05 July 2009

A Fourth of July Un-Birthday!

My dad's birthday is coming up, but we weren't all going to be around, so it was decided that we would surprise him on Fourth of July with his Un-Birthday! After we went to the parade, us girls got to work in the kitchen creating a wonderful un-birthday shrimp/lobster dinner!

First was the bread that we started the night before. See why it's called crackle bread? It was really pretty, and the crackle topping gave it a nice sweet taste.

Sister made a towering mini lime tacos with homemade tortillas and grilled pineapple salsa. I wish she wrote down the recipe she created, because it was so light and refreshing!!!

I made shrimp sushi with spicy mayo. (See prior sushi post for ingredients)

Mom made individual portioned shrimp scampi (picture is MIA), which was deliiiiiccous!!! And she also made individual shrimp cocktails, which was super cute!

Next we have the coolest thing of it all: A 5 1/2 pound lobster!!!! That's right...a 5.5lb lobster. I lived in Maine quite a while, and never purchased such a monster. Take a look at this beast!

It was 2 feet long, it's big claw was 9 inches, it was enormous!

Look how big it was compared to a large lemon!

The night before we also made a new york style cheesecake. My first cheesecake experience...it was to die for! I've had 3 slices already today :) We used an oreo crust, and it was perfect and light and fluffy. The top did crack so I made some ganache and poured it over that sucker!

Philidelphia Cheesecake Cookbook

  • 1-3/4 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs (We used about 18 crushed oreos!)
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F if using a silver 8- or 9-inch springform pan (or to 325°F if using a dark nonstick 8- or 9-inch springform pan).
  2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, margarine and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Press firmly onto bottom and 2-1/2 inches up side of pan; set aside.
  3. BEAT cream cheese and the remaining 1 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
  4. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour into crust.
  6. BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Turn oven off. Open oven door slightly. Let cheesecake set in oven 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; remove rim. Top cheesecake with pie filling just before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Crackle Bread

Night Before

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup stone ground
  • whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
Day of
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 2 cup chopped croissants
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  1. The night before combine all the "Night before" ingredients together; mix and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in room temperature room overnight or 12 - 18 hours.
  2. The next morning pour the "Night Before" mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add the 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water and mix till blended. Pour in the whole wheat flour and finely chopped croissants. Mix with a wooden spoon till well mixed.
  4. Add salt and instant yeast. Once well mixed start to add the bread flour 1/2 cup at a time. When the dough becomes to hard to mix, pour out onto a flat surface and continue to incorporate the rest of the flour. Knead for about 8 - 10 minutes.
  5. Add a little oil to a clean bowl. Place the dough into the bowl and turn over a few time to lightly coat all sides. Allow to rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or till double in bulk.
  6. Once the dough has rested till doubled; pour out onto a flat surface. Cut the dough into two equal parts. Roll each piece into a ball and place onto a piece of parchment paper. Allow to rise for an hour.
  7. About an half an hour before baking the bread, you can start the coating. In a small bowl combine the water, sugar, rice flour, salt, oil and instant yeast. Mix with a wooden spoon till smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest till doubled.
  8. Once the bread is ready to bake, spread the paste onto the outside of the loaves. Place into a preheated 380 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


  1. Cousin de San FranciscoJuly 9, 2009 at 12:07 AM

    Ok Seriously...Aunt Mary - you've always been a wonderful chef but THIS is getting rediculous. WHY oh WHY do I live on the west coast when all of this glorious gastronomical goodness is happening all the way on the other side of the world in Vermont. Mouth is watering..

    Kacey...how long til you come to visit? Make sure to stay over for a Saturday so we can go to the SF Farmer's Market...amazing!

    Happy Birthday Uncle Ralph - I love you all!

  2. One more comment...

    Love the updated "location" shot of Aunt Mary's sweet ass kuntry kitchen in the header of the blog!