Archive for October, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Calzones

October 25, 2009

CalzonesSometimes when I make a “need to make” list, I actually cross things off quickly! No, I haven’t made that yummy Sharing Bread, the Date Spice Loaf, the Crumpets… or even the Crème brûlée ice cream – but I did make an effort. We sought out some ascorbic acid for the Sharing Bread, but no luck. Well, some luck- but we weren’t willing to spend $10 at Whole Foods for one bread ingredient. Maybe some other time.

What we did get to, was the Spinach & Artichoke Calzones. Yet another recipe from a fellow blogger.  We’d wanted to make calzones for awhile, but were never properly inspired. When I saw her blog post, I knew it was time. And mmmMmm, what a yummy time it was.

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Butternut Squash + Macaroni & Cheese?

October 24, 2009

butternutsquash

Somehow, “my” macaroni & cheese has become a favourite among my friends. It’s certainly not my recipe – it’s a Betty Crocker classic. It was the first thing I ever cooked for Adam. In fact – I think what I first fed him was 2 or 3 day old leftovers! I had gotten into a habit when I lived in England, which was the first time I’d ever had to cook for myself on a regular basis, of making enormous batches of mac & cheese to serve as meals for the next week or so. It was a great comfort food and a welcome reminder of home while living abroad. I never considered it a fancy dish by any means, nor did I think it was all that special. Sure, it’s a tasty tasty dish – but it’s comfort food, right? Nothing to write home about. Well, Adam was immediately won over.

When I moved up to Toronto it became my easy out option when we first started to entertain. It was something I knew how to make, and it was good. It was also a great vegetarian option when we were entertaining for people with fairly simple meat-and-potato tastes. Somehow it became a huge hit. People started requesting this infamous mac & cheese, and it’s become a staple at our annual US Thanksgiving Dinner. Go figure.

It’s rare that we bother experimenting with other recipes – but this Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese caught my eye. Butternut squash? In mac & cheese? Could it possibly work? I had to give it a try.

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Creamy Potato Leek Soup

October 20, 2009

Our weekly bin always comes with a flyer, which usually includes a recipe. Usually we don’t bother – they either require too many ingredients or look too simple or just… eh. Well this one sounded perfect. And oh boy was it. It’s not even so cold out today, but it’s definitely getting more and more fall like out there, and this just hit the spot. Not only was it super simple for a weeknight, but it was cozy, tasty, and healthy to boot! The potato added a real nice creaminess to it. Definitely one to add to the regular rotation.

Recipe:

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Middle Eastern Chickpeas with Spinach

October 20, 2009

This was one of the first recipes that we deemed “company worthy.” It has such a lovely mix of flavours in this dish – spinach, chickpeas, lovely spices with a nice citrus splash, and a mint yogurt sauce to top it off. We usually serve it over orzo, but it works well with pita or rice as well. Not only is it super tasty, but it’s quite healthy and super quick to prepare as well. It’s hard to beat that combination.

It had been awhile since we’d made it, and we really enjoyed rediscovering it. It’s from one of our many Moosewood cookbooks: Low-Fat Favorites. (more…)

Need to Make That

October 16, 2009

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pursuing blogs a lot lately. Most of the recipes I post about these days are from other bloggers and it seems I always have a list of “OMG NEED TO MAKE THAT” on the go.

What’s on my current list?

  • Sharing Bread, from King Arthur Flour’s blog. I’ve been wanting to do breads with a starter for awhile, and have had a packet of sourdough starter on hand for most of the year – I just haven’t done it. Maybe this recipe will nudge me towards it. I don’t always need to make breads in my beloved bread maker, right?
  • Anna’s Vegetarian Chili. Looks yum. Enough said.
  • Thanksgiving Mini Pot Pies. Adam always needs to reel me in when planning our annual US Thanksgiving dinner with friends, and while he insists that the turkey and mac & cheese we’re planning is enough – I kinda want to squeeze these in too. They look so good!
  • Crumpets! With all of the apple butter we have on hand now, we need something like crumpets to eat them with. I made simple baking powder biscuits last weekend to enjoy with it, but mmmm, crumpets.
  • Date Spice Loaf. Perfect fall food. Though is it weird that I kind of want to try it with something other than dates?
  • Crème brûlée ice cream. Yes please? Ok, I need to find an occasion to make this for…

Oh yeah, and since learning that garlic does best when planted in the fall I kind of want to plant garlic this weekend too (though clearly not to the same scale that they did!)…

So can I have a two weeks off and an army to feed so I can do all of the above?

