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!"

Delightful dinners, Delightful Lady

A good friend of mine, aka, has a fun little portion of her blog devoted to dinner. I did a guest post over there a little bit ago. If you're interested in redeeming cauliflower and meatloaf, check it out. No more Haters!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mo Pie...Mo Friends

Had the great pleasure of spending yesterday with some good friends. Rainy bus riding, tea sipping and pie making made for a full and delicious Monday.

I recently took a book out of the library called Savory Baking. If you think you'd like things like, Peppery Pear and Goat Cheese Scones, Spinach Feta Pie with Nuts or Peameal Bacon Bread Pudding then take this book out of your local library or buy it.

On this particular morning, the Spinach Feta Pie and the Curried Vegetable Potpie with Dried Fruit were sounding just right. We settled on the spinach one and went to work.

Here's the evidence.

The girl can cook! Perfect, flaky crust. Thanks Aban.

Sharing the finished product.

Monday, September 27, 2010

THE Lentil Salad

My lentil loving brother and I.

I have yet to meet someone who does not love this salad. The addition of creamy orzo and nutty brown rice will make even the most stout lentil avoider yield. Once we were in an Indian restaurant and the waitress asked my dad if he knew what curry was. He responded, It's a spice. No, she said it is a combination of many spices. We are very spoiled these days with vastly availabile multi-cultural culinary delights. In case you thought curry was simply a yellow powder that comes out of a glass cylinder, this dish allows you to make your own curry powder. And it's delicious.
Sprinkle a generous amount of currants, green onion and slivered toasted almonds on top and you're off to the races.

Curried Lentil, Rice and Orzo Salad
(Adapted from Canadian

1/2C brown rice
2/3C brown or green lentils
1/2C orzo
1/2C currants
1/4C chopped green onion
1/3C almonds, slivered and toasted

1/4C cider vinegar
1t groud cumin
1t grainy dijon mustard
1/2t sugar or honey
1/2t salt
1/2t ground coriander
1/4t turmeric, paprika, nutmeg
1pinch each cinnamon, cloves and cayenne
1/3C Olive oil

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cover and cook rice for 15mins. Add lentils; boil 20 mins. Add orzo; cook 5-10 more mins. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add currents and onion.
In a mason jar or small bowl, shake/whisk together all dressing ingredients.
Pour over rice.
Add almonds just before serving.
Love it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy Lady Chicken

Things have been pretty busy around here lately. Here's a chicken dish that I tend to pull out when I have a tray of chicken and not much time.

Honey Dijon Chicken
(A.k.a: Not Humdrumsticks from: Eat Shrink and Be Merry)

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 2.5lbs
1/4C honey
2tbsp apple cider vinegar
2tbsp grainy dijon mustard
1tsp minced garlic
1tsp herb de provence
Salt and pepper

Mix sauce ingredients in a 9x13 baking dish.
Add chicken pieces and mix them together with the sauce.

Bake at 400 for 25-30mins. Basting a few times is a good idea.