Look what I found!
The last couple of weeks have been a tad hectic, and the weekends we usually spend out and about. So today when were moving things around I realized I hadn’t transfered photos from my camera to the computer in quite a while. Actually, since Christmas…
I had totally forgotten about the photos of our New Year’s Eve dinner which consisted of the following:
- Quiche lorraine
- Brochettes (red pepper, cheese, sausage, and onion)
- Cream of bean soup with avocado & chipotle
- Tequila chipotle chicken with grilled onions
- Mexican rice
- Cheesecake topped with strawberries and almonds
- and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé (champagne)
Christmas dinner with friends
Just like last year we will be spending Christmas in Morelia with Goose’s family, so this year in order to have a celebration of our own, we decided to host an early Christmas dinner with a few friends and Goose’s parents.
I figured why not try a few recipes for the first time (something that most people think is a bad decision since you never know how it will come out). The menu consisted of potatoes au gratin, spinach & ricotta lasagna, glazed ham, thinly sliced turkey and an incredible made-from-scrath “Death by Chocolate” cake with freshly made cranberry-pommegranate jam, covered with more chocolate and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
Every dish turned out incredible and I couldn’t have been any happier :)
Homemade Lasagna…day 295
Sunday night Jay and I spent it cooking what turned out to be a delicious lasagna while Goose recovered from a pretty bad cold. We began our day by heading to City Market to buy all the items necessary for a homemade lasagna.
- 1 pound (450 g) of sweet Italian sausage
- 1 pound (450 g) of ground beef
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) of chopped onions
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) (784 g) can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 (8 ounce) (230 g) cans of tomato sauce
- 2 (6 ounce) (168 g) cans of tomato paste
- 1/2 (120 mL) cup of water
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) fennel seed
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) fresh Basil leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground pepper
- 23 ounces (644 g) of ricotta cheese.
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh Italian parsley chopped
We began by browning the ground beef, Italian sausage, onions and garlic in a pot until they started to cook. It takes about 6 to 9 minutes to brown the meat.
Once the meat is ready, we added the crushed tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste (this last one I had never used before).
Then gently stirred in the white sugar, fennel seed, basil, parsley, salt, italian seasoning and ground pepper.
Cover the pot and let the meat sauce simmer. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes This is the ideal simmer time but not mandatory. If you don’t have time it will still be great after one hour of simmering.
The lasagna noodles need to be soaked in hot tap water for 15 minutes. While the noodles are soaking we prepared the cheese filling.
Put the ricotta cheese, fresh grated nutmeg, egg and parsley in a mixing bowl and mix them with a spoon.
Now we start putting the lasagna together! Use a 9x13 inch baking pan (this will serve 12 people) and spread 2 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Layer 6 noodles across the layer of sauce, and spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Spread half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over the ricotta layer.
Spread 2 cups of meat sauce over the cheese alter and lay down the next layer of noodles. Spread the remaining ricotta mixture, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and top it off with the last layer of meat sauce and cheese.
Cover with foil, bake in preheat at 350F for 25 minutes, followed by 25 more without the foil.
To be honest, the lasagna turned out way better that we expected—considering this was our first time cooking one of these. Next week we shall try cannelloni!
Monthyversay pancakes…day 121
Goose usually makes pancakes for us on Sundays, but whenever we’re celebrating another month together they tend to taste even better. I’ve been very, very lucky to have him in my life, and for him to be putting up with my antics 11 years later. And now planning our wedding together is the icing on the cake.
Which talking about cakes, I plan on attempting to make some cake poppers pretty soon and see if they pass the check for our dessert bar, and just for kicks I want to try to make Hello Kitty heads :)
Think, think, think…day 116
First day back at the office, and it looks like people are still out on vacay…which meant a laid back day at work.
I spent most of the morning working on the new image for our VIP stored, but think my creativity might still be tanning and having sangrias in Ixtapa. The ideas just weren’t flowing like they usually do. At the end of the day I had my proposal ready to go and had booked the casting for my upcoming project.
In the evening I baked a brownie for the boys while Goose fried some enchiladas potosinas. Dinner was really good and it gave all of us time to catch up.
Brunch with my mother-in-law…day 86
Sundays tend to be a very lazy day at home…and today was just that. I began the day by heading to the market on Prado Norte to buy some veggies for the guys, and flowers for me. Since I had no luck with the flowers, I went to our emergency guy…a small stand located on one of the avenues near the apartment. He’s open 24/7, 365 (I bought flowers there on New Year’s eve around 11pm!).
