Wednesday, April 02, 2008

party, giveaway, and news!

birthday lilies

Hi everybody! In this post I want to share some birthday wonderfulness with all of you. Usually, I don't make a huge deal out of my birthday, but this year we had a group of friends come together, and the results were too fun and too delicious to keep to myself. So here are some scenes (and recipes) from our little partay this past weekend:

Do you remember my vegan ceviche from last year? I decided to make it again, with a few tweaks to the recipe. Once again I used sliced jarred hearts of palm because of their pretty shape, great taste, and eerie resemblance to calamari. This time, I marinated together:

1 jar of hearts of palm, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 ripe but firm avocados
1/3 large red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small jalapeño pepper, minced finely
the juice of 2-3 organic lemons, plus 1/4 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice
splash olive oil
sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a tiny smidge of powdered coriander

this is what it looked like after a few hours of marinading in the fridge

and this was the ceviche in martini glasses, ready to be passed around at the party

for an entrée, we finally whipped out the Camellia red beans that Kittee had sent us back around Mardi Gras, and Daiku made his famous New Orleans red beans & rice

here it is, served with white rice and garnished with chopped parsley and Tobasco sauce. These beans are so simple, and yet taste so otherworldly, they make me fantasize about traveling down south. Mmmmm.

We also decided to pass around tapas-style potatoes. To make them, we simply steamed these tiny white potatoes, and then tossed with coarse sea salt, parsley, and truffle-scented olive oil,

and served with this improvised aioli sauce comprised of vegannaise mayo, lemon juice, garlic powder, and paprika.

My friend Heather baked a birthday cake for me by veganizing her favorite orange pound cake recipe! Gorgeous, no? This cake was so good, full of orange juice and zest, spiked with orange liqueur, and topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar. I am so grateful to friends like her, willing to step outside of their food/baking comfort zones and making this vegan birthday girl very happy indeed! (another baked treat veganized by my friend Rachel, but devoured too quickly to be photographed: banana bread! I have to get a picture of this some time soon, Rachel has perfected the art of making her banana bread create a pudding-like layer at the bottom... words would not do it justice)

Of course, I had to bake too. I'd been craving tiramisu cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for way too long to hold out any longer! These little guys were composed of golden vanilla cupcakes soaked with an espresso/Kahlua mixture, topped with dollops of cream cheese frosting and cocoa powder and finished off with dark-chocolate covered espresso beans. Oh my.

The term 'food porn' was invented for moments like this!

Our party fell on the night of Black Out For Earth Hour - and thanks to a reminder by Tracy, we managed to turn out our lights from 8 to 9 to participate in this event for the environment! As you can see in the above photo, this hour turned into a kind of campfire moment- we all sat around with only candles for light, eating, drinking, and sharing funny stories. It was so fun!

birthday spring bouquet

* * *

Ok, I promised to share my exciting news with you guys, so here it is!

But first, the small matter of the pool. I had a lot of fun reading your guesses as to what I was going to say. I don't want to choose one winner! So I've decided that everyone who guessed can be a winner. The prize? Some of my beloved sourdough starter so that you guys can have as much fun at home baking sourdough bread (and pancakes and biscuits and waffles and pizza...) as I do!

I've even created a blog email address for this event: wherestherevolution (at) gmail (dot) com. So if you made a guess on this blog, would like some sourdough starter and instructions in the mail, and live in the U.S. (I had to it this way, I'm not sure about the advisability of mailing live cultures through international mail), email me with your address! I will wait 1 week, or until the first 10 requests have come in, whichever happens first, to mail them out.

Ok, without further ado, here's the news:

Daiku and I are moving* to England!!

(woo woo!)

*Ok, it's not a permanent move, but for 5 months starting in late August or September, we will be living in Canterbury. For a time at least, we will be British Bloggers, and I can't wait. So all you Brits out there, please, I could use all your advice! And when I come over, I hope you know there will be meet-ups galore! This vegan's going international, yo.

a map showing Canterbury, in the southeast corner of England (click to enlarge)

birthday begonias



potato said...

Wow, that's awesome beyond words! What a fun thing to do. I can't wait to read all about it.

Vegyogini said...

