Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baking Season

Baking is always in season but at Christmas even the most timid baker feels daring and inspired to fill the house with sweet smells and delicious treats.

Clara is a gingerbread girl. Gramma Marion was always sneaking her gingerbread men, it was one of their many little 'secrets'.

Gingerbread cutouts are such fun to do if you have an open afternoon, a few cookie cutters and a sweet little helper. I always use Martha's recipe for Molasses Ginger Cookies.

They always turn out and the dough is lovely to work with.

{Just found this post that somehow wasn't posted in December}

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you like Lentils?

If you ask my Mum-in-Law how to cook thriftily, she will ask you this: Do you like beans? Lucky for us, we do. My kids love them and so do we. So many things can me made with them; soups, stews even salads. Lentils are a little like beans both in their economy and ability to fill you up (without filling you out- and that's always good around Christmas). I could eat the Orangette Quiet Soup every day. The two cups of red lentils and carrots make this soup a very pretty orange colour. I like to put out a big pot of this soup for lunch with some cheese, crackers and apple slices. This recipe is perfect, in my option. We are eating it twice this week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sesame Beef

I was reading Grace's post about how much she loves Costco and saw her pictures of her freezer full of pretty little packages of meat and felt inspired to do the same. I bought a few very large ribeye steaks and sliced them up finely and went to December's Everyday Food mag and found this tasty little number in the 'Grocery Bag' section.
We don't eat much red meat around here but everyone loved this and the meat came out tender and saucy. Even my meat skeptic, Clara, enjoyed it and ate her whole portion. The ingredients for this are things that I always have on hand. (I think pork tenderloin would also work well here.)

Sesame Beef

3Tbsp soy sauce
2Tbsp dry sherry (I used a dry white wine)
1Tbsp sugar (honey would be good too)
3tsp rice vinegar
1/2tsp red pepper flakes
1/2tsp cornstarch
1Tbsp + 1tsp sesame oil (olive oil would work)
3/4lb boneless NY Strip steak, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Cooked rice, for serving
thinly sliced scallions, for serving

Whisk soy, sherry, honey, vinegar, pepper flakes, sesame oil and cornstarch in a small bowl.
In a large skillet, heat 1tsp oil and brown beef strips in 2 batches over med-high heat. Max 2 minutes per batch.
Transfer to a plate, add a little more oil if you have to and add peppers. Cook peppers until tender crisp, 2mins. Add garlic, 30seconds. Stir in sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 1min.
Stir in sesame seeds.
Serve over rice, with a sprinkle of scallions on top.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Remembering Summer Brunches

I woke up a couple weeks ago expecting to have brunch with friends, as we did most Saturday mornings this summer.
These were good Saturdays.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Birthday S'mores

S'more bars, another easy dessert, and a fond memory of the summer nights at the cottage, take about 10 minutes to make. Crushed crumbs of graham wafers on the bottom, chocolate melted with sweetened condensed milk, topped with marshmallows. (Next time I make these I will also add chopped reeses pieces with the mallows.)

S'more Bars

3Tbsp Butter, cut into chunks
12 Graham Wafers
3/4C sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2t vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 C mini marshmallows
1C chopped reeses pieces and teddy grahams

1. Line an 8inch square baking dish with tin foil. Grease foil with butter.
2. Put butter in a pan and melt over med-low heat. Cool.
3. Crush Graham wafers with a rolling pin or can in a zip-lock bag. Should yield about a cup.
4. Stir together crumbs and butter. Scrape into baking dish pressing in firmly to create a crust.
5. Heat condensed milk and chocolate in a pan over med-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. Stir again.
6. Pour filling over crust and spread evenly.
7. Scatter marshmallows, reeses pieces and grahams over the warm chocolate. Press them in gently.
8. Refrigerate until firm. About 4 hours.
To serve, lift foil out of pan and peel away from the sides to totally remove it. Cut into squares. Store in the fridge.

