Monday, October 29, 2007

soup factory

So, last week I made soup. Buckets and buckets of it. And I am still not sick of it. Good thing becuase the weather is gettin nothin but colder. Drove through some snow yesterday on my way home from my weekend off in the city ("The city", as though it were the only one...)

Beets! Look at these darn things! Bottom photo is the white and yellow beets after they were peeled - they looked like a sunset-the top photo is of the beets just out of the oven, sort of scabby and homely looking before the Cinderella effect of peeling them. The fuschia beets went into a big pot of borscht. (front L burner).
And here is the recipe! (It is my Babka's and she is Ukrainian so I don't need to tell you that it is a darn fine borsht. She spells it Borsch. ?)

Babka's Borsch(t)

1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup potato, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1/4 fresh dill, chopped (VERY IMPORTANT)
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 cup or more cream (also good without but....)
1 few fresh garlic leaves if available, chopped
1/2 cup broad beans or fresh green beans diced
8-10 small to medium beets with stalks and leaves
5-8 cups of water or stock of any kind (I usually just use water and it is very tasty).

Wash and peel beets. Rinse leaves and stalks well. Dice beets and put in a large soup pot and water or stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer 10 minutes. Then add all other vegetables, including diced beet stalks. Keep leaves aside for now and add about 5 minutes before other vegetables are cooked. Do not overcook the vegetables. Remove from heat and season to taste with S & P. Add cream and stir gently. Serve with a spring of dill (or lots, chopped) and a dollop of sour cream or a swirl of heavy cream floating on top. Serves 6-8 people.
The back burner was a potato and leek soup - Julia Child's out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And the rest of my fridge cleanup went into a pot of cheesy cauliflower soup with parsley dumplings on top. And here is that recipe, my mom's:

Golden Cauliflower Soup
3 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced fine
medium onion, chopped
1 small head of cauliflower chopped up smallish
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups milk

Ina Dutch oven, melt the butter and cook a medium onion chopped up till tender. Sprinkle flour over this and blend well. Stir in milk and cook stirring constantly till thickened. Pour in the stock and veggies and turn to simmer. Salt and pepper to taste. Drop Parsley Dumplings by teaspoon into soup (recipe below). Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Then gently stir shredded cheese into the soup until melted. Serve hot - full meal deal.

Parsley Dumplings (I loooooooooooooooooves dumplings)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cups milk
2 Tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried

Stir together dry ingredients. Add parsley. Combine milk and oil and add to dry ingredients all at once and stir only until flour is moistened. Plop spoonfuls into soup! (see above).

Monday, October 22, 2007

in which we take a detour

We dropped my sister-in-law off at the airport yesterday which I was a little sad about because we had such a nice weekend. Monkeyboy is crazy about her. She kept his little mailbox full of fun games for him to play with his cars, bought him coke for breakfast and let him snuggle up with her in the mornings. Good auntie.
We parked up high on the roof at the airport so we could see planes landing. It was so beautiful that smith thought we should take the slow route home and maybe stop at the mcmichael gallery. Which we did. There was an art sale on and the Robert Bateman exhibit so it was a zoo but we had paid our 5 bucks for parking so we stuck it out. And in spite of crowds and line ups and a googirl on the edge we had a good time. We even lined up and waited to get in to see the Bateman exhibit which we debated skipping but I was glad that we didn't. His paintings are beautiful, detailed and luminous. Monkeyboy's fave was Salt Spring Sheep. Baaaaaaaa. He was better behaved than some of the 50 year olds I saw, poking away at the canvasses. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying "Stop that! You're grownups for god's sake! Even my five-year old can tell me that you're not supposed to touch the art!" We also spend a good chunk of time checking out the Tom Thompson room. Monkeyboy said "He does water REALLY good." And most of the Group of Seven paintings "remind me of my Uncle W!" Googirl really dug the Totem Poles and the a big stone polar bear carving: "kittycat!".
Today I am going to attempt to cook up the fifty pounds of vegetables that have taken over my fridge. Soup anyone?

in progress

The red square hat sans boings.

