Slow food

Jan. 7th, 2009 09:52 pm
chavvah: (lick me)
Here is what I made in the slow cooker. I prepped it last night, left it in the fridge overnight, and it cooked today while I was at work, which meant the apartment smelled like dinner when I got home! Living alone, this is a big plus.

As I have mentioned before, my cooking approach is pretty relaxed. I generally just do it by feel. Sorry if this irks anyone trying to follow the recipe.

Throw all this in the slow cooker and mix it up:

3 big tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can tomato paste
1 palmful (roughly) dried basil & oregano, or whatever herbs you like
some chopped garlic
splash of olive oil
splash of water
two or three chicken breasts, cut up (more if you want more)

Cook on low for roughly 8 hours. Boil some pasta (I used rotini) and throw it on in there. Toss it, spoon some out on to a plate and shave some parmesan over it.

My mother makes this sometimes, which is where I got it from. She uses spaghetti and doesn't get all fancy with the cheese. She uses canned diced tomatoes, but I had fresh so I used them (which is why I added the water--I could have used broth if I wanted more flavour/salt). Also she puts in more veggies--peppers etc. You could totally do that too. Or mushrooms. The possibilities are endless.

Hopefully she is not making it for me tomorrow, because I just ate the hell out of that business and I still have leftovers.
chavvah: (Default)
So I was making pancakes this morning. Occasionally I make a big batch, eat a few, and freeze the rest, so I can toast them for breakfast on weekday mornings. I was seriously halfway through whipping up the recipe when I realized I didn't have any milk. After briefly considering using eggnog, I decided to go with heavy cream, a little water, and omitting the melted butter to account for the extra dairy fat in the cream.

The resulting pancakes were silky and fluffy and oh so delicious. Hooray for happy kitchen accidents!
chavvah: (Default)
Oh man, you guys. Swedish meatballs in the slow cooker. This is seriously the cheatin'-est recipe in town*. It is so easy and so delicious.

The book that came with my slow cooker said to use one can of cream of mushroom soup and one can of "golden" mushroom soup (which I have never seen), but I changed it due to the fact that mushrooms do not agree with me* as a general rule. So here is what I did:

one can cream of chicken (in place of cream of mushroom)
one can of beef broth
some glugs of chicken broth, about equivalent to a can (in place of golden mushroom)
one packet brown gravy powder
one box cooked frozen meatballs (if you are more ambitious than I and want to make your own, 900g of cooked meatballs)
a tablespoon or so of grape jelly

Cook on slow for six hours or fast for three.

They came out exactly like IKEA meatballs. Although I suppose I could have just bought some meatballs at IKEA when I was there. Still, it is reassuring to know that now I can make them any time I want between now and 2011, or whenever it is that IKEA Winnipeg opens!

I ate them with creamy mashed potatoes and have been sighing with contentment all evening.

I know this recipe isn't exactly rocket science, and probably not worthy of the foodie tag, but I also happen to know that at least one of the people reading this journal enjoys IKEA meatballs.

I have lots of leftovers, so if anyone wants to come for leftover meatball lunch tomorrow, give me a call. I will be cleaning and hopefully getting some laundry done.

*I sometimes subscribe this really outdated and quite harmful mindset that the value of food is measured in the amount of time and effort one puts into it. Which is ridiculous. Some of the best meals I have eaten have been prepared quickly and without much forethought--the Eggs Benedict of the other night, for example. Not only that, but I have on occasion eaten things that lots of work went into, which tasted terrible.

**And you know, I was tired of arguing with them. "No seriously, get in the sauce." "No way. Also, that top looks terrible on you." Bastards.
chavvah: (Default)
I've been having sort of a lazy day today (although I did manage to peel myself off the couch long enough to clean the kitchen). I had planned to go grocery shopping and get some laundry done, but both of these fell by the wayside in favour of reading, watching TV, drinking tea, and knitting.

When dinner rolled around, I couldn't think what I was going to make. I have a rough meal plan in mind for the upcoming week (mostly involving the slow cooker I won at this year's office party) but since I hadn't done the shopping, I was lacking most of the elements of the things I had planned to make. However, I did have the following:

one M&M Meat Shops pepper-marinated sirloin
a half-dozen of eggs
frozen english muffins

My initial thought was to have breakfast for dinner. However, this transformed into... Eggs Benedict!

