Monday, January 21, 2013
Whooeeee! It is cold here in Minnesota. I took this vase that was full of pine branches in from the enclosed porch today because the water in it had frozen solid! Granted the porch isn't heated, but it is usually much, much warmer than outside. Although, I guess when it is below zero outside, freezing is still warmer than outside. All of this to say, isn't that ice effect on the vase pretty and aren't I lucky to have had a holiday today where I could stay home the whole day? Yes and yes.
With a whole day at home, I most definitely spent a significant part of it in the kitchen. I started out by opening the first jar of plums in vanilla syrup. We added them to steel cut oats, which is one of my favorite winter breakfasts. I've had a few interesting bowls of oatmeal at restaurants lately that have made me want to experiment with my home versions. Some options I am eager to try include adding wild rice, polenta or quinoa to the oats and/or replacing some of the cooking liquid with apple juice. I am also a recent convert to pouring milk or cream over the top. In fact, last week, I had peaches and cream oatmeal using the jar of peach jam from Beth.
I also started a fresh batch of salt preserved lemons. I don't ever want to be without a batch of those hanging out in the fridge. Especially since I recently came upon Marisa's suggestion for pureeing them and turning them into a salad dressing. And with that, I add yet another idea to my long list of ways to spiff up dishes with the addition of preserved lemons. I like making a simple version with just salt and lemons so that they are as versatile as possible. Although, I may eventually be tempted by versions that include spices.
I also made a batch of yogurt, which has become a weekly practice. I think I have worked out a pretty good system and am getting consistent results. The yogurt-maker has earned its keep! It makes me feel prepared to take on the week when I have my jars all lined up and ready to go! I very much like that I no longer recycle tons of empty yogurt containers as a result of my yogurt consumption. My current method involves using my own yogurt as starter, Cedar Summit Farms whole milk and a 5 hour incubation period. The results are firm with a tiny cream top and a nice level of tartness.
In addition to a refresh on some staples, I also cooked up some recipes from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook for lunches this week. I checked the book out from the library last week (after a long time on the waiting list) and have already made 3 recipes. It has passed the test, so this copy is going back to the library and my very own copy is shipping as I type this post.
The recipes I made so far are:
Smoky Red Lentil Soup
Roasted Cauliflower Capellini
Quinoa Collard Wraps
I also received Super Natural Cooking, Food in Jars and Smitten Kitchen books for Christmas presents. My cookbook library is overflowing with inspiring, gorgeous books! I have started to delve into recipes from those books as well. This weekend I also made the Warm Wheat Berry Salad from Super Natural Cooking. Between books, blogs and friends, I will never run short on food inspiration!
Posted by Trinity at 7:37 PM