If you happen to be in a marshmallow-y mood, as we often are...these Joy Milkshakes look pretty amazing.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Birthday Cake

When we sat down to think about Clara's birthday party this year, she was very decided about what she wanted to serve; Oreo Ice Cream cake, S'more Bars and Ritz mini cheese sandwiches. The ice cream cake recipe is one I know I will use again and again. The base is a very simple, thinn-ish layer of chocolate cake, topped with a tub of ice cream, topped with sweetened vanilla-infused heavy cream, topped with a crumble of oreo cookies. The cake could be modified by using any other ice cream flavour and topping. Candy cane ice cream on Christmas Eve, with crushed After Eights on top would be amazing...

Ice Cream Cake

1C All Purpose Flour
1/4C cocoa powder
2t baking powder
1/4t salt
3/4C sugar
3/4C milk, warmed
1 egg
1/3C oil
1T vanilla

1/2 gallon Ice Cream any flavour
1 1/2C Whipped cream
3Tbsp sugar
1t Vanilla

Topping of your choice: crushed chocolates, candies, cookies or sprinkles...

Heat oven to 325*
1. Put flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a sifter and sift into a large bowl. Stir in sugar with a whisk.
In a separate bowl, whisk milk, egg, oil and vanilla until well blended.
Pour egg mixture into flour and whisk.
Pour into a 9x13 inch dish (pre greased).
Bake 20mins. Cool completely. Freeze 30mins.
2. Remove ice cream and soften 15mins or so on the counter.
Spread over the cake, cover with plastic and freeze 4 hours.
3. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla about 3mins, until stiff peaks form.
4. Crush topping.
5. Spread whipped cream on ice cream and top with whatever you just crushed.
6. Freeze again until ready to eat.
Cut with a knife dipped in warm water.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lakeside Fish

Growing up with a fisherman dad and a cottage meant that we did a lot of fishing and ate a lot of fish in the summertime. I have so many great memories of sitting in the boat or on a dock with my dad and my brother fishing. Dad generously spent most of his time on the lake untangling our lines, re-baiting our hooks and stringing our fish. Thanks Dad!

After getting the fish back to the cottage, Dad would clean the fish and prepare it one of two ways. Fish Fry was an obvious and delicious choice, but my favourite is fire roasted.
Butter, lemon juice, onion, potato, carrot, the fish and a little salt and pepper wrapped up in tin foil and set on a bed of hot coals is how I like fish the best. Bass and pickerel work really well this way.
For pike you just take away the fins, head, tail and guts, stuff the belly with peppers, carrot, onions, salt, pepper and butter in a package of tin foil, over coals. When you open the package the skin sticks to the tin foil and the meat falls off the bones. Perfect for camping.

Now, it never tastes quite the same at home as when you reel the fish in fresh and cook it on the shore, but it is still so good.

Here is how I do it at home.

Reminiscent of Lakeside Fish

2lbs Cod or if you're at the cottage, Bass or Pickerel
2 carrots sliced thinly in half moons
2 potatoes sliced thinly in half moons
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
Butter 1-1 1/2Tbsp per package
1 lemon sliced
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400*.
Rip off pieces of tin foil or parchment paper about 12 inches long. Put pieces of fish in foil or parchment topped butter, lemon slice squeezed a little, veg and salt and pepper. Pull foil piece over fish and scrinch to seal package well.
Place all the packages on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins.
Eat the fish and vegetables right out of the package on your plate.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Magical Muffins

There is something about 'real' that kids LOVE. It's that, buy a child an expensive present and they'll play with the box it came in, phenomenon. I have witnessed that very thing with my own children.
With that in mind, I have allowed my kids to do a lot of real things in the kitchen. It's amazing how fast "helping mom in the kitchen" truly becomes helpful. Clara has always loved the kitchen and, now, with very little guidance, produces delicious food.

