The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Lima Bean Busy February 6, 2012

I’ve decided to make a feeble attempt to post something. It’s been a rather shame-inducing length of time since I actually did anything around here, so I think it’s due time that I get your bellies twist’n’shouting with something perhaps a little unexpected. Unless you’re one of those intriguing anomalies who doesn’t like anything legume-y, well!  I have just the ticket! My affinity for lima beans reigns supreme, once again, and I have a nice little soup that has passed inspection!

Oh yeah, Jon and I moved, so I’ll just let that take the blame for my extreme posting leave of absence. Can we just call it a leave of absence? Anyhoot, yes, Jon and I bought our first house and have been here for exactly 8 days now! I’ve gussied up the kitchen to my liking (including a glorious rolling wooden kitchen island from Ikeeeeeeeeea), and am seriously enjoying my recent cooking endeavors. We kicked off our first (non-takeout/fast food) meal here with Red Beans and Rice. Everything else has been pretty damn great! Now, I do apologize for a lack of pictures in this post, but you’ll have to forgive me because I haven’t yet located my camera, amongst the slew of boxes.

This is my idea of a real superbowl, and it doesn’t leave the most unsavoury aftertaste of Madonna’s pigskin-esque body shaking around, afterward. Now that your appetite is raring to go, let’s do this.
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Ritzy Lima Bean Soup (I’m sorry, I’m Mad Men-ing again)

Ingredients

  • 4 (or 5?) strips of bacon, sliced 1″
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I removed half the seeds and ribs)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed 1″
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup corn niblets
  • 2 cups frozen (or fresh, if you’re lucky) lima beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water (or stock)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (whatever kind you want)
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

First things first, fry up that bacon. It’s fine right in your cooking pot, which doesn’t have to be too huge, medium-large is good. Once it’s brown and crisp, drain the fat (save it, save it!), and add butter. Yes, this is what you’re doing. Add carrots, onion, celery, jalapeno, potatoes, and garlic, and saute until lightly browned. Add corn and lima beans, and bay leaf. Stir and add enough water or chicken stock to cover all ingredients about 1″. Add basil, paprika, a little salt and pepper (to season the vegetables as they cook). Let it come to a boil, and drop the heat to a simmer, around medium-low. Cook for 25 minutes or so, until the lima beans are soft and buttery. Add cream, stir, check seasoning and serve!

I wouldn’t exactly know what to serve with this, as it’s extremely good on it’s own, and that’s how I enjoyed it. However, it’s one of those cute, yet elegant dishes, where you feel like Melba Toast should be in the picture somewhere. I don’t know, whatever that guy at the Maidstone Club is having with it?

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Dass all I have for now, I hope that you are enticed, despite pictures, and that unabashed jab at Madonna. I promise you though, it is beautiful and serves up very attractively. Even if you have unattractive dinnerware!

Happy trails then,
Meg.

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Hearth Soup August 22, 2011

I honestly had no idea what to call this recipe. There is so much going on in this soup, but it all fits together so, so nicely. It’s the kind of soup that makes you feel cozy, warm, and just comfortable in general. It makes you feel good about everything. The same kind of feeling you get when you drink from your favourite old, chipped pottery mug, and the coffee is the best you ever tasted. That feeling. Home. The hearth. If I had to give this recipe a name based on it’s ingredients, however, it’d be Brown Rice, Lentil, Sweet Potato, Leek and Bacon Soup. That’s a mouthful, nawp.
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Anyhow, I’m sharing this recipe with you now, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a coon’s age! I don’t even think I have a legitimate excuse, just laziness, I guess. If it’s any consolation, if you continue to scroll after this post, I’ve posted several recipes that I’ve come up with in the past little while (and believe me, there are lots more beyond those). Buttermilk-blueberry pancakes with maple-lime blueberry syrup, zucchini bread with cashews and cranberries, and some tasty maple granola that is CHOCK FULL of little treats. I haven’t stopped cooking in my posting absence! So, please take a look at those, they aren’t as carefully laid out as most of my posts, and they don’t all have pictures, but they’re there, and I promise they’re good!
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Moving on with this one though!
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Hearth Soup
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Ingredients
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6 oz bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet potato, in 1/2″ cubes
1 carrot, in 1/2″ cubes
1 leek, (washed) sliced in half and cut in 1/4″ pieces (moons)
1 stalk celery, sliced lengthwise and in 1/4″ dice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed and sorted for any stones
1/2 cup brown rice (basmati brown, if possible, amazing aroma)
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper (not too fine)
1 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp dry oregano
3/4 tsp dry basil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
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Method
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In a large saucepan or pot, saute bacon until browned somewhat (I like to start it out with a little water, to sort of cook it through and evenly bring out the fat, and let it evaporate). Add sweet potato, carrot, leek, celery, and saute until browned, maybe 4 minutes or so. Add garlic, and cook till fragrant, a minute or so. Add water (or stock), a little at a time, stirring on the bottom to de-glaze the pan (collect the brown bits for flava-flav). After it’s all in, bring to a simmer, add lentils and brown rice, along with all remaining ingredients. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft, and broth is well-flavoured. Adjust seasoning to your tastes, and serve with some crusty brown bread, and then feel the sudden urge to call your parents and tell them you love them.
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Now scroll!
(I’ll try to keep up with the frequent posts, sorry again!)

