Happy Halloween! It's not widely celebrated by people in my life, but I can't help but get a little festive about most holidays that have fun memories attached. Halloween night was always kind of special growing up, whether I went trick-or-treating or stayed home and handed out candy while playing Scrabble and eating junk food with the family. It's a fun night to go for walks, watch scary movies or bake something fallish. I like holidays!
Today I took a few fallish pictures while it was sunny. I'll post those later on. For now, here are some photos from yesterday when I made dinner for a couple of friends.
BUT FIRST: I completely forgot to reward Jennifer for winning my little "guess the fruit" contest (see the end of that entry). Congratulations, Smarty Smart! How vast is your mind! How diverse your knowledge! And now you're calling me at this moment so I'll stop. :P
I bought some flowers for the table, because it's one of those little extras in life that I am allowing myself more often. Especially when I have company!
I baked some shortbread cookies for our dessert. These are so easy and so good. I used this recipe, since it's similar to the one my mom always used, and just added some vanilla extract and sprinkled the top with sugar.
I ended up making up a recipe based on others I've seen. Call it Italian Braid if you must call it anything. :D I think it needs more tweaking to be perfect, but I'll give you the general idea of how I made it.
I made up the filling with a package of browned Italian sausage, a small amount of spaghetti sauce, some garlic, olives and chopped raw zucchini.
The dough is Pillsbury Garlic Breadsticks. What you see in that picture is two cans worth laid out side by side. I pinched the centers together a bit more under where the filling would be placed, and tore the perforated dough on the sides to form strips. Then, obviously, I added some shredded Italian cheese.
"Braiding" it is very easy. Just pull up the strips and overlap them at an angle to make it look kind of braidy. Pull up the ends to hold everything in nice and snugly, then brush with some egg whites (it takes less than one egg's worth, and make sure to beat with whisk first).
I also sprinkled additional cheese on top, which you can see in the finished product photos.
Looking lovely after some time in the oven! I used the temperature suggested on the dough container and just kept an eye on it. I suppose the total time was at least 20 minutes, and it could've probably used more time. So maybe 22-25 minutes, depending on your filling and any other factors you feel like considering.
Another photo of the finished product? Certainly!
The reason my recipe needs tweaking is that the end result was a little too greasy. I think next time I'll just go with ground turkey and a bit more sauce and some seasoning. I was trying to make it more flavorful with the sausage, but the grease actually leaked out of one side of the braid (strategically not shown in the photo).
Have you been cooking anything new lately? I have lots of recipes I want to try, and thankfully I have friends who enjoy tasting my cooking projects. I hope to post more recipes here during the winter since it's harder to get nature photos.