Tuesday, September 1, 2009


In case you had not noticed, this blog is on Hiatus. I kept thinking that next week I would have more energy surely and next week I would blog more. Next week keeps not coming. The truth is that between the fact that the baby is sucking the life out of me (adorable, right?) and I'm working full time from 1-9 most weekdays I just don't have it in me to run two blogs right now. I can barely handle one. Also, if I manage to have the energy to cook a fun meal, it has run out before I can blog about it. So here's a summer recap, and after that you should wander over to my other blog if you want updates. I'll try and make it back here...sometime.

The good:
- I froze lots of fruit this year, 25 lbs of strawberries, 30 lbs of blackberries, 3 lbs of huckleberries (although 2 of them were a gift) and about 30 lbs of peaches. I somehow missed raspberries, which is tragic.
- I canned 6 jars of peaches, 24 jars of asparagus pickles and 18 jars of asparagus broth.
- I also froze maybe 10 lbs of asparagus, 5 lbs of green beans and 10 or so lbs of summer squash.
- I made apricot jam (which turned super solid...apparently the pectin was overkill) and am going to make blackberry and strawberry.
- Next week I am going to can soup and tomato sauce with my mom.

Okay I actually feel better after typing that. I didn't do as much as I had hoped, but that's not too bad.

The bad:
- I have been eating way more processed food then I like to admit. Although I think I am past the frozen burrito stage. There has been a lot of triskets and breakfast cereal and some instant thai noodle lunches. This makes me sad but between having zero energry and needing to eat constantly to avoid puking or passing out, well...that's how it goes. I have been trying to aim for mostly healthy/whole grain. Also I have been buying bread, which makes me super sad (and also means I eat a lot less sandwiches). Not much for sweets though, I don't really crave them (apart from icecream...and chocolate milk) and store bought cake and cookies actually makes me throw up.

The ugly:
- My garden is the ugly. It has gone back to the wild. Plus the land lady doesn't water much...and not all her water hits my whole garden. I have been eating some peppers and tomatoes and zuchinni. Oh and the rosemary bush is pretty good. The rest is either dead or just so scrawny as to not yet be edible. This fills me with sadness. Maybe next year I will be able to do something once the baby is not on the inside anymore. But I didn't know I would be pregnant when I planted and I never guessed that I would be so sick and drained so...I try not to feel too guilty. Craig does sometimes still catch me staring at the planters crying "I'm a bad garden mommy!" and he tells me to stop it and come inside.

Ah well, I am not a perfect person, such is life! And that's my summer. Hope yours was full of fun in the sun and yummy in the tummy :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gardening | Tastes like sunshine

These are the tiny little low acid tomatoes from my Tumble Tim plant. They are sooo sweet and yummy. However they still give me heartburn...booo!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Links | Cake Wrecks

I have spent about two hours today laughing at Cake Wrecks (wow...it's my day off, okay!). She posts brutal cakes all week and then really cool ones on Sundays. It is a comedic masterpiece. My tummy hurts from the laughing (also the baby...it is aaaangry today...I keep hoping the cakes will cheer it up as well)

So when I have the baby...please no one make me this cake:

And a few more of my favourites:

Happy Mothers Day...

Cupcake Hello Kitty (which reminds me...I haven't been to Hello Kitty Hell in aaages)

Everyone's favourite literary masterpiece

A happy birthday horse head

And for the win, construction worker mermaid!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recipe | Huckleberry Chocolate Coffee Cake

Hey all, sorry about the absence. I've mostly been eating crackers and trying not to vomit (and only sometimes succeeding). Doesn't make for great food blogging. But I made this cake last week to take camping and it turned out great so I had to share!

This is based on a great Raspberry cake recipe which I will include below. I had huckleberries however. Huckleberries grow wild around here and are easily my favourite berry. They a related to blueberries but smaller and more flavourful. Tarter and darker. So very yummy. In fact I'm not really a fan of blueberries as they mostly taste like obese bland huckleberries to me. I changed the original recipe quite a bit with what I had on hand. It was my first full cake done with whole wheat pastry flour and I was very pleased with the result. It had an excellent light texture and didn't feel in the slightest with like a health food compromise. You could also make this with blackberries I think, it has to be a tart berry to work.