The before and after )Delicious.

(Yes, I know there is Becel in the background, and no, I do not use it in place of butter in my cooking--sacrilege!--but I do use it to spread on toast, which is why it's there.)

It's been years since I made this, even though it's not hard to make and I do usually have the elements on hand. It's a dish I've always associated with Jamie, because it was one of his favourites and I would make it for him on special occasions, and so the thought of eating it alone made me lose my appetite.

Tonight, though, I was most of the way through the preparation before I even thought about him (I was trying to figure out how to divide my usual hollandaise recipe to account for the fact that I was cooking one serving instead of three) and when the thought did cross my mind I really didn't get upset.

It turns out progress is delicious!

If you were here, I would offer you a bite )
chavvah: (Default)
Because I work all day, I am often too tired to do a lot of intense cooking. I have become pretty adept at approximating the flavour of some of my favourite foods while managing to cut down on the effort involved.

I made a gang of 'cheater' enchiladas last night for dinner, and I thought they were pretty good. I thought you guys might want to know how I did it. I'm not real big on measurements when I'm improvising in the kitchen, so unfortunately this is not so much a recipe as a vague series of actions.

I used a packet of Club House Slow Cookers BBQ Pork, which is normally used to make pulled pork for sandwiches. However, I replaced some of the ketchup with hot sauce and I added in part of a chipotle pepper before slow-cooking the meat (a small pork tenderloin) for a few hours.

When it was cooked enough to shred, I shredded it, separating the meat from the sauce. I used just enough of the sauce to coat the meat, and left the rest in the cooker. Then I added a can of corn and some diced onion to the meat. (Many veggies would work here I think, I just used what I had on hand.) I warmed some soft corn tortillas in a skillet and wrapped the meat filling in them, placing them in a casserole dish.

To the leftover sauce, I added a can of tomato soup (I used Campbell's "Fiesta Tomato"), half the same can of water, a palmful of cumin, and a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa. I'm sure you could use salsa or something instead of the soup, I just like my sauce to be smooth rather than chunky.

I spooned the sauce over the enchiladas, then grated some cheddar cheese over the top. Then I baked the whole shebang in a 350 oven until my hungry friends arrived, which unfortunately is probably less exact of a measurement than one could hope for. I estimate it was between 15 and 30 minutes, just enough time for the cheese to get melty.

I don't know about my guests, but I enjoyed these quickie enchiladas and will probably make them again.
chavvah: (Default)
Who made a pot roast, you ask?

Why, I did. It's bubbling deliciously in the slow cooker right now.

Included are one purple potato and a wee onion--I don't really like to do carrots in a pot roast because I'm not fond of soft carrots.

I will serve it with spaghetti squash and some manner of salad or vegetable as yet to be determined. And I will have Sad Cake* for dessert.

I used the last of the rosemary from my garden stash for the gravy, and I think it was a good decision.

What are you guys having for dinner?

*It's actually Boston cream pie, but I am calling it Sad Cake because everything I bake comes out less attractive/delicious than I had hoped for, even when I do it from a box, as was the case here.
chavvah: (Default)
Hey dudes, I just have to say that this soup ranks among some of the very great joys in my life currently. I made a big batch of it on Sunday and I have been eating it all week! Several friends have been over to taste it as well, and I think everyone can agree that it is pretty stellar.

One tiny tiny change I would make is using low-sodium stock instead of bouillon mix, then add salt as needed--it was a little too salty for me. But that's a matter of opinion.
chavvah: (Default)
My kitchen cupboard (the one next to the fridge, if you're curious) has been taken over by roving gangs of potatoes. Opposing gangs--the Russets and the Yukons. Sometimes during the night I can hear the sounds of their little potato rumbles coming from the kitchen. Well, it's time to do something about this.

I am not a big potato eater as a rule, mostly because they make me very sleepy. But I've found a couple of new, interesting recipes that include potatoes. Observe:

Recipe 1: Olive Garden's "zuppa toscana". Not really very Tuscan, apparently, but very delicious and perfect for fall. I am not going to include a recipe because there are about forty million of them on the internet, most of which turn up in a Google search for "zuppa toscana". In a nutshell: potatoes, cream, kale, sausage, garlic, chicken stock. Yum!

Recipe 2: potato dumplings. Not sure yet what I am going to fill them with, but they look super awesome and they are perfect for my work lunch (I am going to attempt to go back to work on Monday. I will let you all know how that goes).

