Again with family distractions:

But this time it’s an adorable distraction.

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Born 17 Sept, after 4hrs of labor, 8lbs of chubby cheeks and squeaky milk breath became a part of my family. While this doesn’t make up for the lack of recipe posts, it will hopefully explain why I was just too darn tired to get good photos of anything at all for the last few months.

=^.^=

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So, I hit my head really hard… Like really hard.

The day before the wedding… 8 stitches, 10hrs in the ER, and months of not being allowed to drive myself anywhere due to sudden random dizziness and head/eye pain later everything seems to be evening out a bit. I’m still randomly dizzy, but it’s better.

Oh, and I found out that I do not have cervical cancer (hooray!), but I am pregnant (hooray! little soon, but hooray!). When it rains… heh.

That aside here’s my recipe for tomato free marinara which has fooled the tomato eating 11yr old, AND a few others who forgot about my allergy and ate it all before realizing something was up. =^.^= A good sign I think, since I can’t do anything but smell other sauces to judge by.

First! You’ll need a few things. I used canned for this because it’s quick and simple and I don’t heat the whole house roasting veggies, but choosing fresh beets and carrots and roasting them first adds a whole dimension to the sauce which is beyond lovely.

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The cans also serve to keep the ratios easy to manage. You can increase/decrease this recipe simply by keeping the beet/carrot/red pepper ratio the same. You can use any roasted red peppers, these were marinated? Which as far as I can tell just meant lightly salted and had a clove of garlic in the jar.

One large onion, a good amount of garlic (this is to taste, but is it really possible to overdo the garlic? I think not.) a stick of butter if you’re feeling decadent/trying to cram a few more calories into your diet, less if you’re not. Olive oil if you prefer.

This recipe really is super flexible.

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Wilt your onion with the butter and garlic.

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Then drain the cans of beets, peppers, and carrots. Add them to the pot.

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You’re going to be pureeing the whole pot later so right now it’s a free for all. We want to get everything mingled, seasoned, and hot all the way through first. Salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Again, using the store mixed stuff is just a time saver… Mixing your own will be another post as it’s super easy and then you get to play with the flavors you like best (and leave out the extra basil because bleh. =^.^=)

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Cover with broth. You can use water, veg, beef, or chicken broth here. I like veg as it’s a more subtle flavor without the bold savory of a meat broth (and I happened to have 2 cans handy when I started.)

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Simmer simmer simmer.

An hour or two later (did I mention you can toss this whole thing in the crock pot and wander off for a day? You totally can.)

Blend either in small batches in a blender/food processor (be CAREFUL blending hot things requires patience, small batches, and being aware of yes omg it’s HOT) or using a stick blender thing which is my favorite since it gets fewer dishes dirty.

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Blend until pretty smooth/pureed. Stir in a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Just trust me on this.

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At this point it’s ready! You can also add a pound or three of browned ground meat of your choice, I added beef to this batch and it was delish. You really don’t need to do anything but brown the meat, drain it a bit, and toss it right into the sauce.

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=^.^=

No Tomato Pasta Sauce (marinara sans tomates)

Ingredients:

2 cans of sliced beets (no salt)

2 cans of sliced carrots (no salt)

1 large yellow onion chopped

4 or more cloves of garlic crushed and chopped

4 Tbs Italian Seasoning (or your preferred blend of oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage)

Salt+Pepper to taste

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 cans vegetable broth

2 Tbs butter or olive oil (I just toss the whole stick of butter in there  >.>   )

1 lb ground beef (I used 3, but I was in a meaty meaty mood)

Directions:

Wilt chopped onion and garlic in butter until translucent.

Add in remaining ingredients except for balsamic vinegar and meats (if desired), and bring to simmer.

Simmer for at least 1 hr.

Puree or blend the sauce as smooth as you like. Add in the vinegar and browned meat.

Serve as you would a typical pasta sauce. (It makes a wonderful lasagna layer)

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Potato Soup – Preamble to chapter one

Chapter one opens with soups. After a run through of kitchen tools from the basic through the single task gadgets which are very good at what they do, but take up a lot of space we don’t all have.

I may be jumping ahead of myself, attempting what should be my first official post ahead of schedule and with less finesse, but it’s downright murky today.

It’s been raining since 3am, TheFiance is yet again in Germany for who knows how long exactly, and it’s just the perfect day for warm comfort food. Which brings us to the first soup in the book. Potato.

The recipe notes at the start that using whichever veggies in whichever proportions you like best will work just fine. Potato and leek / potato, turnip, carrot, onion /  most any combination of potato, leek or onion, and other root veggies you have handy, any fresh herbs, kale, spinach, watercress, or bacon to stir in at the end. I’ve stuck with her listed ingredients of potato, onion, and salt. I did swap the water for some veggie broth since the cans were taking up space and it just adds a level of yum to the end.

About equal parts potato and onion. Salt to taste (I used a skimpy tablespoon).

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Potato and onion, peeled and chopped.

Small even pieces will cook through faster and if they’re close to the same size in about the same time.

