Jan 16, 2012

little about the dog

thought it was time for the dog to play the lead. to start with, his best ever grin...one of the front teeth was missing already when he was taken into custody, not even the orphanage knows what had happened to cause him to loose it. the dog's picture was in the newspaper as the orphanage was trying to find homes for him and other rescues. certain someone saw the article and thought that the dog looked a magical creature (he insists that the dog is an elf. it would take forever to explain his reasoning as to why it is so, i won't even try), went to see him and there you go...

the first year was horrible. during the first week certain someone took the dog back once, slept overnight, went to get him back, determined to take care of him. blood (well, not really), sweat and tears were needed, and still sometimes something triggers off the dog and he goes berserk for a minute or two. since certain someone lives in the country the dog "natural instincts" are good, but i wouldn't be taking him to town any time soon, too many new things to get excited about.

long walks is what he likes, not to appreciate the scenery but to sniff around and look for frozen blobs of manure...

...or to hunt for poor little mouses...

...and then play innocent.

his loves his chair to cuddle up in, but only in the winter...

trying to keep watch but having an occasional nap...

so little snow this winter, but so much water that the ditches are gurgling away making it sound like spring already.

mid-morning nap...

...a little stretch after it.

update on jan 17

certain someone has saved the article that appearead in the local paper in which the dog was posing (with that embarrassing cone because of...hmm...delicate surgery) as the poster boy for rescue dogs.

Jan 15, 2012

two green soups

i'm back to take-along lunches as we still don't have a canteen at work and getting out for lunch is impossible on most days. good news is that in the "new" offices (old really, but remodeled) there will be a kitchen with a stove and all! completely another matter is whether one can actually cook there, will the boss allow it, or will he come asking for his portion?

these two soups are ridiculously easy, tasty and good for you. of course, we can debate whether flour in general is good or not, but in both soups you can skip the flour (and make them gluten free) and use more reduced fat (13% is what i used) cream cheese. i'm pretty sure that, at least in finland, there is a lactose free cream cheese as well.

pureed broccoli and leek soup

you'll need:

300 gr broccoli, broken into florets, stems halved length wise and sliced
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only (save dark green parts for another soup or for making stock)
2 tbsp rape seed (canola) oil (or butter, if you're feeling invincible)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
100 gr reduced fat cream cheese (if you leave the flour out, use 200 gr)

start by cooking stems in 1 cup water for 5 mins...

...then add florets and cook for another 4 mins.

while broccoli is cooking, mince leek and place another pot on medium heat, add and heat the oil, add minced leek and sautee for 8-10 mins or until wilted and soft, add flour and sautee for another 2 mins...

...add 2 cups of vegetable stock (i used this powder and add boiling water to it), mix well, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 mins...

...add cooked broccoli with cooking water and puree with immersion blender (or some other gadget).

lastly, add cream cheese (and salt if you insist on using some) and puree some more, until cheese is well incorporated.

serve with rye bread and some swiss cheese. i made this quite late at night to take to work, so obviously i didn't plate it, the plastic container wasn't feeling photogenic...

second soup of the day is spinach soup.

if possible, this is even easier to make than the first one. you'll need:

250 gr fresh spinach, thoroughly rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp rapeseed oil (or butter...)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups of fat-free milk (for lactose free option, vegetable stock will do)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
100 gr reduced fat cream cheese

to serve, boiled eggs

start with mincing onion (so you can enjoy a cleansing cry while prepping other ingredients).

rinse spinach, drain well, place into medium bowl and pour boiling water on top and let sit for 4 mins, drain and rinse under cold water (in a recipe written by a chef this would read "place into a bowl of ice water", but the tap water is plenty cold this time of year...), squeeze out all extra water and put aside.

take out your white vinegar and pour 1/4 cup of it into a tiny bowl (and if you hold on, you will see why...)

measure flour.

in a pot on medium heat, sautee the onion in oil for 8-10 mins, or until opaque and soft...

now, see that little glass bowl, that's the vinegar. one of my grandmother's tricks, have some vinegar on a small plate next to the pot or pan where onion is cooking, the vinegar is supposed to take care of the nasty onion smells. whether it does or...but next day the house is smelling like vinegar, and i like that better than the stick-on-everything onion smell.

...add flour, mix well and sautee for 2 mins more, then gradually add milk (stock) mixing well, bring to a boil and simmer on medium for 5 mins, mixing and taking care to make sure the milk doesn't boil over.

take out your nutmegs, or here ground nutmeg...

...you'll only need ½ tsp, unless you love nutmeg, it's rather overpowering if used too much, and poisonous, too, i think.

now is time to take the green blob of spinach and cream cheese and place them into the pot, also take your trusted immersion blender...

and pure everything into smoothness. if you wanted to make this even easier, you'd buy frozen spinach that only requires thawing...

serve this with (cross eyed) boiled eggs.

misty pink sunset on my balcony the other evening.