Huckleberry Chocolate Coffee Cake Ingredients
2 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1 bar dark chocolate
1 cup huckleberries (fresh or frozen)

1/3 quarter cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted
1/4 cup coconut toasted

1. Combine ingredients for the streusel and cut up the chocolate bar into little bits.

2. Combine all batter ingredients in a bowl, beat on low for 30 seconds then on high for two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

3. Grease a 9x9 pan and set the oven to 350.

4. In pan layer 1/2 the batter, then half the chocolate, half the berries and half the struesel. Repeat.

5) Bake for 50 minutes.

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Streusel Topping:
1/3 c flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup slivered almonds

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup whole raspberries

And just follow the directions as above!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm growing more than vegetables here...

For those of you who don't know (or haven't guessed) we are pregnant over here! I just got back from my first ultrasound and all looks well so I thought I'd let you guys in on it. I think it's about the size of that baby tomato at the moment (second tomato from my garden by the way, and first zuchinni).

Why have I been crap at posting? A) I mostly just sleep when I am home. B) Baby still hasn't caught on to this whole food thing. I can't remember the last time I was so uninterested in food. It's wierd. I don't like it. But hopefully I will be back to my foodie self in a month or so. In the meantime, bear with me please! Growing people is hard work!

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Kitchen | Updates

I am the worst food blogger ever these days, I knoooow. I do have a reason, I'll tell you guys later. But in the meantime here's some updates:

- I went to Creston last weekend to pick strawberries and picked 25 lbs! They are only 1.60 a pound at the U-pick place and you can make sure that every berry is fully ripe and not moldy. I'm definitely doing it again next year. It took me about an hour to fill a big bucket and I did it two days. One day with my cousin and her friends in the pouring rain and the next day with my gramma. They are all frozen now for shakes and fun. And jam. I meant to save some to eat fresh but I went to work and Craig misheard my directions. Thus there is a casserole dish full of the very nicest strawberries...in the freezer. Ah well.

I had been home one day and my parents raspberries started. Seriously, there were no raspberries the day before. Where is the justice!?

- My garden is healthy but not huge, I suspect this is because my upstairs neighbours care more about keeping the new grass alive then the garden. Ah well. I have one almost ripe tomato! Maybe I will eat it tomorrow.

And that is all. Exciting, eh?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gardening | Update

Hmm...I wonder when I can eat these...I think they have to turn yellow

Lettuce! So pretty! Who needs flowers?

updated container garden (please note parsley and basil have replaced the spinach)

And apparently the basil in the garden isn't dead. Maybe I will eat some tomorrow...

Also, this plant had no leaves left. Now it has about five tiny leaves and this little pepper grows more every day. Weird. I guess cayenne likes the abuse.

Summer Squash! Coming soon! Maybe I will eat blossoms? But there only seems to ever be one at a time, and that's not really exciting.

my parsley is a bush. So of course I planted more? They came with the basil, I couldn't help it!

The healthiest pepper plant.


swiss chard! Or beets...I can't honestly remember. (I mean the picture, I know in the garden)

Weed much? But there are so many and they are sooooo tiny. I can't be bothered at the moment.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Kitchen | Garlic Scapes

So scapes are the green tops of garlic. Apparently you cut them off in spring so that the garlic can put all it's effort into growing the bulb. This is strange to me, but I'm certainly no garlic growing expert.

Garlic scapes are another random thing I've never eaten but with this seasonal eating thing I was very excited to give them a try. I picked up a bundle at the Nelson farmer's market last week. I love their twirly swirly ways.

I had heard that they can be pretty strong, but I didn't find that to be the case. I thought they were garlicy in a pretty mellow way. I did two meals with them, one was scapes pan fried with butter, oregano, yellow zucchini and the last of my spinach served over little cheese raviolis. It was to die for good. I also did some sort of rice concoction with chickpeas.

