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REUNIONS & RECIPES
Things have felt a little whirly the past 2 days, even though most of yesterday was spent gazing around at the quiet clean stillness of my lovely house; enjoying the last hours before my family descended upon me...which I welcomed with open arms. I had been invited to a birthday party yesterday evening, and had accepted the invitation because when Anders & I first discussed their ETA, he figured it would be pretty late: around 10:30 or 11 p.m. before they made it home, as they were driving all day and would probably eat on the road.

But I called in the early afternoon to see where they were and they had made a good start and were making good time and he revised their arrival estimate downwards to 8 p.m. — whereupon I called the birthday girl and left my regrets because no way was I NOT going to be home when my family arrived. They got home at 7:30 so we had a really nice evening together to boot, myskväll and everything.

Today was massive loads of laundry, and other cleaning chores, and everything getting back to normal routine, which meant wrestling the kids off the computer so I could check email. :) Anders leaves tomorrow morning for 2 weeks in Spain, but I had been thinking he was leaving today, so am glad of the extra time.

***

We've been doing well with the new menu "regime" that we put in place some time ago, even with some unsurprising lapses back into the good old staples when we're stressed with little time. But both Anders and I have been making concerted efforts to fix dinners that the kids have put on their list and find new ones that we think will work; we both feel we've been put on our mettle.

—Just got sidetracked by having to look up the origin of the word mettle. It's, of course, only an alteration of metal but has come to mean courage or stamina. Another definition is "the substance out of which a person or thing is made" which clearly doesn't mean the PHYSICAL make-up but yet the CHARACTERISTIC core of said being. Hmmm...interesting. /end dictionarial diversion

Anyway, I'm an obsessive collector of delectable-sounding recipes but though I squirrel them away with every good intention in my recipe clip book, the sad truth is that they often stay there. Sometimes perused but never actually made, if you see what I mean. Often they are recipes that friends give me, at my own request, because I've been served said dish at their house and really believe that I will re-create the deliciousness at the nearest opportunity. Road to hell, paved with, etc.

—Second linguistic sidetrack: Did you know that, according to Webster's, yumminess (or it's alter ego yummyness, is not a word?? How can this be? Urban Dictionary includes it, but we all know they're just a toddling lexigraphical wannabe. /end shocked tangent

I've had a particular recipe saved from an AWC friend who served it to me on not one, but two occasions, and it was so long ago that my girlfriend Kathey was still living in Sweden when I ate it and subsequently requested and received the recipe. While Martin and I were browsing my clip book the other day it came to light again and I thought: Taco Paj! My kids like tacos! I liked this pie! Must remember to try this. And today we did.

It was a bit of a family affair in the kitchen, even, which made it all the better. It's called paj but that is actually Swedish for quiche, but this particular dish doesn't contain eggs so technically it's not a quiche either. So, for lack of a better word for it, Taco Pie it is. I asked Anders to make the pie dough because he's good at it, and I made the filling, and Karin came whirling in and demanded to be let help, so I put her to work making the filling. She balked for a moment when she saw the pile of chopped onions that I unceremoniously swept into the meat I was browning, but I had chopped them finely on purpose and reassured her (to her obvious disbelief) that she wouldn't even notice them and then got her caught up again in the mixing of the sauce so that she forgot about her onion aversion.*

Karin helped set the table and we garnished the pie with sliced red peppers and put it in the oven and when it came out all golden and bubbly and beautiful, everyone took heaping servings and we all gave it 2 thumbs up. Martin even took seconds! YUM! Martin and Karin added it to the list of preferred meals on the fridge and it was super easy and fast to make, so I'm thrilled at the success.

Neitha's Taco Paj

Dough:
4 dl (1.5 cups) flour
1/2 tsk/tsp salt
50 g (1.75 oz.) butter
1.5 dl (3/4 cup) milk

The dough does not need to be baked in advance. Mix together by hand: flour, salt & butter. When grainy, add milk and knead together. Spread into oven form.

Filling:
500 g (1 lb) ground beef (or ground beef/pork)
1 sm. yellow onion
1 packet taco spice mix
1 dl (1/2 cup) water
corn (we used most of one small can)

Sauce: (NOTE! We actually doubled this part)
2 dl (3/4 cup) creme fraiche
2 msk/Tb mayonnaise
1/4 tsk/tsp each white pepper, black pepper, salt
2 dl (3/4 cup) grated cheese

Garnish: red pepper rings, sliced onion rings (if desired)

Chop the onion finely. Brown the ground beef, add the onion, water, corn and taco seasoning. Cook together until bubbling. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over the filling after it's been put into the pie form. Bake at 250C for 10-15 minutes (keep an eye on it, as it will burn!)

Be sure to mix the cheese in with the sauce, NOT over the top.

*And she didn't make a single peep about the onions during dinner and she ate the whole serving: SCORE!
 happy
mood: happy
music: REM—Finest Worksong
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Comments
(Anonymous)

The pie sounds delicious- so can understand why the kids enjoyed it. I had been wondering how this dinner experiment was going, so glad to hear one of the results! Delighted your family is home, even though Anders is leaving for Spain so quickly. Love, Lizardmom

It made good leftovers, too, I can report. The kids had another new one tonight: goulash soup. They liked that, too!

Edited at 2009-02-10 08:00 pm (UTC)

(Anonymous)

Yum. That sounds really good. And goulash - man, I haven't had that in years!

-Heather

It was from a can, but it was REALLY good, and I'm not a big goulash fan, so that's saying something!

Edited at 2009-02-10 08:00 pm (UTC)

Thanks for saving me the time to look up mettle! I was just about to look it up but read further and there it was, served up to me like a side dish!

I love that your family are so involved in the menu planning/prep. It's very sweet. I too have a son that does not like onions. When I make mac-n-cheese, I sometimes follow the recipe that calls for cooking chopped onions in the butter that ultimately becomes the bechamel sauce. When dinner is served he always asks, "Did you put onions in here?" and I reply, "Taste it and YOU tell me, did I?" At first, he was never sure but has become aware of the distinctive taste and knows for sure now. Lately, I've omitted them and the dish still tastes good. Win-win for all.

Oh, you do know I'll add Taco Paj to my ever growing pile of recipes! Because this doesn't come out of a magazine and it had rave reviews, I'll surly try this one. Any hints on how to translate the measurements?

I'll look up the conversions and put them with the recipe on this post tonight :)

Thank you! It must be the evening for you . . . it is just before noon here in NW Washington. In that case, have a good evening!

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