 

Hooked on the Sauce January 7, 2011

Admittedly, yes, I have become a pasta addict in recent days. I broke the chain last night with some boss-commissioned borscht, but other than that, almost a week of pasta errrrr’ night. You would think it would become monotonous very quickly, but no! I assure you, I now consider pasta essential to life, and/or daily maintenance. Let it be known: This week, we (two people!) consumed enough pasta to make three 900g bags disappear, plus a few other smaller, partly-gone packages. Our supplies were replenished yesterday, but there was a point where the pasta had to be homemade, and I’m very glad it did get to that point. In my vacation boredom, I decided to make some homemade pasta dough (1 c. flour, 2 lrg eggs, mix and knead for 8 minutes). Then, the old-school, hand-crank pasta machine. Easier said than done, but excellent results. Although, Jon insisted on 4 foot fettuccine noodles the next night, and, well, tapeworms, you know, I’m not gonna go there. But I really want to.
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So, now that your appetites are good and roused, thanks to my parasitic rambling (SORRY), let’s whet it some more with a delicious tomato sauce recipe, fit for a mafia boss, inexpensive enough to feed  savages like Yon and I. Also, it is quick, quick, quick! Veloce! You can heighten the swank of this, by all means, but substituting pancetta or even prosciutto for bacon (although pork cheek is also a pretty traditional choice, one I cannot wait to try). For the olives, I suppooooose, if you’re one of THOSE kinds of people, you could leave them out entirely, adjust salt as you like. However, I believe them to be an integral part of this sauce. Please use only high-grade olives, not those watery rings from a can. They look like tortured Froot Loops. Please. Do not. Otherwise, this is my bastardized version of “Sugo All’Amatriciana.” Sorry, Italy.
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Pauper’s Sauce
(tomato sauce with bacon and black olives)
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Ingredients
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6 oz bacon
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz tomato paste (I used about a can and a half of those little 5 oz-ish cans)
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp basil
pinch sugar
½ cup black olives (whole, remove pits and coarsely chopped)
salt at own discretion
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Method
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In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, fry bacon until slightly crisp, and pour off all fat, save 2 Tbsp. Add garlic, stir to cook until fragrant. Add water to deglaze (scraping off the browned bits at the bottom of the pan), then stir in tomato paste until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients, except black olives, and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Then, stir in olives, cook another 3-5 minutes, and serve. Check to see, but I can almost guarantee it will hold it’s own already in the salt department, but IF, IF, you have a smoker’s tongue and need more, I will not judge you. But seriously, be wary. Bacon and olives are salt weapons.
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And now, more adventures in pasta-land! Cue Louis Prima music.
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Pasta station!
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Round 1: Pappardelle!
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Round 2: I experiment with fettuccine/spaghetti(ni) setting on pasta machine
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Pappardelle in it’s fully glory – I zazzed it up with some toasted walnuts, garlic, basil oil, and homemade ricotta (we ran out of Romano cheese, and I had to make my own cheese too… Sobeys, you are too far away)
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Pretty Jon and his fettuccine.
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A better view.
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Okay, that is all for now, I hope you have enjoyed my pasta tour. Now, I must slink off to wake up Jon and preggo houseguest.
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P.S. Okay, but also, I just remembered… Whoever searched my blog for “Porno Jon Dough,” bless your heart. Hahahaha. Excellent. I might also let the other person who wanted to know about salt pork, I do not soak it. I retain all saltiness for tongue enjoyment.
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“King Henry Chicken,” “Oiled up chicka,” “Tony Starch Mr. Potato Head Spanish,” I don’t even know what to say. “Super sad dried sausage from Italy,” I think you’re looking for Capicola. … “Bourbon muffin,” you intrigue me.
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Arrivederci, babies.
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