The scapes add a light garlicky flavour and a nice bit of colour without the bitterness you sometimes get with garlic. Some people make pesto out of them which I think would be excellent.

Go forth and experiment!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gardening | First Harvest

Well the mountain spinach I did in the planter was a great success. It grew like crazy and was pretty tasty. Sadly it only lasted for about three meals...seems almost anticlimactic. I'm planning on buying a bunch of spinach and freezing it this year, I found I couldn't buy Canadian spinach of any kind last year and I really missed it.

The planter is now replanted with basil and parsley. They're looking a bit sad at the moment but they probably just need to get settled in.

Oh, and the whole time we ate spinach I kept saying to Craig "I grew this! It was seeds and now it is foood! I grew it all by myself!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Links | For Amusement

From the blogosphere:

Want to make crackers shaped like sheep? Cause I do. (Design*Sponge)

How about Kitsune Fortune Cookies? (via the Kitchn)

Would you like to express yourself in red peppers? (via sfgirlbybay)

Next time someone goes to Ikea please pick me up some Forest Animal Cookie Cutters! I don't know what I've done without them for so long...(via the Kitchn)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recipes | Coconuty Raised Doughnuts

I had an urge to make doughnuts the other night. At about 8:30pm. Craig looked at me sleepily and said "Really? Okay" and took a nap on the couch. I've never made doughnuts. I've hardly ever even eaten homemade doughnuts. But lately I've been finding store bought doughnuts very unsatisfying (sorry Timmie Ho's) and mostly I wanted to make something sweet and hot and my oven is still out of commission (my own fault. It drives me mad not having an oven, but somehow I keep forgetting to order the part).

So doughnuts it was. Raised doughnuts. Cake doughnuts are fine, but they aren't really doughnuts in my mind. I used Coconut oil to fry them up as it is apparently wonderfully good for you, and handles heat well (you should never never deep fry in vegetable oil, it breaks down badly and goes vaguely toxic). Besides, it smells fantastic.

I adapted the recipe from Erin Cooks, who adapted it from Betty Crocker. Such is the life of a recipe. She said that it made an insane amount, I halved it and it made about 10. But it didn't rise amazingly (cold day, no oven light) so probably it does make about 2 dozen in it's original form. I'm gonna give you the recipe in a form that should make 12. There's no point in eating them when they are more than a few hours old, so think carefully before you bust out 4 dozen.

Also, I rolled mine in sugar, but I think I'll honey glaze next time.

Coconuty Raised Doughnuts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
almost 1 cup (3/4 cup + 2Tbsp if you want to be picky) very warm milk (120º to 130º)
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 eggs

Coconut oil

1) Mix 1 cup of flour, the sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl.
2) Add milk, oil and egg. Beat on low for a minute to combine, then on medium until smooth, another minute (my beater is dead, I just whisked it until it seemed smooth).
3) Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and mix until smooth.
4) Cover and let rise until doubled (about an hour)
5) Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll with a floured rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick.
5) If you have a doughnut cutter cut them out. I used a glass for the big circle and an empty bottle for the small. I also made the scraps into doughnut holes with the bottle. You can roll the scraps out once to cut again.
6) Transfer the doughnuts to a floured cookie sheet as you go, then cover and let rise for about 1/2 hour, until doubled. Don't worry if they aren't huge, they puff up in the oil.
7) If you are cheap like me, you can use a very small saucepan and fry them one a time. If you an a hurry, use more oil and a dutch oven. Preheat the oil to about 350. A candy thermometer is nice, but you'll be able to tell if it's ready by putting a pinch of dough in a seeing if it starts bubbling. There should be at least a half inch of oil, enough so that the doughnuts can float.
8) Fry doughnuts until golden on both sides (flipping carefully, obviously).
9) When done drain on paper down or old tea towel. Roll in some sugar while still warm.
10) Try not to eat them all while your husband is still napping.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review | Too Many Cooks

So this post is all thanks to Erin Cooks. She had a giveaway for this book on her blog and I won!

