Zucker MOT XXmas Dinner

We hosted an all girls (XX) MOT Xmas dinner. Was my dad psyched or scared?

Jim and the Ladies

He was fine, because here’s what we noshed on:
Laney’s cheese plate from Murray’s
Joy’s salami from Katz’s
Betti’s Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
Jordan’s Meat Lasagna
Simple Salad
Green Beans and Tomatoes
White Peppermint Bark
Semi Peppermint Bark
Lemon Gingerbread Blackberry Trifle
Chocolate Terrine

Here is the bulk of the recipes. Enjoy!

Jordan’s Meat Lasagna

Serves: 12-15
1 box lasagna noodles (we used big fresh ones), boiled and soaking in water and 2 T olive oil.
2 eggs
15 oz. ricotta cheese
4 c fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 c Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
½ lb pork sausage, decased
1 large eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T tomato paste
½ c fresh parsley, chopped
½ c fresh basil, chopped
2 jars marinara sauce (favorite store bought is Rao’s, but you can make your own)
Halve the eggplant lengthwise. SWOOPS both flesh sides, place in a foil lined tray skin side down and roast in a preheated oven at 425 for 30 min (or until cooked through). Let cool and scoop out the flesh from the purple skin. Discard skin and set eggplant meat aside.
In a large fry pan, heat add 1 T olive oil and cook the onions until translucent (med high heat). Add the garlic and the two meats (beef and pork). Cook until meats are browned. Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Add the eggplant flesh and mix well to incorporate into the sauce. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix ricotta, eggs, parmesan, basil, and parsley in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Spray pan a non-stick spray.
Assemble the layers of the lasagna as follows:
1) Layer of marinara sauce
2) Layer of noodles (mine are so big I only need 2-3, just use however many it takes to complete one layer.
3) Layer of the ricotta mixture
4) Layer of the meat sauce
5) Layer of the sliced mozzeralla
Reapeat 2-3 times depending on the depth of your pan and the thickness of your layers.
Add an extra layer of Parmesan to the top mozzerella layer.
Bake for 50 minutes covered with foil, remove foil and cook another 5-15 minutes till cheese is melted and lasagna is
Let sit for a least 30 minutes to set before you cut it.
I prefer it room temperature or as leftovers the next day! It can be too soupy if it’s too hot.
At our party I had a “slight disagreement” with my mother over this. She wanted it served warmer, I said I didn’t. I agreed to have her put it in the oven to warm at 200. A half hour later my dad said there was something burning in the oven; she had put it in at 500. Then made a huge deal and apologized to everyone because I made her feel she had “ruined my dish.”
My friend Leslie said, “Jord, don’t worry, the lasagna’s great. It’s not that badly burnt. She didn’t burn it on purpose.”
I said, “No, she didn’t burn it on purpose, but she went against what I asked on purpose.”
“You just completely summed up and described the inherent basis of every mother/daughter relationship,” said Leslie.
All good laughs in the end.

Betti’s Spinach Mushroom Bechamel Lasagna

adapted from Emeril’s recipe
2 lbs fresh spinach
5 T butter
¼ c shallots, minced
1 T garlic, minced
1 lb portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 t salt
1 t pepper
¼ c flour
4 c milk, whole
¼ t nutmeg, fresh grated
3 c Parmesan cheese
15 oz ricotta, fresh
1 c grated mozzerella
1 c fresh mozzerella
1 lb fresh lasagna noodles, cooked and soaking in a dish of water and olive oil.
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil spinach in salted water for 2 min. Drain and squeeze dry in a mesh strainer. Finely chop. Set aside.
In a large pan, melt 1 T butter on med high. Add the shallots and garlic. Stir and cook for one minute. Add portobellos, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked. (You know this when they’ve released their juices and soaked some back up again. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the bechamel, melt 4 T butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux, about 2 min. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly until thickened, about 3 min. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir. Add 1 c Parmesan and stir. Cook for 2 min. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the ricotta and shredded mozzerella in a bowl and fold in ¼ c of the bechamel.
To assemble:
Prepare a lasagna dish with non-stick spray.
Layer 1) Bechamel sauce
Layer 2) Noodles
Layer 3) Mushrooms and spinach
Layer 4) Fresh mozzerella
Repeat layers ending with mozzerella on top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min. Uncover and bake another 10 min until top is golden brown.
Let rest for at least 20 min before serving.

