Make, Jane, make!

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mini Dumpling Factory


We're having a cool summer which has been fantastic for kitchen work. Normally in the summer, my kitchen feels like some kind of medieval torture chamber... Except instead of being slowly immersed into a dunk tank, I'm drowning in heat and humidity. This year, we've barely had the a/c on at all and the windows and doors are open most days with a cool breeze flowing through the whole house.

Recently, we capitalized on the cool weather and had the kids help out in the kitchen to produce some delicious dumplings. We had some vegetarian dumplings to wrap as well, so the younger ones could help without running the risk of inadvertent raw meat consumption.


Of course having three kids do anything in the kitchen (or anywhere for that matter) will eventually result in all kinds of silliness; and these industrious faces were quickly replaced by laughter and giggles and dumplings made in every possible shape you can think of.


And as annoying as it was to endlessly repeat that "dumplings which are not closed at both ends will not stay together when mommy cooks them" I had to remember that my brothers and I used to play the exact same games when we "helped" in the kitchen.

There'd be the biggest dumpling ever. The smallest dumpling ever. The flattest dumpling ever. The dumpling with the thickest skin ever. The dumpling with only one piece of choy (vegetable). The dumpling that was only meat. The square dumpling, The triangle dumpling. And so on and so on.  I remember, my mom would separate any dumplings that she could recognize as our handiwork and make the offending party eat them. In fact, if my mom and dad are reading this right now, they are probably laughing about my brother's specialty dumplings that would only contain "one snot of filling" and thinking that I deserve whatever my kids dish out to me for the endless grief I must have caused them.

In any case, I hope that the kids enjoy learning about our food and culture. I look forward to the day that they will be able to share these things with their own families... cause what greater joy can a parent have than to one day witness their children passing on beloved family traditions and have karma come and bite them in the <fattest dumpling ever>?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

And pause...

Once in a while, the stars align and everything goes more or less according to plan. Hubby and I actually sat down to a quiet adult lunch while the boys are at school, one daughter naps and the other plays happily in her jumper.


Now I sit and digest (both are strange and rare sensations) and contemplate what I shall write to my neglected blog. Or rather, what I can write given the limited time that this total eclipse of child-demands will last and my proficiency on a phone keyboard.


Perhaps, I should stop while I'm ahead and simply say that Martha's tomato tart with its roasted garlic crust was heavenly, eaten in a quiet and clean (as can be expected) kitchen. And that soon my blog should be awash in photos and entries about Halloween prep.... If the heavens allow and all goes according to plan, of course.

P. S. And inevitably, I'm no longer sitting and digesting. Instead I'm nursing a baby to sleep and embellishing this post with pictures from my phone camera.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Radicchio and Corn Salad


This dinner was the epitome of eating as local as possible. The maple mustard chicken is locally raised and bought from our neighbourhood butcher. The carrots, potatoes and turnip that roasted under the chicken legs came from our Round the Bend Farm CSA box. And the beautiful chopped salad (save the dressing and cranberries) uses ingredients that are also from our CSA box.

(Jump to the recipe...)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pasta Nicoise


It's been the summer of the salad. The cool weather has provided our farm and CSA box with much more lettuce than anyone probably ever imagined possible. There was a point in time when hubby and I were eating mammoth salads for lunch and dinner plus green smoothies for breakfast and snacks.
(Jump to the recipe...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vietnamese Sausage (Nem Nuong) Lettuce Wraps


Summer always calls for meals that are full of fresh and raw greens served with grill-marked meats. And although the heat never fully arrived this year that didn't stop anyone from firing up the charcoal and enjoying some outdoor cooking, right?


This summer, we've received such beautiful lettuce and radicchio from our farmshare that it was inevitable that we would consume a lot of it in cup/wrap form. And what's our favourite filling for our lettuce wraps? Nem nuong. Delicious grilled pork.

(Jump to the recipe)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Homemade American Cheese? Verdict? Worth it!


When I was pregnant with my first son, I had strange taste and smell aversions. (Subsequently, I discovered it was morning sickness, just without the tell-tale being sick part.) One of my weird taste and smell aversions was cheese. I thinking that I was exposing the cheese to too much moisture and it was going off really quickly... I don't know how much cheese I threw into the trash thinking it had gone bad before finally asking hubby to double-check for me.


Unfortunately, I loooove cheese and I craved for it. So I took to having processed cheese and soon bagels with a Kraft single nuked over top became a common breakfast for me. Funny to reminisce about it now - there I was, first time mom, trying so hard to do everything right for my unborn babe. All the while, feeding myself artificial cheese that was nuked (not even toasted!) over dollar-a-loaf-grocery-store bagels. I guess it could have been worse, I could have wanted spray cheese and a ramen cup ;) 



Monday, August 11, 2014

Kohlrabi and Corn Fritters


Jump to the recipe...

Every year, inevitably, we'll receive the other-worldly kohlrabi in our CSA box. The first year we got it I was stumped. What to do with this strange root? I've tried it in coleslaw (nothing spectacular and not really to my liking). I've also tried stir-frying it (too soggy), roasting it (delicious but too hot to turn on the oven that often) and boiling and pureeing it into soup (yummy but felt like just a riff on cauliflower soup). I had yet to find a way to prepare kohlrabi that was simple and tasty and uniquely "kohlrabi".