The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

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!)

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Homina, homina, hominy. July 4, 2011

Smokey Hominy Soup, my chickens!
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Yesterday, Jon brought home this “When Country Comes to Town,” 2011 Brant County Culinary Guide (see here!). Page 9, Three Sisters Soup caught my attention (Jon’s boss, Matt Lee is on page 13 with a soup recipe that looks rather nice too), and I went on this bender trying to figure out what I had and if I could make it. No, I couldn’t. So, I got my friend Laura‘s recipe from her blog, and decided to start with that. Well, it’s Summer. Summer means I like smoky, cumin-y things, and I started to make that soup… And then I got carried away. I couldn’t stop adding things, and here’s what happened.
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If you haven’t tried hominy, PLEASE do so. It’s got a really unique texture, nothing at all like normal corn. It is delicious, a bit nutty, and.. agh. Just, love.
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Smokey Hominy Soup
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Ingredients
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3 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz smoked pork belly (or other smoked pork stuffs), diced
1 medium onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, sliced on the bias (small though)
1 carrot, same as celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (Campbell’s soup size, whatever that is) hominy corn, drained and rinsed
1 medium sized new potato, diced
8 cups water (go ahead and use stock if you have it, veggie or chicken, or porkish)
1 156mL can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp hot paprika
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp dry oregano
1 can (Campbell’s size) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste (lots of both, if you ask me)
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Method
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Okay, grab a biggish cooking pot, turn ‘er up to medium-high, add the olive oil. When it’s hot enough to saute the veggies (test by throwing a piece of onion in, I always say!), throw ’em in there. By which I mean, the onions, carrot, celery, along with the pork belly. When those are good and browned, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or until fragrant. Then, add all the other ingredients, starting with the water, to deglaze (scrape the brown bits off the bottom, a little water at a time). Bring to a simmer, and drop the heat to low. Cook until potatoes are done, if you’re short on time, but if you want good soup, REALLY good soup, cook it for a long time. The slow-cooker, even, would be amazing for this. I cooked this for 7 or 8 hours (mostly because I was waiting for bread to finish all it’s many risings, and also, because I was really irresponsible and fell asleep for 3.5 hours). Anyhow, serve it with huge hunks of bread and be done with it. So good.
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I’m done. Have to eat more of this soup now. Yeaaaaaah. Here’s Laura’s recipe, before I go: Laura’s Three Sisters Soup!
Her blog never ceases to amaze me. She is a wonderful woman.

 

