Friday, April 30, 2010
I keep forgetting, so much going on lately, that Gynie sent me a dragon. Gynie used to write a blog, but if I think I am busy, she is much more so. However, she knows I love dragons so when she painted one she sent it to me.
She is a very talented young artist and has posted many of her paintings on her blogs, I am only sorry that she hasn’t been writing one lately, but at least she is still painting. I assume she is still doing her martial arts training and she also moved recently. Lots going on in her life.
The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is assuming major proportions as one of the worst disasters ever. They keep referring to it as an oil spill, it isn’t, it is a leak and will presumably keep pouring forth until they manage to cap the well head – if they can ever do that, they haven’t had much luck so far. The disaster is going to affect the fishing industry, particularly shrimp and also the wetlands which are full of protected birds and animals. They talk about the cost to BP (British Petroleum) but the cost to the ecosystem is unmeasurable and it will take years if not centuries to recover unless they have some success now. Apparently there are a lot of oil rigs out in the Gulf and no-one seems to know what caused the explosion on this one.
We picked up a copy of Food and Drink from the LCBO yesterday. I haven’t read it fully yet, but guess what, there was an asparagus recipe.
Green and White Asparagus Salad
Green and white asparagus makes a pretty mixture on the plate. The secret to cooking white asparagus so that it is not bitter is to peel it and add sugar to the boiling water. Here a robust salsa gives the asparagus a different taste and look. Use asparagus of the same thickness for the best presentation.
1 lb green asparagus
1 lb white asparagus
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
'1/2 cup chopped green olives
14 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 Tbs chopped capers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs orange juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
Peel green asparagus if stalks are thick. Peel white asparagus.
Bring a large skillet of salted water to boil. Add green asparagus and boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until still slightly crisp. Remove with tongs and run under cold water until cool. Pat Dry
Add sugar to boiling water and add white asparagus. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly crisp. Drain and run under cold water until cool. Pat dry. Place green and white asparagus on a platter.
Combine shallots, olives, red pepper, capers and parsley in a bowl. Stir in lime juice, orange juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, spoon salsa over asparagus across the centre.
Have a great day.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
A friend sent me a video link to a new invention, a Yike Bike. This bike was developed by a New Zealander and is absolutely great. I want one! Actually, these days I wouldn’t have any real use for one but if you are working, I think it would be fabulous to have. The link is at http://www.yikebike.com/site/gallery/video/yikebike-discovery-channel – do check it out I am sure you will be as delighted by the bike as I was.
Today we have one of our Travel Leagues, it is the last one of this season. As it is taking place at our local alley, we are trying out a new restaurant for lunch called The Rude Native. I don’t know much about it other than its a chain of some kind. Several of us very much enjoyed the My Thai, but one or two of the group wouldn’t join in so, to keep the group together, we are trying the new place. Knowing me, and food, you won’t be surprised that I don’t understand people who won’t try Thai or any other kind of different food. I personally believe in trying everything once – in a restaurant there are of course many things to try some of which you may or may not like. Anything I find I don’t like I have made a rule all my life to try again every couple of years and usually end up enjoying the food eventually.
I read the World Wide Recipes ezine every day and there is a section called The Last Morsel with, to me, an interesting excerpt from a book by Christa Weil called Fierce Food. The Intrepid Diner’s Guide to the Unusual, Exotic and Downright Bizarre, talking about manna. Most of us are familiar with the biblical version of manna from heaven. But this excerpt tells us what manna really is, bug excrement, basically. I admit, this I would be reluctant to try unless I was really starving which, I guess, the Israelites were at the time. If you are interested you can read Joe Barkson’s ezine at http://www.wwrecipes.com/ Its near the end.
For supper last night we had shrimp gumbo which is one of our favourites. Matt did the grocery shopping in the morning and brought home some nice fresh okra. Funnily enough, I had already got a packet of shrimp out ready to peel for supper. Great minds think alike. I had my asparagus for lunch yesterday, guess I will have to make some for an hors d’oeuvres tonight.
