29

Well, I made it. I am officially 29. I’m not one of those people that’s afraid of getting older. Despite the fact that 30 is, actually, now looming, I’m nonplussed. I love the word nonplussed by the way; it’s just so underutilized. But no, I don’t mind that I’m almost 30; I’ve never really understood what all the fuss is about. I think birthdays are important…not because you’re kissing goodbye to another year, but just because it’s a milestone. It’s a time to tell the birthday guy or girl that you’re glad they’re here and you’re looking forward to the next year with them. I love planning birthdays; I want all my friends to feel loved on theirs. I looooove planning birthdays. Except mine. God please don’t make me plan my own.

This year I planned my birthday by accident. I wanted to have people over for borscht. My mom used to throw borscht parties when I was younger and they were always so much fun. I’ve always said that the best way to entertain is with a big pot of something delicious and borscht is definitely that. A big pot of borscht, a big loaf of crusty bread and a load of wine sounds like the best time ever to me. I also wanted to have people over for board games. I love board games. I LOOOOOOVE Trivial Pursuits and my new favorite is Apples to Apples. Boardgames and a few drinks is just a crazy good time (do I sound old now?). Anyways, when consulting my calendar, my birthday just happened to be the best time for this party. Birthday planned. Done and done.

Since it was my party, I decided to take it easy on the cooking. I made the borscht and these little russian, cheese-filled buns called Pyrohi (spell?), mortadella spread from the Purple Pig in Chicago (otherwise known as one of one the best restaurants I’ve been to in a while), and smoked salmon deviled eggs. The guests brought booze and cheese and pierogis and latkes and pickled veggies (they fully embraced the eastern european theme), and carrot cake cookies and…wait for it…funfetti cupcakes. I ate a billion. No joke.

Friends and food and maybe a tinnnny bit too much to drink was just the perfect way to usher in 29. I would love to give you the borscht recipe. But alas, it’s a family secret and I am forbidden from sharing. It’s a shame. It would be the best borscht you’ve ever had…..I’ll just tell you this: 3 sticks of butter. And maybe some cream. Done. Instead, you’re going to have to settle for a pretty rockin’ smoked salmon deviled egg recipe from the Ina. Smoky, salty salmon, cream cheese, mayo, egg yolks…holy yum. I mean, who doesn’t like a deviled egg? I can’t vouch for the rest of the folks, but I had such a good time! It turns out I’m pretty easy to please (sometimes). Maybe I’ll do some sort of large-pot-format dinner every year for my birthday. Gosh, I just can’t wait for 30.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Taken directly from Ina Garten. Makes 16 halves. (ie, not enough…make more)

I had THE WORST TIME peeling these eggs. I think they were just too fresh; older eggs peel more easily. I’ve tried all the tricks and find that any of them only work half the time. It’s just the way it is. Lol.

Now pay attention, here’s how to properly hardboil an egg: submerge the eggs in a pot of cool water. Place them over high heat and bring the water to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit 10 minutes. Immediately remove them to ice water. The perfect eggs, every time.

8 extra-large eggs, hard boiled
1/2 c sour cream
2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 T  mayonnaise
1 T  freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
2 T  minced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
4 oz smoked salmon, minced (not lox, New Yorkers!)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

  • Peel the eggs, half length-wise and remove the yolks; place the egg whites on a platter and salt lightly
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and all remaining ingredients
  • Whip until smooth
  • Using a small spoon or a piping bag with a wide tip (you dont want your salmon getting stuck!!), fill the egg-whites
  • Cover with saran wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving
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