Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cabbage Revisited

A while back, I posted quite a few recipes using cabbage in anticipation of cabbage season. Folks, cabbage season is upon us! As we have two green cabbages and one chinese cabbage in the fridge (to be made into kim chee if Mister ever finds that Korean grocer...) the time has come to try some of those recipes out!

Now, I could just make stuffed cabbage (or galumpsies or hawupsie as it can be called), but that'd be boring. I want more cabbage recipes! And preferably one that does not involve me boiling cabbage, then burning my fingers, and boiling it again. :-P So I have narrowed down the list to five... er, six. There is a latecomer.

Cabbage au Gratin
Baked Cabbage
Beekeeper's Cabbage
Polish Sausage and Cabbage
Hungarian Noodles and Cabbage
Cabbage, Potato and Bean Soup

I think that they all would be quite tasty, and I am leaving the decision from here up to Mister. Hopefully he'll make one! I mean, picking two out of six shouldn't be that hard, should it?


Pumpkins as Food!

So we all remember my pretty little pumpkins sitting in a row on the window-sill. Sad to say, their numbers have been decreased by one.

I had intended on baking and pureeing all three pumpkins, but then realized that that's a lot of work just to have some pumpkin. So I cast around the internets for a good recipe that couldn't be subbed with canned pumpkin. As this was to be a bit healthier than the average pumpkin muffin/cake/yummy, I went to Heidi Swanson's site to check out her pumpkin options.

No surprise at all, she has quite a few tasty looking options. After looking at them all, and with varying degrees of heartbreak as I realize that I don't have the ingredients (damn this abbreviated kitchen/pantry!), I decide upon one.

This one, to be precise. Now, yet again, I do not have much of the ingredients -- but I can improvise here! If you'd like the original recipe, by all means follow the link above. But I shall list the ingredients and steps for my variant.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for the dish
3/4 - 1 cup rice
1 small pumpkin, peeled seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup dried cranberries (or whatever one has left after snacking on them for two days...)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup walnuts

Pick a pretty lamb for the slaughter.

Here she is all chopped and ready for cooking!

Preheat the oven to 375F, and generously grease with olive oil a 9x13 pan. Heat some olive oil (about 2 Tbs. worth) to toast the rice.

Toss about 3/4 c. - 1 c. of rice into the heated oil, and forget to take pictures of it toasting. But stir it all the while for about 3 minutes, or until the rice is popping out of the pan.

Put the toasted rice into the prepped baking dish, and top with the pumpkin, cranberries, and spices.

Dribble the maple syrup over the dish. Mix the hot water and the orange juice together, and slowly pour it over the ingredients. Cover tightly with tin foil and pop in the oven for ~45 mins.

Remove pan, carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. As mine was fine now but was to cook for longer, I threw a little more water over it. Sprinkle the nuts on top, and return the dish to the oven.

Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned, another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.

Verdict? Delicious. I keep telling Mister he needs to come home and eat this and not his company Hallowe'en potluck...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pretty Kettle

This is my new kettle. I got it for my birthday back in June, but as I loved my shiny red kettle, it hadn't come out of its box.

Then there was the day that Mister and I came home to a broken kettle. Come home to? How does that work? Damned cleaning lady broke my kettle. And then threw out the pieces so that I couldn't repair it. I, for one, am pissed. This is not the first time that we've come home and been infuriated by something the cleaning lady had done (her first three visits where she reorganized our furniture every time, or the time that she "trimmed" the rug pad with what looks like a key [and it's too short now!], etc.).

But! Pretty duck kettle!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tasty Recipes

I swear, I love fall cooking more than any other. And I'm not alone in this. Fall just makes you want to buy pumpkins.

And apples galore.

And save fall recipes to try.

Carrot, Potato and Cheese Soup
Baked Coconut Custard
Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro/Pepita Pesto

I am so hungry now...


Although I have several posts that need to go out, this takes precedence.

A woman came into my store with a toddler and a baby in a basket. The baby was holding a red, plastic container with a sigil and writing on it. After the toddler ordered, and I started scooping his ice cream, I asked the mother: "Is that a sharps container your baby is playing with?" To which she responded: "Yes -- I didn't find an easy way to open it, and it was keeping him distracted..." The conversation went on from there, and the woman casually removed the sharps container from the basket and put it in her bag.

