We were on the East Coast for a week, enjoying visits with friends and family in Philly. (My last post was written before we left home and was published automatically.) We don't visit our hometown often enough, visits always seem too short, and it's hard to leave loved ones behind when we return to the PNW. We got back Monday night and are settling back into the rain and gloom routine.
The food highlight of our trip was dinner at Vedge, which I'll post about soon — still have to organize the photos and figure out what dishes they are. But today my post is about our family dinner on Dec. 25. We don't celebrate Christmas, so it wasn't a super festive holiday meal so to speak, but I thought it was pretty tasty. The appetizer, shown above, was my take on one of the spectacular dishes from Vedge, sweet potato paté, which I tried to re-create. I'll post a recipe when I write about our Vedge dining experience.
I made beet loaf shepherd's pie and she made beet burgers in muffin tins topped with snowmen — same idea, with a little more creativity on her part. But, she inspired me to make Miss E's dinner a little bit cuter than the rest of ours — I baked her loaf in a mini tart pan and formed her mashed potatoes into a snowperson of sorts, thinking maybe she would actually be motivated to eat it. (You should check River's post to see what the snowmen should really look like!)
Miss E was quite elated with her dinner, though she didn't eat the burger part, only the potatoes. I used olive tips for eyes, a carrot for the nose, a pickle piece for the scarf and sun-dried tomatoes for the mouth and buttons. But, I forgot the arms, which River had made from parsley.
Just for the record, beets aren't the primary ingredient of the loaf, but lend a red color and delicious flavor; it's mostly beans and millet. I served it with cashew gravy made from a handful of cashews blended to creamy smoothness with the leftover bean-cooking liquid, plus sun-dried tomatoes, and assorted other ingredients. It was simmered with sautéed sliced mushrooms, and I thought it was delicious. (Because I forgot to take photos at the dinner, the shepherd's pie pics with the excepti9on of the snowman, are actually leftovers from the next day.)
For dessert I made the oat/almond cookies that I've grown very fond of, left the chocolate chips out, pressed them as thin as possible and made them into sandwich cookies. Before flattening them, I rolled the chilled dough into same-size balls and chilled them in the fridge for 10 minutes to make them easier to flatten. I flattened the balls with my fingers.
I added the chocolate the lazy way. When the cookies were done, I removed the pan from the oven, and quickly paired the cookies for size. (I had tried to make them all the same so this was pretty easy.) Then I turned one of each pair over and covered the flat bottom of the over-turned cookie with chocolate chips. When all the cookie bottoms were covered, I carefully placed the cookie sheet back into the oven for a minute. When the minute was up, I removed the cookie sheet, covered each cookie with its mate, pressed them together with a little twist, and voila! Sandwich cookies. (The chips don't look melted when they come out of the oven, but they are.) After the cookies cool, the chocolate hardens.
Here is Miss E modeling the tutu her Philadelphia cousin Rebecca made for her and sent back with us. Miss E loves tutus. Becca also made her various hair ornaments. (Becca sells the tutus and bows, so if anyone is interested, just let me know!)
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!