Thursday, 20 December 2012

Precision work for cookies

Hubby was in the mood for his yearly Christmas cookies. Working on a recipe with the European "grams" he was in for precision work.

We had a good laugh as we looked at this photo.
Read the whole story here.

Yep, 250 grams!
For story and photos of last years cookies go here.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Pumpkin and cookies

I need a vacation!!
Time is nearly up. We are ready to go.
Yesterday I  picked the last vegetables out of my tiny garden. My two "magic squares" were a real success and I hope we will have another good crop come next summer.
Cauliflower, broccoli and spinach, November,7th

For supper I transformed the Halloween Pumpkins into a nice pumpkin vegetable stew, 
 and today hubby's wish was to get enough cookies for the
 days of travel. So I emptied the pantry and baked about 60 pieces ;-))
It is always good with a coffee break and home baked goodies. 

What is left: packing the stuff in the van and finally get going!
That will be done tomorrow and Saturday in that order.

Monday, 29 October 2012

A "Sandy" Casserole

Amazing, it isn't yet 9 AM and dinner is already done.

I decided to be on the safe side in case the news and weathermen are
right about "Sandy".
Society has become so dependant on electricity that simple things stop right up when an outage occurs. It needs just one toppled tree to cut the power lines and we would have to sit in the dark and wait for the repair crew to show up. That can go fast or take days - you never know.
I don't necessarily want to turn back the time, but in these cases having a well, an outhouse and wood stoves just seem attractive again.
Having survived power outages before we know it is always a good idea to be prepared.
The bathtub is full of water (in case the pump stops), a 5 gallon jug of drinking water is sitting in the entrance and, I grabbed a bunch of vegetables and made casserole that can be warmed up on small a propane stove.
There are batteries in the drawer and candles within reach.
J.P. went and got gas for the generator and/or chain saw. The cars are gassed up too.
Too bad that we don't have a wood stove to heat the house with in case of an emergency, though we have a standing invitation to come and stay with a neighbour who has an open fireplace in her house. Thank you for that!

Link to NOAA page

Any way - we are not in the immediate path of the storm and we are thankful for that. But we are in for gusty winds and a drench later down the week when the remnants of the storm turn to move north-eastward again and come to cross our area.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

All European Dinner

Thursday,October 25th.
Another clear fall day, but the temperatures dropped to the 32°F (0°C) mark last night.
While J.P. was working to convert our sightseeing van into a mini-motorhome I was busy preparing a fall supper for our dear friends, Rogette and William, who took good care of Molly this summer whenever needed.

It will be an "All European Dinner":
Mediterranean soup as an entrée,
German green beans with roast as the main course
and a Norwegian semulepudding (semolina) with cherries for dessert.
How does that sound?

There were some potatoes left and a tiny bit of roast. The rest: GONE!

I had to smile when I saw this photo. Nice plates and glasses - and then what: the Casserole on the table. :))
That's how we had it: very casual!

Recipe for the soup is to be found here, if you like. But you might need a translator.

Green beans and pot roast

After a day of driving around looking at used travel trailers we were starved when arriving back home. It is to say that we haven't found anything suitable yet.

Luckily I could prepare a dinner i a hurry. I roasted a beef roast the day before. There was only left to boil some potatoes and green beans. While they were getting ready I made the sauces. A thing of about 30 minutes. Nothing without a good sauce, says J.P.
I had to stop him eating the whole roast. We need that for Thursday:))

But there are some from the trip. After a week with strong winds the most of the leafs are down. Winter will be here soon..
View of Lubec, ME
Milltown Border Crossing, St. Croix River
Blueberry field in fall colours

Monday, 22 October 2012

Vegetable stew/soup

First I want to welcome Kitty Moore in my kitchen! Hope you enjoy my rambling about food and other stuff.

Today things were pretty easy.

Hubby was away all day and called later to tell me that I needn't make a big supper.
I made a thick vegetable stew/soup. Done within 20 min.