I found this different recipe for asparagus on Allrecipes.com.
Chinese Noodle Pancakes with Asparagus
Submitted By: Jen
Photo By: Em
"Chinese wheat noodles are double cooked, first in water until al dente and then mounded in a frying pan until crisp and brown. Then its smothered with a delicious sauce made from rice wine, soy sauce and wilted spinach. Next comes asparagus simmered in garlic and ginger."
1 pound fresh Chinese wheat noodles
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
8 ounces spinach with stems, rinsed
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot of water boil noodles until al dente. Drain well. Rinse with cool water until the noodles are cool.
2. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and cut the rest of the spears into 2-inch lengths. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute, make sure not to brown the garlic. Add the asparagus and 1/2 cup water. Simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Put the cornstarch into a small mixing bowl, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup water and the rice wine or sherry. Stir well. Add this mixture, the soy sauce, and the fermented black beans, if you're using them, to the simmering vegetables. Let the sauce boil for a few seconds, add the spinach and stir until it wilts. Remove the skillet from the heat
4. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Divide the noodles into four mounds, and place the mounds of noodles in the hot frying pan. Flatten the mounds in the frying pan so that more surface area will brown, reduce the heat to medium-high, and fry the cakes for at least 5 minutes, until they develop a golden-brown crust on the bottom. Turn the cakes over, and fry them for 3 minutes
5. While the noodle cakes cook, reheat the vegetables and the sauce slightly. Add the sesame oil, salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture. Place the noodle cakes on plates, spoon the sauce and vegetables over and around the cakes, and serve.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Yesterday, we took our wine and beer bottles back to the Beer Store, not the liquor store where we bought them. This system is a bit of a pain for us, OK if you have a house with a shed or garage to store your empties, we end up doing it in a spare room which is not the most convenient way of storing them. Nor is it worth taking back one or two bottles, so we save quite a lot before we return them. For those of you who don’t know this part of the world, we have a Beer Store which sells, guess what, yes, beer and an LCBO which stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario where we can buy everything else, plus some beer although not in large quantities. LCBOs are pretty nice stores these days, but when we first arrived in 1975 a room with a few desks and lists of what was stocked, you then wrote down your order and handed it to someone behind the counter who would disappear into the nether regions to find what you wanted. Very odd system to us coming from England. Shortly before we landed in Ontario you could not, legally, offer your house guests an alcoholic drink, however, they changed that in time for our arrival.
In North Carolina you can buy both beer and wine in the grocery store but the liquor has to be purchased in ann ABC liquor store. From my limited experience of other States, it seems to be the same in several of them. I have no idea about either the rest of Canada or the rest of the States. Big countries.
In the southern part of Ontario, as I have mentioned, there are lots of wineries (known as vineyards in the UK) as the soil and climate of the Niagara region is ideal for growing good grapes. One can do tours of many of them and several have excellent restaurants, trouble is if you are not careful when tasting you can become unfit to drive. Its an enjoyable way to spend several hours and to purchase one’s wine on the spot. We have done it several times, usually when staying in the region, in Niagara Falls or somewhere similar. Last time we were staying at a bed and breakfast in Port Dalhousie which is a delightful spot close to the lakes.
One of the top news stories at the moment is the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico caused by a sunken oil rig. Today they are talking about setting light to the oil floating on the surface. However, until the robots manage to plug the leak, this appears to be only a temporary help, if it really is a help at all. The oil coming ashore seems to be a major concern, but what about all the damage to the gulf ecosystem itself. As if nature wasn’t causing enough disasters, man has to add to the problem. The cost to BP was mentioned this morning, OK bad, but the ecosystem damage is – to my mind – more important.
Sam Champion, on Good Morning America, has a segment called Just One Thing. This morning he was talking about plants which can improve the quality of indoor air http://tinyurl.com/33eenta which they say is often more polluted than outside. I was very interested in this and am contemplating getting a fern to put near my printer. (There is a typo on the page, it should be toluene).
