Monday, February 29, 2016

CCC February

The second month of 2016 and I have already failed in my plan.  I was thinking that if I just chose one recipe each month I'd have a better chance of posting on time.  There were just too many tempting recipes this month!  I ended up making 5, but now my post is late.  To start, I had an absolutely enormous blue hubbard squash that I wanted to use.  (That's a 13 by 18 inch half sheet pan, and after I had already used 1/4 of the squash.)  Again, I didn't have the patience for attempting to cut the skin off, so I just baked the whole thing for a couple of hours until it was soft.  I scooped out some of the inside and mixed it with the rest of the ingredients for the squash layer in the Squash and Fennel Lasagna.  (The rest got pureed and frozen in 2 cup bags.)  

The lasagna was a perfect part of our Friday night dinner.  I really enjoyed it, but found the proportions to be a bit off for my taste.  I found myself wishing there were one or two more layers of pasta.

Next, I made the DIY "Pot" Noodles.  This was a fun one to do with Charlotte.  She sat next to me while I prepared the vegetables, and loved putting small handfuls of vegetables into her own little pot.  Much to my surprise, she even ate the noodles and some of the vegetables once these were ready!  We'll definitely be making these again soon.

I've been trying to bake bread once a week.  I'm really in to this book.  I decided that the toastie filling would be perfect on top of some fresh baked bread.  Charlotte wouldn't touch it, preferring the bread plain, but I loved the Apple and Blue Vinny Toastie.  Paul seemed to like it too.  I enjoyed the blue cheese, but will definitely try this with other cheeses as well.  This was a delicious dinner with some simple white bean soup.

I'm home from work on Fridays and so I've been doing more cooking then.  That likely means a lot of Friday night photos to come.  Since Charlotte was born we've been pretty committed to doing a little Shabbat ceremony with candles, grape juice, and challah.  Last Friday I made the Swede Potato Pasties.  Or rather, my mom and I made the pasties.  My mom comes over to help out on Friday afternoons.  I was holding Miriam and so she asked what she could do to help.  I asked her to roast the beets and prep the broccoli for dinner, because I was planning on making the pasties later.  Before I knew it I smelled onion cooking.  I was confused, so I came into the kitchen to investigate.  My mom had read the pastie recipe, was worried that the vegetables wouldn't actually cook in the oven, so had decided to prep them and saute them on the stove to soften first.  I was a little bit annoyed that I wouldn't have a chance to see if the recipe worked as written, but very grateful that my mom had done all of the hard work for me!  I just made the rough puff pastry (LOVE this recipe), stuffed the pasties, and baked them off.  These were delicious.  I'm hoping somebody else tried the recipe as written.  My mom and I are both very curious to see if it worked.

Last, this Friday we had the Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin for dinner.  I love sweet potatoes and I love cream, so I was expecting to enjoy this one.  I was not disappointed.  Paul ate it without complaining, but I noticed that he pushed most of the peanut butter layer to the side.  I guess he didn't enjoy that addition!

Overall, February is the month where I'm really starting to feel tired of winter vegetables, but it's still too early around here for spring ones.  I'm so glad this book--and this group--gave me so many new, delicious ideas for winter vegetables!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

TWD BCM Panna Cotta and Teacakes

My dad absolutely prefers chocolate desserts to all other desserts.  He doesn't really see the point of "wasting" the calories unless there is chocolate involved.  My mom, on the other hand, isn't really a big fan of chocolate.  She much prefers fruit desserts.  This means that at family gatherings we normally have at least two desserts.  Unfortunately for my waistline, I am in neither camp.  I love chocolate desserts, fruit desserts, nut desserts, vanilla desserts...I could go on.  I'm just a fan of sweets :-)  It being February, though, I was very excited to see two chocolate desserts on the menu.  I made the panna cotta for Valentine's day and the teacakes the following week.  For the panna cotta I substituted four tablespoons agar agar for the gelatin.  Much to my shock it worked perfectly.  It was a little bit too firm, if anything, but I loved the texture.  For the teacakes I followed the recipe exactly, but split it into 6 dishes instead of 4 (my cups were 4 oz instead of 6) and decreased the baking time by a couple of minutes to compensate.  Everything was delicious and relatively quick!  These may become Valentine's day traditions.