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Fam Din 11/3/10

Posted: November 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fam Din 11/3/10


Balthazar Cream of Mushroom Soup
Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook

1 ounce dried mushrooms (porcini, morels, or shitakes)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of sage
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 pound shitake mushrooms stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Soak the dry mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, until plump.

2. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove grit and reserve, along with the reconstituted mushrooms, until needed.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Bundle the rosemary and sage together and tie with kitchen twine. When the oil is hot, add the herb bundle and sizzle for a few minutes on both sides to infuse the oil.

4. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

5. Turn the flame to high and add the white mushrooms and shitakes.

6. Cook for 10 minutes, during which the mushrooms will give off their liquid (which should evaporate quickly due to the high heat) and deflate significantly. Stir occasionally.

7. Add the chicken stock and the dried mushrooms along with the soaking water.

8. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the herbs, then add the cream and butter. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and keep at a very low simmer until ready to serve.

Elissa’s Adjustments:

I changed up the mushroom content, for a couple of reasons – shitakes for 15 people are expensive, and my usual porcini vendor only had about half as much as the recipe times 2.5 called for.  So!  Oh yeah, I checked the book this came out of online, and while I couldn’t look at this recipe, all the other recipes in the book fed 6 (hheeeeyyyy amazon’s look inside feature!).  So I assumed that was a the serving size for this recipe as well.  And then I multiplied it by 2.5 to feed all you crazies.

So I went with 2.5 lbs white button, 1.5 lbs crimini, 1 lb shitake and 1.5 oz dried porcini.

I didn’t have kitchen twine so I sizzled the herbs in the oil and then took them out.

I halved the cream and I didn’t puree the soup completely, just mostly.



Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Adapted from Bon Appetit

If you’d like to toast the seeds, simply clean them off, rinse and pat them dry and toast them in the oven on an oiled baking sheet, sprinkled with salt. But this comes with a warning: they like to pop, seemingly more than regular pumpkin seeds do, or maybe it’s just my bad luck. I suspect if you let them dry out for a day first, they wouldn’t, but who has that kind of patience?

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (1-inch cubes) (from about a 2-poudn squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups baby arugula (I skipped this)
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; I used this, but added it after I took a photo)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted seeds (about 1/2 cup) from your butternut squash (optional; see note above)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.

Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.

Combine lentils, pumpkin, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.

Elissa’s Adjustments:

Once again, times 2.5.  I did the squash the night before and it kind of felt like a disservice – they were mushier than I would have liked, and all the tasty spiciness they had right out of the oven seemed totally gone once everything was together.  Also, I ran out of red wine vinegar and added in some balsamic.  I’d like to try this again all in one day, and bump up the spice and the dressing.


Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.

Elissa’s Notes: So we (Paul was all up in this action both times) actually made these twice – once the night before fam din for a co-worker’s birthday and then again the night of fam din.  The first time, we browned the butter to a light brown, eyeballed the salt and added in some vanilla.  They were nothing special and it was clear that our eyeballs had really underdone it on the salt.  The ones you guys ate I browned the butter really dark, measured out the salt, and served while still a little warm.  And I wish I were still eating them right now.

birthday lasagna

Posted: May 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: family dinner meals | Comments Off on birthday lasagna

Here’s the recipe for the meat lasagna, as written by Paul’s mom, with my notes in italics:
Lasagna made with meat sauce

1-2 lbs mix ground chuck(for flavor) and ground lean beef(less fat) – I did one pound of each.

2-3 Italian sausages-can be mix of mild and hot, casings removed – I did two hot one mild

2-4 cloves garlic  chopped

1 large shallot or 2 small shallots chopped

salt and pepper, red pepper flakes

fresh parsley chopped–1/4 cup

fresh basil chopped or dried and dried oregano  equal parts of each in this recipe–do not overpower! – I did all fresh herbs

1 large can diced tomatoes

1-2 large cans tomato sauce-Hunt’s–do not use crushed tomatoes as those have skin mixed in and cook up bitter – I used two

Follow recipe on back of Lasagna noodle box for the cheese mixture–I like to add combo of both Parmesan and Romano as well as combo
of Mozzarella and Fontina grated —hold some aside for layering and also for the top.

I actually did about 1.5 x what the box says for cheese, so 1.5 pounds ricotta, 6 cups mozzarella, a lot of parmesan, some fontina and a bunch of parsley (which I had seen Paul’s mom do when we made this once with her)

You can’t have too much sauce for lasagna because whatever is left after layering can be heated for table use in the event that the lasagna dries out in cooking.  or just because you like extra sauce!


