Friday, January 4, 2008

holiday roundup 07

happy new year!
just got back from a 12 day roadtrip to new mexico and arizona. if there is anything i've learned, it's that i will never ever ever trade my tropical christmas to a white christmas. ever.
dan and i left los angeles the day before christmas. we braced ourselves knowing that camping food and backpacker's dehydrated food will comfort us. we never really put the 5 degree weather plus about 40 mph cold (i mean cold) wind in the equation with our tent. oh well, we somehow knew it will be cold, but never thought it will be that cold.
five days before christmas we had a nice christmas dinner with kathy and dyle. uncomplicated food for the holidays that was easy to prep but with the most flavorful impact was my M.O. kathy loved the creamy cauliflower dish, a spinoff from a cauliflower dish the barefoot contessa made one afternoon. of course, i had to make my favorite stuffed mushrooms.
stuffed mushrooms: clean a container of stuffing mushrooms. in a bowl, mix together a package of softened cream cheese, a quarter of sweet onion (minced), a generous handful of chopped walnuts, salt and pepper. stuff the mushrooms. cover the top with a mixture of breadcrumbs, shredded fontina and parmesan and parsley. bake until done.
creamy orzo: cook orzo as directed. on a heated pan with olive oil, saute mushrooms. move to the side of the pan when done. saute red pepper flakes, onions and garlic. add chopped tomatoes. throw in some peas. add a splash of cream. add thyme. simmer. add cooked orzo and a splash of pasta water. season to taste. go ahead and grate some parmesan cheese on top.
ohh... that dessert? check it out at for the details.
i'd say the memory of this dinner kept me warm while eating a really cold tofurky cold cut sandwich with crunchy lettuce (because it was partly frozen) on a 10 mile trail down the grand canyon.