Thursday, November 29, 2012

common weights

These are mostly based on my own measurements, but a few also come from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Some products' weight vary by company, so if in doubt, do double-check. All flours listed are La Milanaise organic flour except where indicated by an asterisk. A good intro to weighing ingredients is here.

Weighing ingredients ensures accuracy (sifting flour is unnecessary) and efficiency (no having to scrape and wash measuring cups with honey, molasses etc.!). You can get a good electronic scale for about $10 at Canadian Tire - what are you waiting for? I write the weight of ingredients called for right into my recipe books next to the volume given - and of course, UK recipes all use weight, so all your bases are covered with a scale!

When cooking, just put your mixing bowl right on the scale, measure in, mix, return to scale, measure in, and so on. 

I keep this chart in my pantry cupboard, and I encourage you to print this off for your own use, adding whenever you see fit.

Whole wheat bread flour: 142g/c
White wheat flour: 141g/c
Whole wheat pastry flour: 153g/c
Buckwheat flour: 160g/c
Spelt flour: 147g/c (I didn't note whether this was whole or white, but I think it was white!)
White kamut flour: 154g/c
Whole kamut flour: 137g/c
Sprouted spelt flour*: 130g/c
Quick oats: 93g/c
Wheat bran: 59g/c
Cocoa powder: 80g/c (Camino brand - I think No Name is 110g/c - I have both weights written down on my list but I didn't note which the 110g/c refers to, so I'm going on memory - if using a different brand, measure it once and write the result and brand in your chart.)
Brown sugar: 206g/c packed
Molasses, fancy: 320g/c
Honey: 333g/c
Maple syrup grade #2: 333g/c (note that the weight does change depending on grade - I have tried grade #1 as well and there was definitely a difference, but unfortunately I didn't write it down!)
Yogurt: 280g/c (full-fat homemade)
Butter: 250g/c
Liquid vegetable oil: 220g/c
Coconut oil: 180g/c
Water: 225g/c
Chicken egg, shell off: 52g/egg (large size)
Duck egg, shell off: 85g/egg

Feel free to submit weights of products not listed here - nut flours, blackstrap molasses, and other brands' weights would all be useful to have, for starters!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sacred Heart party

Yesterday was our household anniversary of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart - I also blogged about it last year! I made beef & vegetable stromboli to celebrate, complete with a little heart dish full of mustard and sriracha. I also threw together a simpler version of last year's lemon cake at the last minute - I skipped the syrup and glaze altogether, and just increased the sugar to a slightly heaping 1/2 c instead of a 1/3 c. I also used all spelt flour, as we had no almonds. It turned out really well, not too sweet but sort of extra crunchy and amazing toward the circumference. Yum! We're making that cake our official Sacred Heart celebration cake. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

date night & more!

no leeks were used, but I wanted to show you I bought some, cause you know, that's our blog name and whatnot. see see! I really buy leeks :D (using in soup tonight)

frog legs!

garlic, butter & parsley sauce

breadsticks with oil and balsamic vinegar

ready for nomming

Ambrose really enjoyed the breadsticks.

I'm experimenting with breakfast pies! These were apple, egg & cheese. I want to make some with sausage and spinach for tomorrow. they are basically like mini quiches. The little casseroles are 2$ apiece at the Dollarama, and have lids. They are microwave, oven & dishwasher safe.

