Food, Family, and Grandkittens

We had such a nice evening visiting the kids last night. Although I'd planned the menu way in advance of the weather problems, it turned out to be a good take-along dinner. On Saturday, I made my mother's Seven Layer Salad and a Dill Potato Salad from Cook's Illustrated. (You can find both recipes right here.) Then yesterday I baked an angel food cake to make an Angel Food Cake with Espresso Mascarpone Cream. I linked to it yesterday, but it's so good, I wanted to give it to you again. It's an impressive dessert, and it looks huge with that slab of angel food cake underneath. Still, it's a very light dessert, and so it goes down easily even after a big meal.

The original recipe is from Giada DeLaurentiis, and she tells you to use a store-bought angel food cake. Those are kind of rubbery, I think, and so I always use the boxed mix from my good friend Betty Crocker. Then, you slice that baby up, brush it lightly with some Kahlua and then spoon a generous dab of espresso mascarpone cream over the top. To make it pretty, dust it with a little unsweetened cocoa powder. So good.

The whole reason for this menu, however, was Matthew's special request for the roast beast sandwiches. This is essentially a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, but I make them the way my brother Richard showed me many years ago. It's a great way to used up leftover roast beef, but you can use any inexpensive cut of beef. I'm using some leftovers from a chuck roast I roasted earlier in the week. This is done a little more rare than we usually eat it, but it's going to cook more as I make the sandwiches. Just cut it into thin strips as you would for a stir-fry dish.

Slice two colors of bell pepper. You can use any color you want. I happen to like something other than green. The green has a touch of bitterness when it's cooked that I don't care for.

Stir-fry that in a little olive oil. You can add sliced onion at the same time. For this dish, I like to cut a large onion in half pole-to-pole, and then slice it. Cutting it the long way disrupts the cell membranes less and the onion is sweeter when it's cooked. I don't recommend using sweet onions. Sweet onions become flavorless when cooked. They're really intended to be eaten raw.

As you go, season with some garlic salt, and just keep stir frying until the vegetables begin to soften.

When they become more pliable, add in 8 oz. of sliced white mushrooms...

along with the beef. At this point, I lidded the pan to cook things a little more quickly, but you'll want to cook it some with the lid off to avoid getting too much liquid in the pan. This is a dry mix, although Erik makes his with some gravy.

When everything is softened and fully cooked, sprinkle on a generous helping of grated cheddar, and you've got yourself one tasty sandwich filling.

Serve it up on some Hoagie rolls. I like mine softened a little in the microwave, but others like the rolls toasted.

Here are some suggested condiments. On the right is some pepper jelly. I think I'm the only one who likes the pepper jelly on mine, but I just like pepper jelly straight from the jar. The sandwich turns out to be a handy vehicle for eating pepper jelly. Highly recommended are the sliced peperoncinis there on the left. Don't forget those! As for the rest, I just use mayonnaise and a little horseradish sauce. I like A-1, but its flavor is too strong for these sandwiches...others in my family would disagree with that.

While I was making the sandwiches, Smitty took a little stroll out into the snow for approximately two nanoseconds.

Hel-loooooo! I'm ready to come back in now.

Geez! Put down the camera and open the danged door!

When I had the sandwich filling made, we loaded everything up and took off for Erik and Mae's house. Check out the status of the icicles. Enjoy them while you can. The end is nigh for them.

Along the way, we saw this multi-cultural snowman. It's hard to see in this picture, but he has two black crow feathers stuck behind his head. It's very bright, and so sunglasses are a must. He seems to be a Mestizo snowman, but the tiki torch would indicate some South Pacific origins. Hard to say what look he was going for...

And if seeing my kids wasn't reason enough to go a-calling, seeing my grandkittens was the icing on the cake. Look how they've grown!

According to Erik, these two are hell on wheels.

This little lady is Cricket.

This is Clementine.

I refuse to look at that flashy thing again. Take it away, please.

And so we had a lovely evening, eating and laughing as usual.

This morning there was a pretty sunrise. The snow is still here, but we're thinking the end is in sight. It's supposed to start raining by tomorrow.

If you read my post from yesterday, then you know I issued something of a challenge to find the error in the latest wine country block. As far as I know, only one of you guessed correctly, and so I'm satisfied that this is not worthy of mention. Nevertheless, I will mention it just to clear up the mystery. 