Molly Katzens cookbooks for children are amazing. We love them for their step by step pictorial instructions. Sunny lemonaide from Molly's Salad People has become Clara's Lemonaide as she can now make it all on her own.

My girl just had her sixth birthday. One of her presents was a new cookbook. (Like mama like daughter, cookbook=awesome present) The newest addition to Clara's cookbook collection is Cooking For Girls, put out by a company called, Imagine That. It has a lot of recipes in it that look very tempting, such as the "Magical Muffins".

Clara loves cupcakes and these had such a simple recipe and beautiful finished product. The recipe is so easy to remember, 4oz of everything and 2 eggs. Easy. The icing gave Clara a chance to experiment with colour blending. She came up with such a pretty mauve and a near Tiffany blue. Not only do they look pretty, whip up in a flash, they also taste delicious and light...dangerously light, perhaps.

Magical Muffins

4oz(1C) self rising flour or (1 Cup All Purpose flour + 1 1/2 t baking powder)
4oz(1/2C) butter, cold, cut in small cubes
4oz(1/2C) Sugar
2 Eggs
4oz (1/2C) Milk

Set a 350* oven.
Put muffin cups in muffin tray.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Rub in butter cubes with finger tips until mixture crumbly. Add sugar and mix. Stir in eggs.
Add milk, stir until creamy.
Spoon into paper cases.
Bake 10-15 minutes.
Ice and decorate the little cakes.

Icing: 4oz (1/2C) Icing sugar mixed with 1Tbsp Milk or Lemon juice. Whisk in food colouring.

Clara would like everyone to know she did these single handedly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moosewood Pasta Primavera

Another winner from the Moosewood collection. This pasta primavera is loaded with vegetables and in a very tasty, tomato-wine (ricotta) sauce. If you have Moosewood's Lowfat Favourites, turn page 206, get out a pen and make some changes to the original recipe. My humble recommendation is that you add a few things to the recipe as shown in the cookbook. I love adapting recipes and this one needed just a few tweaks to make it perfect.

To make the sauce a little creamier, I added a tub of ricotta cheese with some salt, parsley, butter and parmesan cheese stirred in, to the pasta just before adding the tomato sauce. The cheeses and butter will melt into the pasta so nicely.

I love vegetables and the brief steaming keeps them tasting fresh and sweet. A lot of vegetables would work in this dish, so feel free to add what you like or subtract any that you don't.

Pasta Primavera

6 cloves garlic, minced
2tsp Olive oil
3Cups Chopped tomatoes
1/4C White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
1t salt
1/2C chopped basil
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots, 2inch matchsticks
1 bunch asparagus, 2 inch pieces
2 heads broccoli, bite-size
1 bell pepper, 2 inch matchsticks
1 zucchini, 2 inch matchsticks
1/2C green peas
salt, pepper
1 tub ricotta
3Tbsp butter, diced
1/2C grated parmesan
1/3C chopped parsley
1 lb pasta- any shape works
extra parmesan for topping

Warm olive oil in a large deep skillet, add garlic and cook over med heat 2 mins.

Add tomatoes, wine, salt and stir 5-10mins. Add basil and red onions and remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of water to boil with a steamer basket inside. Starting with the carrots for 1 minute, add peppers, asparagus, and broccoli to basket and cook another 3 mins. Add zucchini and cook 1 min. Add veg to tomato sauce, season if necessary and keep off heat.

Cook Pasta.

While pasta is cooking mix ricotta, butter, salt and parsley to taste and parmesan in a serving bowl. Add cooked pasta, stir well. Add tomato-veg mixture and stir well.
Top with lots of fresh pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

Jibs says "Dont forget a healthy sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan on top!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

Stumbled upon this recipe for chicken and dumplings the other day. Jim loves chicken and dumplings...The Jim collective love chicken and dumplings, actually. There's not much to dislike about chicken and dumplings. This C&D, however, is noteworthy and from Pam Anderson's new book, Perfect One-Dish Dinners. (Pam Anderson the cook--not the TV "personality?")