Tony accidentally threw out my kefir grains a couple of weeks ago, so when I was cleaning out the fridge the other day, I decided to dig out some old kefir grains from months ago I'd been using to ferment juice. They were stored in a solution of sugar-water with ginger and cardamom. They've been dyed brown from juice, so you can see them clearly here - and you can clearly see that THEY STILL WORK! Incredible! I don't know if this is because "gingerroots are rich in yeasts and lactic acid bacteria", as are "other similar rhizomes, specifically turmeric and galangal" (Sandoz Katz, The Art of Fermentation, Chelsea Green 2012, pgs 150-151), which helped keep the SCOBY alive, or what, but... I'm impressed! I've been so sad about my lack of dairy kefir in my life I actually bought some commercial kefir made by Pinehedge Farms. It was delicious but WEIRD! Really thick and sweet, not in a sugary way but just in a mild way. The fermentation agent listed on the label is simply "live bacterial cultures", which I find a little suspicious, as real kefir SCOBYs also have yeast. I know some stores sell technically real kefir starters, as all of the components are on the label, but it comes in powder form and can't be resued the way a SCOBY can. I wonder how Pinehedge Farms, or any other large-scale kefir producer, make their products? Anyway. I'm a happy hippie here with my kefir!

As a housekeeping note to the LG crew, please try to remember to use labels in your posts so the blog is easier to navigate. Before publishing, click "labels" on the right menu, then select whatever ones we already have that apply to your post, or inventing a new one/new ones if nothing really fits. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

super simple cookies

I follow a wonderful fitness blogger named Casey Ho Her main thing is short workout youtube videos, along with having a fitness apparel and bag line, but she also blogs a lot about what she eats. She's all about eating "clean" (her word not mine) which usually means no sugar. But she loves to eat, and always shares things that look delicious. Here is my version of her healthiest cookie in the world recipe.

1 banana
1 cup oats

--> mush together

a handful raisins
a handful of coconut shavings
top with a pecan!

bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes

These cookies dont even require raisins. They're good just oats and banana, kinda like a baby cookie. They filled my sweet craving for the afternoon. My current tea love is Creme Brule Rooibos a David's Tea blend. Looooove it hot and cold with honey or without.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bipity Bopity...BOOOOOO!

just say no... to canned pumpkin

I have this weird fascination with canned goods, even though I should know better.

I always imagine the contents to taste amazing, as magically tasty as the packaging makes them look.

I am weak.

But I can attest that this. Stuff. SUCKS. Stay away from it. It also has an odd, bitter after-taste. I was also expecting a completely different consistency than home-roasted squashes, but alas, the result is the same. Roast your own magic pumpkin and have the bonus of having the house smell like pumpkin pie heaven, too.

Now, back to (holy) sex....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

over-ambitious, fun anyway!

It seemed like a good idea at the time... but maybe a little over-complicated. The idea was for a ravioli dish that would replicate an amazing Jamie O salad Tony made on my birthday, featuring mixed greens, proscuitto, peaches, cheese, and excellent oil and vinegar. We made a mix with a heavenly aroma - proscuitto, diced apples, spring onions, thyme, egg, parmesan, and black pepper. Sounds delicious, yeah? Trouble is, I was still doing a gluten-free trial, so the noodles were not all that happy about being made into parcels (would have made nice cut noodles though - corn flour, rice flour, psyllium husk powder, egg, water, oil, and beet purree for colour) - they tear rather than stretch (you can see the filling sadly escaping in the picture of the pasta cooking, above). The sauce was made from roasted red peppers, sour cream, and a roasted garlic sauce I have otherwise used with great satisfaction. Somehow it was all sort of pasty and bland and disappointing. Ah well, our pride was put in place! Anyway, Sam brought filled chocolates that made for a very balanced meal (I kept taking half bites and making Tony finish them, haha!) But where true deliciousness was lacking, wine, candlelight, and friendship made up the balance. Le'hayim!

As another weekending note, I made and was very satisfied with these crackers. I just soaked them a couple of hours. Super simple. I made them with wheat flour - it's been over a week since I made anything with wheat and it was so silky and dreamy to work with, wow. They need more salt though, maybe like 1 tbsp. I also used some ground flax. I made half plain, for peanut butter enjoyment, and half with spring onions & pepper, for cheese enjoyment. Delicious. They are so rich from the butter and yogurt that you don't have the same danger and worry of burning as you often do with crackers - so many cracker recipes have a very fine line between underbaked soft minibreads and overdone kinda-burnt crackers  - not so here. While all crackers have to be watched closely, I found these had a good 5+ minute period during which they were happy to hang out in the oven and stay pretty much the same, just browning a bit more. Practical.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was going to post this yesterday and I woke up to Sam's breakfast post. I think the cold weather's inspiring us to keep our bellies warm and full first thing. This is what I eat every morning.

