Saturday, March 30, 2019

Muttar Paneer

Level: Easy

Prep: 10 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 8 servings

1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, halved
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
Sprinkling of salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 (10-ounce) packets frozen peas
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 cup vegetable stock

Heat the oil a large skillet and add the paneer cubes, in 2 batches, and fry until they are golden. Remove the golden cubes to a double thickness of kitchen towel. (It is possible to dry fry the paneer cubes in the pan with no oil, to avoid the oil splashing you. Then continue with the recipe below.)
Pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil out of the pan. Put the onion, garlic cloves, and ginger into a food processor and blitz to a coarse pulp. Fry gently for about 5 minutes with a sprinkling of salt. Stir in the garam masala and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the still frozen peas.
Dissolve the tomato puree in the vegetable stock and pour over the contents of the pan. Stir again and turn the heat down to low, cover with foil or a lid and cook for 15 minutes, tasting to check that the peas are tender. You can cook muttar paneer up to this stage, if you like, uncovering and then reheating gently with the diced, oil-crisped cheese, or proceed directly now.
In which case, take off the foil and add the paneer cubes to warm them through before serving.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cabbage Soup

Quantity : 8 servings
Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 50 min
140 calories/serving

3 onions, thinly sliced 600 g
7 cups green cabbage, finely chopped 550 g
2 1/2 carrots, shredded 260 g
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil 23 mL
2 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted 35 g
3/4 tsp sugar 3 g
1 1/4 tsp salt 5 g
1/2 tsp ground pepper 2 g
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth 1.38 L
2 3/4 cups milk, partly skimmed, 2% 700 mL

Before you start
A food processor will make chopping the vegetables easier.

Prepare the vegetables: thinly slice the onions; finely chop the cabbage; shred the carrots.
Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the vegetables, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well, then cover and cook 25 min over very low heat.
Pour in the broth, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 15 min. Pour in the milk, then adjust the seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Milk may be added when the soup is reheated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Beef and Barley Soup

Quantity : 6 servings
Preparation : 15 min Cooking : 1 h
190 calories/serving

1/2 onions, diced 100 g
2 stalks celery, diced 140 g
2 1/2 carrots, diced 260 g
10 button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced 140 g
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
2 potatoes, peeled and diced 400 g
180 g stewing beef cubes, diced
1/3 cup pearl barley 60 g
4 cups beef broth 1 L

Prepare the vegetables: Dice the onion, celery and carrots; thinly slice the mushrooms; mince or press the garlic.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms, then sauté until they are tender, about 10 min. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes; dice the beef cubes into small pieces (about 1 cm).
Add the barley, potatoes, and beef, then sauté 2 min with stirring. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer 50 min, or until the barley and potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Adjust the seasoning, ladle the soup into bowls then serve.

The soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Basil Tomato Soup

Image result for basil tomato soup

1 can (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
8 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup and 3 tbsp whipping cream
3 tbsp and 2 tsp butter

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter.

Barley and Lentil Soup

Quantity : 8 servings
Preparation : 15 min Cooking : 1 h
130 calories/serving

1/2 cup green-brown lentils (dried) 90 g
1 onions, finely chopped 200 g
2 carrots, finely chopped 200 g
3 cups Swiss chard, coarsely chopped and packed 280 g
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 23 mL
1 tsp ground cumin 2 g
3 cups chicken broth 750 mL
3 cups water 750 mL
1/2 cup pearl barley 90 g
1 1/4 cup canned tomatoes (diced) 320 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start
It is not necessary to soak the lentils in advance.

Rinse and drain the lentils, then set aside.
Prepare the vegetables: Finely chop the onion and carrots; coarsely chop the Swiss chard (green and white parts); and mince or press the garlic. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion then sauté 3-4 min until soft. Add the carrots, then sauté 5 min with occasional stirring, until they are golden-coloured. Add the garlic and stir 1 min, then add the cumin and stir 1 min. Pour in the broth, water and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer 25 min.
Stir in the tomatoes and lentils. Continue to simmer, covered, until the lentils and barley are tender, 25-30 min.
Add the chard to the soup, cover and simmer until the chard is tender, about 5 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin the soup with more broth or water, if desired. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spiced Honey Glaze for Ham

1 cup honey
2 tbsp mustard
whole cloves

Thirty minutes before end of baking time, remove the ham from oven, score fat (cut shallow crisscross gashes), stick with cloves.  Mix honey and mustard and spread over ham.  Return to oven for final 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sweet N Sour Rhubarb and Spinach Salad

Image result for Sweet 'N Sour Rhubarb And Spinach Salad

Lightly cooked slices of rhubarb are spooned atop spinach leaves and veiled with a warm sweet-and-sour dressing.