White Peppermint Bark

16 oz. white chocolate
1 c peppermint candies, crushed
1 t peppermint extract
In a double boiler, melt down the white chocolate. Place peppermint candies in a sealed ziplock and crush them into little bits by using a meat pounder (or a hammer). Stir the little peppermint pieces into the melted white chocolate, along with the peppermint extract. Line a tray with some wax paper using a knife along the edges for a snug fit. Pour the chocolate onto the wax paper and spread into a thin even layer. Refrigerate until hardened, at least an hour. Break into various sized pieces and you have your bark!
The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bark is made the same way except the white chocolate is replaced with semi-sweet chocolate.

Lemon Gingerbread Blackberry Trifle

adapted from Bobby Flay’s Recipe
There are four layer components to the trifle. Make each separately.

3 c flour
2 T ground ginger
2 T baking soda
1 ½ T ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
½ t ground nutmeg
big pinch salt
3 T minced crystallized ginger
10 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c golden brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 c molasses
1 c boiling water
1 T grated lemon peel
Preheat to 350 degrees F.
Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper; use knife to trim edges for a snug fit. Spray paper. Sift flour and next 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Mix in crystallized ginger. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in brown sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually beat in molasses, followed by 1 cup boiling water. Beat in grated lemon peel. Gradually beat in sifted dry ingredients. Pour batter to prepared pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan sides. Flip upside down onto a rack to remove from sheet. Peel off paper. Cool for at least 30 min. and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Whipped Cream:
2 c heavy cream
2 T confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T dark rum
With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar, vanilla, and rum. Continue beating until you get stiff peaks and it turns into whipped cream. (Don’t overdo it, you’ll get sweet butter…)

Lemon Curd Filling:
6 meyer lemons
2 c sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs
1 c meyer lemon juice
big pinch salt
Peel the zest off of the lemons but don’t go too thick, you don’t want the white pith in there. Put the zest in a food processor and grind. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over very low heat until thickened (about 10 min.), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate for at least an hour.
Fold in half of the whipped cream until combined. Refrigerate both the curd and the remaining whipped cream (to use as top layer of trifle).

Blackberry Sauce:
2 pints fresh blackberries (or 1 bag frozen)
1/3 c sugar
2 T raspberry liquor
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ t cinnamon
Place blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook until the berries are soft and the sugar has melted. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a bowl. Stir in the liquor, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

Using a trifle bowl, start with an even layer of gingerbread cubes, top with a layer of the lemon curd mixture, and a layer of the blackberry sauce. Repeat until you get to the top of the bowl. Put the remaining whipped cream in a layer as the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours hours before serving.

Chocolate Terrine

½ c pistachio nuts, shelled and peeled
½ c raisins
½ c dried cherries
½ c glazed oranges
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
½ c sugar
1 c butter cookies, crumbled
4 T water
1 c cocoa powder
1½ sticks butter
1 T Grand Marnier
1 egg
2 egg yolks
Grease a rectangular terrine shaped mold.
In a bowl, mix together the nuts, fruit, and cookie bits. Set aside.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine sugar and water and stir over low heat until dissolved into a syrup.
In another bowl (can use an electric mixer), combine cocoa powder and softened butter. Stir in the sugar syrup, melted chocolate, and Grand Marnier. Add the egg and yolks and mix well. Fold in the nuts, fruit, and cookies. Pour the batter into the mold and press to set. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Run a knife along the sides of the terrine. Dip into a bowl of warm water. Invert mold and slide terrine onto a platter. Return to the fridge for 30 min. When rehardened, slice terrine into ½” slices and serve.


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