North Americans love potato salads. You never go to a picnic or pot luck without finding at least one and sometimes several different versions. So here, from the Asparagus Growers of Ontario, is a version with asparagus in it. No picture of the dish I'm afraid. The picture shown is from Barrie Bros. Asparagus and Fresh Food Farm. I was there yesterday, I had run out of the succulent green stalks; I actually met the other brother. I have known Tim Barrie for a number of years now, but had never met Andrew before.
Ontario Asparagus and Potato Salad
3 cups cut (1-inch/2.5 cm pieces) Ontario asparagus 3 lb new potatoes (unpeeled), scrubbed 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp coarse-grained Dijon mustard 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 2 roasted red peppers, cut in 1/4-inch (5 mm) dice 1 bunch green onions (white and pale green parts only), cut in 1/4-inch thick slices 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped Steam asparagus until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Refresh under cold running water. Set aside. Cut potatoes into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes; steam until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and place in large bowl. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, zest, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper; add about two-thirds to hot potatoes and toss gently to coat well. Let cool to room temperature. Add red peppers, green onions and dill along with remaining dressing; toss gently to mix well. Garnish with chives. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 12 servings
Have a great day.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I was staggered to hear of a 14 yr old girl, Katie Brice, racing in Nascar. I’m sorry, but how ridiculous. I cannot imagine a parent, particularly a mother, permitting it, but her father is a racer too and Saturday was in the same race. She can’t drive herself to the mall or even to the race track, but she is being allowed to race. If you want to read the article or see a video clip go to http://tinyurl.com/2wtsam5
Sadly, young Abby Sutherland who has been attempting a round the world sailing trip has got to put into port at Cape Town this week due to a faulty auto pilot. She is going to continue her trip, but it will no longer be a non-stop voyage. She is one of the two 16yr olds who are out there right now, I think Jessica must be nearly home to Australia, they changed their web site and I haven’t been keeping up so regularly. However, in my book, sailing in a well designed yacht which is virtually unsinkable (mind you so was the Titanic) and racing a Nascar vehicle are two extremely different things.
A major disaster story this weekend was the twister in Mississippi which killed 12 people and wrecked the towns it passed through, particularly Yazoo City. From the video shown on TV it was a big one. This is now tornado season which, the reporters say, got off to a slow start. I am sure the residents of tornado alley wish it had never started at all.
An incredible story, and by no means the first such event, a homeless man went to the rescue of a woman who was being mugged. He was stabbed and there are camera views of him lying on the sidewalk bleeding to death for about an hour and not one person helped him, finally someone did call for help – he eventually died. A psychiatrist says this is caused by several things, the major one being that we are inured to violence; because of the games we play and the movies we watch, etc. our brains are becoming hardwired and unable to differentiate between the real and the imaginary. There is a video on the ABC news GMA/weekend page http://abcnews.go.com/gma/weekendMatt was watching a golf game from New Orleans on Saturday. I am not sure exactly where, but right by water and there was an alligator cruising around too close to the spectators and golfers alike. A grounds keeper or someone came along with a fishing rod accompanied by a guy with a noose and managed to hook the gator and draw him in, however the gator shook himself free and went further out but still hovering. What I couldn't figure was what they planned to do with the gator once they caught it??? Not something you can tuck under your arm and move somewhere else. They didn't try again. On Sunday it, or its brother, was back again. I guess it figures food is available, they can run very fast for short bursts too. Later we discovered the alligator is known as Tripod as it only has 3 legs. I still wouldn't want to try racing it.
I have started reading The Third Craft by James T. Harris http://tinyurl.com/28787ze wlihich has been loaned to me by a friend at the Friday seniors bowling. James T. Harris is his son. How wonderful to have your son as a published author. Only trouble is, the book says it's a trilogy and I am not sure if the other two books are going to be published or even written.This is not exactly a recipe, but there is a sauce we used to make years ago which I figured would be wonderful on asparagus. Basically you make a white sauce, add a pinch or maybe two of nutmeg and then add a couple of chopped hard boiled eggs to the white sauce. You can also chop up the egg whites and add to the sauce then sieve the egg yolks over top of the whole dish, makes it look prettier. I haven’t tried this yet, but having thought of it, I will.
