tomato, chickpea, and roasted red pepper soup

I know it feels like I just posted a soup, but I just gotta give you this one too. I'm sorry I don't have a better picture for you, but I promise it's delicious nonetheless. A little spicy and very tasty.

tomato, chickpea, and roasted red pepper soup

(I changed up this Martha recipe)
serves 4

2 garlic cloves, minced
a scant 1/2 teas red-pepper flakes
1/2 teas cumin
course salt
a couple Tbs olive oil
1 can 19-oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups roughly cut canned plum tomatoes, with juice
1 roasted red pepper*, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
sour cream for garnish

*Don't bother with the jarred variety -- making your own roasted peppers is really simple. Either place your pepper over an open gas flame or under the oven broiler until it is blackened on all sides. Once it's blackened, seal it up in a bag and let the pepper steam for 10-15 minutes, until the skin seems like it would slip right off. Using a paring knife, peel off the blackened skin, cut it open, remove the seeds and roughly chop.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, and a pinch of course salt together. Use the the back of a small spoon to crush into a paste.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic mixture, and cook until softened, a few minutes. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and stock. Simmer, stirring often for about 15 minutes.

Let cool a bit and then puree soup in a blender. Rewarm, if necessary. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Optional -- Enjoy leftovers at work and momentarily forget you're among a room full of coworkers as you audibly mmmmm over your yummy soup.


repurposed, remade

I am really enjoying this woman's ability to breathe new life into her old clothes (my faves are how she saved her cardigan and how she turned a kid's scary jumpsuit into a cute handbag.)

Since I got my sewing machine, I haven't really been tempted to make my own clothes. I'm quite happy with quilting. But when I see how a few simple measures can create an entirely new item, it makes me kind of excited to raid my closet and delve into the world of repurposing and remaking.


carrot and coriander

It's been a while since I posted a soup recipe. And that's not at all reflective of how much soup we eat around here. It's just so warm and easy, who wouldn't want to eat it several nights a week? (probably my husband, for one, but he's too polite to say anything)

Well this carrot soup is one of our ol' standbys. It's great for the days when practically all we have in the fridge is a bag of carrots.

Try substituting basil for cilantro -- yumm.

carrot cilantro soup
4 servings

olive oil
8 large carrots, peeled and grated
about 1 C fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
4-6 C chicken or veggie broth
1/2-1 C milk or a swig of cream -- optional, but adds a nice creaminess

Grate the carrots into a medium saucepan. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil and put over medium heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the carrots change colour slightly. Add enough broth to cover the carrots and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stir in the cilantro and simmer another few minutes. Run the hot soup through a blender to puree. Finally, add a bit of milk and reheat, if necessary.


lo snack: yogurt with berries and toasted hazelnuts

In Italy, they say lo snack. No kidding. The Italian language, like any modern language, imports words, and often the words take the article 'lo'... I guess, to make it more Italian sounding. Lo scooter. Lo stress. Lo snack. Well I, for one, got a kick out of asking for lo snack.

And since we're on a bit of a travelogue... the origin of today's featured snack is from my time in New Zealand. While I was there, I lived as a WWOOFer (I knew it as 'willing workers on organic farms' but the organization has apparently changed its acronym to 'world wide opportunities on organic farms') for a while on Banks Peninsula. Between chopping firewood and tending the gardens, I learned a few food tricks from my host, who was an amazing neighborhood gossip and chef.

Her style was kind of rustic French -- lots of whole foods served on wooden cutting boards. Delicious. Before the steaks seared with fresh blackberries and maple syrup, and loaves upon loaves of bread, she served me this picturesque treat for breakfast: a bowl of warm berries, a bowl of cold plain yogurt, and a handful of freshly toasted hazelnuts, rolling around on a wooden board with a cloth cocktail napkin tucked under a tarnished silver spoon. I felt like a queen.

To recreate this simple but tasty fare, heat a small handful of frozen berries (I use my handy microwave) and top with yogurt, plain or vanilla. Meanwhile, quickly toast a handful of hazelnuts under the broiler. Pour nuts over yogurt and buon appetito!


crispy crackers

Remember these? I've made them before. And keep getting requests to make them again...


jonesin' for my stamps

I haven't played with my rubber stamps for a while, but this creative lady sure makes me want to!! Check out her 'hand-carved stamp tutorial.'

pucker up

Can anyone help me out here??

How in the world do you stop seams from puckering at the intersections of a quilt? Is it happening because I don't baste well enough? In a perfect world there would be no excess fabric between seams, but I have yet to have absolutely no slack on both sides. So if anyone has any pointers on preventing this look, I'm all ears!


skies are gray

A surprise. She loved it. I knew she would.
That makes us both happy.

- front -

- back -

- close ups -


not your average mushy peas

I think it's so funny that 'mushy' is used to describe food. 'Mushy peas' just sounds so unappetizing. But no longer. By adding mint and parmesan, your frozen peas become respectable and delectable!

This great idea comes from Donna Hay. I can't remember what book it's from...The Instant Cook? New Food Fast maybe? Sorry, can't remember.

Truth be told, I usually make this without the mint. Only in the summer time do I ever have mint on hand. And if it's summer time, I'm too busy enjoying fresh corn on the cob, lettuce from the farmers' markets, and crazy beautiful heirloom tomatoes to be bothered with frozen peas. But since those days are far, far away, this excellent recipe for mushy peas will do me fine.

(minty) mushy peas
serves 4

3 cups frozen peas
2/3 C chicken stock
a bit of butter
black pepper
2 Tbs chopped mint leaves
2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese

Put peas and stock in saucepan over medium heat and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes or so, until the peas are soft and the broth is steamy. Remove from heat and roughly mash with the butter. Stir in mint and parmesan and add pepper to taste.

I love serving this in little ramekins -- they keep the peas warm longer and the stock can't run away. And for some reason, folks seem impressed by little servings of things.


milk n' cookies

Three cheers for ginger cookies!

I usually halve this recipe 'cause it makes a ton, but I was sleeping on the job tonight and ended up making a whole batch. 4 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups butter (!!) later, I have a lot of yummy ginger cookie dough in the freezer.