Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three in One

"Meat"loaf base, topped with a layer of creamed spinach souffle, and finished with a generous helping of garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes. What do you call this? Meatloaf terrine? A take on Shepard's pie? Casserole? I don't know, but I call it tasty!

I don't have exact recipes, since this is really just layering three yummy dishes. Make your favorite meatloaf recipe (I used faux ground beef and the usual meatloaf suspects - bread crumbs, egg, seasonings).If you use a big pan you can make one big dish, but I liked the idea of smaller terrines so I used large ramekins.

For the spinach, I sauteed garlic and onions in butter, then added baby spinach and cooked until wilted and bright green. Next add heavy cream and a little cornstarch and cook until slightly thickened. Whiz together in a food processor with an egg or two until combined and the spinach is chopped. Return to the pan and cook, stirring frequently so the eggs don't scramble, until thick. Then put a layer of this spinach mixture on top of the meatloaf mixture.

Mashed potatoes are simple. I like to put garlic, butter, cream, and Parmesan in mine, and use my food processor to whip them. Some people don't like the consistency of using a food processor as it makes them a little gluey, so feel free to mash them with a standard potato masher. I like the gluey consistency and the ease of using the food processor. Mound the mashed potatoes over the spinach, and top with more Parmesan, then bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until the meatloaf at the bottom is cooked through.

This was a great dinner for the first rainy day of fall: hearty, homey, and warming. I think the next time I make this I want to get some small springform pans and see if I can remove it completely after cooking. The spinach would probably have to be less creamy, and I'd most likely have to use less mashed potatoes, but it would look great on a plate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Girl's Weekend

A couple weekends ago one of my oldest friends Katie came to visit. I've known her since the third grade, twenty-something years ago. She's getting married in a few more weeks, and she came to spend a bachelorette weekend with me and another of closest friends Stef, and we had a glorious time!

We set up our home base at Stef's place in Belmont. She had decorated with some funny bachelorette-inspired things (confetti, something overly large and inflatable, lollipops and whistles), which was hilarious. Friday night we had mushroom puffs, mini quiches, cheeses, crackers, and great wines. Katie opened gifts that Stef and I had fun shopping for (you're welcome, Eric!). We talked and laughed until our cheeks hurt; went for a walk along a bay inlet; and watched "The Last Unicorn," which we hadn't seen in quite a while. It was kind of a trip; I remember loving it as a kid, but its strange as an adult! When we were in high school we used to get together to watch movies all the time, and it was straight out of Mystery Science Theater 3000, so it was great nostalgia to get together and do it again.

Saturday morning we got a call from the fourth of our group, Liz, who is currently in Iraq and whom we were missing like crazy. It was wonderful hearing from her, and in her honor we made a little green dinosaur-dragon-monster-thing out of clay (another inside joke from high school) and vowed to take her with us the entire weekend. Then we headed out to Half Moon Bay to spend the day at the beach. We went to the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for lunch. Mmm... hefeweizen. Then we went to Stef's favorite beach, which entailed a steep hike down a cliffside to get to. We lounged in the sun, played in the surf, poked anemones in the tide pools, and just relaxed. It was wonderful!

After getting back to Stef's and cleaning up, we went out on the town. We started at B Street and Vine, a wine cafe where we had champagne, antipasto, and a cheese course. It was crowded and small, and I felt a little bad for the jazz trio shoved into a little nook, but it was still fun. The waitress here was the first person to ask about the Liz-monster we kept taking pictures of and kept on our table. Next up was The Cask, a wine and cheese bar where we sat on the patio and drunk-people watched. We had a red wine flight here, with a Malbec that tasted like old rubber boots after it sat a while. Yuck! The interior is beautiful and the other wines were tasty though. Then we went to Flight Lounge for wine, chocolate brownies, and chocolate port. The bartender here was the only other person to comment on the Liz-monster - I guess three 30-year-old women carrying around a toy and taking pictures wherever they go with it is not strange? Flight Lounge is a flight-themed wine bar that was nicely decorated with vintage airline posters and a bar that looked like a steel airplace wing. And the chocolate port was very good! Finally we headed back to Stef's, where we fell asleep watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the bazillionth time.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast at Hobee's (great blueberry coffee cake and florentine eggs benedict), and then went to play mini golf. I just barely beat the other two and my prize was custody of the Liz-monster, so its now my responsibility to get her to the wedding in a few weeks. Then we wandered the Japanese Tea Garden and Rose Garden in San Mateo, picked up bubble teas and went couch-shopping with Stef at Scandinavian Designs to cool off. A little later I headed home, and Katie flew back to Michigan later that night (and she didn't check her luggage; I hope airline security got a laugh).

It was a wonderful weekend, and so very nice to see two of my dearest friends again (we miss you Liz!). I can't wait for the wedding, which sounds like it will be awesome and very much Katie & Eric.

And I hear Stef is finding bits of x-rated confetti in the strangest places... :)