Saturday, May 26, 2012

taco night

Tonight for supper I made turkey tacos inspired by the turkey mustard burger from here. The tacos themselves were inspired by a recent lunch I had outside our local Whole Foods - they had grilled salmon tacos with asian slaw. Yum. But as neither of my men like fish, I did turkey instead. But I did want to try an asian slaw at home. I had a bag of broccoli slaw and I made an asian vinaigrette based on a recipe from on of my favorite cookbooks, Rebar Modern Food Cookbook. It was delicious.

Asian Vinaigrette (adapted from a recipe from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook)
2 tsp chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c mixed lemon and lime juice (I didn't have enough limes for 1/4 c)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp agave syrup (or honey)
1/2 tsp thai chili sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 c canola oil

Add the ingredients together in a jar, cover and shake well. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sock organizers

I made these little things back in December when I should have been making cookies and wrapping presents. As often happens when I have a long list of things to do, I get distracted by an odd idea and go down that path instead of doing the things on my list and making things a bit less stressful on myself. But I digress.

Our boy has a bed with big drawers underneath it, mainly as his room is tiny and we wanted a way to eliminate as much furniture as possible, we chose a bed with storage built in. But three large drawers means that most of his clothes are in a big jumble and it is hard to find things. Especially small things like socks. So when I was searching for gift ideas back in December I came across a pattern for a bread basket at GarnStudio. And I thought it might make a really great sock organizer. So I made one out of some red wool I had in my wool basket.

And it did make a really great sock organizer. Of course, when I took all the socks out of the miscellaneous drawer (pyjamas, swim suits, underwear, socks, gloves, mitts, etc) I had such a big pile of socks that I had almost more than one baskets worth. So someday I need to make another red sock organizer. Because the idea worked so well that I made a blue basket, to hold underwear.

One of these days, I will knit the pattern in the suggested cotton because I'm sure it will make a fabulous bread basket.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

lemon poppy seed cupcakes

One of our boy's favorite treats is a visit to "Starbocks" where he can get some warm hot chocolate and some cake. By cake, he means lemon poppy seed loaf. And a few weeks ago, I picked up a package of mini lemon poppy seed cupcakes as a snack and the boy was in love. And keeps asking for them. So the other day, while driving to work, it occurred to me that I should/could make cupcake versions of these for the boy using Molly's lemon yogurt cake and adding poppy seeds. So I bought lemons and poppy seeds and the other day, I made them. In the end, because I had Bon Appetit magazine on the counter with a lemon loaf recipe in it, I used that recipe instead of Molly's. (Her book is upstairs, in my bedside reading pile as I reread it occasionally. I highly recommend it.)

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes (from Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 c sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
3/4 c greek yogurt
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Spray muffin tins (I used regular and mini tins) with vegetable oil spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. In a bigger bowl, rub the sugar with the lemon zest until well mixed. Add the yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend. Add the flour mixture and mix until blended. Blend in the poppy seeds.

Pour (or scoop) into tins.

Bake for 18 minutes and check for doneness, the cake tops spring back to the touch or a tester inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

These are a hit and I need to make more as they are almost all gone (accompanied by the happy cupcake dance on a few occasions).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

layered tortilla casserole

When I read Dana's post featuring this recipe, I knew I would make a version of it. I bought portobello mushrooms and swiss chard but by last night, when I came to make this the chard was severely wilted and did not recuscitate in cold water, so I picked some of ours from the garden (yes!). But my plans for the sauce went awry from the beginning. I was having one of those days when things don't go right, so when I couldn't get the jar of roasted red peppers open, that I was planning to use in the sauce instead of the pasilla peppers Dana called for, I took it as a sign that I wasn't going to use red peppers in my casserole. Instead I made a bechamel sauce in place of the sauce and the cream in the recipe, and added creamed corn. It worked for us, my husband's gerd stomach was happy and we thought it was delicious.

