Feb 27, 2010

perfect brownies

on thursday evening, i suddenly got an overwhelming graving for brownies, luckily i had what it needed to bake some. been using martha's recipe for brownies, with few adjustments. have the recipe in a plastic folder for easy cleaning (don't like chocolate stains, or any other stains for that matter, on cookbooks/recipes). finally wrote down the conversions, got tired of trying to figure out what they were

now, doesn't this look delightful? there is no need to see how much butter and chocolate went in, is there?

replaced the light brown sugar (don't think we even have it in finland) with ½ cup regular sugar, ½ cup demerera sugar and 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (store scraped vanilla pods in sugar jar)

will show off my kitchen aid every chance i get. don't think i ever told you how i ended up with this particular color, 'cause it surely isn't what i really, really wanted. anyways, the mixer did all the hard work

used a whole cup of flour and 1½ tsp baking powder

there is something about pecans that just doesn't appeal to me, used hazelnuts instead, rolled them in flour before adding to batter

hot from the oven


ps. confession, it was me, couldn't resist, just wished we'd had some vanilla icecream to go with...

Feb 26, 2010

martha meets nigella chili con carne

thought chili might go well with all this snow. took out a few of my cookbooks, martha and nigella made the short cut

these two recipes caught my eye, then i went to check what i had in the pantry...

...and found these

had bought the meat specifically chili in mind, slow-cooking beef. i should mention that the names of all different cuts of meats are very confusing. the americans have different names for same kind of cuts than the brits do, or even canadians, and all cut the meat somewhat differently. so if i just say slow-cooking beef, are we ok?

started browning the modest amount of meat on high heat in some olive oil

chopped 2 white and 1 red onions quite roughly and gave the garlic gloves a good whack

added the onions and kept stirring until all the goody brown bits came off the bottom of pan

chopped 3 carrots and 4 stalks of celery

added those to pan, along with 500 gr of crushed tomatoes, 1 cup of beef stock, 1 tsp of chipotle paste

as i had these smoked sweet paprikas, diced one into the pan as well

in went these, too: 1 tbsp sweet paprika, ½ tsp hot paprika, 1 tsp celery salt, 1 tsp jeera and 1 tsp ground coriander

brought it to a good boil and turned down the heat to low for simmering for 45 mins, stirring occasionally

after 45 mins added 280 gr of cooked and rinsed black beans and simmered for another 45 mins. as a finishing touched added 1 tsbp of sugar. this will make my lucnhes to work over the weekend and there will be plenty for certain someone as well. i think i'll cook some brown rice to go with it

the liquid in this little bowl close to the heat of simmering pan is white vinegar. it was there to diminish / get rid of the odors from the pan, mainly the smell of cooking onions (not that i don't like their aroma, i just hate it when it sticks to my clothes and never leaves...) my belated grandmother told me this trick. not sure how efficent it is, but at least you smell something besides the cooking onions...

Feb 25, 2010

more snow, again

now, if you're sick and tried of winter and snow, read no further, this entry is all white...

yesterday certain someone needed to dig out a path for the sewer truck guys. there was plenty to dig

would have paid to mark the tanks in the autumn... but who knew there would be this much snow?

at least the sewer truck guys can now find the right spot

one word, rabbits

yesterday we headed out for the usual walk with the dog, who would usually be in the lead. only this time plain refused to move. well, i would too if the snow was up to my shoulders... i went ahead and treaded the snow to make the path walkable again. i cleared approx 10 meters, the dog followed reluctantly as it was still too deep for him, we had to turn back

today when i got up (as early as 9.15, might i add) it seemed to become a gorgeous sunny day but by the time i'd had my breakfast it was all grey and foggy. the dog had gone out and on...

the carport

sun came back in the afternoon and i decided i'd give another shot at making the path walkable. put my wellies on, crabbed 2 garden poles (that are used for my peonies in the summer) and used them to poke the ground in front of me to locate the path. when i finally found the right place, there really wasn't that much snow on it

one step aside... kneedeep

by the time i got back to the shack i was sweating like pig on pit... it was a great workout

the dog is now going back and forth to the roof of carport

my apartment in on the second floor... no, there isn't that much snow but a strange formation of snow is piled on my windowsill

won't promise this was the last of snow...

