“DeChristma-fying”

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That’s what my husband said we were doing today (aka taking down the Christmas tree and other decorations.) I thought it would be nice to end the day of hard work with a rewarding dinner at home, instead of being tempted to go out. I have to say a big THANK YOU to Carrie from Carrie’s Sweet Life  for posting this recipe for Steak au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce (original source: Cooks Illustrated). I made this tonight with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray via http://www.foodnetwork.com) and steamed broccoli. The brandied sauce was such a hit that my husband got up to get more sauce and even put it on his potatoes! (He’s normally not a sauce kind of guy.) Definitely make this steak…totally worth it!

Steak au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot , minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar *I used lemon juice
  • Table salt
  • 4 strip steaks (8 to 10 ounces each), 3/4 to 1 inch thick and no larger than 3 inches at widest points, trimmed of exterior gristle *I splurged on some prime filet mignon…we don’t eat steak very often, so when we do we go all out!
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns , crushed
  • Heat 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat *I used my cast iron skillet; when foaming subsides, add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and chicken broths, increase heat to high, and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes *This took about 13 min. for me. Set reduced broth mixture aside. Rinse and wipe out skillet.

    Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt; rub one side of each steak with 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns, and, using fingers, press peppercorns into steaks to make them adhere.

    Place now-empty skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Lay steaks unpeppered-side down in hot skillet, increase heat to medium-high, firmly press down on steaks with bottom of cake pan (see illustration below), and cook steaks without moving them until well-browned, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip steaks, firmly press down on steaks with bottom of cake pan, and cook on peppered side, about 3 minutes longer for rare, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes longer for medium. Transfer steaks to large plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

    Pour reduced broth, cream, and 1/4 cup brandy into now-empty skillet *Here I flambeed to cook off some of the alcohol, mostly just because I think it’s so much fun to flambee!; increase heat to high and bring to boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Simmer until deep golden brown and thick enough to heavily coat back of metal tablespoon or soup spoon, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, remaining 1 tablespoon brandy, lemon juice or vinegar, and any accumulated meat juices. Adjust seasonings with salt. *I did not have to add any more salt.

    My brandied cream sauce, bubbling away:

    Set steaks on individual dinner plates, spoon portion of sauce over steaks, and serve immediately.

    Serves 4.   Published September 1, 2001.

    Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (Serves 4)

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds small fingerling potatoes 
    • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, 1 to 2 tablespoons
    • Salt and pepper

    Directions
    Heat oven to 500 degrees F. *I heated to 450 because I was doing these in my convection toaster.

    Spread potatoes out on a cookie sheet. Scatter garlic over potatoes. Coat lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and season potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. *Note: the oil got very smokey as it was cooking at a high temp. The garlic also got more “toasted” than “roasted.” Next time I think I will reduce the temperature and roast for a longer period of time.

    Please pardon the fuzzy photo…we were hungry!
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    Resolution 1: Make yeast bread by hand.

    Resolution 1: Check!

    Saffron and Raisin Breakfast Bread (recipe courtesy of Cooking Light)

    Yield
    2 loaves, 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

    Ingredients
    1 1/3 cups warm fat-free milk (100° to 110°)
    1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
    1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/2 cup warm water (100º to 110º)
    5 1/4 cups bread flour, divided
    1 1/2 cups raisins
    1/4 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
    1 teaspoon salt
    Cooking spray

    Preparation
    Combine milk and saffron; let stand 10 minutes.

    Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Stir in milk mixture. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 5 cups flour, raisins, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, and salt to milk mixture, stirring to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

    Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half. Shape each portion into a 5-inch round loaf. Place loaves, seam sides down, 3 inches apart, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Make 2 diagonal cuts 1/4-inch-deep across top of each loaf using a sharp knife. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

    Preheat oven to 375º.

    Uncover dough. Bake at 375º for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on wire racks.

    Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2003

    Things I learned today:
    1. Yeast bread isn’t so hard by hand.
    2. Kneading bread by hand is actually pretty satisfying.
    3. I should do some upper body lifting. I can’t believe how tired my arms are!

