September 10, 2010

A slowdown

My schedule has slowed down a lot in the last two weeks. It was nice at first as I could putter around the house and spend some time outside. But this week, I don’t like it so much. I’d much rather be at work and I’m beginning to get a little bored.

I was a little down the other day, under the weather and feeling a little fed up with the waiting game. Many times it feels like it’s either feast or famine, and right now it’s famine. As much as I love what I do the downside is being between students and just waiting for new ones to register or coordinators with government departments making the arrangements. The upside is I’m not the only ESL teacher that goes through this, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

Yesterday I got my butt into gear and into the kitchen. It was a miserable day again outside and sometimes I feel so much better when I’m in the kitchen. The honey had requested a banana loaf and there were some apples for an apple cake too. Monday we picked up some ingredients for a tomato pepper soup we enjoy. I had my list so I made a nice cup of mint tea, got a few chocolates to go with it, and off I went.

The recipe for the soup is from Foodland Ontario; I love picking up their little booklets from the produce section. The recipe has been adapted slightly to my cooking style. As much as I love roasted peppers, I can’t be bothered roasting them. I can get them from a jar, but then that defeats the purpose of using fresh (and local) produce. Instead I chop them up and sauté them slowly over low heat; they become nice and sweet and juicy. The same is done with the tomatoes. It may take some time, but while everything is cooking away I can do other things. The end product is delicious. It’s a nice sweet soup with a dash of herbs to complement it.

I goofed a bit when making the apple cake, adding the flour mixture to the wet instead of the other way round. It turned out alright, but I’ll make another attempt another day before posting it. I’ve attempted apple goodies before, never with much success – strudels, pies, tarts. My Polish friend gave me her family recipe to try, and like I said, it turned out alright. It didn’t taste like hers, but then again, it’s been 8 months since I had a bite. We’ll have to wait and see until apple cake #2.

While the loafs and cake were baking I caught sight of a package of Bob’s Red Mill out of the corner of my eye. Some time ago Bob’s Red Mill products were on sale at Metro so I picked up a bunch to try out. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really into mixes, but for the sake of trying something gluten-free, I’ll give it a shot. It had been sitting on my counter for quite a while so it was as good a time as any. Yesterday’s experiment was their Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.

All that is needed is ½ cup butter or margarine and 1 egg. Following the instructions carefully (this seemed easy so I was bound to mess it up) I started rolling the dough into balls. The dough seemed really dry and crumbly; nothing like I’d seen before. It was staying in balls though so I kept going.

Twenty minutes later out they came; nice and soft. I’ve heard there’s nothing like fresh cookies from the oven all warm and gooey. Well, they were warm but not gooey. In fact, the cookies were quite dry (I wondered about that while mixing the dough). Hmmm, I think these are a pass. While the experience of having warm freshly baked cookies is nice – and something that doesn’t happen too often in my house – I think I’ll try to find a nice recipe from scratch.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
6 servings
1 ½ hours
3 large red peppers, chopped into large pieces
3 large tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
5 large cloves of garlic, chopped into large pieces
1 large onion, chopped into large pieces
2 tbs olive oil
½ tsp each dried thyme, rosemary and basil
¼ tsp salt and pepper
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Sour cream and fresh herbs for garnish
Sauté the peppers over low heat until softened. Add the tomatoes and continue until they soften. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium/medium-low heat. Let simmer for 15 minutes or so. Puree.
I have a hand whizzer so puree-ing it is really easy. If you use a blender, you’ll need to wait until it cools first.


Post a Comment