Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer is here!

Nothing brings people together like a table full of food.

Growing up, my parents always taught me the importance of dinner time. It brings a family together to share stories, laugh, and unwind from the day. As a child, I always took for granted what my parents were trying to do. Now that I'm older (and admittedly much more sentimental) and less likely to be home for dinner, I wish for the simpler days where I could run in from playing outside on a summer's day to sit down and enjoy dinner with the company of my family. Oh, the woes of a young adult's social life...

I missed family dinners the most when I moved out to live in the dorms at CSULA. This meant 10:30 PM (sometimes Not So) Easy Mac dinners by myself after 12 hours of classes. After a few months of this sort of pattern, my friends and I decided to get together once a month to test out recipes on each other so that we could learn how to cook and spend time with each other.

Fast forward almost 7 years later, my friends and I still get together on what we've endearingly called "Fat Fridays" (or the occasional "Tubby Tuesday", "Stuffed Saturday", etc.) Although I've since moved from CSULA and the location has changed, the idea is still the same. We still rotate dishes, experiment with different ingredients (sometimes a little too freely), and end up sharing A LOT of laughs. Our busy work schedules have sadly interfered with us meeting every month, but when we do get together I know that I'm in for a night of lots of fun.

Last night we had Krystal on main with lasagna (which was DELICIOUS). Since we had a sort of Italian theme, I decided to contribute an Italianesque appetizer and dessert.

A few days ago I StumbledUpon this delicious recipe of a Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart bread. I instantly thought of Cinnamon Monkey Bread when I saw it. It's pretty much the same idea, instead you get savory bite-sized pieces of garlic cheese bread instead! While it does take time to knead the dough and let it rise, let me tell you - with a side of marinara sauce, it is SO WORTH YOUR TIME.

My version of the Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart bread, half gone!

Of course, a meal isn't complete without dessert. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make actual Tiramisu, so I settled on making Tiramisu cupcakes. Since I was pressed for time, these aren't the same time-consuming Martha Stewart recipe that I blogged about awhile back. Instead I substituted the cake with the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcake, and went ahead and followed Martha's Coffee-Marsala syrup and Mascarpone frosting recipes found here and here. The cupcakes were okay, but to be honest I was so excited on how well the bread turned out that it was kind of hard to outshine it :)

I've come a long way - from messing up Easy Mac to baking my own bread, and it's hard to believe that we've managed to keep this tradition alive for so long. I suppose I can thank the amazing power of a table full of food...and the life lesson that my parents taught me of sharing food with people you love.


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