    All packed up for my husband to take to work for breakfast… plus a heart shaped drop of honey that happened completely by accident!

    3…2…1…

    Happy New Year! First I would like to thank our family and friends who came over for New Year’s Eve dinner. We’re so glad you were able to join us! We couldn’t have asked for a better evening…hopefully you all had a great time too. 🙂

    I posted my menu a few days ago, but now I’m able to give you some more details and photos! We’ll start with a photo of our table. Linens are from Christmas Tree Hill (LOVE them). Napkin folding is courtesy of my ever-so-talented husband!


    We started the evening with a cocktail, served with the cocktail nuts in my last blog post: Apricot Fizz

    Ingredients

    3 tablespoons chilled apricot nectar or peach papaya mango juice *I used apricot nectar
    1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
    lime slices for garnish

    Directions

    Pour the apricot nectar in a champagne flute and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

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    The first course was Fallen Goat Cheese Souffles on Wilted Spinach (courtesy of Emeril via Food Network website)



    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plus 5 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • Wilted Spinach, recipe follows
  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter 6 (3/4 cup/6-ounce) ramekins with 4 teaspoons of the butter. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and use to dust the bottoms and sides of each ramekin. Set inside a roasting pan large enough to hold the cups without touching. Lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the butter and set aside.

    In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens slightly and forms a light roux, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk, and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking after each addition. Add the cheese, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and stir to incorporate.

    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks just form. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the yolks in 3 additions. Divide among the prepared custard cups and fill the roasting pan with warm water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake without opening the oven door until slightly puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let rest uncovered for 30 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins to release the souffles. (Note: souffles can be covered at this point in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.) *I refrigerated for a few hours. It worked very well!

    Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake the souffles until puffed and heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven.

    Add the dried cherries and pine nuts to the spinach and stir to combine. Divide the wilted spinach mixture among 6 salad plates. Arrange 1 souffle on each plate and serve.
    Wilted Spinach

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 18 ounces baby spinach, tough stems removed, well rinsed and spun dry
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Heat butter in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until foam subsides, add garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Then cook spinach, stirring, until just wilted but still and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

    Some photos for you of removing the souffles from the ramekins:

    Step 1: Pray 🙂

    Step 2: Place souffle in palm of hand

    Step 3: Carefully place souffle on baking sheet for later

    These were definitely a hit! They weren’t quick and easy by any means, but they were totally worth it.

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    With the first course, we served a French Sauvignon Blanc:

    Next up: main course! We served a Pork Tenderloin En Croute with Pear and Parsnip Puree (again, both Emeril from Food Network’s website.)

    Pork Tenderloin En Croute

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup minced shallots
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 2 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloins
    • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed if frozen
    • 1/4 cup Creole mustard or any whole-grain mustard *I used Creloe
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash
    • Haricots Verts, recipe follows *We omitted these because, frankly, I forgot to buy them!

    Directions

    To make the mushroom stuffing, in a large, heavy skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are wilted and begin to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan and until the liquid has almost all evaporated and the mixture is tight, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Let cool completely before using.

    Season the pork tenderloins with the Essence. *I actually sliced the tenderloin into 8 smaller pieces and decided to make individual servings.

    Heat the oil in a skillet or Dutch oven large enough to hold the tenderloins over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins and reduce the heat to medium. Sear evenly on all sides and cook, turning frequently. Remove pork from the pan and cool for 10 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Set aside.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12 by 18-inch rectangle. Place the pork tenderloins on 1/2 of the puff pastry, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Evenly coat the tenderloins on all sides with the mustard.

    Pack the cooled mushroom mixture around the pork tenderloins. Brush a 1/2-inch border of egg wash on the pastry around the meat. Gently pull the remaining pastry over the meat to completely enclose, and press gently to seal. With a small knife cut away the excess pastry to make an even border and crimp the pastry edges with a fork dipped in flour. Make a small slit in the top of the pastry for steam to vent.