What is wrong with people that they would let their infants play with what is not only a bio-hazard, but is highly dangerous on its own?! I am afraid for future generations.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Snackie That Almost Wasn't

So my darling friend R has an amazing recipe for Daal er Bora or what she calls Lentil Puffs. The recipe looks fairly simple: soak lentils, mush lentils with onion, chili and seasoning, shape into balls, and fry. Sounds amazing, eh?

So I soak the lentils for 30 mins at first, as I'm on a schedule.

Prior to draining the lentils, I chop a couple of small red onions.

However, when R recommends the food processor (which I don't have), I figure I'll just mush it by hand. A fork, a wooden spoon, and a potato masher later, I figure I'll toss it in my mortar. This is even more of a pain in the ass, although it slowly does the trick.

I throw my hands up, and decide to nap instead of snack before work.

Before heading to work however, I throw the lentils and onion back into water (I know, I'm not supposed to soak the onions, but they were mixed by this point). Coming back from work, I try to mash again -- to no avail.

Fully frustrated by now, I decide to cook the damn lentils, and make the paste from fully cooked and mashed lentils. I cook the lentils with a smidge of water (as I don't want it thinned out at all!), stirring constantly.

After about 30 mins, I turn the heat off, and add some spices (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and paprika), and let it cool and solidify.

When the lentils cooled, I heated some oil, and put the lentils in by teaspoonful. However, this also failed, as the lentils merely became oil colored brown by the addition of lentils.

As I am determined to eat this snack by the gods, I added a copious amount of potato starch, and put by the teaspoon onto a cookie sheet which was popped in the freezer.

I also took this opportunity to have a tea break.

When cleaning up the mess on the stove, please feel free to spill half of the oil mixture ON the stove, making a larger mess to clean.

Stove cleaned, I heated more oil and removed the fully frozen lentil balls from the freezer. Hesitant, I dropped one into the oil.

It fried, it fried, and it kept its shape! Victory! I happily fried the rest of them.

Verdict: WAY less potato starch. As Mister pointed out: starch thickens when cooked. These had so much starch that you could taste it. Not fun. But, still fried and fairly tasty.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Member of the Family

Meet Rosie. She and Basil are on their way to becoming good friends. As you can probably tell, Rosie is a Rosemary bush, and Basil is Basil. I've heard many times that if you talk to plants they grow better. I'm hoping that if I talk to them, I'll remember to water them.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Recipes to Save

Spicy Squash Soup with Kielbasa and Corn
Mexican Deep Dish Pizza
Garlic Mustard Pesto
Preserved Lemons
Whole Wheat Bread

Also, I have every intention of stopping at the Farmer's Market today after work (I hope I get out in time!). Items to buy: squash, pumpkin, more cabbage after the cabbage-failure (:-(), shallots, carrots, apples, whatever looks good.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Holy Cow!

I won a second thing!

Check it out! I'm even the first name mentioned! Is it sad that I'm so excited about trash bags?

More Rose Hips

Just a sneak peek at the rose hips that I picked yesterday. It took me 20 mins, but this is 3.45 lbs. of rose hips (stems and seeds included -- this is pre-processing). I got about half-way around the parking lot, so I'll try to stop in again in the next couple of days. (Also, isn't that evening sunlight so beautiful? I just had to use it -- even though rose hips in the bedroom window is an odd choice... :-P)

It's kinda crazy the size disparity of the different bushes. I wonder what makes one plant have huge hips and another small... but that's life I guess!


So as I was uploading some pics that I took this afternoon, I realized that I'd missed a post. A delicious, delicious soup! So here we go.

Soak beans for at least a few hours, preferably overnight (or two days as it happens...).

Drain and rinse beans, then add 4-5 c. broth (one carton), and 3 c. of water.

Add some spices (bay leaf, paprika, cumin, etc.) and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

Chop some shallots and add that to the simmering beans/stock. Cut an inch off of a package of bacon, and fry it up, but please don't take pictures of it. When tasty, toss cooked bacon pieces in soup. Leave the fat in the pan.

Chop up a small red onion and fry it in the bacon fat. When it's nearly cooked, add a chopped clove of garlic as well*. When these are properly fried, toss them in the soup, still leaving the fat in the pan. Think that you have not enough fat, so fry some more bacon and still don't take pictures of it. Toss the fried bacon into the soup.