4 stalks rhubarb, cut diagonally into thin slices 
1/4 cup sugar 
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 
Salt and pepper to taste 
16-20 spinach leaves 
6 tbsp. vegetable oil

Place the rhubarb in a wide saucepan. Sprinkle on the sugar and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour through a large sieve into a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper, and place over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, divide the spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange the rhubarb over the spinach. When the liquid is reduced, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the oil. Pour over the salads and serve at once.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Moroccan-style Chickpea and Tomato Salad

Quantity : 4 servings
Brining : 30 min Preparation : 10 min 
Standing : 10 min
310 calories/serving

1/2 red onions, finely chopped 80 g
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 mL
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 g
1/2 tsp ground cumin 1 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
3 cups chickpeas/garbanzo beans (canned) 750 mL
4 tomatoes, Roma type, deseeded and diced 280 g
2 1/2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped 8 g

Finely chop the onion, then put it in a small bowl filled with water and a few drops of vinegar. Let stand for about 30 min at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. This makes the raw onion crispier and easier to digest.
Pour the olive oil and lemon juice into a salad bowl. Add the spices, salt and pepper. Using a fork, whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then place them in the salad bowl. Dice the tomatoes discarding the seeds, then put the pieces into the bowl. Finely chop the mint then add it to the salad. Add the previously chopped onion. Toss well to combine. Adjust the seasoning.
Let the salad stand about 10 min to allow the flavours to develop.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Lentil and Tomato Salad with Mint

Quantity : 4 servings
Preparation : 15 min

4 tomatoes, Roma type, deseeded and diced 280 g
2 stalks celery, chopped 140 g
1 shallots, finely chopped 40 g
2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped 6 g
3 tbsp Classic Vinaigrette 45 mL
2 cups lentils (canned), rinsed and drained 500 mL
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Dice the tomatoes, discarding the seeds, then put them in a salad bowl. Coarsely chop the celery, finely chop the shallot and mint, then add them to the bowl. Pour the Classic Vinaigrette over the salad. Season with salt and pepper.
Rinse and drain the lentils, then add them to the salad. Toss well, adjust the seasoning then serve.

The leftover salad is just as good cold, the next day.

Cold Asparagus with Prosciutto and Lemon

Prep 15 m
Cook 10 m
Ready In 25 m

"This cold asparagus dish is tender, tasty and easy to create. The zesty lemon and the salty prosciutto work perfectly together to add wonderful flavor and great presentation to a vegetable that many are cautious to try. I have had people who normally turn their noses up at asparagus thoroughly enjoy this side dish."

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 (3 ounce) package prosciutto
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling hard, add the asparagus and cook until tender but still crisp, about 4 minutes. Quickly drain the asparagus and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and maintain the bright green color. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
Separate the asparagus into 5 small bundles and wrap each one with a slice of prosciutto. Sprinkle each bundle with lemon zest and lemon juice.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Chicken and Sage Dumplings

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces I made a roast chicken a couple of days ago so I had lots of prepared meat to use
5 1/4 cups Progresso® reduced-sodium chicken broth (from two 32-oz cartons) I made my own broth from the carcass of the roast chicken
2 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves I had no thyme, fresh or dried, so I just started sniffing spices until I found one that I thought would suit the recipe.  Don't laugh.  I used a couple of spoonfuls of foccacia seasoning from Epicure
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables  I used 2 diced potatoes, 2 stalks of celery diced and 1 really large carrot diced as well as 1 cup of frozen peas
3 cups Bisquick Heart Smart® mix  I used regular Bisquick
1 cup buttermilk I used regular milk
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

In large Dutch oven, stir together chicken, broth, water, onion, sage, thyme, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in center. Add frozen vegetables. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat.
In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, buttermilk, poultry seasoning and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper until blended. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into boiling mixture in Dutch oven. (Don't let dumplings touch.) Reduce heat to medium-low; cook uncovered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking. Cover; cook 10 minutes longer. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Makes 8 servings
Just one more time that I took a perfectly good recipe and made it mine . . . LOL.  The original recipe came from  Hal loved it so much he kept grasping my forearm across the table and sighing.  It was hysterical.

How to Make Pastry for a One Crust Pie

Image result for pie crust recipe

1 cup sifted enriched flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening (or lard)
2-3 tbsp ice water

Image result for pastry blender

Mix and sift flour and salt.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle with cold water.  Gather dough together and press firmly into a ball.  Roll out into a circle 1" larger than pan, all around.  Fit loosely into pan.  Avoid stretching to prevent shrinkage.

Let pastry rest a few minutes then fold extra pastry back and under and build up a high fluted edge even with the pan rim.

Image result for fluting edges of pie crust

Prick bottom of unfilled shell with fork to keep pastry from puffing up and warping during baking.  Bake in very hot oven 450F until delicately browned, 12-15 minutes.  After 5 minutes of baking look at pastry shell and quickly collapse any bubbles by pricking.

Cool pastry shell in the pan on a cake rack away from any draft before adding filling.

