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I love risotto.  My love affair began the first time I made it.  Creamy, smooth, warm, earthy, and full of flavour.  It has now become our household ‘celebration’ meal.  If it’s on the table, it is either Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve or we are having people over.  I did make this one the other day, just because, and Mr. F was smiling his devilish smile at me accross the table.  He felt special and so did I.  That is what risotto does.

We have been making the risotto in a warm earthy flavour way pretty much every time.  Using ingredients like rosemary, mushrooms, goat cheese etc.  I’ll tell you that our two faves are rosemary and mushroom or goat cheese and prosciutto.  I’ve also made a special champagne risotto with lobster on New Year’s but that’s when we were ready to down the rest of the bottle on a carefree/baby free night.

This recipe of risotto is a real change up.  I got the book ‘Cook With Jamie’ from my brother-in-law last year for Christmas.  I didn’t mind the heavy cookbook in my luggage in the least!  I voraciously read it cover to cover when I got home, but then just left it on my shelf – what?!  I know.  I just couldn’t pick anything.  Does that ever happen to you? Well, finally I heard about this risotto.  It was claimed to be one of the best thing’s from the book, but fresh tomatoes in risotto?  That sounded….fresh….  Well, I can gladly report that it will be in our celebration rotation from now on.  I guess I never met a tomato basil combo that I didn’t love.

Fresh tomato, basil and ricotta risotto adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie

You can make risotto with whatever ingredients you want, but it always starts the same.  I will explain the basic recipe and then tell you when to add the rest.  Oh, and the basic recipe is superb as a side, no extras needed.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1.5 cups risotto rice (short grained or arborrio)

6 cups chicken broth (can use veg)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Extras:

1 clamshell of grape or cherry tomotoes (or any good looking ones that you see)

red wine vinegar and olive oil to marinade the tomatoes in

handful fresh basil

crumbly ricotta cheese or crumbly goat cheese

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

First chop the tomatoes in half or quarters and put them in a small bowl with a glug of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper, stir and let sit to marinade.

Second, place the ricotta on a small baking dish.  Rub with a little oil and spinkle with the oregano and red pepper flakes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Third, begin by putting the stock on low to medium heat.  In a separate pot, sauté the diced onions and celery in the oil until the onions are clear.  Add the rice and stir.  When the rice is somewhat clear, pour in enough dry white wine to cover the rice.  Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed.  Spoon one ladleful of warm stock into the rice mixture.  Continuously stir until it is the stock is absorbed.  Repeat this until there is about 2 ladlefuls of stock left. At this point, add 2/3 of the marinated tomatoes without the marinade – just use a slotted spoon. Continue adding stock as directed above until the last of it used.  For the final risotto, is should be creamy and oozy and slightly looser than you think.

Lastly add in the butter and parmesan until melted.  Right before serving, add the broken up ricotta, the rest of the tomatoes and tear in the basil.  Enjoy!

Sounds simple right?  Well, I think a lot of the world’s population would call this a staple.  I have never had it.  This sort of thing drives me to drinking.  How could millions of people eat this every day and it has never even touched my lips.  Yes, I’ve had pork and beans, from a can.  Never paired with rice, though.  This really gets me thinking.  To me it feels like the world has really become a more closely-knit community, but then something like this enters my world and I realize that I know about a thimble-full of imformation about my world neighbours.

I have set myself upon a goal of eating staple-like food a while back.  Usually when you try food from another culture, you aren’t going to get served what they would set on their table every day of the week.  Just like I wouldn’t open a restaurant to serve you ham and cheese sandwiches.  Oh wait, there’s a few of those here, hahaha!  Example: The Tosti House.  (Sidebar – grilled cheese sandwiches are called tosti’s here AND they think it is ridiculous that we call them grilled cheese!)  Hmmmm, where was I……oh yeah, eating the staple food of a culture.  You always get the fancy stuff.  You have to suss out the regular stuff.  Well, I’ve tried casava, stamppot, grits, curry, but now I got on a mission for beans and rice.

Well, unfortunately I don’t know what kind of beans and rice to make, but I found a recipe on The Pioneer Woman and thought – why the hell not start with this!  Black eyed beans with white rice.