Too Many Cooks is written by Emily Franklin about a year of food life. She is a mother of four (8, 6, 3 and a baby) and wants to introduce her kids to new food. Every chapter has stories about their adventures and how food is a part of their lives, then there are recipes at the end of the chapter.

Her kids aren't terribly picky but they have very vocal opinions. My favourite quote would be in regards to a fish dish she made where one of her sons says "If you are trying to kill me, and you obviously are, this is the worst way to die".

Also her husband won't eat any fruit that ends in "Y". Or is cooked.

It's a super fun read and was very light compared to the foodie books I've been reading lately. She's not gonna lecture you about how you should eat and why, but most of her recipes are reasonably seasonal and contain whole ingredients.

I would really recommend this book to anyone wondering what approach to take when introducing new foods to kids, or anyone that just likes reading about funny kids and kitchen adventures.

The only downside to me, is that I don't know that I will remember to refer back to the recipes, like I would with a cookbook. There is an index of recipes in the back though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Kitchen | Updates

Final asparagus tally:
24 jars pickled asparagus
20 jars asparagus broth
2.5 large ziplocks fulls of frozen chopped asparagus

Where will it all live?! It's only June! I'm already sending canning to my parents cellar, on the theory that I will visit them sometime in the next...6 months. Also I now have canning behing my computer on the ground. Where else can I fit some? I feel like a squirrel hiding nuts for winter.

No jokes about the nuts part.

Garden Update:
Spinach - gorgeous, ready to bolt. I have to cut it all off and eat it. But I feel so sad doing it! Aaaaah!
All the other containers are happy as well.
Tomatoes - 2 are happy. 1 is being eaten by something. Bugs? Slugs? Birds? Deer? I have no idea.
Zuchinni - happy days! It has like 5 babies going. I am sooo excited to eat them!
Herbs - Booo! Basil was being eaten as well. Then bolted. Stupid basil. I might buy more and plant them in the spinach container. Cilantro - bolted! For goodness sake. Parsley seems fine.
Peppers - Cayenne=also eaten! I think it's gonna die. The other peppers are being nibbled on but seem to be pulling through.
Rows - all are up! Beans are looking great and the others aren't being show offs, but they are there.

I go down to the garden every morning and just stare at them. Maybe next year I'll actually learn how to keep bugs away...

In other news my oven is broken. The element exploded in a shower of sparks and fire. No one in town carries the part, I need to order it in. Bah! I have been buying bread. I have not been excited about sandwiches.

BBQ days are here! And there was much rejoicing! I will post about BBQed pizza soon.

So how are your late spring endevours going? Tell!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recipes | Stir Fry Basics

Okay, so this is not so much a recipe as a formula for how I make stir fry. Stir fry gets a lot of love over here because I can make it in the afternoon, divide it into 6 containers and take one to work for supper. Which is what I did today. I like reheated rice fine as long as it's saucy :)

I don't claim to be remotely authentic here, but I make yummy fake Asian food.

Tip #1 - get everything ready to go before you start
Chop all the veggies, make the sauce...have everything in place. Not only is this more efficient, but it means you won't be overcooking your meat while you finish chopping the broccoli.

Tip #2 - Cook things separately
I usually start with toasting nuts if I'm doing so. In the dry pan. Then I put them aside, add a bit of oil and do the eggs. Put aside. Then I add more oil and do the meat. If the meat is marinaded this is great, or you can add some garlic and red pepper flakes in with them. When the meat is cooked I take it out and throw in the veggies, after a bit I throw in the sauce. When the veggies are almost done I put the meat back in just enough to warm it (sometimes I don't, we don't really care if it's hot...also it's usually going to be reheated anyway).

Cooking this way means that nothing gets overcooked and that everything has it's own yummy flavour.

Tip #3 - Flavoured Rice
If I'm dong a dish that really spicy (mmm Thai sweet chili sauce...) I often cook the rice in chicken stock and use less sauce. This is super yummy. Normal rice makes me bored.

