Week in Review

by Cate on December 3, 2005

Finally made it to Friday! This is just one of the weeks where the novelty wore off l-o-n-g ago, and it was time for it to come to an end. Unfortunately, with end-of-the-year stuff at work, and holiday happenings in general, I doubt the month is going to improve.

Let’s see … week in review. Seventy degree weather on Tuesday, and high 30s with snow flurries today. Two, count ’em, TWO flat tires this week. Of course, two separate tires on two separate occasions, and counting the one I had when we came back from vacation, that’s 3 new tires in 3 weeks – ridiculous. We did interviews all week to hire someone, and ended up with three no-shows, one who walked out of the conference room before we even got in to interview her and one who rendered us speechless. It’s been a strange, wild week. Now onto the food…

Tonight would have been our turn for Friday Night Date Night, but The Neighbor had her office holiday party tonight, so we’re postponing our Date Night until next weekend. The Husband ended up going out with Nicholas for awhile, fixing my tires, picking up my stepdaughter and they all ended up going out to eat together. I fended for myself very nicely, making two new recipes, Simple Mac and Cheese for Two and Barbecued Mushrooms. Both were very good, simple and on the table within 30 minutes. OK, not really on the table, but balanced very carefully on my lap while I caught up on some Tivo’d shows in the living room.

When the macaroni and cheese came out of the oven, I had little hope that it would be a repeater. The half-and-half was on the bottom and it didn’t look like there was enough cheese. I mixed it up and it ended up being a surprise hit. Creamy without being too heavy, and really cheesy. It’s also perfect that it’s a recipe for two, since The Husband doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, and Nicholas only likes the “blue box” kind. The Barbecued Mushrooms is part of a more complete recipe, Barbecued Mushrooms with Feta that gets served over salad. Another good one, but being the only mushroom-eater in the house, I wasn’t bowled over enough to make it often. I’ll stick with the Melty Portobello Sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong, the BBQ Mushrooms were yummy, but since I’m the only one eating mushrooms here, it’s gotta be a wow, and the Melty Portobello Sandwiches that I made back in August blow the BBQ ones out of the water. The good thing about tonight’s recipes is that they were both made from ingredients I had on hand. I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to go through stuff we have since I have a bad habit of letting produce and other things to bad before I can get to them. I’m working on it!

Was going through SERIOUS BVW (Bookstore Visit Withdrawal), and after I cleaned up the kitchen, I ran down to see if any new import or holiday magazines hit the stands. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. New issues of Fresh and Waitrose awaited me, as well as a special issue from Fine Cooking Magazine, 101 Delicious Chicken Recipes. There’s an amazingly delicious picture on the cover of Broiled Tex-Mex Drumsticks with Avocado and Tomato Salad that is definitely going on my burgeoining “to try” pile.

Lots of erranding on tap for this weekend and plan on buying our Christmas tree and going to my sister and brother-in-law’s house on Sunday for lunch. As usual, she hasn’t made a pre-menu reveal, leaving us guessing up until the very end.

Another Weekend Dog Blogging is upon us, so if you have a cute pup pic, you’d like to show off, send me an e-mail with your jpeg, post a link back here on our blog and check out the round-up Sunday night. If cats are more your thing, then be sure to visit the lovely Clare over at Eat Stuff and lastly, you can brag about your green thumb by showing off your herbs over at Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Finally, since November is over, I’ve done a round-up of all the new recipes I made last month. Managed to make 17 new ones. Considering we were away for a week, sink-less and dishwasher-less for another week, and made some repeats, I’ve decided 17 new recipes isn’t too shabby. Most of the recipes have been posted (at least the ones that are worthy of repeating); whichever ones haven’t been loaded yet will be put up this weekend.

Until tomorrow…

November 2005 New Recipe Round-Up
Sour Cream Berry Bars
Oprah’s Pomegranate Martinis
Roast Chicken with Potatoes
Grilled Steaks with Brandy Cream Sauce
Spinach, Bacon and Artichoke Dip with Crispy Pitas
Toasted Penne with Gorgonzola
Mussel Chowder
Butternut, Goat Cheese and Walnut Spread
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
White Wine Gouda Fondue
Golden Crispy Herbed Potatoes
Farmer’s Market Pasta
Cinnamon Chip Applesauce Coffeecake
Truffle Brownies
Indian Spinach with Chick Peas
Turkey Cobb Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Caramel Pecan Apple Cake

Simple Mac and Cheese for Two
from Macaroni & Cheese, by Joan Schwartz

Butter for the ramekins
1 cup penne
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup (1/4 lb) grated Cheddar cheese
Dash of Tabasco
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 1-cup ovenproof ramekins or small baking dishes. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, 10-12 minutes. Drain. In a medium bowl, combine the half-and-half, Cheddar, and penne and season to taste with Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Pour into the prepared ramekins and sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake on the middle shelf until set, 15-20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 2 servings.

Barbecued Mushrooms with Feta (Gluten-Free)
From delicious. Magazine
Serves 4
300g fresh shiitake mushrooms, halved if large
200g swiss brown mushrooms, halved if large
300g oyster mushrooms, halved if large
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
150g mixed salad greens
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
75g reduced-fat feta, crumbled

Place the mushrooms in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic and 1/4 cup of the balsamic vinegar, and toss to coat mushrooms in the mixture. Heat a lightly oiled pan over high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked all over. Place salad and parsley leaves in a bowl with the remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, then toss to combine. Divide the salad among plates, then top with the mushrooms and feta.

Sweetnicks Note: Instead of the different types of mushrooms, I used 4 large Portobello mushrooms that I had on hand.

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