Saute meat in olive oil in a very large skillet.  Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes.  Add shallots and garlic toward the end  so they will not burn
Add basil and oregano to taste.  When cooked, check to see if you need to drain any oil–ladle off excess oil from meat (uh, we didn’t do this.  We meant to skim the fat off the next morning after it had been refrigerated for a bit, but we forgot.  It wasn’t super oily though –  we’ve made it before when it’s been really intense, it seems the meat was leaner this go around.).  Add diced tomato and cook a bit until soft and mashable, then add tomato sauce and bring to boil, lower and simmer for one hour or so.  Taste and then adjust seasonings and green seasoning.    Add some parsley at the end, reserving some for the cheese mixture.

Cook noodles and drain–rinse in cold water to prevent sticking.

Make cheese mixture. Put some sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan and then begin layering noodle, cheese mixture and meat sauce–add some grated cheese and mozzarella to each layer.  Follow directions on back of box for oven temperature and time–cover with foil as indicated so it won’t dry out yet the top will be crisp with crust.

Buon Fortuna!  Remember—Tutti a tavola a mangiare e beve!!
Love, Mom

Roasted Veggie Lasagna:

We didn’t make this sauce from scratch, we doctored a bottled sauce.  We used the back of the lasagna box as a guide – just like the cheese you want to double the sauce they recommend. Before putting the sauce in the pot we sauteed a couple cloves of garlic, half a medium shallot and quarter of a yellow onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once softened we added chunks of a green bell pepper, two red bell peppers and a portabella mushroom.  We let those cook down for quite a while – probably 20 minutes?  Until they were pretty soft, and then added a couple of jars of a basic marinara, and a bit of water.  We let it cook down for a bit before adding fresh basil and oregano.

Create cheese mixture as for meat lasagna.

For the insides:

3 portobella mushrooms – sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 red bell pepper – cut into 1.5 inch squares

1 orange bell pepper – cut into 1.5 inch squares

1 zucchini – cut on the diagonal in 1/4 inch slices

1 summer squash – cut on the diagonal in 1/4 inch slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay cut veggies on 2 cookies sheets and toss with olive oil.  Season with salt & pepper.  Roast until tender 25-35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook lasagna noodles to just under done.  Rinse with cool water.

Put some sauce in the bottom of your pan.  Layer noodles, then cheese mixture, then vegetables.  Cover with thin layer of sauce.  Repeat. Cover with last layer of noodles, then sauce, then top with loose mozzarella and whatever fontina is left.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Sauce should be bubbling.  Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

I always make mine too tall, so they always bubble over.  Covering a cookie sheet in foil and putting it on the rack below the lasagne will save you a lot of oven cleaning.

The cake recipe is Cook’s lllustrated and it’s not online and I’m tired and lazy at the moment.  I’ll see if I can upload it at a later date.

Posted: February 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Cakewich Cake Pan

Bookmarked for some future “dinner that looks like dessert and dessert that looks like dinner” meal.

Posted: February 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on

via Shakesville


Posted: January 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: family dinner meals | Comments Off on 1/27

this one’s gonna be quick and dirty.

(that’s what she said)

delicious meatballs.

homemade pasta.

tasty red sauce.

buttermilk sweet potato pie.

i will make all of these things again.  esp the pie.

check this out…

Posted: January 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on check this out…

my coworker contributes to this, and it’s hilarious.

Posted: November 21st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: holy shit !1 | 1 Comment »

when are we doing this?

updated: 11/21/09

Pot pies!

Posted: October 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: family dinner meals, meat | Comments Off on Pot pies!

in under the wire!  sorry there’s no pictures, i took some but i’m doing this at work (shhhh!) and the pictures are at home. i’ll see if i can add them in alter.

ok, we started off with these (from Apartment Therapy):

BOEHNER NOTES:  i used basil, and accidentally dumped it all into the cheese instead of saving some for the covering.  i left it in the freezer too long, so eleanor had a hard time getting the crumbles to stick.  and i planned to put bacon into the cheese mixture, but then i burned some of the precious precious bacon and didn’t have enough.