Turns out, this stuff is pretty tasty and really satisfying.  Because the beans are home made, not from a can, they retain a firm but tender consistency.  Very enjoyable.  It also appears very easy to add/delete what you want from any given beans recipe.  I didn’t have a hamhock, so I started with diced bacon.  Delish.  Anyways, I recommend this recipe for sure.  Even Little Pea was a lova.  It is an easy meal, tasty and healthy.  Fiber rich one might say.  One might also begin singing a favourite childhood song, just like my Dad did – Beans, beans, the magical fruit…….

 

Black Eyed Beans and Rice (aka. Hoppin John) adapted from The Pioneer Woman

These beans can also be called peas (like in the music group), but they are the same thing.  You can get them dried from the grocery store for ultra cheap.  Let them soak in cold water for at least 6 hours.  I covered them with water in the morning and they were ready when I started cooking dinner.  They doubled in size, to my astonishment, so I didn’t end up using the whole bag.  Froze the left over soaked beans to make this another time.  If you’re buying bulk, 2 cups of dried will probably make 4 cups soaked. PS eat these on New Year’s Day and it’s good luck to you for the year.

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloved garlic, minced

4 slices, thick cut bacon, diced

4 cups soaked black eyed peas (beans)

3 cups chicken stock + 2 cups water
cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
Cooked white or brown rice for serving
Start by browning the bacon.  While it is browning, and if you are fast enough, chop the garlic, onion, celery and green pepper.  Drop all the veggies in when the bacon is starting to brown.  Saute until the onions go translucent.  Toss in the soaked beans, broth and water.  I never use pure stock because I think the taste is a bit overpowering, so I do half stock half water – hence the 3 cups stock + 2 cups water.  Go all stock if you wish.  Let this simmer with the lid on for 30 mins. At this point, check and see how the liquid factor is.  If you want more or less, either add water and cook with the lid on or cook with the lid off for evaporation for 15 more minutes.  This is your call!  Serve over rice.  Enjoy the soul food.

 

Hello? Are you there?  Well, I’m here.  Yes, for real!  I have been on a long journey.  Across the ocean and a vast land.  Strong winds and snow have kept me…..ok, well, I just went home to Canada for the holidays.  Aaannnndd, who has time for the computer when there are kids running about, gifts to be wrapped, alcohol to be drunk and Christmas goodies to be eaten?  Oh, and we visited a few people (understatement) too.  When we got home, back to Delft, we were plagued with sore throats and were heavily depleated on sleep.  But, isn’t that how the holidays go?  It’s all worth it!  We made so many memories.  Even Santa showed up at the house for the kiddies.  Little Pea was showered with gifts that we had to stuff into our luggage to trek home.  Don’t worry, it all made it.  Lucky little girl.

So, now we are January.  Already.  Are you on a diet?  I’m not a big resolutions person, but after all that eating, who isn’t up for a little pull-back.  Time to bring things back to the everyday normal.  Get our bodies back into routine.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner.  None of this breakfast, second breakfast, cookies, lunch, drinks, snacks, appys, dinner, drinks, snacks….. Here’s a cozy, hearty, healthy dinner just for you.  It is actually one of my top faves of 2011.  It’s so good.  Every time we have it I say, “we should eat this every week.”  We really should.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry – Albert Heijn

There are a few possibly hard to find ingredients on this list.  I was skeptical and thought it would be to hard, but it is truly worth it.  Way better than any curry I have ever made.  Of course you can leave out the cardamon pods, mustard seeds and lemongrass, but please try to find it if you can.  Remember to pick out the cardamom pods before serving.  Biting into one of those babies can be a big surprise!

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp yellow Thai curry paste (red works too)

2 small or 1 large onion, finely chopped

3 lemongrass stalks, bashed with the back of a knife

6 cardamom seeds

1 tbsp mustard seeds (tiny black seeds)

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks

1 cup chicken stock

400ml can of coconut milk

400g can chickpeas, rinsed

Rice, cooked according to package (I use 1.5 cups of dry Pandan rice)

You need a pretty big pan for this.  Start by heating the oil then gently frying the curry paste, onions, lemon grass,cardamon pods and mustard seeds for 2-3 mins until fragrant.  Next stir in the squash and coat with the paste.  Pour in the stock and coconut milk.  Bring everything to a simmer.  Add the chickpeas.  Cook until the squash is tender – about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy the fragrant warmth of this dish!

