Sunday, November 8, 2009
In Spain, sunflower seeds are a popular snack amongst the young and old. They sell them at soccer games like we do beer at hockey games, kids have them at recess, and teenagers litter the streets with their shells. They become pro-sunflower seed peelers, and reach speeds that I never would have imagined were possible to eat the seed without getting any shell into your mouth. They also sell the less popular pumpkin seed to be eaten in the same way. So when I popped the seeds from our own pumpkin into the oven with some salt to be roasted to the perfect crunch, J was delighted at the result.
Onto the soup. We had some bacon in the fridge, it went into the pot until it was crunchy. I then took it out and it hung out on some paper towel while the process continued. In the bacon fat went an onion. Recipe called for a large onion, but the onion I used deserves no adjective less than GINORMOUS. It was nearly the size of the pumpkin. While that browned, I continued to peel and chop the pumpkin. Normally I bake a squash for a bit so that the skin just peels right off, this soup was done a whim so I peeled it raw with a knife, much more time consuming, though neater. Once the onion was brown, I added some stock (knorr, again, on a whim, no time to thaw out the frozen stuff), and then the pumpkin. All of this came to a boil, then simmering went on until the pumpkin was soft. I zapped this into a cream, added some cinnamon, salt, pepper, and chili sauce. You know that giant bottle of bright red chili sauce that they have in Asian restaurants? That kind. The bacon went in last and was served.
The result was yummy, the combination of cinnamon and chili was really nice, and the bacon, well, it was in it's glory. Among all that veg, it sung all the high notes whenever you got a piece!
In the picture (close up, second bowl, I need to practice this artsy side), a piece of sundried tomato and olive bread from Boko bakery is sitting pretty. This bread is amazing. If you have a chance to try it, you must!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It's been a soup filled weekend! My mum called yesterday to see if we wanted to go over for a roast today, mmm roast! I decided to try out a soup to bring with us, parsnip and fennel, two ingredients I had never cooked before.
As I took out the 1 pound bag of parsnip from the fridge, J's reaction was, it's a white carrot (clearly I am not the only one unfamiliar with this veggie). He tried it, and declared it was a carrot. We put it to the true test of Oslo's palette. A fact about Oslo, he's tasted quite a few different foods, and carrots are at the top of his love list, unlike lettuce, which will be left to wilt on the kitchen floor if he has anything to do with it. We passed him a taste of parsnip, and it went more the lettuce route, clearly different from carrot.
The whole 1lb bag of parsnip, peeled and chopped, went into the pot with 2 tablespoons of butter, on low heat with the cover on to "sweat" for 45 minutes. Once it was nice and golden brown and soft, I added the next litre and a bit of stock (defrosted from the freezer) and removed from heat to puree. Back on the heat it went while I added a half cup of 18% cream and a half cup of sherry. The sherry adds a third new ingredient to my cooking experiences today. While that was heating up nicely, about a cup of finely chopped fennel was put into a frying pan on medium-high heat with a table spoon of butter. Once it was a golden colour, it was stirred into the creamy puree that smelled divine. Voila! Parsnip and fennel soup.
My mum called to see if we were ready, so we headed downstairs, loaded with the pot of hot soup, the dog, his chuck-it, among other things, to enjoy what was a delicious lunch!
There was a bone in the roast, so you can guess what is on our stove at the moment...
We left the market sans brussel sprouts, but with some red peppers, tomatoes and ground cherries. This first ingredient was intended to help me make a successful and decadent roasted red pepper soup.
Here's how it became a tomato soup:
Into a dish I tossed 3 chopped red peppers, a chopped onion and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. This was drizzled with olive oil and put into the oven at 325 for about 25 minutes. When it smelled delicious, I took it out, and added it to the pot where I had a litre and a half of the stock that I made last week. I then added a can of Hunt's tomato and sweet onion, and a quarter of a tomato that was left over from making sandwiches. At this point I did consider that that was an awful lot of tomato, but decided not to add any more red pepper, for reasons beyond me. That pot full of goodness simmered for 10 minutes or so, then I removed from heat to puree with my trusty hand blender.
Back onto the heat it went, medium, and I tasted where we were so far. It was sharp. It needed something. I added nutmeg. Nutmeg really did the trick! Then some pepper. No salt, it didn't need any and I learned later that J had added salt to the stock before he put it in the freezer! I tossed in a peeled and chopped pear, then let it simmer at low heat until J woke up from his name.
Overall, this was a yummy soup, familiar to those days of childhood when you came in from playing outside in the snow and your mum made this for you for lunch, with a side of a grilled cheese sandwich or a pile of those premium plus crackers. Yum!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Upon putting the stock in the freezer, we remembered that we had a butternut squash and carrot soup left over in there, so we took it out to enjoy. This is from about a month ago, it was a pureed butternut squash (squash, onions, garlic) with sliced carrots added (not pureed). It was pretty tasty.
As I write this, the first soup to be made with the first attempt at stock is in progress. Stay tuned!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
It came out very velvety, with the perfect level of zing from the ginger. The bright orange colour made you excited to help your eye sight as it made it's way across your exhilarated taste buds.
Here's how this bowl made it to the table:
In a large pot, on medium-high heat:
1/4 cup butter
7 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
3 tbsps white rice
Once the butter is melted, turn the heat on low and cover. Let the ingredients sweat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I enjoyed some corn chips with chipotle spinach dip and talked about diaper bags during this time.
When the carrots are soft, add about a litre of stock. Today I used beef cubes. Blend until velvety smooth, I used my handy-dandy hand blender, right in the pot.
In one of our attempts to stay warm, and healthy, I'm going to make soup. Lots and lots of it. A few years ago my aunt and uncle gave me a cookbook, Soup for Every Body, and an apron for Christmas. This winter, I hope to become a soup guru, sharing my attempts with family and friends. I'll give each of my attempts an Oslo rating (thanks R!), 1 through 5.