Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pea Soup ....more like Pea Sludge
{It's important to diary about kitchen fails. That way I learn from it.}

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! The best news for me to report is my leg is much better. My walking is almost back to normal, just the occasional twinge. I'm sure this won't be the last time it locks up and causes me grief. Yet another perk of getting older :-)

The weather has been up and down, you can't count on temperatures staying within a norm for winter here. But in cooler months I like to have a bowl of soup for lunch so, despite some days reaching 78 F/ 25 C, I want soup.

It makes a good lunch and is usually low calorie.  Well today I am going to tell you about a Fail in the kitchen.  It's an Ina Garten recipe.  I have cooked from her books before and had relatively good success but this time....I don't know if this wasn't tested or it was "user error".

Here is the photo of the soup brewing.  All is well.  It smells good.  Behold the brothy texture and the colorful vegetables simmering in harmony.  This has Excellence written all over it, my kitchen has a lovely aroma.  My stomach is growling in anticipation for a bowl of this light brothy soup.


Now look at this photo below?  WTF?!  No matter how much broth I added it would absorb.  Like pancakes soak up became a sludge.  Yes, I did eat it and bless his heart, my supportive husband ate it too.  It tasted fairly good considering the texture was like hummus.


We had to use bread to scoop it, like hummus, rather than soaking up the non-existent broth.  Too weird.  Why am I sharing this dumpster fire of a meal?  Beacuse we learn from mistakes in the kitchen and I know I don't want to make this recipe again.

I have made Split Pea Soup before.  Using a slow cooker I made this recipe HERE and you can see (photo below) it was successful.  Guess I should have used a slow cooker.  Oh well, live and learn!


If you want to check out the Ina Garten recipe click HERE and it will take you to the Food Network site.  Please do write me and tell me if you have success with this recipe.  Maybe it was just me.  Probably :-)

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series.
 This week's linkup may be found HERE. SouperSundays

Friday, February 10, 2017

My crown, a sore leg but best of all
{Tortellini with Spinach}

Part one: Wah-wah

While last week started like gangbusters ( lots of good walking and moving about),  my old yoga injury flared up,  locking my leg into a straight position so.....hardly any walking.  I also had to get a temporary crown on a broken tooth.  Once the numbness wore off those  injection sites were tender, causing a dull pain in my mouth.

What a week. Rant over. Let's move on.....

Part two: A very nice thing that happened was a dinner with our son. We hadn't planned it, just worked out well.  I needed to make a quick meal since we had gotten home late so I turned to this easy  Tortellini with Spinach.

There is probably a recipe written down somewhere but I wing it when cooking.


In under 25 minutes you have a great meal.  I am a big fan of pasta so this one is a hit for me.  You use those refrigerated packs of tortellini (found in the dairy case area in the market).  You'll need the tortellini, spinach (or kale), milk, Parmesan and garlic.


Chop several cloves of garlic and slice the stems off approximately 1 pound of spinach.  You can use kale if you'd like, but we aren't fans of kale so I use spinach.  Cook the garlic and spinach in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add oregano and salt.

Once the veggies are soft add a cup of milk. (I used almond milk)  Add about 3/4 cup broth.  To keep it more vegetarian in style I used vegetable broth but you can use whatever you like,  Add tortellini and let it simmer for 8 minutes. Since we had 3 for dinner I opened a second container of tortellini and added almost half of it.

8 minutes later it's all cooked.  What I do then is sprinkle some Panko and a 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top and place in the oven at 375 F for 5 minutes.

If you don't have a pan that goes from stove top to oven then don't worry about the browning. But do add that Parmesan, it's a good touch.

Since I tweak a recipe and add a little of this and that, I don't always measure properly, but I think i wrote out exactly what I did for our dinner.  This is good with a side salad and bread.

Sharing with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

She is waiting near the bar. Somehow she knows when she hears ice hit a glass, she gets treats. Huh. aja

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Who is a good helper? Aja!
Cutest supervisor ever :-)

 Life at our place is pretty low key, no big parties or renovations, just typical stuff....things you have no cause to blog about. Yet I am going to talk briefly about our new faucet. That's right, a reason to update  facebook or whathaveyou with this news.
We had a kitchen faucet that was old and starting to become a problem. A little drip here and there if you didn't turn it just right.    

One day, after a good bonk on the top of the nozzle, to stop the dripping, it fell apart completely.  As in....water wouldn't stop coming out at a good speed.  Doug found where to turn the water off and off we went to Lowe's to purchase a new faucet.  