I have a new obsession. Pinterest.  First of all, let me explain to you what this is if you don’t already know.  It is a website that acts as a message board for all the coolest things people find on the world wide web.  I could  just keep scrolling and scrolling down the endless page of pins.  Well, sometimes I do…  SO many interesting things. Anything from hair do’s to nail colours and recipes to quotes.  I have saved many a link.  Especially for crocheting.  When I am going to find time to do all this crafting, who knows? But, man, I am loving this resource.

There also have been many a recipe saved.  Althought, pinteresters are keen on slow cooker recipes involving pop and also baked goods involving pop.  A little cringe worthy, but also….. interesting.  You see what I mean?  Lots of cool stuff.  So, brought to you by Pinterest is this lasagna soup.  I think it’s a cool twist on a favourite.  I love me some lasagna.  My mother is actually known far and wide for her lasagna.  She says the secret is cooking it in the stone, but whatever it is, it is the one thing that is always requested from family and friends alike. So, I am like a lasagna connoiseur, if you will.

This recipe is basically lasagna soup. Ok, duh, that is what it is.  Lasagna with a thinned out sauce in a bowl.  I thought it was easier/quicker than making the real thing.  And it was also kind of cool to have a switch up.  With the foggy, chilly, cold weather here, soup really does hit the spot better than anything else. On the whole I give this soup a 9 because I can get all the goods from a real lasagna in it, have the cosiness of soup to warm my chilled bones and it is interesting (or should  I say Pinteresting?).  Happy slurping!

Lasagna Soup – adapted from this link A Farm Girl Dabbles (check out her picture -delish!)

You could definitely add some veggies into this soup.  I like to put zucchini and broccoli in my lasagna, so why not in the soup?

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

300g extra lean ground beef

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 28oz can or 2 smaller cans diced tomatoes (she used fire-roasted, so if you can find it…)

4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water

2 cups dry mini lasagna noodles (or rotini etc)

For the cheese dollop:

cottage cheese or ricotta

grated mozzarella

grated parmesan

Start by heating up some oil with the red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic.  I’ve been doing this lately and it seems like the seasonings really come alive inthe warm oil.  Have your onion and beef ready to dump in before it burns though.  Once yo ucan smell the oregano and garlic, dump in the onions and saute for about a minute and then dump in the beef and break it up.  Continue cooking until the beef is browned.  Now, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute.  Next, in goes the tomatoes, broth and water.  Bring this all up to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

When you are 10 minutes away from serving, throw in the dry pasta and cook until al dente. While the noodles are softening in the soup, prepare the cheesy dollop.  Mix together some cottage cheese or ricotta and some grated mozarella and paremesan and dollop it into the bottom each bowl.  Pour the hot soup over the dollop and throw on some fresh basil if you like.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

 

Hello old friends!  How goes it in the food blogging world?  I have not stopped checking in on you, but I am afraid I have fallen off the wagon.  No, I am not an alcoholic.  I am referring to the lack of posts.  It has something to do with my 7 month old, but really I have losts my imagination in the kitchen.  WTF?!  Where di it get off to?  I must search it out…

In the meantime, I did make something kind of interesting.  A soup that I threw together, on the first day of cold and rainy weather here.  For real, we just came off of a week in the high 20’s!!  Yes, summer was prolonged.  Ahhh, so nice.