I use 5 minute oats. Whole oats would be just as delicious, or perhaps even more so, but I dont have that kind of patience.

On the stove-top:
1 1/2 c water
1/2c oats (I make it a bit overflowing)
a handful raisins
3 or 4 whole dates
a handful coconut shavings
6 shakes of salt (or to taste)

optional: a little butter, and a little cinnamon

Bring to boil, and then turn down heat and let thicken.

I used to add maple syrup for sweetness before I started putting the dates in, but they provide just the right amount, and fibre too.
This is my favourite brearkfast food because everyone in my family can eat it, even my one tooth baby. So I'm not juggling recipes. And its delicious.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

earthquake breakfast skillet

It takes more than just man or machine to wake me from a deep, blissful slumber.

It takes a force of nature.

I couldn't go back to bed this morning due to our little tremblement de terre in the early hours of the morn. I tossed, I turned, I mulled over my nightmare about Armageddon, I fantasized about my immiment move to the Midwest (farmer's markets! decorating my kitchen bright red! icons in the place! yeahhhh!!!). But when you can't sleep, and you have the rare opportuity to wake up beautifully early, what else is there to do? Pop in a Dr. Who DVD, fold laundry, and get something simmerin' on the stove for breakfast.

Veggie-Licious Hashed Browns Skillet 

-bacon 3 + slices
-1 bunch green onions
-minced garlic to taste
-finely sliced peppers, any colour, I use half a pepper
-a handful or two of chopped baby spinach
-1/2 zucchini, grated
-1 whole potato (I used a Russet)
-1 grated carrot
-paprika or other spices to taste

Get Cookin Ladies!

1) Fry bacon over low-medium heat.
2) Add chopped green onions and minced garlic, freshly ground pepper, spices, and mixy mixy.

3) Add peppers, zucchini, spinach, potato, carrot, any other wild veggie
4) Sharing is caring, so serve up to your favourite people....but only your favourite people. Like me.

Fry or poach an egg and serve on top of the hashed browns, cracking the yolk and letting the yolk stream throughout. Delish, les amies.

This yields about 2 heaping servings, and results in a somewhat creamy, heavenly hashed brown. I haven't quite gotten them to brown yet--perhaps I need to add the taters first? Try a different kind of tater altogether? Any suggestions, ladies?


PS: I promise to resolve my shitty camera situation.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Intro, Julia

Top culinary influences: My friends are what inspire me. I always like to see what kind kicks they are on. Amy, Nicole, Sam, Bubzee.
Favorite cook books: I dont actually use cookbooks all that much. I have a really short attention span, and they're prone to get left dusty on my shelves. I tend to look things that I am interested in up online, and scribble something messily on scrap paper, then if I use the recipe a few times, I'll stick it in my own recipe notebook (pile). Sounds like the road to success right?
Favorite 5 ingredients: Coconut (everything: milk, oil, shavings, water (with the pulp!), I really love coconut); avacado, quinoa, olive oil, raisins, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, salmon, oh more than 5. 
Favorite 5 dishes: Chili, salsa and guacamole, Any coconut based stir-fry, roasted veggies, oatmeal (no joke, I eat oatmeal every morning)
How did you learn to cook?: I didn't. 