Aja likes to get involved in everything we do, sits in judgement is more like it.  We were going to call a plumber to replace this faucet but someone at Lowe's said it's the easier plumbing job and so, Doug decided to save us some money,  I can tell you now, I couldn't have followed those directions but he did.  So, money saved and we now have a cool new faucet.

That's it. Just a few gratuitous Shiba Inu photos.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Spinach Ricotta Pie

We have had so many good meals here but every now and then, we get in a rut. Same meals repeated a little too frequently so....we tire of them.  For a treat, and something new,  we met up with the kids on Sunday evening at a local Mexican restaurant, El Jalisco.  Something a little different - it was fun.

This may be a chain place, I don't know, but there are a few locations in the Tallahassee area.  I love the fish tacos and the taco salad.  And the platters with enchiladas and burritos.  And guacamole!  So, I am obviously a fan.  Margaritas were avoided but we did have beer....not a huge setback.  No photos from the dinner, I left my phone in the car.

Our granddaughter was super cute and fun that night so I do wish I had a photo of her.  She was telling her grandfather about pirates and how her cat was a lazy pirate.  Fun age and she's full of imagination.

On to what I cooked this week.  A Spinach and Ricotta Pie.  New recipe.


I'm fortunate to have so many wonderful cookbooks on the shelf (more than some folks, but I'm sure fewer than others :-) .  Moosewood Cookbooks are never disappointing, especially if you want to find a meatless meal plan.


This is a recipe I had never tried before and I can say - oh yeah - we will have it again.  Very good, A+ to Mollie Katzen.

 New meal plans are being sought for next month.  When the weather warms we want to sit outside for dinner, maybe have some wine, watch the birds fight at the feeders. This meal would actually be good in warm weather too as the ingredients are so light.  Note that I did not smear sour cream over the top, it was optional.  If I had you couldn't see the lovely colors from the spinach and nutmeg and cheese!


 I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Homemade bread and vegetable soup

Rainy and gloomy.    Rainy days seem to be meant for soup, don't you think so? This is my throw together soup, trying to halfway decipher a French cookbook, using up bits and leftovers from the fridge.


 It honestly is cheat calling this a recipe. Saute some onions, garlic and peppers in herbed olive oil. I also had a few cooked potatoes, green beans, corn and carrots. A can of tomatoes wouldn't go amiss, so those were chunked in too.

 As we made rice for a grilled tuna dinner, a bit of the rice was tossed in too. By evening, after it had sat a bit, the rice had absorbed much of the broth. Simple solution - add some more broth and seasonings.


 This is different ( not by a lot but it is different) from the Fall River Soup I made last week. I didn't use wine this time and there were different veggies - but any time you can use up veggies on hand, soup is the answer.
Zero-Waste week.

This is meant for lunches and maybe as a first course before tonight's dinner.

Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday series.
 This week's linkup may be found HERE. SouperSundays

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rain and food and yarn


Last weekend the weather was absolute pants. The term heavy rain doesn't even begin to cover it. As luck would have it, Doug had planned to deliver a telescope mount to someone in Crestview, about 120 miles from our home.  We didn't know the weather would take such an awful turn.

Have you ever driven in heavy rain and wind?  It makes you tense.  There are the drivers going way too slow (and yes, you should slow down in the rain but some were creeping along at ridiculously slow speeds).  Anyway, the delivery was made and we were ravenous by the time that was done.

We found a Mexican place called  La Rumba and it was excellent.  Had I not been so hungry I wouldn't have attacked the complimentary chips as I did and dessert would have been an option, Alas.

We both had a vegetarian platter with cheese enchiladas, bean burrito and a chalupa.  So filling...we were stuffed so, had to pass on those yummy desserts they displayed on the way in.


On the way home the rain picked up, didn't think that was possible.  It was much heavier and was coming down so fast and hard that we hydroplaned over several lanes on the interstate, sliding sideways into the muddy median. I think it's good that it was muddy - once the vehicle started sliding, the mud built up a wall on the driver's side tires, thus keeping us from rolling. Very scary!

Mud and grass washed across the windshield just as we came to a rest.  My husband is a wonderful driver - I don't think I would have handled it as well.


So for the record, I our Subaru Forester! Love the all-wheel drive and whatever that system is that takes over and reduces engine power when it senses you are out of control.  Once we have this paid off and we are officially retired (a few years yet) we want a Subaru Outback.  Dreaming.....

Meals we have enjoyed - nothing fancy, it's all fuss-free dining at our place.

Enchiladas on the patio.  With wine.  And candles. Yes, we had better weather last week and managed a meal outside.  It was lovely.

