Friday, February 25, 2011

Fire up those stoves!

ready for roasting

Another storm is tucking us in under a fresh downy blanket of perhaps a foot or more of snow. What better reason to do some cooking so the heat from the oven can help warm the house! Mom and I, along with my grandson Tristan, headed up to Vermont yesterday to the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op, and I stocked up on lots of fresh veggies, so today, while Tristan is napping, I'm making a tray of roasted vegetables, drying the mushrooms I purchased on sale, and making a pot of Roasted Squash and Apple soup, and perhaps a pot of Cream of Broccoli soup, too.
I LOVE not only the flavor of roasted veggies, but the smell of them cooking! And they are so simple to make. You just chunk up your vegetables... making sure they are roughly the same size so they cook evenly, toss them with olive oil and a bit of sea salt and roast them for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
I used Brussels Sprouts which I sliced in half, unskinned Yukon Gold Potatoes and peeled Jewel Sweet Potatoes which I cut as for oven fries, Onions sliced into thick rings, several cloves of Garlic sliced in half, Parsnips and Carrots cut into thick matchstick shapes, and peeled Beets, which I sliced into chunks about the size of the halved Brussels Sprouts. I placed them in a bowl and drizzled them with a few tablespoons of Olive Oil, sprinkled them with Sea Salt and roasted them on a large cookie sheet for 40 minutes, turning the tray and stirring up the veggies halfway through the roasting process.


This makes a great lunch or supper with fresh biscuits, rolls, or homemade bread.

This next recipe is especially for my friend Pammy in Waller, Texas. You must visit her wonderful blog,
I wanted to give her my recipe for a salad dressing I came up with several years ago, so I'll share it here for her and you! It's not healthy, but it sure is good! I love this drizzled on a fresh bed of Spinach topped with some fresh (or frozen but thawed) Raspberries, Blueberries and/or Strawberries, a sprinkling of sliced Almonds, Pecans or Walnuts, and occasionally a side of Cottage Cheese.
I feast on this all summer long when berries are in season here. I love to go out in the garden and pick some fresh spinach and a handful or two of sun-warmed berries to have this salad for lunch... sigh!

Laura's Carmalized Balsamic Dressing
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
3/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Boil about 4 to 7 minutes til the mixture just turns golden. (Be careful, as this can scorch suddenly) Lower heat and whisk in the vinegar CAREFULLY and slowly, as it tends to spatter and bubble up. Whisk well, then drizzle the olive oil in slowly at first, then whisk very well til all is incorporated together. Remove from heat and cool, then refrigerate. You will find this often gets very thick and will have to be brought to room temperature before using.
This has a sweet vinegary bite to it, so use sparingly at first!
Well, I need to wash and dehydrate those mushrooms now, so until next time, may you enjoy your day and the coming weekend! ~Laura

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine greeting to all...

I wanted to be sure to stop in and wish you all a happy Valentine's Day filled with love and those you love. (and those who love you too!)
Life has been full of the mundane chores that make up midwinter... barn chores (I really need to clean out the barn... we are expecting warm weather near 40 these next few days, so it's on my to-do list!), firewood, shoveling, and so on. I have been trying to live in the moment, and have been enjoying the snow outside immensely, but my eyes can't help but wander to the growing number of seed catalogs which arrive in the mailbox and get me thinking of the gardens and growing! I know that this month and next will bring more snowstorms and cold... even April can still be snowy. So I will continue to enjoy it all, and bide my time til spring is truely here!
Today will be spent babysitting two of my grandchildren, as several members of my family will be delivering flowers for the florist my daughter and brother work for. I cannot think of a better way to spend Valentine's Day, except having all four grandchildren here!
I hope you have a wonderful day too! xox ~Laura of Wildenblue Farm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Soup's On!

My, my... the first of February already! And as with a good percentage of you, we are getting another snowstorm, and will have over a foot of snow when this passes through Thursday. Mom and I had planned on going up to Middlebury, Vermont today, but there is already a few inches on the ground and it's coming down fast, so we will wait til Thursday or Friday.

I just stuck another loaf of bread in the oven, and am catching up on those odds-and-ends things one catches up on when housebound!

I haven't included a recipe in a while, so I will share my recipe for the soup I most often make... usually at the beginning of the week for lunches and suppers throughout the week til it's gone! I am a vegetarian, so I don't put any meat in mine, but you're welcome to toss in a pound or so of chicken, ham, turkey, or whatever appeals to you. Also, this isn't really a recipe, as it changes each time I put a pot on, but just use this as a guideline and use what you have on hand.

Simple Soup

Cover the bottom of your soup pot with a thin layer of Olive Oil and heat over medium heat. Add a chopped Onion or two, as well as a few cloves of minced Garlic and cook for about 5 minutes til transparent. (If you are using meat, now is the time to add it and let it brown with the onions and garlic)
Next add enough stock or water to fill your pot as you desire. (I use about 6 to 8 cups of water and add a big dollop of Miso and about a tablespoon of broth concentrate (Better than Boullion is what I prefer) Mix well and season as you prefer... Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Sage and Basil. Add a small can of Tomato Paste, and next add your chopped vegetables, using as much or as little as you see fit. I use the vegetables I dehydrated in summertime, and just throw in a few handfuls of each... Zucchini, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Carrots, Peas, Green Beans... then chop up anything else I feel like including such as Potatoes, Broccoli,Ccauliflower... whatever you have on hand. I also throw in frozen or canned goods now... Black Beans, Edamame, Corn, a handful or two of Lentils and/ or Barley, and let this just come to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, and let it cook the day away (or at least a couple of hours!) Make sure to stir it on occasion, and add water as needed. Stick a loaf of bread or a batch of biscuits in the oven, and you'll have a wonderful supper waiting for you with so little fuss! Oftentimes I add a bit of Parmesan Cheese the last 20 minutes or so, but you can just as easily sprinkle this on top of your soup once it's in your soup bowl.