Pea S. I Love You April 10, 2011

If, culinarily-speaking, there is anything to say about me, it is that I sincerely enjoy a good dried bean foodstuff. I cook with dried beans/pulses so often, that I could probably make them in my sleep. However, I would not, because I semi-recently had a very vivid dream that my kitchen was on fire. At any rate, I would like to share with you a pretty basic method for cooking the little wonders. Really basic, but wholly satisfying.
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Today was extraordinarily pleasant, weather-wise, and warm weather, for some reason, always makes me want black eyed peas. Now, when I say this, please be aware that I do not condone listening to the musical group, and this is entirely unrelated to that abominable excuse for a band. If you find yourself experiencing confusion between the two, please refer to the pulse variety as, “cowpeas,” from this point on! I can also get behind, “Holstein beans,” but that is my own personal made-up variation, so don’t go asking for them in the grocery store…
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Now, when I say that I cooked up some beans, I do not mean to say that I boiled them up in a pot of water until the point of nasty. This method, regardless of the beans you use, will result in a sort of gravy, which means that it’s goddamn excellent served over rice. Beans and rice? Always. This is sort of a Southern thing, although use of peppers and celery (and a good amount of the spices) aren’t always necessary. You can play around with the spices all you want, also. I usually go with a bit of a Cajun-y vibe, so that’s what you’ll see here, as far as spices go. If you use something other than black eyed peas, the timing will be adjusted accordingly, because most beans have different cooking times. Also, please be advised that soaking is a very good option, you can either go with the overnight (cover with a few inches of water and cover the bowl, overnight), or the quick-soak method, which is covering them in a pot with a few inches of water, boiling rapidly for about 3 minutes, popping a lid on, turning off the heat, and letting it sit untouched for an hour. Same result! In the end, the soaking is a timesaver for the actual cooking process. Enough of that jibber jabber though! Let’s get on with it!
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Cowpeas Deluxe (I don’t know why I just decided to call it this, but let’s go with it anyhow)
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Here’s the fancy shot to prove that beans aren’t just for broke-ass hillbillies (oh, to be a broke-ass hillbilly…)
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And here’s the best way to eat ’em. Especially if you mix them all up with the rice, maybe a splash of Louisiana hot sauce too…
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Ingredients
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4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces (you can use pork hocks, smoked sausage or salt pork instead, by all means)
1 small onion, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup red or green bell pepper (about 1/3 of a big ‘un)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock (or water with bouillon, or just water!)
2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1-2 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce (or whatever you prefer, you can also use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, too )
1 bay leaf
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Method
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Okay, first, get yourself a big cooking pot, preferably heavy bottomed (cast iron for the win). Saute the bacon until browned over medium-high heat, and add all vegetables, sauteing until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute or so, until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and then drop the heat down to a simmer. Cover with the lid ajar for about an hour, an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender. At this point, it should still be pretty soupy. We want the water to evaporate, and the starches to thicken up now. So, turn the heat up over medium or so, keeping a close eye and stirring frequently (stickbottom, do not want…), with the lid off. When it gets to a gravy-esque consistency, you are done! Check for seasoning, and serve over rice.
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Das all fo’ now. megohm, over and out!

 

It’s not oatmeal! It’s Cranberry-Oatmeal Muffins! April 3, 2011

These taste great! …but you won’t like them.
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Look at me, ripping off Oatmeal Crisp commercials. Like a boss.
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Okay, all of that riffa-raffa (?!) aside, here is a recipe for you. I made these this morning, after being lame and falling asleep at midnight at my own get-together last night. So, if you ever find yourself waking up, joyful upon not having a hangover (hello, Swedish pear cider), give these babies a try. Also, if you want to feel wholesome, and can’t find a marathon of Seventh Heaven on television, these should suffice. Note: I realize that many people who often wake up with hangovers generally do not get urges to feel wholesome on weekends… Although our get-together did entail some serious hide-and-seek playing and a fancy dress code.
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Whatever. Muffang time. Wonderful. These aren’t heinously spongy like most goatmeal muffins, and they actually have respectable mushroom-y muffin tops. You could always change up the berries in this, if you want, go with seasonal. Seasonal for me, at this point, means freezer cranbabies. These aren’t too-too sweet, so if you have extra cash for trips to the dentist’s office (I do not!), feel free to increase the sucré.
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Cran-Oat Muffins
(with a crispy-crumble toppin’!)
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Ingredients
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2 cups oatmeal (not 1-minute instant, I repeat! NOT instant!)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
small pinch salt
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar (you can increase to ½ cup if you want these sweeter)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup fancy molasses
1 ½ cups milk (I used sour milk)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
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For the crispy-crumble toppinz:
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2 Tbsp oatmeal
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
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Method:
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Pre-heat your oven to a hhh-whoppin’ 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffang tins, or use liners (pro-tip: spray muffin liners with a bit of aerosol spray/Pam, lightly, to prevent muffin-stick-to-liner discomfort), but grease all around the tops of the tin anyhow. I happened to use delightful little gem tins (which make the bottoms look kind of like mini-bundt cakes), origin unknown. Now, mix all dry ingredients in a medium-large bowl. Mix them well! Stir in the cranbabies now. The flour that sticks to them will keep them afloat in the batter, and they won’t all stick to the bottom. Now, mix up all your wet ingredients, in the order they are listed. Add those to the dry ingredients all at once, and fold it all together lightly, until everything is just moistened, don’t give a damn about lumps! Just moistened, do not over-mix, or your muffins will take immediate and fierce revenge upon you, and your baker’s pride.
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Okay. Now make your topping, if you so choose to use it. Aesthetically, I think it is necessary, and it also helps sweeten them up a touch. Mix the oatmeal, brown sugar and flour in a little container. Then, work the butter in with your fingers, until it’s little crumbs, like what goes on top of Apple Crisp.
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Drop batter into your tins now, and then sprinkle with the topping, a little on each one. I fill the tins right up, because it makes for a good muffin top (yes, a good thing, in this case).  They’ll looka-like this:
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Okay, thwack those into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Mine took 16 minutes, but you’ll know they’re done when they spring back upon gingerly poking with your finger, and/or, when a toothpick comes out clean. Now eat those, and feel wholesome, in a way only listening to Joni Mitchell made you feel before.
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Peace out, river trouts! megohmnomnomnom

