Discovery of the day: It's a crock!

I know, I've been a complete slacker. But November is almost over, then I'll be back, I promise.

I did try one new thing earlier this week - I tried cooking beans in the crockpot. I soaked 1.5 lbs of cannellini beans during the day while I was at work. (Yeah, it wasn't 'overnight', but I was hoping they couldn't tell the sun was out.) That evening I drained them and dumped them into my 4 qt crockpot and added as much water as would fit, up to probably 1" from the rim. I left it on high for an hour (or two) then set it to low before I went to bed.

In the morning, I had a crockpot full of beany goodness. They tasted great, but... they were waaaay overcooked. I had hoped to freeze them in two cup portions but they would probably turn to complete mush.

Good news is that I am no longer afraid of cooking beans in the crockpot. Bad news is the gallon of beans in my fridge that I need to use in the next day or so. I probably should make a huge batch of bean and bacon soup.

Next time, I'm guessing I'll probably just cook them in a pot on the stove, so I can keep an eye on them. Tricksy bastards!





Project Weeknight: Potato & Cabbage Soup

Last night I decided I had to try to adapt one of my favorite soups. I think the original name is Peasant Soup, but we always called it Cabbage & Kielbasa Soup. I've been making it for probably 20 years. But how would it fly without kielbasa?

Ingredients list is simple: carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, cabbage, herbs, and stock. As always, the chopping took a lot longer than I thought. You'd think I'd have figured that out by now. A little sauteeing, some simmering, hit it with the stick blender, and done.

It could have used more simmering, but I ran out of time. And it's one of those soups that will be better the second day. But I think it'll pass.

Even though I doubled the original amount of potatoes, my son probably would have appreciated more. And as much as I wish it was a weeknight meal, the only way it'll qualify is if it's bagged in the freezer. Or maybe if I made half a batch - enough for one meal - that might cut back the chopping time enough to make it work.

I forgot to bring the recipe with me today, but I'll try to do it from memory.
Peasant Soup, Veg Style
Adapted from some book whose title I've forgotten...
(I'll remove this note when I've double-checked the recipe at home)

1 Tblsp oil
1 Tblsp butter
2 med. onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
2 quarts stock (I used half chicken, half veg)
4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
4 cups potatoes, diced
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp marjoram
salt & pepper to taste

Heat fats in pan, add onions, carrots, celery, and saute until soft. Add stock and cabbage, simmer 15 minutes. Add potatoes and herbs, simmer 15 minutes. Puree half of the soup in a food processor, or just hit it with the stick blender for a couple of pulses.

Goes great with cornbread.

My SO, a former student of the Russian language, suggested beets. I'd never had borscht, but the idea intrigues me. We figured a can of beets, cut up, could be added near the end. I may have to give that a go.



Discovery of the day: <blank>

Between the election and the insanity of this NaNoWriMo thing I've decided to do, I kinda spaced it there for a minute.

I'll be back, I promise.



Discovery of the day: A salty tale

We spent most of the weekend doing home improvement-type stuff, and that does not exactly lend itself to home cookin'.

Friday night we had to go pick up a thing at Best Buy (grrr... I'm not even going to go there) and decided to try the middle eastern (Lebanese?) restaurant nearby. I'd been there years ago and had vague memories of it being mediocre and way overpriced. But that was years ago. Unfortunately, it was still mediocre and overpriced. And salty, holy cow!

Saturday we spent painting and had to run out to get more stuff. Conveniently, it was lunchtime so we decided to get something. Which happened to be something at our favorite sandwich place, where I always go for the one heavy with cured meat. Salt, much?

We were good Saturday night and enjoyed some leftovers that were not too salty, thankfully. But Sunday evening somehow we found ourselves at the Thai place, which I'm sure is full of hidden salt even though it tasted wonderful.

Oh well. Lots of water (and trips to the bathroom) for me today.