Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthdays!

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Taking pictures of the food at this event was a complete afterthought. I had been drinking wine and making no attempt at capturing a quality photograph. Just fucking deal with it. Sorry if your eye balls start to hurt.

September is birthday month in my family. My husband Trevor had his 30th on Sunday, and my sister Brooke had her 27th on Friday. This year, my parents hosted the annual double birthday party with their "Joint Effort Lasagne". My dad is somewhat famous for his meat sauce. Pork and beef are lovingly ground in his own little meat grinder, then he drinks what is left from the bottle of red wine needed for the sauce while it simmers away*

* I'm pretty sure his recipe calls for about a cup. Leaving him with plently of happy-happy-joy-joy

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Ricotta has no place here. We are a "strictly bechamel" people.
We also forget to turn off the flash.


Mom covers the rest of the prep, whisking up the bechamel (ricotta, while tasty in and of itself, is slanderous in their lasagne, as it should be in everyone's.) making the pasta, and layering it all together. She also takes care of the required giant caesar salad and caprese, for an Adams Family Lasagne Feed is not complete with out these valuable supporting roles.
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Tomatoes picked from mom's garden minutes before making the salads- you can't see the candy-sweet sungolds in the caesar, but they're there, making it the best goddamn caesar ever....am I spelling caesar correctly?

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Brooke and Trevor, both being very diplomatic and sharing the happy birthday song and candle blowing out ceremony. Personally, I prefer to be the center of attention and would hate it if my stupid brother-in-law was in the way. Brooke, you truly are and selfless being.

I made a triple layer chocolate cake iced with ganache and vanilla bean ice cream. We all made gluttons of ourselves, Trevor drank a healthy portion of the growler of beer Brooke and CK gave him, then we all went home early and passed from food comas.

It was a good day.

I should also mention that this here blog celebrated it's first birthday this month. Time has flown by, as I still feel like a complete noob at this whole food blogging movement.
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Happy birthday the pie lady. Thanks y'all for reading.

25 comments:

Foodycat said...

It all looks wonderful, even without carefully constructed photos.

What quantity of beer is a growler? Growler means something different in England...

Brittany said...

I love you even more for your no ricotta rule!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I must disagree my friend, the only person I ever saw make a bechamel lasagna also used wonton wrappers as the pasta - and this person was a chef! Freaky I tell you!

However, your parents' looks pretty good, even with the flash! But ricotta will always be in my lasagna! ;)

Grace said...

nice spread. and i'm definitely a bechamel gal myself. :)

Brooke said...

Oh man. That. Food. Was. SO. Good. My pants still feel tight. Thanks to you, Ma, and Pa for making such a killer dinner for Trev n' me.

I'd like to weigh in on the ricotta issue if I may. The bechamel was superfuckinggood and I was all impressed and stuff, but you're insane if you think I'm gonna whip up a batch whenever I get a craving for lasagne. Lasagne is already enough of a pain in my ass (but worth it). Bechamel for special, ricotta for always.

Oh, by the way, I agree. You are a noob. But I still love you.

Brittany said...

Foodycat- I believe a growler is roughly 64 ounces. Basically, a big ass jug which, once emptied can be used as an instrument.

Brittany- thank you for your support

Jenn- Sigh. I knew this was going to spark a debate. I don't know what on earth was going on with won ton guy, but clearly he needs to be beaten. Severely.
Now, in defence of bechamel. It is a vaIid Italian practice. I just finished having a conversation with the chef at my work about this. He was trained in Italy and lived there for about 20 years. He said the Italians typically use bechamel in their lasagne, though in some regions you will find ricotta in the recipe. My mom also learned to make lasagne in Italy, again- bechamel.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE ricotta. Just not in lasagne. I root for the regions of Italy who omit it from their lasagne.
Ricotta-in-lasagne- lovers: please do not hurt me. I mean you no ill will. To each their own, ya know?