 

So good, a clever title isn’t even necessary. March 27, 2011

Readers, I am, in this moment, reveling in a feeling that can only be compared to the first recognition of love. A dizzying feeling that for me, is often brought on by a slowly cooked, lustrous, tomato-y, pasta-y, legume-y foodstuff. Always cooked in a big, heavy pot. Oh, and did I mention, fatty pork products are involved too? The only thing this is missing is wine, and I may as well pour myself a nice, well-deserved glass now.
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If done right, I could easily say that Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fuh-zoo, if you’re a Marcella) is my last-meal-ever/death row dish, that or Pasta and Cauliflower (Macaroni and Cauliflower, if you are my immediate family). However, if this was my last meal, I’d die a very happy glutton.  I’ve been doing lots of research this past week on Molise, and learning about the use of chestnuts, legumes, and today’s ingredient, chickpeas (garbanzo beans if you’re a snob). I have never been a huge fan of chickpeas, and I am sworn against hummus, so help me (it tastes fine, but nobody is getting turned on but smushed up chickpeas being presented to them by some pretentious jerk who can open an aluminum can and a jar of tahini. There are only so many ways to make hummus, and your mint garnish does not impress me). But, anyhow, I thought I’d give chickpeas another try.  So, need a change from fagioli? Try chickpeas. The dish has now become the ever-loved, humble and shoulder-to-cry-on (if you need it for that), Pasta e Ceci. There are a million and eight ways to make Pasta e Ceci (or Pasta e Fagioli, for that matter), some are simply pasta and chickpeas tossed together with olive oil, salt and pepper, or in a light broth, other times tossed with pasta, and in this case, cooked as an almost-soup, stew-y, I-don’t-know-what kind of lovedish.
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To go along with this, I decided to carb it up (not that it needed carbs, but I felt like making non-“bread”-bread) with some pizza. That is to say, more of a focaccia bread, but as I have learned in recent days, Molise seems to call all of their flatbread/focaccia concoctions, “pizza.” Which I can get down with. Mostly-cheeseless (and sometimes entirely), not dripping with orange pepperoni grease and actually seemingly healthy? Pizza? Don’t mind if I dooo! This page has been blowing my mind today with all the non-bastardized, non-North-American pizzas, and I decided to make one. Jon and I bought some fairly impressive-looking olive oil this week, after watching Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo glug/drizzle it on everything, very excitedly, in glorious excess. This was a nice outlet to show ours off, along with some sundried tomatoes and black olives. So, let’s have at it.
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Pasta e Ceci
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Ingredients
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4 oz smoked pancetta or bacon, diced
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz (2 Tbsp) pimento, or diced roasted red peppers
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes
1/ 4 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1 796mL can diced tomatoes (3-4 cups)
1 156mL can tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1.5 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp dried basil (1 tsp oregano, sage or marjoram would work nicely as well)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
1.5 cups small-cut pasta, or broken long-cut pasta (shells, ditalini broken spaghetti, etc)
salt and pepper
water
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Method
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In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil, and begin to saute the pancetta or bacon over medium-high heat. When sufficiently browned/not chewy fatstuff, remove all but 2 tsp or so of the fat. Add onions and celery, sweat three minutes or so until they soften, add garlic, cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Add pimento (or roasted red peppahs), cook for a minute or so, then stir in hot pepper flakes (or cayenne), and anchovy paste, if you’re using it.
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Add tomatoes, paste, and chicken broth, stirring until tomato paste is smooth. Add sugar, bay leaf and herbs (I used basil because I think it is glorious). Make sure it comes to a simmer if it already isn’t, then turn heat down to medium-low, cover and let simmer for at least 40 minutes or so, stirring fairly frequently. I happened to have dry chickpeas, so I cooked them (not long enough) in the pressure cooker, and finished them up in the pot on the stove, so it took 1.5 hours or so for me.
