Friday, October 21, 2005

Happy Birthday Andy!

Today was Andy's birthday so I had to do a little something special for him for dinner. We don't do a whole lot for each other's birthdays, but we do make each other a yummy dinner. Tonight Andy requested red meat. Then he narrowed that down to steak. It was a steak kind of day. So we called up Mom and Dad to see if they wanted to join us for a brithday dinner. I picked up a beef tenderloin which I cut into small steaks and seasoned them so that Andy could simply grill them. To accompany that I made a simple tossed salad. Earlier in the day though, I was a wizard in the kitchen. I started the morning by baking up a chocolate fudge cake mix in a pair of loaf pans. And set that aside to cool. While that cooled I mixed together cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Cool Whip. Tossed in some crushed oreos and split one loaf cake into three layers. I smeared on two layers of oreo creme and topped the whole thing with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. I had to make a cake because Abigail insisted that a birthday must include cake. Who can argue with that.

Next I whipped up a batch of whole wheat sandwich bread, only I shaped it into three smaller free form loaves. This turned out perfect of course, and I was able to send a loaf home with Mom and Dad. Finally, I made a Warm Buttermilk Apple Pie. I think Andy's favorite food is pie, and this one ranks in the highest marks in Andy's world. I will share the recipe below. It is a Cooking Light recipe, and the only chnage I make to the whole thing is that I add about 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans to the streusel. That really adds to the pie, IMO. My last adventure in the kitchen today was a new recipe for Gorgonzola Artichoke Cream Pasta Sauce. How could you go wrong with gorgonzola in the first place, and even better to accompany a steak! It turned out quite well. I left out the nutmeg, but Andy thought it would have gone quite well. This is a definite repeat, and makes a great side dish. Highly recommended by Andy,as was the rest of dinner actually. I did not do the step of topping with crumbs and baking. I simply tossed the sauce with some penne and called it done.

Here are the recipes for the pie and the pasta sauce.

* Exported from MasterCook *
Gorgonzola Artichoke Cream Pasta Sauce:

Recipe By :shared by tomboy on CLBB
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter -- cut up
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese -- room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 can artichoke hearts -- (14 ounce) well drained and chopped (I used a box of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and cut into smaller pieces.)

In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth, cream, and butter to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Whisk in Gorgonzola cheese until melted and sauce is smooth. Stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in chopped artichokes and cook until heated through. Serve sauce over pasta (some type of shelled pasta works best to capture the sauce).
Walnut and Bread Topping (optional, but recommended):
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a small bowl, toss together 1/4 cup soft (fresh) breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread in an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle of pasta and sauce.

Warm Apple-Buttermilk Custard Pie

From Cooking Light
The key to both a flaky piecrust and crisp streusel topping is to keep them as cold as possible before putting them into the oven.

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
Cooking spray
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
5 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 pounds)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325º.
To prepare crust, roll dough into a 14-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch deepdish pie plate coated with cookig spray. Fold edges under; flute. Place pie plate in refrigerator until ready to use.
To prepare streusel, lightly spoon 1/3 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place streusel in refrigerator.
To prepare the filling, heat a large nonstrick skillet coated with cookig spray over medium heat. Add sliced apple, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; cook 10 minutes or until the apple is tender, sitrring mixture occasionally. Spoon the apple mixture into prepared crust.
Combine remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, salt, and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 325º for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300º (do not remove pie from oven); sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake at 300º for 40 minutes or until set. Let stand 1 hour before serving. Yield: 10 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 317(29% from fat); FAT 10.1g (sat 4.6g,mono 3g,poly 1.2g); PROTEIN 5g; CHOLESTEROL 76mg; CALCIUM 73mg; SODIUM 230mg; FIBER 1.3g; IRON 0.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 52.6g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2003


Jeff said...

THat sounds like a fantastic birthday meal! Happy Birthday, Andy! :)

Joe said...

Such a busy day! Happy Birthday to Andy!