheets and pans. May I remind you, I'm a poor international graduate student, I make enough money to pay for school, but then I live off my parents on rent and everything else, so it's not really surprising that I can't afford elaborate cooking wares; it probably also explains why I enjoy subsituting or omitting ingredients in my cooking a lot: I simply don't have the extra money to buy everything. But I manage to make it work. It's not perfect, but it tastes good. And since I can't taste the pictures and recipes in the cookbooks, I'm off the hook on that one! I know, I'm not a perfectionist, and I give myself a lot of excuses. But life shouldn't be that hard. It's the joy of cooking that counts the most, don't you think?
Sadly, during the frenzy of cooking and partying, I didn't manage to take a lot of pictures. However, I will probably make some of these things again in the future, and when I do, I promise to provide more pictures.
So, here's my menu:
Mini beef kebabs with bell peppers and zucchini
1 package of thin sliced beef, four slices, cut into 2-inch squares
2 zucchinis, cut into round pieces
1 yellow bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
Spread the peppers and zucchini on two separate baking sheets, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until a little softened. Meanwhile, season the beef with salt and pepper.
Skewer the veggies and beef with toothpicks and bake them in the oven until the beef is done, about 15 minutes, try not to over bake or the beef may get too chewy.
Tuna Salad with avacado and celery
2 cans of tuna, drained
2 ripe avcados, peeled and mashed
5 chalks of celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces (I know in the picture there's no celery, but that's because the picture was taken the night before when I was testing the recipe without the celery. My roommate suggested to add something crunchy, so I added celery the next day for the party.)
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
Mix the tuna and the avacado. Boil the celery till it's softened but still crunchy, and drain it. Mix the celery with the tuna and avacado and add enough mayonnaise as you see fit.
Spoon out a generous amount and spread it on top of a slice of baguette, Enjoy!
Baked Potato with Mushrooms (Sorry, this is the one that I don't have a picture of.)
5 medium-sized potatoes, cut vertically into 1-inch thin pieces, resembling the shape of a slice of baguette
2 containers of sliced mushrooms, browned in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper (remember not to crowd the mushrooms!)
Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350 coated with olive oil till they are softened but can still be picked up without being smushed, about 15 minutes.
Spread the cooked mushrooms on top of the potatoes and serve. If the potatoes have cooled down, stick the topped the potatoes back in the oven for five more minutes to warm them up.
I did promise to show you a picture of the inside of my cake, so here it is:
For your information, I decorated it with the number "16," as it was, you know, my sixteenth birthday, haha.