So I turned 30 on Sunday. Like last year, I’d been looking forward to this milestone. Though I have my fair share of regrets about things I should or shouldn’t have done in my past, I’m pretty confident that I’m on the right path (or at least a good one) now. I feel completely satisfied about being a little older and hopefully a little wiser. (Erin put many of the things I’ve been thinking about birthdays into words here.)
My birthday is usually a pretty low-key affair. The weather is often nasty this time of year, and everyone always seems to be too hunkered down to go out and do something fun. This year, however, I decided to shake things up a bit. The brainstorming actually started way back in the fall after my trip to the Coburg Antique Fair. I bought a cast iron Æbleskiver pan without ever having cooked Æbleskivers before. I got to talking with my friends Lisa and James, and it turned out that quite a few people in our social circle owned their own Æbleskiver pans as well. What do you do when you know nine people with Æbleskiver pans? Well, you throw an Æbleskiver party, of course. And what do you do when you want to have a party, but you live in a tiny house that barely fits the four people who live there already? You rent the Marys River Grange Hall, of course. (Actually, because I’m an active Grange member, I get a once-annual member rental for just $25. One heckuva deal.)
I had planned on taking lots of beautifully styled photos during the party, but when the time came, I got caught up in actually talking to my friends (some of whom I don’t see very often), and happily, I set my camera aside for most of the morning. I did catch a few moments to share with you, though.
Though I did most of the planning, shopping, and set up for the event, as soon as my happiest-in-the-kitchen friends showed up, they went right to work mixing batter, pouring, and flipping. My coffee-nerd friends brewed the coffee, and in the end, I didn’t have to wash a single dish because everyone chipped in with the clean up.
The buffet of Æbleskiver toppings/fillings was pretty astounding. I brought a ton of jars, some from the last Portland Preservation Society meeting, some full of jam that I made, and a few that I’d been gifted by friends and family. A few folks attending the party brought their own homemade preserves, too. It was impressive.
There were some savory topping (blue cheese, capers, pesto, etc.) in the mix, too, and Henry cooked up a big pan of potatoes and leeks to counteract the sweetness.
We cooked up pretty classic white-flour Æbleskivers, but I also mixed a batch of my favorite yeasted buckwheat pancake batter. The buckwheat ones came out a little flatter and darker, but I thought they were delicious.
When Henry went off to California last week, I insisted that he had to bring me back at least five pounds of every kind of citrus Heath Ranch Organics had in stock. Henry and Heath Ranch did not disappoint. We had navels, novas, blood oranges, cara cara navels, satsumas, clementines, and kyomi tangors. I brought my manual citrus juicer down to the Grange for squeeze-your-own juice (mimosa-fied or not). (Anyone who lives in or ever drives through Northern California MUST stop at the Heath Ranch farmstand right off I-5 for the best citrus ever!)
My friend Suzy snapped this photo of Charlotte and me (with Levi hiding behind me).
My Valentine-making station was a huge hit. I was afraid that it would be too nerdy for people, but everyone really dove in. I’m sad that I didn’t take any photos of the finished products. Everything was so cute and creative!
My kids had a great time running around, eating too many jam-soaked Æbleskivers, and showing the littler ones the ins and outs of the Marys River Grange.
I was too full of Æbleskivers to eat any cheesecake at the party, but later I had a slice slathered in my homemade meyer lemon curd plus honeyed blueberry-peach sauce. Man, that slice was crazy good.
Overall, it was a great day full of good food and good friends. So far, being 30 is pretty awesome, and I’m going to predict that this year will be one of my best.