Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chili the ultimate comfort food.

On this last day in February we recieved two inches of fresh snow. The snow and ice from November was finally gone. Oh what a world!

After doing chores in the crisp cool morning air we came in craving something hearty. So Chili won the vote. Johnny and friend were there to vote and Johnny kept his nose around to critique. We started by sauteing onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot. I only use one pot so a dutch oven or stock pot works well. After a few minutes add hamburger or whatever meat you want.

I have already used up my home grown and canned tomatoes. I was reduced to store bought tomatoes. I bought 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Pour these into pot add beans I use a large can of red beans and a small can of red kidney. For spices I used twice as much chili powder as I did cumin, 1 tsp. Salt. Add 1/8 tsp liquid smoke and you know those bright green peppers that you put on sub sandwiches, peperoncini, a few of those diced up with a splash of the juice from the bottle. Yummy! Heat it all cook it low for a while. Serve with sour cream and a few peperoncini.

Friday Night Pizza

Friday nights at my house is pizza night. We have had pizza on Fridays for 33 years! I've made deep dish, thin, fully loaded to very simple. We tend to prefer the thinner crust and I prefer simple toppings. The beauty of making you own is that the sky is the limit with the limit being what is on hand .

The crust came from my good friend Marth Stewart and her guest on Thursday It was fast and simple and he and Martha show how to toss a pizza. Since I forgot to buy pizza sauce at the store I roasted up some old wrinkled cherry tomatoes in olive oil till they popped open then added them to a pan with a can of diced tomatoes and onions. Cooked this till thick and seasoned with salt, basil,oregano,marjoram and thyme.

I tossed the pizza to the best of my abilities which was about half way then I laid it on parchment and spread it out with my fingers to get the shape I wanted. Starting with the sauce I layered sauce, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, mozarella cheese and topped with orange bell pepper rings. The pepper rings were not precooked because they bake up very well in the oven and get very soft. I think precooking them would turn them to mush. Bake your pizza in the lower third of your oven and bake at a high temp. The big boys say 450-800. However high your oven goes. I am a bit of a chicken and I baked this at 400. Took about 20 minutes and the crust was done but not real browned. so next Friday I will go to 450. The result was a flavorful healthy hunk of pizza which paired very well with my spinach sweet potato salad.

Goof Troop Meeting

Friday night the goof troop got together and a good time was had by all!

I got to try my new salad idea on them and if I say so myself it was yummy and pretty.

Very fast and easy to put together and it is a powerhouse of the healthiest foods available.

I first got the idea from my friend Martha Stewart. I have coffee with her everyday you know! She was creating a salad with spinach and boiled potato cubes that she fried up in olive oil to crisp them then she put some eggs and other stuff. I opened my fridge pulled out the spinach and saw the sweet potatoes I got all tingly inside and knew I was about to create something special. I laid out a bed of spinach on a platter, peeled, diced and boiled the sweet potato for 4 minutes no longer (then you get mush). Drained the sweet potatoes and sauted them in olive oil till crispy and then drained them on a paper towel. I then scattered them on the bed of spinach. On top of this I put shredded carrot and red onion that I sauteed in the same olive oil pan as the sweet potatoes.

I then sprinkled this with blueberries which have been realy big and juicy. I topped all this with a rasberry vinagrette. The result is a sweet and savory explosion in every bite. Walnuts would be a great addition and toss some salmon on it and you have a very healthy meal with all the best foods

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Garden in the Winter

Times are tough. But I am tougher. I think my husband and I do better when we have to work together to make ends meet. We call it going back to nature. Living on an acreage has helped. We raise our own beef and chickens of course eggs. I incubate some eggs and keep the hens and raise the roosters and butcher them. We raise a large garden and put up as much as we can.

In Sept 08 I had amisshap on a horse and broke my pelvis. I spent 35 days in the hospital. My recovery took 4 months. I am not going back to work, I only worked part time. I have always been a homemaker and know it has been my true calling. I like being home. I love cooking and gardening. I have been growing leaf lettuce , spinach and cilantro under flourecent lights since January. The lettuce is a mesculin mix and doing very well and what I have cut is growing back for another cutting. The spinach is a little small so I am going to use a larger container. Right now they are in newspaper pots that i make from strips of newspaper and hold up very well . The cilantro has been harvested a couple of times as well. I have planted these every 2 weeks so have 3 batches going. What fun to go into the formal living room that houses my nice furniture and grandkids toys and a stainless utility shelf with lights, to get greens for a salad!

I just got a visit from my friendly neighborhood mail carrier and he brought me my spring seeds. I cant wait to get going. This year I am starting the pepper seeds earlier than any thing even though they will be the last in the ground because they like it warm. I will use newspaper pots which is a great way to use old newspapers. Here is my link to my seed company and you can get a pot maker too!