Tag Archives: Soup

Puffing Champagne

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I know that after New Years I’m always trying to figure out how to properly use our Champagne splurg left-overs. I know this is probably a common problem in the whole of the modern world. So common that a cookbook addressed it with a recipe.

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And I know another common problem for my readers is what to do with the acorn squash that you picked at least a month ago that has sat atop the washing machine since then, turning from green to yellow.

We cut said acorn squash open and I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t rotten. Marc reminded me that the settlers counted on the Winter squash not to rot so that they could enjoy it all season when nothing else was growing. I reminded him that they usually have a cold storage in the side of a hill. They usually didn’t store their Winter squash in the laundry room in room temperature. How far removed are we from settlers!

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This recipe is good enough that it deserves to be tried. Even if it means buying a bottle of champagne. The best part about this recipe is that it only uses 1/4 cup of the bubbly. That leaves a lot for tasting!

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It is also important to have a sentry stand guard over the squash in case it means to escape from the oven. I have found myself a particularly stoic yet slightly fickle sentry in Ramona cat. She held still for this photo, then forgot the wood stove was hot, stretched and burned her little paw on the side. Silly cat.

My knitting needles have also been busy. My friend is due with twins any day so I found this very cute booty pattern here, (for free yippee!) and I sent off a package of handknits. I’m pleased at how quickly they came together. And I feel like a regular little craftster sending off knitting!

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I’ve finally gathered enough courage to try a sock pattern that I first layed eyes on a couple years ago. My nana sent it to me in the mail and I’ve completed my first sock, though it needs some perfecting. Special mention to James for the fabulous wool!

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One sock down and I’m easily distracted by a toque pattern with ear flaps! I’ll get to the other sock a little later.

It was balmy today, 9-10C. January 2nd and the bees were flying! I remember last year at this time I was in three feet of snow! Marc and I even got out in the garden. We have big plans at reclaiming this patch of land. It’s been 20 years out of use and the grass is tenacious. Drawing a plan of the garden and pinning it to the wall has been inspiration to me. We put cardboard down, and cedar wood chips for the paths. The weeds have already invaded some of the beds Marc worked so tirelessly to turn over in the Summer. But now even with the paths down, it looks more like a real garden. I am encouraged!

Our little greenhouse was so warm today that if the weather looks like it’ll keep up for a while, I may try planting winter kale. My spinach at the house is still alive so you never know what will germinate. Last year we got the bulk of our seeds from Salt Spring Seeds. It was close and we knew the seeds to have good viability because it is the same climate. We had great success with our tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes before most of our other gardening friends and it was not the skill we employed. We gave the seeds most of the credit, and the good weather the other bit of credit. This year we’d like to try growing black tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and perhaps green zebra striped ones to compliment our romas and scarlet heirlooms which will definitely be making an encore.

We’re also arranging to pick up 15 hives worth of equipment for bees. I am very excited about this. I have 12 locations on island that are interesting in hosting my bees so I can compare the forage. I still have equipment that I purchased last year that needs to be built so I think we’ll be drowning in all things “bee” soon enough.

Now if all this is not enough, I have begun running again. Yes it’s time for little miss farm wife-hibernating she-bear to get off her butt and pound the pavement. Did you know that Pender is filled with hills?! And big ones! We used to give each other small smirks when we saw ambitious cyclists disembark from the ferry with grand goals of biking the entire island in a day. Inevitably we would find them at the bakery about an hour later, looking very red in the face. Well now who is red in the face! Me! But, as one of my New Year’s resolutions, I am determined to be gentle with myself. Run a little, walk a little until I build up my strength.

Giving myself room to be imperfect is very gratifying. I encourage everyone to try it!

And… (I know I know, what happened to being gentle with myself?) I am enrolled in a university course aiming toward¬† finishing my degree I started um… *seven* years ago! I am utterly excited about this! My instructor is a prolifically published author and I’ve been reading her books for a few years now. And I get to write poetry in my online class. *sigh* I love poetry….

Is there anything better than the smell of roasting squash? Even sweeter is squash we grew ourselves.

Happy New Years folks! I hope you get lots of breathing time. Don’t worry, I’ll remember to breathe as I puff my way up these ginormous hills!

Attack of the Green Tomatoes

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Do not be fooled. I had many more green tomatoes after I tidied up the front garden. But in a flurry of excuses, (more than grains of sand on a beach) I left them in our entrance way for a week, maybe two. So I had some fuzzy ones at the bottom of my buckets. These are the survivors of neglect.

It’s amazing when you do a quick google search, how you often find sympathetic interneters. I simply typed “Green Tomato Recipes” and I was accosted with links “Help I am drowning in Green tomatoes” and the like. How enlightening. This is a common situation for enthusiastic gardeners who love the luscious red tomatoes of August and September. This is my first year growing anything vegetative. Saving seeds, harvesting, and processing the end-trails of veggies is still so exciting!

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I was rather determined to use these green tomatoes, and I did not want to do a relish, a chutney, a marmelade or a salsa. Our very itsy bitsy fridge is already crammed full of condiments and I’m not particularly fond of relishes and chutneys. (Maybe I just haven’t had the right one.) Also, a small admittance, we have an industrial-sized pressure canner. And it’s heavy. And I’m just a wee bit intimidated by it. Soon I’ll be Farm-Wife extraordinaire and such things will not bother me. But let’s take it slow. It is, after all, my first year.

So for my first recipe, I got it off a blog called “Cooking with Michele.” Thank you very much Michele.

