Eggs Benedict 7 2014

Eggs Benedict with Avocado

There was a break in the humidity this weekend which allowed us to take advantage of weather to do a lot of little chores in the garden.  I am a bit worried about the potatoes as the leaves are looking a worse for wear.  After some research I realised that we aren’t given enough nutrients for them.  Hopefully I can get that sorted this week. 

Still no sign of the parsnips.  I mean none sprouted.  I find it really strange so I’m wondering if the packet of seeds was any good.  Keeping fingers crossed we chased off the rabbits again this year.  We were dealing with squirrels and the rabbits snuck in.  One was bold.  I ran towards it making all sorts of noise and it just looked at me.  Guess I need to work on my technique. 

After several hours of puttering about I was in the mood for a hearty lunch.  I had an avocado and some homemade ciabatta bread so it was a small leap to eggs benedict.  Makes sense, right?

As delicious as this meal is there is some of juggling with the prep to get it all done at the same time.  I made a half recipe from the Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook as a 1/2 cup was enough.  Set up the ciabatta to be toasted and buttered, then set up the eggs to be poached

If you are new to hollandaise sauce definitely use a double boiler.  When I started I didn’t have one and so learned in a small saucepan. 

In the pan over very low heat whisk two small egg yolks.

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These need to be whisked but not so much you scramble them.  Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and slowly add 1/8lb of melted butter while stirring.

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Slowly add a tablespoon of hot water, dash of cayenne pepper, and salt to taste.  Stir for a minute or so until thickened.  

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Layer the bread, avocado, poached eggs, and the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

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This is such a treat when the egg is cut into and the yolk blends with the hollandaise sauce.

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After a hard morning working in the garden this was a great reward. 

Fig pizza 6 2014

Fig Pizza and Big Victories

A few years ago the leash that we used to walk Guinness wore out and my husband made a big mistake in tasking me to go online and see what hours the humane society was open.  Suddenly he hears me call out to him to come and look at the photo of the cutest dog.  We had been thinking about getting another dog but we were having a hard time pairing one with Guinness.  Guinness had been termed an inappropriate punk.  He is a lovely dog but is insecure around other dogs and tries to dominate them.  So we kept failing.

But this day we trooped down to the humane society to meet this goofy dog.  They did warn us that he was on prozac and that was my big oops.  We don’t know Murphy’s history but we do know he spent 6 months in 3 different humane societies.  But I thought we should take him off the meds.  Try training, that sort of thing.  It’s been a tough few years.  It took him a long time to trust us, understandably, and while he was a sweetheart in the home, he was a nut job on the walks.  His anxiety overran any attempts for him to listen.  He isn’t malicious just a big nut job.  We were despairing with my back being thrown out and my husband starting to feel it as well. 

There is now light at the end of the tunnel!  We found a new harness that fits him better and a low dose med that takes the edge off of him without making him a drooling fool.  We still wanted Murphy to be Murphy.  I was able to take him back to training this past week and it’s been amazing.  He’s listening and we aren’t being jerked around.  I can’t tell you how big a victory this is for us!  I’m not dreading the walks, woot!

In the midst of all this the kids were getting ready to head to Florida to see their grandparents so for their last night here I made a light meal for us.  Given that figs are in season I thought it would be fun to do a pizza with naan using the figs. 

I grilled the naan on a cast iron grill until it was almost cooked.

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While the naan is cooking chop up a shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil until softened.

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I am late to the whole fig thing.  But now I love it when fig season swings round.  It works so well with many different recipes.  And I love it with the saltiness of prosciutto.

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Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.  Layer the naan with the shallots and garlic, figs, prosciutto, and goat cheese.  Fontina also works for this.

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Bake until the cheese is warmed and melty. 

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This is perfect with a small side salad.  The tomatoes in the picture are the last we’ll buy in awhile as our tomatoes are starting to ripen.  Can’t wait to start eating them!

And oh get this!  I finally have a preview button.  :)  They never responded to my note to support but at least I’m seeing positive changes. 

 

Strawberry rhubarb crumble 8 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Ginger Crumble, Now That’s a Mouthful!

The past couple of days our strawberries have been coming in and they are so delicious.  The netting over them has worked very well and the birds just have to do without!  Unfortunately they weren’t ready for the crumble we made for Father’s Day so I had to buy the strawberries.

