10 August 2008

Lego my dinner party!

Okay folks, here's the lego party post. Unfortunately, there weren't really any pictures, but I'll do my best to describe.

So the whole thing that started this party was this post that I found on Slashfood and then later on Tastespotting. It was apparently taken from the Betty Crocker website, but it seemed like a fun idea. Shortly thereafter, I was alerted to the existence of Lego gummy candy from Kellog's. Seeing that I'm not actually three, I procured a box. Also, at some random trip to the mall (the one where Colby and Kyle went on a mandate to see the batman movie) I found these hard tablet powder candy legos that you can actually build with! Super cute.

We (Colby, Kyle, and I) used box mixes to make the cake (chocolate, yellow, and marbled) and then used white frosting + food coloring from Hill Country Fare. The interesting thing about Hill Country Fare is that it's one of a few different house brands for HEB, a largely Texan grocery store; given that Texas is beef country, I shouldn't have been surprised when I found out that the main fat ingredient was lard. Oh well. I didn't have any vegetarians at the party. We made the cakes the night before and they came out okay. It doesn't help that I suck at frosting cakes.

To continue on with the lego theme, I made lasagna (which is sort of brick-shaped!) which was topped with homemade croutons that were cylindrical. The lasagna is actually super simple and mostly stolen from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (of which I have mixed feelings):

15 oz ricotta
1.25 c grated parm
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 no boil lasagna noodles (I used HEB brand)
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
3ish c sauce

I made the sauce first which consisted of:
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c minced onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Contandina crushed tomatoes with herbs by accident)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano, parsley, basil

Brown/season meat w/s+p, break up into little bits. In a sauce pan add in olive oil and onions and let them soften for like five minutes (or more if you realize that you've forgotten to mince the garlic), add in the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds and then add in both cans of processed tomatoes and whatever herbs you decide. Let that simmer for 15ish minutes or so and that could be a sauce in and of itself. Add the meat (try to drain off the fat) and then let that sit with the sauce for as long as possible.

To construct the lasagna:
preheat the oven to 375. combine ricotta+s+p+egg+1 c parm+basil mix thoroughly until combined. add in like 1/4-1/2 a cup of sauce to the bottom of whatever you're using to cook in. It should be rectangular and deepish. layer on three lasagna noodles side-by-side and spread some amount of the ricotta mixture on it. Add about 1/2 c of sauce over top. cover in mozzarella and do this layering bit twice more. take the remaining three noodles and layer over top the rest of the pasta, cover with the remaining sauce and then cover in the rest of the mozzarella and 1/4 c of parm. cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take it out and then uncover it and bake for an addition 25ish minutes until everything is soft and the cheese is all melty.

I found that the easiest way to spread on the ricotta mixture to the noodles was to take the dry noodle in hand and then spread the cheese on it before putting it in the pan. It caused way too much grief to try to do it the other way.

As a side, I made garlic bread the Heidi Swanson way and at the very end, put 2 little half slices of fresh mozzarella on each piece so that they would look like lego things.

Everyone loved the lasagna and people that that the cakes were clever. I'm not so sure that they tasted all that good, but that wasn't really the point with these cakes. I made a flourless chocolate cake the other night which turned out "better", but that's for a later post.


Maggie said...

My son would be in seventh heaven! I bought these molds recently but haven't used them yet.

jkru said...

Ooh! those would have come in handy. Fighting with marshmallows wasn't exactly easy.