We’ve made the jump into the world of fresh, homemade pasta. I was a skeptic at first, but there’s nothing quite like homemade pasta with fresh marinara sauce. Divine. And! Surprisingly easy!
Last night, our dear friends Keanan and Mari came over to our place for a ravioli making party. Taylor and I had made some fresh spaghetti on our own, but this was our first attempt with a “stuffed” pasta.
By no means do I consider myself an expert at pasta making, but here’s the process we followed to make some kick butt raviolis (Recipes after the jump)
I know, I know. How lame am I? It’s been literally months since I last posted something on this blog. Perhaps you thought my internet had crashed. Perhaps you thought I had stopped cooking all together and ate fast food for every meal. Perhaps you thought I had been on a months long hunger strike. The answer to all of these potential scenarios is a resounding no. I’ve just been lazy. I lost my motivation.
Well, that’s also not entirely true. I did have one of the craziest years in recent memory. I worked full time, managed the University College yearbook project, did the books for my church, acted in a full-length production and, oh yeah, I’m married. I’ve vowed to be far less committed next year so that I can enjoy my life more. This is a good thing.
I’ve still been adventurous with food. Homemade pasta. Massive batches of cinnamon rolls. Indian cooking. I just never managed to take a picture. And a food blog without pictures is…well..really lame.
I did get a snapshot (albeit on the iPhone) of this morning’s breakfast offering.
Recipe after the jump.
Summer has been flying by here in Manitoba. We couldn’t have asked for a more glorious summer, in terms of weather. Of the three summers that I have spent in Manitoba, this is far and away the best. Sunny, hot, cloudless days for weeks. Best of all? No mosquitos. None. I haven’t put on bug spray once this summer. Even walking at dusk, there is nothing to swat at. If you have never lived in the prairies, you may not realize how miraculous this is. But trust me, it is a miracle.
Our CSA is giving us more fresh produce than we could ever hope for. I mutter under my breath at my tiny apartment size fridge. I’m not so secretly hoping it will die, so that we’ll be given a new one - one that will fit pounds of produce with ease.
This gem of a summery supper comes courtesy of the weekly recipe handout at our farm. It’s a great way to use up lots of chard, although I’m sure any dark, leafy green would do. As always, I made a couple of alterations. The recipe calls for four chicken breasts. I only used two. I also used a bunch of baby onions from the CSA. I suspect it probably would have worked a bit better if I has just used a regular onion as the baby onions weren’t quite as juicy. I also had no lemon zest, but it still had a nice lemon flavor from the lemon juice. Overall, a quick summer meal that is make-again-able. Recipe after the jump.
Sometimes you need a good kick. Sometimes you need someone to motivate you. Sometimes you need your husband to walk away from the computer desk and say to you, “Well, I’m going to go play video games. You should blog about the CSA.” And, so, here I am.
Last Wednesday marked the beginning of our 12 weeks of fresh, pesticide free produce. We stood back in awe as she filled our bags with an amazing variety of produce. This week’s share featured: Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, peas, collard greens, onions, lettuce, beets, peppers, yellow zucchini, potatoes and cilantro. Wow. My understanding is that because it is early in the season, this was a small share. Wow.
Needless to say, we’ve been plowing through as many of these items as possible before our weekly pick-up day rolls around again. I made a fresh pea soup that was to die for. One unexpected snack that has now become a household favorite is Kale Chips. Crunchy, tasty and way heathlier than deep fried potato chips.
Oven Baked Kale Chips
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkling of salt (and whatever other spices strike your fancy. I used salt, pepper and garlic powder)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the kale pieces in a bowl and gently toss with olive oil. Important: only add a small amount of olive oil at a time. I only used one capful. You want the kale to be very lightly coated, otherwise your chips will be oily, instead of crisp. Spread the prepared kale onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and/or other spices. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until chips looks dried and crispy. Enjoy!