So, this dish starts of with a very basic roux with chicken stock, milk and the very intriguing addition of a whole jar of salsa verde. (I added some corn and green beans to it as well.) The chicken is topped with a pretty, slightly yellow dumpling that is flecked with green onion, and other herbs. The pot comes out full of lovely pieces of chicken in a thick bubbly sauce that's mildly spicy and topped with buttery cornmeal dumplings.

This cookbook definitely looks promising and worth owning. I love a good one-dish meal for company. Anything to decrease the stress of having everything hot and on the table when the guests arrive, and increase the joy of having people sit around the table together.

Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

4Tbsp Butter
1/2C flour
1 1/2 C chicken broth
2C salsa verde (about one whole jar)
1 jar evaporated milk
1/2C green beans, 1 inch pieces
1 C corn
6 C cooked chicken, chopped into large chunks (I used 10 thighs, salt + peppered in a 350 oven for 30 mins)

1C whole milk
3Tbsp butter
1 1/2C flour
1/2 C yellow cornmeal
1Tbsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/4C chopped scallions
1/4C chopped green herbs (I used basil and parsley. Cilantro would be good too)

Chicken: Melt butter in a deep dutch oven 5-6quarts or a deep, oven-proof skillet. Whisk in flour to make a paste. Whisk in stock, milk and salsa. Whisk vigorously until it thickens. Add vegetables and chicken. Cover and keep warm.
Preheat oven to 400*.

Dumplings: Heat butter and milk in a saucepan until steamy. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, onions and herbs in a large bowl. Stir in milk mixture to form a dough. Dot golf ball sized bits of dough atop the chicken in pot. Return chicken to simmer over med-high heat.
Cover and place in oven for 15-20 mins.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Corners of the Kitchen: Pyrex

For the first few years of married life I hoarded Pyrex dishes. I blame my Grammas. My Gramma Hobbs bought me my first set of green, Pyrex nesting bowls. My Gramma Robinson gave me a few of her pie plates and bowls when she heard I liked them. Now I'm hooked.

How could any kitchen dwelling, pie baking, food preparing, food transporting individual not love them? They come in so many shapes and sizes, colours and patterns. Oh, and my favourite feature of all, they're virtually indestructible. Believe me, I need indestructible!

I have only a handful of cups and none of the original dishes I got when we got married....they are all broken. I mean well and try very hard to be careful and slow down, but things always get broken. In the earlier days of my married life, such events would result in tears. Now the events are so common-place, no one really notices a broken dish or glass, someone just goes for the broom and we move on.

So, lovely Pyrex, this is why I love you so. After a recent, move-induced purge I only have about 20 Pyrex left. (That is all that would fit in my new cupboards...If I also wanted room for food.)
Here are some of the lovelies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Cherry Tomato and Some Witteveen

Even though I had taken out some delicious Witteveen Mennonite Sausages, tonight just felt like a Lovely Butternut night. I had to do both. Since I was already into Jamie at Home, I looked up 'sausage' in the index. The recipe that caught my eye had two very important main components; sausage and cherry tomatoes.

My kids eat tomatoes like candy. While we were at the St Lawrence Market on Saturday I bought a bag of sweet little tomatoes for them to nibble on while we walked...they soon vanished.

While the tomatoes and sausages bake, their juices melt out and mix with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar making a wonderfully rich sauce. We alternated dipping our croutons in the soup and in the sauce. Jimmy and I both said, several times, "This is perfect." A perfect mix of flavours.
I anticipate the leftover tomato and sausage will be poured over some penne or mashed potato tomorrow for the kids lunch. What a versatile dish.