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Add pasta, and a little extra water if needed (I went with a bit under 1.5 cups of additional water), stir, and simmer, till pasta is tender. You will need to stir pretty frequently, or else surrender yourself to bottom-stick-stew. But do not worry, I believe in you! Anyhow, when the pasta is cooked, check for seasoning, and you’re done. Top with some Parmesan or Romano, and let it’s hearty succulence envelop whatever soul you have left.
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Pizza con Olive e Pomodoro (Molise-style flatbread with olives and tomatoes)
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Ingredients
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For the dough:
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3 cups flour
1.5 tsp instant yeast
¾ tsp salt
1.5 tsp honey
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
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For the toppings:
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Cornmeal (enough for a sprinkle)
Fresh garlic
Salt
Black olives (good quality, I recommend something delightfully sodium-enriched and stored in oil, NOT water)
Sun dried tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
Red pepper flakes
Herbs (rosemary, oregano, or basil)
Good Italian cheese (I went with Pecorino Romano, because it was what I had around, opened, but Bocconcini, good Mozzarella, or Scamorza would be equally acceptable)
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Method
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Combine dry ingredients for dough in a bowl, mix lightly, and add remaining ingredients. Mix together until a slightly-sticky and soft dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic. If using a mixer with a dough hook, 2-3 minutes until end result. Lightly oil the bowl with olive oil, a teaspoon or so, and rub it around the bowl with the dough (use it as a sort of mop), then flip the dough over, so it is coated on both sides. Cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in a warm place. When dough has doubled, sprinkle a pizza pan (or cookie sheet, whatever you have) with a little cornmeal, and punch the dough down in a bowl. Put it on the pizza pan, and press it out with your hands until it is about 1/2- 3/4 inch thick. Let rise 10 or 15 minutes again.
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., and then rub the dough with a little fresh garlic, sliced in half. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough, then very lightly, sprinkle a small amount of salt. Just scatter it, nothing fancy, nothing excessive. Place some olives over the dough (whole, don’t worry about pits, you’ll get to them when you eat it), you may want to indent them into the dough a bit. Sprinkle sun dried tomatoes or place thinly sliced fresh tomatoes sporadically around dough as well. Sprinkle with a small amount (or a lot?) of red pepper flakes, and a good amount of whatever herb you’re using (I used basil, derrrp). If you wish to, go ahead and use fresh basil, or whatever herb, by all means! Then, place some slices of the cheese around the pizza (or grated, if you want). Add a little glug of olive oil, if you feel like saluting Jamie and Gennaro, and place in the oven, bake 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and top is golden-brown. Cut into slices any which way you want, e mangiare!
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So, that is what you get for today, i miei bambini! megohm, over and out! Alla prossima!

 

If you ain’t Deutsch, you ain’t meutsch. March 20, 2011

Hello, Readers!

I’ve got a quickie new recipe to share with yezz, just a straight up-and-down recipe, I’m sorry, no pics for this one. I made it last night, after a pretty long, terrible week, one of those, “I can’t bring myself to eat,” kind of weeks. So, more or less, just too exhausted to mess around with photos, I just wanted something in my stomach, fast. For one of my soup recipes, it’s pretty speedy to make, you won’t need many ingredients, and it’s pretty economical, if I do say so! I went on a bit of a German bender last week, so here’s what came out of it. Comforting, to the point, and pretty dern easy. This soup will make you feel safe and cozy. A dumpling recipe at it’s best. For those of you who don’t know, here’s Wiki’s take on spätzle.
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Deutschland Smoked Sausage and Spätzle Soup
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Ingredients

