Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday in the Kitchen

Yesterday was a busy day in the kitchen (and the laundry room!). After lunch, we put the Steelers game on and started our cooking: tomato sauce, chocolate-orange biscotti, lamb burgers, and eggplant parmesan.

TOMATO SAUCE

SP made homemade tomato sauce for eggplant parmesan. We made the sauce first so that it could simmer all afternoon.

Everyone has a favorite tomato sauce. The tomato sauce can make or break a lasagna, spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, etc. The sauce can be meat or meatless, ground meat or sausage or something else, thick or thin or runny, veggies or no veggies (onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms). Usually your favorite is the one your mom or grandma made, the one you grew up with. Naturally, I think my mom's is the best. SP likes his mom's. I showed him my mom's recipe - I guess I was hinting!

He made his own thing, but I think I saw him add some Worcestershire, which is in my mom's recipe. No meat in ours. And only onion. He thought I was nuts when I mentioned the celery!! My favorite sauce always starts with onion, celery, and green pepper sauteed in a bit of butter & oil. Here's SP's ingredients:

Here's the sauce simmering away:

CHOCOLATE-ORANGE BISCOTTI

We made biscotti again. This time we we opted for a Chocolate Orange Biscotti recipe from Bon Appetit. Chocolate and orange together in a cookie = one of my favorite combinations.
The dough was the usual mix of ingredients. I found the flour amount a bit odd - 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. I made SP read the recipe to make sure I wasn't supposed to use the 2 tbsp for another purpose, but no, that was the flour amount for the dough. We bought bittersweet chips and used Grand Gala. Here's the dough:The toasted pecans:SP put toasted pecans in half the dough. We omitted the pecans from 'my half' since I am not a huge fan of nuts in my desserts/cookies. After freezing the dough for 20 minutes, he shaped it into logs. He said the half with pecans seemed easier to shape into a log. Our logs were no where near 14" long and 2.5" wide. More like 10" x 2" - ? Not sure why. We baked the logs for the full 30 minutes - they were quite brown on the bottoms. Here's the slices standing upright and going in for the second baking:Baked, crisped, and ready for dunking & eating:These biscotti are yummy, but I liked the flavor of the Almond Citrus biscotti better. For chocolate-orange flavored cookies, I'd rather make the chocolate-orange shortbread cookies we made at Christmas last year. LAMB BURGERS

We decided to grill lamb burgers for dinner. Grilling season is almost over. Well, some people here in Pittsburgh grill even in the winter, but we don't -- it's getting darker earlier & earlier which makes it difficult to see the food on the grill out on the deck and during the week, SP doesn't get home until 7:15-7:30 pm. He also isn't a fan of standing out in the cold to grill! Yesterday was Sunday so we could grill when it was still light out, it wasn't too chilly, and it was sunny, so we took advantage.

We added grated onion, parsley, pepper, and lemon peel to the ground lamb. One pound of ground lamb made 4 burgers for us. Here they are, grilled and ready to eat -- yummy grill marks!
We put our lamb burgers on whole wheat pitas and added grilled eggplant (2 leftover rounds from the eggplant parmesan that we decided to grill - we ran out of egg mixture and couldn't bread the last 2 slices), roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, arugula, sour cream (me), and yogurt (SP). Delicious, and for me, messy. Turns out this lamb burger on pita thing is like tacos: SP makes a nice, neat pita sandwich while I make a disaster that ends up requiring use of a fork & knife.

SP's attractive, neat pita:My messy disaster:All that matters is the taste, and the lamb burgers were delicious.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

More on this tomorrow, after we eat it tonight! We did all the prep work yesterday so tonight I just have to bake the casserole of eggplant & sauce & cheese and cook some pasta.

After all that cooking, and watching the Steelers make it look like they just might lose to Detroit, we were tired! We also had done 3-4 loads of laundry and we ran the dishwasher twice!! We grabbed our biscotti and some hot tea and settled in for The Amazing Race. Sadly, our 2 least favorite teams will live to race another day. But it was pretty funny watching the Amazing Racers act like monkeys!!!

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