Bourne Ultimatum(awesome) Bike ride BBQ'd leg o' lamb Irish Car Bombs Notorious B.I.G. Birthday boy on a beer run. Whiskey. An entire bottle. Gone. Wii boxing 2 bottles of Prosecco. Gone. Chocolate caaaaaaaaaaaake. Pasta alla Carbonara at 1:00 AM Hang. Over. Advils x 6 + chile verde burrito = no more hangover Naps Sunday Finnish soup dinner with friends Sleep, beautiful sleep....
In the midst of all the madness, Bunny exclaimed, "This is the best party EVER!" And J's 38th? Celebrated.
The highlight of our holiday weekend (besides the BBQs and long bike rides and taking the kids to see Shrek) was firmly securing our place in the 'burbs by finally getting a second fridge for the garage. Our kitchen side-by-side fridge...let's see...how do I say this...SUCKS. Put a gallon of milk in it and you've pretty much taken up all the space. The drawers barely hold a head of lettuce. There's no way a watermelon would fit in it.
I cannot put into words how much I hate impractical side-by-sides unless it's one of these babies. I don't like looking at a bunch of packed shelves that are 1 foot across. I like expansive shelving in a fridge. There is no way a frozen pizza would ever fit in the freezer section, and for someone like me who likes to cook in batches, not having a place to put big containers of gazpacho or cucumber soup or ready-made salad fixin's has been frustrating. (How I miss our Portland kitchen and its spacious fridge.)
So for the past two weeks, I've been scouting for garage fridges. We finally found one this weekend and D. helped us bring that sucker home. After a thorough de-stinkifying, J. immediately went out and packed the thing with beer (and Gatorade) and then declared that our fridge would make Dr. Dre proud (check the 3:10 minute mark). Cuz gangsta is how we roll.
Now I'm on the hunt for a ping pong table that we can keep in our garage because, as J. also says, we want to see how fast we can bring down our neighborhood.
My sister made the most delicious salmon mousse topped with ikura (salmon roe) for our New Year's Eve Party so I am doing a twist on her recipe and using oil-packed tuna for our Super Bowl Party. (Photo to come as soon as I unmold it tomorrow above). Her original idea was to do a tuna mousse for NYE, but for some reason she changed her mind. my sister's salmon mousse
I wish I had a more precise recipe, but this is one of those that defines my tagline: I don't have time to measure so I just eye-balled it. I promise, there is so much gelatin in this recipe that you don't have to worry about it setting up.
2 "regular" cans of olive oil-packed tuna, drained (or equivalent amount of salmon, smoked salmon, ham etc.)
juice of half a large Meyer lemon (or one small one) plus a little zest
2 packets of Knox gelatin dissolved in 2 shots of hot water (I used an italian gelatin cube which is blended with bouillion, but that is near-impossible to find here)
a scant cup of mayonnaise (a couple of hefty dollops)
salt and finely-ground pepper, white pepper if possible
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks form
4 green olives sliced into rings (I used anchovy-stuffed olives or capers to garnish
In a Cuisinart, whiz tuna, lemon juice, and lemon zest until very smooth (think baby food consistency). Add mayo and dissolved gelatin mixture (you don't have to use all of it). Whiz until well-combined. Check for salt and pepper. Transfer tuna mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Fold half the whipped cream into the tuna mixture. Blend well. Incorporate the rest of the whipped cream into the tuna mixture.
Line the bottom of a ring mold with olive slices (or capers) and carefully transfer mousse into the ring mold. Refreigerate at least 4 hours or over night until set. Unmold and serve with crackers.
Note: If you don't have a mold or don't want to fuss with that, just pour the mixture into several pretty bowls and set those around your party. Garnish when serving.
Who doesn't love 7-layer "Mexican" dip? However you make it, whatever layers you choose, there's nothing else to say about it except, "Pass the Fritos."
Reading around the internet this week, I've noticed a trend in Mediterranean-inspired 7-layer dips. I'm not making this for my SuperBowl party but if I were, this is how I would do it.
Starting from the bottom and working my way up, my layers would be as follows:
1. Homemade lemon-y hummus, kinda chunky—room temp. 2. Ground lamb sauteed with garlic, olive oil, marjoram, and mint—still warm 3. Finely chopped red onion 4. Chopped, seeded Persian or English cucumbers 5. Chopped, seeded tomatoes 6. A layer of homemade tzaziki 7. A scattering of seeded kalamata olives and a sprinkling of mint
And I would serve this with fresh-baked pita chips. Hmmmm. Maybe I will make this. That's the problem with SuperBowl parties: too much good food from which to choose.
