Archive for ‘Food’

July 3, 2011

Sunday Soup with a side of Grout please!

Today is Sunday, therefore it is Soup Day! My parents were going to come over today, and I planned a soup with my fathers two favorite foods, avocado and steak. I was going to make a Avocado Soup with Grilled Steak garnished with Guacomoli. But plans changed and so did my soup choice. The soup choice changed because my husband is not a huge avocado fan. He is just now starting to try it with different types of foods, and I felt making a soup with avocado was going to be to risky for me to make just for the two of us. It will be made in the future though! When, is the question. So today I made a White Bean Tomato Soup in its stead. The cool thing about it was that I made it with homemade veggie stock. The soup was pretty darn yummy! and simple.

White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe:
about 3 tbsp olive oil
Half red onion diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves
about 3 celery stocks diced, with leaves
about 4 cups peeled cut tomatoes
5 1/2 cups veggie stock
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
2 cans of caninellini beans, drained and rinsed
Pour the olive oil around the pot a few times, let heat up. Toss onion, garlic, and celery in and let cook for about 5 minutes. Toss in tomatoes and let cook with a few turns of the spoon, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add stock, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Meanwhile, take flour and butter in a bowl, using a fork smash them together to make a paste. When soup has simmered for its lotted time, add the paste one small chunk at a time. Making sure each bit has completely dissolved before adding more. Add beans, let cook for 5 minutes.
(this is where I take a hand blender and gave it a whirl, being sure I didn’t blend it perfectly. I wanted it chunky and smooth. Its not what the recipe called for, but I took the liberty. its all about what you like!)
Plate, toss torn parsley atop and serve.
There were a few things that the recipe called for that I didn’t use, because I didn’t have them. Those items are Red Bell Pepper diced and Tomato Paste. I am sure they would have been a nice touch.

(cookbook used: 1 stock, 100 soups. bought at world market. I used a different recipe for the veggie stock)


Today was not only Soup Sunday, but day 4 of our pantry project. Not a had labor day, but a time consuming day. Grout is spread down over the tile, let dry then wiped down with water and a sponge a few times.

Now all thats left is the small details. Like the quarter round, bookshelves and organizing the pantry. Reclaiming my dinning table!

July 2, 2011

Pantry Project – part 3

Day 3 – tiling the pantry floor.  This was totally a husband project. So while he tiled, I baked. Before I go into the details of the tiling, here’s my cookies!

So yesterday, when my son took the longest nap ever! I had a little time on my hands, so I decided to see if I can make a better chocolate chip cookie. The picture on the right is what happens when I follow a Betty Crocker recipe. The cookies to the left is what happens when I adjust the recipe just a bit.

Here’s the recipe that I will be using:

3/4c granulated sugar
3/4c brown sugar
1 stick of soft butter
1 egg
2 1/4c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 palmful of chopped nuts
1c or half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together the sugars and the butter. Once its mixed well, add the egg, flour, baking soda and salt. 
Once its all mixed, add the nuts. (I like chopped walnuts) Let that mix well, then add your chocolate chips.








Now your ready to prep them for baking.  I like to use a tablespoon to measure out my cookie size. It keeps me from making huge cookies. Therefore keeping my calorie count down! Scoope out your cookies, spreading them a few inches apart. Then bake for about 10 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for maybe 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Now that you saw what I was doing during day 3 of our pantry project, here is what my husband was doing:

His first step was to line up a few of the tile, then used the chalk string tool to make sure that he has a straight line.

Once he had that figured out, he started the dry run.  Thats allows him to set everything down, make sure he has all the tiles. Also to cut the tiles for the edges.

Measure twice, cut once.

While I was in the kitchen baking away, he was doing all the tedious measuring and cutting. From time to time I would hear a loud crack and a choice word or two escape from his mouth, and I knew a tile snapped in the wrong way. With time, a few curse words his dry run was finally completed. The rest was easy from there.

Now the tile sits over night, and tomorrow, it will be grouted and I will have a finished floor in my pantry!