    Carefully transfer the tenderloin to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the pastry evenly with egg wash. *At this point, I put them in the fridge for about an hour before baking because we weren’t quite ready for them yet. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake until golden brown and an instant read thermometer reaches 140 degrees F, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minute before serving.

    Slice the pork tenderloin and serve with the Haricots Verts.

    Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning)

    2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons salt
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
    1 tablespoon dried thyme

    Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
    Yield: about 2/3 cup

    Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

    Haricots Verts

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 teaspoon chopped garlic
    2 small shallots, thinly sliced
    1 pound haricots vertss
    1 lemon, juiced and zested
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram

    In a saute pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots begin to soften. Add the haricot vert, lemon juice and zest and cook until crisp-tender – about 3 minutes. Add the marjoram and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

    Pear and Parsnip Puree

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 4 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch piece
    • 2 tablespoons nut-flavored liqueur
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    In a baking dish, combine the parsnips, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the parsnips are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover.

    In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the pears and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the liqueur and tilt the pan to ignite the contents. (Alternately, remove from the heat, light with a match, and return to the heat.) *Couldn’t get mine to ingite. Sigh. Cook while flaming for 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.

    In a skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Add the browned butter, baked parsnips and their cooking liquid to the food processor. Puree on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

     

    These turned out very well… rave reviews from our guests. 🙂 I am fully aware that it looks a bit like a mummy head. Stop laughing. Ok, you can laugh, I’m laughing too.

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    With the main course, we served a French red:

    Finally… dessert! Grand Marnier Creme Brulee with Chocolate Ginger Shards (again, you guessed it: Emeril, Food Network website.)

    Gotta make a mini brulee to test it first!

    Super yummy and indulgent

    Ingredients *I quadrupled this recipe because there were 8 of us.

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped out and reserved
    • Very small pinch salt
    • 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2 mint sprigs, for garnish
    • Chocolate-Ginger Shards, recipe follows

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the vanilla bean pod and reserved seeds, and salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pods. Stir in the Grand Marnier and orange zest.

    In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the sugar and whisk until frothy and the sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Divide between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins. Place in a small roasting pan or baking dish and fill with enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set and still tremble slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

    Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the top of each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Place under the broiler and broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning and turning the custards as they cook. (Alternatively, use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar.)

    Stick the sharp ends of the shards down into each custard, garnish with mint, and serve immediately.

    Chocolate Ginger Shards: 

    1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped

    Line a small baking sheet with foil and chill. 

    In the top of a double boiler, or in a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the ginger and spoon onto the center of the baking sheet. Spread with a rubber spatula into a rough rectangle and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of ginger, pressing lightly to help adhere.

    Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, then break into triangle-shaped pieces (shards).

    Yield: garnish for 2 brulees

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    With dessert we served a Sauternes:

    At midnight, of course, a champagne toast! We watched the ball drop on TV, raised our glasses, and kissed a little. 🙂

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    Overall, it was the best New Year’s Eve I can remember in a long time! Happy 2009!!


    Nuts over these nuts…

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    These are still cooling on the baking sheet upstairs; I had to come downstairs for a bit to get away because I couldn’t stop eating them!

    This is the first of the New Year’s Eve recipes I’m making for tomorrow night’s dinner. I plan to put a dish of them out for guests to snack on as they arrive and sip their champagne cocktails. It’s a recipe I found on the Food Network Website. Thank you Emeril!

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    Spicy Cocktail Nuts

    (recipe courtesy of Emeril via Food Network website)
    *note: I halved the recipe because there are only 8 of us for dinner tomorrow! For the egg, I whisked with water and then only used about half of that mixture. 

    Ingredients

    • 1 large egg white
    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 4 cups assorted shelled nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts) *I used cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamias.
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne *I omitted, since there is already cayenne in the Essence and I didn’t want the spice to be too strong for mixed company.
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt *I used coarse ground salt.

