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Best Birthday Tradition Ever

August 6, 2009

My friends and I have the best birthday celebration tradition ever.  We call it Birthday Soup.  We invented this right after we’d graduated from college and had just started our real jobs.  We didn’t have the money to go out for a nice restaurant dinner to celebrate birthdays, and anyway we thought that’d be too generic & unmemorable for a truly great birthday celebration tradition.

Somehow we came up with the idea of Birthday Soup.  Each year on the birthday girls’ special day her best friends pick a new recipe for soup that they think she would absolutely love.  The non-birthday girls get together to make the soup and host a birthday dinner.  Birthday girl arrives to the dinner (soup) party a few hours later when all the hard work is done, and she is surprised with the special soup her friends have picked out & created for her.  It is SO fun!  Very memorable, totally special and unique every time, inexpensive, and full of fun hang-out time during both preparation & eating.  The best part is that there are literally endless soup recipes out there.  It is so fun to think about what your friend’s current favorite ingredients might be, best type of soup for the weather, etc…and then create the perfect soup for her! 

Last night was the birthday soup celebration for Kristan’s  29th birthday.  The soup we picked for her was DELICIOUS – Thai-Spiced Watermelon Soup with Crabmeat.  Kristan loves watermelon, thai food, and crab…so this was a perfect, but very unique, combination of all those things.  So fun!

Emily came over to my house and we got started on the preparation while listening to the Frank Sinatra Pandora station and wearing vintage aprons. First the watermelon was cubed, pureed, and strained into a bowl. 

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Squishing the juice out of the watermelon pulp was highly entertaining. Gross but fun!

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Meanwhile, Emily was hard at work cracking crabs & picking out the meat.  We used some delicious King Crab legs from Seattle’s Pike Place Market – yum.

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To go along with the soup we had toasted baguette with assorted cheeses & oven roasted garlic cloves.  I went overboard on the garlic consumption…I think I can smell myself today.  But it was soooo good!

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Here’s the cute little table, all set up in my backyard farmette.  You can see our homemade chicken coop (a bit clunky), my garden with gigantic corn, and two of the chickens.  The tan one is Agnes and the one in the foreground is Betsy.  They milled around the table while we ate, begging for crumbs just like little dogs. 

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Birthday girl arrives and poses for a photo in the front yard, next to my hollyhock.

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The final product! Thai spiced watermelon soup (chilled) with crabmeat.  It was delicious – a little fruity, sweet & tangy, but with lots of savory thai flavors to moderate the sweetness.  The crabmeat with chopped cilantro was the perfect complement to the sweet/savory broth.  This one definitely makes the hall of fame for birthday soups.  Happy Birthday Kristan!

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