Party Like It’s Legal

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.

― Larry Lorenzoni

It’s been a little silent because on Monday I got a concussion. This was unfortunate, as I’m entering “birthday week,” that time of year that exists in nearly every school, office or family, in which a disproportionate number of birthdays fall in a short amount of time.

You may be wondering how I got the concussion, and I can tell you that it was something thrilling and exciting and memorable, which will definitely be a scene in the made-for-TV movie they make about me, where I bent over to get an extension cord and forgot there was a corner of concrete-over-rebar wall right behind the curtain.

Concussions aren’t fun, let me tell you. I don’t know if there have been many things in my life more frustrating than knowing I’m not thinking right. However it has also been completely fascinating watching which parts of thinking are completely unaffected (memory, taking in information, organizing internally) and which parts are deeply affected (concentration, planning, expressing organization).

Speaking of affected, I know on some level my writing isn’t very good right now, and the act of trying to create this post is starting to make my head hurt where I hit it, so I’m going to cut short this fascinating discussion and move right to the main event: tonight’s birthday party.

Some people seem to think that you can’t enjoy any food if it doesn’t come with enormous amounts of carbs. This is simply not true. Our friend is a big seafood fan, so I prepared Shrimp Around the World. We had British potted shrimp, Italian shrimp scampi, Ecuadorian shrimp cirviche and Thai coconut fried shrimp. For dessert we had a three layer cheesecake.

Everything was really good, and shockingly the shrimp cirviche won out over all the other kinds. Shocking, because at first none of us liked it. But by the second round we were really appreciating the subtle flavor melding. To make it, you simply chop two pounds of shrimp and add 1/2 C of red onion, 1 C of cucumber and the juice of a couple oranges, lemons, and limes. Let it sit at least an hour in the fridge, where the acid from the juice actually “cooks” the shrimp. (If you’re worried about bacteria you can bring some water to a boil, throw the shrimp and immediately turn off the heat. Let it sit three minutes. Then follow the previous direction)

Take it out about half an hour before serving and add a half cup of olive oil, a cup of tomato, some fresh cilantro, and a chopped avocado. You’re not going to be eating much of this juice, if you’re worried about that. Its purpose is to cook and soften and blend tastes. When you spoon it out, you leave the juice mostly behind.

The cheesecake was pretty traditional in the first layer, with a little lemon zest. It was topped partway through with sour cream and a bit of sugar. After it cooled, I added blueberries and a lemon glaze.

Now we did have some sugar, obviously. But we had a great time and kept our carbohydrate intake to a minimum. This is how you party without flour and candy, you see. This is how you party without putting on seven pounds the next morning, or anyone waking up sick, grumpy, angry, or depressed. This is how you party and only eat what you actually need instead of gorging yourself on just another spoonful of that icing–after eating the butter in the potted shrimp, the olive oil and avocado in the cirviche, the butter and olive oil in the scampi and the coconut oil in the fried shrimp, we were full pretty quickly. We were excited about the cake, but I’ll say again what I’ve said many times before: healthy fat is self-limiting when not overwhelmed by excessive amounts of sugar. We ate all that butter and olive oil and coconut oil for dinner, so we weren’t hungry at cake time. The cake itself was so rich and fatty that it defied you to eat too much of it. After you ate it you felt full and satisfied: not sick and munchy.

So here’s some pics. Hope it gives you all some ideas, and now I’m going to stop because my head hurts.

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2 thoughts on “Party Like It’s Legal

    1. Thanks, and yes. Here ’tis:

      For the crust:
      1 1/2 C almond flour
      1/4 C brown sugar
      4 T melted butter.

      Just press those together into the bottom of springform pan. (I made my own flour by just grinding almonds. Be sure to use the ones without the skins).

      Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. Cool it well.

      The main part of the cake:
      24oz cream cheese
      3 eggs
      2/3 C sugar
      2 t vanilla
      3 T lemon juice
      1 T lemon zest

      Beat the cream cheese till very smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating continuously, and continue beating as you add the sugar, vanilla and lemon.

      Pour it over the crust and bake it 30-40 minutes. I was 35, but it will depend on the oven. Just don’t overbake or it will be crumbly. Remove the cake and spread over it:

      2 C sour cream
      1/8 C sugar

      Turn the heat up to 450 and let the oven get that hot. Then throw it in for 10 more minutes.

      When it comes out, let it cool completely. Don’t put in the fridge till it has reached room temp. Then let it stay in the fridge overnight.

      Then I made a glaze of 1/3 C sugar, 1 t plain gelatin, 1/2 C water and 5 T lemon juice. Let that simmer about a minute or two, till it starts to thicken. When it was still warm, but no longer hot, I covered the top of the cake with fresh blueberries. I would have done raspberries, but there were none. Since blueberries are out of season, though, these were a little tart and so they were perfect. I used the glaze as kind of a glue to hold all the blueberries on the cake. Once it cooled it made it easy to slice without blueberries going everywhere.

      The “glaze” does end up more like a lemon jello on top of the cake, so don’t put it on too thickly. You can of course use cornstarch if you’d rather, but I’d rather not use any grain at all.

      Be aware, there is a fair amount of sugar in this, and yet this cake is a little low in sugar compared to your average cheesecake. But if you’re not consuming much sugar, I don’t think you’ll find it unsatisfying. But it is very rich and very filling, so I recommend small slices. You can always have another once you see how full you are, and this cake just gets better each day in the fridge for–I would guess–up to 10 days or so.

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