Well, it feels like I’ve been away forever but it’s only been about a week.  Christmas was fantastic with way too many treats and time spent with some wonderful people.  My favourite part was seeing my sister dance around the kitchen with my wee girl.  Now though I need to get caught-up, starting with some photos from past recipes.

This is the wonderful Chocolate Chestnut terrine with an espresso bean shortbread cookie.

 Here are the Polish Shish kebab waiting for a douse of mustard.

Here is the best soup I’ve made in a long time-Sweet Potato and Dal.  We ate this with rice the next day and the baby was crazy for it.

Toad in the hole waiting for some onion gravy and a big spoon.

 Now here are some new recipes starting with the one that I’ve made for my husband’s office Christmas Party for the past couple of years..  I don’t think he’s allowed to bring anything else

Here is an unhappy baby not liking this guy hanging on to her.  Below is the recipe for the cheesecake. 

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Eggnog-Cheesecake-III/Detail.aspx

Ingredients

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup eggnog
2 eggs
2 tablespoons rum
1 pinch ground nutmeg

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2.In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.
4.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
5.In a food processor combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and eggnog; process until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust.
6.Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
7.Reduce heat to 250 and bake for 45 minutes, or until center of cake is barely firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately loosen cake from rim. Let cake cool completely before removing the rim.

We had these on the solstice with some wild mushrooms sauteed.

http://scandinaviancooking.com/articles/swedish_meatballs.htm

Jone’s Swedish Meatballs

Meat: (the main ingredient)
2 pounds ground lean meat: use beef, pork or veal
(may use some textured vegetable protein ground beef substitute)

Filler: (to give the meatballs the right consistency)
2 eggs
1 cup milk, cream, meat broth or water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour OR 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs OR 1 cup torn bread OR 1 cup mashed potatoes

Salt and Pepper:
Salt to taste (1 1/2 teaspoons suggested)
Pepper to taste (white or black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon suggested)

More Flavor:
Option 1:
1 minced onion
1/4 tsp dry mustard or 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Option 2:
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

By hand or on medium speed with an electric mixture, thoroughly blend the ground meat, filler, salt and pepper, and other flavorings. Beat until very well mixed. Form into balls about 3/4″-1 1/2″ in diameter: do this by hand, or use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, or a melon baller. Makes 30-150 meatballs depending on how large they are. Serves 6-8, more on the smörgåsbord.

Cooking methods:
Pan-fried: Heat a skillet with 2-3 tablespooons of cooking oil to medium-high heat. Fill the skillet about half full with the meatballs, and fry them for about 10 minutes. Shake the skillet gently during cooking to keep the meatballs turning and to cook them evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on size. You may need a spatula to encourage some of the more stubborn meatballs to turn over properly. As soon as meatballs are browned, take them out of the pan, let them cool and drain a bit, and keep them warm (try using an oven-proof dish in a barely-warm oven) until ready to add sauce and serve.

Oven-fried: Use ungreased baking sheets — the kind with rims on all four sides. Separate the meatballs slightly, bake at 450F for 10-15 minutes. Remove carefully from the baking sheets..

For most sauces, you’ll stir the meatballs into the sauce then transfer them to the serving dish. Meatballs can be prepared ahead, and refrigerated in a covered container for 2-3 days or frozen in airtight containers for several months. You can freeze cooled meatballs spread out on a clean, cool baking sheet, then transfer them to airtight containers, if you want to be able to make a large quantity of meatballs and remove just enough at one time. Thawed or refrigerated meatballs should be heated in a single layer on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet for 10-15 minutes at 375F.

Brown sauce or red wine sauce or sherry sauce:
2 tablespoons pan fat
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth (may be made from bouillon) or 1 can condensed beef broth
1/2 – 3/4 cup water (to taste)
3 tablespoons red wine or sherry (optional)

Add the flour to the pan fat in a saucepan, mix thoroughly. Discard the rest of the fat from the cooking pan, then rinse the pan in some of the broth to loosen the bits of meat from the pan. Add the broth to the fat/flour base in the saucepan. (Tip: at this point, mixing the flour/fat mixture and the broth mixture in the blender removes all lumps thoroughly.) Heating this mixture, slowly add the water to taste. Bring to a boil. (Add red wine or sherry if desired at this point.)

Sour cream sauce or Gjetost sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded gjetost

Transfer the meatballs to the serving dish. Discard the fat from the cooking pan, stir the sour cream into the pan to pick up the rest of the pan drippings and the bits of meat. Heat slightly, do not boil. Stir in the shredded cheese if desired. Pour hot mixture over the meat.

White sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup half and half or cream
1/2 cup water or chicken broth (may be made from bouillon)

Fresh dill leaves or parsley leaves (optional)

Add the flour to the butter in a saucepan, mix thoroughly, turn on heat to low heat. Discard the fat from the cooking pan, then rinse the pan in the water or broth to loosen the bits of meat from the pan. Add the water or broth to the butter/flour base in the saucepan and mix thoroughly. (Tip: at this point, mixing the flour/fat mixture and the broth mixture in the blender removes all lumps thoroughly.) Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and add the half and half or cream slowly. Simmer until a good consistency. Add dill or parsley if desired. Stir the meatballs into the sauce until heated through. Transfer to the serving dish and serve immediately.

Enjoy experimenting with your meatballs!

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