For more information on Community Supported Agriculture visit: www.localharvest.org
For more information on our CSA farm, Stonelane Orchard visit: www.stonelaneorchard.com
Photo credit: Taylor Summach
Photo courtesy of Taylor Summach
I would like to begin this post with an ode to my friend, Lindsay. Lindsay works at the college with me. She, along with her husband, used to live in the apartment where I currently reside. She moved out this spring as this little apartment was a bit too cozy with the arrival of their daughter. After she had moved out, she asked me, “Emily, would you like the use our chest freezer in the apartment? We won’t need it at our new house.” I, enthusiastically, said, “Yes!” Chest freezer. A dream come true!
I’ve been trying to work through all the food we have in the freezer to make room our CSA offerings. I fished out a bag of frozen rhubarb this weekend and these beautiful little crisps were born. I found a recipe on the internet and modified it to suit my tastes. Have I ever mentioned how much I love ramekins? They really dress up a simple dessert. This sweet and tart crisp is the perfect treat for a warm June evening. I suggest digging into your freezer, pulling the ramekins down from the top shelf and giving these a go as soon as possible.
Based on "Rhubarb Crisp", from About.com
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter four small ramekins.
In a large bowl combine:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Cut in 1/4 cup of butter until the crumble is the size of small peas.
In a saucepan combine:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened. Pour over 2 cups of chopped rhubarb and stir to coat. Press half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the ramekins, top with a layer of rhubarb and finished with rest of the crumble. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Is there anything quite as lovely as a bite of real, fresh, in-season foods? This is the time of year when the grocery store becomes packed with the juiciest, best strawberries of the year. I wish I could say that I picked these myself, in a sundress as I sprouted freckles on my nose. Alas, a spring fruit like the strawberries won’t be ripe here in Manitoba until…August. I picked these up at Superstore. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I bought three giant cartons of these beauties this week. They were just… irresistible. About a carton and bit of strawberries went into making this:
Sweet, sweet strawberry pie complete with shortbread crust. Last week, I splurged on the Simply in Season cookbook, published, in part, by the Mennonite Central Committee. I am absolutely in love with this cookbook. There are recipes for everything single thing that grows in the earth. I’m so excited to cook the veggies and fruits that will come in my CSA basket this summer and fall.
The strawberry pie recipe was the first thing I’ve tried out of this cookbook, and it didn’t disappoint. I liked that it didn’t call for jello, sure-gel or another other odd thickening agent. The berries really shine in this pie. The only problem I encountered was the goo to strawberry ratio. I put in the exact amounts of berries the recipe called for, but there was too much goo and not enough strawberries, so it was a bit messy. Perhaps I should have let the goo thicken up a bit longer so it would cling to the berries more, but I can never seem to get those sort of things just right. Despite its messy appearance in the photo above, it was the best tasting strawberry pie I have ever eaten. Recipe after the jump:
Mmm…the taste of nostalgia. This past Saturday, Taylor was working a shift at the greenhouse and I was trapped at home without a car. It was cloudy, stuffy day outside, so I didn’t want to crank up the oven, but I had the urge to do some baking. I phoned up my lovely mother and asked for the receipe for her no-bake chocolate cookies. As a kid I remember licking the chocolate goo from the steaming pot and impatiently waiting for the cookies to harden. Seriously, cookie hardening time is an eternity when you’re seven.
These cookies are perfect when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. Quick, simple and so summery. I prefer mine straight from the freezer with a glass of milk. Thanks Mom!
Mom’s No-Bake Cookies
In a large pot (non-stick is your best bet), melt:
2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of butter
2 squares of baking chocolate. (I never have baking chocolate on hand so I used cocoa powder. 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon of oil = 1 square of chocolate. Thanks Google for solving all my problems.)
Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. To the wonderful chocolate goo add:
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of oatmeal, old fashioned or quick cooking.
1 cup of coconut
Drop by tablespoons on to wax paper lined cookie sheets and chill until set.
Photo courtesy of Taylor Summach.