If filling and pastry are baked together do not prick the crust.  Bake according to recipe directions for the pie.

How to Make a Meringue Topping

Image result for meringue

For 9" pie:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp flavouring (eg. vanilla), optional

For 8" pie:
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp flavouring, optional

Beat the egg whites with salt until frothy.  Whites will whip fluffier if they are at room temperature.

Then beat in sugar, 1 tbsp at a time.  Beat until meringue is stiff and glossy.  The meringue is ready for the pie when the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is stiff enough to hold a point, yet still looks moist.

Image result for meringue is forming stiff peaks

Add flavouring, if desired.  Beat only enough to blend.

Swirl meringue lightly on pie, sealing to edge of crust to prevent shrinking.

Bake in moderate oven 350F for 12-15 minutes, until delicately browned.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 Craft Room Organization Challenge #10 - The Final Challenge!!

So how did you make out with Challenge #9?

I didn't realize how far I was behind in organizing sketches and technique ideas.  I'm still working on that challenge.

Are you ready for Challenge #10 ~ The Final Challenge?


Many of us have fallen victim to the lure of scrapbook swaps among local and online groups. All the hours, material, creativity, and postage costs make these items difficult to purge. But let's face it . . . not everything is YOUR style, you are NEVER going to use some of it. It's time to make S.P.A.C.E.

SORT: Keep only what you love.  If the colour or style does not make you smile, it must go.  Keep only what is significant to you - don't keep the soccer page swap items if your kids are into hockey and dance.  Sort into: KEEP, TRASH, SELL, DONATE

PURGE: Pack up the DONATE pile and give it to a beginner scrapbooker who might appreciate these items.  Throw out the TRASH pile.  Bag up and assign a price and your initials to the SELL items and put them directly into the garage sale box.

ASSIGN: sort your KEEP items into categories, theme, holiday, colour, whatever makes sense to you.  

CONTAINERIZE: Store your keepers in page protectors by theme in binders, or get them into giant ziplocs to create page kits for your next cropping session.

EQUALIZE: next time a swap arrives in the mail, take a few minutes to toss or give away what you know you'll never use, create a page kit for your next cropping session, or put in a page protector in your swap binder for storage.

At one point in my scrapbooking life I participated in a ridiculous number of swaps.  Not any more . . . So I can say that Challenge #10, for me, is done.  

I'm off now to get some serious crafting done . . . 

How to Make a Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Image result for graham cracker crust

1-1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (16-18 crackers)
1/3 cup soft butter or margarine
3 tbsp sugar

Use only crisp crackers.  Roll into fine crumbs on waxed paper or in plastic bag, or crush crumbs in food mill or blender.

Combine and mix dry ingredients, then add butter which has been softened to room temperature.  Don't melt the butter; the softened fat mixes more easily and evenly.

Blend all ingredients well with pastry blender, blending fork, or your hands.

Turn mixture into a 9" pie pan.  Using a flat bottomed glass or custard cup, press firmly, making the bottom slightly thicker than the sides.  Use the back of a tablespoon to pack crumbs firmly into angles of pan and firmly against sides of pan.  Use hands to finish molding crust firmly around rim; make it slightly rounded and at least 1/4" thick for easier cutting and serving of pie.

Chill thoroughly before using.  This crust may be baked in preheated moderate oven 350F for 8-10 minutes, which gives a firmer crust and is desirable if a cooked filling rather than an instant pudding or a gelatin filling is used.  Chill the baked crust before filling.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The simplest of all bowl salads

Basic Tossed Greens

Image result for basic tossed salad

This is the simplest of all bowl salads.  Any number of fresh or cooked vegetables may be used.  Choose one or several kinds of the following greens:  lettuce, chicory, romaine, endive, escarole, watercress, green dandelions, or spinach.

Add any of the following:  sliced or chopped radishes, onions, celery, green pepper, cucumber, tomato, carrot, snap beans, beets, carrots, peas,cauliflower, etc.

Be sure greens are crisp, clean, and dry.  Wash them thoroughly in cold water, then dry by shaking in a towel.  No salad should ever by watery.

Break greens into desired size pieces.  Add chopped or sliced vegetables.  Mix in salad dressing using two forks or salad tongs.  Be sure not to break the vegetables.  Serve on lettuce leaves or in individual salad bowls.

For a suggestion of garlic or onion, rub bowl before adding ingredients with a freshly cut surface of either.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Steamed Couscous

Image result for steamed couscous

2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup couscous
1 tsp butter, unsalted (optional)

Pour the water into a saucepan, then bring it to a rolling boil.  Add the salt and oil.  Remove the saucepan from heat then slowly pour in the couscous while stirring gently.  Cover for 2 minutes, until the couscous has swelled and all the water is absorbed.  Add a little more water if the couscous looks too dry.  Butter can also be added, if you wish.

Serves 2