Roughly chop three sausages (pre-cooked or otherwise -- I cooked mine the other day) and fry them until beautifully browned in the bacon fat. If needed, add some olive oil. When the sausage is done, please put aside.

Preheat oven to 500F. Chop veggies of your choice (I had some carrots that needed eating and a potato or two). Pour olive oil and some salt over veggies, roll them around to ensure that they are fully coated with olive oil and salt. When oven is preheated, roast the veggies, stirring occasionally, until they are browned.

When the beans are fully cooked (a.k.a. soft but not mushy), toss in the sausage and roasted veggies. Serve with some cheese and cornbread.

Note to self: Jiff is too sweet to put cheddar cheese on the top. Still delicious, but an odd combo.

* N.B. #1: onion and garlic are amazing fried, but while you want onions to get translucent and brown, you merely want the garlic toasted. If it's brown it'll taste burnt.
N.B. #2: the easiest way that I've found to chop garlic is this: peel the clove, then with the flat of your knife, smoosh it. Just lean on it until you feel it give. It'll then be much easier to dice.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amazing Brekkie!

So yet again, I have cause to say 'I love Ree Drummond.' The most recent reason? This recipe. I have had a sad realization recently folks. Although I still love Heidi Swanson as much as ever, when I need to make something, I turn to P-Dub first. And that's the gospel truth.

But on with the recipe! I took photos (because I love Ree Drummond so much I want to be her -- including her awesome photo recipes :-P).

Fry how ever many eggs you want to eat. I made two.

When it's time, flip the eggs. Please learn to flip eggs better than I can. When I made this recipe THIS morning (as opposed to yesterday's), I was doing so poorly that Mister had to come rescue me and "show me" how to flip eggs properly. I swear, it's not fair how much better he is with a spatula than I!

Anyways. Eggs are flipped. Here comes the fun part!

See that salsa up there? That's coming up next!

Put a good sized glop of salsa on each egg. I did it in a bit of a line, so as not to have it want to fall off the egg.

Cabot Private Stock Cheddar. If you live in a world without Cabot, I weep for you.

Put a couple of slices of cheddar on those eggs! Then eat a couple of slices while you're at it. Also, throw another layer of salsa on there.

Because I cannot actually take proper pictures, let me tell you what those cheeses are. The one with no label is Dragone Whole Milk Mozzarella, and the one that you can't read the label is a Madrigal, which is very similar to a baby-swiss.

I only put one thin slice of the Madrigal, and then two good size slices of Mozz. on top of that (as I'm a wimp when it comes to cheeses other than cheddar or mozzarella).

You're then going to cover the eggs, turn the heat to low/med-low and forget to take a picture. You want the cheese to melt and the eggs to finish cooking. If your eggs take a little longer than just melted cheese point, there's no harm in the cheese melting a little farther onto the pan. Nom nom!

And there we have it. The most delicious breakfast that I've had in a while. It doesn't even have bacon! Although now that I said that, I'm thinking of how bacon and toast would make this the best breakfast sandwich ever...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rose Hips

The rose hips near my work are back in season -- I need to go pick more within the next couple of days as well. I currently have about 1 month's supply of rose hips, and made rose hip syrup as well.

This was a 10-mins effort on my part, and it resulted in 1 month's worth of rosehips. Due to the amount that I had, I wound up working them in three batches.

This is 1/3 of what I picked, ready to go in the oven to dry.

As I cut the rose hips in half, and remove the seeds prior to drying, above is the amount of waste from 1/3 of the rosehips.

Sadly, the first batch was overbaked due to an oversight on my part (the oven was too warm at one point as I had made pizza). What's amusing about this batch is that they puffed up in a strange way. They look more like nuts (hollow, puffy nuts), than like a dried fruit-like substance.

Here are batches 1 and 2 combined. Look at the difference in colors!

As I was too lazy and busy to complete the third batch in this manner, I wound up making rose hip syrup with the final third.

Here they are boiling -- add just enough water to cover the fresh rose hips (mine were a WEE bit dried). Boil for 10-15 mins, then strain the rose hips out and add honey in a 2:1 ratio, rose hip water to honey.

There's the small amount of syrup that I have. I have the suspicion that it will taste better with some warm spices, but we'll find out.