Check out the knife sticking out of the apple. The shape on top suggested a blade to me, and so I stitched it in that silvery gray floss. When I finished stitching the handle, I realized that made no sense at all...unless your something of a sadist, in which case, you might leave the blade of the knife up enticingly for some unsuspecting apple-eater to find.

Today, I'm girding up my loins to make some bagels. It's a two-day process. I'll tell you more about that whole adventure tomorrow when I have some pictures to show. Also, I'm hoping to get some more time to quilt Stars and Stripes. There's still a long way to go on that one.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

claudia said...

Okay! I kind of thought that may have been your boo-boo, but I figured that was the color you wanted your handle and you use rusty blades to cut your apples! Just kidding!
I am kind of looking forward to the rain, because it means I no longer will have to haul buckets f water to my animals, but it also means that mud season is back and I will be slip sliding all over. I can't have it all, so I'll just deal with it.
So happy to hear you had a nice visit with your family. Those sandwiches look delicious. Hmmm...somehow they reminded me, it's been a while since we had fajitas. I think that is going to have to go in my menu rotation soon!

WoolenSails said...

That looks delicious. I like using meat and mixing it with peppers and things, for sandwiches. This is one time I don't have to worry the kitties wanting to go out.


Betty said...

The knife was my thought as well, based on the knife in another block. Your grandkittens are so cute and they look so innocent. Poor Smitty, I know he will be happy when the awful white stuff is gone!

Lana Ku said...

Lol! The knife! Maybe it's just a "clue" in a mystery quilt(pun intended).....it was the quilter....in the sewing room....with the upside down knife.....👀. I guess I was looking & thinking too hard. I had this whole scenario in my head how the wine glass is clear and so you should be able to see through it.....so you should be able to see the outline of the jar behind the glass...and so on. But then it would have been printed that way & the others would be wrong too....lol. Yes! Overthinking!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You didn't have to tell the oops. Poor Smitty - soon young man, soon. Love the beef hoagies - yum. Oh, the grandkittens have grown so - both beautiful.

Teresa in Music City said...

Wow - now that you point it out, it definitely looks like the knife is sticking in the apple point out! *ouch* There are few pleasures more awesome than having a great time with lovely people who happen to be our sweet babies all grown up :*)

Dana Gaffney said...

Oh my! Those grandkittens are so big now, seeing the two of them together had me flashing back to George and Gracie.

SJSM said...

Ha! I thought you had sewn the knife handle to be acrylic or glass. It looked somewhat odd but I thought it was artistic license. Love your grand kitties. I hope Smitty can be somewhat content to be inside. My girls must be getting cabin fever. They are starting to run and chase each other over furniture and all. They do this fron time to time since they find it too cold to stay outside all day. Hope you have a respit from the cold soon. You will be talking of the snow of 2017 for decades. Wear it as a badge of honor that you thrived and survived!

QuiltE said...

Like SJSM I was thinking of alternates ... antique Mother of Pearl handle. Your Seven Layer Salad is almost identical to one I have made for eons too. The make ahead aspect has always been a big feature for me. For anyone who has never tried it, I fully endorse the tasty goodness and say, what are you waiting for? :)

Wendy Tuma said...

I kinda figured it was the knife, but then I thought well, the other knife (if it was my home) was probably sitting in the sink, dirty. So she pulled out her pearl-handled knife for this one. Feel free to go with that, if you like! :-)

Auntiepatch said...

I just thought that was one of those fancy knives with a crystal handle! I don't see anything wrong with that! Beautiful work anyway.

Brown Family said...

Your sandwich mix looks very tasty. The grand kitties are beautiful. Very expressive faces.

Dar said...

You just cracked me up with your captions under Smitty's walk. It struck me so funny that I laughed out loud and woke up my DH napping in the recliner. That sandwich looks really great. I'll have to try that next time I have some leftover roast. Now I'm hungry.

Kate said...

The sandwich looks really good. Glad you had a great time with the kids and the grand kitties. Poor Smitty, I'm sure he'll be over joyed when all the snow is gone.

quiltzyx said...

The angel food cake w/mascarpone is making my mouth water! At first I thought that the slice of cake was slightly grilled, but no, Kahlua instead. Mmmm. I should make some kahlua one of these days again. I rarely drink it, but give it as gifts. Since I make it with decaf coffee for my friend Kathy, I call mine "Decafalua". :)

Lyndsey said...

Those sandwiches look mighty tasty. Poor Smitty, it just isn't the weather for kitties and talking of kitties my how your grandkitties have grown. The are very pretty .