Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sharing the Love

Last Thursday, I made homemade ice cream out of a crème anglaise recipe, yellow cake with a dark chocolate frosting, and a traditional apple pie.
With all these yummy treats, I decided to invite people over from our branch to help eat them.  Above is Scott Sanders, and Matt and Caroline Transtrum.  Another big thank you to Matt and Caroline for letting me use their ice cream makers.  I'm absolutely convinced I want my own, now.
In this picture we have (the Armenian couple's wife... I'm awful but I'm going to have to have Xan remind me of her name...), with her baby in the blue, Tiffany Booth with her baby, Taylor, in the flowered dress, Madeline Maxwell right next to Taylor, and Kim Yost peeking over the couch.  Kim's baby, Eli, is in the car seat.
And here is Matt Maxwell, Jared Rasmussen, Darrell, Amy and their daughter Alyse (not entirely sure how to spell that) Sonntag.  Jared's wife, Brooke, and their son Cohan were here somewhere, too.
It was really fun and definitely an event I'd like to repeat.  :)

Ranch Dressing

Summer is just right around the corner and I've been finding myself in a bit of a dilemma.  I've been craving Ranch Dressing.  We have a Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing bottle happily sitting in our fridge that Xan will use to pour on his salads or dip cut up raw veggies in... and I just get to sit and watch while eating my raw veggies plain... *sigh*

UNTIL...

I found this DELICIOUS recipe for a homemade ranch dressing. I was SOOOO excited that I couldn't wait.  I picked up the ingredients I needed after I got off work at 8 pm, drove home, and spent the next 45 min. putting it together with the rest of dinner (brown rice cooked in chicken broth with a touch of saffron, and pan-seared salmon in corn flour).  It took me a bit longer than the recipe calls for because I make my own mayonnaise, too.  (Once you try homemade mayo, you'll never want to go back!)  The first few tastes of my finished product were enough to make me swear loyalty to homemade ranch dressing forever!  And it really was EASY!!!  I already had a couple containers of cut up fresh veggies in the fridge to serve with it.  I took these pictures in the morning with the few veggies we had leftover.
Note: It didn't taste as strong this morning as it did last night, so be prepared to add a few more chives or other seasonings as needed.  My guess is that it lasts in the fridge for 5-7 days, being on the safe side.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Day at the Science Center

For the past 2 months or so, I've taken on a second job babysitting a 3-year-old boy from our branch 2 days a week.  I'm cutting back to just one day a week now that Xan is done with classes for the summer so that I can have a day to spend with him.  Xan didn't have class on Thursday and joined Conrad and I at the science center.
Conrad LOVES the science center.  They have a great outside play area.  Here's a bridge that you can build that demonstrates arches above.  Below, Conrad wanted to teach Xan how to do the "Triple Twirl" in the gathering place.  It is basically just jumping up and spinning once.  Xan was a good student as Conrad showed him how it was done.
Here's me and my buddy.
And me with my husband.
Got to love the science center!

Spanish Lentil Soup

While Xan liked the Coconut Lentil Soup, he still prefers the Spanish Lentil Soup.  Luckily for me, I love them both!
Serves 4 people
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour and 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils soaked overnight
Olive Oil
water
1 onion chopped
2 green peppers chopped
2 dried bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 - 1 cup sliced Spanish Chorizo (blood sausage)
In a large pot, combine the lentils, green peppers, bay leaves, a couple glubs of olive oil, and half of the chopped onions.  Fill the pot with enough water to cover all the ingredients plus an extra inch or two.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 min.
In a frying pan, fry the sliced chorizo and the rest of the onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add it to the simmering pot and continue cooking for another 20 minutes.
Serve over rice or with fresh artisan bread.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Do I Feel Like I Must Like Cake?

I don't like cake. I was a picky cake eater when I was a little girl. For example, by my 12th birthday, the only cake that I would eat was yellow cake with chocolate frosting. By the time I was 16, I just gave it up all together. It simply always made me feel nauseaus after eating. Too sugary and spongy.
I decided the other day that I was going to have to start baking again since I can't buy pre-made sweets and goodies due to the artificial ingredients involved. What was the first thing I was determined to make??? CAKE! Seriously? I don't even like cake. Why did I want to make cake!?
Well, I made a cake today. I'd like to say that I made a fabulous cake. I'd like to think that I was a good cook. Sadly, as I'm discovering more often than not in the kitchen, talented cooking comes with practice. A LOT OF PRACTICE. Baking comes with an infinite amount of practice. It calls for exactness and precision. Two things that ARE NOT my forte.
The results? Only one of my two cakes turned out decent. The other cake was thrown away. And now I sit here, still not a big fan of cake, yet still feeling determined to make a fantastic cake.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spanish Tortilla


I love potatoes.  They are my FAVORITE vegetable!  You can imagine how excited I was when my husband first introduced me to one of his favorite dishes that contains potatoes.  A Spanish Tortilla.  I think they are frequently called Frittatas here in the states...
Xan made this tortilla in the picture from his own expertise.  The time I tried to make one, it fell apart.  Xan admitted that his first few turned out that way too so I guess it takes practice.  Here is an equivalent recipe if you want to make your own.  Tortilla de Patatas.  Although our ingredient list is much smaller: Eggs, onion, potatoes, oil.... maybe salt.  I think that's about it.  You can also add leftover veggies like asparagus that you have lying around your fridge.
They taste great the next morning for breakfast, too.  So make a big one so you have some leftover.  We like to add a bit of ketchup to the dish for a bit of a dip.