Tip #4 - Fun toppings
We looove toasted nuts on our stir fry. The crunch is delightful. Almonds and peanuts are nice choices. I often do eggs as well. Whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl. Heat your pan with a bit of oil then add the eggs but don't scramble. Make a little pancake thing. Flip it so it gets golden on both sides. Cut into thin strips and top each serving with a couple of them.

How to make a basic sauce:
1 tbsp honey
Equal parts Shoyu (nice soya sauce) and stock (chicken or asparagus is best). About 1/2 cup each...it depends on how much you're making.
1 clove of garlic, crushed or microplaned.

Want to make it Thai-ish? Add 1 tsp each of lime juice and fish sauce.

Want to make it spicy? Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Want to make it more like teriyaki? Add a bit more honey and some mirin (or apple juice...or sherry)

Want it to be thicker? Add 1 tbsp cornstarch.

Always mix up the sauce separately and only add as much as looks good. Too much sauce is just silly.

Hope that was educational. Comment if you have stir frying questions!

(Pictured is a thai sauce stir fry with brown/wild rice with a handful of red lentils cooked in. There's no meat or eggs in this one. I fried up shallots, yellow zucchini, asparagus and kale and topped it off with toasted almonds. Mmmmmm.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gardening | Markers

Garden markers! These are painted on the rocks with a little brush and some craft paint. Then I'm going to give them a spray of clear coat and out they go!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gardening | Sprouting!

Sorry about the week of not posting! Had a very busy week somehow. But look! My beans are up! The other seeds are barely poking their little heads up but they're there. They would like osme rain please though, they haven't had any yet! The bedding plants continue to survive (and in the zuchinnis case, thrive)

Up by the house my spinach is growing like a mad thing and the lettuce is starting to show it's head.

And look at the Tumble Tim! Two baby tomatoes! I cannot wait to eat them!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gardening | This is the way the garden grows

In the sweltering heat. With not enough water. Hmmm....

So we got it all put in on Tuesday. And have not had a hint of rain yet. It's been warm, summer warm. Low 30's warm. That's 90's I think in americaland? Either way it is yuck. Our land lady has half the garden, and the lawn sprinklers hit her half. We were trying to water with the hose, but it wasn't working so well. When I talked to her yesterday she asked how the garden was doing and I mentioned that we were thinking of gettting a soaker hose for the rows. Then I went off to Canadian Tire to buy it. And left my wallet at home in a Hanna moment. By the time I got it and drove back again it was too late.

When I got home my land lady ran into me again and said "I hope you haven't gone and bought that soaker hose, we found a better sprinkler in the back and it's on right now, turn it off in an hour".

What nice people they are. So my garden is happier...the plants are getting over the initial shock and I think the peppers and squash are actually pretty happy about the heat. The herbs and tomatoes are iffy but they should pull through. Don't know about the rows though.

Containers are happy and the spinach container is growing well. The lettuce mix has been taking it's sweet time but is sprouting.

How about you guys? How's the gardens? It's not too late to get started!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recipe | Spring Greens with Brown Sushi Rice

This is one of those recipes that I invented because it's what I felt like eating today. Those are the days that Craig says "what's for dinner?" and I answer "a concoction!" 95% of the time my concoctions are better than anything I make from a recipe. The other 5% are brutal bad. I find that to be acceptable odds.

So last week I was in Nelson for family time (and had suuuch good food at my Aunt's house, as usual...mmmm Ethiopian goodness) and we stopped by the Kootenay Co-op. This is my all time favourite food store. It's all organic healthy goodness and they carry as much local and in season goodness as possible. I was very excited to find spinach (fiiinnally, spinach! It's been a long winter.) as well as fiddle heads. I've been reading about fiddle heads in the food blogs I read, but had never tried them. One of the advantages about being in a colder climate is that you get to see all the recipes about upcoming produce before you can get it. I tell myself that that's an advantage anyway. Long story shorter...er I bought both (as well as three bars of chocolate mmmm) and brought them home.

