I don’t know about you, but for me, lasagna[1]Espe­cial­ly the lasagna Flo­ren­tine my dad taught me to cook. is the per­fect com­fort food. When it’s in the house I will hap­pi­ly eat it at every meal till it’s gone.

This time I snapped a pho­to or two before I devoured it all.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Lasagna”


1 Espe­cial­ly the lasagna Flo­ren­tine my dad taught me to cook.

Roasted vegetable soup

Roasted vegetable soup

This is where the long-ass sto­ry goes, right? The one you scroll past, mut­ter­ing Just show me the freakin’ recipe! under your breath.

It was cold out­side yes­ter­day. I had lots of CSA (com­mu­ni­ty sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture) veg­gies in the house.

OK, sto­ry’s over. Here’s the recipe, such as it was:

1 large gold­en beet
2 onions
4 small pota­toes
2 car­rots
2 bell pep­pers
1 mid­dlin’ zuc­chi­ni
1 large pat­ty-pan squash
1/2 car­ton of left­over veg­etable broth from the back of the fridge
1 block of ice frozen in the veg­etable broth car­ton (my fridge gets cold at the very back, appar­ent­ly)
1/2 car­ton of left­over beef broth
1 cup of water

So here’s what I did: chopped up all the veg­gies, into cubes or slices about 1″ thick. Roast­ed them at 425°F for var­i­ous times, till they were all nice and soft­ened. The beet took about 45 min­utes, all told; the pota­toes, onions, and car­rots took 30 min­utes; the pep­pers and squash, about 15.

Then I pulsed ’em all in the food proces­sor, till they were smooth but still a bit, well, rus­tic. I spooned the veg­gie pâté into a stock pot over medi­um heat, and stirred in the broths, the chunk of ice, and the water. Heat­ed till it start­ed to boil light­ly, stir­ring every so often.

Served with ched­dar-onion fougasse and fin­ished off with a deli­cious slice of pump­kin pie, both from Chez Angela.

Lazy Sunday

Today I sent away a sto­ry, pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished, to a pod­cast­ing site in the hopes they’ll want to make it an audio sto­ry. Not sure if they’ll bite — I real­ly don’t know if it’ll trans­late well to the audio for­mat — but noth­ing ven­tured, noth­ing gained.

Then we went over to our friends’ place and made sup­per there. We had planned to make it at home, but they were going to be putting up their Christ­mas tree, so we brought over the ingre­di­ents and used their kitchen instead. Mmmm, home­made chick­en pot pie.

The Recipe:

(from Chate­laine, Feb. 2006)

3 skin­less, bone­less chick­en breasts
1 car­rot, thin­ly sliced
1 red or green pep­per, chopped
1 cel­ery stalk, thin­ly sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2cups (500 mL) small broc­coli florets
1/2cup (125 mL) frozen peas
veg­etable oil
3tbsp (45 mL) butter
1/4cup (50 mL) all-pur­pose flour
1 1/2cups (375 mL) milk
1tbsp (15 mL) dried thyme leaves or rose­mary or 3 tbsp (45 mL) fine­ly chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
1tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 397‑g pkg frozen puff pas­try, thawed
1 egg, beaten

1. Pre­heat oven to 400F (200C). Cut chick­en into 1‑inch (2.5‑cm) pieces. Pre­pare veg­eta­bles and mea­sure out peas. Light­ly coat a large fry­ing pan with oil and set over medi­um-high heat. Add chick­en. Stir often until light­ly gold­en, 3 to 4 min­utes. Add car­rot, pep­per, cel­ery and onion. Stir often until onion begins to soft­en, 2 to 3 min­utes. Remove chick­en and veg­eta­bles to a bowl.

