Daniel’s #19.

So it finally came to pass (thank you, Lord), my brother’s birthday. After several weeks of obsessing over it and mentally practicing precision timing in food preparation and the almost perfect ingredients, everything still managed to fall apart. I still blame Pathmark’s inability to supply me my desired NY strip steak cuts. (I really took it to heart). Add to that my day long procrastinating and cockiness that I got all planned out, my mom’s limited counter space and jacked up AC (but in the bathroom), it was really a recipe for an imperfect dinner. But it was in all its flaw that made for a perfect Friday night.

Dinner was set at 6:00 and I didn’t start cutting and prepping until 2:30. Mind you, I had a pretty ambitious meal in my list for a tight and cramped kitchen, small counter space and a dull knife! It also didn’t help that people were late. That’s how the pasta and the steak got overcooked and my first ever perfect caramelized carrots turned…erm..imperfect (?) after I decided to pop it back in the oven to keep it warm. I was so thankful that Maite and Epi were around. I felt bad commissioning their help when they were on vacation. They were supposed to be my guests. They said they had fun anyway, well at least that was what they say.


The food:

I had a few changes and some additions to my original menu I planned out centuries ago. Also, I will post the recipes separately. Otherwise, this post will be super long and it would be hard scrolling up and down just in case you decide to use this as reference. So here is what I prepared:

  • Bruschetta (which didn’t have enough tomatoes and basil)
  • Roasted young onions and caramelized onions (minus the onions)
  • Caramelized carrots
  • Penne al telefono (overcooked the pasta)
  • Grilled lime-butter salmon with sesame asparagus
  • Pan-seared steak
  • Ribs!!!!! (this was perfect)Ube cake (from Cristine’s or some pinoy bakery in New Jersey)
So in spite of some slight glitches we encountered, I still got compliments about the food and even a job offer (of course, no one else but from my mom).


The mood:
My stress levels were record breaking high. I usually handle stress very well, but that afternoon? I don’t know what happened. It was probably the faulty AC and the heat in the kitchen that fried my brain.
During dinner, everyone got settled down. I was already mentally conditioning myself for a highly possible awkward and almost palpable tension because Daniel’s dad was invited, but I didn’t even have to worry about that. He was pretty easy-going that night, which I am so thankful for. There were laughter and stories abound. It was the kind of dinner I miss, with loved ones- friends and family.

My love and I

Maite and I

Thanks to Maite and Pei for allowing me to use their pictures. 🙂


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