On Friday, while Mr. Hawthorne was at work, I started clandestine preparations for a surprise birthday party for Mr. Hawthorne. First up was my corn bean tortilla pie. I always make this for my get-togethers and for neighborhood block parties. And there are never leftovers. This is quite the crowd pleaser.
First, I cooked some black beans. Heat salted water to a boil, put the rinsed beans in, simmer for about 25 minutes. Rinse beans and add fresh water. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the beans are the texture you like. I like mine al dente and not mushy. To the beans, I added a can of drained corn and a small chopped onion.
Then just start layering the tortillas with the bean mixture and cheeses until everything is used up. (Save some for the topping.) This pie used 5 tortillas.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper around the edges and top with corn/bean mixture and black olives. This went into my fridge in the utility room to keep it hidden from Mr. Hawthorne. Sunday, the day of the party, I pulled it out and added some sliced green olives. For the party, I put it in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes until it was heated through and the cheese melted. Slice into wedges and serve.
Trust me on this one. Everybody loves it.
Also on Friday, I made a pesto/sundried tomato cheese loaf. First, the pesto.
I'm making a huge batch of pesto.
Part of it will go for the loaf, another part for a pesto pizza I'll make the day of the party, and the rest is to be frozen in ice cube trays for later use in the winter when I want a nice fresh taste of spring and summer.
I have about 8 cups of loosely packed, washed basil leaves, about a cup of parsley, 5 garlic cloves, about 4 cups of pecans,
about 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese about 1 1/2 cups ELBOO (Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil)
I processed all the dry ingredients then added in the olive oil, processing, until I got the nice consistency I wanted. Yield: about 4 cups pesto. Pesto is a thing of beauty.
Cover and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve this, you invert the loaf and let sit for about 30 minutes at room temp to soften. Note to self: Work on those layers. Two appetizers down and now I'm ready to prepare for Ticky's visit. Stay tuned for our world famous Caesar salad and my equally famous homemade croutons and a pesto pizza, made especially for Ticky.