Goat Cheese Balls with Herbs, Pecans, & Bacon
makes 16-20

6 slices bacon
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)
2 tablespoons chopped thyme or basil, divided
Cracked black pepper
1/4 cup pecans
Apple slices, to serve

Cut each piece of bacon in half. Place the bacon in a large skillet without overlapping the slices, and turn the heat on low. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the bacon is quite crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pat the slices to remove excess grease.

While the bacon is cooking, whiz the goat cheese, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of herbs, and a few turns of cracked black pepper in the food processor. Whiz until creamy and well-mixed, then form small balls, about the size of the tip of your thumb. Insert lollipop sticks. Put in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up a little more. (Don’t let them freeze all the way; just help them firm up. You can also place them in the refrigerator for a longer period of time.)

Clean out the food processor. Crumble in the cooled bacon, the remaining tablespoon of herbs, and the pecans. Whiz until very fine and crumbly; it should be as fine as your food processor will make it.

Take the cheese balls out of the freezer and roll them in the bacon mixture, pressing it in with your fingers if it doesn’t immediately stick.

Place the balls in a container on their sides and refrigerate until serving. Serve on full rounds of sliced apple. These are delicious eaten together with apple; take a bite of one and then of the other.

Extra-bacon option: If you aren’t content to simply roll these in bacon, then fry an additional two strips of bacon and crumble them into the cheese mixture itself.

Chicken Pot Pies

BOEHNER NOTES: The original recipe came from Smitten Kitchen (link above), and her recipe is below.  I doubled this, and that was a mistake – I couldn’t do all individuals, so we did the casserole pan, and the single recipe would have filled that casserole pan, so if you really do four servings as her recipe says, they are going to be HUGE.  The dough is awesome, I didn’t change a thing.  I removed the peas, and instead used asparagus with iffy results.  I blanched them as I did the carrots and they were a little slimy.  next time, I would try throwing them in raw, and cook it for a little less time.  The dough is done at 30 – 45 minutes (though it can handle the whole hour), so I found the hour in the oven wasn’t completely necessary.  Also, I did individual circles of dough, which worked just fine and those only took about 20-25 minutes to bake.  Also Also, I cooked and diced the chicken the day before, and put together the dough and stuck it in the fridge.

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from Ina Garten

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (we used 2 whole/4 split large ones; worked fine)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes (if you, like us, use Better than Bouillon, the exchange is 4 teaspoons)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (apparently, Birds Eye sells these; I’ve never found them and peeled fresh ones), blanched for 2 minutes (can do this with the carrots)
Glug of sherry (optional)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound or 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken. (We did this a day in advance.)

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, parsley and a glug of sherry, if you’re using it. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (This can also be made a day or more in advance.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Shrimp & Andouille Pot Pie

BOEHNER NOTES: So I got myself into a bit of a pickle with this, in that I was just planning on doubling the dough from the chicken pot pie recipe and throwing it on top of this (again in the casserole pan).  What I did not think about until we got there, was how overcooked the shrimp would be.  So I ended up compromising by letting the filling the cool, throwing the shrimp in raw, then putting it in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Surprisingly, the shrimp were not overcooked, but, unsurprisingly, the dough was undercooked (i’ve made this once before, and paul and i actually made mini cornbread muffins which we placed on the top of the dish before putting it in the oven, a rather tasty alternative).  So you know, learning experience.  Also, commenters recommended additional spices, but I got a good andouille sausage and felt like that added all the heat and flavor needed.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 16-ounce packag e all-butter puff pastry or half of 17.3-ounce package regular puff pastry), thawed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 3 large)
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into scant 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 1.5-ounce package concentrated classic seafood stock (such as Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold) mixed with 2 cups water; or 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 8-ounce red-skinned potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds deveined peeled uncooked jumbo shrimp, cut into 1-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut out four 5 1/2-inch rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk cream and flour in small bowl. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add andouille and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add vermouth; simmer until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add seafood stock mixture and thyme. Bring to simmer. Add potato and cook uncovered until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add cream mixture to skillet; stir. Simmer until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat. Add shrimp; simmer until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide hot filling among four 1 1/4-cup baking dishes. Top each with pastry round. Bake until filling bubbles, about 5 minutes.


Posted: January 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments »
mustache fabric from Sew Bettie

mustache fabric from Sew Bettie

hello awesomeness, thy name is mustache fabric.

the question here is, what do you make out of fabric so unbelievably sweet?



Posted: November 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: holy shit !1 | Comments Off on trongs

not that the boehnerrhs have any problem eating with their hands.