This is a Broccoli Mac and Cheese casserole with a boiled egg (for protein).  The evening before we had roasted salmon with the mac & cheese but since it was all gone, we had the accompanying egg.

Scallops braised in butter and garlic. I learned something about cooking scallops recently.  A few times I had a nice browned edge to them and other times, they stayed the milky white color.  Evidently if you let them sit out a bit they will brown better.  The times I took them directly from the fridge and put them in a pan they didn't brown.  A cool scallop fact and lesson.


Last but not least, I have acquired a small loom and I am hoping to make hats. It's been fun so far, once I figured out the directions. My progress .... So far 😉



That's about it for these parts. Nothing exciting going on. The break from social media has been good so no regrets there.

Hope all is well in your world!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Swiss Linguine Tart
{Ooey gooey cheese and linguine}

Do you like pasta? I love pasta. It can be such a filling meal, such comfort food.  Sadly, one shouldn't indulge too much or the waistline will pay for it.  There is a place in Tallahassee that serves the most amazing Spaghetti Bolognese.  It's called Village Pizza and on Sundays they have this as a special.  They break down the meat sauce from meatballs and it's so fine, so delicious.  I'm hungry now thinking about it.  One day if I think about it in my gluttony.

So now.....look at this little slab of ooey gooey cheese and linguine.  Plus there is a French bread crust!  Not for the weak of heart if carbs scare you. I made this, it is very good if I may so so.


I also made a good mess putting this dish together but...worth it!

Since we have been walking more I have been able to indulge in this sort of meal more often. It's great for colder weather as it's hearty enough and certainly a warm meal.  Pasta.  I just love it.

Here is the recipe - please let me know if you prepare it and you like it too.

Swiss Linguine Tart


½ cup butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
Thinly sliced French bread
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Dash if nutmeg
2 ½ cups milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
8 ounces linguine, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 plum tomatoes, each cut lengthwise into eigths

Get ready to rock your cheese loving world !!

Melt ¼ cup butter in saucepan and then add garlic. Cook a few minutes and then brush half your garlic butter in a 10-inch pie pan. Line your buttered pan with the French bread slices to form a crust. Now brush the rest of the garlic butter on the bread. Make sure you have the bread slices lined up so you have a 1 inch overhang.

Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 5 minutes. Take it out. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.

Melt remaining ¼ cup butter in saucepan. Stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk, cooking and stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Now stir some of the mixture into the beaten eggs and add that egg mix right back into the sauce.

See how it thickens up – looks delicious!

Take the sauce off the heat and set aside.

Now – take your cooked linguine and combine it in a large bowl with 1 ¼ cups Swiss cheese, green onions and basil.

Pour sauce over the linguine mixture. Toss to coat.

Pour this fabulously cheesing pasta mixture directly on to the French bread. Arrange tomatoes on top and top with remaining Swiss cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes in 350 F. Let it stand about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven so you can slice big wedges.

Look at the layers of pasta and creamy cheese.....

If you like cheese – you will love this recipe. Promise.


I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Fall River Vegetable Soup

First off let me give a shout out to a friend who is going through a difficult time.  Mrs. L,  you have been in our thoughts.  Wish we could hand deliver this soup to you ♡♡♡

Soup.  That word is conjured up as a comfort food, don't you think?  It is certainly soup weather now here in the northern hemisphere.  I know my food buddies in Australia and New Zealand are enjoying summer but....that's not the case here!


 When it's chilly and the wind cuts through you as you are walking the dog back from her usual think about hot comfort food. Also, in spite of my husband and I being Government Drones, a workplace one would think has basic amenities like HEAT.....not always the case.

Last Monday we arrived to very cold offices. At 8:00 a.m. the thermostat read 59 F (15 C).  It did get up to 64 before we decided to take leave time and go home.   It's just not acceptable when you are sitting at a desk most of the day.  Everyone was wearing a coat, some had hats and I tried to type wearing gloves.  That went as well as one may think.

I should mention that was an unusual day and while it is cold at work in December and January, that was an extreme.


So...comfort food.  I made a vat of soup for lunches during the week.  This is a recipe I had been wanting to prepare.  It had been languishing in my file of recipes to try.

 Here is the recipe I copied (via the iPhone) from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.  It gives a bit of background about the area which I found interesting.  I used a bit less wine than called for and it turned out well.


For Jo........

    . cwtch
 Linking up to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper Sunday Series.
 Deb's linkup for Souper Sunday this week may be found HERE.  Join us!