Sweet Cherry Tomatoes with Sausage

4lb cherry tomatoes (or a mixture of cherry tomatoes and largely diced roma)
2 sprigs each, thyme and rosemary
1T dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, peeled, and chopped
4-6 good pork or chicken sausages (we love Witteveen)
Extra virgin Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375*.
Toss tomatoes with herbs, garlic, sausage, a few swirls of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Bake 30mins. Stir and bake 15 more minutes.
Let cool a few minutes and then serve with just about anything that will absorb these delicious juices. I highly recommend the parmy-croutons from Lovely butternut soup.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cottage Pie

Another easy one that Jimmy and the kids love. A good one pot dish for those nights when you aren't sure what time people are coming home and you have to keep it warm.
It tastes so retro, which I love, and it looks quite the part if prepared in a lovely mint green Pyrex baking dish. Anyone else have a Pyrex obsession? The only thing to serve with this, in my mind, is a dish of sweet pickles, some thickly sliced bread and some molded jello for dessert.

Cottage Pie
adapted from Everyday Food November 2010

3T butter melted
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
2 large carrots cut in medium chunks
salt and pepper
2T tomato paste
2T Ketchup
1.5t Worcestershire sauce
1lb ground turkey, lamb or beef
1.5t herb de provence or thyme (more if using fresh)
1C dark beer (I used tankhouse)
1C stock or water
2T flour
1C frozen peas
1 large russet or yukon gold potato sliced thinly
Prettiest 2Quart Pyrex you've got

Preheat oven to 400*.
In a large skillet, heat 1T butter over med-high heat and add onions and carrots, stirring often until soft. 5mins or so.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato paste, ketchup, and worchester. Add meat and stir until almost cooked, 3mins. Add herbs and beer and bring to a boil. Cook stirring a lot until slightly reduced. Sprinkle with flour, stir. Add stock and cook until thickened, 2mins.
Stir in peas and season again, if you feel it's necessary.
Transfer mixture to pyrex. Top with potatoes, overlapping slices. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining 2T of melted butter over the top of potatoes. Bake 40-45mins.
Cool at least 10mins before serving.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Banana Man has Quite an Appetite and Loves this Loaf

I laughed this morning as I found a piece of playdough on the floor that had been rolled up with a bit of parma ham and a few tomato seeds because I knew it had to have been my Jibs...Playing is good, eating is better.

The boy loves to eat. He gets very excited when he sees me in the kitchen. "Oh, look...Wow." He says. Quite often he outeats his big sister and occasionally even the Mama.

If you happened to read the birthday post, you will know that he loves and starts each day with a banana. I have tried probably dozens of recipes with bananas in them and so far this is one of my favourite and also one of the easiest. The other thing that I love about this one is the quantity of bananas in it. If you have an abundance of bananas that have past their prime (which never happens around here) or, if you are like me, and you buy them on the reduced rack already soft and speckled then freeze them for later, try this recipe out.
Try it plain or with a few little extras such as rum infused raisins, figs, nuts or chocolate.

Banana Bread with Options

1C plus 2T AP Flour
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2C sweet butter, melted
1/2C, scant, sugar
2 eggs
4 bananas, very ripe, mashed
1t vanilla

Good things to have on hand: 1/4C walnuts or pecans, 1/3C chopped figs, 1/2C Choco-chips, 1/3C raisins, 3oz dark rum, 2T cocoa powder.

9x5inch loaf pan, greased
Preheat oven to 325*.
Put flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl and mix.
In a large bowl mix sugar and butter, then add eggs one at a time beating between additions. Add mashed banana, vanilla and stir well.
Add flour mixture in thirds mixing well with each installment.
Scrape into loaf pan and bake 1-1/4hrs.
Cool. Slice it up.

