Sunday, November 30, 2008

MPM--Birthday Edition!

Greetings, fellow MPMers. Hope all of you from the states had a beautiful Thanksgiving.

To follow up on ours: I was in charge of carrot mousse, yum, and another veggie. I tried the brussels sprouts from 101 Kitchens that I mentioned last week. They were easily the best brussels sprouts I'd ever had, which was probably partially because they were fresh from the farmers' market, and partially because how can you go wrong cooking anything in olive oil and sprinkling with cheese when done? I enjoyed them but no one else seemed to, and I concurred that they would be best right out of the pan. So that wasn't a good thing to bring to Thanksgiving.

Then, voila! Along comes the amazing Smitten Kitchen with the cauliflower gratin recipe. And how kind of my CSA to provide me with the cauliflower! So all I needed was the cheese and there it was. Alas, purple cauliflower is hard to find around here but it was fun hunting for it with the boys. They were fascinated by the idea of a blue vegetable. And, it reminded me of the BooMama recipe for two-cheese squash casserole, in case I needed that too. I ran out of time on that one, but the purple cauliflower and the gratin in general were mega hits.

My other job was my husband's birthday cake. He wanted a chocolate chip cake with miniature chips, so like a good wife, I tracked down his mother's recipe and made it for him. Recipe is at the end of the post, and my word, do I ever recommend this. Not surprisingly for a recipe from someone who had five kids, it's easy for kids to help with this, an extra bonus in my book. And it was very, very fun to have made the thing that made my sisters-in-law flutter around like moths to a flame, saying things like, "This really is the best birthday cake ever, isn't it?"

This week:

Monday: Chicken roll ups (really, I'm not kidding this time), salad, onion/rice thing from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian before it goes back to the library.

Tuesday: Leftovers or freezer meal. I have a world class collection of Trader Joe's gnocchi in my freezer. I also was horrified and thrilled to discover a ton of frozen filets mignons in there. So to say goodbye to my 30s, I think we'll do filets with baked potatoes and creamed spinach. Easy, decadent, delicious, and definitely not turkey!

Wednesday: Totally going out to dinner. You only turn 40 once so I hope it's somewhere good! :-)

Thursday: Would you believe I still never made those Asian Turkey Burgers? This is definitely their night. But with chicken. Carrots and salad on the side, and either mashed potatoes or leftover rice thing.

Friday: Either some of those gnocchi from the freezer or out to dinner (yes, again, but it would be pizza night this time).

And--ta-dah!--here we are at the end of another NaBloPoMo. Aren't you glad I can take a break now? I am! And I'm sure my employer is too. Happy December!

Recipe for my Mother-in-law's Chocolate Chip Cake

"So you can bake a cake just like his mother's!!" she wrote.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding (I used the four-serving one)
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/2 cup Wesson oil (which I had to buy for this recipe)

Put all ingredients in large mixer bowl, beat 5-7 minutes.

Grate 1 bar German chocolate. Put half of this plus
1 Cup chocolate chips and fold in to batter.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes in greased 9 X 13 pan.

Cool cake.
Sprinkle 1 Cup powdered sugar mixed with other half of shaved German chocolate bar on top of cake.

Notes: I had no idea what German chocolate was; I was ready to head to Trader Joe's and get something that looked Germanic. But it's actually over by the bakers' chocolate and comes in a bar not unlike that. You could probably substitute a Special Dark or similar, but this was awesome.
And, my husband likes mini chocolate chips and about 3/4 of the bag in this. Um, yum.
Finally, a whole cup of powdered sugar was way, way too much for me. I'd go for 1/4 to 1/2 next time. But it sure makes a fun "poof" on the candle blowing!


Anjali said...

Happy Birthday to the Hub! The cake sounds divine!

Karen said...

I'm trying one of your recipes. Stop by my blog to see which one.

Mommychicky said...

Gnocchi and ravioli do seem to multiply in cold environs... and the dinner place, got invited by the popular girls from DD preschool - I'll let you know how it is.