Monday, February 28, 2011

Hummus and an afternoon of socializing

We did go socializing this afternoon.

Abby and Scout - Abby is still settling down after the noise at my place - Scout was worried about her.

Scout's owner was kind enough to invite us over after hearing about the barrage of noise on the roof.

Abby took a few minutes to relax - but with the help of Scout (who is the calmest dog on the planet) she was soon fast asleep on the couch :-)

Connor was not that bothered by the noise - but I think he may have just been putting on a manly show for Abby - because within 10 minutes he was stretched out on the carpet snoring.

Thanks, Scout!

 Dinner was fast and easy:

Hummus, lettuce, carrot and cucumber.
I am soo hoping they will not be working on the roof tomorrow :-(

Tomato soup and arch nemeses

We had a very pleasant walk until dogs spotted their arch nemeses!

Abby spots them!
 Dun, dun, dunnnnn...

The local bad boys, oops, I mean birds.
This are two of the hooligans that make up the huge local flock of crows.

And from the way these guys swagger, taunt and bully - I can totally see why a group of crows is called a 'murder'.

They love to hop along the sidewalk, just out of reach of the dogs (who are always on leash) and when the dogs can't stand it anymore they jump at them -

The birds hop up onto the fence and give the dogs the stink eye and scream bird profanities.

For lunch, I decided to use up the leftover tomatoes I had in the fridge.

But first, I roasted some garlic.

Cut the top off of a clove of garlic.

Drizzle with olive oil.
Wrap in tinfoil and put it on a sheet pan or muffin tin and pop into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I squeezed the cooked cloves out of their jackets and mushed with a fork in the bottom of sauce pan.

In went the tin of tomatoes along with 2 tsp. of dried basil.

I simmered the tomatoes until I could smell the garlic and basil. I gave it a taste and realized it needed some sweetening. 

2 Tbsp. of honey went into the pan and 1 tsp. of goat cheese - just because.

While that simmered away I realized I needed to use up these:

Leftover puff pastry.

I know! Open-faced puff pastry grill cheese sandwiches. Wow, that is a mouthful to say.

One almost went missing.

Cook for 3 minutes under a low broiler or until the cheese has melted.

Garnish with a sprinkle of basil and some goat cheese.

They are working on the roof today - Oh, happy days!

The dogs are starting to get worried with all of the extremely loud stomping overhead. I think we may go visit a neighbor to get a reprieve from the cacophony.

A sunshine morning

My plans to attend the family party yesterday did not happen.

By early afternoon, I was running a fever and had to cancel :-(

I spent last night clutching a mug of chamomile tea - wrapped in a very fuzzy robe and watching the Oscars.

On the upside? I am very happy that it is not a stomach bug.

I started my day like this:

A huge glass of water with 1 scoop of Amazing Grass and a mug of very strong coffee.
I know most people are not fans of plain green drinks - most combine them with fruit, etc. But for some reason I really enjoy the slightly bitter, earthy taste without anything else added.

I also like the taste of wheatgrass (juiced) - I know I must be alone in this...

And for the heartier fare:

1 cup of oatmeal with blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

I am heading into the day with the positive belief that my big glass of green goodness will kick this virus in the tuckus.

That and a little time spent out in the sun (It is really sunny here this morning!) walking the dogs.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vegetarian eggs benedict

This morning I felt like making one of my million different versions of eggs benedict.

I was also interested in trying out the nutritional yeast in another recipe.

I wanted to have the egg sit on a bed of mashed potatoes but I didn't feel like going through all the work to make them. 

Instead I shredded one medium potato and two carrots and steamed them. I blanched some spinach for some greens.

The potato carrot mixture turned out surprisingly creamy (not exactly pretty, but, oh well).

Steamed potato and carrot mixture with blanched spinach and a poached egg.
Next was my attempt at Hollandaise sauce. Following my lazy tendencies this morning - I didn't want to bother with a roux.

I added some vegetable stock in a pan and added one and a half cups of water, one Tbsp. of yellow mustard, three Tbsp. of nutritional yeast, the juice of one and a half lemons, black pepper and in the end I did add some flour to thicken up the sauce.

The main reason I didn't want to include any dairy products in the sauce - I just didn't want to have to worry about the sauce breaking if I added in a lot of lemon juice.

The sauce turned out really lemony with a nice bite from the mustard. The cheesy flavor of the nutritional yeast took a back seat in this recipe which I think was a good thing.

I have a family party to go to later this afternoon. Who knows if I will have time to post again today.

So, on that note - Everyone have a great Sunday! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Don't forget the dogs

Since I had all of that puff pasty dough left over I decided to make some treats for the dogs.

I cut much smaller pieces of pastry for the dogs. They were just large enough to cover the bottom of each well.

They cooked for 18 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

They came out nice and golden brown. I cut the tops off and added toppings tailored to each of the dog's tastes.

Connor gobbled down this:

Slices of banana topped with a healthy dollop of peanut butter.

Abby's version:

A bottom layer of anchovies.

A generous curl of smoked salmon.

After all the cooking I did today all I wanted for dinner was a salad.

I cut medallions of goat cheese, coated them with panko and pan fried them.

Goat cheese and panko bread crumbs.

Use a piece of thread or floss to cut the medallions.

The toasted goat cheese on top of a bed of baby spinach dressing in a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.
I am going to enjoy a nice lazy Saturday evening :-)

Tomato tartlets

I have long been obsessed with tomato tartlets.

One of my favorite restaurants used to have them on the menu as an appetizer. Imagine my horror when one day I sat down anticipating my favorite dish, only to find that they had taken it off the menu.

Today, I started a project to try and recreate this dearly missed dish.

Tomato tartlet with cheddar cheese.
 I decided to make the simplest form of the recipe - using just the ingredients I knew were in the dish.

Ignore the anchovies - they are for the dogs version :-)
 The stars of the show:

Canned plum tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese.
Puff pastry cut into rounds and then gently patted into the wells.

Plum tomatoes with most of the liquid drained off.

Shredded cheese.

I placed a small amount of cheese in the pastry (hoping this would keep it from getting too soggy).

Then I put the tomatoes on top.

And then some extra cheese to cover. Into the oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Hot out of the oven.

 Did they turn out perfect? No.

Was it a good first try? Definitely.

I think I needed to add more tomato. The puff pastry was right, along with the cheddar cheese.

Adding in a pinch of salt and pepper to the tomatoes would have improved it, I think.

I am cooking the dogs version now - I will get that posted tonight :-)

Waste not want not and peanut butter muesli

I solved the mystery of me being thirsty in the morning.

Use common sense and refrain from drinking a huge mug of tea just before bed.

That plus having a snack of some kind of water heavy fruit such as cantaloupe or watermelon.

I had the last bits of a jar of peanut butter left and I didn't want it to go to waste.

I guess most people would call this overnight oats - but mine did not sit overnight in the fridge.

I noticed the jar this morning so I added in some muesli and some milk and ta da! - Morning peanut butter muesli.

Oh, and tea, of course.

And I had a side dish of some very vibrant and crunchy watermelon.

I have a full day of cooking planned. Some for me and some for the dogs :-)

Happy Saturday!