After a hectic month and half of moving, travelling and setting up a home, I have finally settled back into this blog. Taylor and I are renting the most lovely little two bedroom apartment near the college campus where we both work. We’ve been here two weeks now, and I can say that this move has been good for my soul. Green spaces. Fresh air. Natural light. Taylor took the photos and created the lovely triptych above. He now enjoys taking photos for my blog thanks to the big windows in our suite. I vow never to take another food photo in florescent lighting again. Never. This move has been a big step towards the lifestyle we want to live. And what we eat is large part of that lifestyle.
We’re planted a herb garden in our south-facing window. Basil, oregano and parsley are shooting up into warm sunlight. I see a lot of fresh pesto in our future…and what a glorious future that will be. We’ve also been buying farm fresh brown eggs from a gentleman I work with. A mere $3 a dozen -unheard of! My newest guilty pleasure? Liberte yogurt. They have quite the selection at the little grocery store down the road. I’m looking forward to trying each flavour with gusto. Why do all the good food stuffs come from Quebec?
We’ve bought our first share in CSA. We can expect ABSURD amounts of fresh, local fruits and vegetables to come our way starting in mid-July. You can check out “our” farm at www.stonelaneorchard.com To tide us over until our CSA starts harvesting, the St. Norbert Farmer’s Market opens next weekend! If you live in or near Winnipeg, there really is no excuse not to attend. I go for the breads and produce, Taylor for the spring rolls at J.J. Spring Roll.
Life is good.
Just about four and half years ago, I started dating a wonderful guy. Aside from all the usual lovely things that come with a new relationship (hand-holding, long walks, adrenaline), I also met some very dear friends. Taylor had a core group of people that he hung out with in Saskatoon that I was introduced to. I now affectionately refer to those people as “The Friends Club”
Just about two years ago, Taylor and I got married. One of my most treasured gifts from a wedding shower was from three ladies from The Friends Club. Mandy, Chantelle and Kari gave me the recipe box pictured above filled with hand written cards of all their favorite recipes. One of my favorites is for caramel corn. I’m not sure which one of the ladies is the owner of this recipe, but, man, oh, man, it’s so good!
I find the idea of candy making intimidating. All that molten sugar, thermometers, bowls of cold water, trying to guess what bloody stage the sugar is at! Gah! Who needs that kind of pressure? This recipe though, is SO easy. No guess work. I’ve made it probably a dozen times and it always comes out perfect. I share this wonderful recipe after the break…my own comments are in italics.
Summer 2010 was the summer of weddings. So many of our nearest and dearest decided to tie the knot. One weekend in particular stands out in my memory. Wedding-palooza weekend - Cass and Jared on Saturday, Ruthie and Matt on Sunday.
Cass and Jared served the best food I’ve ever had a wedding. It was also at their wedding that I had a my first taste of quinoa. It was a delicious, cold quinoa salad, full of farm fresh vegetables and tossed in lovely vinaigrette. Quinoa is an amazing little grain that is purchased dried and cooked in the same manner as rice. Nutritionally speaking, quinoa is crazy-good for you.
Flash forward to March 2011- Steinbach finally stocks quinoa at a mainstream grocery store! I eagerly snatched a box of the shelf and tossed it into my cart. My own salad definitely didn’t disappoint. Crisp vegetables, creamy black beans, hearty quinoa, and lovely citrus infused dressing. The types and amounts of vegetables can definitely be altered to suit your tastes or use up whatever is the fridge.
Based on: Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad by The Church Cook
- Juice of 1 lime (I squeezed the bejeebers out of the lime)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 heaping tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
To prepare dressing: Combine lime juice and spices in a small bowl. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking quickly. Stick the dressing in the fridge to let the flavours get to know each other.
- 1-2 cups of dried quinoa. I used the whole package, which seemed like 1 1/2 cups dried.
- 6 green onions, chopped. The green onions totally up the flavour.
- 1 1/2 bell peppers, chopped. I used red and green.
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
- 1 1/2 cups of corn. I used frozen corn.
To prepare salad:
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool slightly.
- While the quinoa is cooking, chop up all the vegetables, drain and rinse the beans, and add all the vegetables into a large bowl.
- Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, add to vegetable bowl, mix thoroughly to combine.
- Add dressing, stir to combine.
- The salad is fabulous warm or cold. Enjoy!