This here soup is something that you can throw together in a jiffy.  (Hey, I just thought of something – is that why Jiffy peanut butter is named that? Because you can make a pb sandwich in a “jiffy”? Cool).  This is not one of those slow-simmer-for-hours soups.  This is a soup that you can get you slurp on with in about 20 minutes depending on how big you chop your veggies.  It has an asian flair with the sesame oil essence and the saltiness of soy sauce.  Get creative and add what you like.  Throw in a pair of chopsticks and it’s authentic 😉

Asian Noodle Soup

4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water

1 chicken breast

1 leak

2 carrots

a small clamshell of mushrooms (button or other of your choice)

1 package thin egg noodles (soba noodles would taste good here too)

a big handfull of fresh snap peas

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced or grated ginger

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

Pour in the broth, water and the chicken breast into a large soup pan.  Add the garlic, ginger, oil and soy sauce.  Bring up to a boil.  Meanwhile chop the veggies (minus the peas) and toss in.  After about 15 minutes remove the chicken breast and shred with two forks or rough chop with a knife.  Toss the pieces back in.  Right at the end stir in the noodles and peas.  Let cook according to the package – usually no more than 5 minutes and then you’re done.  Serve with extra soy sauce and sesame oil to add if you like.

 

Yes, I proclaimed this when I took my first bite of this dish. Mama’s back!  Lately I have been deep in sleep-deprived mode and I have been happy just to get dinner on the table.  Literally get anything to eat on the table.  Little Pea (aka LP) has been our focus for the past 12 weeks.  12 weeks!  How they have flown by.  LP has gone from 9lbs to roughly 14lbs and has developed a little personality.  We have settled into a routine of eating, activity, sleeping and some time for myself.  This time has been spent out in the stroller or sling getting errands done and visiting with friends.    It is ten after nine right now and I just got LP to sleep.  She likes to do this crazy crying sometimes right before bed.  That is awesome.  That was pure sarcasm….  But I guess that is where the expression “cried herself to sleep” comes from.  Besides that little tidbit, she wakes up laughing and puts her charm on for the remainder of the day.  She’s so cute I could just squish her!

So, I’m back, but don’t get too attached….I will be back and forth but hopefully I’ll be posting something new pretty regularly.  Maybe a Banana Cream Pie 😉  At one point, I thought this site was a feature of my past, but when you are in the baby fog, you cannot see the end so clearly.  At last, I am here.

I think I raised my fork in the air and yelled to Mr. F “I’m back!” and he laughed his jolly laugh and agreed.  He liked this recipe I came up with too.  I had some leftover arugula from a variation of this recipe  in the fridge and racked my brain on what to do with it.  Arugula is not something that we usually have in the fridge.  It has become more normal since being over here, but that doesn’t mean I really know what to do with it.  What do you do with it?!  It has a such a distinct peppery flavour.  So, I went out on a limb and thought that like spinach, it might wilt down quite nicely in a pasta.  Add a little cream and then some lemon juice for brightness and we had something going!  This is what I like to call a “warm” dish.  It’s not hot, but it’s not cold, it’s just right.  Just right for the spring.

What is your favourite dish in the spring?

Warm Arugula and Spaghetti – by me

3 big handfuls of fresh arugula

250g spaghetti

1 boiled chicken breast, shredded

1/4 cup cream

1.5 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp ground garlic (or to your taste)

s+p

Some grated pecorino or parmesan

Ok, here’s how I did it.  I put the cleaned arugula in a big serving bowl.  I brought water to the boil and cooked the pasta, drain it and poured the pasta over the greens. In the meantime, I also boiled a chicken breast in a little water and then shredded it with 2 forks. Toss the shredded chicken over the pasta.

In the pot that I cooked the pasta in, I mixed the cream, garlic powder, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  The cream will thicken a little due to the effect between the cream and lemon juice (ie – buttermilk trick).  The warm pot will warm the sauce.  Pour the sauce over the the chicken, pasta and arugula.  Toss it all together. The arugula will wilt a little from the heat of the pasta and the chicken.  Top with the grated cheese and serve family style!

Things around our parts these days have been blustering.  In case one, I mean windy.  If any of you are reading this post from the European coast, then you know what I am talking about.  It is darn windy.  Crazy windy.  I’m scared it’s going to blow down our building windy.  Mr. F says I should be used to it since I am from Saskatchewan.  Yes, I will not deny that it gets windy there, but this has gone on for days.  3 days and nights to be exact.  It’s an ocean wind and that, my friends, I am not used to.  We have seen some pretty funny stuff though.  Umbrella’s popping the wrong way, people being blown off their bikes, grandpa’s holding on to railings so that they won’t get blown away and waves actually crashing on the sides of the canals.  It is out of control.

