I had the happy accident this week of watching a movie that illuminated a book I had just read. I planned a nice mid-winter goof-off day in which I ate cookies and cashews, drank hot chocolate and watched a Tivo-ed "Sabrina," with Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford, and Greg Kinnear. As Ford and Kinnear, the rich brothers, traded barbs about who worked too much and who worked not at all, Dynasties by David Landes, came to life.
Landes wrote about famous-name family businesses (think Rothschilds, Fords, Guggenheims) and how they fared from generation to generation. Truthfully, much of the book was out of my depth as he talked about joint stock capitalization and Vichy France. But I got glimpses of personality here and there:
If Grandpa starts a bank, or invents a car, or strikes oil, who among his sons and grandsons will possess the talent AND the interest to keep the enterprise going? Just like in the movie, plenty of descendants would rather use all that wealth just for playing.
Would be a lovely temptation, no?
Now, when it comes to this installment's recipe, I debated whether to give you something workaday and practical, or something so yummy that you will blame the failure of your New Year's resolution on me. So I decided on both. You've probably already broken your resolutions anyway.
First the practical: SPICY BEEF AND VEGETABLE SOUP
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 jar (30 oz.) meatless spaghetti sauce
3 1/2 c. water
1 pkg (16 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes & green chilies
1 c. sliced celery
1 tsp. beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. pepper
In skillet over medium heat, cook beef & onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to slow cooler. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. YIELD: 12 servings, 160 cals. each.
This was really great to come home to after feeling the nasty, icy wind that blew across the Wal-Mart parking lot this afternoon. We ate the soup with garlic bread from the bread machine.
Now, just so you don't overdose on nutritious stuff, I offer you BYU MINT BROWNIES.
1 c. margarine
1/2 c. cocoa
2 TB honey
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Mint Icing (See step #2)
12 oz. chocolate icing (canned)
1. Melt margarine and mix in cocoa. Allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Pour batter into a greased 9x13-in. baking pan. Bake at 350' for 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Prepare Mint Icing: Soften 5 TB margarine. Add dash of salt, 1 TB light corn syrup, & 2 1/3 c. powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add 1/2 tsp. mint extract & 1-2 drops green food coloring. Mix. Add 3 TB milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.
3. Spread mint icing over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time to stiffen the icing. Remove from the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate icing.
If you cut the finished brownies into 24 pieces, each has 310 calories.
I know, I know, I gave you Peppermint Cream Brownies in the last post. But you really can't have too much of a good thing. Besides those were just gateway mint brownies. These are the hardcore stuff.
I made them for Mercy's baby shower. We needed two pans for the ladies. And of course, what would my husband think if I made these and didn't leave any for him? What would Jim think if I stayed at his house the night before, carrying these lovely treats, and none for him?
Well, Jim made it clear what he would think. So I made a third pan.
In the end, we had so many brownies that, even after I packaged up a nice personal stash of them, I was still giving them away to friends and begging John to take some to bishopric meeting.
The other food at the shower was a great big green and brown cake. (You can sense a color theme here, can't you?) It was a German chocolate cake, frosted with ganache, a smooth icing that hardens into a shell, and embellished with green fondant, rolled and cut out to look like ribbons on a present.
It was a sugar-lover's party, oh yes.