Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New ideas? or Repackaged?



Someone once told me there are no new ideas...only repackaged ones.
Really?
Doesn't that seem hard to believe?
But the more I think about it, it's probably true.

It certainly is in how we (and by that I mean I) cook.
One recipe morphs into another and yet another until the original is a mere memory of its kin.
but it all started somewhere
and I love that.
{although this particular recipe is more like a fraternal twin, than a distant cousin}



I also love getting back to the basics and rediscovering old recipes made from basic ingredients.
Except ones with Crisco.
I just can't jump on that bandwagon.
no matter how light and crispy it makes your pie crust, or how perfectly it fries your chicken.
or fixes that creaky door hinge...
...or smooths your rough elbows...
Enough about Crisco.

I posted a Tuscan Bean Soup recently that was so tasty that I have made it several more times.
each time with slight variations.
Like here...with leftover chicken.
See?
Repackaged.
no Crisco.


It's all good.


Friday, December 9, 2011

My New Etsy Store

I've been busy at work setting up a store on Etsy.
I am offering 10x10 canvas prints of some of my favorite photos I have taken over the past year.
Here is a sample of what I have, and I will be adding more as I dig through my archives.
Enjoy!
Baby Shoes

Chocolate Milk

Linens
and thanks for checking it out :)
Stephanie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuscan Style Kale Soup


 I feel awful. My head is foggy and my nose is competing with my leaky faucet for most annoying tool.



 I can't help but wonder how my kids can function like this....because they do. The little ones are currently enjoying what I affectionately refer to their glazed doughnut phase. Their faces shiny and shellacked.


 Yes, it's gross.
But lots of things they do are.

So I do the only thing I know how...and make soup.
And I feel better...at least for a little while.


Tuscan Style Kale Soup
Saveur-The New Comfort Food

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
6 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper
1 28oz can while tomatoes, undrained
2lbs trimmed, roughly cut kale
3 14 oz cans cannellini beans
10 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
stale ciabatta

Heat 1/4 cup oil in large stock pot and add parsley, celery, carrots, garlic, onions and salt & pepper. Sautee until soft and golden (about 15 minutes)

Dump the can of tomatoes in a bowl and squish them with your hands then add to pot and reduce heat to a simmer for about half an hour. {side note: I could not get Lucille Ball stomping grapes out of my head while I was doing this....and now neither will you}

Add kale, 2 cups of beans (you drained them, right? Although I'm not sure how much that really matters aside from the yuck factor of bean juice) water and stock ( I know I specified chicken...that's what I had on hand, but beef or vegetable would also be fabulous).
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer until kale is soft... about 30 minutes.

Smush the remaining beans with a fork. Remember when I said bean juice is yucky? Well, I take it back. It comes in handy when smushing beans. Add this to the pot and cook until the soup thickens the way you like it.

Break up the stale bread and place in bowl just before serving.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nibble...nibble



Who doesn't love little things to nibble on?
...baby toes...
...baby ears...
...baby brisket...

Maybe not the brisket, but I can never seem to hold myself back from scooping up one of my kids and nuzzling them on their neck : that perfect place between the soft delicate ear and the hard poky collar bone. I call it a machine gun kiss.
Yup, I had to rename 'kiss' 'machine gun kiss' or else I'd never get to love on them.
It's all in the packaging.

Speaking of which, my 9 yr old, J, has become a formidable package himself, and so is no longer scoop-up-able.
Bummer.
I suspect the younger ones are jealous because I've noticed them eating a lot more these days in the hopes to grow bigger faster so as to avoid the embarrassment affection of their mawma.
I've caught them religiously measuring and marking each other along the doorpost in their room checking on their progress.


I know that I'll have to find a substitute at some point so I have started looking for an equitable replacement...and waiting for the grandchildren to come will take too long.
So I found a snack that reminds me of my kids: 
it's sweet and crunchy with a little kick on the back end.
That about sums them up.

Spiced Pecans
adapted from Alton Brown

1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1lb pecan halves
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp water

Start off by mixing together all the spices.
Then toast the pecans in a large skillet being careful not to scorch them. (You will want to stop right here because the smell is so divine. Go ahead, poach a few, but carry on to the end...you'll thank me)
Add the butter and stir to coat.
Next, sprinkle in the spice mixture that has been patiently waiting.
Then toss in the brown sugar and water and stir until all the pecans are covered with spicy sweet goodness.
Pour onto parchment paper making sure to break up the clumps and let cool...
..but only a little, these babies (like all babies) are most delicious warm.









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