Category Archives: dinner around the table

Dinner around the table document’s Catherine’s dinner parties using new recipes and ingredients.

celebration dinner ~ november 12, 2010

For a recent milestone in my husband Patrick’s life, we invited our good friends Gary, Erica, Jennifer and Drew to help us celebrate.  Dinner was proceeded by an overly salty Olive Tapenade on yummy Garlic Crostini. I used a combination of 3 parts Kalamata olives to 2 parts black Greek oil-cured olives, processed with capers, garlic and a couple other ingredients.  Next time I will eliminate the black oil-cured Greek olives and replace them with a mellow meaty green olive.

Dinner began with a green salad with sugared pecans, pears and pomegranate seeds with a pomegranate vinaigrette. Then our guests had the choice of soups a Tuscan Bean soup or a Golden Split Pea soup. For desert we had a Pear and Fig Tart with a pecan crust and Central Market organic vanilla ice cream.  All the recipes were from, or adapted from Terry Walter’s Clean Food Cookbook.  The Golden Split Pea soup called for Mirren – a Japanese rice wine – which gave the soup a deep rich flavor without being over powering. I would recommend this soup any day of the week.  I make a White Bean soup that I prefer over the Tuscan Bean from Clean Food, but my guests were very happy with it. It was a lovely night for a celebration.


football celebration

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This past week the Oregon Ducks played to win the National College Football Title. As a Duck fan, I saw this as a good excuse to get together with friends on a cold winter night, and share good food. Most … Continue reading

christmas lasagna

Christmas 2010 Lasagna

I will begin this post by qualifying that I never cook the same lasagna twice. I am constantly trying new things, making minor adjustments here, adding a little something there – this is the beauty of lasagna. It is one of the meals I amend based on what I have on hand. Lasagna is also not a food people associate with healthy eating, but I’m here to say it can be made to be very healthy, and along with a salad is a well balanced meal.

Here’s my Christmas 2010 lasagna recipe…begin with the sauce.

1-1/2 lbs. washed raw spinach with the stems removed. Coarsely chop & set aside.
4 Tbls olive oil
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1- 32oz can diced tomatoes (I use organic)
1- 6oz can tomato paste (again I use organic)
1/2 cup red cooking wine
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

In a pot heat olive oil and sauté the onions 2-3 min. Add the chopped spinach one handful at a time stirring to coat all the leaves before adding the next handful. Repeat until all spinach is incorporated. Add the carrots and cook for another 2-3 minutes before adding the dried spices, wine and paste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Let simmer on low for an hour, and then cool slightly before using in the recipe.

Next make the filling…
12+ lasagna noodles cooked and separated. Let cool (use organic whole wheat – whole wheat pasta provides you with many more nutrients and tastes great. It’s an easy way to make this meal healthier) .
1 lb. low fat (or fat free) ricotta cheese
3/4 lb skim mozzarella ball – sliced in 1/4″ slices
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine ricotta with nutmeg and pepper. Spray an 11″ x 15″ baking pan with an olive oil cooking spray (I use a Misto – one of my favorite tools – filled with a good olive oil).

Fill with 100% olive oil, and use in place of cooking sprays. Another way to reduce unwanted chemicals in your food.

Spread 2 cups of sauce on the bottom of the pan, followed by 3 noodles. Top this with 1/2 of the ricotta filing, more sauce and 1/2 the mozzarella. Add a layer of noodles and repeat the cheese and sauce combination until all the ingredients are in the pan.

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Add friends. Serves 12.

From L-R: Marsha, Catherine, Anna, Stephanie. Photo by P. Pettit, 2010


kabocha squash ~ october 24, 2010

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For the inaugural dinner around the table (d.a.t.t.) meal we invited our good friends and neighbors Jay and Stephany.  Jay and Stephany are the kind of neighbors that your grandparents talked about having. We swap tools and cooking ingredients back … Continue reading