I had a blast hanging out with my son on Halloween. I was a pirate and he was some sort of a dark Jedi (I think… haha). Anyway.. we cruised around town and then stopped by our friends the Durben’s. Their neighborhood is full of activity as kids all over the place go trick or treating. It’s was a chance for us to bless the community as we gave out a ton of candy. We also had a fun time together eating good food and enjoying each other’s company.
A couple of times a year Mesa Community College holds an evening that the ceramics students display and sell their work that they made in class. Basically you buy a bowl and get a bowl of soup with it. This was fun for me for two reasons – I got a couple of degrees from MCC and I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to take a ceramics class.
Some of us from my church took our families to Schnepf Farms for Fall Break. It’s been a tradition of mine to take my kids here for years. We had a fun time riding rides and being in community.
It was my turn to host my missional community from church. I love hosting dinner parties and I thought I’d look up a couple of recipes from some chefs that have inspired my cooking over the years. I made chicken parmesan with steamed asparagus and garlic bread. I also made a cherry clafouti and zucchini bread for dessert. Everything turned out great (aside from slicing my finger and getting stitches) and I ended up having 12 people over.
This is a simple marinara recipe I like to use from Giada De Laurentiis’ book. It’s cool because you can use it as it is or add other ingredients to make other types of sauces like vodka sauce. I used it for my chicken parmesan.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
For Julia Child’s 100th birthday celebration this week, I thought I tackle one of her French desserts. This is her Cherry Clafouti recipe.
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 cups cherries, pitted
- powdered sugar, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using a blender, combine the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour, and blend.
- Lightly butter an 8-cup baking dish, and pour a 1/4-inch layer of the blended mixture over the bottom. Set remaining batter aside.
- Place dish into the oven for about 7-10 minutes, until a film of batter sets in the pan but the mixture is not baked through. Remove from oven (but don’t turn the oven off, yet).
- Distribute the pitted cherries over the set batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Pour the remaining batter over the cherries and sugar.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until the clafouti is puffed and brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
- Servings: 6-8 for dessert, 4 for breakfast.
I have never understood the whole cup cake craze and the little shops that people go to. But it was my son’s 12th birthday and I decided to buy some cupcakes from Mind over Batter. I bought a speciality cupcake made of ice cream just for him that cost me $5. How did he like it? Well, my Missional Community from church threw him a party and he ended up smashing the cupcake in his face. It was a fun birthday for him and a bit of a reunion for all of us with all of the summer vacationing we had been doing.
The hot days of summer can be a lot of fun outdoors with the grill. Tonight in our Missional Community, we barbecued up some chicken and steaks. Everyone brought some sides and drinks as well. Afterwards we headed to the pool to swim. I’m not a big fan of the hot summers here in AZ, but barbecuing and swimming are always a great way to enjoy fellowship and to beat the heat.
Tonight I made a spaghetti dinner for my missional community. I had to worked overnight the night before, so I needed to come up with something that could cook on its own as I slept. I found this slow-cooker recipe that turned out to be very good. It had a little kick to it as you first taste it because of the red peppers, but then it gets more mild as it sits and the flavors really sink in. I ended up having 10 people and 4 kids from my church in my little apartment. I really enjoy having a chance to host and be a blessing to others. There are some great cooks in my MC, so I get a lot of good critiques from them. I made some garlic bread and vegetables to go along with the meal. I also cooked up some gluten-free pasta for the ones with sensitive stomachs. We had a great night of food and fellowship in my home. I also had my kids and they enjoyed having the company over.
TURKEY MEATBALLS IN PAPRIKA TOMATO SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- One 14.5-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-1/2 pounds ground dark meat turkey
Serve with spaghetti.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, 7 minutes. Transfer 1 1/3 cups of the onion mixture to a large bowl; let cool. Reserve the skillet.
- Using a food processor, puree the tomatoes and roasted peppers. Add the puree to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the paprika and season with salt and pepper; transfer to a large slow cooker, cover and set to low temperature.
- Whisk the breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into the remaining onion mixture. Mix in the turkey. Form 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours.