Tuesday, April 28, 2009

tomato & zucchini gnocchi

I think this may be Husband's favorite of the dishes I have made. It's super easy and fast. It's perfect for oamc (or Once A Month Cooking). You can make it and freeze it for up to a month. Then simply defrost, and bake on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until piping hot. (serves 4)

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 good sized zucchini, chopped thinly**
1 garlic clove (or more if you are me)
1, 14oz can chopped tomatoes
17 1/2 oz gnocchi
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
4 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
Italian seasoning (optional), to taste**

Heat your broiler to high.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then soften the onion and zucchini for about 5 min.

Add the garlic and saute for about a min.

Pour in the tomatoes (in their juice) and the gnocchi and bring to a simmer. (If your tomatoes don't have enough juice to cook the gnocchi go ahead and add a drop of water.)

Let it cook for 10 - 15 min, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi is cooked and sauce is thickened. (Go ahead and add your
Italian seasoning during this cooking time if you want to use it.)

Once done cooking, stir through your basil, and transfer to an oven proof dish.

Top with
mozzarella and broil until cheese is golden and bubbling. (about 5 min)

The original recipe is from BBC Good Food Magazine.

**are the parts that I tweaked. The original recipe calls for a red pepper or capsicum (de
-seeded and chopped) instead of the zucchini. I also used more garlic than the recipe calls for and added some Italian seasoning as Husband and I prefer things to be well seasoned.

vegemite cheese scrolls

3 cups self rising flour
1 pinch of salt
50 grams of butter (60 grams = 1/4 C. , so slightly less than 1/4C.)
376 ml milk (a little more than 1 1/2 C.)
1-2 tbs Vegemite
200 g tasty cheese (an 8 oz bag is pretty close.)
*i recommend sharp cheddar

Sift flour and salt into a bowl then rub through butter. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. You may not need it all. Gently kneed on a lightly floured surface and roll out to form a 40cm x 25cm rectangle. I'm a dork, so I actually pulled out my ruler for this one.

Spread the Vegemite over the dough then sprinkle on 3/4 of the cheese. Roll up along the long side to enclose the cheese. Cut 10 x 4cm peices from the roll and place close together, cut side up on a greased baking tray.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 220*C ( 428*F) for 15-20 min or until cooked and golden brown. This makes 10 scrolls.

Vegemite is so good for you! It is an excellent source of vitamin B... which is great for us vegetarians. It contains thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and folate (which is what pregnant women need... no wonder I was craving it!)

The origional recipe is from the Vegemite website.

Monday, April 27, 2009

laundry detergent two ways

From Feb through middle April 180
I started making laundry detergent just before little one was due in December. I wanted her clothing to be free from all of the nasty chemicals that even some baby detergents contain. We started off by making a simple powdered detergent and have graduated to the liquid goopy stuff. Both work great. Here are the recipes:

Powdered Detergent

1 bar of soap*
1/2 cup 100 mule team borax
1/2 cup arm & hammer washing soda

finely grate the bar of soap either in a cuisinart or on a box grater. mix well with the borax and washing soda. use 2tbs on small loads and 3-4 on larger loads. 

*you can use any soap that you want. i chose a castille soap because it is free from all the nasty chemicals. a lot of people use fels naptha for this. if you choose to use fels naptha then you only have to use 1/3 of the bar.

i can attest that this works well because i use this on the little one's cloth diapers. however when i do diapers i toss in a little extra borax and hang them in the sun to dry. the sun gets out any remaining stains so i don't have to worry about nasty chemically stain removers.

Liquid Detergent

you will need a large container for storage. we used a 5 gallon bucket from home depot that husband attached a spicket to.

1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1 bar of soap
3 gallons + 4 cups of water (approx)

Finely grate your bar of soap with either a box grater or a cuisinart. Boil about 4 cups of water in a large pan. Once it is boiling turn it down to a simmer and slowly add and mix in the grated soap until it has all melted. Pour your soapy water into your 5 gallon bucket along with 3 gallons of hot tap water. (You want to make sure that everything is hot so that all of the ingredients melt and mix well together.) Add the borax and the washing soda and stir well. Close the container with a lid and let it sit for 24 hrs.  Depending on the soap that you use it could be a variety of different textures. But you will be set with this recipe for quite a while. (Which is why we switched to making this recipe.)

the powdered recipe is a collaboration of different recipes that i found scouring the internet. the liquid recipe was borrowed from the simple dollar. check out their website for a fabulous detailed guide.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

egyptian lentils & rice


1 cup brown lentils
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 cup rice
5-6 cups vegetable stock

Place the olive oil into the bottom of the crock pot.
Turn the pot onto the highest setting and add the onions.
Allow the onions to warm in the oil for 10-15 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients, including the broth.
If cooking the dish all day, reduce heat to low, otherwise leave on high setting.
Stir the dish while in the crock-
If it is dry, add a little water-
If it's soup-like, remove lid for a little while,
or turn heat to high setting.
Cook for 8 hours on low or 4-5 on high.

(my crock pot cooks kind of hot so i only cooked it on high for 3 hrs and then left it on warm for 30 min.)

it makes 4-6 servings

if you want to use this for oamc simply place all dry ingredients in a freezer bag. go ahead and saute the onions in some evoo. then add them to the freezer bag. keep in the freezer. when you are ready to cook simply dump the frozen mixture into the crock pot. add your broth and cook like normal until the broth is absorbed.

Lentils are one of the highest protein & highest fiber foods out there. Lentils are also high in potassium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, phosphorus and copper. And have no fat!

Monday, April 20, 2009

deep dish vegetable pot pie

deep dish vegetable pot pie
(thank goodness i took this picture before it went into the oven because it was attacked before i could get a decent picture afterwards.)
one of my all time favorite recipes. the original recipe came from a magazine when i was maybe 13 years old (i think it may have been a vegetarian times).

serves 4

2 med all purpose potatoes peeled and cut in 1/2" dice (2 1/3cups)
2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1/2" dice (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 stalk celery finely chopped (2/3 cup)
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup milk (or soy milk. i use soy*)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
your favorite pie crust * (1 if you use a deep dish, 2 if you have a regular sized pie pan)

Preheat your oven to 400*F.

Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots, corn, and peas. Boil for 5 minutes.Drain the veggies and transfer to a medium sized bowl.

In a medium sauce pan melt 1 1/2 tbs butter over medium heat Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until onion has softened (about 8-9 minutes). Reduce the heat to low and make a roux by stirring in the oil and flour (stirring for about 1 minute). Stir in the veggie broth and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens for about 2 minutes. Stir in milk and stir constantly for about 1 1/2 min.

Pour sauce over vegetables and mix well. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer veggies into 1 deep dish pie pan (or 2 normal pie pans). Smooth the top. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
Tuck the edges of pastry into the pie pan. Poke several steam holes. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until pastry is golden. * Let stand briefly before serving. Devour.

*I recommend placing a cookie sheet on the rack under your pie pan... it bubbles a lot and often over flows.

*If you want you can use this recipe to make 2 regular sized pies. Just split the veggie mixture and use two pie crusts. I do it both ways all the time.

*if you use soy milk like i do just keep in mind that the roux will thicken up it just takes it a bit longer.

**easily make this recipe vegan by using the soy milk and a vegan pie crust

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

chocolate hot cross buns

hot cross buns
makes 12 buns
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 8gram packages of dried yeast (4 3/4 tsp)
pinch of salt
5 cups plain flour
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter , melted (60 grams)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup water
Combine milk, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a bowl. Whisk together until combined. Cover with plasic. Put in a warm place for 5 - 10 minutes (or until the top becomes frothy) to activate the yeast. Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, together in a large bowl. Add 2 tbs sugar (the remainder of sugar will be used in the glaze), salt, yeast mixture, butter, and egg. Stir until dough almost comes together. Mix to a soft dough with your hands. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place for 1 1/2 hrs or until the dough doubles in size. Punch down the dough with your fist. Add chocolate chips and knead until well combined. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Place them into a 9x13" pan about 1 cm apart. Cover the buns back up with plastic wrap and put them in a warm place for 30 min or until they double in size. Preheat your oven to 400* F and bake for 20 min or until toothpick inserted into the center of the bun comes out clean. While the buns are cooking make the glaze. Heat the water and 2 tbs sugar in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Brush the warm glaze over the warm buns. 

To make the crosses: 

(you can use melted baking chocolate or nutella to make crosses but i prefer a cream cheese icing.)

3 oz cream cheese (softened)
1 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 tsp milk
Mix cream cheese and sugar. Slowly mix in milk. Pipe on to cooled buns. Serve buns warm with butter or nutella. These are best eaten the day you make them. They do tend to go stale quickly. If you have any left over check out this recipe for chocolate hot cross bun & butter pudding. It is an Australian recipe but I have listed the conversions below : 30 grams of butter = 2 tbs 125 grams chocolate = 4.4oz 600 ml = 2 1/2 cups 170 grams caster sugar = 3/4 cup super fine sugar (you can make this by pulverizing some granulated sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes) 170* C = 338* F I wanted to make it this year but I didn't have any left over buns. Next year I will make a double batch just so I can make this pudding.