Fiddle heads are the tops of young ostrich ferns. Apparently that is the only kind that is edible, so don't go running around eating ferns. Also you have to make sure they are thoroughly cooked or else they are apparently toxic and bitter. Mmmmmm toxic plants.

Also, I am totally guessing at the amounts here, but it's pretty foolproof. Just throw in whatever amounts feel right.

Spring Greens Stir Fry Ingredients
1/2 lb fiddle head ferns
1/4 lb spinach
1/2 lb asparagus
1 shallot minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T lemon juice

1) Clean fiddle heads, all the brown fluff needs to come off, and cut the brown ends off. We found this easiest to do in a sink of cold water.
2) Snap the ends off the asparagus and snap in half or thirds.
3) Blanch fiddle heads and asparagus in boiling water, just until they turn bright green. Then immediately throw in a ice water bath to prevent overcooking.
4) In a bit of butter, fry the shallot and garlic until fragrant.
5) Throw in the drained fiddle heads and asparagus, cook until tender.
6) Add a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, as well as more butter in you want (I wanted). Throw the spinach in as well.
7) Stir it all up and cook just until the spinach wilts.

Brown Sushi Rice
1 cup short grain brown rice.
1 T sugar
2 T rice wine vinegar (I can't find mirin in this town, but this works)


1) Rinse rice and if you have time let is soak for an hour.
2) Cook rice, I use the rice cooker. Like with all brown rice I find it takes a bit more water then they say.
3) When rice is cooked stir in the sugar and vinegar.

Mmmm, you can obviously make these separately and use them for things like...sushi...but I liked the combination!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Preserves | Asparagus Pickles

This is a repost from my other blog from last year. Craig and I are making more pickles today and I'm wishing that I had found this post sooner...because I would have bought more asparagus! It is my intention to make over 20 jars this year as we looooove these pickles. I highly recommend making them with the skinnies because then you can put them on sandwiches without having to slice them. I'm all about the laziness.

Pickled Asparagus

10 pounds of asparagus makes 6 quarts of pickles.

First each jar gets 1 clump of dill, 4 cloves of garlic and 1 small jalapeno.

Then you pack as much asparagus in as you can manage. We put a mark on the cutting board to make it easier to cut the asparagus to the right length.

While you are doing this, you should have a pot on the stove with your brine boiling in it. The brine includes 4 cups of vinegar , 10 cups of water and 1 cup pickling salt.

Once your jar is full of asparagus, pour the brine in until it is full up to the top of the body of the jar. Then make sure the top of the jar is completely clean (or it won't seal) and put the lid on. The lids should be in a small pot of boiling water to soften the seals. Once the lid is on and screwed shut with a ring the jars go into the canner.

The canner needs to have enough water to cover all the jars (we can fit 7 quart jars in ours). Bring the water to a roiling boil and let it boil for a few minutes (5 or so). Then remove the jars and wait to hear the pops as the jars seal. They should pop in the first few minutes, but a couple of ours took their time.

Huzzah, spicy asparagus pickles for all! You should give them a try, they are very yummy and a fun addition to the ho hum pickle dish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Recipes | Asparagus Soup

I invented this last year when Mom and I were making pickled asparagus and found that we had way too much dill. You could make this with veggie or chicken broth in a pinch, but if you really want asparagus soup, make asparagus broth.

Asparagus Broth
- Save all the woody ends of your asparagus. I just keep a bag in the freezer and chuck them in every time I cook asparagus.
- Get a head start by using water you've already blanched asparagus in. Then fill the pot with asparagus ends, with enough water to cover. Cook for about half and hour. Pull the ends out and put a new batch of ends in the same water. Cook for another half hour. This makes the broth more flavourful.
- Either pressure can or freeze your broth. I often add a splash of olive oil and a clove of garlic to each jar.
- This is obviously great for the following soup, but also is awesome for risotto!

