It’s one of those grey late winter/early spring sundays when the urge to clean up, throw out, get organised takes over. But I’m still recovering from a wicked sinus chest/cold so it is slow going. It doesn’t help that we sprang forward last night and my to-do list is longer than I have hours in the day for. So, what to do? I’ve done quite a bit of cleaning. And next I’m going to do a bit of cooking (a favourite soup, Indian spiced pancakes and baked oatmeal to get me through the week). But in between I’ve been lazing about and I found Vegetarian Blogs via Blog Nation and I’m hooked.
Now I’m off to make some soup! I’ll put it up here later… Edit meh, no soup today, I am missing 3 ingredients and am too lazy to go all the way to the supermarket. We shall have to try again Tue or something.
Some grey sunday music posted to FB by my old friend BDD:
I have to admit, however, that I do feel a bit of a cheat in giving out this recipe which is best made, believe it or not, in your microwave. For my first No Croutons Required entry, I should probably show off that I can actually cook and usually cook from scratch, which this kind of does, but using the microwave from start to finish and a can of soup does make me feel like a cheat! But then the theme is leftovers… so maybe that is appropriate?
This recipe also requires you to be be a believer in eating the entire beet minus the root and the peel. I eat beets regularly, especially to make Lithuanian dishes (such as this one) that I’ve blogged about here, before. And in using those beets, I wind up with a bit of beet stock at the bottom of my pressure cooker and then there are the greens. I freeze the beet stock and then chop the greens and stems into pieces, wilt in the microwave, and freeze them for another day, too. So this soup is what I do when that “another day” comes along. In my case, btw, that is usually in the winter. This is a great warming soup to eat in the winter when the snow piles up and the days are grey. It really adds some colour!
Clevergirl’s Wintertime Beet Soup
aka: What to do with the rest of your beet soup
Makes 3-4 bowls of soup, depending on the size of your bowl!
2 cups beet stock (frozen or not)
1 pouch frozen wilted beet greens that you’ve been saving up (equivalent of one bunch)
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. (you can used the low fat/sodium if you want)
c. 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
freshly ground black pepper.
1) put the stock in a microwavable dish with lid. Heat on high until nearly unthawed 2-3 min on high. (or if using fresh, until hot).
2) stir and then add the frozen wilted beet greens Heat on high another 2-3 minutes.
3) Add the can of cream of mushroom soup and stir well. Heat again for another 2-3 minutes
4) add the caraway seeds and black pepper, stir and heat a bit more until hot.
5) Taste. It should be peppery. You probably don’t need salt due to the amount of sodium in cream of mushroom soup.
6) serve (see photo!)
If you have a potato lying around*, scrub it up, fork it a bit and microwave it according to your microwave’s instructions before you start the soup. towards the end of making the soup, peel, cut in cubes and put into the soup. (*I didn’t when I made the batch up photographed below.)
Do you see, after reading that, why I say I feel like a cheat? Yeah, if it gets any easier, it will would be not “cooked” at all… but Sandra Lee’ised. And here’s the big finish:
Back in August a friend of mine who is new to Canada and to Euro-North American cooking told me she was learning a lot from a food blog called “Food Wishes” and then sent me the link to the yummy white gazpacho she’d made for me. And while I haven’t made that soup, I have to admit I’ve become quite interested in Chef John’s videos esp. when he makes something vegetarian (which is not that often, because if one reads his blog intro he is critical of vegetarianism but in fact he makes plenty of soups, salads, and baked goods which are vegetarian and sometimes even Vegan).
But of greatest interest to me in his videos on baking is that he’s the only other person I know who does it old fashioned way by hand. Dry in one bowl, wet in the other, add and mix. More or less. I had been taught this by my Mum when I was really young before she got a Cuisinart and when I found myself living overseas with few modern fangled things, I went back to the baking by hand method.
so, spatulas… Chef John uses Spatulas to mix his doughs together and at first I was fascinated. How is that possible? Does it work for us amateurs, too? I mean, I only use a spatula for scraping down the sides of bowls, jars, and measuring cups! hmmmmm…. He makes it look so easy and efficient.
So yesterday I was making gingerbread snowmen and decided to get out a spatula instead of a wooden spoon and try the mixing the Chef John way. And guess what?! It worked awesomely! When I mixed the butter/sugar with the dry as in the recipe using a spatula, I got that fine breadcrumb look you’re supposed to get from rubbing butter into flour. Wow! And then when I added the rest of the wet, the dough came together really easily! Thx. Chef John for teaching me the spatula technique just by watching your videos! (but then I learned to cook mostly from watching my mother do it for years, so no big surprise).