When to add the extras:

Rummy Raisin Bread: Bring rum to a boil, soak raisins in rum for up to an hour if possible. Drain raisins and stir into the batter with the mashed banana.
Chocolate: Sub in 2T cocoa powder for 2T flour, stir Chocolate chips with banana mash.
Nut: Stir in nuts and figs with the banana mash.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shoreham Market Pasta

Last Thursday I went, for the first time, to a little market held at Shoreham Public School. My brother has been telling me about it for a few weeks now and I decided to go. Though small, there were loads of fresh, mostly local fruits and vegetables for sale. (For steal practically, the prices were so low.)
Twelve dollars got me two boxes full of lettuces, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, oranges, carrots, ginger, bok choi, broccoli, onions and other things. At the recommendation of one vendor, I bought some okra, I think it was like .50 for a bag of it or something, and Jibs and Clara ate it raw from the bag. Clara thought it a bit slimy but Jibs loved it and shoved the whole thing in his mouth, stem and all, chewed vigorously and went on to an orange slice.
To further Jim's birthday celebrations, we went out last night and walked, checked out some book stores, got dinner and some coffee. My mum, kindly stayed with the kids so I made some dinner for them to share while we were gone.

Shoreham Market Pasta

2T Olive oil
1Eggplant, large dice
1 each green and yellow zucchini, large dice
1/2 red onion, large dice
1C cherry tomatoes, halved
1 yellow pepper, large dice
1 red pepper, large dice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2C vegetable stock
1/2C red wine
Salt, pepper
2t Herb de Provence
1/4C Goat Cheese
1box penne

Toss all veg except garlic with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herb de provence on a baking sheet (with sides). Roast at 375* for 20mins or so until getting soft, stirring at 10 and 15mins. Add garlic, broth, and wine. Stir. Bake another 15 mins, again stirring a few times mid way, until sauce is reduced significantly and veg is soft and fragrant.
Cook pasta, drain and tip into a large bowl. Stir in the goat cheese and 1T butter, melt together.
Add veg and stir.
Top with extra crumbled goat cheese and pepper.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My beloved

Person dearest to my heart, and two other beloveds had birthdays today. Few things are more enjoyable to me in this world than being with these people; talking, sharing, laughing, singing, eating and then the inevitable sleep that ensues.

Sunday we celebrated with a meal dedicated to the culinary preferences of my Jimmy. With this as my guide the menu went as follows:

~Mulled Cider
~Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bread to dunk
~Beef Burgundy
~Buttered Spaetzle
~Green salad with Pear, Roquefort and Pecans
~Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Evening Snack
~Apple Dumplings

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Jim and I have an, of sorts, going as to whether or not doughnuts are a breakfast food or not. (I suppose anyone who knows us can guess which of us is on which side.) Some Saturday mornings, when they don't think I'm looking, Jim and Clara will to sneak out for such contraband.
Now, when the November issue of Everyday Food landed in my mail yesterday morning I was immediately drawn to the pumpkin section. These doughnut muffins have me reconsidering my doughnut for breakfast ban, mainly because they are just so good it hardly seems right to limit them.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harvest Crunch

I'm quite sure I did not make enough of this perfectly crunchy, slightly salty, sort of sweet, snack. If you still have time, run to the bulk barn, grab some nuts and seeds, throw them in a bowl with butter, maple and some spices and you too will have a very harvest-crunchy kind of snack. And, if you're able, double it.

Harvest Crunch
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates

2T butter/olive oil
3T Maple syrup
1/2C pine nuts
1/2C chopped hazelnuts
1/2C halved almonds
1/2C raw pumpkin seeds
1/2C raw sunflower seeds
2T Brown sugar
1/2t kosher salt
1/4t paprika
1/8t cayenne

Heat oven to 350.
Melt butter and maple syrup together over med heat.
Toss nuts, sugar, seeds, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Toss, and then drizzle with melted butter and maple mixture.
Toss again and then spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake 8-10mins, stir, bake another 8-10mins.
Cool and store in a sealed container at room temp.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Thanksgiving

This weekend is one that I always look forward to. We are off to the lake. Thanksgiving at the cottage is a work weekend, supplemented with plenty of forest walking, food making, food eating, pumpkin carving and being with lovely people.

The thankful table.
So much pie, so little time.

