Thursday, January 27, 2011

Heirloom Seeds

Are you planning your spring/summer vegetable garden? This is the time to get those little seeds sprouting!
I'm in the middle of reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (great book) and the author gives a lot of mention to heirloom seeds... Which essentially are seeds that have been passed down through generations. I had to see what it was all about.

So I recently went to the Seed Savers Exchange website and spent a good hour looking at all the different seeds they offer! And, of course, I couldn't resist making some sort of purchase.... Now I'm super excited to get my seeds delivered and get them planted!

We already planted a variety of seeds we bought from a garden store in little peat pots...which are sitting in the garage under a nice warm lamp, getting ready to sprout.
So now I'm really excited to compare the difference between the taste of the heirloom vegetables and the non-heirloom vegetables.

Happy Sprouting!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mason Jar Lemonade

Josh came up with this brilliant idea last weekend while picking lemons with Sofia in the backyard on a HOT JANUARY AFTERNOON (eighty degrees to be exact)

This is so much fun for kids especially if you make it an outdoors activity!
Sofia had so much fun helping daddy pick the lemons, watching him cut the lemons, helping to juice the lemons, adding the sugar and berries...and of course the "shaking" part!

Add to a mason jar (he used a 24 oz mason jar and used the lines on the jar as a measuring cup)....

100 ml of good quality sugar
600 ml of water
100 ml of fresh squeezed lemon juice
couple of ice cubes

small handful of your favorite berry (we used some frozen raspberries since nothing is in season right now)

place lid on jar

shake shake shake shake shake shake

(let your kids help with this part - on the grass and with hands ready to catch it if it falls!)

remove lid

pour over ice, sit out on the patio, sip your lemonade, close your eyes and pretend it's the middle of summer...

p.s. - when the kids go to bed, make another batch and add some good vodka!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Make Chicken Stock

I had never made chicken stock before because the idea always intimidated me. I don't know why!
My mom made it on occasion when I was growing up so I wasn't a stranger to the idea.... just scared that it was going to be really hard and LOTS of work involved (not that I don't appreciate a kitchen challenge every now and then).
Hard is the last word I would ever use to describe making this! And as far as lots of work, it practically made itself!
So it makes me ask myself why I've been buying the boxed stuff all these years! Not that it's bad to buy it on occasion because, let's be honest, not everyone has the time to make homemade stock.... but seriously, you will never want to go back to the box stuff after you make this and taste how CLEAN it is!

I used this and Alice Waters version from The Art of Simple Food as reference for what quantities of ingredients I wanted to use. Also, I did not use a whole chicken, just two chicken breasts since I was making a small batch of chicken soup. If using a whole chicken, adjust water and vegetable ratio.

Alice Waters uses parsnips in her recipe and I happened to have a bunch on hand from our last CSA pickup! I even added parsnips to the chicken soup and it gave such an earthy flavor, it was so so fabulous!

Chicken Stock
this recipe makes around 6 cups of stock (quart and a half - perfect for a small batch of chicken soup that serves 4)

2 organic free-range chicken breasts (bone-in with the skin)
1 carrot qaurtered
1 small onion quartered
1 celery stalk quartered
2 small parsnips qaurtered (optional)
6 cups water
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf

Place everything in a stock pot or a dutch oven and bring to a boil. cover with lid and simmer for about 40 minutes.

remove chicken from pot and set aside. Once cooled, remove meat and use right away or store in refrigerator.

strain broth and discard the vegetables. Skim off the fat and use broth right away or store in freezer in airtight container.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Halve the squash lengthwise

remove seeds

rub insides of squash with olive oil and season with a little salt & pepper

place face down on a cookie sheet

roast for about 45 minutes

To get the "spaghetti" effect, run a fork along the inside of the squash to create strings and place in a separate bowl... do this for each half.

Top with your favorite combination... I like a quick homemade red sauce with veggies and some shaved pecorino romano on top! mmmmmmm!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Whole Wheat Waffles

The triple W...
Because let's face it, we stuffed our faces until we couldn't move over the holidays.

Whole Wheat Waffles
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup melted butter (unsalted)
1 teaspoon high quality vanilla (I use Nielsen Massey brand - Madagascar Bourbon or Mexican Vanilla)

combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and wet ingredients in a small bowl.

add wet ingredients to dry ingredients... stir to combine.

ladle batter into waffle iron, cook according to your waffle iron instructions..

serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

..Don't forget to add the syrup! (real 100% maple of course)

Enjoy! :)