Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday Suppers

We had a roasted leg of lamb for dinner on Saturday night for my mom's birthday. After dinner we didn't know what to do with the leftover leg bone. There was still quite a bit of meat on it but it was entangled with a lot of fat and grizzle. I decided to make an Italian Sunday Gravy out of it. Basically you just brown some onion, toss in some peppers, mushrooms, celery, carrots, whatever you want. Add in some wine, apple juice or broth to deglaze the pan. Add in some fresh or dried herbs of your choice. Open a can of tomatoes or tomato sauce and simmer the lot with your leftover lamb, beef or pork bone. Let it go for a couple of hours until the meat has fallen off your bone. Serve it over pasta or potatoes and you have a healthy dinner with freezable leftover!

Another great tip for a Sunday supper is to use chicken or turkey parts for a nice home cooked meal without the fuss of a whole bird. You can buy turkey breasts, legs or thighs and roast them just like a whole bird but in about 1/4 of the time. You can even make a stuffing and cook it on the side or under the turkey pieces with some stuffed under the skin of the pieces. Same with Chicken. Gravy can still be made out of any drippings or use chicken broth as the base. Yes, you can even cheat and buy the can or package mix gravy.

Mom's Birthday Cake

Alec and I picked out a nice looking, not too terribly sinful, cake to make for my mom's birthday. She's losing weight (15+ lbs so far!) and didn't want to spoil it on her birthday. We won't speak about the wine and chocolate she ate while waiting for her special dinner.... Anyhoooo. This was the cake we decided to make. Isn't it beautiful?
So I cheated and got an angle food cake mix. Then I discovered I didn't have a tube pan. I don't bake much so I'm not that well equipped. I put half the mix in one round cake pan and then added cocoa powder to the rest of the mix and put it in the second cake pan. I was a little worried about the chocolate cake because it seemed that adding the cocoa powder really took the fluffiness out of the angel food cake batter. But it cooked up okay. I layered the pieces on top of each other but didn't trim around the top of the while cake to give the cake a good slope like the one in the picture. Therefore the glaze didn't drizzle down the sides well, it just dripped from the top to the bottom of the dish. And it seems my cocoa powder wasn't as dark as the one they used in the picture because I ended up with a brown and white cake instead of a black and white cake.

Luckily it tasted great.

Worse part of the meal was that I had planned to make a Squash, Spinach and Boccochini salad but ended up completely forgetting. I've never forgotten a whole menu course before!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Quick Haddock Dinner, Suitable for Guests!

Tonight I made a really quick dinner that was totally suitable for guests. Healthy and delicious! And cheap! So let me share it with you.
Here are the ingredients:
3 Haddock fillets (or one per person)
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (I got mine from the Italian market so they had no salt added)
2 tsp of capers (something I didn't think I liked but I have found add a nice flavour even if I don't like to bite into them, I just pick out the whole ones when I see them)
1 zucchini, cut in half and sliced
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (I have the no salt version but you can use the regular or just mix up equal parts of dried basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary)
2 tbsp of crumbled blue cheese (optional or use another cheese like Cambonzola or Gorgonzola or even Parmesan)

Spray a baking dish with olive oil. Place the fish fillets on the bottom of the dish. Pour the rest on top, mixing it all together as best as you can. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 if the fillets are thin. If they are thick you may want to cook longer. You can test to see if they are done by poking them with a fork in the middle of the dish and seeing if they are flaky. Be careful not to over cook the fish! I served this on polenta I had from a roll that I just cut into slices and grilled but you could use pasta, I would go with spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine. Or risotto or polenta. Serve with Parmesan on the side for sprinkling on.