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Looking Forward

Last Friday I wrote about planning one thing every week to look forward to, and this week I had a doozy! 🙂 I kept catching myself grinning at work, while puttering away at my chores or out on my walk, simply because today I get to head down south to spend a whole weekend with one of my very besties – Trish!! Her hubby is such a luv, totally cool with us having an utterly girlie weekend of movies, reading, eating whatever suits our fancy, and of course, talking our heads off. 🙂 I can’t wait!! 🙂

My contribution to our feasting is, of course, dessert! 🙂 Inspired by finding my missing old-fashioned jelly molds (yay!), I experimented with another gelatin creation.

Since the latte version was such a hit last week, I had to try it again, this time layered with creamy blackberry. Mmm. It was great using my coppery molds for the first time, and I think the results are so fun – like something out of Dr. Seuss or Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. 🙂 I thought I got all the gelatin dissolved, but when the finished product shlooped out of the pan (yes, it did make that sound :-)), I realized I did not. It looks like I added toasted coconut to the bottom of the mold. 🙂 We’ll just pretend I meant it to look like that. 🙂

Fake toasted coconut or not, I love the flavors of this dessert. Made with half water and half fat-free evaporated milk, the texture is smooth and creamy, the flavors rich but not too sweet. Yum! 🙂

Last night I thought I was having company, but work intervened at the last moment and they weren’t able to come. Sadness. 🙁 On the bright side, I have a beautifully set table and heaps of fab leftovers so I won’t have to cook for days. HUZZAH! 🙂

I started with Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts. Ever since seeing them on Kevin’s blog the other day, I simply had to try them. So I popped in the next dvd in the Churchill’s Bodyguard series and set to work. 🙂

Ooeee – how I love the caramelized sprouts drenched in the zingy dressing and sprinkled with beautifully browned nuts. Delish. 🙂

I also made one of my favorite salads – green bean with feta and basil. Mums found the recipe years ago and every time I see bundles of fresh green beans I want to make it. The beans are lightly steamed until they’re bright green, immediately dunked in ice water until cool, then drained, dried and mixed with feta cheese, basil and a dijon vinaigrette. Mmm – such perky flavors!

I served both dishes with fresh kalamata olive bread from the bakery, warmed in the oven and dipped in fruity olive oil. Delectable! 🙂

Now I must go pack: flannel pjs and woolly socks, too-tall-stack-of-books-to-read, ipod with old time radio mysteries for the drive down, yup! I’m ready to go! 🙂

Happy Weekend, dear ones! 🙂

Mum’s Green Bean Salad with Feta and Basil

Ingredients:

3 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 4-oz package Feta cheese, crumbled or grated
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut in ribbons

Directions:

  • Place beans in steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 4 minutes or until crisp tender. Plunge in ice water. Drain.
  • Whisk together Dijon mustard and next four ingredients in large bowl. 
  • Add beans, feta and basil. Toss gently to coat.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts
(From Closet Cooking)

Ingredients:

2 pounds brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 cup pine nuts slices (toasted)
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated, optional)

Directions:

  1. Toss the brussels sprouts in the oil along with the salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven until they start to caramelize, flipping them once in between, about 30 minutes.
  4. Toss the brussels sprouts in the balsamic vinaigrette along with the pine nuts and garnish with the parmigiano reggiano.

Latte Gelatin – posted here🙂

Blackberry Gelatin

Ingredients:

1 box blackberry Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 can evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. Pour Jell-O mix in bowl, add boiling water and stir until granules are dissolved. Let sit until lukewarm.
  2. Add evaporated milk and stir until incorporated. 
  3. Pour into mold and chill for 2 hours. 
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