Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unblogging and DIY Dinner Party

Dear Readers, please forgive my longish absence after that last bomb-dropping style post on will writing! I didn't mean to be away for so long! Things have been busy with my new full-time job which is trying to land a new full-time job. Add in a few computer crashes timed right as posts were just about finished and a certain adorable toddler needed rescuing from daycare and you have my best excuse for why nothing has appeared here in a while.

I received a special request from my guests to share the recipes used for an impromtu dinner party that I hosted last night. 

In order to convince you that really anyone regardless of their skill in the kitchen can have dinner guests:

Over the Christmas holiday, I was invited to a dinner party that featured a menu that absolutely topped any easy DIY suggestion from every single magazine and website that I have ever read! What did these clever hosts serve? Pea soup a la Habitant (meaning "from a can"), baguette with a tray of cold meats and pie from the grocery store with home made whipped cream. Add in a touch of wonderful company and genuine lack of cooking skills and you have the easiest DIY dinner party every. I rate it 10!

If you are a small step more ambitious than that, you can try out my menu from last night, which worked out to be a low-stress quick dinner idea that seemed to impress my guests:

Tourtiere a la Alex Trebek
Oven French Fries
Steamed Broccoli

I have no idea whether this recipe actually originates with Alex Trebek, but I discovered it a few years ago and here it is with my adaptations:

1 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef (or veal)
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper
1/4 cup red wine, beef stock or water
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inch)
(I use tenderflake frozen pie crusts)

In large pan, combine meat, onions, seasonings and wine; cook over low heat for 1 hour.

Drain fat. Stir in bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for about 45 minutes.

Defrost pastry according to instructions. Spoon in filling; cover with second pastry shell. Cut steam vents in top and seal edges. Bake in 350degrees F (180 degrees C) oven for 1 hour or until pastry is golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup

This works out to be a one-pot meal, with little labour and a longish inactive cook time and finally, an impressive home-baked/home-faked dish.

Unfortunately, no leftovers were available for a photo-opp today!

DIY Rating: 10 
This tourtiere is easier than it may look and comes out quite yummy! 

Stick to the "keep it simple" mantra and dinner 
entertaining can be a DIY for just about anyone.


  1. That tourtiere sounds very good. The biggest problem (apart from the long list of ingredients that I don't have) is the cooking time: I need to eat before 10 pm. It would have to be made on a weekend.

    As for the dinner party a la Habitant, it sounds brilliant to me.

  2. Cut the ingredient list down massively by choosing either pork or beef or veal. Cut the seasonings down to salt and pepper. If you don't have a single onion or water, well, I'm worried about you and buy the pre-made pie crust. Yes, this is a weekend type dish for sure.

    My sources tell me you are the king of a la Habitant...

  3. Well, after a post about how you have a completed will, followed by a long absence, I was beginning to wonder if one of your beneficiaries had murdered you. I am glad to find you are well.

    We made a new recipe today that was a huge success, and very DIY: homemade playdoh. I will email you some pics.

    cburrell, when I read about the Habitant party, I assumed that you were the host. Clearly we have other like-minded friends too.

  4. No spices, but penguins cb?

    There is also the option of making two pies (same amount of cooking time and mess) and so living on nothing but meat and pastry all week.

  5. I am at least glad that our cooking skills are genuinely lacking! That takes some of the pressure off.

  6. Just to clarify, dear readers, cburrell was responsible for a recipe this week on his blog including penguins as a main ingredient...


    KvD - yes, I was wondering whether anyone would think I'd gone off to the heavenly housekeeping project in the sky, but it seems I'm still here!


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