Here is Chef John’s video for Gingerbread Whoopie Pies so you can see the spatula technique I am talking about:
Joe Farrell, one of the founders of the Comparative International Development Education Centre at OISE, and the person who was directly responsible for bringing me to OISE in 2002, passed away on Saturday Dec. 8, 2012. My first contact with Joe was from Quetta, Pakistan when I was thinking of applying to CIDE to do a second M.A. I first met him after he’d been assigned to be my advisor in August, 2001. On my way home from our first meeting, I thought to myself, “What I really need is a Ph.D.” So I got home, called him and left a message on his phone saying, “I think I need a Ph.D. instead of a second M.A. What do you think?” Joe agreed and then went to bat for me with a reticent administration. In the meantime, 9/11 happened, and I went to work on emergency contract with UNICEF, telling OISE that when they’ve made a decision on the matter to let me know. Some 10 months after that first meeting, I was back at OISE starting a Ph.D.
Joe was ever present through out my time at OISE. I am one of the last OISE students who can say that Joe Farrell was one of their committee members. I remember more junior students asking how I’d got such a great committee together, and to be hones it wasn’t easy but for Joe. Joe was my advisor and after watching me stumble around for nearly 6 months and failing to find a single person willing to sit on my committee, I walked into his office one day and simply said, “Joe, you have to sit on my committee. Without you, as my advisor, everyone thinks there must be something wrong with me.” So even though he was retiring soon and wasn’t supposed to, he said yes. I will always remember how he made time to attend CIDE student events and meetings, always brought humour to his teaching, and was one of the great supporters of the field of CIDE/CIE. Together he and the late David Wilson made quite the team, inspiring generations of OISE grads. I will also remember my defence where Joe asked me to “speculate” and I started my reply saying, “People tell you that no matter what you do at your Ph.D. defence you shouldn’t speculate, but because it’s you, Joe, I’m going to take a stab at it.” As you can see from the below photo, it worked…
Joe was not afraid to admit that I might have something to share with OISE’s students resulting in many an M.A. student came to me with the news that Joe had said they should get in touch with me because I knew something about education in Afghanistan or how to get a job overseas. This popularity in turn led to two of the sub-pages on this site — one on how to get a job and another on Afghan education. Perhaps both a bit dated now, but back when I wrote them they were cutting edge.
Conceptually he taught me that the amazing success of community-based schooling can be successfully scaled up to the state level in poor countries, you just have to believe. He taught me the importance of collaboration, of planting seeds of new ideas in others, and of spreading the wealth through stealth.
He could barely work a computer, but listened to my ideas about for the use of ICTs in education, especially community-based education in the “global south” and the third time I asked him to sign a form agreeing to let me take a course at KMDI he finally relented saying, “but you know I know nothing about this!” To which I replied, “that’s OK. I do.”
Shortly after I joined CIDA, word got out that OISE was planning a special celebration party for Joe and we were invited to send in our remembrances and greetings if we could not attend in person. At CIDA I had found myself in a world inhabited by 3 different generations of OISE Ph.D.s who had studied under Joe and there at a table in Maputo we crafted a special greeting for him. Joe’s influence, though his many successful students, is wide and will continue on long after this sad day.
Joe and me at my Defence after party with my thesis supervisor Dennis Thiessen and my external examiner Lynn Davies.
Joe was known for being a boy scout, a camper, and a guitar player. So I think he would approve of this song.
’tis the season, as they say, and the food blogs around the ‘net are in full baking swing in anticipation of getting us to the finish line (aka annual holiday season). I love to bake, but I don’t really have time and I also don’t really have too many people around to bake for. So, instead, this post is where I’m going to bookmark some of the cookie recipes I’d like to try.
But honestly, i don’t think anything will quite match the chocolate peppermint creme sandwich cookies I had a party last night. I wonder if my friend would share that recipe with me or if it is a closely guarded secret?!
Yesterday i saw the movie You’ve been trumped. It was fantastic… let me repeat… fantastic. But sad, too. Sad that the Scottish government swept aside all their laws to let a “tycoon” with a bad haircut and a big ego ruin a protected piece of land… sad that it took 6 years and a lot of stubborn self-belief on the part of only 6 people and their families to get some action (and really I suspect the real problem was with the economy). Still, sad that grassroots citizen action is not as powerful as it once was in the face of the world’s greediest man. But still, it somehow restores your faith, just a little bit, as the final slide of the film passes by and you realise that there is hope. Perhaps no hope to stop the destruction of the land, but hope that it won’t be made worse and hope that people will not lose their homes. I sincerely hope that the people of Scotland will see this film before their next election.
My cousin Audra posted a photo of a broccoli strata on her Facebook earlier this week and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Besides, I have some veggies and other items that needed using up, but alas no broccoli. And besides, she didn’t give us her recipe. So in the midst of being glued to news about what’s going on between Gaza and Israel, I realised that I could make a Cauliflower Blue Cheese Strata, besides I had a friend coming over for dinner. Google however failed me. Lots of broccoli stratas, and even broccoli and blue cheese, but NONE with cauliflower and blue cheese. Why is that? So, I had to make the recipe up based on what goes into a broccoli strata. Well, more or less, because really there were a lot of ingredients that I was lacking.
