Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Day 2 of just us 3

(Originally posted on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 by Tim)

Today was day 2 of just the three of us. It was a more productive day than yesterday. We got out of the house and to the gym a whole hour before we did yesterday. We also managed to get two loads of laundry done, two pages of Baby Dal?s scrapbook done, the back porch cleaned out, and we cooked a full dinner.

The garden has started producing tomatoes and the appetizer for dinner was a tasty caprese. For those of you not familiar with caprese, the main ingredients are tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Two of those three ingredients were home grown for tonight?s appetizer. I?ll have to add cows to the back yard next year so I can make my own mozzarella cheese as well. I'll have to check my lawn and garden catalog and see which kind of cows make mozzarella.

The main course tonight was mushroom casserole. This dish is my own recipe that I developed while trying to duplicate a meal I had at Shakers. I?ve refined it to the point where I like it better than the Shakers' version. The only thing I feel it lacks is appetizing color. As you can see from the recipe below, it is a mixture of spinach, roasted red bell peppers, pasta, and portabella mushrooms. This gives it the colors green, red, brown, and off white. When you have this meal at Shakers, it is baked in its own dish. This allows them to layer the various ingredients. For my recipe, the entire meal is baked in one dish and then spooned onto plates. Unfortunately, it is not solid enough to keep its shape. I?ve tried layering it, but it looses the layers upon serving. I mix the ingredients to make sure that each person gets a relatively even distribution of each ingredient on their plate. The downside of this is that the colors green, red, brown, and off white get mixed together to make a rather unappetizing brown color. I expect it will provide me amply opportunity to use Parent? sayings in the future. ?It all mixes together in your stomach anyway.?

Mushroom Casserole
2 big portabella mushrooms, stems removed and cut into 1 cm cubes
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1 tbs honey
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs hot sauce
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
1 package (10 ounces?) frozen creamed spinach
1/3 pound orzo (or other small sized pasta)
1 can (15 oz) vegetable broth
1/3 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 ½ roasted red bell pepper chopped into 1 cm squares
Red pepper flakes (to taste)

Mix Marsala, honey, soy sauce, olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and hot sauce in a Tupperware container that will just hold the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the marinade and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Add the entire mix to a pan and sauté over high heat until all the liquid is gone. Set mushrooms aside.

Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a pot and add orzo. Cook until al dente. Drain.

Microwave the creamed spinach according to the directions.

Mix mushrooms, creamed spinach, orzo, roasted red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and spaghetti sauce in a greased 9 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. Cover and bake until bubbly at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or so if you would like the cheese to be a bit browned. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve.

My best example of a great tasting entrée that looks utterly unappetizing is dolmas. Remember when you were in cub scouts and they taught you how to determine what an animal had been eating by examining its stool in the forest. These things look like owl poo to me. Cat and I made a big plate of these for a party once. They were absolutely delicious and they were also hardly touched. There were lots of leftovers for us. In my opinion, someone needs to come up with a way to dye the grape leaves bright red and this dish would be a tremendous hit. This could be accomplished by crushing lots of red bugs. It would even be organic!

We had an interesting day with Baby Dal. Cat and I have both been reading baby books by the Sears (not the department store). In one of them, Cat found that babies of Dalton?s age sleep 14-18 hours a day. Now he has been sleeping a lot. In fact, he slept so much yesterday that I wasn?t sure if he was a wake for 6 hours. As it is my sacred duty to worry in the family, I was a bit concerned that he might be sleeping too much. Baby Dal can be very considerate at times. He didn?t want his Dad to worry. After sleeping peacefully for much of the day, he woke up at 5 pm and then proceeded to cry almost exclusively until 9 pm when he went back to sleep. We really weren?t able to come up with anything to console him for more than 15 minutes despite the use of all tools in our current arsenal.* I even sang parts of ?American Pie? to him.

It has been very hot here and I?m thinking that might be the issue. We don?t have air conditioning and what I have read says that babies should be naked at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 85 today and humid. If he?s cranky again tomorrow, I?m pushing for us to take him to Barnes and Noble. It?s comfortably air conditioned there. Cat thinks that it would be rude to take a screaming baby into a quiet bookstore. Heck, if he?s that bad, I?ll buy a book or something.

*Note the outrageous hair on Baby Dal in the picture above. I tried to cool him down by rubbing a wet wash cloth over his head. It stopped his crying for a minute or two until he realized how silly he was going to look.

No comments:

Post a Comment