Tag Archives: excuse me there is a **** in my food

excuses for no excuse


In all honesty there is no excuse for my not writing once a week, I missed last week even though I DESPERATLY wanted to get on here and type my tiny little heart out however my day job amped up AND my business amped up at the same time not to mention the family stuff and plain ol fatigue.

I do have several things to write about (if I haven’t already mentioned my hand), I did attempt this Friday night when I was waiting for a very old and dear and VERY pregnant friend for coffee. In which I was using the tiniest keyboard I have ever used which makes my fingers look like sausages and I am constantly pressing the wrong buttons then as she walked in the door I too quickly closed the page and thus my painstaking hard work and tiny words were lost in the underverse of the internets. (insert LONG sympathetic sigh here).

Finally here I am several days late explaining why I am so late. The other factor is, I almost have to be in the mood (which I am so often in the WRONG situation) and of course my best ideas strike right when I am stressed and in the middle of something VERY important. I am glad I was never commissioned for anything like Michalangelo was, I would never get anything done. The ceiling of the Sistine would be a sun dyed white to date. Alas I am here and I am writing that counts for something right??? As mom always said “No excuses”  and in all honesty there is no such thing as a good excuse. The fact is I should have remained committed to both blogs and wrote my heart out no matter the hour in the evening. So my dear flakies I apologise for my absence.

Well my nights in the kitchen have been interesting to say the least, I nearly sliced off my hand, I screamed and swore at pizza dough and I burned my face off 3 times in one week. It was BAD, for some reason most of the fam didn’t mind what I called “epic fails” they liked the extra heat in my dishes and no one died so that is a good sign too. In nearly slicing off my hand the knife skills I was teaching myself went by the wayside, I was attempting at halving a butternut squash in half to stuff with vegetarian chili luckily hubs was there to point out I was about to cut my hand off, and in a nasty way because I also discovered cutting a squash, let alone 3 of them, is really tough business.

I have since learned from my dear facebook friends (who occasionally are a wealth of knowledge when they aren’t being absolutly hysterical on thier status updates) that if you ask the produce department very nicely they will go and cut the squash for you.

I learned that one cannot substitute chipotle chili powder for regular chili powder, it doesn’t even subsitute when you halve it. Whenever one sticks it in the dish it will end up burning my face off (for spicey heat wimps like me).

Be wary of zests and how much you put in. I’ve experimented with lemons, limes and now oranges (the latter being the WORST) and always pay special attention to just how much fresh zest to put in the dish. I recommend that when orange zest and sweet potato are to be mixed with sour cream AND butter just to ignore the orange part…. and maybe the sour cream. I can’t describe what happened in my mouth though I don’t think anything can be as bad as a durian. (Apologies to those who love the durian!)

When making your favorite soup, don’t make it if you don’t have what you need to give it actual flavor, I ended up with beans in slightly flavored water which wasn’t appetizing at all.

Did I mention DON’T **&(^*^&%$ with orange zest?

So always make sure your knives are sharp, cut away from yourself, don’t stick your hand under the blade. Don’t mess with orange zest, its more punch in a teaspoon than Brock Lesner. To burn your face-off add copious amounts of Chipotle Chili powder to recipes that call for regular chili powder. If there are no parmesan cheese rinds, fresh thyme, or rosemary about, skip the soup (if it is a veggie or light chicken flavored one).

And the best part, make time for your friends, tell the ones you love them and say something positive to yourself and someone who needs it. Which in my experience is everyone.

Happy Eating!

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Breaking Boundaries and an introduction to Josephine.


I find I keep marking the opening to my posts as “It has been a while since…” which must be getting a bit tiresome.

I apologise, I do not have set writing days in my calendar, with the life I lead I take time where I can get it. Let’s face it I do put a lot more on my plate when I am eating and in life which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I am a full time parent to 6 kids, a long distance grannie, I have a full time career complete with a 1.5 hr commute. I’m a business owner (and co-owner of another company with hubs) I read, I write, I cook, I spend time with my family, visiting with friends, I recently started up crocheting (though all I did was crotchet myself into a circle) and of course I am also enslaved by a very cute feline.

Have I mentioned I am not 30 yet?? LOL Yes I have one grey hair, and I named her Josephine, we chat, we do coffee, Josephine and I are close, for a human and her grey hair.

So in short on the “un-busiest” of days I am busy.