Other things blustering lately is the feelings of getting closer to the birth of the baby.  I am excited all over!  Just over 2 weeks until the due date.  We can basically count days now, people.  Days until we are holding the new baby Danks.  All these Braxton Hicks contractions are getting my hopes up and getting me ready for the big day.

Finally in case #3, our housing situation.  The wind has been blowing us in all directions around our great city of Delft.  Looking at new apartments, old apartments, row houses, semi-furnished, unfurnished, furnished, ished, ished, yeesh… One weird thing that I can share with you is that unfurnished here does not mean no furniture like the Canadian standard.  Unfurnished here means, no lighting, no drapes, no paint and no flooring.  Yup, people strip up their flooring when they leave and bring it to their next house.  Because they have to!  So strange – to us anyways.

With all this blustering happening, doesn’t the kitchen just need to help us bring it all down to a calm level?  I say yes!  And this level I am talking about is a warm bowl of fragrant soup, well stoup, in this case.  I first heard this mashed-word on the Rachel Ray Show.  It has quickly entered by vocabulary because this is the type of “soup” thatI love.  More stuff, less broth.  Yes, I like broth just as much as the other guy, but when I am eating soup as a main course, I need some substance.  That is why I love stewy soups.  Get it – stoup.

This stoup could also be called a chili, but call it as you must, it is delicious and satisfying and calming.  I was going to write this post all about how I am intrigued by lentils and how a large portion of the world eats them as a staple and I never ate them until I was an adult, but now I guess I just did.  And kale is super good.  Kale, lentils, ground meat, fresh thyme and rosemary.  This is a good one.  It makes the house smell like Provence (or the spice mix anyways) and fills your belly with warmth and takes you to the exotic with the lentils aspect.  Make it on one of your blustering days to warm you up and calm you down.

Kale and Lentil Stoup – adapted from the Rachel Ray Show

200g sausage or ground pork (you could go ground turkey or chicken here too)

a couple handfuls of mushrooms, sliced (cremini are good)

1 bunch kale

o.25 cup tomato paste

1 onion

a palmfull of destemed chopped leaves of fresh thyme and rosemary (you can substitute this with Herbs de Provence)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 box of chicken stock (4 cups or 500ml) + 2 cups of water

1 cup of green lentils (I only had red and it was just fine!)

Start by browning the meat and the diced onion.  quickly rinse and slice up the mushrooms.  Toss these in for some browning along with the garlic and herbs when the meat is nearing the end and the onions are not translucent yet.  When the onions go translucent, stir in the tomato paste until everything is covered.  Let is cook for about a minute.  Finally, pour in the broth, water, kale and lentils.  Stir until well combined and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and then fill up some big bowls.

Chinese dumplings, otherwise known as gyoza.  You may have had some of these guys at a chinese food restaurant or from a box found in the feezer section, but here is the real deal people.  I was introduced to these when my speed skating coach invited our team over for dinner.  You know that I am well versed in the perogy which is basically a potato dumpling, but I had not had my fair share of gyoza up to that point.  I must admit that we were very spoiled at this dinner.  Not only did we not have to cook that night (athletes are always tired!), but the gyoza were made by my coaches parents who were in the city direct from China.

If you could have see the amount of gyoza on the table, you jaw would have dropped.  Hundreds.  And since we were athletes, hundreds of gyoza were consumed that night.  Spectacular!  Since that evening, my coach X invited us over many more times.  She was surprised at how much we westerners like traditional Chinese food.  This was not ginger beef or Westernized food, this was the real deal.  But this is a story for another time.  Let’s not get off topic.  We are seriouly talking gyoza, here.

Last summer, before the Olympics, my team was privy to a very cool opportunity.  We were going to live in Vancouver alternating every 2 weeks with Calgary.  I have lived in 3 places in my life:  Ituna (pop 700), Melville (pop 5000) and Calgary (pop too many).  I had never even been to Vancouver.  Trust me, I have heard endless ravings about how great Vancouver was, so naturally I was adverse in the beginning.  Too much hype.  I was turned off.