3 potatoes, diced
2 - 3 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 small onion, minced
bacon (optional)
fresh parsley
water or broth

Fry the onion together with the bacon.
Steam vegetables in 2 cups of water or broth until tender. Add the onion/bacon and use a mixer to purée the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with fresh dinner rolls.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Black bean-pineapple sauce

This was the day were I had to relay on my fantasy. I knew that there was an open can of black beans and that we had 3 pork chops in the fridge. That was all. What to do with that?
A look in my pantry showed some other cans and, I am determined to get rid of them before we leave. With the motorhome gone, there is not  much space in a van.....

So - do black beans go together with pineapple?
A quick glance onto the www.  Search words:  black beans, pineapple Go!
Yup! There was another lady online talking about a stew with these ingredients.

So, the possibilities were here, but not the ingredients. No bell pepper, no jalapeno chiles or squash.
It would have to do with what WAS there. And it did!
Very good indeed. There were no complaints from the "hubby front" either. :))

Ingredients for my version:

3 small pork chops, cut in stripes
vegetable oil
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small pumpkin, cut in slivers ( was too small to dice)
1/2 can of black beans
1 small onion, minced
1/2 glove of garlic (optional)
1/2 can pineapple, diced
beef broth
black pepper
paprika powder
ground cumin
corn starch to thicken the sauce

Fry the meat stripes with some vegetable oil until they are browned nicely. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In different pan sauté the onions and garlic for a minute in a spoon full of oil. Add tomatoes and beans and sauté for another minute.

Fill up with a cup of beef broth and simmer for some more minutes.
Add pumpkin and pineapple pieces and wait until they are nearly soft. Season with herbs and thicken with starch (optional).
Served over fried pork on boiled rice.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Fresh baked banana bread

Leafs everywhere, I picked these the other day because of their nice colours.
This was the right day again to bake "the caretaker's banana bread" aga. (Look for the recipe at the very bottom of the input.)
What is nicer then sitting cosy warm inside and having a steaming hot coffee and a freshly baked slice of banana bread.

On the supper front: Noodles with tomato-meat sauce. Unfortunately the camera battery was empty when I turned to take a photo of my plate. :((

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Salmon "Alfredo" Sauce

This dish is a real "fast-food". Done while the noodles boil.

When I served this noodle dish my dear husband started wailing: " I thought we would have salmon for dinner? Didn't you see the salmon in the fridge?"
I kept mum and we started eating.
After the first bite he looked at me and asked incredulous: "Noodles with salmon?"
"Well, you wanted salmon - this is "Gourmet Rotini Noodles with Salmon Alfredo Sauce!"
It is to say that NOTHING was left.


The sauce is basically the same as yesterdays, just add black pepper, tomato and parmesan.

Make a thick sauce and add the salmon pieces just about 5 minutes before serving.

Ingredients for 2

1 tblsp butter
2 tblsp flour
1 cup of milk
2 tblsp sour cream
1 tomato, diced ( i added one of my oven-dried tomatoes as well)
1 tblsp grated parmesan
1/2 pound salmon, cubed
garlic? (optional)

Cook noodles as described on the package.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Creamed Cabbage

Cabbage in white sauce was on the menu today. Both of us grew up on this tasty winter food. Serving the cabbage covered in a creamy white sauce makes it very mild and not so "cabbagy".
How to:
For the interested reader:
Finely chop the cabbage and steam it in an inch of water and a pinch of caraway seeds until soft but not mushy.
While the cabbage cooking I prepare a simple white sauce from scratch.
Melt a tablespoon of butter and add flour into the sizzling fat. There should be enough fat to cover the entire amount of flour.

Turn down to medium heat and stir for a minute.
Fill up with milk. Continue to stir while the sauce is simmering and thickening. Season generously with salt and nutmeg. J.P. likes a spoon of sour cream added, but that is optional.
Meanwhile the cabbage is done. Drain the water and pour the white sauce over the cabbage and stir until all is well blended.

