Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gutsy Cooks week 16

Our menu for week 16 was Hungarian goulash soup pg 111, Potato and Parmesan cakes pg 245, Profiteroles pg 439.

I was excited to try all these new dishes.  I'm not really familiar with goulash in the Hungarian fashion, so I don't know how authentic this one is.  It called for spices I never use, so I was worried that the family might turn up their noses at this new dish, but I was also interested to see if it would be accepted.
I only changed two small things about this recipe, I added more meat (2 pounds instead of 1 1/2) and I added some frozen carrots for a little extra veggie.
It was pretty well received, Jim said he liked it way more with the sour cream.  I will definitely make this again.  Now, my potato cakes were another story.
They sort of disintegrated in the oil and the light flour coating peeled off.  They were pretty ugly and only just a tad tasty.  I've tried to make potato cakes before with very minimal success.  Perhaps they're just not my thing.  Which I suppose is alright, since I'm the only one in my family that really likes potatoes.
Now last, but by far the least were Profiteroles.  These were little cream puffs drizzled with chocolate.   YUMMY!
Here are the little pastries fresh from the oven.  The recipe said to use a pastry bag to make them, but I just used a small scoop and it worked super well. 

The finished product.  They're piped full of fresh whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.
These are such an impressive little treat!  I will make these again for sure.  But I think I'll double the pastry part.  I had a bunch of whipped cream and chocolate left, which really is a big pity. (wink wink)  I ended up making brownies a few days later and topping them with the extra stuff.  So having the extras wasn't so painful after all.

Rupture and repair

Jim prefaced the discussion with "Remember back to when you were a kid living with your mom and dad.  How did they resolve a fight?"  After the kids stopped laughing, it was kind of nice to hear them say that they don't think we fight that often.  We think that about ourselves, but it was reassuring to to hear it from the other people in our house.
We're participating in marriage enrichment program called Marriage Incubator.  This week during our class time, we discussed 'rupture and repair.'  Sometimes we fight.  That's a rupture.  Our attempts to make things better are the repair.
 So we decided to talk to the kids about this at lunch the next day.  What are some ways to work to repair a 'ruptured' relationship?  They came up with this list:

1)  Be nice to them
2) Say sorry
3) Give them something
4) Have dinner together

They decided that saying sorry was part of being nice to the person.  But other examples of being nice were: to help them, give them complements or make them laugh.

The most amusing category (according to me) was "give them something."   It was my favorite because their suggestions were: give them pie, bake them a cake, give them jewelry, ladies like chocolate and boys like sports cars.  I think I would like to fight with them and see if i could get some pie, jewelery or chocolate out of the deal!

The topic of having dinner together led to a good conversation about discussing your problems and not using harsh words.  Harsh words are definitely a struggle in our house and even more so is the issue of a harsh tone WITH your words.  We talked about the fact that it's not just words that can hurt the other person but how you say those words.

What a great springboard into conversation with our kids.  I hope we can use some of their insight next time we have a small rupture.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gutsy cooks week 15

I fell off the Gutsy Cooks wagon at the end of last year, I must admit.  With work and planning for our holiday back in PA, I was just glad that my family ate dinner most nights.  But after a great two weeks at home with family and friends (and very little cooking on my part) I'm excited to get back in the cooking saddle again!  So, I'm starting with week 15, our menu is:  Pizza four seasons pg 99 (dough on pg 98), Ginger cream sauce with fresh fruit pg 447.

I decided not to make the ginger cream sauce it called for anise and I'm not a big fan. 

I make pizza dough from scratch quite often, and have a regular dough recipe I use, but I decided to use the one in the book just to see if it was any better.  Pizza four seasons is called that because the toppings are arranged separately to represent the four seasons. This recipe called for 1/4  mushroom, 1/4  roasted red peppers and anchovy, 1/4 pepperoni and capers, and the last 1/4  artichokes and olives. 

I didn't do all that, we had 1/4 mushroom, 1/4 roasted red peppers, 1/4 pepperoni, and 1/4 artichokes.  I also made a second pizza with cheese filled crust.
The four seasons in pizza!
Here it is again with it's cheesy crust sister in the background.
The pizza was well recieved, as usual.  Jim said he prefered my usual crust and the kids were upset with all the vegetables involved, but overall a good meal at our house.  But I must say that my favorite part is what happend the next night.
There were a ton of the vegetables left so the next night I made some alfredo sauce and then sautued the mushrooms and added the red peppers, marinated artichokes, and some left over roasted rabbit.  I served it all on top of fettichini with some garlic toast.
It was super duper yum-o-licious!