Conor Bofin recently posted a recipe for rhubarb crumble with ginger.  As soon as our rhubarb was ready I was planning on doing a strawbery rhubarb crumble as crumble is a favourite in our house and our son loves to make the topping.  Conor’s idea of adding ginger was a light bulb moment.  Ginger goes so well with fruit so I had to add it to our recipe.

Even though our strawberries weren’t ready the co-op had some lovely organic ones.

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Quarter a pound of  strawberries and place them in a small pan on medium heat.  As it starts to warm up add 1/3 cup of brown sugar.  Stir well as this starts to simmer.

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Grate fresh ginger over the strawberries.  I used a chunk that was about 1 1/2″ all the way round.  If you really like the bite of the ginger use more.

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Simmer until it becomes a chunky jam.  You don’t want the strawberries to disappear completely.  Set aside and slice the rhubarb into half inch bits.  I used 3 stalks for this.

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Mix in with the strawberries and add to the baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.  Our son made the topping from the recipe in the Pillsbury The Complete Book of Baking.  1 cup of rolled oats, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of softened butter.

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Bake for 25-35 minutes.

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I was curious as to why the topping didn’t come out as golden as it usually did.  We found out the sugar was left out!  Oops.  But hey he’s 9 and I figure it doesn’t hurt for him to see why all the ingredients are important.  And I love the fact he wants to bake so I’m not stopping him!  Plus we were serving it with ice cream.  So we were fine.

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Adding ginger was a hit and it really worked well with the ice cream.

Pizza burrito 6 2014

A Hawaiian Twist For A Fun Dinner

We woke up to snow this morning.  Typical.  I was so hoping that the warmer days would have continued this week so I could get out in the garden and start getting veg in.  I’m getting a bit antsy to be outside!

Even though it was the last bit of tax season and all the craziness that goes along with it I was able to get some cooking done this past weekend.   I found a pin for a fun sandwich to make though unfortunately no recipe was attached so I just used it as an inspiration.   Our son calls this a pizzarito.  It’s a hawaiian themed pizza burrito.  So easy to make and the kids love it.

This is also great for when you don’t have a ton of time for dinner.  The longest bit is getting the chicken grilled.  Marinate thin bits of chicken breast in the BBQ sauce of your choice.

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Slice up some red onion and pineapple.  For those that love jalepenos slice up a few as well.  It adds a nice bite.

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Lay out a wrap and spoon the BBQ sauce and spread it out.   We used a somewhat sweet sauce but I’d recommend something on the spicy side to balance the sweetness of the pineapple.   Layer the sliced grilled chicken with the onion, pineapple, and cheese.  Then layer ham over the top.

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Wrap tightly then heat up using a panini press or on the stove top like a grilled cheese.

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Cut in half and serve immediately.

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It was delicious and perfect for a fun dinner with the kids.

And now that tax season is over I get to finally start catching up with all the posts!  I’ve missed reading them all.  :)

Jambalaya 5 2013

Jambalaya – The Cure for Odds and Sods

I usually try to be very good with using the ingredients on hand in an efficient way.  Pick a protein and do a few meals with it, that sort of thing.  Once in awhile we go overboard with different things to eat and suddenly I’m faced with several things that need to be used up if we don’t want it all to go to waste.  This week I opened the fridge to be faced with a chicken breast, some kielbasa, and rabbit sausage.  What to do, what to do.

I’ve never been to New Orleans but I love the food and music.  There is a sense that corsets were never as tight as they were up here.  There is a great spirit to the food and music.  It’s on my bucket list to swing by.  :)  I do love a good jambalaya and thought it would be perfect to use up the different proteins in one dish.  It is also a very easy dish to throw together on a week night when there are sports and school meetings.

Our pepper plants are still going strong so I grabbed a few hot peppers to use.

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I chopped up half an onion, several cloves of garlic, the peppers, and the meat.   In a skillet with hot olive oil I sauteed the onions and garlic for a few minutes then added the peppers and the meat.

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While this was cooking I sliced several tomatoes from our garden that are in the good cooking stage.  In other words, not good and firm for salads but perfect for stewing.  Again, didn’t want them to go to waste!

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I added about a cup of chicken stock and brought it to a simmer.  Then I added a couple of teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, some oregano, and a cajun seasoning mix.  Stir and simmer.

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I cooked some mushroom and herb rice pilaf almost to being done and then added it to the jambalaya to absorb the flavours and finish cooking.  Then it is ready to serve.

