Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Matzo Ball Soup for Passover

To all of my Jewish friends (and sister) - Happy Passover!

Many of you may be getting together this weekend for a seder with family and friends. For those of you who aren't Jewish, Passover is a celebration of the Hebrew escape from Egypt. It is a time to contemplate the endurance of the Jewish people throughout history and to remember the many struggles and inequalities that they, as a people, have faced.
Passover officially began March 29th at sundown and will come to a close once the sun sets on April 5th.
Today's recipe is in honour of my little sister who, while maybe wasn't born Jewish, has certainly been adopted into the religious celebrations of her friends.
For Robin -
Matzo Ball Soup
(Image and recipe courtesy of marthastewart.com)
To make your very own Matzo Ball Soup:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs and 3 tbsp vegetable oil until combined. Whisk in 1/2 cup water and salt. Add 3/4 cup matzo meal, and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter until firm, 2 to 4 hours.
2. Line a baking pan with parchment. Bring 10 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a large wide saucepan, and reduce heat to a simmer.
3. Slightly dampen your fingertips, and form 2 heaping tablespoons of batter into a 1 1/2-inch ball, being careful not to compress the mixture too much. Place ball on the prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining batter.
4. Using a large spoon, slide the matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all the balls have been added, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Chop and add 3 medium carrots and 2 medium parsnips, cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through. To test if the matzo balls are done, remove a ball from the water, and slice in half. The color should be light throughout. If the center is darker, cook 5 to 10 minutes more.
5. To serve, fill the soup bowls evenly with soup and vegetables, allotting each person one or two matzo balls, depending on his or her appetite. Garnish with fresh dill, and serve immediately.
My day has been terrible so far. I woke up at 5 am and proceeded to throw up the fries I hd eaten at midnight. I later threw up orange juice. I was not a happy camper this morning. I missed school AND had to take the night off work because I didn't want to spend my shift hiding in the bathroom.
Until about 5 minutes ago the only things I could keep down were tea and flat diet pepsi. But I just ate a banana as my stomach had begun to rumble (a good sign, hopefully) so we'll see how that goes over.
Me, this morning in a spot on accurate visual representation:
This is what I had (even though I'm not supposed to, don't tell on me mom) and kind of want to have another one....is that bad?

And this is something that I saw that looks kind of interesting....

(Photo courtesy of perezhilton.com)

It's a edible gold paint that you can use to style-up your food. And I kind of want it...just for the aesthetical value.

Anyway, I may go run myself a second bath...then finish up some school work, watch some 'It's always sunny in Philadelphia' and then go back to bed.

Good riddance, stomach bug.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lazy Weekend Breakfast

Clinical was canceled today and it was definitely a good thing because after I went back to sleep (at 6 am) I woke up again at 7 with a splitting headache.
Darn these chanes in pressure.
Stop wrecking havoc on my head.
Anyway I'm feeling slightly more human now and getting ready to go out.
And it's the weekend!
I have a busy weekend lined up - mainly tomorrow - and I'm looking forward to it.
Tomorrow morning I want to have breakfast on the balcony. Even if it's cold. I want to cuddle up in blankets and warm sweaters and have endless cups of coffee and scrambled eggs while watching the city wake up.
Can you tell I'm ready for a time-out from school/work?
I found a good looking recipe on Martha for scrambled eggs (even though I'm pretty sure no one could hold a candle to the scrambled eggs John makes) and this particular recipe comes straight from Barbara Walters:
Barbara Walters' Scrambled Eggs

(Photo and Recipe courtesy of marthastewart.com)
1. In a small bowl, combine 2 eggs, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp chives, and 2 tbsp chopped swiss cheese. Beat ingredients together with a fork and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a small nonstick skillet until melted. Add egg mixture. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, gently pull the eggs from the side of the skillet. As the eggs start to set, stir them gently until curds form, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate; serve immediately.
I'd much rather be eating this breakfast on a balcony more along the lines of this.....

