Sunday, March 30, 2014

broccoli love

I guess it was fitting that the week we added raw broccoli to the boy's food list (he likes raw veggies much better than cooked), I found a broccoli recipe that we adults love. LOVE. I even, this week, made a huge batch for a potluck and it got rave reviews there as well.
I prefer the florets slightly smaller than I made them here so that is how I make it now

Usually, my broccoli consumption is entirely dependant on a pairing with cheese of some sort, as in broccoli in cheddar sauce or as broccoli cauliflower in blue cheese sauce over rice (a Delia Smith recipe from her How to Cook series that I made for years). This one comes from Molly at remedial eating and is delicious. The first time I made it, it was inhaled so I doubled up on the broccoli for the second time out and we got enough for leftovers.

Asian Broccoli with Cashews (adapted very slightly from remedial eating)
2 lbs of broccoli, cut into florets and the stalks cut into half inch pieces
1 tbsp red miso (the original calls for 2 tbsp white miso which I didn't have)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2-4 tsp grated ginger (this is optional, I left it out for the potluck and it was still wonderful)
1 c roasted, salted cashews, chopped coarsely
1/4 c toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the broccoli in salted water for about 6 minutes and then drain well. While the broccoli is cooking, add miso, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger to a small jar. Shake well to mix.

When the broccoli is drained, add it to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix well with hands or salad tongs. Add cashews, sesame seeds and spring onions and mix again. Serve warm or cold.
Asian broccoli served with bento pork - a great combination

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's been a while

Sorry for dropping off the screen for so long. We've been busy with stuff - work, school, homework, soccer, swimming, loose teeth ( a certain boy has lost 2 so far this week), birthdays, parties, etc.

felt Christmas decorations

shark birthday cake for boy's 8th birthday

pals test paper boats at the beach

warrier boy at the beach

But mostly what has been consuming my thoughts and any spare energy I have is something that came onto our radar last summer. A couple of lovely people working with our boy at his school suggested that our boy might be on the autism spectrum, so began a new path for us. We recently had the "official" determination in the form of an assessment which did confirm that our boy is indeed on the spectrum. What used to be called aspergers and now is part of the autism spectrum disorder. As with anything, this brings positives (provincial funding for support for our boy and an upgrade in support at school) and negatives. So far, to be fair, most of the negatives are in my head as most people we've opened up to about this have been so understanding and helpful and supportive. With the benefit of financial support, we decided to tackle one of our long standing issues with the boy - his eating. We found an exceptional group of women whose job it is to help children with eating issues. And in the few weeks since we started the therapy, we have been amazed by our boy's progress.

It has been, fingers crossed, mostly good days lately. As we get to know what works with the boy and what doesn't we are navigating our way through. And spring is on its way!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

corned beef hash

It wasn't something I planned on doing, but standing in the butcher shop a few weeks back, I spied a lump of meat labelled corned beef. And feeling in an adventurous mood, I picked it up. I got home and googled how to do it and was taken aback at the preparation. It isn't hard, but the instruction to brine something for 10 days is a bit of a surprise when you don't know what is involved. I went with Alton Brown's recipe for corned beef, when in doubt he's a good go to.

Corned Beef (adapted slightly from Alton Brown)
8 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 lbs ice
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
In a large saucepan or stock pot, add the water, salt, sugar and spices and cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the ice and let cool. To a large zip lock bag, add the meat and the brine solution. Put the bag into a container and place in the fridge for 10 days, checking periodically to make sure the meat is submerged in the brine solution. (Note: the recipe calls for salt peter which I didn't have, which keeps the meat pink. Mine stayed pinkish with out it).
After 10 days, remove the meat from the brine and rinse well in cool water. In a pot just big enough to hold the meat, add the meat, onion, carrot and celery and enough water to cover the meat completely. Bring to a boil over high heat and then simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Slice thinly (if your meat doesn't fall apart) and serve.
I served the corned beef with roasted potatoes and carrots for supper. Then a couple of nights later I made corned beef hash with the leftovers.
Corned Beef Hash (inspired by a variety of sources and the memory of one my mum used to make)
4 c frozen hash brown potatoes
 1 lb of corned beef, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
a handful of button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 small dill pickles, diced
1 tsp of worchestershire sauce
1/2 c vegetable stock
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and peppers over medium high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the mustard, pickles, worchestershire sauce, potatoes, corned beef and stock and let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often to keep everything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more stock if the mixture gets too dry. Serve with or without a fried egg on top. It is completely worth brining your own corned beef to make corned beef hash. Delicious.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

keep on tryin'

So one of my challenges now is, to see if I can limit the amount of refined sugar and chocolate in our boy's diet.Of course, chocolate is it's own food group for him so this will be a challenge. And we got the suggestion the week before Hallowe'en.

our bald eagle takes flight?
So I didn't start right away. I mean I know parents who take their kids trick or treats away from them and sub in no sugar, no chocolate organic candy but I'm not that organized and my boy knows, to the piece, what he got in his bag and would not be on board with me taking anything but the twizzlers away. So I'm starting now. My first experiment is with granola bars. These are a big part of his food intake right now and I'm not proud of that but for me it is a way of getting cereal into him. So I rootled around google the other day and found this recipe and thought I would give it a go. I have yet to have the boy's take on whether they fly or not, but my husband likes them.