Regardless I am forever breaking my own boundaries in food whether it be trying a new ingredient, a new dish, a different cooking style or sampling something I have never tried before. I am a bit obsessed with food and I do get really panicky in the kitchen, most people seem natural and at ease whilst cooking away, in my house it is a bit of a gong show. I’ve written before of the interesting language floating out of the room and some of the interesting food that has landed on our families plates and once “tweeted” about my encounter with a durian candy. So when I “break my boundaries” I do it in great fear, always and it doesn’t stop when I turn the burner off, I continue to worry about it LONG after it is done. I probably come across as a complete nervous wreck half of the time and a wild crazy gypsy woman the other half (have you heard me cackle?? I took lessons from mom).

Where do I begin breaking these boundaries? It starts with a recipe and then completely screwing it up by accident or on purpose and serving the end result. So it starts with me and ends with the family, and luckily so far they still love me, will still sit down at our table and eat my (or our) food. I’ve started introducing more meat free dishes into the weekly menu, I find that meat gets too much of the “celebrity status” during the big shows and I want to kind of prove that veggies (or legumes), lentils and playing with herbs can make something amazing. So far no complaints, and NO leftovers which has shocked even me. Mostly I’ve been serving up soups: Caterpillar Soup, Ginger Carrot Soup, Tomato and bean;  I made vegetarian calzones and those were a HUGE hit and now I am looking for the perfect vegetarian lasagne!

My most recent discovery has been the turnip, wow is it ever good? The smell and flavour of fresh ginger and I ate a parsnip raw which was pretty good too. Sounds like pretty plain stuff but to me it was exotic having been grown up on wholesome British/Canadian/Maltese home cookin. Mom tried to get me to try things as a kid and as far as I can remember I wasn’t happy about it, then again, what kid is? Next on the trials is going to be butternut squash, there is this macaroni dish I have been itching to try.

Now I challenge you to pick one thing out of the produce aisle you have either never tried, cooked and give it a shot! Let me know how it goes!!

Happy Eating!

 

ps- as for the durian candy, the aftertaste stayed with me after I ate, into the evening, into the night. And I kept burping it up. I suppose I should mention I didn’t even EAT the candy, I spat it out after 5 chews!

Concerning Caterpillars, a cooking success and where some recipes come from…


My mom told me a story the other day over a soup I made that reminded her of being a little girl. The soup I made for the family and took over to my parents place reminded me of being a little girl, how much I hated it when mom made that soup and how much I crave it now as a grown up (or at least most days I am). It also reminds me of the first time I threw up because I think it was what we had for dinner that night….. which could also explain why I hated it so much.

Anyhow my mom came from a home where Mondays there was a little more food in the house and come Friday, dinners were made with whatever was left from the week. Hence soup made from fresh ingredients straight from the garden, to the cutting board and into a pot into what her mother called “Manestra” or as most know it as “Minestrone.” Like me mom didn’t like the soup all that much though for entirely different reasons, her mom put in many of the ingredients below, celery, carrots as well as cabbage all from the garden. Sometimes there were other additions to the soup which my mom and her sisters discovered on their own like noticing that celery when chopped looks like caterpillars and sometimes that spoonful of celery really wasn’t a spoonful of celery, it ended up being a spoonful of caterpillars thus beginning my mom’s distaste for the soup which as time passed on became a soup that became a reminder of home, being a little kid and being with her mom, dad and siblings.

And so I learn of this tale over a warm bowl of my own version of the soup, greatly enjoyed and has now nestled a little corner of my heart where I have warm loving thoughts of being a kid, sharing in our heritage, memories of my mom and nana all wrapped into one cozy and delicious package.

Happy Eating and Enjoy

Caterpillar Soup (Minestrone Soup)

Kitchen Gadgets required: Stove/hot plate, large pot, cutting surface, and knife, can opener, grater (unless cheese is purchased grated and a vegetable peeler if you have one.

Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to your “heat” preference)
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 medium sized onions chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 medium parsnip chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 2 small-medium sized zucchini diced (I took the “skin” off too)
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can of 9 bean mixture (I used great value) rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can of Alymyer Italian Stewed or diced tomatoes
  • 2 boxes of Campbells Organic Vegetable Soup Stock
  • 2 cups shell type pasta
  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Flakey Butter Buns

 

Heat the large soup pot over med-high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 tbs) red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, cook until they start to go soft about 5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, add rosemary, bay leaf and zucchini until they soften. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, put on the soup lid & bring to a bubble.

Cook soup for 8 minutes @ a rolling simmer add the pasta and cook until el dente’ (approx 7 minutes). Remove pot from heat, take out rosemary twigs (leaves will have fallen off while cooking) and bay leaf.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve with flakey buns and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Serves 5 with seconds and maybe thirds.

*optional – cook the soup with the rind of fresh parmesan cheese to create a cheesy taste, remove prior to serving.