Today is what I think of as a ‘kitchen day’ of which I have lots. I now have enough bread baked for the next two or three days. I did two french, one round and one traditional, and two brown/flax loaves. I also had some Ontario peaches that needed to be used, so I did a double layer peach upside down cake and it is wonderful. Nothing like a ‘Fanny Farmer’ scratch cake. So, so far, it’s been a good week, yesterday I dug my own potatoes for supper. They were still warm when I peeled them and they are soooo snow white. Incredible how much nicer a fresh one taste compared to what’s in the stores.
We have a lot of choices and options in this life. Eating isn’t one of them. We all must eat if we want to keep roaming this earth. Preparing food can be a challenge. Especially when you are cooking for others. I think every family has one person who’s appointed to the task of providing the day’s sustenance and the health of the family depends on how seriously that person takes the job. Like many women my age I have been cooking for over 35 years and by this stage we’ve learned a few tricks. I truly love to cook and create in the kitchen, it has become a passion. In the early years I scratch cooked because of financial restraints, today I do it for health and for the calming quiet joy of it. I love learning new tricks and sharing what I can do. At 54 cooking for fun as well as need has become not only a ‘job’ but a passion and I’m looking forward to learning all I can.
So if you have to eat, you have to cook and we may as well learn to enjoy the process and not only use food to fill the stomach, but to nurture the body as well. I really think that we need to get back to the basics. Looking around at all the illnesses we have to deal with today, cancer being the big one, I think there is a dire need for us to try and cut our processed food intake. Recently I have read where Kraft Canada was not allowed to ship a certain Mac n Cheese product to Europe because it contained a certain yellow dye that is a known carcinogen. Yet, this product with the dye is still being sold in Canada. I guess the bottom line is; if you can’t read the label, maybe you shouldn’t be eating it.
It had been a very long time since I made eggs benedict. A very long time. So I had to look up a recipe for Hollandaise Sauce. I picked on that was featured. It was nice, but a tad too lemony for my liking. Next time I will cut the lemon and now that my memory has been tweaked, I know what to do. This was a nice dish, tasty but the lemon did hide that rich buttery flavour hollandaise gives.
As you know, I have fallen in love with my new pressure cooker. I had to work for the company this am, and this afternoon I was busy putting clothes on the line on this beautiful summer day and I did my first canning for the season. So there I was, already 6 pm and no supper on the go. I took out the pressure canner, scanned a few recipes to make sure I had my times and all correct and I put my favourite meatballs together, peeled some fresh carrots, got some zucchini out of the garden and cut up 6 large mushrooms. I took my meatballs rolled them in a bit of flour, browned them in peanut oil in the pressure cooker, removed them, put in 1/2 cup of rose’ wine, half cup of beef broth, added the carrots, mushrooms and zucchini, salt pepper, added the meat balls, closed the lid, brought the pressure up (five minutes) cooked for five minutes, quick cooled the cooker. While all this was happening I had on a big pot of water and I cooked some linguini al dente’. I removed the veggies and meat to a bed of linguine. I then mixed a tablespoon of corn starch with water, and thickened the sauce in the cooker and poured it on (adding garlic powder and salt to taste). So fast and sooooo delicious!
This is the first of my canning! Zucchini relish…so delish. I did four batches last year so I still have a bit left over. I’m going to try to keep it to one batch this year. I gave a lot away and we enjoy it, lovely on hotdogs, hamburgers and fried eggs!! Actually anything will do! If you want the recipe, let me know.
Today, all my plans got completely side-swiped by office duties and demands. I was going to can and make zucchini relish. I ended up staying at my desk until after 4 pm. Thinking this was a good time to forge ahead with my pressure cooking education, I quickly scanned a few pressure cooking recipes for ribs (really felt like a good rib tonight). I defrosted three racks of short ribs and cut them into pieces of three bones each. In the bottom of my pressure cooker I put about 1/2 cup of beer, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, two heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of water, two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic powder and half cup of ketchup. I took my ribs and stirred them up in this sauce making sure to coat them all. I locked in the lid and brought them to pressure for 15 minutes and then let them cool naturally (about 15 minutes). I removed the ribs to a platter and kept them warm. In the pressure cooker pot, I drained off most of the grease (being careful to keep the goodie sauce and bits in the pot) and added again two more heaping tbsp brown sugar, another half cup of ketchup and a tbsp of Dijon mustard. I reduced this sauce under a high-med heat whisking it smooth. I took out the ribs and poured on the extra sauce. These ribs were as delicious and tender as if I had slow cooked them for four hours!!!! No exaggeration at all. They were perfect. I am becoming a lover of the pressure cooker. I’ll never do ribs differently.
Loved it! Absolutely! A while back when I had posted about wanting a pressure canner a friend of mine mentioned that she had a pressure ‘cooker’ and she loved it. I had no clue as to what it was, but she sure peeked my interest! On the weekend I was at Canadian Tire and they had these ‘pressure cookers’ on sale, half price…so of course I picked one up. So glad I did.
I cooked this entire chicken in 8 minutes and it was soooo tender, delicious! I cooked it in a liquid (non-thickened wine, chicken broth and a tablespoon of curry) and it was done in 8 minutes. 8 minutes! I thickened the sauce after cooking with butter, milk and a paste of flour and milk. The cooker was a fantastic purchase. Thank you Kathy!
I forgot the picture pre-dinner, this is all that was left. Ooops.
This morning I made chewy, oatmeal cookies with big juicy raisins and of course a splash of cinnamon. Judging by the reaction in the house, I know a) they are really good and b) worth the effort! I finished the morning with a couple of loaves of Julia Child’s bread. The house smells like home. I should have had more children…or closer neighbours….or come from a bigger family. The more people who enjoy my cooking the better. There’s a little love in everything I do. (well at least click on the first cookie picture and take a bite!)
I was thinking back to when I was a small child of 6 or 7 years old. Things were different then. My BBF and I used to go on walk-a-bouts. We lived in Rattle Snake Harbour and would get it in our heads to walk to Nixon (a cool store used to be there) or Delhi (we never made it to Delhi). Of course at our tender ages, we would decide we were hungry or thirsty and knock on doors asking for water…yes, or food. One time, we were going to walk to Delhi and Deb’s little bother Rodney decided to tag along, he was 4 or 5 years old. We walked probably all of 10 minutes and decided we were dying of hunger and of course we knocked on a door. I remember it was a red brick house and an older woman answered and the wonderful smell coming from her house I’ll never forget. When she answered we told her of our distress and we were invited in. She gave us each a slice of a fresh jelly roll…in the center was whipped cream and a blueberry filling. To this day…I remember how absolutely wonderful this cake was.
Today I tried to duplicate it…and although I almost made it…I had a horrendous FLOP! The blueberry filling turned out nice, the whipped cream was delicious and I even found a new simple white cake recipe. But, as you can see by the pictures, this ‘roll’ became a mixed up mess which is now in a bowl in the refrigerator. My mistakes?
Even thought the cake was good, I should have used a sponge cake recipe, they roll without breaking. White cake doesn’t! Also, the receiving parchment paper should have been buttered and floured to prevent sticking.
Lessons learned. Next time….next time.