Dr. Ned’s Graduation Party!

August 27, 2010 at 11:39 am | Posted in Dessert, Dinner | 4 Comments

So this shindig was hosted on a lovely Tuesday afternoon in the Remsen building breezeway. In the morning Ned defended his thesis and it was approved by before lunchtime and now we can all call him Dr!! It is custom in the Hopkins Chemistry Department to have a gathering with drinks and food to get everyone in the lab together to celebrate the new graduate. Well us being the foodies, we knew we had to go all out. So that Sunday we slaved (well not really, I had a mani and pedi and Ned got to watch lots of golf and baseball on TV) but we surely cooked alot! I packed up all of my nice porcelain serving dishes and got all of our prepped ingredients in tupperware and away it went with Ned on Monday morning! He had to do some more cooking that night and I prepped some more on Tuesday morning, but by Tuesday afternoon we had one hour to finish prepping and then 30 minutes to set up and it went perfectly!! I was so impressed with our abilities to pull it all together at the last minute. Me and my bunny make a great team. πŸ˜€

So here is my smiling man, he’s smiling you know, cause he was done with graduate school!!!

The brightest and biggest smile I HAVE EVER SEEN ON HIS FACE!!!

And here is our tablescape…

the whole beautiful table!

We had a multitude of tasty treats! Starting from the left, was salmon rillettes, goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes, parmesan filled ratatouille cups, my famous confetti salad, and in the back was brownie bites and mini chocolate raspberry cheesecakes! Phew!

I got the flowers from the farmer’s market and Wegman’s came through with the tablecloth and tableware! I can’t wait for Jenn’s and my housewarming/birthday party in early October so I can pull out all the stops again!!!

So the first time I made these, Ned went BONKERS for it! Then he made it for his Christmas feast at home and they were sure to appear on the menu for this party. So rich, so buttery, so salmony (in a good way) its just the like ultimate cracker spread.

and this begins our party!!  these are salmon rillettes

Ned got the idea for this dish from a little book that our friend Julie gave us (or forced us to take home!). Ned loves looking at this book, Bite Size by Francois Payard, its full of amazingly creative appetizer dishes. Usually for most meals, using this cookbook would be wayyyyy too much work, but for a party like this? It was the perfect resource. We got some nice cherry tomatoes from the JFX market and he mixed up a concoction of goat cheese and a bunch of herbs. They were the perfect little bite of tomato and cheese!

stuffed cherry tomatoes

The next recipe was the winner of the afternoon and also came from that Bite Size book. See the recipe here! Ned seriously took some care in making the parmesan cups, we even got some silicone mini cupcake molds to make the process easier! The filling recipe was simple to cook, but not simple to prepare. I don’t know how long it took him to finely dice each ingredient, but it was surely a labor of love! The filling was so tasty and the parmesan cup was awesome. I mean how often do you get to eat something made out of cheese as a vehicle for more food??

ratatouille stuffed parmesan cups

This confetti salad is the party appetizer I have been making for the last year and it had to be included for this party too. Smitten Kitchen recipes never disappoint! And I always serve this with tostitos scoops with the jalapeno seasoning!

my ever famous confetti salad dip

And I used a nice ghiradelli box mix to make these brownies. I added in some mini chocolate chips into the batter and put some festive sprinkles on top (Joanna style!). It’s true I’m lazy, at least when it comes to brownies. Some reason I really think using the box is the best way to get the right taste! (and they’re only like a $1.50 anyway…) But want to hear something random and strange that I am excited about (at least when it comes to brownie recipes?)- the next time I’m making a box recipe, I’m going to use black beans as the liquid and egg portion! Check out this post about it- crazy I know, but I can’t wait!

brownies with sprinkles

Lastly was the highlight of the desserts, my mini dark chocolate raspberry cheesecakes. This is probably the fifth time I have made this recipe, second time doing it in miniature cupcake form! These babies are to die for. I really would like to claim that they are my best dessert that I make. Definitely time consuming but ohhhh so worth it. A chocolate wafer cookie crust, chocolate cheesecake filling with raspberry liquer in the mix, then a sweetened creme fraiche topping and a raspberry to boot! Amazing. πŸ˜€

mini chocolate raspberry cheesecakes

So that about sums up our eats for that day (well the ones we made… we had Miss Shirley’s for lunch and then b bistro for dinner!) This is a shot of me and Ned’s family. We are missing his sister Emily in this shot (she’s in Oklahoma at Vet School!) but it was still a great day. I’m so proud of you bunny, and surely your Mom, Dad and brother are too!

and from the other direction



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  1. And what about that fabulous dinner at Cinghiale the night before??? ;->

    • well it was fabulous of course!!! You know I wasn’t going to blog about Darlene!!

  2. Congratulations to Ned — that’s an impressive achievement.

    And see? I knew you and Ned would give that book a good home. What an amazing spread you guys put out. Wow! Everything looks beautiful and delicious.

    • hehe, yep you were right Julie! amazing intuition you have lady! I’m so sad you are going to miss CBC at my house this month. boooo 😦

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