Monday, March 12, 2012

Blogs, Appliances, Clocks,

I was very excited last week that my readership went up over the 100 mark, couldn’t figure out why, but it did so a couple of days. Some of my friends have very high readership, but as yet, I don’t. Of course, high readership means you very often attract stupid or inappropriate comments which must be very annoying for the blogger.

Saturday night we usually have a “special meal”, and having had a few glasses of Dishwasherwine, I refuse to do dishes and am quite prepared to leave them til the morning. However, Matt, being Mr. Stubborn insists on doing them so I sit there and feel guilty. Don’t know why I should, its his choice!!! I just wish we had a dishwasher, that is one of the drawbacks of this apartment. Its become something of a joke with some friends who do have a dishwasher in their apartment. I do miss it, having lived with a dishwasher for 12 years whilst we were in the States. Mind you some of the dishwashers I have come across since, you might as well not bother. We had a Whirlpool and it did a really good job. You did NOT have to “wash dishes in order to wash dishes” which so many machines seem to require. (I mean all these people who rinse off their dishes before putting them in the machine) I have used a couple of dishwashers in rentals down in the States, and I wouldn’t give you a dime for either of them. OK, I know Matt does the dishes on Saturday night, but most days I wash and he dries. Apropos, we had Steak au Poivre with Shallot Sauce, Portabella mushrooms and half a baked potato each. It was delicious.

DishwashingI often talk about my favourite cook book, Mrs.  Beeton’s Family Cookery, the copy I have was published in 1935 or thereabouts and today is held together with a rubber band, and has wonderful pictures of dishwashers of the time as well as laundry machines many of which were the tub kind with a wringer on top – there were no dryers in those Laundry Equipmentdays, not sure when they came in. Having googled, this is what Wikipedia has to say: A hand-cranked clothes dryer was created in 1800 by M. Pochon from France. Electric tumble dryers appeared in the early 20th century. Industrial designer Brooks Stevens developed the first electric dryer with a glass window in the 1940s. Some of the equipment shown on this page was kind of mechanical and supposed to be labour saving. McGraw Edison, where I used to work when I first emigrated to Canada, made washers and dryers: in the lobby they had a couple of these old fashioned washers with wooden tubs and wringers on top. I would imagine they would be worth a buck or two these days. The place eventually closed down, I wonder what happened to the old washers, I would have liked to have got hold of one. My mother, later in life, had washer and dishwasher (don’t remember a dryer) but she would never use them. My father always handled the dishwasher and the maid did any laundry, either in the machine or by hand. This was when they lived in Spain. Most of her life my mother sent things like sheets and towels to the laundry. So did I before wrinkle free sheets came on the market, I hated ironing sheets. Lets face it, I hate ironing. Domestic Goddess I ain’t.

I hope you spring aheadall remembered your clocks on Saturday night/Sunday morning. In fact we did most of ours on Saturday. Luckily computers do it for themselves so that’s a couple of things I don’t have to bother with, but everything else, and we seem to have a lot of ‘everything else’. I forgot the VCR so I’d better do that and we haven’t done the clock in the car as we haven’t been in it yet. Not sure European countries have ‘sprung ahead’ yet, it was changed here because of the States, damned if I remember why they wanted to change it. It was not, as someone said the other day, for golfers. In fact, of course, it started with British Summertime through the war years. Workers on the night shift don’t mind it, they work an hour less at this time of year although they have to make up for it in the fall.

This looks like a tasty and very healthy dish. I read somewhere, recently, that it is advisable to be sure to buy saffron in threads, not powdered, as many things can impersonate true saffron when it has been ground. I have never heard of kabocha squash, but butternut apparently is OK. I wonder how they compare.

Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

Source: © EatingWell Magazine

8 servings

Modeled on North African stews, this aromatic vegetarian main course can be Squash Chickpea Lentil Stewserved over brown rice or steamed spinach.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

3/4 cup dried chickpeas

2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash (see Note) or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup red lentils

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon saffron (see Note)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Ingredient Note: Kabocha is a squash with a green-streaked rind and tender, sweet orange flesh. An average kabocha weighs two to three pounds.

It is considered the world's most expensive spice; saffron contributes a pungent flavor and intense yellow color. It is sold in threads and powdered form.


Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour). Drain when ready to use.

Combine the soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Put on the lid and cook on low until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 1/2 hours.

Stir in lime juice. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

Have a great day


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