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a large bowl, whisk together egg white and water until frothy. Add the nuts and toss to coat. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, Essence, cayenne, and salt. Add to the nuts and stir to coat evenly. Spread the nuts on the prepared pan and bake until dry, about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. *Note: I left the nuts in the oven for about 60 minutes because they didn’t seem quite done at 45 min. Remove from the oven and stir to separate. Let cool on the baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

    • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

    Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Yield: about 2/3 cup

    Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

    New Year’s Eve Menu 2009

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    This year my husband and I have decided to stay in for New Year’s Eve and welcome in 2009 with his parents and 4 very dear friends. Each guest will take home a personalized wine glass (I used paint pens from Michael’s; wine glasses from Target.) My husband’s family is in the process of planting a vineyard, and everyone who is coming enjoys wine very much. We decided to go with a sort of tasting menu with French wine pairings (well, minus the prosecco in the cocktails!) 
    Here’s to some of our 2009 resolutions: enjoy each other, enjoy family and friends, and enjoy good food and wine by entertaining more often in our home. Happy Near Year! 

    Apricot Fizz (Prosecco based cocktail)
    Spicy Cocktail Nuts

    Fallen Goat Cheese Souffles on Wilted Spinach
    Les Fontanelles Sauvignon Blanc (Southern France) 2007

    Pork Tenderloin En Croute
    Pear and Parsnip Puree
    Chateau de France Rouge (Pessac-Leognan) 2003 

    Grand Marnier Creme Brulee with Chocolate Ginger Shards
    Chateau d’Arche Sauternes (Bordeaux) 2005 

    For the midnight champagne toast:
    Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rose 2000

    Make your own pizza night

    I love hanging out with old friends around Christmas. Luckily, 2 of my best friends were free at the same time that I was, and they were able to come over for dinner! I decided to do a make your own pizza night. I started with an appetizer of Wingless Buffalo Chicken Dip:

    img_0219(Source: my mom’s friend from work. I will post the recipe soon!)

    I cheated a bit, and bought a pre-made dough ball from Wegmans. There was just no way homemade dough was happening yesterday, and Wegmans dough balls have never done me wrong!

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    With my husband, there were 4 of us, so I split the dough ball into 4 sections, and everyone got to make their own pizzas! We all decided we felt like thicker, puffy dough, so we didn’t bake the crusts by themselves at all. We just topped and popped into the preheated oven onto preheated stoneware (450 degrees.) I included pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella and provolone, shaved asiago, grated parmesan, pepperoni from the deli counter, proscuitto, fresh arugula, and mushrooms (these I sauteed in a little butter and olive oil with some fresh thyme, coarse salt, and ground pepper for about 10 min. and let cool). I also had some hot red pepper flakes out on the counter, and some olives for snacking.

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    I also put out a mixed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Dessert was not photographed… I made some molten chocolate cakes that I overcooked (only I would overcook a cake that by nature is supposed to be undercooked in the center, haha.) They were tasty!, but not quite as intended. 🙂

    Here are a few action shots of the pizza making…

    My friend Lauren, concentrating:
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    Hubby Ben:
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    Me (Things to note: 1. There is, as always, flour all over my shirt. 2. My friend is on the phone. Apparently I was taking too long with my dough? ;), and 3. I really need a hair cut.
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    Finally, my friend Jen, who truly never cooks. Her pizza came out really great!! We’re proud of you Jen! 🙂
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    Jen’s awesome pizza:
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    “Heaven”

    As promised, I decided to make a trifle with last night’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. I asked my husband to name it. See title of this post for his answer. Haha 🙂

    I decided to use eight 8 oz. ramekins and make mini-trifles so it would be easier for him to take the rest to work with him tomorrow. I cubed the bread, made vanilla pudding, and layered as follows: pudding, bread, pudding, bread, pudding. I looked around for something crunchy for a garnish, but instead found a bag of peanut butter / milk chocolate swirl chips. I topped each mini-trifle with a few of those. 

    My husband (obviously) loved them. I thought they were great, but a tad sweet for me. I found myself wishing for a strong cup of coffee to balance out the sugar overload. Hey, at least the sugar boost kept me up long enough to blog about the dessert!

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