I've prepared a little printable with a blueberry jam recipe from Wild Berries and a couple of labels for a jar, in case you want to give a gift to your neighbour, or something. The recipe is in English and in Swampy Cree, also known as n-dialect Cree from the Cross Lake, Norway House area. Illustrations by Julie Flett. Translation by Jennifer Thomas. This printable is here with permission from the author.Read More
Just made a large honey cake and it turned out really well — here are my recipe notes before I forget:
· replaced 1 cup honey with 1/2 cup lemon infused honey + 1/4 cup plain honey + 1/4 cup ginger simple syrup
· replaced orange juice with lemonade
· replaced whiskey with Fentiman's ginger brew (ginger beer would be perfect)
· replaced coffee with chai
Kid-friendly version up on the windy blog
The last month or so, there have been loads of sweet limes at the market. I'm not sure if they were always around and I just didn't notice, or if there's a new importer in town (if that's how the fruit business works...). I had never tried these before, they sort of taste like sweet water with a slight essence of kaffir lime leaves. This salad, with soft baby spinach, fried tofu, fresh basil and pistachios was really good. Sort of mellow and juicy. It is also nice with curried almonds or seeds instead of pistachios.
This is a family portrait ( a portrait of toy animals, not of us!) I'm really just posting to remind myself of an accidentally good dinner we made last night with leftovers, and we want to remember the recipe. The base was Spaghetti with Cauliflower & Speck from citrus and candy.
Our Greek version: Sauteé a handful of cherry tomatoes with basil & oregano and generous olive oil until softened and just beginning to blacken. Set aside with a few handfuls of fresh spinach. In the same pan, crisp up some pancetta, speck or serrano ham in more olive oil. Add in a few cloves thinly sliced garlic + zest of one lemon + chili oil + a handful of kalamata olives, roughly chopped. Deglaze with white wine. Return tomatoes to pan with fresh spinach + chopped parsley. Mix in pan. Squeeze half a lemon over the top. When the spinach is wilted, crumble some feta on top. Season generously with black pepper. Serve on top of pasta.
Our soundtrack to spring seems to be hannah georges.
Firtsly, coconut milk and cacao powder with coffee in the morning instead of dairy milk. This makes you feel so good (and this is the first time I've been able to get milk out of my diet). I do: 1/8 cup coconut milk, I heaping teaspoon cacao powder and 3/4 cup iced coffe + a tiny squeeze of honey. Shake, pour over ice. Hot version is at modern parents, messy kids. Time to make: about 3 minutes.
Secondly, coconut cosmetics — I bought some extra virgin coconut oil for cooking and baking. I mixed a little bit with some vitamin e oil, put it in a little empty tea tin, and now I have eye cream. And I didn't test it on any animals. Time to make: about 2 minutes.
Thirdly, I tried this lime-coconut marinade. Super, super good. Time to make: about 20 minutes.
Updated: fourthly! You can make magic shell (you know, that chocolate that you squeeze onto ice cream and it immediately hardens into a shell) out of chocolate and coconut oil. And you can make a nice ice cream from coconut milk, strawberries & honey...on and on.
This is an idea taken from the kitchen counter cooking school: flatbread and egg pizza. Spread olive oil on flatbread, crack an egg on top. Add in leftovers. Top with a little cheese, salt and pepper + any herbs or spices. Bake at 350 C until the egg is set. We're going to keep some frozen flatbread in the freezer from now on for this. I think it's about 3 minutes of prep + 10–20 minutes cook time.
One of the themes I really enjoyed in the kitchen counter cooking school was avoiding food waste. I always feel badly throwing out food. I find it helps to buy less food so I can see what I have in the fridge. But then, there's also finding ways to use up leftovers. Doing up a kitchen-sink omelette is ok, but I really only need a few omelettes and frittata a year — I'm not crazy about them.
For this pizza I baked a couple of slices of bacon and some plain broccoli in the oven until the bacon was golden brown — then I stirred it up to coat the broccoli. I put a little olive oil on 2 pieces of frozen naan, cracked an egg on top of each one. Added in the baked broccoli and bacon on top and a little parmesan, coarse salt and pepper. I think this would be amazing with fresh mozzarella or feta and leftover pasta sauce — I love tomatoes and eggs.
I must have pinned this recipe on pinterest at least 4 times: Mark Bittman's no-knead bread originally from the New York Times and laid out in clear steps on simply so good. This takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, but it does take about 19 hours to be ready. It turns out really well.
When I made it, I didn't have very much white flour, so I used whole wheat. Then I realized my biggest, heaviest pot was already making stew and all the dough didn't all fit in my mini copco cast iron pot, so I cut it in half and baked half the amount for ten minutes less. The remainder I kept in the fridge overnight. It all turned out fine, so it's a pretty resilient recipe.
I'm just reading about this same bread in the kitchen counter cooking school and found I have been measuring flour incorrectly my whole life. I scoop, then level. You must scoop with one cup, pour it into another, then level. Otherwise, you get too much flour in your recipes. My baking has always been a little bit dense — now I know why.
Healthy breakfast gingerbread from
sweetened with honey.
Read more: Gingerbread uses only egg whites and curd uses yolks — perfect match. The mollasses in the gingerbread is probably the only thing standing between my son and anemia right now — that kid only wants to eat noodles.
is one of my most used cookbooks — I've had it since I was 20. All the baking in it is low fat, which I prefer. I don't like oily quick breads.
My husband is very suspicious of runny textures, and only tried a tiny bit of the curd to make me happy, but then put it all over his gingerbread, so I think it's a hit. Probably I could have let the curd thicken another two minutes.