So no more living in terror of potato turf wars, my friends. I'm going to take back the cupboard!
chavvah: (marshmallows hate camping)
I am getting edamame in my FreshBox tonight! I love boiled, salted edamame. I am ridiculously excited about the prospect. I know I have edamame in my freezer, but it is NOT THE SAME.

What foods are you dreaming about?
chavvah: (Default)
[ profile] theoryofgravity was kind enough to pass on her MIL's recipe for zucchini pie. I am here to tell you that it is amazing. Here is the one I made:

I halved the recipe to feed my household of one (with work-appropriate leftovers) and I added a bit of salt and pepper.

chavvah: (Default)
...Swiss chard is AMAZING.

Granted, I prepared it in pretty much a foolproof manner--sauteed in oil with diced garlic and some really gorgeous fennel sausage, then smothered in fresh grated Parmesan. I think almost anything would taste good like that. Still, though, it's pretty outstanding. The chard really stands up to being cooked--it has an awesome texture and a rich, earthy sort of flavour.

Chard is supposed to be ridiculously good for you, although I'm pretty sure I eliminated all the "negative calories" (that one's for [ profile] elusis) with all of that sausage and oil and cheese and cheese and cheese.

It's the kind of thing I would never buy for myself, never having had it--and I've never had it because I never buy it. Vicious cycle. It came in my Fresh Options Organic Delivery (FOOD) box. I signed up for the service in order to gently encourage myself to expand my palate in terms of fruits and especially veggies, and so far it's been working pretty well--most of the fruit they delivered on Wednesday is already gone.

Next up--beets! I have only ever had them pickled and, on one memorable occasion, as vegetable chips. I have collected a few different recipes, and we'll see how we go.

Veggies ahoy!
chavvah: (Default)
Just so you guys know, I have discovered that I don't like elk burgers as much as I thought I might.

Think I'll order some sushi now.
chavvah: (lick me)
I know, that was dumb. Whatever.

I bought two fancy gourmet cake mixes at the grocery store today: orange dreamsicle and Boston cream pie. They were cheaper if you bought multiples. I think I might make one of them tomorrow. We shall see.

In other news, tomorrow I am making an asparagus tart from a recipe that I totally didn't steal from Jamie Oliver on the Food Network, because his recipes aren't published on the website because he wants you to buy his book. I definitely didn't tape the episode and watch it twice so I could write down all the ingredients. The crust is phyllo pastry, the filling is potato and egg and cheese and cheese and cream and cheese. And asparagus, of course. And if I make it and it's delicious, I definitely won't share the recipe with you all. ;)

Also I bought vine-ripened tomatoes that look like something out of a food magazine. They are amazing. I am going to use them to make panzanella tomorrow (or pants a nella as Philippe would call it) to go with my asparagus tart.

Just now I am eating popcorn from my popcorn maker and it is the BEST THING EVER.
chavvah: (Default)
So I just got back from my cheese shopping excursion--I haven't bought any wine yet, as I was soliciting advice from various corners (of the cheese shop) about what wine to serve with which cheese. I have two Rieslings that I got for Christmas (apparently my love for the sweet Germans is no secret, eh, [ profile] stitchtowhere?) and 3 out of the 4 cheeses on my list pair well with champagne, which I was hoping to serve at midnight anyway (or at least its domestic, non bank-breaking equivalent). This weekend I am just going to go to the Liquor Mart and check out their selection.

Following the advice of certain cheese geeks of my acquaintance, I have purchased:

- a lovely aged Dutch Gouda
- a stalwart English blue Stilton
- a Canadian Red Wine Cheddar (Bothwell's "Reserve")

I couldn't resist cutting into the last one once I got home, and it is awesome--rich and sweet and boozy. I had a few slivers of it with some cracked black pepper cashews, and I just about had a foodgasm. This is a cheese that might make it into my regular rotation.

In the way of additional snacks, I plan to serve some fruit, nuts, olives, a lovely Mediterranean tapanade, crackers, fresh baked baguettes (courtesy of the bread machine), smoked salmon, and my famous spinach and artichoke dip. I am considering doing some shrimp wontons too, if for no other reason than that I have a box of wonton wrappers and a bag of shrimp in the freezer that could stand to be used soon.

I think about food way too much, you guys.
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