Friday, October 9, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

Birthday celebrations were successful!

Somehow I got drafted to be in charge. I blame Giz (the obvious solution). Usually Giz is in charge of managing the troops, but since it was for her birthday, we couldn't put her in charge. So I got stuck "herding the cats" in my family.

We decided to mix things up and plan an evening of games. While packing (for the impending move), I came across an old murder mystery game I had from my 15th birthday. At first I thought we could just re-use it because it had been long enough since playing it last that I wouldn't recall the storyline. Then, I realized how old I am and came to terms with it being time to get rid of the game...It would be too difficult to find a tape player to play the tape that comes with the game.

Realizing that this is the 21st century, I did what any reasonable person would do...I searched on line for a murder mystery game and came across this site It seemed well-organized, so I searched for a murder theme that would work for the group and sent out electronic invitations to the guests from there.

UPDATE: The game was fun...there were 4 rounds of clues and at each round the players had to reveal a clue. The idea is to weave the clue into a conversation, but everyone ended up just reading their clues and then yelling, "I heard that character X...." (basically yelling out the clue as soon as they read it). In any case, it was still fun.

In the end, Actorboy turned out to be the murderer. I liked how it was a ready-made game that incorporated everyone. But, I find that the murder mysteries are not particularly clever. In the end, it's not as though you would really guess how the murderer carried out the act -- it's basically a random result that falls a bit flat.

I decided to play it relatively safe by mainly selecting dishes that I've tried and love.

Of course, that involves Caprese Skewers:

I figured Portobello Mushroom Pizza would be a hit with at least some of the crowd, but even the fussier eaters ate them.

I made the easy lemon dill salmon - another simple dish.

Probably the biggest risk (which is still minor in the world of food risks) is the chicken dish. The fear is ending up with flavourless or dried out chicken. But, after browning the outsides and letting it finish in the oven, the chicken was very succulent and earned several kudos.

But, really - the commendments go to For the Love of Cooking. I made her Grilled Chicken with Mustard Tarragon Sauce. It was a great pairing with the chicken and actually went very well with the salmon too. I HIGHLY recommend that you try it.

The mustard-tarragon sauce is the dish on the left, below.

On the right is a herb and roasted garlic butter spread I made (it was just ok).

Actorboy and his gf were in charge of getting the cake. They got a carrot cake for Giz....

And a lemon meringue tart for my birthday (which was just a few days after Giz's b-day).

Of course, no one was hungry for fruit, but it's mandatory dessert food.



Beth said...

Happy (belated) Birthday to both you and Giz!
The food looks delicious - if someone prepared a meal like that for my birthday, I would consider it as THE gift!

kat said...

Looks like fun, how was the murder mystery game?

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Great big hugs and birthday wishes to both of you. So who committed the crime?

Hopie said...

That looks like a wonderful spread for the mystery party. Was it fun? I decided to go simple but yummy and am having a fondu party with a few friends tonight to celebrate my b'day (which was last wed.). I got to try out this new gourmet fromagerie in our neighborhood and spend an obscene amount of money on cheese, and it looks sooooo good. I can't wait!

Ricki said...

Happy Belated Birthday to you both! Looks like a perfect celebration--and so much fun!

Julia said...

Happy Birthday to both of you! I love the caprese skewers and portobello pizza. Well done.

That Girl said...

An evening of games sounds like SUCH a good time!

giz said...

Val - Actor Boy's character was the villain. Even the dead body in the bathtub was believable. It helps to have a professional in the family.
Pyschgrad did an absolutely amazing job of dinner with R's help and she doesn't know it yet but the torch is being passed on to her :)

Barbara said...

Belated birthday greetings to you both. I love the caprese skewers.

Pam said...

What a fun night and everything looks so delicious. I am so glad you liked the chicken - we all loved the sauce too! Thanks for the shout out and link back to my site.

Dharm said...

Happy Happy Birthday to both of you. How nice that your birthdays are just a few days apart. The spread looks lovely. Can I get you to cater for my birthday? LOL!

Ruth Daniels said...

Happy belated birthday, to both of you. And kudos to the photographer. The photos are stunning. Menu is pretty delicious too.

Lori said...

Happy Birthday!

I love those skeweres and the mushroom pizza's- some really great ideas!

Elle said...

Happy birthday to you both! Sounds like a fun party...and I'm going to steal the Caprese skewere for a party next week...great idea!

daphne said...

oo.. Happy belated birthday! That looks like a great party- esp the mystery bit! Well done!!

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