But I can wait for Summer. I'm looking forward to spring.
P.S. one successful week (4 days...) of exercising & eating well! Only 3 more months to go!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ideas for Easter

14 days of class, 4 exams.
Next weekend is Easter and I thought I'd start my easter-baking-brainstorming early. Martha has some great ideas on her website and I plan on making these 3:
Chocolate Eggs

Photo and recipe courtesy of Marthstewart.com
Sorry, I'm not even going to copy and paste all of those details on here. Too long. But you can bet your butt I'm going to make these!
And if you want something cute on which to place those gorgeous chocolate eggs, look no furhter than....
Birds Nest Cookies
Photo and recipe courtesy of Marthstewart.com
To make these:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cocoa powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on low speed just until a stiff dough forms, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Place 6 ounces of chopped chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream, and 1 tsp espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Remove bowl from heat, and set the chocolate ganache aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies; place them on lined baking sheets. Chill cookies until firm, about 20 minutes.
5. Bake cookies until set, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. For colored coconut, combine a few drops of food coloring with 3 tbps water in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut; mix until evenly colored. Spread on an ungreased baking sheet; bake just until dry, about 12 minutes, being careful not to brown. Let coconut cool; transfer to a small bowl.
7. When the ganache has cooled to room temperature, whisk until it becomes stiff enough to pipe. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch-round tip, and pipe around perimeters of cookies. Dip each cookie, ganache-side down, into plain or colored coconut. Fill "nests" with candy-coated chocolate eggs, 2 or 3 eggs per nest. Store cookies in an airtight container, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
And these little darlings don't need to be Easter-specific. I love lemons and I love the lightness of souffles so I definitely plan on making these asap....
Little Lemon Souffles

Photo and recipe courtesy of Marthstewart.com

To make these:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Trim tip end from a lemon so fruit sits level. Cut stem end one-third of the way down, making cut parallel with bottom; reserve top. Repeat with remaining 7 of the 8 lemons.
2. Hold a lemon above a sieve set over a bowl, and scoop out the pulp. Squeeze the juice from the pulp, and reserve. Repeat with all lemons. Place shells on prepared baking sheet.
3. 3 Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup reserved lemon juice, and 2 tbsp flour in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until very thick, about 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer. Beat on medium speed until cool, scraping down sides several times, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and set aside.
4. Combine 3 egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar in clean mixer bowl. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water, and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove bowl from heat, and return to mixer; beat on low speed until frothy. Gradually increase speed until meringue is shiny and holds soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to overbeat.
5. Whisk 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining meringue. Carefully fill the prepared lemon shells to just below the rims.
6. Transfer baking sheet to oven, and bake until meringue is slightly golden and rises about 1 inch above the shell, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to serving plates. Garnish with the reserved lemon tops, and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.

So I think those Easter ideas should keep you busy until the weekend AND should somewhat make up for my slacking-off on posting.

In other news - my diet seems to have gotten back on track ...with the exception of a burger and fries and a slice of key lime pie on Monday.

Whatever. I have until April 1st to indulge.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lend your Support!

A friend we ran into on Saturday night created a commercial for the new Doritos commercial. I think it's amazing and if you do too, please vote for it and rank it as your favourite!
The link, again, is here
Please give them your vote!
P.S. They also recieve more 'points' when people from out of the country view their entry so please forward it to any and all friends/relatives living outside of Canada!!
Thanks :)

Brie and Spinach Chicken

First things first. I think you're all upset over the lack of Murray pictures as of late.
Have no fear. Here's a new one for you.

He's such a ridiculous cat. He has the best life. I envy him.
He's currently curled up in my lap, clawing my legs to peices.
He's SO lucky he has such a darling face otherwise he'd be a little street cat.
Riff raff, street rat, I don't buy that....

My aunt Wendy - and potentially martha-in-training's most dedicated reader (you are too, mom) - was here for a few days this past week. She came over on Friday for dinner and after much consideration and brainstorming I decided upon:
Brie and Spinach Chicken
with chorizo and leek orzo in a rose sauce
& grilled zucchini

*Please excuse that errant peice of brie on top of the orzo.
To make the chicken:
1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. Butterfly the chicken breast open by cutting through the middle horizontally. On one side of the open chicken breast, place a line of about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup chopped spinach.
2. Cut brie into medium thickness slices and place over top of the spinach. Fold the other half of the chicken back on top of the spinach and brie and secure in place by poking toothpicks through both halves of the chicken.
3. Arrange chicken on a baking sheet lined with a silipat, with a sheet of tin foil, or with parchment paper.
4. Brush the tops of each chicken breast with light (5%) table cream. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve while hot/warm to maximize the gooey-ness of the brie
To make the Chorizo and Leek Orzo:
1. Heat 2-3 tbsp of butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Wash leeks and chop them into thin rings. With leeks you want to use the white and light green parts. Add the leeks to the butter and cook until the leeks are soft, about 5-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile cut the chorizo into thin sections and add to the pot with the leeks. Allow the chorizo to brown for a few minutes then add tomato sauce and enough 5% cream to give the sauce a pink-hue.
3. For the orzo, bring a pot of water to a boil and then add the pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until at desired tenderness. Drain the water and add the pasta to the sauce. Serve and enjoy.