I blogged some of my favorite SuperBowl snacks last year when I was writing for Slashfood, and so this week, I thought I'd do the same here on FamilyFood.
There's nothing like a SuperBowl party. I'm definitely a nosher, so having a wide variety of snacks on hand is like my idea of heaven. And, Ruffles.
It has been said that more avocados are consumed during SuperBowl weekend that at any other time during the year. Not sure if it's true, but it sounds good to me. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite avocado recipes.
Avocado Paté with Parsley and Pistachios. I will definitely be making this this weekend. In fact, I'm thinking of doing a trio of molded dips/salads (Chicken Liver Pate, Tomato Aspic, and the Avocado Paté) because I have some fancy gelatin on hand that my sister brought me from Italy.
Guacamole my way. I admit, I am pretty proud of my guacamole. Or "rockamole" as my daughter calls it.
Chilled Avocado Soup. Yes, it's a cold soup and it might be freezing where you are, but it's hot in Hawaii!
Today was one of those "work on the house days" where time gets away from you and your kids are eating a bag of microwave popcorn right before dinner because you've had no time to even think about starting dinner. Or shop for dinner as the case may be. But hey! The kid books are unpacked, pictures are hung, and the toaster was unearthed, thank god. And we even managed to squeeze in a visit with Grandma J.!
So after I realized it was dinner time, I found J. outside perched on a ladder rewiring our front porch light which exploded on me when I tried to change a light bulb, and suggested, "Whaddaya say we take the kids to Fresh Choice for dinner? I have a coupon!"
Ten minutes later we were out the door ready to join every other family within a 5 mile radius.
Bunny loves Fresh Choice for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. Obvious: the soft-serve ice cream, the sea of kids. Not-so-obvious: the Caesar salad (she loves salad), Brussels sprouts, edamame, tofu, and raw cauliflower. Seriously, parents were giving me dirty looks because they thought I was forcing my kid to eat only vegetables. I tried to get her to eat the pizza bread but neither she or Wallie were havin' it. And they won't touch the soggy pasta either.
I actually don't mind Fresh Choice, either, which is weird because I hate chains and depise buffets. On paper, there's no reason why I should like Fresh Choice, but I do I do I do!
I like that kids 2 and under eat free (I appreciate that because Wallie costs as much as an adult to feed), Bunny eats for $1.69, and there is always a coupon in Sunday paper. I like that if the kids have a choice (a choice!) of what to eat and most of it is fresh (fresh!). I like that there are tons of veggies and salads (and I try not to think about salmonella and listeria or why there is a small pool of water on my clean plate.)
I avoid entire sections of Fresh Choice that are probably a draw to most people: the dessert, the bread, the baked potatoes, the pasta...But salad. I love me a salad bar salad. When I see hard-boiled eggs, beets, and bacon bits? Happiness. And soooouuuuuuupppppmmmmm.
So anyway. We went to Fresh Choice and we had the. best. time. It was one of the best times we've had together as a family and I can't quite figure out why, exactly. I think part of it is that we are discovering new things to do together as a family in the 'burbs. We drive down streets and our heads swivel this way and that looking at, well, everything—the car stereo stores and delis and karate studios—and marveling over the endless parking. Parking is everywhere.
"Why was it so fun at Fresh Choice?" I asked J. just now.
"Well, the kids like it and there are really no expectations, I guess..."
"Is that why? Because I had such a good time tonight and I'm trying to figure out why it was so fun. Did we have fun because the girls had such a great time?...Was that it? What else made it so great?
J. thought got a minute and said, "It's cheap?"
(...and all the dad bloggers go, "Stop askin' him stupid questions, lady. Let the man watch Jerry Macguire in peace, fer cryin' out loud.)
I love that the arrival of this fun, fruity wine kicks off the holiday season here in the United States. I know that many people serve this wine with Thanksgiving dinner, but I like a nice Alsatian Riesling or Oregon Pinot Gris myself. Both are versatile whites that complement the turkey and trimmings quite nicely.
I like to do lots of nosh and nibbles throughout the day (cheeses, paté, chips and dip, crudité), before the dinner, and Beaujolais Nouveau is fun to serve with that.
Before we had kids, my husband and I would go to our neighborhood French bistro for Beaujolais Nouveau night on the third Thursday in November. I have fond memories of sitting at a table by the window with the windows steamed up from all the revelry inside, sipping wine, and talking excitedly about the upcoming holidays.
For me, Beaujolais Nouveau is happiness in a bottle, and will always be.