Chewy Granola Bars (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
1 c rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 c rice krispie cereal
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp oat flour (I used ground rolled oats)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c brown rice syrup
1 pack stevia
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp applesauce
1 handful each of chopped dried cherries, cocoa nibs and mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined, well greased 8x8 pan and squish the mixture very flat (with a can). Bake for 18 minutes, then squish down again. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before cutting. Keep refrigerated to set.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

back in the swing

Erm - we were having a few technical difficulties over here, as in our hard drive packed up and left on holidays and we had to get a replacement. Still, we had a lovely, sunny summer with picnics at the beach and lots of fruit galettes. And crepes. Have you read Molly's ode to crepes? I love the way she makes everything she writes about seem so doable. So I have - made crepes several times this summer. Usually of a weekend morning, if fact, one morning, after hearing me putter around in the kitchen, my husband was most put out when it turned out, on that particular morning, that I hadn't been making crepes. So the crepe recipe is a hit. Also a hit has been Deb's burst tomato, corn and zucchini galette. We've had it most weeks since she posted the recipe, sometimes more than once. Hopefully, I'll remember this recipe next summer.

And one night, I had the galette filling and a stack of crepes in the fridge, so I combined the two. It was a lovely idea and made a delicious patio dinner outside, with the wasps. We didn't let them join in with us, though.

Molly's Crepes from remedial eating
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup flour, unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat
1 1/4 cup milk, ideally 2% or higher
3 tablespoons salted butter

Add the eggs to a mixing bowl, along with the salt and sugar. Whisk well, for about 30 seconds. Add half of the flour and half of the milk and whisk until no lumps remain. Then add the rest of the flour and milk and whisk again until no lumps remain. Melt the butter in your crepe pan. Pour 2 tbsp into your crepe batter and reserve the rest to grease your crepe pan. Use a 1/3 or 1/4 c measure to bring the crepe batter to the pan, swirl the batter until the bottom of the pan is covered and cook until the edges start to curl and brown. Flip and cook until slightly brown. Transfer to a plate and continue cooking until all the batter is gone. The crepes keep in the fridge for a few days, layered between sheets of wax paper and well wrapped in plastic wrap.You can also freeze them.

Filling - burst tomato, zucchini and corn from smitten kitchen
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher
3 cups grape tomatoes
1 ear corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (or substitute 1 medium eggplant, diced and roasted)
1/2 bundle green onions, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves, sliced thinly
1/2 cup grated parmesan

In a saute pan, heat the oil. Add the tomatoes and salt and heat over medium high heat until the tomatoes have burst. Add the zucchini and cook for about 2 minutes, lowering the heat slightly. Add the corn and cook for another minute. Take the mixture off the heat and add the onions and basil.

To assemble the crepes, sprinkle a couple of pinches of parmesan over 1/4 of the crepe (triangle), add a couple of tablespoons of filling and then fold the crepe over the filling (in half, then in quarters). Continue until all the crepes or filling are used up. Place the filled crepes on a baking sheet and heat in a 350 deg F oven for about 10 minutes until the crepes are warmed through and the cheese is melted. Serve with a thin bechamel if desired.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

summer fruit galettes

The other day, there were lovely plums and peaches available at the fruit stand, so I bought some of both, thinking of making fruit galettes. I made my usual sweet dough pie dough and used an Ina Garten recipe as a jumping off point and turned out a lovely plum galette which was given away and then today, a peach galette.

Summer Fruit Galette (inspired by Summer Fruit Crostata from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home)

Dough (from Laura Calder)
1 c + 2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c butter, cold, diced
3-4 tbsp cold water

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt and sugar and whiz until blended. Add the butter and pulse briefly so the butter is in large chunks through the flour. Add the vanilla and the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse briefly until the dough starts to come together. Remove from the processor, press together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

1 1/2 lb fruit, sliced into wedges (plums, peaches)
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lemon juice
half a lemon's worth of zest
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Add the fruit to a bowl. Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, juice and zest and mix.

Preheat the oven to 450 deg F. Remove the dough from chilling and roll out into a 12" circle. Move the dough onto parchment paper, add the fruit filling over the center of the dough, evenly spreading it out to an inch or so of the edge. Fold the pastry over the fruit, towards the center, pleating the dough as you go around the pie. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle about 3/4 of it over the pie (over the crust and the fruit center). Bake the pie for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.

Monday, August 5, 2013

escape to the rock

Recently Molly has been writing about family traditions. And I was hard pressed to come up with our family traditions. It suddenly hit me on our long drive south to this place, for the seventh year in a row (I counted in my head) that this was one of our traditions. I should have realized earlier of course. And that our boy a few weeks earlier had called it, "our cottage in Oregon" should have been a big clue.

The drive down was fairly uneventful, no long border lines, no crazy traffic jams, only a slow drive from Seaside to Cannon Beach thanks to a utility pole replacement. This year it took some electronic amusements for the boy to stop the inevitable antsiness that sets in around hour 6 of the drive - the fascination for big trucks has waned but luckily the logging trucks in and around Longview Wa still entrall. We hit the beach and the boy immediately ran into the freezing surf and emerged half soaked before we made our way to the tidal pools around Haystack Rock. Luckily for this visit, low tide was mid-morning and early evening which allowed lots of time for exploring the tidal pools. There was also a morning riding fun cycles, some afternoon kite flying, a hike in Ecola State Park, and afternoon BBQ lunch, the usual digging in the sand and a beach bonfire while watching the sun go down. A lovely break from our regular busy days.