Saturday we made a Weight Watcher’s recipe we haven’t done for a long time. It is one of our favourites. This comes from Weight Watchers’ New Complete Cookbook. I should warn you not to breathe too deeply when cooking the pork with the hot paprika on or adding the vinegar. You can choke on the fumes. I actually posted this recipe before, but having enjoyed it the other night, I thought I would remind you of it. Sunday we made a cauliflower recipe which I got on Real Age's web site and it is from YOU: On a Diet by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen. Cauliflower tends to be a somewhat bland vegetable unless you add a cheese sauce, but this was very good.Mediterranean Cauliflower Salad 4 servings.
1 head of cauliflower, blanched for 5 minutes
1 small can of anchovies, drained, chopped (otpional)
1Tbs drained capers1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp driedDrain cauliflower and break into small pieces. Combine cauliflower, anchovies if desired and capers in a medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; toss with cauliflower mixture.
I know lots of people will say they don't like anchovies, most of whom have only had an anchovy straight from the can or jar which is very strong and very salt, but when added to a dish like this, makes for a wonderful salty flavour. Go on, be adventurous and try this with anchovies in.Pork and Black Beans If you like, use turnkey breast instead of pork 4 servings 2 garlic cloves 1/2 tsp hot paprika 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp salt 5 ounces lean pork tenderloin 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbs white vinegar One 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 carrot, finely diced (we prefer shredded) 1/2 tomato diced 1 red onion, chopped 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, cumin and salt; rub into the pork.In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the pork until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a place. Halve the pork lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices.
Add the vinegar to the pan drippings and simmer, stirring, until the acidity cooks off, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, carrot and lime juice; cook, tossing about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the pork, tomato, onion and cilantro, toss to combine.Points per serving 3.
Have a great day.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I heard a report this morning which said the Great Lakes are, on average, 13% lower than usual. This is a result of the lack of precipitation this last winter, we had really very little snow and we haven’t had much in the way of rain since. This means that all the other 3,899 lakes in Ontario will be much lower this year too and could cause us drought problems in the hot weather. This happened shortly after we came to Canada – I remember because we rented a tent trailer and travelled north west in the province ending up at Jesse Lake which is in the Thunder Bay region. There we rented a dinghy to go fishing and caught Whitefish which one cannot usually catch in the summer but we did because the water was so low. Great eating I might say although at the time we had no idea what we were catching. Talking of travelling in a rented tent trailer, this was probably the first time I realised just how big Ontario, and therefore Canada, is. We travelled well over 1,000 miles and were still in Ontario. Europeans have no conception of the vastness of this country.
GMA Weekend have reintroduced their News You Missed segment this morning because it was so very popular. There was mention of a woman in England who becomes so very unpleasant when drunk that she has now had her picture circulated and been banned, by the courts, from every bar or club in the country (and there are a lot of them). Generally this segment has fascinating little snippets, often quite funny, which escaped the headlines. If you go to GMA’s website at http://abcnews.go.com/gma you can see some of these segments.
One of the segments I really liked this morning was the story of Buddy who led a State Trooper to his owner’s burning house. There is video of the dog leading the car and turning his head to check the cop car is behind him. The owner had second degree burns and needed help – he just said to Buddy “we need help” and Buddy shot off to get it. Meanwhile the Trooper was lost and his GPS had frozen so he didn’t know which way to go until Buddy arrived. You can find this story at the same link as above.
I had my first feast of asparagus for supper last night, it was gooooood. I can’t believe I had had the asparagus almost 24 hours without eating any, but of course it was a bowling day yesterday and I didn’t have time to cook any for lunch. I am pleased to report that after my recent fiascos, yesterday I bowled well. About time.
