chicks 'n eggs

I don't have time for Easter crafts this year, but I'm still having fun looking and planning...

easter grass eggs
bunnies that double as napkins
simple grass candles
patchwork fabric eggs
candy-hiding carrots
pussy willow nests
or how about chocolate nests
homemade chocolate bunnies for those of us that hate the cheap waxy kind
finger-puppet bunnies
sweet little rabbit softie
crazy easter birdie with the cutest little baby chick
and my favourite idea yet, a sock bunny!


buttermilk waffles

These buttermilk waffles are from the original Joy of Cooking, which has the reputation of being a most reliable cookbook for basic recipes and techniques, but I don't use it much for things other than breakfast foods, baking recipes, and meat-cooking techniques.

In fact, I find the vegetables section hopelessly and hilariously dated -- lima bean casserole or cooked lettuce, anyone?

But after I give that section a chuckle, I move on to the 'griddle cakes' chapter, which includes lots of variations of pancakes, crepes, waffles, and, well, griddle cakes.

my fave combo of 1/2 berries and yogurt, 1/2 pure maple syrup

My small issue with buttermilk anything is that I'm left with half a carton of buttermilk to go bad in my fridge. But apparently, I could freeze leftover buttermilk and use it later with good results in baking and cooking. Have you tried this?

classic buttermilk waffles
makes 5-6 waffles

2 C flour
1/4 teas baking soda
1 1/2 teas double-acting baking powder
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 teas salt
2 eggs, separated
1 3/4 C buttermilk
6 Tbs melted butter

In large bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, beat 2 egg yolks, then add and beat together buttermilk and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

In clean bowl, beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter, being careful not to swish too many of the air bubbles. Cook batter in waffle iron.


green pea soup

Need some festive fare for St. Patty's Day dinner tonight? Let me suggest Donna Hay's pea and potato soup with mint. Mmmm, good.

This hearty winter soup comes from the gal who gave us minty mushy peas. Don't be alarmed by minty soup -- it's not overwhelming. The herb just adds a layer of flavour that suits the peas and potatoes just fine.

pea and potato soup with mint
adapted from Donna Hay
serves 4

3 C frozen green peas
3-4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 C chicken stock
1/2 C milk or cream
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper

optional additions:
1/2 C sour cream
1 teas freshly ground black pepper
2 pork sausages

Bring peas, potatoes and stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until potatoes are done, about 15 mins. Working in batches, roughly puree soup in blender. Return to saucepan and add milk/cream, mint, and pepper. (Season with salt, if necessary.) Heat until hot. Ladle into serving bowls and serve alone, with pepper sour cream, and/or with fried sausages.

To serve with pepper sour cream, blend sour cream and black pepper together. Top soup with a dollop of the mixture.

To serve with sausages, slice sausages into thick rounds. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, fry until golden and crispy. Divide among serving bowls.


stick it to the man with ribbons

I always assumed copyright law was meant to protect a company from other corporate competitors, not from hobby crafters selling a handful on Etsy. Guess I was wrong! Exhibit A: Chez Beeper Bebe's tale.

Not sure when I'll get to it, but her adorable baby toy is now on my list of things to make. A list, by the way, that's one of my favourites in my list of lists -- adding creative and inspiring ideas never gets old. And unlike most of the other lists, I love that I never get to cross off everything and have to move on.


cheddar and herb biscuits

We had some killer biscuits last night. These cheesy flaky treats acted as a great distraction from an otherwise boring meal of just soup. They would also make for a yummy sandwich -- a little lettuce, tomato, and ham -- or for a fun brunch alongside eggs n' bacon.

herb and cheddar biscuits
based on recipe in Bon Appetit
makes 12 large biscuits

3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 teas baking soda
1 1/4 teas salt
1/2 C chilled unsalted butter, plus another tablespoon or two melted for brushing
2 1/2 C (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 C chopped fresh parsley or chives
1 3/4 C chilled buttermilk (or regular milk with the juice of 1/2 lemon; let sit for a couple minutes to curdle)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, powder, soda, and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter cubes and blend until coarse meal forms. Mix in grated cheese and fresh herbs. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will be pretty sticky.)

Drop generous 1/2 cups of batter on prepared baking sheets, spacing the mounds a couple inches apart. Bake biscuits until golden and tester comes out clean, 18-20 mins. (You may need to turn/swap the two baking sheets halfway through so all the biscuits bake evenly.) Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Let cool a 5-10 minutes before serving.


chicken pie

I am loving my new cookbook, Donna Hay's The Instant Cook. Simple and delicious food. And when I say I am loving it, I mean I've made no less than 3 of her dishes in the last 3 days. Yep, I'm hooked.

Since I always have store-bought puff pastry in the freezer, and usually some frozen chicken on hand too, this chicken pie will be great when I don't seem to have anything fresh to make. I trust I'm not the only one who stares into my fridge thinking I have nothing for dinner (or into my closet thinking that I have nothing to wear), so I get excited about meals I can whip up from freezer staples.

chicken pie
Adapted from The Instant Cook by Donna Hay
serves 4

2 chicken breasts
olive oil
1-2 sheets ready-made puff pastry, thawed (I used only one sheet, but my chicken breasts weren't very big.)
2 Tbs grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
2 teas dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard and cheeses. Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until chicken is almost done but still very moist. Depending on the thickness of the meat, this takes about 4 minutes a side. Remove from pan and cut each breast in half.

On lightly floured counter, roll out pastry until 1/8" thick. Cut 4 circles for the bases and 4 slightly larger circles for the tops. The size of the rounds depends on the size of your chicken pieces, but will probably be about 5" diameter.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 4 pastry bottoms on paper. Top each with chicken piece and 1/4 of the mustard/cheese mixture. Brush pastry edges with beaten egg and top with other round of pastry, pinching the edges together to seal. Brush top and edges with egg. Bake for 20 minutes, or until pies are golden and the chicken is cooked through.