Crying While Cooking

Jean Poutine came for supper the other night before we went to see the movie Monsieur Lazhar, a lovely Canadian film that is an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. I didn’t feel like going out for groceries, so I did what I often do in those circumstances: take a look to see what I have and Google the ingredients for a recipe.  I had onions and feta, and I found several intriguing recipes for onion and feta tarts. I based mine mainly on the recipe from A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit.

I used both red and yellow onions. They were pretty powerful and I had a pretty good crying jag going, when I heard my cat meowing from her regular perch on top of the fridge. She was shaking her head and had tears pouring from her eyes. The poor thing had been overtaken by onion fumes.

I wiped her tears and put her outside for some fresh air. I didn’t take a video of her crying – it seemed too mean – but if I had, I could have put it onto the Crying While Eating website. Although strictly speaking, we were crying while cooking.

I caramelised the onions with brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper using the recipe from A Pot of Tea… Mine took a couple of hours, and you really have to watch it near the end of the cooking time so they don’t burn.

I used a frozen store-bought crust instead of making my own and it turned out fine. I just thawed it in the fridge and then rolled it flat between two sheets of parchment paper, mending where needed with a bit of water and my fingers. I loaded some of the caramelised onions into the bottom of the tart and crumbled 150g of feta cheese on top along with some thyme.  For a rustic look I folded in the edges of the crust and brushed them with an egg wash. My baking time was shorter than the recipe – you just have to watch it. It’s done when the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.

I had some quinoa on hand so I made one of my favorite salads which is basically cooked quinoa with whatever you have in the fridge that seems like a good idea to throw in there. The secret is the dressing: 2 Tbsp of melted honey and 2 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice. This time it had arugula, red onion, avocado, roasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The cranberries were a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law.  They are from Cranberries Naturally in Fort Langley BC and they use orange to flavour them – delicious!

Both Jean Poutine and The Man With Whom I Keep Company gave the meal two thumbs up, so I’ll definitely be adding it into the rotation!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It really is, Jean. It’s the time of year when all my hard gardening work (and hard work shopping at the farmers’ market) gets rewarded with more hard work. However, all the hard work I put into preserving summer fruits and vegetables is enjoyed all year. I was going to take it easy this weekend because I have been away so much this summer, but when I saw the beautiful bag of cucumbers at the farmers market I just had to buy it and make pickles. I made bread and butter pickles, which have always been my favourite. I called my mom tonight and told her I made 7 pints of them and she replied Me too. Well actually she replied she had made several ice-cream buckets full of them. She also told me she canned 60 pints of sockeye salmon. I guess it looks like I will have to step up my canning if I want to even reach par with my mom. Do you like bread and butter pickles? If so I made a jar for you and I will bring it by sometime this week. Here is a sampler to tide you over until then.

Aside from the Nanking jelly, I also canned some peaches with a friend a week or so ago. We canned peaches in syrup and we also tried a new recipe where we canned the peaches in a honey syrup with a cinnamon stick and whole allspice. I have not tried either yet, but they are guaranteed to be delicious. The only thing I didn’t like about the latter was that the cinnamon stick tore some of the peaches when I put it in the jar. I will have to come up with a better strategy next time.

Boyfriend and I harvested all the onions from the garden and we laid them out to dry so we can store them for the winter. One more thing about harvest – I pretty much lose all access to my kitchen table. Presently it has onions and pickles on it and soon they will have hundreds of potatoes joining them.

Next weekend it’s time to pickle beets and the weekend after that it’s time to can the stewed tomatoes.

On a side note, people are always asking me what canning/preserving books are any good. I think this is because I am the only person they know who cans, aside from their grandma. My five favourites at the moment are:

Put ’em Up

Bernardin’s Complete Book of Home Preserving

jam it, pickle it and cure it and other cooking projects

Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving for the New Cook

The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home

Posted by King Crabby

I can taste the fresh veggies already

Jean, I’m sorry I haven’t posted recently. Boyfriend went to a conference and took our camera. I was going to make a post without pictures, but for once I didn’t have much to say. I have been busy with another passion: gardening! I went to the garden on Sunday and there were a couple of seedlings poking through the ground. Then I went today after work and there were dozens. I know there are weeks and months until harvest time, but I can’t help getting excited. We planted tomatoes, peas, chard, beets, onions, mustard greens, salad mix, spinach, beans and carrots.

Here’s the plot. Check out all those seedlings.

This bean was the first seedling I saw Sunday.

Here are the beets. Did I tell you someone stole a bunch of my beets last year? They ripped off the greens and left them in my garden wilted. That was a double slap in the face as they stole my beets and wasted perfectly good greens. When I saw what happened I promptly dug up the rest of the beets just in case the thief decided to come back.

Here are the onions. I won’t bore you with more photos of my garden, but I have lots more if you want to come over for a slide show. I also planted marigolds around the edge of the garden to keep deer and other critters from eating my vegetables.

I know you will not think this is a food post, but the garden provides the majority of vegetables I eat in the summer, therefore I must post this to provide background for all the wonderful creations I make in the summer.

Posted by King Crabby