Sometimes, I wonder what I did in another life to deserve the cool, amazing friends I have. One such friend is Model Sara Margolis! We were chit-chatting the other day and I asked her if she had her birthday party planned yet. She said she hadn’t had one in years and I nearly fell outta my chair!
SO I THREW ONE!
True to form, I cooked up a storm and aimed for special! I wanted these dishes to reflect a theme, showcase some of the stuff Sara has done, the places she has been and the whimsy in her personality.
#StuffSaraLikes = All things tropical! She’s a Vegetarian (Ovo-Lacto) so fruits and veggies are big. Sweets and sour surprises, too!
Sara told me a story about a vacation of hers where she, her brother and a friend flung a coconut off a hotel balcony till it busted on the concrete below. What a way to go! I bet that coconut’s coconut-pals still talk about how he met such an untimely demise! I decided to pay homage to that coconut — Otis the Coconut! — with a signature dish I called:
Sara’s Sweet & Sour Coconut/Lime Mousse w/ Sweet & Sour Mint Phyllo Chips
Ole Otis here is stuffed with rich and fluffy yet light and bright coconut lime mousse, topped with lime zest and toasted coconut, served with phyllo chips and garnished with mint.
The sand is pulverized wafer cookies and graham crackers. The eyes are edible, too! :p
These phyllo chips were so fun to make. I dusted them with citric acid and colored sprinkles! That citric acid is the stuff on Sour Patch Kids candies and Sour Skittles. They were a perfect pop to the decadent mousse.
A trick to get some lime taste in the chip itself was to make lime sugar! I infused confectioner’s sugar with lime zest. I let the sugar and zest sit together for an hour. Then, as I folded the phyllo pastry, I dusted the sugar between the layers to act as a bit of an adhesive during the baking process.
Sara’s Sandcastle Retreat Cake
This was wild! I had never made a sandcastle cake before. BUT! Sara enjoys tropical holidays. She sports enough beach pictures to fill an impressive travelogue! Besides that, “Sara” means “PRINCESS” in Hebrew. Sooo, I went with the theme and made our Princess a beach castle she can hide away in for some R&R. I dunno about that starfish, though. How did he get on the beach resort guest list? :O Looks suspicious!
I really wanted this to look like something someone made on the beach so I forwent using things like fondant and stuck with a spatula and my hands, instead!
This is a three-tier cake for 75. The bottom tier was a traditional white vanilla cake infused with guava and lime. The middle tier was my favorite — Strawberry and Chocolate swirl! It tasted exactly like Neopolitan ice cream! The top tier was a strawberry cream bundt cake.
Frosting! The top tier was frosted in a coconut-pecan glaze that gave the “sand” an awesome wet-sand look after application. The middle and bottom tiers were frosted in lemon/lime/orange zest infused buttercream.
The sand is a mixture of pulverized vanilla wafer cookies, graham cracker cookies and these gingersnap type things I bought. Those made the darker sand where I wrote “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA”!
I also bought the candy pearls sprinkled everywhere. ~And the candles!
The shells, starfish and misfits invading Sara’s castle are all handmade with white chocolate. Very yummy!
The towers are, of course, ice cream cones — decorated! :p
Sara’s Facebook name is “Tweetie Bird” so I had to invite Tweety to the party!
This is how cake was served. Here is my favorite of the three: a slice of strawberry/chocolate swirl atop strawberry cream and guava/ancho chili infused chocolate drizzle, decorated with pink and lavender sugar sprinkles — and served with a quenelle of mango sorbet. On top is a red candle with a red flame, a white chocolate sea shell and one of the cookie “castle battlements.”
The sweets didn’t stop there! Considering Sara turned FIFTEEN and TAYLOR SWIFT wrote a song called FIFTEEN, it stood to reason to make some T-Swizzle inspired treats!
Taylorific Orange Infused Cheesecake w/ Raspberry Puree
Taylor (I call her Tayters!) has said her favorite food is cheesecake. Nothing easier, more fun or yummier than that! This is an orange infused cheesecake with graham cracker crust, served on a bed of raspberry puree w/ an orange peel twirl, orange zest & mint leaf garnish. Decadent, silky, lovely!
Parmesan Dusted Sara Tots w/ Horseradish Vegenaise Dip
TAYTER TOTS! Growing up, that was Taylor’s nickname and what I still call her. FOR THE OCCASION, though, I believe we can call these “SARA TOTS!” :p These are Yukon Gold potato “Sara Tots” dusted with Parmesan cheese and pepper, served with a luscious Vegenaise and horseradish dip. For any of you who want to cut down on the mayo, definitely go out and get some Vegenaise! It’s great and better for you!
This is my traditional recipe for minestrone soup. I like fixing it vegan-style, and fully embrace the bean broth as the base of this hallmark dish. The incorporation of the shell pasta ties into Sara’s beach-themed gala, and that makes it SARASTRONE instead of minestrone! ;p
Saravera Primavera Martini
This was good! This is a medley of kale, watercress, baby asparagus tips, PAPAYA (omg yum), Korean garlic-chili sauce and quinoa spaghetti noodles quickly sauteed in sesame oil. Once in the martini glass, I drizzled a very clean celery/onion broth with a hint of low sodium soy sauce over it all, garnished with a scallion curl and fresh flat leaf parsley — AND PAPAYA PEPPER! NEVER throw away your papaya seeds! All you have to do is soak them, husk them, dry them and grind them! Then, you have the healthiest “pepper” you could ever hope to find!
FYI, I no longer use any other pasta but the quinoa stuff! Quinoa is a real super food. The health benefits are astounding!
The Princess Sara (Cocktail)
Can’t have a party without a cocktail!
I made two versions of this; one for the under-21s (like our birthday girl! :p ) that was just as delicious as the one for us over-21s. This cocktail is inspired by the traditional red tea from South Africa, Rooibos Tea, and fuses some tropical influences into it with crushed mint (mojito style!) and fresh mango juice — and rum! I used coconut rum. :p
Sara said one of her favorite fruits is mango so this recipe felt natural. Rooibos is SO good for you! See here. I served this in a glass that could facilitate four Lite Cubes for the neon rave effect you see pictured. All garnished with fresh mint!
So, basically, smush a mint leaf at the bottom of the glass. Removal of the deceased leaf is optional. Lite Cubes go in. Then, start building! 3 parts mango juice, 2 parts Rooibos tea, rum to fill, mint garnish. Enjoy!
SARA! I pity people who don’t know you. You have an uncanny essence & energy that lights up any room and turns any frown upside down. I’m SO thankful we met because I firmly believe that, to make the most of life, we must surround ourselves with bright, ambitious, successful people who keep the goal of living life to its fullest at the top of their to-do list — people like you. There are LOTS of people who love you — including me! — so never forget that the more you smile and the brighter you glow, the more people you’ll inspire around you, with everything you do. Just look at all the yummy treats you inspired me to make! :p
Cheers to this next round of your life! At fifteen, the party is just getting started!
Happy Birthday, Princess! ~(=^-^)= ♡♥♡♥♡♥
OH! And here’s the DJ we had! ~(=O_O)=
And here she is after the feast! =^-^=
Recipes for all these will be posted soon on my upcoming Tumblr dedicated to my yummies. Stay tuned!