Deceptively Delish Without the Lawsuit

March 7th

the journey

The journey of a community dinner.

Have you heard about that silly battle going on between Jerry Seinfeld’s wife and the other lady over their similar cookbooks? Heads up ladies — you can’t patent a recipe. Their idea of “hiding” vegetables in other foods to increase the nutritional value isn’t anything new around my house. My mom has been putting vegetable purees in foods for years and we all know that lovely Weight Watchers apple sauce trick when baking.

you say mushrooms, i say spinach and broccoli

Or how about a little broccoli and spinach hidden in your penne meat sauce?

Last night’s community dinner celebrated my neighbor John’s 24th birthday. (Yep, he’s a wee.) Alma made a lovely orange and chocolate cheesecake that was nearly too pretty to eat, although everyone managed.

dessert, by Alma

It had a chocolate crust and orange zest in the filling. It was out of this world!

I gave John a giant box of wine as a gag gift. He once mentioned that since he was from northern California, he could never drink wine from a box. It was against his constitution. I wanted to take off my flip flop and hit him over the head to knock that snobbiness right out of him. No one in my house is too good for boxed wine, or for free food. So, we collectively laughed ourselves silly last night when he tore into his gift and got a bit of humility handed to him in the process. Ha!
This is a snob-free zone.

his favorite gift ever, boxed wine

John’s favorite food is Italian; I made meat sauce from the latest Cooks Illustrated, whole wheat penne pasta and salad. Shayla brought a wonderful garlic green bean dish and many friends brought wine in a bottle to soothe a certain ego or two. I also made another loaf of that no-knead bread and this time added more beer — the result was amazing. This is the best loaf so far. Hooray for beer!

best loaf yet
the secret ingredient to a yummy meat sauce

Bread, one of the sauce’s secret ingredients.

garlic, ready to be roasted

Roasted for garlic butter.

sauce I can't wait to make again

See? You can’t even see the green. Bwahaha!

The pasta sauce called for mushrooms, which I forgot to buy. Instead I substituted a can of drained spinach and a pound of broccoli, which I stuck in the food processor with the meat, bread and other ingredients. Deceptively delicious indeed. It was a sneaky way of adding a lot of vegetables to the meal, which also stretched out the sauce. Good thing too because we had 11 people there last night and I wanted left overs for lunch today. Too bad I couldn’t bring in a little boxed wine too.

birthday boy

Feliz Cumpleanos, Juan.

P.S. I worry about my brother, who lives in Denver, a lot. Like it could be my second job. I figure karmically, the nicer I am to my neighbors, the nicer people will be to my bro. I welcome newbies from other states to community dinner and some how the universe will turn this into a great meal for my brother with new friends. Or so I hope.

Posted in
Community, Domestic Art, Journal, Recipes
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19 Responses

  1. Hey, it was my birthday yesterday, too! I want a little of that delicious looking cake! šŸ™‚

    I get hungry every time I look at your food blogs. Darn you and your talent in the kitchen…

  2. I love boxed one–one is my fridge now! I will have to try that deceptive meat sauce recipe! (Yum.) That cheesecake–WOWZERS! That is so mean tempting us all with that photo! What a delicious meal. (BTW, what a great smile your neighbor has!)

  3. Wow, it looks like you guys had a feast! I’m from northern California too, but i have no trouble with the boxed wine. In fact, I have a story for you.. In college, where boxed wine is a must, we got a box of Franzia. My friend looked at it and said, oh, you put out extra bucks for the fancy kind? We kind of looked at each other and she said “Shilablay Red?” The boxed flavor was “Chillable Red”. We still give her grief to this day…

  4. What a fabulous dinner!! I think I could eat your bread and sauce for months on end! Yum.

    Oh, man… I’m hungry now!

  5. Ok, that might be the. very. best. way. to get me to eat my greens. Brocoli and spinach really really really don’t do it for me, but I’d probably manage to eat them in the tomato sauce.

  6. I soooo want to be your neighbor! :o)

  7. These community dinner pictures always look so good! I’d love a piece of that orange chocolate cheesecake!

  8. You wear me out with all that cookin’ woman! But so good! The food and the intention.

    Happy Weekend!

  9. That dinner looks awesome. And good for you for taking care of the new kids in town!

  10. The garlic picture is gorgeous.

    I think that’s kind of the Seinfeld’s point in the article, “For one thing, they say, there’s nothing ‘unique and innovative’ about slipping a few mushed-up carrots past a veggie-hating child.”

    I really don’t think the lawsuit is anything but a publicity stunt for Lapine, since her book wasn’t selling well before and she had a hard time getting it published.

    Yay wine-in-a-box! Have you seen this?

  11. Mmm, I wish I lived in your neighborhood!

  12. I’m new in my neighborhood and I would LOVE IT if someone invited me to a community dinner. Your neighbor is probably wondering how he got so lucky.

    Happy cooking!

  13. That bread looks so yummy!!!

  14. Why do I want to come to the community dinner, just for the bread. I swear everytime you post a pic of bread, my mouth starts watering! LOL (can you tell I LOVE bread?)

  15. Everyhting looks delicious Kelli! I’ll have to try adding beer in my “no knead” bread.

  16. Yum! I’m definitely trying out your modified sauce recipe!!!

  17. That’s funny, I just referenced the Seinfeld/Lapine thing today on my blog…where I advocate “hiding” eggplant in meatless meatballs šŸ˜‰

  18. Oh my! That last bit about your brother, that is exactly how I feel about my 84 year old grandmother in Newcastle. There is nothing I won’t do for a senior citizen, because I’m seriously hoping someone will be that kind to my grandmother. She now lives by herself. All 5 of her children and 13 grandchildren are grown. She’s always had grandchildren at her house at some point or another. Now we’re all grown and living our lives and she has noone to occupy herself with. So whenever I take a person my grandmother’s age shopping or to the movies, I always hope someone in Newcastle will do the same for her.
    PS. you really have been cooking up a storm lately. The food looks good.

  19. i’m hoping for a gratuitous roasted garlic shot in every one of your posts from now on, okay?