Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dinner: soup

This is one of the kids' all-time favorites: homemade chicken noodle soup.

No squinchy faces for this one. Emma approves!

(Sides not pictured: homemade bread with butter, and milk from the cows at Cedar Summit Farm.)

The girls say I should sell my soup secrets to a soup company. I think not! But I will tell you what's in my soup:

salt to taste

Pretty simple. Pretty good.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hodge podge post

There were a bunch o' images hanging out on the memory card...time to get them processed and filed away. Here are some of the highlights.

Here's Morgan snuggling with Bailey, our beagle-basset Humane Society refugee. [Insert "Awwwww!" here.] Oh, how the girls love that dog. Oh, does that dog ever have it good. Sleep, eat, cuddle. Soak up the love of two adoring little girls. Repeat. Can we say that this dog totally landed on her feet when she came to live with us?

Saturday, the four of us plus the Felschkins took part in the Plymouth Firefighters 5K. Eric ran the 5K and did quite well, finishing in 26:something. Val, Pete, and I are all coming back from various injuries and other woes, and so we did a walk/run combo. All of our girls did the 1 mile fun run and had a blast doing it. Great fun! I forgot the camera in the car and so didn't get any pictures of the actual events, but here's a close-up of the shirt.

(For the record: since November 2008 I've run 6 5Ks and walked/run 1 5K, completed 2 half-marathons and 2 triathlons, and I have 5 days to go until the Twin Cities Marathon. Which I'll be starting but probably not finishing, and I'll be mostly walking, not so much running. More on that in a later post.)

There were frost warnings all over the place for last night, so after dinner I went out and harvested what I could from the garden.

Bye bye, summer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Breakfast: Doughnuts by Morgan

I helped. Just a little.

Raw doughnuts.

Into the oil. Morgan was scared of the hot oil (I don't blame her -- it scares me too sometimes!), so I was in charge of sliding them in and lifting them out.

The doughnut maker and her doughnuts.

Mmm, fresh doughnuts. (They tasted even better than they looked.)

Western Doughnuts
from King Arthur Flour: Whole Grain Baking
p. 535

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
5-6 cups vegetable oil for frying*

To make the dough: Whisk together the flours with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in the melted butter and sugar. Add about 1 cup of the flour mixture, and beat until the mixture comes together. Stir in one-third of the milk. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture and half the remaining milk, then repeat the process once more until all the ingredients are combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To cut the doughnuts: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.** Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half.*** Place one half on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with flour and roll it out until it's 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 & 3/4-inch doughnut cutter^, cut out as many doughnuts as you can, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets with a spatula. Use a 1-inch round cutter^^ to make small doughnuts from the scraps; don't reroll, or the doughnuts will be tough. Refrigerate the doughnuts while the oil heats.

To fry: Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep, heavy skillet until it reaches a temperature of 375F. Deep-fry the doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, turning them over after about 3 minutes.^^^ Remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

*We used canola oil.

**I didn't have any parchment paper, but greasing the baking sheets instead worked quite nicely.

***I don't know what happened -- recipe fail? cook error? -- but that dough was not dough but liquid glop, even after a half hour in the frig. There was no way we were cutting that in half. Pouring it, maybe, but cutting, no. We had to add a lot more flour (I'm not sure how much -- 2-3 cups?) than the recipe called for to make it work.

^A regular round cookie cutter did the job just as well as a doughnut cutter.

^^We used a shot glass.

^^^We didn't time them, but waited until they floated to the top, then turned them, let them fry until Morgan pronounced them "Just Right!" and lifted them out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner: pasta

Murray, the giant puppy, thinks my tomatoes and peppers are some kind of weird tennis balls. He keeps plucking them off the plants and trying to play with them. (He has yet to figure out that they don't make good balls. Splat! Crunch! Splat!) I think there's a fence in my garden's future. For now, though, I'm going out on tomato and pepper raids and putting the rescuees up on my kitchen window sill, safe out of doggy reach.

Tonight I used them in our dinner. This is a white bean pasta: whole wheat pasta, garlic, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, pesto, cannellini beans, and a little bit of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano to top it all off. Very simple.

Very nice with a glass of red wine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wanted: lens cap

Lens cap to fit a Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II, because rubber-banding a dust cover over it is a PITA.

Dinner: stir fry

I went grocery shopping in the morning yesterday, only to realize when I started the dinner prep that 1) I'd run us out of soy sauce the last time I did a stir fry and 2) I'd forgotten to put it on The List. I didn't feel like going back to the store just for soy sauce, so I poked around and found this substitute. I made a few changes, like adding 4 tbsp chicken broth and reducing the bouillon to 2 cubes (because do we really need that much sodium? I think not), and using a pinch of ground chipotle pepper in place of the white pepper (because somehow, we're out of white pepper too)...The result was quite good, so good that I may not buy soy sauce ever again.

I think next time I make it, I'll cut the bouillon down even further, to 1 cube. Oh ho ho, I am so daring!

Stir fries often get a bad rap. If you do them the right way, though -- i.e. cooked in a little bit of oil over high heat for a very short amount of time -- they're quite good for you.

I marinated some tofu in a mix of my soy sauce substitute, fresh squeezed lime juice, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and then grilled it:

The veggies went into 2 tbsps of sesame oil in the wok over high heat for 2 minutes. I didn't get a picture of them sizzling, but here's a shot of the veggies pre-wok.

Earlier, I'd made brown rice (in the pressure cooker, because IMO that's just the best way to make brown rice: quick and never soggy).

When the veggies hit the 2 minute mark, I tossed in the tofu along with 2 cloves of minced garlic and cooked it all for 1 more minute. The rice went into bowls, the stir fry went on top of the rice, and voila. Dinner was served.

The girls loved it.

Not! But they did eat it without too much complaining, so that's something.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Egg. Toast. Avocado. Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. Coffee.

It would have been better with a tomato, but this was pretty good.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blowing the dust off this poor, neglected blog

I've been feeling the urge to document what we're eating, so tonight I picked up the camera and did just that. This may or may not be the first in a series of posts.

Tonight's dinner was wonderfully simple. Romaine lettuce, tuna, apples (from our apple trees!), pine nuts, avocado, a few other things.

I like prep work. Messy, but relaxing.

I came across a cooking tip recently about how you can use a shot glass to measure not just alcohol, but food. Like, an ounce of tuna equals 1 shot glass of tuna. Given that I don't own a kitchen scale but do have a shot glass or two, I think this is brilliant.

Chopped, mixed, and ready to go:

I toasted some whole wheat pita bread as an accompaniment.

Pete and I thought this was quite good.

The girls liked the pita bread.