zucchini pasta II

decided to take another shot at mastering the sauce for my zucchini pasta. also, to try and figure out the recipe for it. however, that is proving to be as difficult as it is for me to follow anyone else's recipe...

for some crazy reason i doubled the amount of zucchini, leeks and broccoli and the cream cheese, fortunately i was making this mess in a big pan. here are the spices, turmeric, chilli and tarragon

all mixed in, maybe this should be called the sunny pasta?

now this goes non-vegetarian, i browned some chicken and added that to the mix. also, had a yellow bell pepper in the fridge, chopped that and added to the sunny mix

whole wheat penne

tasted great, after wading in the snow (more on that in my next post). is there now a recipe? well, most probably, and it will be strickly vegetarian, though chicken made the carnivores in us happy. the recipe will follow sometime in the future...

ps. this would have fed eight...

Feb 24, 2010

more snow & noodles

yesterday we had another blizzard. not sure why, but i've become to liking blizzards lately... could be that as the mounting snow isn't my problem any more, like it used to be way back when i was still janitoring as a second job. could also be that i have the freedom to coup up indoors and don't really have to go out except the short drive to work.

anyways, there was a bad one yesterday and i decided that i needed (not!) something from the store. even chose the store a good 15 min walk away to make the walk half decent.

the snow is trying to weigh down this pine on my yard at the apt

wished i had a sledge as the hill is quite steep, even though it doesn't seem so in the pic

lovely snow flake on my mitten

all traffic is suffering because of the snow. trains especially aren't doing too well, but, please, don't mention the subject of trains to certain someone as he's bound to flip... he's been taking the train to work lately, or should i say, trying to. there's been cancellations and delays and you never know which it is... wonder how they kept the trains going in the olden days... it's not like snow and freezing temps come as an occasional surprise in our neck of the world

this brave lady was really working it

but had to walk the bike up the hill as the path wasn't ploughed

snowcovered me. really enjoyed my walk, but then again, was properly dressed and kept moving so the cold wasn't bothering me. well, except for my fingers for taking the pics

the maintenance crew have plenty to plough

after a brisk outing a hot and spicy noodle soup was in order. found some noodles with shrimp flavoring in my cupboard, added some broccoli, salmon and sesame oil. very nice

Feb 21, 2010

zucchini pasta

had some pasta at the canteen at work last week, seldom eat there anything besides the salads. that day their veggie pasta looked tempting enough for me to try, very good for canteen stantards. so good, in fact, that i went to ask the chef... should have known better than to expect an actual recipe, he just said "well, there's cream, turmeric and spices..." and run back to the kitchen. great, he obviously doesn't believe in spreading the good.

later in the week i was at the grocery store and noticed zucchinis... immediately thought about the pasta dish and deciced to free-fall something similar and got one zucchini, some leek and figured i would have anything else i might need in the pantry.

as i did: whole wheat fusilli, 5% cream, cream cheese (light), turmeric, dried tarragon, chilli powder, some salt and sugar

one medium size zucchini, 10 cm piece of leek (green part is good), from the freezer approx 1 cup broccoli

on a high rimmed frying pan first wilted the leek on it's own on medium high heat, then added the zucchini, sauteed for a minute or two, then added the scant dl of cream that was left in the package, half of the package of cream cheese, turmeric, chilli powder and tarragon and mixed well. once the cream cheese was almost melted added the frozen broccoli and about half a cup of water to thin the sauce out, brought it to a boil and started tasting...

added some more turmeric, then some more. added some more chilli powder and then some more, as was the case with tarragon. it was getting closer to what i had in mind, then added some salt, it helped a bit. suddenly figured out the sauce needed some sugar... there it was. not exactly like at the canteen but very nice anyway

dumped the cooked pasta in the pan

mixed well and had 3 lunches to go. will definitely make this again as there just might be a recipe in there...

it's come to this... can't chop the veggies without the wrist support and latex gloves are enough of a tight fit so that i don't accidentally chop any glove material into veggies...