So, resentment and all, I boarded the plane every 2 weeks to train at the new Olympic oval in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver.  In the beginning, it was essential to find the requisite coffee spot (Blendz won! – yummy Maple Machiatos), the grocery store (SaveOn Foods) and a sushi spot.  Those we all found and I was starting to feel more accumstomed to spending weeks at a time there.  I had a bike to explore and the Sky Train was just up and running, so we got to see more of Central Vancounver (Japadog anyone?).  To make a long story short, there were 2 things that won me over.  Beach and freshly made gyoza paste.

The beach thing is self-explanatory ie. I love water.  I even love beaches that are nudist and have amazing sunsets… But what we are talking ’bout here is gyoza paste.  I call it “paste” because that is what X calls it.  It is those rounds of dough that you use to make gyoza.  Well, in Richmond, you could find this at any hole-in-the-wall chinese shop.  Amazing!

X got a few of us girls over to her place one night and showed us the secrets to making gyoza.  Soon it was a tradition.  I felt so special.  Thanks X!  Mr. F also felt very special because now he gets to eat these when I make them at home.  Over here in the Netherlands, I can only find frozen paste, but I can always dream of the days when I could find freshly made gyoza paste on any block in Richmond and standing over a steaming pot of gyoza with my friend/coach.  Or, like X says, just make the paste yourself.  Hmmm, I am working on it….

Gyoza – From my skating coach X (ie. the Wang, the leader of the Wang Dynasty, etc)

I lb ground pork

3 green onions, diced

1-2 inches fresh ginger, minced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

slpash of soya sauce

splash of oil

salt

dumpling spice or vegetable stock powder

1-2 (about 75-100) packages round dumpling wraps/paste

Dipping Sauce:

equal parts of – soya sauce, stirfry suace, rice vinegar, and a few drops (or more!) or sriracha hot sauce

The key to this here recipe is getting the meat moist.  Ground meat is quite dry actually, when you take a look at it.  Start by adding about 1/4 cup water to the meat and stirring with 2 chopsticks.  Seriously, use the chopsticks, it is easier, trust me and the Wang.  Depending on how dry the meat is you may need to add some more water.  Here is a picture of before and after.  In the first picture, the meat is crumbly, in the second one, it is smooth and moist.  Go for what the second picture looks like.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir – with the chopsticks of course!  The tricky part is the spice.  I didn’t give a measurment because the Wang did not give one.  She made us smell it.  If it smells like raw meat, then there is not enough seasoning ie. salt and spices.  If you can smell the spices, then you are good to go.  There is a picture of the spices that X gave me, but if you can’t find that, I have substituted it with veg stock powder and it was a close second.

To pinch the gyoza, take a paste in one hand.  Have a small bowl of water handy.  Dip your finger in the water and trace around the outside of the paste.  Put a blob (about 1 tbsp) of mixture in the middle, fold over and pinch the edges together- hard.  Set on a plate or tray and make sure they do not touch.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Drop in about 20 dumplings at a time depending on how big your pot is.  When the water comes back up to a boil, add a couple ladles of cold water to reduce the boil.  Do this 2 times so that the gyoza comes up to a boil 3 times.  Special tip from, you guessed it, the Wang.  When finished the dumplings should be puffy and floating.  Remove from water with a slotted spoon and repeat until all gyoza and done.  Serve these babies family -style and enjoy with the dipping sauce!

 

Happy New Year!  I am back from my lovely, amazing, tiring, fun-filled holiday in Canada.  It consisted of visiting, driving, brunching, wedding going, Christmas dinner-having, New year’s sparkling cider drinking and lots of hugs and memories. It was such a busy time that this here-old site was free of new posts for days.  But have I got a good one to share with you.  You are probably thinking that I am going to give you something healthy for your New Year’s resolutions, but come on, do you really expect that from me?  I am pregnant and feel sick if I don’t get enough calories.  So, this one here will sure do the trick!

