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May 12, 2010 09:46 AM

40th birthday - menu help please

My husband is turning 40 and we're having about 25 of our nearest and dearest friends and their kids over to celebrate. I need help with menu ideas!

Pioneer Woman's Bacon wrapped jalapeno thingies
Chicken Empanaditas
Shrimp Ceviche

Pork Tenderloin - advice on a rub?
something vege?

In terms of cake - he likes lemon everything - I've made Ina Garten's lemon loaf for him I dunno how many times - but his Mom always made him a chocolate layer cake that involved a layer of cake, a layer of marshmallows and chocolate glaze, a second layer of cake, more marshmallows and topped with more glaze. Do I make two since it has to serve about 30? Break with tradition and go with lemon? Chuck the cake idea and make brownies?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. I'd make him a lemon cake filled with lemon curd and topped with fresh whipped cream frosting. Garnish with candied lemon slices; you can do it as a sheet cake to feed your crowd. If you know lemon is his favorite, stick with that & let his mother bring chocolate if she wants is my opinion.

    Looks like your thinking of a Mexican/Southwestern theme so for a rub for your tenderloin, you could do a mix of granulated garlic, onion powder, cumin, ancho chile powder, oregano, brown sugar, s & p. You could serve it with a roasted poblano & tomatillo sauce.

    Simple roasted red potatoes or rice cooked with coconut milk, onion, garlic, cilantro, and chiles and/or red bell pepper. A salad of mixed lettuces, cukes, red onion, avocado; add some citrus such as orange or red grapefruit sections & garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      I agree with Cherylptw on the lemon cake. It's his birthday after all.

      Like your menu. I might add a Summer Corn Salad as well (corn, tomato, onion, chopped basil, olive oil, s&p and a little white vinegar).

      1. re: boyzoma

        What if, in keeping with your quasi-Mexican theme, you came up with a lemon tres leches cake? I'm thinking of a regular tres leches, but with a lemon cake as the base, then with a lemon frosting?

    2. FOr the pork, I might suggest trying RUB WITH LOVE for pork. You can find it at specialty stores or you can try to duplicate it, it contains the following:

      Ingredients: Brown sugar, kosher salt, coriander, cumin, black pepper, smoked paprika, ancho and cayenne chilies.

      This is a nice salad that we like.

      ¼ C lime juice
      1 T red wine vinegar
      1 T Olive Oil
      1 ½ t salt
      ½ t. pepper
      ¼ t ground cumin
      1/8 t cayene
      1 bag frozen corn
      1 red bell pepper – seeded and diced
      ½ C. red onion - diced
      ¼ C Cilantro – finely chopped
      3 firm, ripe avocados – pittled and cut into 1” chunks

      1. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne.
      2. Rinse corn under cold water until thawed. Add to bowl and mix gently.
      3. Add bell pepper, 1/2 cup red onion, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to bowl; stir into dressing.
      4. Add avocado to bowl and gently mix, taking care not to smash the avocado too much.
      5. Garnish with a few Cilantro leaves.
      6. Chill or serve immediately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

        Rub with Love sounds great - unfortunately I've never seen it up here. I'll definitely try that combination though - I have all the ingredients in my pantry. The salad sounds fantastic too. Thanks so much!

      2. I have an all purpose pork rub that I make in batches and keep on hand. Here's the link:

        For a salad or even veg, why not a roasted corn and black bean salad?

        Corn and Black Bean Salad

        2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
        4 ears corn
        1 green onion, sliced thin
        1 jalapeno, minced
        1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
        1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
        1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
        1/2 cup lime juice
        3/4 cup olive oil
        1 clove garlic, grated
        1 tsp cumin
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/8 tsp pepper

        Liberally oil corn and grill on all sides until tender, about 10 minutes. Cut corn off the cob by running a knife down all edges.

        In a large bowl, combine black beans, green onion, grape tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and corn. Toss to combine.

        For the dressing, whisk lime juice, oil, cumin, salt and pepper until combined. Pour as much dressing over the salad as you'd like, toss together.

        Refrigerate salad for as little as 2 hours or as much as 8. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

        1 Reply
        1. re: krisrishere

          Oooh I'm always looking for new salad ideas. Love this one... but we won't have fresh corn on the cob for a few months yet - definitely going to have to permalink this so I can make it this summer! Thank you :)

        2. I use a bbq type rub for my pork tenderloin, and is similar to those above. Mix, in descending quantities, brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, thyme, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Try to let it sit on the tenderloins for at least an hour.

          Grill them on indirect heat, first sear on all side over direct (med-hi) about 4 minutes a side. Then transfer them to the indirect portion of your grill and let cook for another 7-14 minutes. The whole time, I also baste them with a mixture of orange juice, olive oil, honey, chopped jalapeno, and some cilantro.

          I serve this with a mango salsa, which is basically chopped mango with jalapeno, lime juice, salt and cilantro.

          A nice rice pilaf or couscous would work for you. And I agree with the others who suggested a roasted corn, tomato & black bean salad. You can also add avocados to that, fold in just before serving.

          And def. go for the lemon cake. I think MiLs tend to forget who REALLY knows their boys best!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            I think if you have young children at this party you need to add some kid friendly stuff.Most kids don't eat spicy foods. Maybe a beautiful fruit and cheese display, Also I might add some simple either beef or Chicken tacos.

            1. re: Analisas mom

              I've got the kids covered :) My oldest (8yo) will eat pretty much anything, the younger two (and any other less adventurous kids) will get chicken quesadillas. I don't know that we'll do a fruit plate this time around since there's not a whole lot that's really in season here just yet(Sylvan Lake Canada). I will definitely have a veggie plate though.