Al dente Fusilli pasta with a rich tomato and beef stock sauce made with 2 sautéed onions,1 head of garlic, and baby carrots, topped with sautéed zucchini and chili peppers. I served this hearty bowl of veggies and pasta with a greens and herbs salad with crisp apples, asiago cheese, and raspberry blush vinaigrette, and Angry Orchard hard cider. For dessert we had fresh-from-the-oven zucchini bread baked with dried plums from the Saturday market and some bottled orange rind from World Market, with whipped organic butter on top. So good on an Autumn evening.
We had friends over for dinner last night and this is what I served:
Albondigas! Homemade Meatballs with a rich Tomato-based Vegetable Soup, served with a green salad, and Buttered & Toasted Guinness Beer Batter Bread with artisanal Sun-dried Tomato Salt sprinkled on top — once toasted, spread with Fig Butter and topped with Olive & Fig Goat Cheese and Roasted Peppers.
The meatballs had ground beef, sautéed onion and garlic, chopped Italian parsley, Himalayan pink salt, onion and tomato goat cheese, bread crumbs, and organic free-range eggs.
The soup was made with sautéed onions and garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots, Serrano peppers, bell peppers, zucchini, basil, oregano, salt, beef stock, and tomato sauce.
I served the soup, bread, and salad with a wonderful hard cider from Lake Chelan Winery called Chelan Gold. So good!
PEPPER AND ASIAGO CHICKEN SAUSAGE & RED POTATOES, CARROT/CABBAGE SLAW W/VINAIGRETTE, AND CORN ON THE COB
For dinner last night I fried pepper and Asiago chicken sausage with red potatoes in a bit of organic pasture butter, then steamed some organic corn on the cob, and made a salad of carrot/cabbage slaw with a spicy vinaigrette.
My Grandma. An Homage.
My Grandma on my mom’s side was an amazing cook (my other Grandma was too for that matter). Every Sunday, growing up, we would go over to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Sunday dinner. The woman put a little bit of EVERYTHING on the table. It was a complete smorgasbord. Seriously, you could expect to have fried chicken, a pot roast, potatoes, several different veggie dishes, tamales…etc. all in one meal! She loved to feed people, she was all about comfort food, and if she found out something was your favorite then you could count on that thing being on the table. I had an affinity for Velveeta cheese. Oh, man, I loved that stuff. So, she would put a plate of sliced Velveeta on the table too…just for me.
As I wandered through the grocery aisles the other night, I saw it. Velveeta. Now, back in her day I don’t think Nascar was sponsoring the stuff. ;-) But, I stood there in the grocery store filled with fond memories of Sunday dinners, made with love by my Grandma, and being stuffed to the gills with all manner of family member favorites that graced her table. And the Velveeta? Well, it went into the cart. I also added bacon, and a bag of Fritos. I decided to fully embrace this walk down memory lane and create some good old comfort food. My cart definitely looked weird, Velveeta, tempeh, Morning Star stuff, Fritos, organic bananas… crazy person checking out!
Here’s the deal:
Cook pasta and drain.
Mix in cubed Velveeta, organic butter, and organic half-n-half (because God knows you should be using ORGANIC ingredients with that processed cheese!)
Put cheesy pasta in baking pan.
Top with chopped fried bacon.
Put a Cup, who am I kidding…probably 2 cups of crushed Fritos on top.
Put some shredded cheddar cheese on top of that and pop that in an oven at about 350 degrees.
Pull it out. Realize it needs MORE Velveeta. Grab a saucepan and melt MORE cubed Velveeta, organic butter, and organic half-n-half.
Poor that over the top and let that cheesy goodness ooze down into the pasta-cheesy-bacon-Frito situation you’ve got going on.
Bake it just a little bit more.
Proactively contact a cardiologist. Then plate that stuff up! :D
I love my Grandma. I miss her. And I had happy thoughts of her all evening long.
Thanks for making amazing food, Grandma. Thanks for the way you loved on us at the dinner table. I’m sure you’ve got all of heaven’s favorite dishes dialed in and you’re cookin’ up Sunday dinner tomorrow. <3
Hearty Lentil Stew and Guinness Beer Batter Bread
Last night I pulled together a hearty lentil stew. Sauteed red onion and white garlic in butter in the bottom of the stock pot and added dried oregano. Then added a few splashes of white wine and the organic free-range chicken stock and some of the Indian tomato sauce I’d made from scratch earlier. I chopped and added the following - delicata squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and celery. Then I added roughly 2 cups of lentils, some dried basil, and 4 bay leaves. Let that lovely batch of colorful and aromatic yummyness simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
While the stew was simmering, I made a loaf of Guinness Beer Batter Bread. With the bread baking and the stew simmering, we went out on the back patio in the cool Fall air and lit a fire in the fire pit. My husband got out his guitar and played for me and the boys and I sat all cozied up to the fire with a glass of wine…my life is really good.
When we came back in, I served up steaming bowls of delicious stew with fresh-from-the-oven beer batter bread slathered in organic butter. Oh, yes!
Carrot Soup with Cream Cheese Dumplings, and a bed of Indian Rice and Beans with Baked Cod
Our dear friends, Jenn and Larz, joined us for dinner last night. Jenn and I had a lovely time visiting in the kitchen while I cooked and Larz and Brian had what I’m sure was a completely geeky conversation out on the back patio.
Often, my process when creating recipes is to take a snippet of inspiration and then fire up teh Googles and do some searching. I knew that I wanted to make a carrot soup as part of the meal, and had found several really yummy recipes in my searches. So, I took the best elements from those and then added my own ideas and came up with a really delicious concoction.
Carrot Soup: I chopped and and then sauteed half of a large red onion and a couple of cloves of white garlic in a good amount of butter in the stock pot. As the garlic and onions were sauteeing, I added some cumin and coriander. I chopped a delicata squash into small dice. Then I added a few splashes of white wine and the organic free-range chicken stock to the pot, added the squash and 1 1/2 bags of organic peeled baby carrots. As the soup cooked, I prepped the rest of the meal. And when the veggies were tender and ready, I pureed them with my new stick blender. That thing is so cool!
Indian Rice and Beans: We had cooked brown rice in the rice steamer, and I combined that with a couple of cans of organic black and pinto beans. A few weeks ago, I had made an “Indian” tomato sauce with a few varieties of tomatoes from our CSA share and a blend of onion, peppers, ground cumin, ground coriander, cumin seeds, garlic, fresh ginger, curry powder, and few pepper flakes. I’d frozen batches of the sauce. So, added some of the thawed sauce to the rice and beans and heated through. Mmmm, it was really starting to smell good.
Baked Cod: I prepped the cod by brushing it with almond oil and adding some Norwood blend Penzey spices, white pepper, and fresh thyme to it. Baked the cod to an internal temp of 140.
Cream Cheese Dumplings: In my search of the interwebz, there was a recipe that included creating cream cheese dumplings for the carrot soup. I made these according to the recipe.
To plate it all up - I put the baked cod on a generous bed of the rice and beans. I put 4 dumplings per serving in the bottom of each bowl and then ladled the carrot soup over the top. With a plastic condiment bottle filled with sour cream, I swirled circles of sour cream on top and then drug a toothpick through to create a pretty spiderweb design. It worked! What a lovely evening of cooking, conversation, connecting and nomming. :D