07 August, 2012

Growing Celery

When I read how to grow your own celery on a blog, I immediately went to my fridge, cut off the end of the celery in there, and placed it in water as directed. I could not believe it could be so easy.
I say this because last year I planted a celery in my veggie box outside and though it did grow a little, it remained very thin and was extremely bitter. So I have high hopes for this one.

 What to Do:
Cut off the end of the celery bunch, about 2 inches. Place the end in a bowl with water and position it where it will get some sunlight through a window. Monitor the water level and add as needed.

How it's doing:
6 days -
The outer stalks are slightly pulled out with a hint of brown.
The green leaves in the center are now a bright green and growing.

2 weeks -I planted the celery in potting soil, about level with where I cut the stalks:

I'll more pictures are it grows and will let you know how it tastes eventually - the true mark of success.

07 December, 2011

Mushroom Barley Soup

This soup has a wonderful earthy flavor. It fills the kitchen and surrounding rooms with this incredible country home aroma.

Just imagine rolling green hills with majestic oak trees (or your ideal landscape) visible through the kitchen window, your home warm from the wood burning stove flickering in the corner ... a slice of home made bread right out of the oven joining your bowl of soup on the table ...

Can you picture it?

That's what this soup will do for you. Honest.

2-3 Garlic cloves (as preferred)
1 Lrg Onion
1 Mushroom basket
1 Lrg Carrots
1 Celery stick
1 cube Veggie Broth* (see below)
1/2 C Barley
4 C Water
Bay Leaf
pepper as desired

This soup is best in quick stages of sautéing initial ingredients to help flavors become more pronounced.

1. In a big soup pot, sauté garlic and onion.
2. Add mushrooms and stir, sauté another 5+ mn. or until mushroom release their juice.
3. Add sliced carrot and celery, stir, and give it another few minutes.
4. Add 4 C of hot water and the veggie broth.
5. Add barley, bring to boil then simmer for 40-45 mn.
6. Throw a couple strings of bay leaf on top of the water for additional flavor if desired.

***Useful TIP: Barley takes 4 times the volume in water, or 2 C water for 1/2 C of barley. In order to keep the soup "juicy," be sure to add a couple (or more) cups of water to the soup.***

Do you notice an additional ingredient in the above and below picture?
Yes, black eye peas ...

It so happened I had a cup left in the fridge and threw that in the soup for good measure. Beans would be great too I think, with this mix. Hmmm!

*Veggie broth: you can find both salted and non-salted version of veggie broth. This being a big pot of soup, the salted version will do fine. In smaller batches, I often opt for the non-salted, preferring to control the amount of salt myself.

22 November, 2011

Cabbage Potato Soup

Cabbage is certainly not the most mouth watering produce out there, to say the least.

I never really thought of cooking cabbage until I went to a Celtic Festival and talked to a participant in the historic section in the midst of stirring the most amazing smelling pot of soup.

Off course that one included bacon and cream, so a few adjustments had to be made ...

And the results? Hmm, a surprisingly amazing tasting soup!

- 1 med Onion
- 2-3 cloves Garlic (or as prefered)
- 1 Green Cabbage, roughly sliced
- 5-6 sm Red Potatoes
- 1 cube Veggie Broth
- 4 C Water
- salt / pepper

1. Quickly sautee onions and garlic in a big soup pot with a little oil.
2. Add cabbage and stir. Sautee 10 mn., stirring occasionally.
3. Add chopped potatoes, herb, salt and pepper. Mix and sautee 2-4 mn.
4. Add 4 C water and broth. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for 30-40 mn.
5. Keep an eye on the water level and add as needed, according to your desire for broth.
    Cabbage soup ... who would have known it could be soooo good!
    ... and even better with chunk of home made bread thrown in. ;p
    (see bread category)

14 November, 2011

Vegan Banana Bread

Bananas are a standard item on the grocery list. It's a given that we probably need bananas, so should it be omitted from the list, grab 2 or 3 anyway for safety measure. This also means that now and again, a few get past the "smoothie banana" state and become "banana bread" material.

This is a quick and easy gluten free vegan recipes.
It takes me a whole of maybe 15 minutes from start to placing in the oven, and that includes washing the dishes.

Basic ingredients:
  • 3 ripe Bananas
  • 1/4 C Maple Syrup (for vegan version) or Honey
  • 2-3 Tb Coconut oil
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C All purpose gluten free flour
  • 1-2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1 - Mash the bananas and mix to a nice smooth consistency, the add maple syrup (or honey) and coconut oil.
2 - In a separate blow, mix all remaining dry ingredients.
3 - Pour the liquid mix into the dry mix and gently mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Pour the mix in prepared bread dish. Cook 350 F for 40-45 mn.

You'll know by the smell that it's done.
Let it rest 30 mn or so once out of the oven if possible.

Because this is gluten free, it does tend to dry a little after a few days. The good thing about this is then you can pop a slice in the toaster for a slight warming up.
Wonderful with jam and tea.
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