Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Roughest, Toughest Cowgirl Party

I promise to get back to my NYC posts, but first, Bria's party. Bria turned three years old on Monday, so on Saturday we had a little party for her. Let's be honest though, the party was more for me. I have this tendency to Think Big-- just to get overwhelmed and in over my head before settling for something small. For Bria's party, I have to say I am proud of myself for having artistic vision and realistic expectations. All this means I accomplished everything I wanted for the party (except for a banner, but I'm ok with that).
We settled on a cowgirl theme months in advance, so there were games like Pin the Badge on the Sheriff, a Shooting Gallery (bean bags thrown at empty root beer bottles), and an Obstacle Course. Our friends down the street were generous enough to offer their backyard, so there was plenty of room for the kids to run around.
But my pride and glory was the pinata. I have not crafted papier mache since elementary school, so I tapped my inner 10 year-old and set to work every night the week before the party. I used this as my guide, and it turned out perfectly. I estimate about 6 hours of labor, but it was worth it. The kids couldn't whack it open (they could only muster light taps), so our friend Trent had to use his adult muscles to knock it open with the bat. (We at least made him do it sans glasses.)
And then there was the food. Besides the pinata, this was the real labor of love: corn cut from the cob, loaves of homemade bread, Swiss buttercream, ganache, homemade ice cream. Let's just say I am still doing dishes.

I forgot to tell my photographer (Sam) to get pictures of the spread, but just use your imagination. The menu:
PW's fresh corn and avocado salsa
My mom's salsa (recipe coming soon)
Taquitos (from Costco)
PB & Js for the kids
Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches
Roast beef and horseradish sandwiches
Fresh strawberries (from Hannahwob)

(the aftermath)

I wanted so badly to make this rainbow cake for the party, but Bria was very insistent on having a chocolate cake. So I went with Orangette's Far-From-Disaster Cake layered with ganache and Swiss buttercream. And, you know what? 1 am the night before the party is the bad time to learn you don't like buttercream, but it was too late to change my mind, so I went with it.

Plus buttermilk frozen custard (and a batch with sweetened strawberry puree mixed in) made the perfect birthday party dessert. If you have an ice cream maker, you simply must try this ice cream. It was so full of flavor. That buttermilk adds the perfect slight tang and a depth of flavor often absent from homemade ice cream.
The main reason I cook and bake is to show my love for people in my life, so it follows that I would bake and cook my little heart out to show this girl how much I love her. And it was the perfect way to celebrate her turning THREE.


  1. you linked to me!? i feel so loved. :) your chocolate cake looks delicious! and i'm not a chocolate girl, so that's saying something.

    happy three years to bria!

  2. Court, this is amazing. You are such a cool mom.

  3. Delish. And I am going to try that ice cream. Like now! Love the cowgirl theme! So cute.

  4. That all looks incredible. You sure do love that girl!

  5. I'd come to that party just for the amazing food! Seriously - great line-up. I'm adding them all to my recipe book.