Mar 042011
 

So it’s been my plan for the last few months to make roasted vegetable stock this spring to fill up our pantries for Lent and meatless Friday meals. One of my favorite books for simple, Lenten meals, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, uses vegetable stock often for added flavor and now that I know how to can stock, I thought, why not?

Until I opened my pantry and saw row after row and jar after jar of turkey and poultry stock, produced over the last few months, just looking at me. Pregnancy fatigue was getting me down and it just seemed like too much to have to consider making and storing more stock, sanitizing jars, buying another box of lids, and hauling out the canner from the basement. Don’t get me wrong, for meat-based stocks, the canning process is fantastic, my new favorite thing, and I use it all the time. But for vegetables? Sigh, I was getting tired just thinking about it.

And then I remembered those lovely little jars of bouillon I used to buy and keep stocked in my fridge before I realized they were all full of MSG. It was so simple to just heat up some water in our electric kettle, add a spoonful or two of bouillon and voila! Instant soup, or flavor to any dish, from jambalaya to minestrone to risotto.

So I decided to make some. Bouillon that is. One extra ingredient on the list, five minutes of chopping and two minutes of processing and I was done. With a full quart of bouillon in my fridge, just waiting for our next meatless meal. . .

 

Is there anything more lovely and wintry than a juicy, sweet, Ruby Red Grapefruit?

I just love them. The scent, the flavor, the feeling of wellness that you get when you’ve eaten one.

As you can get avocados almost anytime year round these days, I wanted to wait to make my Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Toasted Walnuts until the best grapefruits are in the market (and the walnuts are falling from the trees) . . . which is right about . . . NOW! Toss them with a lovely vinaigrette, some toasted walnuts and served up in some gorgeous, soft butter lettuce leaves (ours is blossoming right now in our winter garden) and you have a special salad suitable for a date-night-in or an intimate dinner party.

I honestly can’t decide if I’d want to eat it before, during or after the main entree as a palate cleanser.

Add some finely diced sushi-grade Ahi tuna, or some grilled shrimp and you have a light winter supper that will beat the doldrums of heavy winter foods.

 November 2, 2010  Posted by Heartland Renaissance Autumn, Meatless, Vegetables, Salads and Sides Comments Off
 

Imagine you’re sitting in front of a crackling fire. Suddenly, you smell something delicious coming from the kitchen. Creamy, a little smoky,   A perfect meal for a wintry night, lightly melty over a forkful of sourdough french bread. This is not your typical, “traditional” fondue.  First, I add the smokiness of my caramelized onion marmalade which I make in a big batch in advance in the crockpot and store in the fridge.  Second, it includes cream cheese, which isn’t in a standard traditional fondue, but is a fixture in my fridge, plus I often use cheddar if I don’t have gruyere.  And you know what?  This cheese fondue is amazing.  Creamy, smoky, delicious.  I’m thinking I’m going to start using it in place of my standard roux-based cheese sauce [... To read more, click here ...]

Mar 082009
 

I discovered this recipe originally when studying Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking a few years ago. Titled “Oeufs en Cocotte,” don’t let the fancy name fool you, it is simply a baked egg. I love this recipe/method because it is so versatile; it can be made for a quick and easy breakfast or a decadent, light supper. Once you learn and understand the method, you can augment the recipe to suit your taste and whatever you happen to have in your fridge. Plus, it’s meatless, so it is perfect for an easy Lenten supper! Serving options? I love this with a simple green salad with a fresh vinaigrette on the side and I’m a sucker for a “dipping” option to dip into the lightly cooked yolk. Sourdough [... To read more, click here ...]

Mar 062009
 

Trying to think of some good Lenten dinners, our old stand-by is Pizza Margherita. That traditional flavor of tomatoes, basil and cheese always does it for me, but lately, I’ve augmented my recipe just the teensiest bit and have a new love. Previously, I always used a marinara sauce on the bottom, followed by cheese and baked in the oven. When removed, I’d add whole or chiffonaded fresh basil leaves to the top. Good. Very tasty, but not AMAZING. What made it amazing? Switching the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. Now, I spread the pizza crust with pesto, cover with cheese and bake, adding halved fresh grape tomatoes to the pizza when it has about two minutes to go. The result? AMAZING. I promise, you [... To read more, click here ...]

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