Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cassoulet

I'm very excited about my new purchase. I have never had a proper Dutch oven, but now I do! I have yearned for one by Le Creuset, but as you may know, they are very expensive. I stopped into Canadian Tire to look at attachments for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer when low and behold, I saw this -


It was displayed on and end aisle at HALF PRICE! It was listed at $99.99 but on sale for $49.99. Needless to say, any thoughts of pasta attachments flew right out of my head. I wanted the Dutch oven.

Lovely! It's such a pretty deep red colour. I haven't used it yet, but I already know what I'm going to make first.

Leek & Bean Cassoulet from Veganomicon.

These are pictures of one I made in the winter months. I had to cook it in a large skillet on the stove then transfer to an oven safe dish to finish it in the oven. Not really much of a nuisance, but still.....Now I won't have to!

If you have not made this dish yet, I don't know what you're waiting for. This is totally worth the cost of the book. I wanted to just keep eating, it was so delicious. I don't know which I liked better, the stew part or the biscuits. Both were incredibly good. Come on colder weather. I want more cassoulet!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Easy Peasy

A while ago, I bought Colleen Patrick Goudreu's newest cookbook The Vegan Table. Right near the beginning, is a recipe for Spring Vegetable Risotto. I knew I had to make it. I patiently waited until asparagus was in season, got all of the other ingredients needed and got stirring.


I'm still a bit of a novice when it comes to making risotto, but once I got the first few tries under my belt, I'm no longer intimidated. Despite what one may think, in the end, it is pretty easy-peasy. Jim is always standing by the ready for when I need him to take over periodic stirring duties while I prepare other things for dinner.

Doesn't this look absolutely delicious!? It made so much that we had it for 2 nights and I still put a container in the freezer. Can you freeze risotto? I guess I'll find out.

With all the fresh local produce available, I like to make simple dishes where the flavours really shine through. This one is so ridiculously easy.

Pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, Asiago cheese...mmmmm. There is hardly any cooking involved in this one. I found the recipe on line somewhere, but did print it out, so I'll include it at the end of this post.

Speaking of ridiculously easy, last night I made Zoe and Andy's Sesame Tofu from The Garden of Vegan.

I'm positive I've blogged about this before because it's a snap to make and it's so tasty. 5 ingredients including the tofu, probably 15 minutes of prep and cook time total and it's done!

I served it with some fresh Ontario cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and sliced carrots that I just saute├ęd/stir-fried with some olive oil, onions, garlic, salt & pepper. Delicious!

ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO PASTA WITH SPINACH

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup balsamic vinegar*
2 tbsp. olive oil*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. each salt & pepper (I halved this)
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 pkg. spaghetti (or enough to serve 4-6 people)
½ cup Asiago cheese, shredded
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
Toasted pine nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes on a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast tomatoes for 20-30 minutes or until shrivelled and lightly browned.

Scrape the tomatoes and juices into a large bowl. Add the spinach. (At this point, I put a large plate over the bowl to help steam the spinach and wilt it a bit).

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Toss pasta with the spinach, roasted tomatoes, Asiago cheese and basil. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if using. (I don’t like pine nuts, so I left them out). Serve with additional cheese on the side.

*The first time I made this, I found the pasta to be a bit too dry. The second time around I used 6 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp. olive oil. I found that to be better.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My Big Operation by Simon

Hi everyone! Simon here. I haven't posted for a while, and since Mommy's been kind of slow at getting something new up, I decided I'd tell you all about the big operation I had.

Unfortunately, I tore the cruciate ligament in my knee. Dr. Woolard said we had to go to a specialist so Mom & Dad drove me almost all the way to Mississauga to see a special doctor!


I ended up having 2 doctors look after me. Both of them we ladies and they were super nice.

Here I am eager to go in. Unlike most dogs, I really like going to the vet. They always fuss over me and give me treats. To tell you the truth, I love the attention. See how I'm holding up my leg. That's the one I got the operation on. It hurt me to stand on it, so I just hopped on 3 legs.

I had to stay overnight for 2 nights. I was glad when Mommy came to pick me up. Although I liked everyone at the hospital, I missed my own stuff.

This is my leg the day I got home. See how it's all bruised. It kind of hurt. But look! I got stitches! How cool is that?

My leg was really swollen too.

And look what they did to me at the hospital. They shaved a big chunk of my fur off! It's a good thing it isn't winter time. I'd freeze!

I also had 2 shave marks on my front legs. This is where the IV's were. What a nusiance that was. I was sure glad when they took those things out.

Look what they had to say about me in the papers they sent home with Mommy. What can I say? Even in those circumstances, I was able to charm the ladies.

After a couple of days my leg started to look a lot better. The swelling was down and the bruises were gone.
I was sent home with antibiotics and pain killers so I spent most of my time like this.

Or this. I was really able to catch up on my sleep. Mommy and Daddy had to massage my leg and do exercises with me to keep my knee joint moving. Boy, was that great! I just laid there and they did all the work!

I had to wear a cone when I couldn't be watched so I wouldn't touch my stitches. They get itchy and it's hard for me to resist the urge. Well, I'd been such a good boy & not once touched them. Mommy & Daddy felt sorry for me having to sleep in my crate with the cone on, so after 5 days, they left it off one night.
I was overcome with the freedom and chewed out almost all of the stitches. What can I say? It was that devil on my shoulder. Mommy let me out of my crate in the morning and freaked. She called the vet and we had to drive out so they could look at it. I didn't see what the big deal was. My cut was holding together just fine. This time, I got staples.

How cool is that? It garnered me quite a lot of sympathy. hehehe. But I had to wear that damned cone every night and anytime Mommy & Daddy were away from home.

Here it is a couple of days before I got the staples out. Lookin' good. We went to see Dr. Woolard who took them out. He said everything looked good and that I'd healed nicely. What a relief that was. On the way home I hear Mommy say "no more cone". Yay!!

But, I gotta tell ya....I'm a Jack Russell and that devil was back on my shoulder. My incision was a little itchy, so I chewed on it and ripped off scab and made it bigger. Mommy said I was "trying her patience". Uh-oh.

Next thing I know, she comes home with this spray that she squirted on my leg and boy, did that stuff taste awful! I didn't mess with my scab any more.

It started looking really good and I was feeling pretty good too.

And here is my leg now. The fur has grown back and practically covered up the scar. I'm mobile and get all my long walks again. I can run and am feeling fine.

Yep, things are pretty much back to normal. Now to get Mommy posting again.....