Brie had a birthday back in April. It was a great time – we played Cards Against Humanity Charades and ate ridiculous amounts of food. Fourteen lovely people were in attendance (including fellow Qwertyers Adam & Brandie), but the recipes in this post will easily feed about 20-25 all together.
I decided to use Chinese food as a theme to build upon because Brie is a sucker for all kinds of Chinese takeout. When faced with a special occasion, she probably picks Chinese food about 85% of the time.
By the by, I made a birthday sign for her out of printer paper and thread because I am pretty much MacGyver. Behold.
It actually wasn’t too terrible to pull together. I found patterns for a kind of “Chinoiserie meets preppy” feel from Shutterstock.com and went with a classic font – Minion Pro. Then I pulled out my paper cutter and went to town.
I also made little food signs (fonts are Mercury Script & Minion Pro), but didn’t have time to actually bring them out and set them up.
Now, I used to be a bit of a stickler for “authentic” Chinese food. Snob, more like. “CREAM CHEESE IS NOT CHINESE!” I’d scoff, while sneering at the wontons served in Montana in the 90s.
I’ve since developed an appreciation for fusion flavor efforts and it has opened my world to some tasty treats. The recipes I ended up choosing for the party are all in this vein, kitchen tested, and tweaked like crazy.
I’m not a fully reformed snob, however. If I’m going out for dim sum (Chinese appetizers), there better be carts and crowds, or else things just don’t feel right.
Enough rambling – let’s talk recipes!
First, the “Brie-tini.” Ingredients are green tea, vodka, mint oil, lime juice, and sugar syrup. We picked a signature cocktail rather than try and stock a full bar to cut down on costs. With one kind of drink plus sodas, beer (fruit lambic and/or hefeweizen are great paired with Chinese food), and water, we were able to buy ingredients in bulk and provide just enough variety to keep everyone happy.
It’s inspired by a cocktail I had at the Four Seasons in San Francisco during GDC (thanks to head Mixologist, Oliver Lee, for letting me in on the ingredients). It’s easy to scale up as needed, and tastes refreshing and sweet. Originally called the “Level-up Tini” for the Women in Games Award Luncheon hosted by Microsoft, I’ve made a few adjustments to the proportions to get things more to my liking. Get the full recipe HERE.
Too many of these and you’ll end up like the birthday girl.
Next up, appetizers!
“Krab” Rangoon – recipe HERE.
Chicken Potstickers – recipe HERE.
Now for main dishes.
Honey Walnut Shrimp – recipe HERE.
Hoisin BBQ Pork Sliders – recipe HERE.
Egg Fried Rice – recipe HERE.
Veggie Lo Mein – recipe HERE.
Mongolian Chicken – recipe HERE.
We also served plain white rice in case anyone wasn’t up for the fried stuff.
Dessert was a combination of an incredibly gorgeous lemon cheesecake with berries made by the ridiculously talented Brandie, and store bought sesame balls (I didn’t quite have enough time to make them fresh). You get only pictures of the amazing cake, unless you can talk her into posting the recipe.
In the end, it was a TON of planning and work, but well worth the effort. A lovely time was had by all and people are still talking about the honey walnut shrimp.
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.