Editing this post to add one a few more:

Toasted Coconut Lemon Meringue Pie

October 11, 2009

Pie #2 of our contributions to Thanksgiving dinner, and one we will definitely make again. Quite possibly the best pie I’ve ever made. After not being able to find any key lime juice for the key lime pie we were hoping to make, we found this on Epicurious and scrambled a bit to get everything sorted out in time.

Not a super simple pie to make, but definitely worth it. The coconut was such a great addition to the crust and meringue, and the lemon curd filling was just perfect. Unfortunately we had to transport it pretty much right away after taking it out of the oven, so the meringue that started out so tall and fluffy fell a good bit by the time we cut into it, but the flavours will still great. SUCH a good pie. Highly highly recommended.

Another iPhone shot:

photo

(Prize Winning?) Apple Pie

October 11, 2009

At our apple day yesterday, Emily was amazing enough to make us some really yummy apple pie. Her pies were amazing. Not only did they taste great, but also looked incredible – she has a bit of a trademark of adding a special touch of design by carving a bit of leftover dough into something unique. This apple pie had an apple – leaf and worm included. She’s awesome, eh?

For our family thanksgiving dinner, we volunteered to bring the dessert – two pies. Pie #1: Apple! Could we do as good as Emily? There was a particular recipe I’d been eyeing since Leigh Ann over at Rosemary Kitchen, a blog I read posted about it a few weeks ago. A prize winning apple pie? Sign me up!

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All Things Apple

October 11, 2009

Photo by the Magical Emily Wat

Yesterday was a great day. We spent the day with lots and lots of apples: First at an orchard where we picked them, and later at home when we turned them into tasty tasty treats.

Our friends with much better cameras than ours got some really great shots at the orchard – thanks Emily and Ankle! The orchard was great fun – something we hope to make an annual tradition. We last went two years ago and while we really enjoyed it, we found ourselves inundated with massive amounts of apples.. far too many to eat or even make into pies. Now that we’re into canning, we decided to invite everyone back to our place after to pool our apple hauls and make apple butter and apple preserves. We also tried  our hand at making some hard cider. More on that in a month or so, when we know if it worked out!

Thanks to everyone who participated – the apple butter in particular is amazingly tasty – and made for a really yummy breakfast.

Artichoke Soup Provençal

October 7, 2009

Mmm, dinner.

Our collection of Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks were extremely good to us in our early days of cooking as apartment dwellers, but it wasn’t until we had been living in the house and were looking for something a little different that we stumbled upon this recipe for Artichoke Soup Provençal.

Although it seemed almost too simple to even be worth trying, the delicious blend of citrus, sherry, saffron and vegetables won us over at first taste and made it a household favourite.

Here’s the recipe:

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Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant

October 5, 2009
Kind of looks like a monster, but very tasty!

Kind of looks like a monster, but very tasty!

There’s something very risky about cooking elaborate dinners on weeknights. Half the time, something goes horribly awry and we end up ordering a pizza after ditching the evidence.   Other times we finally sit down to dinner at 9 PM, only to eat a dish that didn’t prove anywhere near as satisfying as we had hoped.

Tonight, we managed to pull off a somewhat involved dish and really enjoyed it!  On a Monday night, no less!

I can thank Cari’s incessant blog hunting for this one.  Smitten Kitchen snagged this from Gourmet, and we adapted it to suit our needs (i.e. the one eggplant from our garden that has been sitting in our fridge, waiting to be used for something).

This recipe actually calls for baby eggplants, but I cut the quantities in half and ended up using one full-sized eggplant.  It actually worked perfectly fine, though I ended up with way too much filling, that we wound up eating on the side.  Due to our household’s vegetarian status, I also used ground round in place of the ground lamb/beef called for in the recipe.

The combination of flavours from the tomatoes, stock, allspice and pinenuts would make this filling great for any stuffed pepper or cabbage roll.  We’ll definitely revisit this one again.