Serves with beef stew and boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes. J.P. loves it so much, he could eat it every day. (says he)
The red bits is bacon, by the way. My husband likes bacon a lot.

Ingredients for 2

1/2 head of white cabbage, finely chopped
1 tsp caraway seed

For the sauce:

1 1/2 tblsp butter
1 tblsp bacon bits (optional)
2 tblsp all purpose flour
1 tblsp sour cream (optional)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Fish chowder the Bergen's way

Another delicious fish chowder was on the menu today.
A recipe I got from folks here is based on potatoes, onion and fish.
I like some more vegetables in my chowder and added carrots and celery, (and/or leeks).
That's more like the Norwegian "Bergen's Fiskesuppe" (fish soup from Bergen).
First, sautée onion and bacon in butter until the onions are turning yellow. Ca 3 min.
Add diced carrot, celery and potatoes. Fill up with some water and simmer until potatoes are nearly done. Season with salt and herbs. Ca 10 min.
Add warm milk and pieces of fish and, continue to simmer until the fish is done (ca 10 min). Thicken the soup with corn starch if desired.


Ingredients: (for 4 pers)

1 pound white fish (cod, haddock, hake, etc.), cubed
2 chopped medium onions
tiny bit of chopped garlic (or more if desired)
4 cubed potatoes
milk or light cream
2 bay leaves
fresh thyme (used dried)
a few black peppercorns (used ground black pepper)
chopped chives
corn starch for thickening
1 carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
1/2 cup bacon, bits

Friday, 12 October 2012

Gale force winds and haddock

Seems that I didn't push the right button. At least this posting was still a draft today. OK, now!
All day the wind was strong out of the West, the waters of the bay all deep blue and with white caps.
Now I know why many "Islanders" choose their houses well hidden behind thick rows of trees and brush. Wind-breakers.
Lucky that our house is not sitting exposed on the beach either. When I walked my dog up towards the cemetery and in lee of the wind it was nice and warm in the sunshine. We should have two houses , I mused. One on the beach for the summer and one hidden in dense woods protected from the winter gales.
J.P. went to town today and returned with fresh fish. When time came for supper I made butter-fried, breaded haddock and mashed potatoes. Comfort food.

The fish was turned in scrambled eggs and then in bread crumbs before fried in butter. Delicious!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Leftovers and Vegan Mix

Yesterday I wondered if tomatoes could be mixed with something
other than cucumbers or lettuce. After some research I found a kind of
African salad (sambal) with bananas. That would do.

J.P. got a "revived" pork chop, leftover from yesterdays dinner, potatoes and boiled carrots, whereas I gorged myself on bulgur wheat (tabouli) and African sambal.
Tomato Banana (African Sambal)
Bulgur Wheat Tabouli
Of course, he had to try. Bulgur tasted to him like brown rice, and the
African salad disappeared like snow in the sun. :))

If you want to know how to cook pork cops, I have a description somewhere here.
And for the other stuff : that's to find on my "vegan" page.


Tomatoes are 'stroke preventers'
A diet rich in tomatoes may reduce the risk of having a stroke, according to researchers in Finland.


Monday, 8 October 2012

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Oven dried tomatoes, as a form for preservation sounded interesting.
I found this while browsing the www. 
The 6-8 hours processing time sounded a bit long, but since it is a ones a year
thing I thought I could afford to try it.

My modifications to the original recipe.

4 pound of tomatoes, cut in half, seeds out
1 sliver of garlic clove (just for the taste of it)
thyme, basil, rosemary
canola oil (didn't have olive oil left)
cut in halve and remove the seeds...
line a baking sheet with aluminum foil...
place prepared tomato halves onto the sheet and bake
when done, keep in glass jars covered with olive oil
Home made oven dried tomatoes

Contrary to the advise to discard the seeds and pulp I cooked them for 10  minutes and prepared a nice tomato soup the way it is described here. That way there was not much waste left.

use the seeds and pulp to make..
tomato soupe
discard seeds
Goofed out!