Bringing the dock in is one of the less glamorous weekend events. October water is not for the faint of heart.

It will be the first year without Grampa (Papa Gordy) with us, the one who started this lovely tradition, and we sure will miss him.
Giving thanks for the enormous gift of having these two in my life!
Good bye for another year beautiful lake, we will dream of you until next year.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Corners of the Kitchen

A well loved page.

Grandpa's ingenuity
My cookbook holder remains one of my favourite things about this kitchen. My grandpa made if for my gramma as long ago as I can remember. He was so ingenious at making a small space work, and work hard. Having six children in a very small house definetly gave him lots of use of those skills.
I have so many fond memories of coming into this house and seeing my gramma here. She would be making butter tarts and date squares or apple pie right in this spot, her purity cookbook fallen open to the regular pages. Sometimes when I open the front door I still smell the pastry in the oven or the pickles on the stove top. I loved my gramma so it makes me happy to be in this kitchen, still baking from the same purity cookbook and putting it on the same stand.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A different kind of Recipe

Clean dirt

Clara says, If in doubt, squeeze lemon juice on it!

I like to make my own my own cleaning supplies. Spraying weird chemicals around the house just doesn't seem like a great idea to me. I live in the city and have enough coming at me without adding to the cloud. Here are a few resourses I find particularly useful and informative.
The other good thing about natural cleaning products is that your kids can help out. If they happen to be into that kind of thing. (I love you Clara)

*Swiffer Sweeper, Swiffer Duster
* Room Spray, Furniture Polish, Floor Cleaner, Fabric Freshner (I totally dig this room spray.)
*Love this lady. She's funny and has a cool book that I quite enjoyed on housekeeping.

A tidbit from Simple Mom's spring cleaning book.

Easy Homemade Glass Cleaner:
2tsp white vinegar
1 litre water
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (dollar store).
Works best with crumpled newspaper.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh Lovely Butternut..

This is not my first nor will not be my last post about the butternut. I love the dear squash. So versatile, it can be put in just about any course, sweet or savory. Jamie Oliver's cookbook, Jamie at Home, has lots of uses for squash. (He also gives lots of tips on planting and growing squash and other gardeny things.)
Janis makes the gorgeous frosted squash cupcakes from time to time and they never disappoint in all their sweet fallish goodness.
With the cold rain outside my kitchen window, last night, I started into making Jamie's 'Superb squash soup with the best Parmesan croûtons'. Jamie is pretty much the king of long, adjective packed recipe titles. Yum though. It was thick and rich and hot and easy to keep warm if you're not sure when your husband will get home for dinner. We all ate way too many of the Parm-y croutons...jibs looked like a glazed doughnut by the time dinner was over, all buttery and happy.
Do this soup and don't forget the croutons.

Superb Squash Soup with the Best Parmesan Croutons

Olive Oil
2 small red onions, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves picked
(I added a few sprigs of thyme too because my garden offered them.)
1/2-1 chili, seeded and chopped
sea salt and pepper
1 Large Butternut squash, unpeeled, chopped in chunks, seeds removed
6C good chicken stock (I put in 3/4C Sauvignon blanc as well)

Extra Virgin Olive oil
16 (or however many you want) slices of ciabatta bread (we used Caldense buns)
A block of Parmesan Cheese for grating

In a very large sauce pan, heat up the olive oil and add the chopped veg and herbs and chilis, except the squash. Stir and cook a few minutes until they soften up a bit.
Add the squash, stock and S.B. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer an hour or so.

While the soup is cooking, drizzle olive oil over both sides of bread and grate the cheese over both sides as well, packing the cheese on firmly with your hands.
Place in a clean fry pan and cook until brown on each side.

Back to the soup, I used an immersion blender to puree the soup but you could do it in batches in a blender or food processor too.

Divide into bowls and pass around the croûtons.

Jibs says, "Please remember to dip your croutons!"