Archive for November, 2010

US Thanksgiving 2010

November 28, 2010

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2010 marked the 6th year that Adam and I have hosted a US Thanksgiving dinner for our friends. It’s become a tradition we both really look forward to every year, and are so glad to have such great friends to share it with and really, be thankful for.

We kept things a bit smaller this year due to me being 8 months pregnant, but somehow even only having 10 in attendance we still managed to make way, way too much food. It is what Thanksgiving is all about, right?

We got to make the most of our brand new double oven, and kept both ovens full most of the evening. It was great to not have to limit the menu based on what needed baking times. This also marked the first year I enjoyed some of the turkey as well, and it was great! Big thanks to The Healthy Butcher’s roasting instructions and brine, our turkey was moist and delicious.

We’ll be posting a bit about a few of the dishes individually over the next week or so,  but first, our whole menu: (more…)

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Homespun Vegetarian Pot Pie

November 17, 2010

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Ever since we moved in together, Cari and I have cooked mostly meatless dishes.  This started because Cari was a vegetarian for 10 years and has probably continued because we still feel more comfortable with vegetables, grains and beans than we do chicken or beef.  People used to ask me “Don’t you get sick of eating vegetarian all the time?”  My response was usually that Cari and I mixed it up so much that I don’t really have a chance to get sick of anything.

Long before we discovered Mark Bittman, the Food Network or Epicurious, Cari and I really learned how to cook with the aid of our Moosewood cookbooks.   The Moosewood Collective is a collection of food enthusiasts who have written cookbooks.  They also have a restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

This recipe for Homespun Pot Pie comes from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.  It’s one of those recipes that hearkens back to classic American cuisine, despite the lack of a need for meat.  Although the medley of vegetables and their thick gravy are delicious, the buttermilk biscuit topping is probably our favourite part of this dish.

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Hidden Treasure Cookies

November 12, 2010

Hidden Treasure Cookies

Every now and then, I find a recipe that screams “MAKE ME NOW!”. This one, sadly, was found when I had an oven that didn’t work. But I’m very happy to have had it be the very first cookie made in my brand new oven. These cookies were awesome. I say that as someone who is a huge huge fan of the peanut butter and chocolate combination – and really, if you aren’t as well, I don’t think we should be friends. Peanut butter and chocolate is just too good to deny.

These cookies did it all right. A nice chocolate exterior that hides the yummy, creamy, and extra sweet peanut butter on the inside. I held off to make these until we were having a few friends over – and sent the rest with Adam to work. I’m glad, because otherwise I may have eaten them all on my own. Oh were they good.

I made absolutely no changes to the recipe, so I’ll just link to the original in the blog Baking and Mistaking. A few of my notes:

  • I only got 25 cookies out of this recipe. I think next time I’ll up the peanut butter portion – as I couldn’t get more than 25 little balls out of the 3/4cup peanut butter/sugar mix without it crumbling.  There was more than enough chocolate to go around though, so some of the last few were enormous chocolate overload cookies.
  • Be very gentle when forming these. If you’re not careful, the peanut butter crumbles and you have a bit of a mess.
  • And also be gentle when squishing them down. Next time I think I’ll squish them by hand as they cracked a bit when I used the glass.

My friend Betsy also made these, and here is her thoughts on the very same cookie.

Now what are you waiting for – go make them yourself!

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

November 7, 2010

One of the worst things for a foodie in the fall/winter is an oven that doesn’t work. A little over a month ago, we noticed that our oven wasn’t preheating or holding a temperature properly. We couldn’t trust it to bake anything (especially not a turkey – and our annual US Thanksgiving dinner is just a few weeks away). When we learned it would cost hundreds of dollars to repair, we decided to look into a new one.

The idea of getting a double oven popped into our heads thanks to my Dad, who recently upgraded himself. We don’t have space for two full sized ovens, but the type we got is perfect – it fits into a standard oven space, but does away with the bottom drawer. There is a small oven on top, and a full sized oven on the bottom.

We find ourselves in situations often enough where we are cooking things at two different temperatures so the luxury of being able to do both *at the same time* was certainly appealing. Our oven arrived yesterday, and so far we’re thrilled. We put it to the test by hosting a meal for friends that included a number of baked dishes.

The highlight of last night’s meal was its first course: A wild mushroom lasagna. We’re thrilled to have found this recipe – now we have three awesome lasagna recipes in our repertoire: A super simple one (spinach ricotta), a somewhat healthy one (with pesto and asparagus), and now this one. I see now we need to make the other two soon as they are both blog worthy as well! Lasagnas are perfect for dinner parties because you can make them in advance, then bake before the guests arrive, which gives you time to clean up.

This particular lasagna uses more mushrooms than we’ve ever thrown into one dish. It’s really quite decadent, but oh so tasty. Definitely more labour intensive than the other lasagnas we tend to make, but oh so worth it.

Wild Mushroom Lasagna
 

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