Archive for October, 2014

Happy Halloween!

halloween yard

Just had to share this photo – my husband’s ingenious use of fallen leaves and branches to decorate our yard. Isn’t it spooky?

Happy Halloween!

halloween pumpkin

October 31, 2014 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Celery root, leek and white bean soup

celery root
The return of soup – this is one of the reasons I love fall. I found this lovely, gnarly celery root at the Moss Street Market last weekend and was very excited to turn it into soup. I was also keen to try out this very simple soup-making method that uses just olive oil, veggies and water. It works great, especially for a soup like this where I think what you want most is to taste that fresh celery flavour.

In my quest for protein, I’ve discovered that white beans are a brilliant substitute for any recipe like this where you would normally use cream. They add a neutral, creamy texture and of course are so much better for you.

Enjoy!

Celery root, leek and white bean soup
Serves 4

1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, sliced (white and light green parts)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can white cannellini beans, drained
6 cups cups water
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saute celery root, leek and salt and pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft but not brown. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pot and cook on medium-low for about 15-20 minutes or until celery root is soft. Add beans and remaining water and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for about 15 minutes to let the soup cool before blending (and allow flavours to combine). Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and simmer until hot. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh pepper. We ate it with cheese and crackers and a veggie plate with carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market for a simple dinner in front of the fire last weekend and that was just perfect.

celery root soup

October 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

Apple pie for a season of change

apple pie
It has been months and months since my last post. Poor neglected blog. So much has happened since then! We got pregnant (7 months along now!), moved house and cities (goodbye beautiful, exciting, expensive Vancouver, hello lovely, soothing, affordable Victoria!), and, as always, have been busy with work and life. To say it’s been a hectic few months would be putting it mildly! I am hoping now for a season of settling.

The moving process is never fun, but it is great to be back in Victoria after so many years away, and we are loving our new house. Yes, house. Finally some space! A real kitchen and a crazy, overgrown garden are both making me so happy.
backyard with apple tree

We have been busy harvesting our beautiful apple tree for pies, crisps, salads and bags of fresh fruit for family and friends. They are Pacific Gala apples (which we know thanks to our friend Brian who came to visit from Vancouver a few weeks ago and brought one of the apples back with him to the UBC Apple Festival for identification!), and really delicious.

bowl of apples

I’ve made at least six pies in the past month. Every one is a bit better than the last, which is very satisfying. I’ve decided that if I accomplish nothing else in life except to be known as someone who can make a great pie, I will be happy with that.

Apple pie
Makes 1 pie

Pastry
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold vegetable oil shortening (you could also try coconut oil)
3-4 tablespoons cold water

Pie filling
5-6 cups sliced, peeled apples (you might want more or less depending on the size of your pie plate)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup brown sugar

For the pastry, I highly recommend using a food processor (a stand mixer also works) for mixing and parchment paper for rolling out the dough. I used to make pie crust in a mixing bowl and then rolled it out on the counter, but always found it tiresome and messy. Also, the more your warm hands handle what is supposed to be cold pastry, the less flakey and tasty it will be.

Here is what I do now: buzz the flour, salt and shortening in a food processor until just combined, then add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing the dough in the processor each time, until the dough forms a ball. Tip the dough out of the processor into a bowl and shape it into two balls. I usually make one of the balls slightly larger for the bottom crust. Chill the dough for a few minutes while you preheat the oven (350F), peel and slice all the apples and make the filling (just combine the ingredients in a bowl).

To roll out the pastry, put one of the dough balls between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a circle about 2″ larger than your pie plate. Remove the top sheet of parchment (carefully so you don’t tear the pastry), tip the pastry into the pie plate, remove the other sheet of parchment and then use your fingers to shape the dough into the plate and repair any boo-boos that might have occurred during the transfer.

Pour the apple filling into the crust, and repeat the same roll-out method for the top crust. I like a lattice top, but you can also do a full crust. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil and bake for about 40-45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on the top and bottom. Keep an eye on it toward the end as pie crust burns easily.

apple tree branch 2

October 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm 2 comments


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