2. Return pan to burn­er and reduce heat to medi­um. Add but­ter. When melt­ed, grad­u­al­ly whisk in flour until even­ly mixed and bub­bly, 1 minute. Slow­ly whisk in milk. Whisk until thick­ened, 2 to 3 min­utes. Remove from heat. Add broc­coli, peas, 1 tsp (5 mL) dried or 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme and salt. Return chick­en and onion mix­ture to pan. Stir to even­ly coat. Mix­ture will be very thick. Turn into an 8‑inch (2‑L) square bak­ing dish or dish that will hold 8 cups (2 L) and place on a rimmed bak­ing sheet.

3. Cut pas­try in half to form two small pieces. To cov­er 8‑inch square dish, on a light­ly floured sur­face roll each piece into a 10-inch (25-cm) square. It’s OK if edges are uneven. Brush one square with egg, then sprin­kle remain­ing 2 tsp (10 mL) dried or 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh thyme over­top. Cov­er with remain­ing square. Press together.

4. Care­ful­ly pick up pas­try and lay over fill­ing. Tuck in any over­hang­ing edges. Press edges of pas­try onto rim of dish. With a knife tip, pierce mid­dle of pas­try in 3 or 4 places to allow steam to escape. Light­ly brush top with egg. Bake in cen­tre of pre­heat­ed oven until gold­en and fill­ing is bub­bly, 30 to 35 min­utes. Let stand 10 min­utes before serv­ing. Sauce will thick­en as it sits. 

It’s real­ly for­giv­ing — we used almost twice the veg­gies, made a bit more sauce, and put it in a rec­tan­gu­lar casse­role dish, and it was f‑i-n‑e.

Then, after sup­per and tree, we watched the tail end of Home Alone on YTV, and then we came home.


My first stop-motion video:

Mmmm, tri­fle…


Because Doug demand­ed it, here’s the recipe.

You’ll want to do this in a tri­fle bowl, a tall, wide, cylin­dri­cal bowl, usu­al­ly on a stand. I found mine at Wal-Mart for about $8.

Bot­tom lay­er: Take an angel food cake and tear it into bits. Put it into the tri­fle bowl. Cov­er with about one or two cans’ worth of man­darin seg­ments. Mix up some red Jell‑O (I use straw­ber­ry) and pour slow­ly over all. You don’t want every­thing to float to the top, which is what I find hap­pens if you pour too quick­ly. Put in the fridge till the Jell‑O sets.

Mid­dle lay­er: Mix up some Bird’s cus­tard accord­ing to the pack­age direc­tions for cus­tard dessert (not cus­tard sauce). Let it cool to about room temp (you’ll want to put plas­tic wrap on it so it does­n’t form a skin). Pour onto the Jell‑O lay­er. Refrig­er­ate till the cus­tard is cool.

Top lay­er: Whipped cream. Gar­nish with fruit (I used left-over man­darin seg­ments; my grand­ma always uses Maraschi­no cher­ries; sliced straw­ber­ries would prob­a­bly be good too).


Christmas baking

Every year at Christ­mas, one of the fam­i­ly treats is a sweet li’l treat that we’ve always known sim­ply as “Jew­ish pas­try”. This year I decid­ed I’d like to take a crack at mak­ing it, and faced my first obsta­cle: How do you google a treat that you know by such a gener­ic (and cer­tain­ly incor­rect) name?

So I punched “jew­ish pas­try” into Google’s help­ful lit­tle box, and got how­ev­er many thou­sands of returns. Can­ny crit­ter that I am, I had a look at the image search results. Turns out the prop­er name for “Jew­ish pas­try” is rugelach.

Armed with that knowl­edge, I tried hunt­ing for rugelach in Google. And dis­cov­ered that there are as many recipes for rugelach as there are Jew­ish grand­moth­ers. Hmmm.

So I emailed my mom, and got our iter­a­tion of the recipe from her. It came from my great-aunt Olga, who is on the Ukrain­ian side of the family.

Right now the dough’s chill­ing in the fridge. Soon I’ll be dab­bing straw­ber­ry jam onto tri­an­gles of dough and rolling them up and bak­ing them. Hope­ful­ly it turns out.

Wish me luck!