Thursday, November 1, 2012

Celebrating Good News

I got some great health news this morning, and texted everyone to let them know.  Within seconds, my phone was full of happy texts, including some from Susie recommending a celebration, and jokes from Mom that it was a baked Alaska kind of night (we've always joked about making baked Alaska because it's so difficult), and Kenzie telling me to get back into the kitchen!  I knew they were all joking, but I figured, why not throw a party tonight? It's not every day we have great health news in my house, after all.  Tonight was a night to party, and a night to make baked Alaska!

slicing into it!
So, if you don't know, baked Alaska is ice cream topped with meringue that gets baked in the oven.  Yes, you read that right: ice cream that gets baked!  And it doesn't melt!  The meringue acts as an insulator... I might have to teach about this when I get to heat energy.  It's pretty fancy schmancy, but it was a special occasion, so it was the first thing I started when I got home.  I made the bottom "cake" first.  I say "cake" because it has no flour (Kaz!); it is a spongy kind of cake made from lots of eggs, chocolate and sugar.  Then I took a plastic wrap-coated bowl and filled it with softened pistachio and cherry ice creams (apparently those are the flavors used in baked Alaska; who knew?) and froze it up, and worked on the meringue frosting.  The ice cream gets put on top of the cake, and the meringue gets spread over the entire thing.  Then into a 500-degree oven it goes for 3 minutes, until the meringue starts to brown.  It seems miraculous when you cut it open and the ice cream isn't melted!  This thing got absolutely rave reviews.  Betsy requested that any time I make it, we invite her over immediately.  There were lots of moans and compliments from the baked Alaska.  I may have even a spotted a certain mother of mine eating seconds! It was really not that hard to make - there are just a lot of steps - but it has wow factor!

All baked and browned!
Mom was my froster

I also made an appetizer that was kind of spur of the moment; I was worrying that I was taking too long to get dinner done, and I had recently pinned a recipe that I knew I had all the ingredients for, so I gave it a shot: oven toasted ravioli.  They were very easy and surprisingly delicious.  You just take frozen ravioli and defrost them, then dip them in egg and milk wash, and then bread crumbs and parmesan, and bake.  That's it!  I served them with some tomato sauce that I added some basil and oregano to, and everyone loved them.  Rachael said they were the best thing I've ever made, which is great since they were so easy.  I should say one reason why I think they were so great, though: Mark and I made our own bread crumbs!  We were out, and instead of going to buy some, I knew we had some old crusty bread and a brand spanking new food processor, so we gave it a try.  We sliced the bread and processed it, and it was turned into crumbs in no time.  Then, since the recipe called for Italian bread crumbs, I found a recipe that gave me the spices to mix in, and Mark whipped them up for me.  We had to bake them for 10 minutes, and then they were done!  I really think they made the raviolis even better, and I might never buy bread crumbs again.
photo credit: Susie!

Last but certainly not least, we made pizzas for dinner.  I made my usual dough, courtesy of Bobby Flay's recipe.  Mark was mostly in charge of the pizza making; he does a great job flipping the dough up in the air and everything.  I think our best pizza (we made four!) was with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and fresh basil.  Mmmmmm!  Our pizzas got rave reviews.

I also heated up the remnants of my soup from the other night and it was a huge hit yet again.  I even got rid of a couple more bread bowls :)

All in all, I am totally exhausted from this party; I cooked for 4 hours after work to party it up with 12 of my favorite people, but it was totally worth it.  We had a lot to celebrate, a lot of great food to eat, and a lot of love going around :)

baked Alaska
oven toasted ravioli
Italian bread crumbs
pizza dough

1 comment:

  1. Everything about this was fabulous! The good news was my favorite thing...but moving on...the food was pizza ever,I had the mozzarella-ricotta-basil... loved the soup...toasted raviolis so worth the points (I am on WW)..and I would seriously kill for Baked good you feel like a kid and want to lick your plate. I did refrain from that, however if I were alone, I would have done it for sure! Great Job!!