Cover with broth, or water. (Water really does work just fine. I’ve planned a broth section but today was not the day.)

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Cover with a lid, but not completely, and bring to a healthy simmer. The bubbles should be lively, but not rolling bits around.

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Simmer until all the potato bits are soft enough to mash easily.

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Then mash. At this point, the soup is essentially done. After mashing and tasting then adding salt, pepper, your favorite herb, a handful of kale, whatever makes you happiest to have in your potato soup it’s ready to eat!

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If you’re feeling oddly nesty, and extra grumpy because your snuggles are half a world away you can whip out a food mill which hasn’t done anything since you stopped making baby food, and whirl it all into a smooth creamy dream.

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Then heat it back up to stir in a swirl of heavy cream.

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If you happen to have crusty rolls >.>

<.<

Grab one. Trust me on this.

Slice the top off. Always face the blade away from your body, and pay attention to where your fingers are!

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I like to brace it in a soup bowl just to be sure it doesn’t try to skitter off.  =P

Then scoop out the middle. Feel free to toast the middles bits.

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Save the middle bits for dipping. It’s wonderful.

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Then curl up on the couch with a book thick enough to last several hours and only move to take random pictures of tiny drenched spiders hiding in agave plants.

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No one will judge you for using the middle bits and top to eat 2 whole bowls of soup even if you go back for thirds to finish the rest of the bread with.

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Test Recipe (learning to post) – Roasted red pepper “1pot” pasta

This post has been flittering around Tumblr like mad lately. Which, double checking it now, they’ve noticed too. Hooray!

And it sounds super tasty!

It’s only flaw is all those tomatoes.

So, to get back into the habit of writing and work on skilling up photography (not enough points to buy into better equipment yet. Yet.) here’s a similar noodley creation. =^.^=

eat time

Serves 6-8+

1 lb pasta

2 roasted red peppers (roughly a 12oz jar)

1/2 a yellow onion (about a cup)

1/3 cup heavy cream

6 strips thick cut peppered bacon

4 cloves of garlic

6-8 eggs (One per person)

Dried oregano + thyme to taste (I used about a tsp of each)

Using peppered bacon means most of your seasoning is already taken care of.

First, crisp your bacon. A broiler pan and about half an hour at 350 does nicely, and keeps the spatter to a minimum, and drains off most of the grease.

bacon in the oven

At about 25min put the pasta (spaghetti) in a pan wide enough to let the noodles lay flat, and about 3in deep. You can always use whatever noodles you like best I’ve used spaghetti today, but cavatappi works nicely.

You’ll need either a jar of already roasted red peppers (super easy and usually cheaper than buying fresh peppers…) or 2 red peppers to roast at home. Roasting peppers can be done a number of ways. I like to coat them lightly in veggie oil, lay them out on a foil covered pan, and stick them right up under the broiler until the skin chars a bit.

Slice the peppers about 1.2 in thick, slice the onions a bit thinner, chop the garlic, and put it all (including the dry spices) into your preferred pan covered with water.

all in the pan

Somewhere between a gentle boil and a vigorous simmer is the sweet spot for getting the noodles done enough without overdoing it, and ending with a delicious soft onion.

When most of the liquid has boiled away but it’s not quite ready, stir in the cream and turn the heat down a notch.

adding cream

When you add the cream you’ve got about enough time to poach the eggs.  =)

poaching eggs

Once the cream has absorbed into the noodles and made a soft creamy sauce of itself, chop the bacon and add it right on in. Toss it all around a few times. Then divide the pasta among 6-8 wide bowls, plates, or w/e you’re serving it in. As soon as the eggs are done (you want them soft in the middle, mine are a bit overdone.) add one on top of each plate.

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Eat!

P.S.

The crazy fun thing about “1pot pasta” is you can use things you’ve already got handy. Mushrooms leftover from last night? The last of the fresh spinach before it goes mushy? Grilled steak bits from the other day? Random handful of kale? Perfect! Toss them right in!

Anything already cooked or leafy and green can go in when the bacon does since it just needs to heat through. Anything else add at the start  =D

Don’t like onion? Leave it out, use more garlic or some chopped leaks instead. No cream handy? Half+Half, milk, a bit of cheese, drizzle of olive oil, or butter works instead!

=^.^=

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Hope and Planning

My hope for this space is to document my attempt at cooking my way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” while coming up with substitutions for every instance of tomatoes. This may not be entirely possible, and certainly to those who consume tomatoes regularly and are familiar with their taste unaccompanied by fear, wheezing, and hives there will be noticeable changes. But perhaps we’ll discover something fun along the way, and it will take the edge off of not being able to “just go out to eat”.

I want to post a new recipe once a week, and if possible a new technique once a week. So, we don’t end up trying to roast a whole chicken without talking about all the bits that go together to manage that. I don’t want anyone running into my baby sister’s problem of not noticing the “extra bits” lurking in the body cavity… Or diving into marinara sauces without talking through tomato sauce replacement recipes. Nobody’s afraid of beets are they?

See you early October!  =^.^=

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