Snapshots: Monday miscellany.

Or maybe “Mundane miscellany,” but I’ll leave that distinction up to you, LOL….

Tomato plants are happening under lights in the kitchen.  Since I took this pic, one set of true leaves has emerged on each plant.  I planted ‘Black Krim’ heirlooms (my first time trying them; my niece gave me seeds last year and I forgot about them until it was too late for me to do anything so I’m rectifying that situation this year) and ‘Candyland Red’ currant tomatoes.  This will be my third year planting the currant tomatoes, but I’ve never started them indoors.  Frost reduced potential yields previously so we’ll try it this way instead.

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Smudge is super happy that I am at home to dispense chicken treats and deliver a cushiony lap whenever required.  I am trying to teach her how to read but so far she’s only demonstrated exemplary skills as a bookmark.

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I’ve used the last shallot in the house…it’s an indicator to plant more this year and it’s also a nod to the fact that properly curing Allium crops can really extend their storage and diminish the risk of rot. Shameless plug alert: Janet Melrose and I write about how to properly cure onions and garlic in our upcoming book, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables.  (Which you can preorder from Chapters-Indigo and Amazon via this link on our publisher’s website.  I may as well go whole hog on the plug, right?  Why do things halfway?).

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Oh, and I’ve been eating pancakes for lunch.  Pretty much every day.  I don’t have a photo of this (neither the eating, nor the pancakes.  You’re probably grateful for the former, at least).  I use my Mum’s pretty much perfect pancake recipe (say that three times really quickly) but if you want to share yours in the comments, I would love to try it, as well! Tell me about your favourite pancake toppings, too!

Sheryl’s Mum’s Pretty Much Perfect Pancake Recipe (Mum, is it okay that I share this?) 😉 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt*

1 egg, beaten

1 3/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted shortening

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the liquid ones and combine.  Fry on a hot griddle. Yield: 8 sizeable pancakes, or several much smaller ones. (And in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not eating 8 sizeable pancakes at lunch – these guys keep over really nicely in the fridge for a few days and you can just reheat.  As well, the batch may be successfully halved, if that works better for you).

*Salt is optional.

 

Recipe: Roasted Carrot Soup.

I haven’t posted a recipe in ages!  If you’re already stuffed full with holiday sweets and are actually craving something healthy for balance (!) or you have a cold storage room brimming with carrots (or both), here goes:

Roasted Carrot Soup

8 large carrots, peeled, sliced into 1″ medallions

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 cup milk, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cover a baking sheet with a piece of baking parchment.  Combine chopped carrots and olive oil in a small bowl and mix until the carrots are covered in the oil.  Spread the carrots out on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in hot oven and roast for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn the carrots; roast another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and use in recipe.  (You can also cool the carrots, then refrigerate them until ready to use).

To make the soup:

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large saucepan.  Add onion and saute gently until onion is soft.  Add roasted carrots, gingerroot, garlic, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to carefully puree the hot vegetables and broth.  Wear a welder’s helmet, apron, and arm guards if you’re not good with the blender, and be prepared to call a professional cleaning service that specializes in disaster restoration to deal with the carrot spray all over your kitchen tile.  (This safety recommendation comes from someone who has a tendency to make a gigantic mess in the kitchen – I remember when I was a kid and I’d “help” my Mum whip cream.  Four days after an “episode,” she’d still find whipped cream on the chandelier, in the boot closet, and on the door handle of the car parked in the driveway).

At any rate, to finish:

Place the soup back on the burner and add the milk, if using.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir and cook just until reheated, then ladle the soup into bowls.  Garnish with chopped parsley.  Yield: 2 large servings or 4 small ones.

Note:  If you are a big fan of the flavour of ginger, feel free to add a bit more to this recipe, as it can easily handle it.

Metric Conversion Tables.

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