Even though I had no luck with my calla lilies, I bought six birds of paradise along with three long red ginger flowers (Hawaiian). I wanted for the apartment to look pretty and have whatever we needed since my mother-in-law was coming over for brunch.
She arrived five minutes after I returned home. Sergio was in the process of making pancakes—which he’s really good at, and making vegetarian omelets. Breakfast was so, so good, and the avocados to die for.
It’s always good to see Sergio’s mom, and remember old times with my parents. That’s one huge advantage that we have—our parents have been friends for about 20 years, so there’s no awkwardness, just good times :)
For the rest of the day, we lounged around the apartment and watched movies…and recover from a crazy weekend.
Super Bowl time…day 37
Today we totally slept in…till 3PM!
Last night, Sergio and I headed over to our friends Beto and Miguel´s home for a small reunion and stayed there till 6 in the morning. Every time we all get together we have such a good time, that we easily loose track of time, and last night was the case.
So today, I got up at 3 when I realized Tamara would probably be joining us for the big game and I had forgotten to leave the meat out to defrost. Lazy Sergio slept till close to 5. Tamara arrived just as the game was beginning, and while Sergio began prepping the food, I took Tam on a brief tour of our building. To be quite honest, I don´t think any of us besides Jay really payed attention to the game. We were talking about food, coffee, and wine…and about how we weren’t impressed by the half-time show.
The food, as always, turned out incredible. We had chicken breast and porkchops, with a side of mashed potatoes and left over pasta from the previous night.
Tamara was actually our very first guest at our home and we truly enjoyed the company.
Tomorrow we had the day off, so while Sergio reads for school I´ll be praying for some sun so I can tan.
How many cookies?…Day 36
What was I thinking when I decided to bake old fashioned butter cookies? I guess I should have read how many cookies the batch was for…60 was not what I had in mind. Good thing is that they are so yummy. So instead of making them all plain butter cookies, I made different batches—some wish regular sugar, others with powder sugar, and some with strawberry jam. The last were everyone’s favorites and didn’t last.
But before coming home to bake, I spent the day with Sergio running errands while Jay was at work. Life has become so calm and chill, and I love every minute of it. Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday and Tamara might be coming over, so it’s time to figure out tomorrow’s menu. In the mean time, Sergio cooked a kick-ass pasta with home made pesto. YUM!!!
Clean home=happy family …day 23
Once again, the boys woke up early and headed off to work. I had planned to sleep some more, but even though we had stayed out late the night before, I was wide awake and in the mood to clean. By 11am, I had swept, mopped, changed the sheets, cleaned the kitchen (including stove), washed clothes and spent an hour on the phone with my mom. Talk about a productive morning!!!
In the afternoon I cooked dinner for the boys, and it turned out really good—specially with Sergio’s touch. We had potatoes and chicken in homemade tomato/red bell pepper sauce, topped off with vanilla-coke float and dulce de leche cake—all indusing a food coma that knocked all three of us out.
I think we are now ready for another week to begin!
p.s. the empanadas were a complete bust…must try again ;)
Awesome soup…day 3 of 365
Cooking friday night was tons of fun, and even though we were missing one key ingredient to our tomato basil soup, it turned out pretty darn good. So for those of you who asked, here’s the recipe:
Tomato Basil (Madeline) soup
- 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (11.5 oz) tomato-vegetable juice cocktail (for this I recommend a low sodium one)
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
- 20 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup butter/margarine
Directions: In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, vegetable juice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil, then puree. Add the cream and butter; return to a medium-low heat and stir until butter is melted. Serve immediately.
For extra texture, we added freshly baked french bread cut in small squares and made it even better.
First brunch of the year…day 2 of 365
For the past couple of months, a bottle of champagne sat in our freezer probably feeling a tad lonely. On different occasions I thought about opening it, but for one reason or another I didn’t. But today was the day!
Last night I got it in my head that I wanted to cook brunch for the guys, so that’s exactly what I did as soon as I woke up…and it turned out delish! I prepared some croisants with poached egg and ham with a side of tomato and avocado, followed by pancakes and of course…mimosas.
Today was such a beautiful day, perfect to spend it by the pool, that is if it weren’t winter and only had direct sun for a little over an hour. Maybe next weekend we’ll give it a shot.
In the afternoon, Sergio and I headed to one of the grocery stores in the area and he fell in love with their imports section. After two hours of checking out the store we went to Pinkberry—which I had been craving for over a week. What a great way to end the weekend!