Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22

After skipping Sunday Dinner last week because of prior engagemets, we resumed tonight. But I forgot to take photos of the people, so all I can share is the food. And recipes. I went for a kid-friendly menu tonight, and got the thumbs up from the adults too. Love that.

Bacon Cheeseburger Upside Down Pizza
6 slices bacon
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, quartered, sliced
1 medium bell pepper, any colour, diced
15 oz pizza sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained, or 2-3 chopped fresh plum tomatoes
4 oz thinly sliced cheddar cheese
2 slices bacon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400°F. Cook all bacon needed (8 slices) until crisp. Drain and set aside.

In large saucepan, brown ground beef with onion and bell pepper until beef is thoroughly cooked. Drain. Crumble 6 slices bacon, add to beef with pizza sauce and mix well. Spoon into ungreased 13" x 89" baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the tomatoes then top with cheese slices.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add milk and oil; mix well. Add flour and alt; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour evenly over cheese slices. Crumble remaining 2 slices bacon; sprinkle over top.

Bake at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until topping is slightly puffed and deep golden brown.
From Pillsbury One-Dish Meals Cookbook.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
3 medium red bell peppers
2 medium eggplants, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons coarse cooking salt
2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
3 medium sweet potatoes
Olive oil
26 oz jar pasta sauce
12 lasagna sheets
5 oz ricotta, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan
White Sauce
4 tbs butter
1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons coarsely grated parmesan

Preheat broiler. Quarter bell peppers, discarding seeds and membranes. Broil, uncovered, skin-side up, until skin blisters and blackens. Remove from oven and put into a paper bag. Fold down the top and leave for 5-10 minutes. Peel away the blackened skin.

Reduce oven to 400°F. Place eggplant in colander, sprinkle with salt; stand 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant under cold water; pat dry.

Place eggplant, zucchini and sweet potato on baking dishes well oiled with olive oil. Turn vegetables to coat with oil. Roast, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, make white sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add flour; cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Gradually add milk; cook, stirring until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Oil deep rectangular 13" x 9" baking dish. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over base, stop with half of the eggplant and half of the bell pepper. Layer with lasagna, top with 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, ricotta, sweet potato and zucchini. Layer with more lasagna, top with remaining pasta sauce, eggplant and bell pepper. Layer remaining pasta over vegetables, top with white sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until browned lightly.
From Women's Weekly Vegie Food.

Apricot Rugelach
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons cold water
2/3 cup apricot fruit spread
2/3 cup dried fruit bits, chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

To make the dough, put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. Evenly distribute the cream cheese and butter on top of the flour mixture; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle with the oil and pulse just until blended. Drizzle with the water and pulse just until the dough begins to come together. Gather the dough into a ball and cut in half. Flatten each half into a disk. Roll each disk between pieces of plastic wrap to an 11-inch round. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Place the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (this step is important!)

Working with 1 dough round at a time (keep the other one in the fridge), peel off the top piece of plastic wrap, then place it back on the dough. Flip the dough over; peel off the top piece of plastic wrap and discard. Spread 1/3 cup of the apricot spread over the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch border. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 cup of the dried fruit. With your fingers, gently press the filling into the dough. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle 3-1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon sugar over the filling.

Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough round into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 wedges. Beginning at the outer edge of each wedge, roll up to form a crescent. Discard the plastic wrap. Place the crescents, pointed end down, on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, making 32 rugelach in all. Bake just until golden brown along the edges, 22-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking. With a spatuula, transfer the rugelach to racks and let cool completely.
From Weight Watchers Best-Ever Desserts

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
1/2 cup low-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I use regular milk with a dash of white vinegar)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used grape, because I had it)
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped (I use almonds, ditto)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan, or 12-cup regular size, with paper liners.

To make the frosting, with an electric mixer on low speed, beat the frosting ingredients in a small bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the cupcakes, whisk together the cake flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, egg white, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture, stirring just until blended.

Fill each paper liner evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

Fit a small pastry bag with a plain medium tip and fill with jam. Carefully insert the pastry tip into the top of a cupcake. Pipe in 1-2 teaspoons of jam, depending on size of cake. Repeat with all cupcakes and jam. With a small metal spatula, spread the frosting over the tops, and sprinkle with the nuts.
From Weight Watchers Best-Ever Desserts

Friday, March 13, 2009

Call from the mall

"Hashi? It's Lauren. I'm at the mall with my friends and I was wondering if I could get my allowance in advance. I need money now. I can do my chores when I get home on Sunday."
"Actually, no, you won't have time on Sunday. I'm picking you up from your Mom's and we're going straight to the theatre. We'll get home after your bedtime."
"Well next weekend's allowance then."
"You're at your Mom's next weekend too."
"Well I can do my chores as soon as I get home next weekend, before our Sunday dinner guests arrive."
"Sorry, honey, I'm not paying you in advance for work you may or may not do in ten days."
"But you don't understand, because you weren't raised by a mother who took you to the mall and spent thousands of dollars on you all your life! I am with my friends and they are already buying things! I can't go to the mall without buying something! I just can't!"
"Well, now sounds like a good time to get over that."
"You don't understand! It's not something I can control!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to give you any money now."
"Oh whatever. Forget it."

Monday, March 09, 2009

March 9

Indian food. Fourteen guests. Happy happy.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

March 5

I'm on a roll! This one incorporates an already-printed graphic -- too cute to ignore!

On another note, I am loving Skype. I just had my first chat with my brother Pete in a couple of years; the first time I'd set eyes on him since Mum's death. For free! Yay! I don't know why it's taken me so long to adopt the technology.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March 4

Look what I made today. At 15 x 19" (38 x 48cm), it's a little small to be a t-towel. Everyone who saw it thought it should be the start of a quilt. I did get a whole bunch more t-shirt donations at work today, so a quilt could be in the offing. I also feel a tutorial coming on.

I am loving the slow pace of hand sewing, yet the relative speed of producing something "finished". It's a perfect combination of meditation and gratification. My satisfaction is compounded by the prettiness of the result and the zero cost of the materials. It's all good.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

March 1

Dinner tonight. Excellent.Ragu Bolognese

Focaccia with Pesto and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Fig, Hazelnut and White Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate-Gingerbread Loaf

Mocha Meringues

And the company of seven wonderful friends.