Mmm… soup and warm bread on a cold day

DSC_1626 (1600x1060)This is the last of the beef from the Christmas dinner, we had a full slice of the roast wrapped in foil that we didn’t get around to so I cubed and tossed it in with the last of the ox-tail red wine jus to make a beef and barley soup..  We did make another store run yesterday and they still had some of the rib roasts on on sale, single rib only.  We bought a couple at a good price and vac sealed them for sometime later.

I’m starting to worry that my bread machine is slowly losing steam.  A dark rye bread I made in it the other day was still pudding in the middle when the machine beeped done, and today’s plain white loaf didn’t brown well, at all.  I buttered it all over and browned it in a hot oven.

When things go bad…or not

A friend gave me a bunch of fresh lettuce a few weeks ago.  He’d obviously planted a lot of lettuce and there was plenty to go around.  Last week he brought some more in, I laughed and said I hadn’t finished what he gave me before.  He wanted to know how I kept it from going bad.  I shared with him my very simple technique that works for green leafy vegetables fresh from the garden or from the store.

I place the greens in the sink, and fill it with cold water, let it soak for 10-15 minutes, lift the greens out and place in a colander, draining the water.  Most dirt sinks to the bottom of the sink, so I rinse the sink out and then repeat the process.  After the greens are drained, I pat them dry and place them in an airtight container and refrigerate.  Usually sometime during the duration, I dump any additional water out of the container.  I’ve had greens stay fresh up to 3 weeks with this technique.

Soaking in water can revive carrots and celery that are still good, but may have lost their crispness.   Soaking in ice cold water can bring them back to freshness.  I just had this experience with celery that I had planned on using in soup last week and forgot.  I picked up a stalk and it was so limp it bent in half.  I soaked the entire head and it’s crisp, fresh and tasty.  I haven’t tried it on any other vegetables, but if you’re going to throw them out anyway, why not give it a shot and see what happens?

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

After a trip to the farmer’s market it’s time to make a nice, fresh pasta sauce for Sunday dinner.  I’m using fresh pasta, plain, not  flavored pasta, since there are so many flavors in the sauce.  I prefer linguine to spaghetti or fettuccine, but whatever works best for you is perfect.

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’), torn or chopped – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl

Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and garlic; saute on medium heat until onions are transluscent (don’t carmelize onions or scortch garlic).  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, starting at medium heat and lowering to simmer when it gently bubbles.  Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.  Add pasta and sauce to pasta bowl and serve with grated parmesan, steamed zucchini and a nice crusty loaf of bread.  I know it’s popular to serve bread with dipping oil, but I still prefer garlic butter.

Serves 4  generously.