Recipes for Happiness

Now that the girls have both headed home, I thought you might enjoy a quick roundup of the past week's cooking activities. Since we like to plan almost as much as we like to eat, we started with a rough outline of what we wanted to cook when we were all together. And by that I mean about 20 minutes after Sarah got home from the airport. (Fanny had arrived a few days earlier).

This list outlined the key meals that we wanted to make and the major ingredients that we still needed to buy. It is amazing that I went to the grocery store 7 times in 4 days. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these images are worth 10,000 calories. You might want to loosen your belt before reviewing all these food photos. By the way, I saw this sign in a shop window and it summed it up the last week. 

Day 1: I wanted to make my 9 Spice Moroccan Chicken and Zucchini Fritters since the 9 spice recipe was new for me.  I was so excited to cook that I forgot to take any pictures except when I was getting the spices ready and when I brought Fanny a spoonful each of Griffin's Roasted Coconut Ice Cream and Haagan Dazs Coffee on individual spoons.  I told Fanny it was a new technique for portion control. (Sarah was sleeping at the time or she would have wanted in on this too). For the full recipe on 9 spice chicken, click on this link

Day 2 had to be crab cakes with asparagus. I only took a few pictures for this recipe too but we did manage to squeeze in a nice one hour walk before we ate. We also lit the Hanukkah candles and got to meet Fanny's boyfriend Fielding who insisted on doing the dishes. 

Day 3 was scallop night. These are enormous scallops that require a small mortgage to purchase but they were delicious. I prepared them grilled with a balsamic reduction and we had the infamous roasted butternut squash, beet and boucheron salad. 

Now at this point, you must think we all weigh about 400 lbs and wear sweatpants at every meal with the super elastic waist band. (Only part of this sentence is false). 

Day 4 involved stuffed cabbage. Now, stuffed cabbage is the ultimate recipe for success. I used a variation on a recipe that was originally developed by my Aunt Sara (my Grandma Fannie's sister). As readers of this blog will recall, having a Sarah and Fanny in another generation of my family as sister is really special to me. My Mom sent me Aunt Sara's original recipe which was written on stationery from my Poppa George's photo studio in Philadelphia. It all comes around full circle. Here is Aunt Sara's recipe in her own handwriting along with some photos from my variation on a theme. To read my recipe, check out this link that has the turkey version along with some wonderful old family photographs. 

Ra El did the honors of wrapping the stuffed cabbage beauties. See a short video here: 

 It's a wrap! Dinner is served and this time I remembered the rye breads. Remember, friends don't let friends eat stuffed cabbage without rye bread!

Day 4, 5 and 6 involved some Z Pizza, Neo-Asia Chinese food and a lot of leftovers. Fanny was visiting her friend Sara (AKA the BFF in South Carolina) so we had a chance to turn the heat down in the kitchen and chill, at least until the next day. 

Rearranged Thanksgiving
Day 7  We had the meal everyone was waiting for since November. We rearranged Thanksgiving since we couldn't all be together last month. So with my helpers (Sarah on twice-stuffed baked potatoes and Fanny on roasted garlic green beans, stuffing and the pie). 

For those keeping score, the menu consisted of tangerine glazed organic grain fed roast turkey, knock your socks off gravy, gluten-free mission fig and port stuffing, baked stuffed potatoes with oregano, garlic roasted green beans, cranberry-orange relish and a simple pomegranate and radish salad. We drank a lovely Pira Margheria 2006 Barolo although Ra El still prefers the Apothic Red over everything but water. Dessert was a pumpkin chiffon pie with an oatmeal walnut crust. I don't eat a lot of desserts but this was a winner. 
Here are some photos. 

As I was putting this blog together, I walked into my living room and came across these framed photos sitting on the table with my photograph from college in the middle of the family pictures. It felt so perfect. 

Surrounded by love
If you read Aunt Sara's recipe carefully you'll see on the last page something she wrote that refers to her recipe but I think it has a larger meaning. It reads: 
" And then trust to God".I couldn't say it better.   

Goodbye 2011. Hello 2012. 

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