Uuuuuuh more seriously, I had kids. I think that kind of pushed me in the direction of "oh shit, I gotta know how to feed us!" I did not know how to cook at all until I was at least 20. I never used a spice or herb until like 22. My parents don't cook. My mother could easily survive with a toaster oven, microwave, and electric kettle. And by could I mean that she does. Her fridge actually blocks entrance to the oven and nothing about that bothers her.
I started really slowly watching and learning from friends. First rice and veggies in a pot with some olive oil, and salt. I probably made that a hundred times before venturing out into the culinary unknown. I still have a very hard time cooking with meat, and I sort of avoid it, although I am really getting into fish, and maybe that will send me on my way to chops, and fillets, and whole bodies of birds. Maybe.
Your week in cooking: I always make oatmeal for breakfast, on the stove. I shoot for 3-4 lunch/supper meals a week. Generally sticking to the basics of stir-fry, home-made pizzas, pasta. I try to learn a new recipe or venture out of my comfort zone about once a month. I have an 8 month old and a two year old, for anybody who might not know, and so cooking is a slow, all day process, usually involving one hand or someone crying.
Culinary fascination of the moment: Pretty clear that its coconut, no? I am also trying to get the hand of alternative flours in my baking such as kamut, spelt, and buckwheat.
Culinary ambitions: I just want to feed my family. I hope that as my kids grow I can invite them to join in making meals with me, we can learn together. I think in the next year I will get myself back into baking on a regular basis. Home-made sweets are always the best kind.
Your dream kitchen: Lots of cupboard space to shove my messes into. A large island to gather around, and maybe a couch for guests to cozy themselves as I keep myself busy making food for everyone. A kitchen should be a place to gather.

kamut noodles!

Farfalle and... long noodley things.

What with my wheat sensitivity, and my devotion to Jamie Oliver, it was really just a matter of time before I had a crack at making pasta. (I think every book of his I've ever seen, except Jamie's America, has a section on making pasta, and the man has a lot of books!) I was making kamut tortillas earlier today for supper (tacos), and it occured to me that since I already had the Kitchenaid full of dough residue, and while the island was clean but powdered with flour, and while I had the rolling pin out, well, by golly, it was time to make noodles.

The farfalle are drying in the oven with just the light on, because I have yogurt fermenting in there as well and figured I may as well pack it a little fuller and get my money's worth - farfalle is a bit thicker because of the pinchy middles - the long noodles are just out on the island to dry.

We'll be cooking and nomming one or the other tomorrow night with some leftover sauce from Halloween (see recipe, below) - I'll let you know how it is!

I can totally already feel that I've been bitten by the bug - as evidenced by the fact that I made two batches in a row, even though I have a tantalizing episode of Sherlock with about twenty minutes left awaiting me on Netflix, yes? And I can't help but daydream - I have little beets in the fridge - I can make beet pasta! I have spinach downstairs - spinach pasta! Pasta for Christmas presents! Pasta for parties! Oh my goodness we are just getting started!

On a final note, I have an interview coming with my local CSA farmer... keep bugging me about it... I haven't sat down yet to even start, but hopefully I'll publish it within the next few weeks!


Friday, November 2, 2012

crock pot spaghetti sauce

For Sam! And, who are we kidding, for me as well so I don't forget next time!

Use a 6 qt crock pot, or adjust quantities.

Put in pot:

4 cans (796mL) diced tomatoes
3 onions, peeled and sliced/diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 head garlic, peeled and blitzed in the magic bullet with a few tbsp oil until smooth (or diced)
1 long green hot pepper, diced
2-3 tbsp dry tomato sauce spice mix (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, crushed chilli peppers, parsley)
2-3 tbsp salt

Stir well. Set on high, uncovered, for 6 hours. After 2-3 hours, use a soup blender to blend about 2/3 of the sauce, leaving the remaining 1/3 chunky. Add:

about 4 pounds ground meat (I used half beef & half pork), cooked, fat retained

If you leave it on for more than 6 hours, eg to reduce the liquid further, stir often after 6 hours.

Makes a lot - we fed 6 adults (at least 3-4 of whom returned for seconds) and we had an extra 1.5 L (3 small mason jars). Can, or chill jars in fridge thoroughly, keeping headspace for expansion, then freeze.