Shoot, I should've posted a guess! A missed opportunity to learn the art of the sourdough starter and bread. :( Happy belated birthday and I'm really excited for you and Daiku! Congratulations on your upcoming mini-move!

Celine said...

you're gonna come back with a kick-ass british accent! will you call me so that I can hear it when you're back?
I love me some Bazu.

liza said...

ohhh canterbury!!!! and look, i can see a teeny corner of france on the map... it'll be just a little jaunt over the channel. plus, your time abroad will be an excellent opportunity to acquaint yourself with my vegetarian friend bovril du ne vache dérangé pas.

Rural Vegan said...

First, your party foods are incredible. You have some lucky friends, indeed! You could have charged admission for those cupcakes alone.

Second, congratulations on your move! How exciting!

Ash said...

omg Bazu! That is awesome news! Good luck with the move!

And those ARE a lucky girl indeed!

Hannah said...

Aw man, how did I miss that note at the end about making a guess? I've been intrigued for sourdough for a while now... Oh well.

England, how cool! I can't wait to hear about your adventures there. :)

toxiferous said...

Those photos are fantastic.

bazu said...

Hi guys-

I don't really care if you made a guess or not- email me and I'll mail you sourdough starter! (Vegyogini, Hannah, I'm looking at you!)

trina said...

How exciting! And all your birthday food and celebrations look wonderful.

pavotrouge said...

ah, Ingerland :) Another chance to meet up (when I'm not working or at meetups, I'm in the UK)!

Isil Simsek said...

Congratulations on your birthday!You had great food over there.
How exciting,you're moving here.I'd love to meet you ;)

springsandwells said...

That is so cool! Oh my goodness.

It looks like a great bday celebration. How fun to have such great friends to celebrate with.

Also, I can't wait to hear about what sort of trouble you get into in England. What an adventure. Sounds wonderful!

:) love Amey

pleasantly plump vegan said...

the party looks like a lot of fun! i am especially diggin on those potatoes and cupcakes.
congrats on the move to England. sounds like a great adventure!

Kittee said...

hey bazoo!
i just posted about your gorgeous bday dishes over on the ppk, but i wanted to come over here to read and to say whhoooohooo on your moving to the UK. sounds like you are super excited for the adventure! your red beans match the ones in my fridge! let me know when you need more, they come in two pound sacks now!


Peace by Pastries said...

excuse me while i wipe the droooooool off my computer from looking at those tiramisu cupcakes...that is one of the slim few that i have not made from VCTOTW, but that must change asap! thanks for the porn :)

Peace by Pastries said...

excuse me while i wipe the droooooool off my computer from looking at those tiramisu cupcakes...that is one of the slim few that i have not made from VCTOTW, but that must change asap! thanks for the porn :)

Carrie™ said...

How awesome is everything?! The birthday, the food, the cake (would love to get my hands on that recipe), Earth Hour, flowers, cupcakes, beans & rice....there's just so much here. And the move! How exciting! If you get up to Northhamptonshire, to a place called Rothwell in Kettering, go to the pub at the Rothwell Charter Inn and ask for Butch. He's my uncle. He's lived in England for about 15 years now and he just loves it. He won't move back. But he's still got an east coast twang when he talks. I have another dear friend that lives in Scarborough, but that's way up in the northern part of the country. Oh, you will have to keep us updated on your British adventures. From what I understand, veg*anism is a breeze in the UK. I'm SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!

Unilove said...

Wow! How very exciting!! Great thing: we can enjoy it with you, because you have such a great blog and point of view and pics!

All the best for you two...!

scottishvegan said...

How exciting! I'm sure you'll havea great time! You have to make sure to pop up to Scotland for a visit!
Looks like a great birthday party....I especially love the flowers and the cakes :)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Ooh, the red beans & rice sounds killer! How nice of your friend to make you a birthday cake! Those cupcakes are darling too.

Congratulations on your move! I do wish it was out to the West Coast, but I am excited for all the goodies ahead of you. How many times can I say I love Alpro Peach & Pear yoghurt?! haha.

John Plummer said...

Very exciting about England! And your food is beyond beautiful - so many good ideas to try in this post!

Mihl said...

Wow, Bazu. That's really good news. I am exited for you and Daiku!

Both red beans and the potatoes sound like great recipes, I am glad you had such a nice time with your friends.

