Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012!

This was super-frugal Christmas this year. (Thank you Heather for bringing the salad and thank you Sooz for providing groceries!)

Menu: Christmas Mojitos*, Roast Beast, Polenta Lasagne* (gluten free), Heather's Salad, Christmas Trifle*, Schober Springerle, Peppermint Extra Chocolatey Brownies*, Coconut Shortbread Cookies*, Oatmeal Raisin Blondies* (gluten-free), Orange-Chocolate Swirl Blondies*


Tomato Sauce Layer:
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. oil
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil (I used Herbs Parisien cuz that's what I had.)
Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until golden. Add the basil or (Herbs Parisien if using). Add the tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes. I did this part the day before and stored in the fridge overnight.

Polenta Layer
2 cups polenta (corn grits. I used Bob's Red Mill coarse-grind polenta)
6 cups broth (I used Better than Bouillion  Chicken flavor)
1/2 tsp salt (omit if your broth is salty)
teeeny pinch of turmeric (less than 1/8 tsp.)
 Mix together the broth (cold) and polenta and salt (if using) in a cooking pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium low and slowly cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes until thick. Use a long handled spoon because it may bubble and splatter. Stir in 2 T. butter or olive oil.

"Ricotta" Layer:
This is poor (wo)man's ricotta. 
1 pint cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used mace cuz that's all I had)
Buzz ingredients in a blender (I used a stick blender).

Pesto Layer: (I had some pesto on hand in the freezer. I used about 2 T. total)
Basil leaves, garlic, sunflower seeds, Romano cheese, olive oil, orange juice.

Shredded "Italian Blend" cheese - 8 ounces. (I used Kroger brand w/ mozzarella, assiago, Parmesan, Romano blend.)

To assemble: spoon 1/4 of the tomato sauce into a large lasagne pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon on 1/3 of the polenta (don't spread it into a layer - just leave in blobs). Add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture (in blobs) and little blobs of pesto. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Repeat layers again twice, reserving the last layer of shredded cheese to add at the end of cooking. You can cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate until you are ready to heat and serve it. 

To heat: Cook in 350° oven for 45 minutes, then add the last layer of cheese and cook another 5 - 10 minutes.



12 oz. container frozen limeade mix (don't judge! this is low-budget Christmas!)
3 limes
1 cup mint leaves
fizzy water
rum (optional)
garnishes: mint sprigs, cranberries, lime slices.

To "frost" the glasses: Powder sugar, meringue powder (1/2 tsp. mixed with 2 T water). Put the egg white in one bowl and the powder sugar in another. Dip edge of glasses in each and let stand to harden.

In a large pitcher mix the limeade mix with 2 cans of water (instead of the 3 cans the container calls for), the zest of 1 of the limes and the juice of 2 of them. Put a little of the lime juice mixture into a glass or jar with the mint leaves and muddle until the mint is crushed (or use a stick blender.) Add to the pitcher.

To make a mojito: put ice cubes in a glass, add lime juice mixture halfway full, top with fizzy water, rum (if using), and garnish (cranberries, mint sprigs, lime slices.)