Grace- as am I (see above rant)

Brooke- I'm sure your laziness produces a delicious lasagne and ricotta-in-lasagne lovers the world over would delight in consuming it.
And I think I gained about 5 pounds this weekend (the next day Trevor requested pot roast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, biscuits, green beans, and hot fudge sundaes as his birthday feast). I'm considering a week-long fast.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Happy b'day to hubby, sis and blog! We are bechamel people also! Nice looking lasagna and cake!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

"I don't know what on earth was going on with won ton guy, but clearly he needs to be beaten. Severely".

I agree.

I know that bechamel is a valid way to make lasagna in regions of Italy. But it was literally not until last year that I had ever seen it with my own eyes - with wonton guy (who insists that all the chefs in Italian restaurants do this - to which I say - Pfthththth).

So to me, I am sure Lasagna with bechamel is great, but it is just not lasagna to me.

Fair enough? ;)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

and when I say "do this" I mean to say use wonton wrappers as the noodles, not bechamel.

whew! I am done here. :)

Brooke said...

what a steamy, creamy, layered and delicious controversy you've stumbled upon, Brittany.

Sweet.

Brittany said...

Cookie- thanks!

Jenn- Marcella Hazan should be unleashed on this guy. It would be funny to watch.
All this talk of ricotta is giving me a mean craving for cannoli. I'm kind of feeling like I could kill for it right now... Unless of course it's made with wonton wrappers.

Brooke- couldn't you just roll around in it?

cook eat FRET said...

happy happy b'day
love you
mean it

for the record i could so be your sister's mother and still have it be all respectable. so fucking depressing...

Peabody said...

Happy birthday to all...especially your blog.

kittie said...

Happy Birthday!

I'm with you on the bechamel - I'd never heard or it done with ricotta until fairly recently (or vegetarian bizarrely!)

And your cake looks worth fighting over...

@foodycat - I know where you're coming from - I did a double take too... (smirk - I'm so mature... ;)

Brittany said...

Claudia- FYI, our mom is still quite young/hot. And she can out-party the both of us any day of the week.

Peabody- Thanks!

Kittie- OK, I am dying to know. Just what is a growler in England??

The Spiteful Chef said...

Oh my God, I fucking hate ricotta! Not just in lasagna, but the fact that it exists at all. I prefer to keep a distinct visual line between food products and infection byproducts. This is my first visit to your blog, and I'll tell you I'm delighted. So infrequently do I find female food bloggers who aren't saccharine and a bit boring. I've found a few, mind you, but not many. I'll be back...

Foodycat said...

Um, in the UK the growler are the lady bits...

peter said...

Um... did I mention that MY birthday is coming up?

I love ricotta for making gnocchi...

matt wright said...

Awesome cake. I seem to say that to every post you do. Guess you are talented!!!

Happy B'Day to your sister and bloke.

Happy bloody birthday to your blog! WOW, we started ours within a few months of each other.

I still need to get over to Betty for dinner. I drove past it today, so am getting one step closer.

Emiline said...

Happy Birthday to your husband and your sister!
The chocolate cake looks great.

I've never made lasagna from scratch, so I don't know what to tell you. Is ricotta supposed to be in lasagna or not? I don't know.

Zoomie said...

I'll take that peach pie in the earlier post for my next birthday!

Norm Schoen said...

My birthday is in January and I Iove chocolate : )

Mallow said...

Was that frosting really plain ganache? Did you whip it first? Whatever it is, I wish I had a bowl of it to eat with a spoon right now.

Brittany said...

spiteful chef- haha! I don't think I quite share your disdain for ricotta, but I certainly prefer it to be left out of my f'ing lasagne

foodycat- Oh. My. God. I'll have you know that once I shared this info with the husband, there were many "I'm gonna go slurp on my growler" comments.
Thanks for the cultural lesson

Peter- I heartily approve of ricotta in gnocci. Happy almost birthday.

Matt- You're SO close! Looking forward to the day you do decide to pop in : )

Em- I just can't answer that question. It's too controversial.

Zoomie- Peach pie is usually my requseted birtday cake as well : )

Norm- Portland is probably close enough for me to pull off a chocolately care package. My birthday is in July and I love big bold syrahs.

Mallow- yup, just straight ganache with a little corn syrup for elasticity. I made it ahead of time and let it set up at room temp overnight. The next day it's the perfect frosting consistency.

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Thanks Norm!