The extra large toque with lumpy star for Chef Nikos.

The beginning of scratchy acrylic scarf. I so love the colours of this yarn but it is so cheap and plasticky that it squeaks. I am knitting it on the ultra beautiful birthday needles from pippa to make it feel better.

Friday, October 19, 2007

in which we are tardy, again

Goodness, it is already the 20th of October. Shame on me. I am going to take a page out of Bobealia's blog and do a week at a glance thing to try to get back up to speed.
I will go move backwards in time. (cue soundtrack -something Space Capade-ey).
Tonight: spent most of the day rustling up a robot costume for monkeyboy to wear to a birthday party tonight. Thank god my crafty and talented sister-in-law was here to whip up a silver jumpsuit. We drew circuits and a control panel on with a sharpie and monkeyboy took great delight in adding "a bumhole!" which we labeled "Disposal Unit". I spray painted some water shoes gold (thinking, will the toxins leak into his little feet? so paranoid) and stuck some google eyes and strobe blinkers from the corner store on an old colander which i lined with foam for comfort. The level of comfort should not have been a concern since an overwhelmed and exhausted monkeyboy wore his costume for exactly 5 minutes. Because I told him he could take it off for the rest of the night if he wore it for at least 5 minutes.
Me: Auntie worked so hard on this costume, she will be sad if you don't wear it for at least 5 minutes. If you wear it for 5 minutes, you can take it off for the rest of the night"
Monkeyboy: Ok. 5 minutes, ONLY.
Me: Ok, now go show it to your cousins. (I am shameless).
Monkeyboy will only show the costume to people who come into the hall to see him.
Monkey boy (every 30 seconds): Is it 5 minutes yet?

On the way home, we realize that we have left one of the strobe blinkers on the counter. Monkeyoy loses it and insists that we turn around to retrieve it. I am merging on the really big messy part of the 401 right before the 400, swathed in by 12 lanes of traffic, not really into pulling a U-ey. So, there is great sadness in the Hyundai. Googirl gets in on the scream scene. I am tired and bitter and turn up the Elvis Costello, singing "I Want You" which I find outrageously sexy most of the time but which now only serves to deepen Monkeyboy's despair.

Luckily, at home there is lots of scotch and marshmallows and a lovely sister-in-law to have a good laugh with at the end of the evening.

Thursday: Dizzy. Feeling dizzy, naseous, thinking it is the flu. I know it is probably just low iron but can't help indulging in morbid fanatasies of some exotic, tragic ailment. Things seem to clear up with a cup of mint tea and several chapters of "Julie and Julia". Which is strange considering that she discusses cooking offal for most of the book. Googirl is working hard on cutting some more teeth. Needs a lot of carting around, which is unusual for her, busy bee that she is.

Wednesday: Got monkeyboy off to kindergarten, reluctantly. We are late, again. In spite on the handy dandy new clock radio/CD alarm we got him for his birthday. We are late and have to sign in at the office which monkeyboy hates. Made a list, packed googirl into the car and set about crossing things off of the list. Run over to school for teacher interview after school - Jack is doing great- he is reading! he is counting! he is running errands around the school! he loves library! he want to learn to write stories! although he does this weird, nervous, swishing his finger around and around in his mouth the whole time his teacher is talking to him. Smith and monkeyboy went to see "Queen Live in Montreal" at the movies while I knit up a storm finishing an extra large hat wool hat with a star motif (fancy! lumpy!) for Chef Nikos last year's birthday prezzie and starting a nice chunky square cap with boings from a pattern I found on knitty (looooooove knitty) and a scarf out of some really nasty cheap Red Heart acrylic that had a beautiful color mix that i couldn't resist. I also have a big crocheted shawl on the go. As with most of my life, too much on the go, but I like to have options. Have good long talk on phone with beautiful friend.

Tuesday: Quiet day at home. Date night with smith in pm - see Micheal Clayton - love Tilda Swinton. Love George Clooney. Especially love oh god what's his name, the crazy guy Tom Wilkinson.

Monday: Monday? Oh yeah, the day that laundry ate.