Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Since I have all the grace and coordination of a giraffe being born, we all know I do not mean the kind that involves special shoes and a Shirley Temple hair style. But rather dancing with excitement over TAPS! I got a new hot water dispenser/tap for christmas and it was installed today. While he was here I had him install a new kitchen sink tap as ours was acting up and really, I had never liked it. The new one is purtier and has a pull-out end right from the main tap that sprays. I was so overjoyed and excited that he laughed at me and said "You sure are easy to please!". Yeah, well first impressions can be wrong bucko because I am the high maintenance queen. Don't let the fact that I also amuse easily fool you. Ruby was hilarious. She barked the first few minutes but that quickly gave way to her wiggly joy at having company. She kept trying to sneak close enough to give him kisses. I am sure she gave him a few good snottings. He was a good sport though and didn't seem to mind. At least she didn't try to climb under the cupboard with him. When she got tired of that she insisted on sitting in my lap. Not very comfy on a kitchen chair, but we all have sacrifices to make. It felt very much like balancing a bowling ball in my lap. Just a note though, actual bowling balls don't try to put their tongue up your nose. Just saying. I have had a few emails and a comment or two asking for recipes. When I try the dutch oven no knead bread I will post that recipe here. As for the soups - I don't really follow a recipe when I make soup. I usually make stock by chopping up carcasses from roast chickens and simmering them with any bits and bobs I have thrown in the freezer (you know, wing tips, trimmings from chicken pieces, backs that I have removed from breast pieces, etc.). I don't always throw veggies in at this stage any more because they end up in the trash barrel. I would rather add my veggies later on and consume them. A few peppercorns, maybe a quartered onion, some salt. I might add some rosemary or thyme. Parsley stems if I have them. Let this simmer for as long as you want. I say a minimum of an hour, longer is better. Strain the bones and stuff out and chill. The next day, you can scoop the fat right off the top. Do so, and discard. Then heat the broth just until liquid and strain again through a fine mesh strainer (to get all the bone chips and stuff out). Next saute any veggies you would like. Mainstays for me are onion, carrot, and celery. When they start to soften, I add any grains (barley, for example) and saute for a bit. Then I add the broth. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the veggies and any grains are done. Sometimes I add pasta, but I prefer to use small soup pasta like stellini, orzo, or ancini de pepe. Other pastas get gigantic and mushy and frankly don't freeze as well. Most often I need to fortify the soup with some packaged bouillon powder. The powder alone is chemical and fake tasting, the broth alone is a bit weak. Together you get a nice well-rounded taste and texture. Notice there is no extra meat in there LOL. You can saute chopped meats with the veggies or add shredded cooked leftover meat at the end. Most times I just leave it out, unless I am making beef barley or something specifically to use up leftovers. Nothing against meat per se, but after freezing and reheating the texture often leaves a lot to be desired and I don't miss it so why bother? I like a lot of different textures and colours in my soups in general. Hence the different grains and beans and things. For the red lentil soup? I have posted a recipe on Recipezaar. Since making it I have found I really like stirring in a bit of shredded cheese even to eat as a thick soup. But then again, I like melted cheese in just about anything. Heck, I like melted cheese by itself. Ta ta for now, I wanna go and play with the sprayer on the tap - tee hee!