19 Feb 2010

February Comfort Food

I always make this for the boys in the winter, or on rainy spring days. Something about it tastes like home, and beats the winter blues.
And Reuben, who normally won't touch an onion with a ten foot pole, loves it.
It  certainly isn't the dieter's special, I don't even want to know what the calorie content is!
I make this with as many different kinds of onions as I can find. Red, yellow, green, even scallions and leeks!

Dressed up French Onion

4 lbs of onions (any kinds)
1.5 litres chicken stock
6 cloves crushed garlic
1.5 cups of goats milk yogurt
(plain regular yogurt will work if you can't get goatsmilk yogurt)
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Thyme

Day old stale bread or croutons
cheese curds
worchesterchire sauce
black pepper

Chop the onions up fairly small, it might make you cry a little, but it's worth it.
Crush or finely chop the garlic and mix it in with the onions in the pan. Add the butter and olive oil, and saute the onions over med-low heat for about an hour.

 You really want to be sure to cook it slowly, so that they're nice and tender.
If you cook it on low enough heat, you won't have to stir them very often.

After they melt into a nice sweet oniony puddle, slowly add chicken stock. You can add a lot if you want a thin soup, or less if you want a thicker soup. Turn the heat up a bit and add the thyme, and let it stew for a bit. Sometimes I crush the thyme a bit before adding it to bring out the flavour.
Now stir in the yogurt until there are no lumps. The soup will look a little more creamy now.

Preheat your oven broiler, and while it's heating up, toast your bread in the toaster.
Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls. Put the toast on top of the soup, so that part of it is touching the soup but the top stays crispy. (I have bowls that are the perfect for keeping the toast slightly above the soup, because they're just small enough to hold it by the four corners of the toast.)

Sprinkle cheese or cheese curds on top of the toast, add pepper, and worchestershire sauce.

Place the bowls on a cookie sheet, and put them under the broiler until the cheese has melted. (a few minutes is about all it usually takes.)

Take the bowls out and set them on plates and serve. Be careful because the bowls will still be hot!

I serve it with lots of fresh veggies on the side. Reuben likes to add some blue cheese dressing,
Zeke likes his with a little bit of mustard.

And of course, any soup goes great with strong brewed iced black tea;)


17 Feb 2010

Welcome, Judah!

Judah Morris Eric Cowan

My sister, Lindi, just had her baby yesterday morning, weighing
 7 lbs and 4 oz, and is 19.5" long.

For a really long time I thought she was having a girl. I was sure of it. But a few weeks ago I started thinking that it was a boy. I don't know why...but I just had a feeling.

He's extra pink,VERY fuzzy, round and squeaky!
 He's got the most pathetic little wimper and startles quite easily. Really, he just does not like to be bothered.

I tried looking at his little feet (which are massive by the way, as are his hands!) and it completely freaked him out when I messed with his little blanket.

He doesn't look a thing like his sister, (it's funny, he actually looks like Reuben) and he smells absolutely heavenly.

Eva is in love. She tried to tickle her little brother, (she says "tee-ko tee-ko tee-ko!") but realized quickly that new born brothers do not like to be tickled!

I think i'm going to have to do a watercolor sign for his bedroom:) I'm trying to think of something cute to go with his name. I think of Lions when I hear the name Judah.

I'm pretty sure though that he's going to get "Jude" most of the time, as several of us have already started singing "hey Jude" as soon as we heard the name!

15 Feb 2010

Limoncello (and the flu)

(Zeke is ill, so I let him bring his cozy chair into the kitchen to hang out with me, so that he wasn't all alone in the living room.)

I'm a total Limoncello fanatic, but not a fan of the cost, and I like to be able to control the sweetness. The commercially available variety is super sweet, a little too sugary for me. I also like to be able to use organic lemons, free of pesticides etc.

I'm making up a fresh batch that will be ready just in time for my little sister's hen party in April. (the longer you let this stuff sit and brew, the better. 40 days or more is best!)

I make mine with 20 organic lemons and a 750ml bottle of vodka. (With 20 lemons, you really could use a whole litre of vodka.)
First you wash your lemons and pat them dry. Then peel the yellow zest with a carrot peeler. It's good to get a little bit of the pith (the white part) but not too much or it will make your batch bitter.

You could discard the rest of the lemons...but that would just be silly. Make some lemonade, or freeze the juice for later use.