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The flavours were hearty but not heavy on the stomach which was good as my son had to dash off for an evening of running round.  :)

grandma ice cream 1 2013

Pure Joy

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best source of joy.  Take ice cream for instance.  It would be a very rare thing that it would bring a frown to someone’s face.

I have good memories of my Grandma, she was a neat lady and I would have loved to know her more but she passed away a few years after we moved over here.  I’ll have to do a proper post as she was quite the lady.  But as summer is coming to a close and ice cream shops are closing for the season I am reminded how ice cream can make you smile.

This is a photo of her getting her first ice cream sundae stateside.

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She loved it!  :)

Chicken jhalfrazi 11 2013

Chicken Jhalfrazi? Yes Please!

I enjoy a good curry and I love the seemingly infinite amount of variations you can find.  I mentioned yesterday in my Naan post that my husband made a wonderful curry.  I think it is by far my favourite to date.  It is Chicken Jhalfrazi from the “Best Ever Curry Cookbook” and it is quick and easy with amazing flavours.

We followed the recipe the best we could but didn’t have all the ingredients the way they called it out so we adapted it a bit.  And we adjusted the portions to only feed the four of us, not an army.  :)

Chop a green bell pepper and a red bell pepper finely.

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Chop up some fresh ginger, onion, and garlic.

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The recipe calls for 1 1/2lbs of chicken breast to serve 4!  We used about 1/2 lb.  This was cut into small cubes.

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Heat up an iron cast wok with some olive oil.

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Once the oil is heated add in the veg and stir.  Then add 1-2 tablespoons of curry paste depending on your taste.  The recipe calls for 1 tsp of cumin seeds and 1 tsp of ground cumin.  We didn’t have the seeds so we upped the ground cumin a bit.  Next add 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir well then add the chicken.

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We didn’t have 14oz of canned tomatoes but we are surrounded by fresh tomatoes so we chopped up a bunch of fresh tomatoes and added it to the wok.  Stir and then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

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To serve chop up fresh cilantro and mix into the dish saving some to garnish on top.  You can also add a bit of hot peppers as a garnish like my husband did.

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It was so good!  I’ve already asked him to make it again.  :)

Where to go next 1 2013

Now where do I go?

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It’s been a year of blogging now and I’m am trying to figure out my next steps.  I was hoping I could ask my fellow bloggers for advice on what worked and what should be avoided.

Basically I would love to grow the blog where I could contribute income to our household.  What I don’t want to do is make it this crazy commercial enterprise.  I really enjoy the the community I find myself in.  I love getting to know people and hearing how they are doing.  I do not want to lose that.  I don’t like the blogs that lack warmth and personality.  I feel there isn’t any point when it gets like that.

So I feel like I’m at a crossroads on how to do this.  What have been your experiences with taking the next step.  What do you find really annoying and would turn away people?  What don’t you mind?  What would you like to see more of?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Virginia

The Green Stuff is Growing!

This is our third year of doing seedlings and each year we have different problems.  This year’s problem is everything in the middle of the seedlings dries out and the seeds grow around the outside of the planter.  We’ll have to problem solve for next year.  Fortunately we still have enough to transplant and we should have a decent crop this year.  Though I was hoping for more tomato plants but we’ll see how that goes.

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Celery can be tricky.   I have fussed with this for four years now.  The first year we bought seedlings and they did quite well.  The next year I did seedlings and more than half died as I planted them.  We got a few that were wonderful.  Last year we did much better but these little guys, until well established, will die if you look at them wrong.   I was hopeful this year as I planted more than half a tray but we ran into the middle of the tray drying out frequently.  I hope to have 12 to transplant.  Fingers crossed.  Because fresh celery in soups is fabulous!

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Peppers are doing well for the most part.  We should have a bumper crop again this year.  We were overwhelmed last year but fortunately the community kitchen takes fresh produce and we could freeze some.  We have two sweet peppers and several hot peppers.  Great for hot pepper jelly!  Love that on cheddar.

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Our green house is officially open now.  I think.  We thought so a few weeks ago then winter came back and we had to pull everything back in.  Can you believe these leeks can get to be 5 feet long?!?  The seeds are so tiny!

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We’ve been lucky so far with the pak choi.  These were transplanted earlier and so far so good.  Though we may need to risk it and transplant again.  We’re on the fence.  I’ll be direct seeding soon as well.

This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous and definitely springlike next week so it is time to get a few veg in!  So excited.  :)