Thursday, March 06, 2008


Something strange is happening. I'm really into eating vegetables - stuff I would refuse to eat as a child. Roasted squash is now a delicious treat. And today, I had kale for dinner and it was tasty tasty - well, maybe it was the bacon - but still....

Here's what I did.

1. Fry some chopped bacon - the good thick cut extra smoky bacon.
2. Then chop some kale - I used 1/2 a bunch, about 4 cups chopped.
3. Put the kale in with the bacon.
4. Push the kale around and toss with the bacon fat until the kale starts to wilt.
5. Add some salt.
6. Add some white wine vinegar.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Soup for Dinner

I love having soup for dinner. I find it very comforting and low key. Smitten kitchen recently posted a recipe for meatball soup.

I decided that this soup would be the basis of my saturday night dinner. But then I started reading the recipe. There were no onions. I always start my soup making by softening onions in oil or butter. So I figured I would start the way I always start, and add some onions. Then usually I add some white wine and let it reduce before adding the stock. Since I had some wine kicking around in the fridge, I decided I should fit this in too.

My mom has recently been making a similar soup to this, minus the meatballs, with kale and white beans. It's very tasty - and I had a can of cannellini beans. So I decided escarole was out, and kale and white beans were in.

Happily, after all my tinkering, it turned out extremely tasty. It was hearty and warming, but the carrot and kale gave it a nice freshness. The meatballs are perhaps a little ugly, but their delicious garlickiness made up for it. Paul and I had this with some onion rye bread, and finished off the evening with some apple crumbles.

I found I had more meatballs than I really wanted to put in the soup so I have frozen the rest for later.

Kale and Meatball Soup

for the meatballs - enough for about 45 meat balls
1 lb ground chicken
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup breadcumbs (I made mine from a garlic pita I had in the freezer)
1/4 Parmesan cheese (I used the cheap stuff)
1 egg
2 tbsp water
salt and pepper

for the soup
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
4 cups coarsely chopped escarole (about 1/2 medium head)
14 oz can of cannelini beans

making the meatballs
1. Mix eggs and water in a medium sized bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit about 5 mins.
2. Add ground chicken, mix well, without squishing or compressing things too much.
3. Form into 1 1/4 inch diameter balls. Let sit in the fridge at least 30 mins. (I made these in the morning.)

making the soup
1. Soften the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion starts to get translucent, around 5-10 mins.
2. Add white wine and let reduce. Then add stock, bay leaf and carrots. Let simmer, covered, until the carrots are the softness you like to eat. For me, this takes about 15-20 mins.
3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a separate pot. Set aside.
4. Add the meatballs and beans and let simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the kale, and cook for another 5-7 mins. Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Russian Grandmother's Apple Cake

I love other people's family recipes. No one is more blunt than your family. I still haven't lived down the corn starch ice-cream. So I figure for a recipe to have become a favourite and passed down, it must be something really special.

This is another recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours. I've received other cookbooks, and other baking books since I've got this one. But I keep finding more things I want to make in this one.

This recipe also appealed to me because it is a non-traditional pie crust. Yes, even though it's called a cake, it's really a more of a pie. The technique for making the crust is a lot more like making a cookie. A delicious, delicious cookie.

I made this at a friend's cottage. You can see I had some awesome equipment to work with.

I also had an adorable tiny helper, complete with adorable tiny rolling pin.

I don't like to post baking recipes, because I almost never change them up. But I've done some googling, and the recipe is here. I made this a second time this weekend and I didn't use the raisins and I think I prefer it that way. I also used Northern Spies instead of Granny Smith. Both my father, who grew up on a farm, and the apple man at the St Lawrence market thought that Northern Spies would be best. As always, my Dad was right, the spies made a very nice pie.