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(Please go to the link I provided above as the recipe is copyrighted)

It is very similar to zucchini bread. This was a relief to me because I was very unsure about this. Green tomatoes in a sweet bread? Well, it is delicious!

The second creation (I have a lot of green tomatoes to use,) was:

Green Tomato Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz thinly sliced Black Forest ham, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 2 lb green unripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook ham, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallions, garlic, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

    Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, partially covered, until tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season soup with salt and pepper

The only adjustment I did to this recipe, is to add Marc’s Oyster Mushrooms.

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This soup was incredibly tasty. I was really hesitant with this recipe because I thought the rather tart flavour from the green tomatoes would transfer to a bitter soup. But the ham and and shallots were brilliant.

Lately, my culinary pursuits have been more successful than my other home-making ventures. But stay tuned. Sewing may feature a small corner of this blog yet!

Where has November found you so far?

Happy Remembrance Day!

ExTreme SouP PuRsuiTs

First story.

My Grandpa is 86 and learning how to make soup from scratch. I’ve been told he makes a killer borscht. So this post is dedicated to him and his soup pursuits.

Second story.

My dad (Soup Grandpa’s son) is a wonderfully seriously silly man. We were on a hike one time when I was a kid, and a friend of ours was telling us that stinging nettles are very good to eat. Apparently they are similar to spinach and you can use them for lasagne, soups and other casserols. My father, wanting to get the best reaction possible, said “Oh well, if you say so,” and grabbed a stinging nettle leaf and stuffed it into his mouth.

It would not be over- exaggerating to say that he was still feeling the affects 4 hours later. His mouth was very sore after this stunt. So now whenever my family goes for a walk, we tell each other the story, we point out the nettles and tell my dad that we hear they are good eating.

Third story.

Tonight we made soup to the extreme.

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This is approximately 2 pounds of stinging nettles Marc and I foraged from the back woods today. And potatoes harvested from our front garden. These potatoes have been doned Magic Potatoes because of their disease resistence and prolific producing. You can seriously plant one of these suckers in the ground, forget about it and up it comes to create a bunch of tasty babies that lie right beneath the soil’s surface. I’m a bit of a potato-digging fiend. I love rooting around in the dirt, and coming up with treasure.

Last April, the first Farmer’s Market on island, they served little cups of stinging nettle soup for $2 with a recipe. We have subsequentally lost this recipe (of course) but the internet is a great friend. Apparently the nettles in the spring are preferred because they are young and tender. But our mild climate allows for tender shoots in the fall before the first frost.

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I know, looks appetizing eh? Well the recipe is here, tastebuds rejoice!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb. stinging nettles
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Sour cream, yogurt, or Horseradish Cream (optional)

Preparation:

  1. In a large pot, melt 1 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook 15 minutes.
  3. Add nettles and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp. butter, pepper, and nutmeg.
  4. Puree soup with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processer in batches. For a silken, less fibrous texture, run mixture through a food mill or sieve.
  5. Stir in cream, if using. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if you like.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with sour cream, yogurt, or Horseradish Cream, if you like.

Makes 4 to 6 servings Stinging Nettles Soup

The best part about this, is there is no sting, Dad.

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French Onion Soup

I asked Marc to post his onion soup recipe so that I could share it with you. He made this while I was at work, so when I came home, the house was permeated in cozy onion smells. I love him.

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Tonight I’m making a special guest appearance on Amanda’s blog because I made French Onion Soup.

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First off, here’s the recipe:

- 5 medium sized onions, coarsely chopped
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 2 cups of red wine
- thyme, basil and bay leaves
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- french bread
- gruyere cheese

Start by melting the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot. Throw the onions in over a low heat and cover the pot. The trick is to caramelize them slowly. If it takes you less than an hour, you’re doing it wrong. At 45 minutes, you add the minced garlic and thyme. After the hour is up, you can add the other spices. Stir for a few minutes to let the flavours out before you add the liquids.

Then add your wine and beef stock. Simmer the soup for another half hour with the lid on. Then fill the soup bowls. Proper french onion soup bowls are available at fine thrift stores everywhere (usually with all the fondue accoutrements). Top each bowl with a thick slice of french bread and then a layer of gruyere cheese. Then the soup bowls go into a 400*F oven for 15 minutes. The soup underneath should be boiling up around the edges of the melted cheese when they’re done.

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– Marc

The Nutritional Fairy

If only there was a fairy that could come along and deposit vitamins under your pillow at night, closely related to the tooth fairy. She would ensure that you were eating a balanced diet, or she would assign the tooth fairy as her hitman. But, as the obese people of North America exemplify, this is not the case.

I strive to eat healthy. I concoct all sorts of fooling devices to ensure that Marc eats healthy. I try not to go on diets (because I don’t have the self control for them.) and I try to do things in moderation. So what do you think about “Healthy Cookies?”

p31000132These cookies have everything BUT the kitchen sink. They are composed of whatever I have left after making granola. Now, I do not have a nutritional break down of these cookies, but I think the Fairy would approve.

I look forward to being able to make soup from veggies I grew. But for now, we’ll have to settle with heirloom organic lentil and rice mix from the store. Marc has a special talent with making good soups into¬† Miraculous Soups!

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To encourage ourselves with our store-bought soup we reconstituted, we took a drive to check on our seedlings. Note the one with leaves. They are not mine! Mine are the ones still sleeping under the black soil. Lesley’s seeds are a couple weeks ahead of mine so it gives mine courage to poke through their new world.

p3100015p3100017So as we cheer the seeds on, we dream. Wishing the seeds all the success and the snow to melt quickly. Thank you Fairy, for all the wisdom!