Asparagus Soup Ingredients (serves 4)
1 large shallot (or two small), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off and diced
1/4 cup dill
Parmesan cheese
sour cream

1) In a large saucepan cook the shallot and garlic in the olive oil, until fragrant and soft, but not yet brown.

2) In a separate pot, cover the asparagus with water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

3) In a blender or food processor, blend 3/4 of the asparagus with a little bit of the water you cooked it in to help it along.

4) Add the broth, blended asparagus and chopped asparagus to the pot with the shallot mixture. Bring to a boil.

5) Add the dill. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

6) Serve garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and a dollop of sour cream in each bowl.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tips | Freezing Asparagus

Asparagus is wonderful but the season is tragically not that long. And out of season asparagus, in my humble opinion, tastes like wood. So how do we keep the yumminess? One way is pickles, which I'll get into more another day (although I will be making some today I hope) but the easiest way is to freeze them. Here's how I go about it:

Frozen Asparagus Directions

1) Wash your asparagus and snap the ends. Keep the ends! More on this later.

2) Chop into one inch pieces. This is the most useful size in my experience, great for pasta, omelets, pizza, and all sorts of good things.

3) Heat some water up in a large pot. Bring it to a boil.

4) Blanch the asparagus in small batches. Leave them in the water just until they turn a nice bright green. Then immediately submerge in ice water. It's easiest to blanch in a colander.

5) Spread the cooled pieces on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight.

6) Once frozen they will store nicely in a large freezer bag. Then you can just grab a handful out whenever you want!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Recipes | Chocolate Chip Cake

This is the classic birthday cake in my family. It's from an old copy of Betty Crocker and we all love it. Try it, you'll never go back to vanilla cake with frosting, I promise you.

It was my mom's (on the left) birthday On Friday and my Aunt's is coming soon so they celebrated together...and I brought cake!

Chocolate Chip Cake Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or one bar good dark chocolate chopped)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla


1) Beat all ingredients at low speed for 30 seconds, then at high speed for 3 minutes.
2) Pour into two greased and floured round pans. (or a 9x13...if you must)
3) Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
4) When cool assemble cakes with butterscotch filling in between and top with the chocolate glaze.

Butterscotch Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

1 tbsp butter


1) In a small saucepan mix sugar, cornstach, salt and water.
2) Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
3) Boil and stir for one minute.
4) Remove from heat and stir in butter.

(Gramma's favourite too!)

Chocolate Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup chocolate chips, or one chocolate bar, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp corn syrup (or maple...if like me you don't keep corn syrup around)

Melt all ingredients in a saucepan or double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted.

(Gramma and me!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gardening | Containers Ahoy!

Welcome to my container garden. It contains (ahaha) my Tumble Tom Tomato, rosemary, mountain spinach and gourmet lettuce mix. I may have marked the lettuce and spinach wrong, because I already forgot which planter is which. Dang it.

They will soon be joined by a pot of oregano when my parents come up this weekend. They have oregano growing like a weed all over their gardens (thus my keeping it in a pot) and thought they could spare me some. Also, the white plastic ugly like a bum planters were free! Hooray for my Aquafit ladies giving me things!

After some reading here's how I planted my containers:
1) Made sure the pots were nice and clean.
2) Covered the drainage holes with newspaper to prevent clogging.
3) Put in layers of moisture soil mix, veg and herb soil mix and dirt from the garden. (The options for organic potting soil were slim so I made my own recipe. I am not an expert, so we shall see what happens. Craig wanted me to just stop harassing the poor garden centre guy at Canadian Tire...but I want to do it right!)
4) Plant the plants/seeds and cover with a bit more soil, pressing it down so that it's not all fluffy and loose.
5) Put the containers on bricks or bits of wood so they can drain better (happily I hadn't thrown out that broken cd rack yet...)
6) Water until the water just starts to come out the bottom.

So fingers crossed! Look, my first tomato flower!
And here's the beauty shot. These are the garden plants. Crying. They are out for a field trip because apparently they don't like the sewing desk. They are going in by Saturday at the latest. Don't cry little plants!