So I didn't guess anything and I don't live in the US, but talking about sourdough starter...Because of you and your great and inspiring sourdough posts I started my own starter and had so many great bread results, I think I can never ever bake without sourdough again. I am blogging about it soon, I promise.

Catherine said...

OMG, Where are the birthday leftovers? Too bad food doesn't ship well. ;-) Everything looks spectacular!

Congratulations on the exciting move, too! Can't wait to see the revolution continued on the other side of the pond!

village mama said...

Happy Belated Birthday Bazu!

Congratulations on the UK adventure!!

And yes, awesome food porn. XO VM

b36Kitchen said...

happy belated birthday bazu!! all the beautiful food and then the news that your are moving to england for awhile! good luck! i can't wait to read all about it.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Oh I am sooooo excited for you Bazu!! That is such great news. You are gonna love it and I'm gonna love hearing about it.

And what a fun birthday party! Now you have me jonesing for some tiramisu cupcakes in a bad way. I totally didn't know about Earth Hour! I am so out of the loop sometimes.... I blame it on living in Texas.

aTxVegn said...

Happy Birthday, Bazu! I can't believe you're moving across "the pond"!!! How cool - you will have a blast!

Peggy the Veggie said...

Mmm, that all looks soooo good :)
And wow, have a lovely lovely time in Canterbury! That is so exciting!

Bridget said...

HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!! That is awesome news and I am soooooo jealous that you get to get away to somewhere really cool for 5 months. WAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Party was a blast. And I plan on bring me home some of those beans from Orleans!

Animal-Friendly said...

Congratulations on your (sort of) move! It sounds super exciting and I'm sure you'll enjoy England.

And of course, all of the food at your party looks delicious! Vegan ceviche sounds super refreshing- I can't wait for it to get warmer out so I can make some!

magpie said...

I really want to try the ceviche... And the tiramisu cupcakes!

Theresa said...

Oh my god bazu! How exciting! I assume it's something uni related, especially since 5 months is just longer than a semester... I look forward to reading about all your travels!

And what a great looking birthday celebration. Those cupcakes! You've got me drooling!

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

Yay! Good for you guys, it will be a fantastic, yet challenging experience. Ryan and I moved to London for awhile and it really changed our lives (for the better).

Can't wait to hear about everything and best of luck!!


Liz² said...

Ah! Ceviche... sooo... elegant! I love the idea, seriously love it, and it would give me the perfect excuse to buy a can of mysterious never-tried-before food (hearts of palm!). yay!

That's so awesome about your move!! 5 months sounds like the perfect amount of time to really sink your teeth into the country, and I'm sure you'll find allll sorts of crazy british vegan treasure. :D

Melody Polakow said...

Happy belated birthday! Your feast looks and sounds like it was fabulous. I love that you all at by candlelight!

How exciting to be moving to London... wow!!

textual bulldog said...

Yay England!!!! You'll have the best time. Can't wait for all the Brit posts! And ooooooohhhh I'm jealous. :)

laura jesser said...

Wow, congratulations!!! That will be such an awesome experience!!!

dreamy said...

Wow! Looks like a feast you are so lucky! Yea I can't wait to see ur British blogs too! And happy belated birthday :)

vegetalion said...

I love hearts of palm, but I never know what to do with them other than add them to salads and eat the straight from the jar. The ceviche looks great!

Amanda said...

How exciting!! I love your blog, but don't comment because I thought it looked so strange being "anonymous", but now I have a gmail account so i think I'm no longer anonymous. I'm from Kent, England! Close to Canterbury, I was born in Gillingham and my grandparents lived in Whitstable for a long time. I haven't lived in the UK for 6 years (I live in Spain now), but if I can (try and) answer any questions....just email... Canterbury is just what you hope England to be, all tudor buildings and countryside. I hope you have an excellent time! Amanda

Emmie said...

England yay! This means we'll definitely have to meet up. Alex's mum lives in England (the southwest) so that's another reason to go.

Also, happy belated birthday!


DJ said...

Wow - That is IMMENSE news! Of course, being in Scotland, I probably won't get a chance to meet up with you unless you come for a weekend to the historical and cultural capital of Scotland - Edinburgh. I highly recommend it, if only so you can meet all the Scottish Vegans!!!
Your birthday feast looks delicious, btw...

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