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1 Tbsp bacon fat (or oil, or butter)
1 medium onion, chopped small dice
2 ribs celery, chopped small dice or sliced diagonally
1 medium carrot, sliced diagonally
1 tsp garlic, minced
3 smoked sausages, sliced diagonally
3 large leaves of cabbage, cut into 2-3 inch pieces, rather haphazardly
Chicken stock, or a combination of chicken and beef stock (unless you’ve got pork stock on hand, but go ahead with bouillon if needed)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp caraway seed
salt and pepper, to taste
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Method
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In a good sized (medium/large) pot, heat bacon fat over medium-high heat, and when it comes up to temperature, add veggies (excluding cabbage), sauteeing about 3-5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute, or till fragrant. Then, add in the sausage, and brown lightly. Next, add the chicken stock, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, drop the heat down to a simmer (medium-low, low as needed), cover with the lid ajar, and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. For the spätzle, I used a recipe from Food.com, here’s the link! I went with the bigger ones, go ahead and use what you like. Just cook until they float to the top, and in my experience, with the bigger ones, maybe a couple of minutes extra. Make sure the soup is boiling when you drop them in though! Also, feel free to throw in some tomato paste or diced tomatoes, (and a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity) for a little extry flavour. So, that’s that. I hope you like!
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megohm, over and out!

 

I do what I want! December 13, 2010

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there!
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Yes, I know I am a sorry excuse for a blogger, but we recently got Netflix, and now I occupy my time with ungodly foreign films. Also, I’ve been on an Italian rampage (after spending, oh 3-4 hours eating a six course meal at Trattoria Giuliana last week), and I’ve already shared most of the recipes I’ve been cooking, so, there’s that, too. Oh, and Jon and I discovered the best wine at that restaurant, Brindisi Rosso. 17 dollars for 1000mL. I do not think I need to explain the pros and cons of that kind of a deal. I have embarrassed myself enough, I think.
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Anyhow, this post is going to be fairly short and sweet, but I’ll leave you with a really great recipe that belongs to my mumma. So, let’s start off with that, and then I’ll spend the rest of the post boasting about my terrific baked goods that I took my blog vacation for!
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Mum’s Applesauce Cake (in LOAF FORM!)
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Oh, how festive our apartment has become!
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Ingredients:
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1/2 cup butter (softened slightly – room temp works well)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins
(a handful of walnut pieces – this was my own addition)
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Method:
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Okay, basic stuff here, kiddos. Get a nice biggish-sized bowl, put the butter and sugar in. Mix until your arm falls off (wait, no, you could use beaters or something – I went old school last night – made it hurt so good). The sugar and butter should be thoroughly combined! This is called creaming the butter and sugar. I would have mentioned this initially, but I know half of the people who read this blog are filthy perverts, very unsavory sorts of people. CARRYING ON, add the egg, mix to combine. Add the applesauce, mix to combine. Then, stir in spices and baking soda, then raisins (and walnuts?), and then flour, until just combined and there is no dry flour hanging around anywhere. Alternately, you could take the classical method and sift the spices and soda into the flour, but I’m too lazy for that, and thus, devised this crafty method instead. So, now that that’s done, put the batter into a greased loaf pan (I think a little bundt cake pan might be nice too, though), I don’t know what size, just… Standard meatloaf size, that’s all I’m giving you. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until it springs back when the surface is touched, and a toothpick will come out clean.
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Okay, got that? Now, my favourite part! Let the self-glorification BEGIN!
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This is a fig and almond custard pie. It was delicious.
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This is a grapefruit pie. It was also delicious, and made me feel ever-so-Hannibal-Lector-ish!
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This is some giant wheat bran bread that I made last night!
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This is Big Suze trying to sneak her way into getting some giant bread. The blurry photo leads her to believe she is incognito.
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That’s all I’ve got. Cheerio, readers!
megohm, over and out!