Saturday, January 10, 2009

And We're Back

I hope the holidays were good to you kids. Mark and I enjoyed our first year together as a married couple. Though we've been together for 4 years, this was the first time we actually spent the entire break together. It's nice to have a second family. They're lovely and diverse and a whole other brand of crazy...

That's grandma Miller with the electric knife

Well, really, it's just his mom that's crazy, but she's a good kind of crazy. She thinks I can do no wrong. One night we were really late for dinner and she was yelling at everyone, telling them how they were ingrates and she looked at me and said, "Not you, honey." I have no idea why I was exempt and Jacob, Rachel's boyfriend, was not, but I won't argue with it.

We got lots of great new toys and actually got to cook for everyone. We made a lovely lasagna for Dad & Bev.

I don't have any pictures of the finished product, but I can tell you it was real good. I made a simple marinara the night before by sauteing some onions, garlic, and red bell pepper. When those were caramelized, I mixed half of the mixture into a pound of ricotta, grated a bit of fresh nutmeg in and pureed it in the food processor. I added two 28 oz. cans of San Marzano's to te marinara and let it simmer for 30 minutes. At home I would have added a parm rind from the freezer, but alas. After the sauce had simmered, I pureed it in the food processor and added 1 lb. of cooked lean sirloin. The next day, I layered the chesse mixture with the sauce and noodles adding some piles of fresh baby spinach.

We made a similar lasagna when we got home for Shane and Sarah sans meat, but I decided to sautee the spinach in some white wine and olive oil prior to adding it. Next time I will definitely use frozen spinach as that whole bag wilted down to nothing.

We made meatloaf for Deej (Mark's mom) & Jer using my favorite recipe from Amanda Yarbro-Dill (annotations are hers):

Miss Anna Laura's Meat Loaf
(I must add that my mom, Patsy, has marked this recipe with a g. for good. Not v.g. for very good, mind you)
1.5 lbs ground chuck (or round)
1/4 c. bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. onions, chopped
1.5 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 tsp sage
*Mix all ingredients together and shape into loaf (Lord, those directions are short and to the point, huh?)

1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
*Spread on loaf and bake @ 350 degrees for approx. 1 hour or until done.

It was so good we made it again when we got home. We ate it with some ridiculously good greens I had made and frozen. We used a bunch of kale, a bunch of turnip greens, and some spinach and turnips from our co-op.

Another recipe we made twice was this cobbler by David Lebovitz. We rang in the New Year with it, actually. I'm not much of a fan of sweets, but blackberry cobbler is my favorite.

Our New Year's celebration was very laid back. We ate Indian food with Shane and Sarah, bought a huge television with our Christmas money, and made a little time capsule based on a tradition I used to keep. When I was in middle school, Peg and I would always write down our resolutions and I'd keep them sealed in an envelope until the next year. Well this year we wrote our resolutions as well as a few other thoughts and put them along with a few other artifacts from the night in an Aqua Globes box, which was an artifact all in itself. While Shane and Mark were talking TVs, I was desperately searching for a watering can with none to be found. The whole gardening section had been taken over by marked down Christmas stuff. I had to settle for Aqua Globes. They're working out quite well for my two rosemary trees.

As for our resolutions, Mark and I took Sally Swift's idea and decided to pledge to cook our way through cookbooks. Mark picked Veganomicon and I decided on How to Eat Supper. Our goal is to make one recipe a week for the whole year. Tomorrow we're going to have a curried yam dish with some jazzed up bok choy.

Oh yeah, Mark got a deep fryer. So far he's made sweet potato chips:

sorry for the terrible picture

& recreated the ravioli sticks from Mafiozia's

Shane approves:

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