I hand in my last paper tomorrow!
Then I have one more assignment to finish up and a quiz next week and then that's it until exams!
16 days and 4 exams to go!
P.S. WENDY! I was right! It DID snow on Saturday! And you guys made fun of me for saying it would...... :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon with brocolli and orzo

I'm back!
Still sick but recovering.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Especially to all my relatives in the Emerald Isle but also everyone here in Canada as we definitely celebrate it hard.
Since John and I were both home for dinner tonight and because Loblaws had a crazy good sale on steak I decided to fancy it up and make a delicious dinner:
Bacon-wrapped Filet mignon with Butter Brocolli and Orzo
Filet mignon is a deliciously, melt in your mouth tender cut of steak, often called a tenderloin. They tend to be pricey so look for them when they're on sale. To wrap them with bacon just stretch the peice of bacon around the side of the steak and secure it with either toothpicks or an oven-safe silicon band.
For the butter brocolli: Melt 1 1/2 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add brocolli then add in another 1 1/2 tbsp of butter cut into smaller peices overtop. Allow the brocolli to sautee for a few minutes then turn heat to low and cover with a lid.
For the orzo: add your desired amount to boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain, add in enough red wine (I used a beaujoulais nouveau) to cover the bottom, turn off the heat. Stir the pasta into it and then cover to allow the wine to evaporate into the pasta. I would have added more flavour in hindsight.
My Aunt Wendy is in Toronto spending some girl time with my mom. As you know they're all coming over here for dinner on Friday! I'm excited.
I stopped by my parents house today to visit and to say hello to my sister who had her wisdom teeth taken out yesterday.
Do you know what my darling Aunt brought me?
The elusive missing ingredient for royal icing that I've been trying to make!
And she bought me fondant as well!
I'm very excited to finally try it out for myself.
In other news, starting April 1st this blog is going to include a weekly check in.
A check in of what?
My fitness and get-fit challenge for July 1st.
How am I going to do this?
Running, swimming, and cycling.
And this little secret.

The P90X.
So ready.
April 1st. It's going to be you and me, Tony Horton. I'm ready for you.
Bring it.

Hope everyone had (is having) a wonderful St. Patty's Day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hearty Chicken Soup

I am sick.
I woke up on Friday morning with a rather raw-feeling throat and it's been all downhill since then.
I worked for 10 hours yesterday and grabbed some Tim Horton's on my way. I got some chicken noodle soup as it always makes me feel at least a little bit better when I'm not feeling good.
The soup wench gave me all broth! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE chicken broth. I've drank straight up chicken broth on several occasions. But not when I'm paying three something for it. I did an inventory of my soup and this is how it read:
Chicken broth, 2 peas, 8 noodles, 5 small chunks of chicken.
Needless to say my craving for chicken soup was not satified. I decided that today, as a reward for finishing my HUGE care plan and a pathophysiology paper on schizophrenia today, I would create a delicious chicken soup for John and I.
It's hearty, it has just enough broth and it made me feel warm and cozy inside. And it's healthy!
Jamie's Feel-Better Hearty Chicken Soup

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place 2 chicken breasts into pot and let boil until the chicken is cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from water and let cool.
  2. Dice one onion and sautee in a large pot with 1 tbsp olive oil until slightly translucent. Cut 1/2 a red pepper, 1 zucchini, and a handful of green beans into small chunks. Chop about 1/2 cup of kale into small peices. Add to the onions and sautee for one minute.
  3. Add in 6 cups of water or more if your pot is bigger. To the water add 3 tbsp of chicken broth mix and stir. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low and allow the soup to simmer with the lid on until the vegetables are soft. Season with black pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, using a fork, pull the chicken into bite-sized peices. If you've never tried this technique before this is what you do: Hold the chicken at one end and drag the fork from top to bottom. Continue to do this until the chicken is shredded. Add the chicken to the soup while it is simmering.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

I like the addition of the kale because it gives it that hearty feel. And kale is really good for you. And I have more kale then I know what to do with so this was a really good option! I wanted to add in edamame but forgot. And okra, but again forgot. Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and add noodles if you want a more filling soup.