I said I would try and scan my 300 pin and I have just done so. I hope you can see it. The black area has the figures 300 in it which you can’t quite see, but the figures are gold coloured with a gold coloured edging. In fact there is a lot of gold edging to the pin so this doesn’t really do it justice, however, you can see the general idea. I am pleased with it. Of course, I didn’t see it til I got home as it was pinned on my shirt.
Now I will be looking for lots of asparagus recipes, I gave you the soup yesterday, and a Balsamic recipe the other day plus one with lobster a week or two back which I might repeat it looked so good. The following recipe comes from the Asparagus Growers of Ontario who publish quite a few recipes.
Asparagus in Bed1 lb Ontario asparagus, trimmed (trimming is not necessary if you buy straight from the farm) 8 eggs 1 tbsp vinegar 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 8 slices prosciutto freshly grated pepper 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preheat oven to 450º F (230º C). Steam or simmer asparagus just until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes; drain well. Fill large skillet with water. Add vinegar and bring to simmer over medium heat. Slip eggs, one at a time, into simmering water; cook until whites are firm and yolks are just set. Remove eggs with slotted spoon and carefully blot dry with paper towel. (Eggs may be poached several hours in advance; transfer to bowl and cover with cold water. Drain well before proceeding.) Divide butter among 4 gratin dishes. Divide asparagus among dishes; drizzle with lemon juice. Drape proscuitto over top. Arrange 2 eggs on top of each prosciutto. Season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes or just until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings Have a great weekend.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Then I checked Facebook and Barrie’s Asparagus had posted that they had a little asparagus for sale so that meant I had to arrange to pick some up before the banquet. Luckily the golf club where the banquet is held is close by. We got there around 5:15 and I saw Tim Barrie's farm store for the first time. They sell a lot of local produce or locally produced items. I didn't really have a lot of time for browsing but I know they have locally made chips with an asparagus flavour, local chocolates which, naturally, tempt me! They also sell corn in season and locally made produce and baked goods of all kinds. Then there are the soups, particularly asparagus soup starter which is sold in jars. Tim told me they are working on other asparagus based products such as salsa.
Leaving Barrie's farm, we were early at the golf club and had to wait for the rest of the party to turn up. We were in a different room which was smaller and a tad more cosy. There were only 22 of us but considering the bowling alley doesn't exist, that's not bad. I was surprised, one man, who had just lost his wife turned up, but I'm glad he did, seemed to enjoy himself. She was the main bowler of the family although he used to bowl years ago. It was nice to see all of these people many of whom we hadn't seen since last year although several of the others we will be seeing next Thursday as they are part of the travel league to which we belong. I was delighted, our friend who used to own the alley where we bowled (now closed down) presented me with a 300 pin for my achievement earlier this season. I thought that was so nice of her especially as my own alley had only given a mug the for pins over. I will try and scan the badge tomorrow.
I bought quite a lot of asparagus yesterday and will probably be turning some of it into Tim Barrie's mum's soup which is some of the best I have ever tasted and I didn't have nearly enough in the freezer last year. But I am looking forward to my first feed with lashings of butter on it, yum.
Barrie's Asparagus Soup Recipe
My Mom's Famous!!!
1 lb asparagus chopped 1/4 cup chopped onion 2 cups chicken broth 2 Tbs butter or margarine 2 Tbs flour 1/2 tsp salt dash pepper 1 cup milk 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt 1 tsp fresh lemon juice fresh chives for garnish
1. In a covered saucepan, boil the asparagus, onion, and 1 cup of the chicken broth. When asparagus is still tender and bright green blend to a puree (this puree can be frozen and used for future batches).
2. In a large saucepan heat the butter and flour on medium to make a paste. Cook until golden. Stir occasionally as you add the 2nd cup chicken broth, making sure lumps don't form.
