It has been way too long since I've posted something. And, alas, I have no pictures. But I have good stories!
LG's birthday party was a success. He wore his cake, and ran around with his cousins. A good time was had by him, at least. He was a little overwhelmed by the whole "Open lots of gifts" thing (same as Christmas), so he sat on Uncle BH's lap and watched while his cousins opened gifts. He got a few gifts that were huge hits. A slide from some friends (owners of our puppy friends) that we are allowing him to use indoors for now (mostly because he knows it's there and will go sit next to it unless you put it up and let him slide on it). A really loud phone from Uncle B (which is fine, until he keeps hitting the keys and never lets it finish playing a single song). I think the one I like most is the "fridge farm". There are magnetic pieces you put into a little box thing, with two halves of animals. For instance, you can put in a sheep front and a horse back end, and it sings you a song. Ry will stand there and dance to the music. At the end, if you didn't match the pair correctly, it says "A sheep horse, how silly!" and he laughs hysterically and falls on his butt.
In other news, some of you have been kind enough to share recipes with me to try. And oh, my, did we try a good one. This one came from Auntie S. It's her Dad's recipe (and I regret to say, I never met her Dad. but her Mom is one great lady.) At any rate, this recipe is nice and inexpensive, and pretty easy, too. I didn't use his sauce (though it looks like a nice recipe), since I had some on hand. I'm thinking you could just go get a jar or two of store sauce if you wanted to make it even easier. And serve over rice... Here it is:
Hal’s Holiday Cacciatore
When I make this dish, I always seem to have enough to serve the entire population of Calabria. So I’ve made a valiant effort here to arrive at somewhat more reasonable quantities. But it’s still a lot, so invite some friends over and enjoy. Mangia! Mangia!
4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts, halved
4 chicken legs, skin removed
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
4 sweet Italian sausage links, halved
16 large mushrooms, whole
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 green peppers, seeded and cut into strips
1 cup dry sherry wine
Tomato sauce (approx. 3-4 quarts)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauce pot or Dutch oven, quickly brown the chicken and sausages, in batches, in a small amount of olive oil, seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Pour off most of the fat. Brown the onion in the same pot, using a small amount of water to deglaze the pot as the onions are cooking. Return the meats to the pot along with the peppers and mushrooms. Add the wine and enough tomato sauce to almost cover the other ingredients. Bring slowly to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend. Reheat slowly, being careful not to let it scorch.
Sauce meat – approximately 1 – 1 ½ pounds each of sweet Italian sausage, pork and beef
1 – 2 green peppers – seeded and sliced
3 – 4 onions – sliced or coarsely chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic – chopped or crushed
Salt & pepper
2 28-oz. cans of Italian plum tomatoes
2 28-oz. cans of tomato puree
12-oz. can of tomato paste
In a large heavy pot, brown the sauce meat in a small amount of oil and remove. Brown the onions, peppers and garlic. Return meat to the pot, add seasonings and canned tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 ½ - 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove sauce meat. Strain vegetables through food mill. Stir in the tomato paste and puree. Simmer another hour or so, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings. (You may need some sugar if the sauce tastes bitter.)
He says he cut the recipe in half. I cut it in half again and we still had way too much. But I'm thinking next time I keep the recipe as is and freeze half. Good times.