Friday, January 6, 2012

Homegroups, Social Medicine, The Drink of Kings, NY Resolution.

Cpu's talkingHomegroup – I’m getting there!!! At least I am back to being able to contact my desktop from my laptop and to use the printer. Vice versa is a different story. I changed my firewall but don’t yet know if I have made a difference. Pain in the butt having lost it in the first place and not  really knowing how or why. Maybe they just don’t want to talk to each other. These computers in this cartoon are a tad ancient, but fit the bill.

One of the major drawbacks with a socialised medical system is the time it takes to get treatment. I have just been given an appointment for an MRI in March – erm, I am in pain now and have been for 5 weeks, and you can’t do anything for another 2 months!!! Come on now. I still don’t know when I am going to see a specialist. I was under the impression that such waits had been speeded up, but obviously I was wrong. But at least I don’t have to pay anything. Funny, the girl who phoned to give me the appointment had to ask questions, in the first place she had added two years to my birthday, don’t need that thanks, then later she asked if I was pregnant, what, at my age, LOL.

Around Christmas time, an ezine I read had an interesting series of articles on Champagne. I have always been fond of Champagne as a drink, so were my parents which is where I got it from I guess. ChampagneAnyway, I decided to do a bit of research and thanks to Wikipedia I found what I wanted to know. It does appear that it was not Dom Perignon who invented champagne, nor did he invent the méthode champenoise which is the way champagne has been made for many years, this was invented by an Englishman, Christopher Merret, around 1662. Dom Perignon did, however, make many improvements to the champagne of his time, which is why he has become so much associated with this wonderful drink. Technically only sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France are permitted to be called Champagnes. They even have to use a phrase such as méthode traditionelle to describe the making of their sparkling wines. The article is fascinating if you are interested in the origins of the beverage.

We often watch Wheel of Fortune in the evening prior to watching Vanna Whiteour favourite programme, Jeopardy. By the way the Jeopardy trials are coming up again, and I am wondering whether to try out once again. A recent competitor tried out for 16 years before making it and went home with $213,000 the other day, but I digress. What I was going to say – Vanna White, the hostess on Wheel of Fortune, said her New Year resolution was to cook a completely new dish every week. I thought what a wonderful idea. Don’t know if I can achieve that, but I might try for it.

This recipe comes from an Eating Well article on foods we should be eating. I am not sure about Japanese Yams, but as it is an American magazine, I assume we can obtain them in this part of the world. Agave nectar I have seen in the stores. Fried sage leaves are delicious

Green Soup with Yams & Sage

From EatingWell: September/October 2011

This kale-and-spinach soup has a beautiful complexity. It’s slightly sweet, with a bright note of lemon and the subtle aromatics of thyme, sage and garlic. Japanese yams are marvellously flavourful; they have a dark purplish skin and are snow-white inside. Ask for them at your farmers’ market or grocery, but if they are unavailable, regular sweet potatoes can be substituted. Recipe by Anna Thomas for Eating Well.

8 servingsGreen Soup with Yams and Sage


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish

2 large onions, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons plus 4 cups water, divided

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 large bunch Tuscan, lacinato or Russian kale

2 medium or 1 very large Japanese yam or regular sweet potato (about 1 1/4 pounds)

14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces), any tough stems trimmed

8 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried

4 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

1 tablespoon agave nectar, or more to taste (optional)

16 fried sage leaves for garnish (see above)

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stir in 2 tablespoons water, garlic and thyme and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove tough stems and ribs from kale and coarsely chop the greens. Peel yam (or sweet potato) and dice into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop spinach; set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining 4 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add the kale, yam (or sweet potato) and sage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach, return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once halfway through, for 10 minutes more. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Add broth; return to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes more.
  5. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). Stir in cayenne, a few grinds of pepper and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. If the soup is sweet to your taste, add more lemon juice; if it’s too tart, add agave nectar, if desired. Just before serving, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the hot soup. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of oil and 2 fried sage leaves.

Per serving :124 Calories; 6 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 16 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 565 mg Sodium; 365 mg Potassium

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To make fried sage leaves: Set a small strainer over a heatproof bowl. Heat about 1/2 inch olive or canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add sage leaves; fry just until crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain in the strainer then spread out on a paper towel until ready to use.

Have a great day


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