It hails from the culinary expertise of my bro.  It is not surprising that he loves food as much as me.  My whole family LOVES food.  We like dessert, but when it comes to the main, that is where we are salivating.  We ate mounds of cabbage rolls, piles of potatoes, stacks of sliced turkey, mouthfuls of stuffing and of course we pounded the requisite perogies.  We could not wait until Christmas dinner for the perogies, though.  I had fresh made perogies made by my expect aunt and I had this dish.

Now I wasn’t sure what to call this.  My bro was inspired by a small cafe in his Saskatchewan town.  He raves about this chef/cook that seems to come up with awesome ideas.  The first day we got to my bro’s house, he got this dinner going.  Mr. F and I delved in and could not get enough.  Actually, we were full after one plate, but that one plate was a mixture of pure decadence.

Fried perogies mingled with big chunks of onion and crispy bacon.  All topped with pepper and a dollop of sour cream.  This stuff sticks to your ribs and the baby was so happy for it!  Bearman – my big brother – explained it as thinking outside the perogy.  Instead of stuffing the perogy with all sorts of stuff, make a “casserole-type” dish out of it.  Brilliant!

Perogy, Bacon and Onion Explosion – Bearman Simpson

So, I am letting you off the hook for this one.  You can pull out those perogies you already made or you can buy some good quality ones from the store or the baba down the street.  Homemade are best, but you know, not everything can be homemade….

2 large yellow onions cut into segments (like oranges)

1 pack of good quality bacon

20-30 perogies (check out my mama’s recipe here.  In order to fry them up, you gotta boil them first and then fry them in a pan with butter.)

Start by frying the bacon until crisp and break into 1-2 inch pieces.  Fry the onions with some butter and fry the perogies in butter.  Combine all ingredients in one dish.  Serve immediately with a heaping dollop of sour cream.

So, this baby of ours might come out looking like a plump little tomato.  Remember Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Not only is it one of the best movies of all time (the original, people!), but Violet eats a piece of chewing gum that tastes like blueberry pie and she starts turning into a blueberry.  Her Dad, in the tongue and cheek comedy typical to the lines in the movie, yells, “Voilet, you are turning violet, Violet!”  Here’s the clip.  Similar to Violet, I’m afraid that if our ultrasound was in colour, that our baby would be bright red.  The culprit: tomatoes.

Since the beginning of the pregnancy I have had to avoid some foods because of their smell or look or you know – it is really indescribable.  Aanyways, one thing that I could eat the whole time was tomatoes.  I would eat tomato soup, tomatoes straight up, tomatoes with pasta, tomato sauce and even tomatoes on toast.  The preference for tomatoes has continued and running out of ideas, I remembered this sauce.  Oh Lord, thank you for reminding me of this sauce!

It is very unassuming.  Just one onion, one can of tomatoes and some butter.  The path to the finished product is also easy: throw everything in a pot and simmer.  The ending is glorious!  Truly the tastiest sauce I have ever had.  It, of course, has been talked about all over the food blogosphere, but I am bringing to this site because I love you, my friends, and it could not go unnoticed.

I know the foodie in you is probably already thinking about adding some basil or some cream or some parmesan, but please promise me that you will try it plain first?  The acidity of the tomatoes is dulled by the richness of the butter and the onion gives it a deeper tone.  And by the way, this is a vegetarian dish, sans meat, for all you out there that are trying one meatless night a week. Also, this is way way cheaper than buying the canned sauce and I think way way more tastier.  Give it a try!

Super Tomato Sauce – Marcela Hazan Essentials of Italian Cooking

This will make enough sauce for 4 mains unless you are like me and Mr.F and it will feed you both firsts and seconds.

One big can of tomatoes (800g) or two smaller cans

5 tbsp (70g) butter

1 medium sized onion, peeled and cut in half

salt to taste

about 1 pound pasta

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring up to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer with the lid off for 45 minutes.  Remove the onion and discard ( Sidebar: once I told Mr. F that I could eat an uncooked onion like an apple.  He’s into eating contests, so I had to declare something that I could beat him in.  That is how much i  like onions, so we eat the onion.)  Serve over pasta and enjoy!  remember to try it straight up first and then feel free to add all those lovely ingredients you want, but maybe you won’t want to….

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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