Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and grandmothers out there. I hope you have all had a great day full of pampering and love. I know my mom has. We opted to make her a special lunch instead of breakfast in bed because she wakes up at 6 to leave for church at 8. I did not want her to have to wake up any earlier to eat breakfast, and I really did not feel like getting up at 4 to cook. Anyway, Sydney, Harper, and I came home from church after first service to set up a wonderful feast for her. It was all set up and ready to go by the time she and Dad came home.
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This is a pretty bad picture of me because I had been in the middle of dishes when my dad called me in to take it. Everyone else looks nice, though. Sydney decorated the dining room and made the veggie platter pictured above while I cooked up the delicious concoctions.
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I made a menu of all the dishes I would be serving.

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The appetizer was the vegetable platter Sydney put together. For the main course, I made spinach and artichoke hand pies and parmesan and mozzarella risotto. To round out the meal, dessert was cream cheese danishes with a drop of strawberry jelly in the center. Everyone adored all the dishes, and I got the highest of praise from both my mom and Sydney for being better than a restaurant. (I am in the opinion that all homemade things are better than restaurants.)  Harper even liked everything. My dad hates cheese, so he just had leftover spaghetti. We did convince him to try the danishes, though, and he actually liked them. We were all shocked that he ate something with cream cheese.

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I have always wanted to make risotto, and decided to splurge on some $7 arborio rice during my pre Mother's Day grocery run yesterday. The results were creamy, and it smelled fantastic. Harper (aka Miss Never Try Anything New) begged me for a taste the entire time I was making it. Then she ate three servings of it along with the hand pies and danish. Typically risotto has onion in it, but I left it out for my mom. She does not care for chunks of onions in anything, no matter how finely you chop them.

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Parmesan and Mozzarella Risotto
serves 3-4 as a side dish
3/4 cup arborio rice
3 tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
dash of salt

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a pot. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Heat a sauce pan to medium high. Add 2 tbsp of butter to it. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Now add in the rice. Increase the heat to medium high and stir the rice in the butter for one minute. Add one cup of the chicken broth to the rice, stirring frequently until the rice has absorbed all the broth. Add the rest of the broth 1/2 cup at a time until it is absorbed. (This should take about 25- 30 minutes.) Once there is no broth left, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the salt, cheese, and 1 tbsp butter. Serve hot.

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The hand pies were definitely the main event of the lunch. They were praised for their wonderful crust and delicious filling. Everyone plans on having them again for supper. My mom has told me at least a dozen times that she loved these things to death. I think they beat out last year's scones. My mom found out that waiting until lunch is definitely worth it.

I found a recipe for spinach artichoke hand pies on a blog called www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com. I adapted it to make these.

Spinach and Artichoke Hand Pies
makes 10
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup frozen artichokes
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
2 1/2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Mix together the salt and flour. Cut in the butter and stir with a pastry fork until the dough looks like crumbs. Add the water and knead until everything is just combined. (Do not over knead, or the pie crust won't be flaky.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a pot and whisk in the flour. Add the milk, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir occasionally until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, heat the artichokes and spinach up in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir it in with the cheese mixture and remove the pot from the heat.

Roll the pie dough out on a floured surface about 1 cm thick. Use a large circle cutter to cut it into big circles. Add about 2 tbsp of the filling into the center of each circle of dough. Fold the circles in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Spread the pies out on a baking stone. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 for 30 minutes, removing them half way through to top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.


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Everyone adored these danishes. Sydney said they were the best dessert she had ever had, and my cheese hating dad loved them too. I should have made more. They were so easy to make, and I am a little embarrassed to admit I used packaged puff pastry dough. Maybe homemade is not always better. (Or maybe they would have been even better with homemade puff pastry.)
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Cream Cheese and Strawberry Jelly Danishes
makes 6
2 sheets puff pastry dough, thawed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp strawberry jelly

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Roll out the puff pastry sheets into two fat rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 3 equal squares. Spread about 3 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each pastry square. Leave about 3/4"-1" space around the edges. Place a tbsp of the jelly in the center of the cream cheese, making a bit of an indent. Push in the edges of the pastries to resemble a danish. Spread them out on a large baking stone and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
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I gave my mom her card along with a box of her favorite tea before breakfast this morning. (At the lovely hour of 6 am.) I normally don't write a saying inside my cards, but my mom always looks inside to see if there is a message when I show her a new card. I found this cute saying, and decided that she would appreciate it. She did.

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I was going to post about the other gift I gave my mom. (The big surprise project one I planned for months in advance.) I think it will have to wait until tomorrow, though, because this post is already super long. Anyway, all of this was made possible by my amazing mother who I love to death. She is the best mom in the world. (And no one can debate that with me.) I wish every day was Mother's Day so I could show her how much I really care for her. She does so much for me. Thanks mom!

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