September

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy 448th Birthday William Shakespeare!!!

Well, it is finally here.  Today is William Shakespeare’s 448th Birthday.  Each year I have a fun Elizabethan dinner party for my family to commemorate Shakespeare’s work and I wanted to share the menu, recipe’s, and a few pictures of this years  with you! 
We always have it outside so the party will have a more pastoral feel to it.  However, here in Arizona, Mother Nature decided to have our first 100°+ days this weekend and on Saturday, when we had the dinner, the temps reached 104°!  Did this deter us?  NO!  By the time we began at 6 pm it was actually quite a pleasant 94°.  I had everything pretty much set up in the morning and had been cooking most of Friday and finished up on Saturday morning so I was ready to party. 

Various activity stations

Anyway, the set up is always fun.  I have one display table with books and posters so the family can learn about Shakespeare and his career as a playwright.  Then I have several activities prepared for the kids to keep them occupied between the seven courses of the dinner. 


This year I added a large castle and a life size cutout of the birthday boy that they could have their picture taken with him if they chose to.  Some of these activities are; ink and quill pen to write their own poems, making a family or personal coat of arms, creating a sentence using Elizabethan words, putting on a puppet show, but the favorite activity is always the sword fighting. 

Grace performing a puppet show for our jester Charlie

James working on his award winning sentence "Methinks that vile wench doth envy thy bawdy codpiece"
Emma and Bella composing a sonnet
Preston, Harrison, and Charlie having a sword fight and Evelyn coming out of the castle.


For the meal, I love to dress up in my “wench” costume and serve it to my guests.  Here is the menu we had this year: 

Cheese curds, sliced apples and grapes

Shepherd’s Loaf

Mushy Pea soup


Boiled Artichokes in butter

Jello Aurantia

Onion Stuffed Cornish Games Hens

OR

Smoked Turkey legs

Broiled Herbed Potatoes

Sticky Toffee Pudding with fresh cream

Ale (carbonated apple juice) or Whyte Grape Juice

The great thing about this menu is that, as I mentioned above, all of it can be prepped in advance. 
My "Sisters"  Kim, Ellen and Tammy


Cooper and Jackson crossing swords
Kim drinking a toast to the birthday boy!


My great assistant serving wench Bella

Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal but I really got raves about the Smoked Turkey legs which was a new recipe I found online by one of my favorite chefs, Bobby Flay.  Here is the recipe: 


Smoked Turkey Legs

Recipe courtesy Cheryl and Bill Jamison

Prep Time: 30 min

Inactive Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 4 hr 0 min

Serves:  6 servings  (I had 24 drum sticks so I 4 x’s the recipe)

Ingredients

  • 6 turkey legs
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Dry Rub, recipe follows
  • Mop, recipe follows
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce, as needed, (recommended: North of the Border Chipotle BBQ Sauce)

Directions:

Several hours before planning on barbecuing, loosen the skin on the turkey legs by running your fingers under it as far as possible without tearing the skin.

Combine the Worcestershire sauce and the oil. Coat your fingers with the mixture and rub really well into the turkey legs, getting as much as you can under the skin. Sprinkle the dry rub over the skin, liberally rubbing into the turkey legs and under the skin. Place the legs in plastic bags and refrigerate.

Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200 to 220 degrees F. Remove the turkey legs from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Re-warm the mop mixture over low heat.

Transfer the turkey legs to the smoker. Cook until the legs are very tender and the juices run clear, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Mop the legs at 45-minute intervals in a wood-burning pit, or as appropriate for your style of smoker. Serve the legs hot, to be eaten with your fingers, with a side of barbecue sauce.

Dry Rub:
1/4 cup chipotle seasoning, ( I used  ground chipotle pepper)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mild dried ground red chili or paprika
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.
*Mop:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ Sauce, (recommended: North of the Border Chipotle Barbecue Sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine the mop ingredients in a small saucepan and warm the mixture over low heat.
*(to simplify, I just used a plain chipotle BQ sauce from the store, and it was wonderful!)





Sticky Toffee Pudding with butterscotch syrup and cream...YUM!!!!!
We had a great time together and my family, even though they are not huge Shakespeare fans like I am love to have this celebration each year and maybe it will convert some of them eventually! 

8 comments:

Anita said...

What an amazing celebration! To be 448 years old and still have his birthday celebrated in this manner is very lucky indeed. You always throw a great party. Thanks for sharing the photos, your kids are so blessed to have you.

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