And when I tasted it, along with Guilty Men Cabernet Merlot wine, I could not help but feel that perhaps there is a parable hidden in this dish relating to Middle East Peace: Piquante, sharp even, crunchy, soft, chewy, solid, and washed down with smooth red liquid strong enough to balance the piquante flavours of the blue cheese. Peace. You can do it guys. You can make it work, too.
Clevergirl’s Cauliflower Blue Cheese Strata for Two.
Half a head of cauliflower cut into smallish florets
4-5 pieces of flax bread cut into cubes (or whatever bread you’ve got on hand)
a small hunk of blue cheese cut into small cubes
1.5 cups of skim milk
3 teaspoons of dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove crushed
1 teaspoon (at least) dried thyme
1 teaspoon (at least dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
generous grinding of black pepper
*Put the first 3 items in a small/medium sized pyrex container.
*In a bowl whisk the remaining ingredients except for the last two cheeses.
*pour the liquid over the dry.
*sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.
*let sit in the fridge for a few hours (My online research seems to say that this step is optional, but I did it and then I went to the movies and you might want to do that too)
*heat oven to 350º, put pyrex dish into oven and bake for about 30-40 min. until done and golden brown.
This is not my recipe. Nor is it from one of my cookbooks. I found it on an LJ community on baking and I want to re-post it here because it was a) really good and b) I don’t want to lose track of it. It is also really easy and I think would be good for baking with children. So here it is:
Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) butter, softened
1 1/2 ripe bananas
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients except flour, oats and chocolate chips. Stir in the flour, then the oats, then the chocolate chips. Batter will be wet.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are dry. Let cool on cookie sheets for two minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Try not to eat them all in the meantime.
Yields approximately 3 dozen.
MODIFICATIONS BY ORIGINAL BAKER: I made this recipe twice, once with AP flour and OF oats, and then again with whole wheat flour and quick oats. First of all, these substitutions are totally okay! They do not change the flavor or texture of these cookies! Secondly, if you DO make both substitutions, the cookie batter will be a little thicker, but still on the wet side. The cook time will stay the same either you way you make them.
Read more at BakeBakeBake: http://bakebakebake.livejournal.com/3648007.html?view=44807175#t44807175#ixzz29KrIJr4W
CLEVERGIRL’S MODIFICATION: I did not have the right chocolate chips, so I used 1 cup of the semi-sweet dark and 1 cup of coconut (shredded). I think next time, I will use nuts (walnuts probably) or 1 cup of choco chips, 1/2 cup shredded coconut and 1/2 cup walnut pieces.
I found this great recipe via a google search. But as usual, I didn’t have all of the stuff I needed for it, plus I can’t eat fish sauce due to my allergies. My instead ofs were:
*low sodium soya sauce instead of fish sauce
*juice of 1 lemon instead of lime
*and a green chili instead of a small red one.
*and I left out the cilantro, because I didn’t have any.
Review: Well, it reminds of the highly censored version of The Squid and the Whale that I am currently watching as I type this. Missing something important here and there. Lime and Cilantro would definitely help. And whatever you do, don’t leave out the chilli, because if you do… zero umph. And you can’t have “Asian flavours” without umph in my opinion. While I’m at it… it’s not generic “Asian” — because really what is that? Asian flavours are so varied. In fact, I’m reminded of the meeting I was at recently when someone said that another person was “looking forward to going to Asia.” so I asked what that means because said person has already been to a number of Asian countries, including the one I’m currently living in. So, the soup — it’s Thai flavours. Let’s face it: coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, small hot chillies = Thai flavours.
But all this rant aside, I really like the soup. I need to tweak it a bit more, but I do think it is quite yummy.
*1 cup of skim milk (or for vegan version use a non-dairy milk of choice)
* 1/2 cup of oatmeal, blended finely
*1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
* 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
*pinch of salt
* c. 1/3 cup of walnut pieces
Begin by mashing the bananas in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg and milk. Beat the mixture until the banana is as smooth as you can reasonably get it. Measure in the blended oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and walnut pieces. Whisk again until the batter is smooth. Drop by 1/4-cupfuls onto an oiled skillet or griddle. Cook until brown underneath and dry on top with tiny bubbles. Flip to brown the second side. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot with syrup or applesauce.
For a decadent addition, add c. 1/4 cup of chocolate chips.
Nothing on this blog represents the ideas, policies, practices of any organisation or institution of which I am/have been a member, student, volunteer, or employee. This is not a democracy and I reserve the right to edit or delete your comments. Thanks for dropping by!