In my ongoing search for very quick recipes which don't really require me to look at a recipe: Pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce (^ these are leftovers for lunch). This would be good with any squash pasta.
Recipe: Chop up handful of fresh sage. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan — melt. When the butter is just turning golden drop in sage (+ 1 thinly slice clove garlic, optional) and let it crisp for a minute. Toss in cooked, drained pasta.
Serve with green salad with lemon & olive oil (I added in candied nuts and goat cheese to the salad and it was pretty good). Season generously with course salt and fresh pepper. Top with parmesan or goat cheese if you like.
Time: about 5 minutes prep, 2 minutes for sauce + pasta cooking time.
I picked this up last month and have been reading bits and pieces when I have a few minutes. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn is sort of a book version of what I wish Top Chef was. It's a book about cooking, but not so much about recipes, but just how to actually cook and become the type of person that can glance in the fridge and whip something up.
The book is structured around a series of free workshops and cooking classes that Kathleen gave to 9 women.
She profiles their personalities, their home life, what's in their cupboards and why, their emotions about cooking, and follows them shopping. It's working, because (I am halfway through the book) and one of her students is refusing to hold a knife with the proper technique. I am on the edge of my seat to find out why she won't hold it correctly. That's good storytelling. But after all, I sometimes refuse to hold my knife properly, metaphorically speaking. I dislike new software, for example. Sometimes, I don't want to meet a new person or go to a new place. When I was teaching there was a student like this in most classes. It's interesting to me why we resist change sometimes.
OK, anyway, I've been trying it out: free cooking instead of recipe following. It is faster, it is better, it is cheaper. I want to go on about the other things in this book that I like, for example she looks at how advertising has impacted the average American's confidence in being able to cook, or the issue of food waste, sustainable and humane farming and the cultural implications of fast food, but I must get back to work.
So, two things I've picked so far:
— make a big batch of caramelized onions, like this recipe, and freeze in 1/2 cup portions. You can add them to soups or stews later for quick flavour
— don't buy the boxes of macaroni and cheese for your children (not the "healthy" types either) except for emergency pantry supplies. Boil up some pasta and add in grated cheese, olive oil and milk in the pot. The preservatives in the powder are very bad for children and the product is designed to simulate the taste of grated parmesan and olive oil on pasta anyway, so why use the powder. It's just as fast to grate some cheese. You can sneak in flax seed oil, too.
I am in love with this smoky, spicy apple & squash soup recipe from Jeanette Ordas of everybody likes sandwiches at poppytalk. It's really easy and really good, and I don't usually like squash soup.
(I put up modifications at the windy blog if you have a small child or baby in the house, because it has some spice to it.)
This morning, Auggie told us that yellow is magic. I think he's right.
Some notes on thanksgiving menus to my future self:
I am still on the hunt for the right Thanksgiving tradition for our family — it's too warm on the west coast at this time of year for a heavy turkey dinner. I like the idea of a Harvest Festival sort of supper, fresh produce, mushrooms, chestnuts, corn and that sort of thing. Ideally, a mostly vegetarian menu. These are some ideas I've collected this year: chestnut & pear and/or pumpkin & goat cheese ravioli with a basil cream sauce and a fennel orange salad; homemade pirogues; dim sum at a restaurant.
I tried a vegetarian shepherd's pie this year, but despite putting a bottle and a half of wine in it, I found it only medium good. Try, try again.
Also: pickled beetroot is really good with turkey in a bread and butter sandwich. Maybe better than cranberry sauce or at least a nice change.
More ideas for thanksgiving: thanksgiving brunch since there are loads of berries and fruits at this time of year. Pumpkin waffles, whipped cream, warm berry syrup. Humm.
This pesto needs a generous hand with the salt and pepper. Course salt on the table is a good idea, it's easy to over- or under-season. Try not to put too in much spinach or it will lose its delicate flavour.
Spinach walnut pesto
serves 4 – 6
1 clove garlic (maybe more if serving to cool hippie children or adults)
3/4 cup walnuts
3 oz spinach (about 3 handfuls)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
3 – 4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons cold water
bunch fresh basil, stems removed
1/2 lemon: juice + zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more for the table
1. Toast the walnuts in a pan or the stove until they smell toasty. Set aside to cool.
2. Boil, drain and set aside pasta, reserving 1/2 cup water before draining.
3. Put everything else in a blender or food processor and let it blend until it is a very creamy paste. If you are serving to a picky little person make sure you give it an extra stir and an extra blend here or they will find a tiny piece of whole spinach and have a breakdown.
4. Toss together pasta, reserved water and pasta.
Unused pesto will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a couple of days.
I like to put this on the table because it's something Auggie will eat and it has protein and vegetables in it. I also like it because it's a fast vegetarian dish which has protein and isn't just cheesy pasta. Leftovers go well with everything.
We took home a book from the library recently that really caught Auggie's imagination, which was Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park. The story is about making bibimbap (which she calls mix mix rice because you mix everything up at the end) for dinner. At the end of the book is Linda's family's recipe, split into tasks for a child and an adult. We copied the steps in the book, going shopping for the ingredients and making the dish together. Auggie was really enthusiatic for all the steps, especially mixing up the ingredients at the end in his dinner plate. He wasn't so interested in really eating much of it. However, that is true of all non-noodle food and he has been more into rice, since. It was fun and maybe another little step towards being a less picky eater (sheesh). I found a simplified vegetarian recipe, Vegetable Bibimbap, via pinterest as well.