I haven't been very adventurous with my cooking lately... difficulties getting to the grocery store, the fact that many of the dishes I wanted to make would take hours, and there are only so many weekend days I can be adventurous, unless I want to spend the evening pressuring Emma to eat her dinner. If we are even home. Oh, and if my adventurous, long cooking meal happens to be chicken... I have to listen to Bobby complain a bit too, because he thinks he hates chicken.
Jessica and Nathan came out for a visit just before my birthday. Alora is very young right now and not familiar with us, so she was very clingy to her mom and dad. We had a birthday dinner for Malachy on that Thursday at my parents' house. Bobby's sister Erica and sister-in-law Jessica came by with the kids and all the kids played in the back room, running around and tossing a ball back and forth. It was one of those rare moments when all the kids not only get along, but the normally crazy ones are actually quite calm and considerate of others.
That Friday Jessica, Nathan, my parents, and my aunt Lisa and uncle Nigel came to our house for dinner. I had been wanting to make this Provençal Rack of Lamb, but mom bought pre-seasoned lamb racks, so we improvised. Dad grilled the lamb (okay, he torched the lamb, and part of my tree), and I made roasted potatoes and tomatoes.
I chopped smallish white potatoes and sweet potatoes into bitesized peices, sliced a few cloves of carlic, and tossed it all with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I spread it out on a pan and put it in the oven at around 350. I halved and seeded the tomatoes, salted the open side and set them open side down for about 10 minutes. I put the ends of my loaf of Oroweat 7 Grain Bread into my little Cuisinart Mini Prep Food Processor and ground it into crumbs, then mixed that with some kosher salt, pepper, and olive oil. I turned my tomatoes cut side up and put a layer of my crumb mixture on the top, then spooned a teaspoon or so of Gorgonzola on top each tomato. I pulled the potatoes out, and nestled the tomatoes right on top of them and stuck the whole thing back in the oven. The potatoes cooked for probably 50 min-1 hr, the tomatoes around 30 min.
It all came out quite delicious, and even though the lamb was charred on the outside, the center was a nice medium rare.
We also got around to some pumpkin carving. On my birthday, Emma and I went to Target to complete her costume and check out their pumpkin selection while Bobby and his brother went to get some supplies for a project they are working on. Turns out Target has a pretty decent pumpkin selection for pretty good prices. We ended up picking out two medium sized pumpkins and one small pumpkin. The small one was so I could try out making pumpkin puree. Which I did, but not with that pumpkin - that one I still have. Mom gave me another pumpkin, and I not only made puree, but I made more pumpkin bread with it.
I did go to two Halloween parties (on the same night, two weeks before Halloween), then had a Halloween party at my place the night of. It was just a small group, but that is what I prefer. Especially when it is at my house. Steve came out and DJed for us, and he's a pretty awesome DJ. We set up the projector on the back patio and played movies on the pull down shade - it looked so cool, Erica, Bobby, and I decided we needed to have movie night on the patio regularly.
Mom had purchased some zucchini for our lamb dinner, but we didn't get around to using it. That is, until Sunday morning when it hadsat in my fridge a few days and I, fresh off my pumpkin bread kick, decided I should make Zucchini Bread. Zucchini bread is one of those breads that doesn't sound delicious, but really is. I used to buy slices of it in college. Tea with milk and zucchini bread. Mmm... so good on cold gloomy afternoons. My bread came out lovely. Bobby tried it and said he really liked it... but wasn't sure weather or not he liked it more than the pumpkin bread. He'd have to eat more of each before deciding.
Sunday afternoon I did get around to making a new something for dinner. Rather ambitious I thought: Beef Provençal. I cheated a little - I used a can of diced tomatoes instead of smooshing canned whole ones, and I didn't know what to put in the "sun dried tomato tapenade" so I just put some jarred sun dried tomatoes and capers into my Cuisinart and pureed it. It was all mighty tasty, and since the roast was only like $6.50, the meal was pretty inexpensive as a whole. And considering the whole thing was easily 6+ servings, I may have beat KFC's $10 challenge. OK, the cognac may throw me over.
This morning I put a little of the leftover meat, veggies, noodles, and saucy juice into a tupperware, added a little water, and I'm eating it as soup right now. Still very tasty.
I already voted today. I will be really glad when the day and the election are over. The presidential campaign has been too long and emotional, and all of the propaganda about Prop. 8 is really upsetting to me... not only do I not support such intolerance, but I also find the lies the Yes on 8 campaign is spreading such as the idea that churches will be sued for not marrying gay couples, or that schools will suddenly teach your kids to be gay. Ridiculous. Again, I will be glad to see it all end.