June 28, 2011

Farmers Market Produce

Had some alone time this morning. Went to the Farmers Market in Fairfax, picked up what I need for the Veggie Stock that I plan on making on Thursday, plus a few very yummy apples.

June 26, 2011

Sunday Soup

About a month ago I decided that the Yoder’s (my husband, son and myself) needed a new weekly tradition. This is where Sunday Soup came from. My husband only day off happens to be Sunday, so its kind of nice to have something special to look forward to. I am looking forward to seeing this lovely tradition evolve over the years.

The Soup menu for this Sunday is Pea Soup (click here to see the recipe) with fresh baked Onion Bread (here to see the bread recipe). I found the recipe for the Pea Soup on a blog that I am falling in love with, 101 Cookbooks. The bread at The Fresh Loaf website, another new fav of mine.

Before I go into details about the meal that I put together, here is the reason why I have decided to make all our food fresh as possible, and to have little traditions that can be groomed for years to come. Making our condo a home, Hallowed Ground if you will.

My wonderful husband Chris, the most amazing man that I have the honor of spending my life with and my adorable (if I don’t say so myself!) son, Jones. Yes, Jones is his first name.

(my husband moved the laptop so I could see that he was chewing the table. he makes it look enjoyable)

On to the food! It started last night, making what is called Poolish. I have to be honest, I did not take the time to learn what Poolish is, and why its called Poolish. I just followed the recipe directions. Poolish recipe (as it is for this bread) is 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast. Then you cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit over night. Thats it. As you can see, its all watery.

Above – what it looked like last night.

Below – what the Poolish looked like after hanging out over night. 

This morning, I took this Poolish mixture and added it to the rest of the recipe, which you can read Here. Now, the recipe you will read is for a braided bread. I actually tried to do a twist. Failed! Its is so much harder then it looks. So as you can see, I just rolled it in to a odd shaped ball.

The aroma that spread through the house as it baked was simply amazing.

The texture and taste surpassed the smell.  If you love fresh bread, I highly recommend this recipe. Its amazing! My husband could not wait to eat with lunch. It was quite nice to munch on while making the Green Pea Soup.

The Onion Bread was a beautiful combination to the Green Pea Soup. The soup had, well peas, ginger, serrano chiles, garlic, onions, cumin, topped off with fresh lemon juice, queso fresco, and fresh mint. Please check out the recipe made by the original creator at her site 101 Cookbooks.

I bought a hand blender this weekend, and I have to say it is so far the best kitchen purchase I have made thus far. If you don’t have one, and enjoy soups, I highly recommend you getting one.

I think my husband would agree, I set the bar high after today’s Sunday Soup. We will see what will happen next Sunday.

June 25, 2011

Loaf Re-Done and Better

Last week I tried this bread called Anadama Bread, a recipe from the grand cookbook How to Cook Everything. As you can see, it didn’t work out so well. It turned out to be a very dense loaf. Lately thats how most of my breads have been coming out like. In desperation to figure out what I was doing wrong, and how to make a better loaf, I turned to google.

That is where I found a wonderful website, The Fresh Loaf. What a resource! From there I learned to let your flour soak for at least an hour. That sticky dough is best, and that one of the reasons my dough wasn’t rising is because I was killing my yeast with water that was way to hot.

the above photo show’s that I am using bleached flour instead of unbleached. Thats because it was cheaper at Costco. Next time I buy flour from Costco, I am going to make sure I saved up for the better quality flour. But honestly, it hasn’t given me any problems. When the budget is tight, I’d get it again.

(nothing like a little mess to clean up)

Another thing that I learned was that during the “bulk rising” time, you should fold the dough 2 to 3 times. Which I never knew that. I also put the bowl in my oven with just the light on. The warmth helped with the rising. A few hours later, a few folds later, I put the dough in a bread pan and let rise for another 90 minutes or so. The difference was amazing!

As you can see, the first attempt (the one on the right) is way more dense. The one baked last night (to the left) looks much lighter and fluffier. And believe me, it tastes a heck of a lot better! I must say, I am kind of proud of myself. I think I am on the road to very fine homemade bread for my family. No more store bought!