3. Stir in the salt, pepper, puree, milk. Bring to a boil.
4. Take soup off heat. Measure the yogurt or sour cream into a bowl and stir in spoonfuls of hot soup, little by little. Now, carefully stir this warmed yogurt or sour cream mixture back into the pan of soup.
5. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice, or to taste.
6. Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with chopped chives.
7. (makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups of soup)
Source Mrs. Barrie
Have a great day
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The other day we were talking to the couple who do some cleaning for us, he mentioned that it was the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this week (actually April 12, 1912), I didn’t remember that, nor did I know how many people lost their lives, (1517) he did. Isn’t it amazing the things some of us remember. They are younger than us and so certainly not alive when it happened, nor were we come to that.
Watching Kathryn Grayson in Desert Song the other night, I was mostly thinking of her boobs. No not that way !! I was wondering how they got them so high and well shaped. I remember we always tried to achieve that when I was a young woman but never with such success. Bras must have been quite something in Hollywood. This picture doesn’t quite show what I mean but…. Oh the hours I spent trying to achieve a similar result.
So the planes are flying again in Europe although they say it will take a long while to clear up the back log of passengers. Air lines have lost millions, if not billions. All it takes is one little old volcano. There was some talk of a neighbour of the current volcano deciding to join the party, I haven’t heard anything more about that. Lets hope it doesn’t. I have mentioned how Glenda Larke’s (Tropic Temper see link this page) family always have problems travelling which they call Noramlying from the family name. She was visiting in the UK and we figured this was going a bit too far just to make sure her travel was disrupted.
As you know, asparagus is one of my favourites and I just came across this recipe at Recipezaar. I am assured by Barrie Farms, my local asparagus supplier, that the plants are now poking through quite nicely and so it won't be long. My taste buds are standing up to take notice, there is nothing better than fresh asparagus. Not only that, if you can get it straight from the field there is no necessity to snap off the ends, they are still succulent. Doesn't that picture make you want some of this delicious vegetable?
prepare asparagus by washing and snapping off tough end. heat oil in frying pan. add asparagus and keep moving around in pan until changes colour (approx 3-5 minutes) add balsamic vinegar and the pepper sprinkling over all of the asparagus. remove from heat and cover for a few minutes to let flavours develop. serve.Have a great day
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
According to reports British airports are going to be fouled up for some time due to the ash coming from the Icelandic Volcano. Really must be quite something. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people in England, something they will never have experienced before. I wonder what effect this will all have on the weather as well. I believe it can be quite serious also the health of the people. There’s a series of picture here http://tinyurl.com/y3x4n5b which you may like to see. Together with a report detailing the movement of the ash cloud. There is also an interesting piece of film from ABC here http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/ID=1470068444t and an even more interesting report from Good Morning America here http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/ where Neil Karlinsky is actually reporting from Iceland this morning. Funny, the GMA hosts say they can’t pronounce the name of the volcano so they needed an expert to do so for them, it is called Eyjafjallajökull. The British are, of course, worried about the economic fallout although it isn’t just Britain but a large swath of Europe which is covered by the ash fallout.
My taste buds are beginning to sit up and take notice as asparagus season draws closer. For those of you who have been reading for some time, you will remember I go nuts about the gorgeous green stuff. I have determined I will make a lot more soup this year following the recipe from Tim Barrie’s mom which is some of the best asparagus soup I have ever tasted. I al so probably need to make more asparagus pesto this year, I am getting pretty low. I will be passing on asparagus recipes to you so that if you too are in an asparagus season wherever you live, you can take advantage of it.