Layered Tortilla Casserole (based on a recipe from Dana Treat)

For Sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
420 mL milk
1 can (396 mL) creamed corn
½ tsp. ground cumin
For the mushroom layer:
2 medium portabello mushrooms, black gills scraped out, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ bunch of chard, leaves stripped off the stalks, roughly chopped
For the casserole:
1 small white onion, diced
1 can 396 mL black beans, drained
8 flour tortillas, halved
6 ounces feta cheese

Make the sauce:
Melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the flour and the milk and whisk until smooth. Heat to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and corn and seasoning to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Make the  beans:
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and a large pinch of salt.  Cook until brown in spots, about 10 minutes, then add the beans. Process to a rough paste in a food processor adding water or bean broth to thin the beans, if necessary, to an easily spreadable, but not runny, consistency.  Taste and season with salt.
Make the mushroom filling:
Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a large pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to give off their liquid.  Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the chard leaves and sauté until the chard is nice and soft and the pan is mostly dry, about 10 minutes.  Taste for salt and season as needed.
Assemble the casserole:
Spread about 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of an 8×12-inch baking dish.  Put down a layer of tortillas, just barely overlapping.  Top with the beans, another layer of tortilla halves, another 1/3 of the sauce, and half the cheese.  Top with the mushroom mixture.  Add a final layer with the remaining tortilla halves, remaining sauce, and cheese.  I added some grated parmesan on on the top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes to firm up, then cut into squares.

Friday, May 18, 2012

time flies by

It occurred to me the other day that our boy is almost done with his first year of kindergarten. How did that happen so fast? 

We’ve had our challenges this year, everything from our boy not being all that keen to work on printing “it’s too hard”, to emails from the school about little boy transgressions (too many of those). But we’ve had fun too, concerts and projects

 and discovering math and parties and outings and birthday parties and word games and quoi de neufs to get ready for (show and tell). This month’s subject is “what do I want to be when I grow up”. Our boy has a whole list from tank/plane/warship driver to all kinds of sports playing – tennis, hockey, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. I’m not quite sure which one(s) will make the grade for his actual presentation and drawing. We have a couple of weeks to figure it out. 

Along the way our boy has developed a fascination for the Titanic, warships, sharks and airplanes. I should say that the warships and airplanes he comes by naturally as my husband loves these as well. So my guys spend lots of time building Lego ships, warships, planes, etc. And then the small boy sinks them in the bath or runs them over with a big truck or something and they start all over again. The most surprising new interest has been our boy’s sudden and recent passion for sports. He’s played soccer for two years and loves it and adores swimming lessons (all that diving and splashing). This year there are the school yard games of tetherball, handball, freeze tag, and something I think called “backshoe backshoe”. Earlier in the spring he started playing ball hockey in his after-school club boy “gang” and became extremely interested in hockey which lead to watching baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and car racing. He always wants to play hockey and lately has taken to “versing” us for a game after supper. The rules are somewhat flexible and seem to favour him highly but it is all fun. Although my man and I are somewhat at a disadvantage with the tiny sticks. The boy also discovered tennis rackets in the garage and now wants to “verse” us in tennis (and teach him how to play at the same time). Due to the sudden hockey fascination I signed the boy up for field hockey.

 It is very funny to watch about 8 boys and 65 girls all on the same field. The boys tend to stay in a pack and do things like hook their sticks into the net and hang off it like monkeys or chase each other around the net, while the girls are either doing all their drills or cart wheeling down the sidelines. He’s also doing Sport Ball and Bike Camp with his after school club. And for summer we have a week of skimboard/skateboard camp, tennis camp and soccer development, in between weeks of regular summer camp with trips to water parks, beaches, bike rides, zoos, etc.

 Last night, during Lego construction (after the hockey game), the boy and his dad got into a heated discussion about the placement of radar on the deck and structure on his Lego warship. The boy wanted the ship radar to be bigger and more prominent than the airplane radar. All of this leaves me completely at a loss. I count myself lucky that I can distinguish between different types of warships (frigates vs. aircraft carriers) but that is about it.

 Which leaves me my roles as driver, snack carrier, equipment manager, school liaison, and backpack stocker, event and play date coordinator? And of course, dispenser of hugs, cuddles and band aids. It’s good to know where I stand.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

baking french bread

Yesterday, I decided to give the 4 hour french baguette recipe, featured in this months Saveur magazine a try.

So I mixed hot water and yeast (I had to use my meat thermometer for the water temperature so it was a bit of a guess), added flour and salt

and kneaded. My dough looked much wetter than the pictures in the magazine and while I was tempted to add a bunch of flour I only used the flour sprinkled on the counter to ease the stickiness. Then waited. Then shaped. And waited. Then shaped some more and waited.

Then baked. And voila. Three baguettes.

 I didn't have either ice cubes or a cast iron pan so I used a regular baking pan and cold water instead. The ends of the loaves were a bit questionable as they were longer than the parchment so fell into the oven rack and left the baguettes with knob like ends. So note to self, keep the loaves to the parchment paper size next time. But overall, I'm happy with the result for my first attempt.