In other news, my mom, aunt Wendy, and sister are coming here for dinner next Friday! I've been trying to brainstorm some delicious dinner ideas but haven't hit upon anything that jumps out at me yet. My sister is getting her wisdom teeth out on Tuesday so I want to make something that will be easy to chew. Chicken is very versatile so I may start looking in that direction.

I may try and do some spring cleaning....and then take a steamy bath and try to steam out this cold.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Cold Lunch Spread

I'm going to a party tonight and need to get ready so this will be quick
Here's an idea for a cold lunch platter if you aren't sure what exactly you're craving:
Cold Lunch Platter

On my platter you will find:
  • a selection of deli meats
  • spiced basmati rice
  • spinach salad
  • cheese
  • spicy parisien potatoes
  • Ciabata baguette

Pretty tasty! I would have gotten more antipasti items like olives but John's not a big fan of olives so I kept it simple.

Here are your promised Tremblant photos:

the chalet

the living room/party central
Happy weekend-ing!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rapini Recipe

Once again I find myself on the computer at work, not at home.
I feel like I'm never at home these days.
I miss my home.
Sad face.
Last week I worked Monday-Thursday (after school, natch) and then Friday I was wisked away to la belle province shortly after returning from clinical and frantically packing my bags.
Tremblant was, by the way, amazing.
I didn't ski/snowboard in an effort to save money and to try and get some school work done.
I set up shop in a coffee place at the base of one of the hill and pulled a table over to the only power outlet I could see. Bought myself un cafe, plugged in my laptop and my blackberry and Bob's your uncle*, I was away and running.
Whatta nerd.
*I actually have an Uncle Bob. Jealous?
Anyway, once I'm home (tomorrow) I'll try and find some blog-friendly photos from Tremblant to post for your entertainment.
In other news, I am addicted to the cold buffet at Loblaws. My valliant efforts to save money and eat healthier are being unjustly sabotaged by this layout of deliciousness. To be fair (read: to make myself feel better) not all of the food is unhealthy. Some of the items are a little more than just flavoured with oil but here are my regular selections: wheat berry salad, edemame, soba noodles (with sesame seeds and green onions), and rapini with olive oil and garlic.
What's rapini, perhaps you're asking yourself?
Well friends, let me tell you.
It is delicious and it's a cross between brocolli and asparagus. Sometimes it's called brocolli rabe (what Martha refers to it in her recipe) but I think rapini sounds more exotic.
Here's a recipe for you, from Martha, inspired by my cold buffet addiction
Sauteed Brocolli Rabe (aka Rapini)

1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 2 bunches of rapini and cook for one minute.

2. Cover with a lid and continue to cook until leaves are golden and crisp, about 2 minutes.

3. Add in 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced, and cook for one more minute. Season with salt, serve and enjoy!

Sorry I've been negligent on the blog-end of things. I have 2 more essays to write and then I will have more free time.

I do not like school. Sigh. The dislike is exponentially increased by the fantastic spring-like weather, sunshine, and the fact that I am counting down the days until summer vacation.

22 days and 4 exams in case you were curious.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Soft Pretzel Update

Just thought I`d drop you a line before I head off for the weekend.
The soft pretzels turned out soooo well! They`re delicious. The only thing I would have done differently is add salt to all of them. I only sprinkled salt over about half of them for fear the salt would be too much but it makes them so much better.

P.S. Murray ran across my keyboard and changed my settings to french....and I have no idea how to undo it .....
this is what I get when I want a question mark: É

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscar Predictions

It's that time of year again.
The Academy Awards!
I'm at work and technically shouldn't be on the computer so I'm going to make this fast:
Here are my predictions for this years Academy Awards
Best Movie - Hurt Locker....? Seems to be getting tons of hype and perhaps the Academy won't want to give James Cameron a second one...avoid another "I'm the king of the world" moment
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock ....No clue here
Best supporting actor - Christoph Waltz (if he doesn't win I will be P-I-S-S-E-D off)
Best supporting actress - Gabourey Sidibe
Animated feature film - Up
Original screenplay - The Hurt Locker
Adapted screenplay - Precious?
Director - Kathryn Bigelow - or Quentin Tarantino.....
Ok thats all for now! I'm off to Tremblant tomorrow !
Enjoy the weekend guys and gals

Monday, March 1, 2010

Video Fail

So my video did not load....after waiting overnight.
Forget it:( It's up on facebook anyway.
Will post probably on Wednesday with snack ideas for the weekend.
P.S. At a loss for things to do now that the Olympics are over.
School work maybe?