Pack the peels into a sterelized (I had to use two because my big jar broke!) and pour the vodka over the peels. Pack the peels down in the jar so that they're completely submerged. Close the lid and voila. Let it sit in a cool dark place for 40 days, and stir it occasionally or shake it up.

The color of the vodka will start to brighten, and the peels will start to fade.
You can switch the peels at 20 days if you want to make it really strong.

After 40 days, you need to make a sugar and water syrup over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Be careful not to let it get too hot, or you'll have hard candy.

Let the syrup cool  to room temperature. Pour the lemon infused vodka into a separate large bottle, pitcher, or pan, (doesn't matter, so long as it's large.) Strain out the peels completely, so that all you have is liquid. 
If you used a zester to peel your lemon, you'll need cheese cloth to do this. If you used a carrot peeler or a knife though, it's pretty easy just to pick them out. Just be sure to squeeze the peels to get all the vodka out. They'll be pretty plump with juice at this point.

Once you have the vodka strained, slowly add a bit of the syrup to the pitcher and stir.   
It's up to you how sweet you make this. (You actually don't have to sweeten it at all if you don't want to. You could just leave it as it is, and use it straight from the jar).

 I don't like to make it super sweet, because I don't drink it straight. I usually serve it in club soda with a tiny bit of lemon juice. Or even in some sprite.

Bottle in wine bottles, canning jars, whatever you like, and refrigerate or freeze. I usually freeze some and refrigerate the rest. (I don't always refrigerate it, sometimes it just sits in the pantry. It's just a lot better cold!)

Serve it over ice with some club soda and a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice, or in your favorite cola.

Nothing is better on a hot summer evening!

Even Zeke likes it!

Just kidding. He's just having broth;)

12 Feb 2010

Panettone Fables

A leftover dried out Christmas Panettone was set outside to feed the hungry birds. It was winter, and the birds were scarce, and starving. 

 The yard was full of big, fat, well fed fluffy squirrels, but hardly any birds. What few, sad little birds did have the courage to come around, were scared away by the abundance of alley cats and squirrels.

When the bread was set out, of course, a beady eyed fluffy tailed rodent was the first to have a sample. He sat outside the house window and snacked away, not even caring that a human was a few feet from him, loudly sorting the recycling.

But then some birds started to gather above on a power line.

They waited until there were quite a few of them, and then in one fell swoop...


The sad little squirrel managed to grab a chunk and run to the nearby garage roof top....

but alas, they got that too.

And this is all that they left for poor mister squirrel.

The moral of the story is that there is power in numbers...

especially when dessert is involved.

the end.

3 Feb 2010


Facebook has some crazy application going around that selects who your closest celebrity look-alike is. Apparently, Amanda Seyfried and I share 86% of the same features.
I don't see it, but heck, i'm flattered.

(by the way, this took up way too much time out of my day, so if you're going to go give it a try, don't say that I didn't warn you!)

1 Feb 2010

A Successful Trip to the VV Boutique

  We have a chain of thrift stores around here called Value Village. I'm not sure if it's just a Canadian thing, or if American folks have this shop too.
Anyway, it's similar to salvation army, only often a lot more expensive. (Sometimes they have some pretty abused items marked up to some pretty steep prices. Coats with rips and missing zippers over $20 because it's brand name etc...) so we've dubbed it the "VV Boutique".

This weekend we had some stuff to donate,(remember the nasty "dusty rose" mini blinds from our new living room?) So of course I couldn't help ducking in just to see what they might have.
One thing about the VV boutique, is that while they overprice what most would call garbage, they often don't know when they have a treasure right in front of them.

Here are my Lucky Vintage Finds!
Set of 4 sweet rosie tea cups/sandwich plates: $3.99

Two Large Diner Serving Platters: $2.99 each

Massive  Juicer: .99cents!!

Four cocktail napkins: 99 cents

Two Table Cloths (one is so soft I plan on using it like a giant tea towel/apron: $1.99 each.

And last, but not least, A little sister for Gladys!

Gladys is my pink "piggie" bank, who rules my kitchen from her special little shelf. When I first saw her, I thought she was a cookie jar, but alas, she had a slot in the top. I bought her anyway. I had to. She was judging me. See her judging stare?

Mark has even made up a judging little owl sound that we're sure she makes to herself when we do not live up to her expectations.

Now they can judge us together.Will we be able to handle it??
Oh, the shame and humility!

I'm not yet sure what we're going to name Gladys's new sister yet...any ideas?