Many of my friends go nutty about potatoes, I actually find I don't enjoy them as much as I do the ones we used to get in Europe. Malta especially had wonderful potatoes, and last time I was in the UK I enjoyed the potatoes served there, they seem to have a lot more taste. Like most people I do like French Fries but avoid them and I like a baked potato, usually with just butter on them. This recipe was sent by Cooking.com this morning and I thought my potato loving friends might enjoy it.Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes Source: © EatingWell Magazine 4 servings Think of baked potatoes as nature's mini casseroles: an edible dish that can hold up to a hearty stuffing. Russets have just the right balance to make a perfect twice-baked potato: enough starch to keep its structure, enough moisture to endure the double cooking. Make It a Meal: A tossed green salad with your favorite dressing will round out this meal. Make Ahead Tip: Prepare and stuff potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Microwave and serve. INGREDIENTS 4 medium russet potatoes 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped 1 cup water 1 cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 3 scallions, sliced Tip: Vegetarian variation: Replace the ground beef with a soy-based substitute or omit the beef altogether and increase the broccoli to 1 1/2 cups and the cheese to 1 1/4 cups. DIRECTIONS Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook at 50% power, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or, use the "potato setting" on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions). Meanwhile, brown meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Increase heat to high, add broccoli and water to the skillet, cover, and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli; add to the meat. Carefully cut off the top third of the cooked potatoes; reserve the tops for another use. Scoop the insides out into a medium bowl. Place the potato shells in a small baking dish. Add 1/2 cup Cheddar, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato insides and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add scallions and the potato mixture to the broccoli and meat; stir to combine. Evenly divide the potato mixture among the potato shells and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Microwave on high until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Have a great day
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I am having all kinds of problems with my desktop again, so at the moment I am using my laptop to write. I am not very good at typing on this keyboard so if there are lots of typos, my apologies, not only that I keep touching something which sends my cursor to a different spot, I have no idea what happens or why. I haven’t done much typing on this machine for that reason.
There was lots on GMA about adopted Russian children this morning and it appears some parents have had horrible experiences. Some of the children have had such unhappy experiences either fetally (mothers drinking whilst pregnant) or because of abandonment and they are suffering from reactive attachment disorder, in other words they are totally incapable of bonding with anyone because of what has happened to them. If you would like to know more about this, go to the GMA website where there is a video clip of parents talking about their adopted children.
I shall be perusing my friend Marilyn’s blog this morning, see French Marilyn’s link this page. She tells me she has be writing about Princess Di and has put a lot of research into the article. Another friend, Glenda Larke, is swanning around London, England at the moment, visiting with her daughter. Nice for some. Especially as I understand England is having a beautiful spring this year.“Oh to be in England now that April’s there” Robert Browning.
I just came across some recipes for breakfast or brunch and this one sounded good. I am always looking for breakfast recipes in particular.
Cheesy Polenta & Egg Casserole
From EatingWell: May/June 2008
This memorable brunch centerpiece is rich with cheesy polenta, crumbled sausage and baked eggs.
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal, (see Shopping Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina, or mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
- 6 large eggs
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk cornmeal into the boiling water. Add salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the polenta bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking frequently, until very thick, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, once the polenta comes to a boil, transfer it to the top of a double boiler, cover, and place over barely simmering water for 25 minutes. This is convenient, because you don’t need to stir it as it cooks.)
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain if necessary and transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Finely chop when cool enough to handle.
- Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- When the polenta is done, stir in fontina (or mozzarella) and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. If the polenta seems too stiff, add small amounts of water to thin it to a thick but not stiff consistency. Spread the polenta in the prepared pan.
- Make six 2-inch-wide indentations in the polenta with the back of a tablespoon. Break eggs, one at a time, into a custard cup and slip one into each indentation. Scatter the sausage on the polenta and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly on top of the eggs.
- Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Then broil until the egg whites are set, 2 to 4 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving : 295 Calories; 17 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 241 mg Cholesterol; 17 g Carbohydrates; 19 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 683 mg Sodium; 148 mg Potassium
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1 fat
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 up to 2 hours ahead; hold the polenta at room temperature and refrigerate the sausage until ready to bake.
- Shopping Tip: Polenta, a creamy Italian porridge, can be made from any type of cornmeal. Coarsely ground cornmeal, available in many natural-foods stores, is a great option because is has big corn flavor and light texture. It's usually labeled "cornmeal," but some brands are labeled "polenta."