This is written from one week in the future, I am very sad to say. I have no access to my blog from my new job. Or to my gmail account. Luckily, though, I am able to fill most of my work hours doing work, which is very novel to me, and kind of fun. For now.
But enough about that! What, you ask, has Karen-in-the-Kitchen been up to?
More than you could imagine, actually. I'm kicking myself for not photographing the Todd-and-Erin dinner of Friday night, in which I made a fantastic triple-veggie-cheese dip as an appetizer, chicken breasts stuffed with roasted peppers, zucchini, pesto, and mozzarella (His Huffness did the stuffing, but I did everything else, including the pesto, from scratch), roasted carrots, parsnips, and leeks; and Chris made this neat rice with pine nuts and spinach, which he also made for me on our 2nd official date (there was a bonus date between the first and the second, but we agreed that one doesn't count), in which he totally impressed me -- in fact, I was pretty sure that I'd marry him after that meal).
For dessert: individual molten lava cakes (another Donna Hay creation; buy the book), garnished with dark chocolate and raspberries, and looking pretty much like the photo from her book, right. I even impressed myself.
Until later that night, actually, when I slammed my thumb in a door, but then couldn't remember which door... mmm, wine. Lots and lots of mmm....wine.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. My weekend of domesticking.
Chris had to work all day Saturday, then had a mess dinner at night, so I thought I'd dedicate myself to practicing my new aerobics releases (they're awesome!!!) and cooking ahead for the freezer.
I give, for your consideration, a soup!
Saturday evening's first oeuvre is to the left. Rich and creamy (yet moderately low in fat), you see a velvety root vegetable soup with figs. Oven-roasted carrots, parsnips and rutabaga were pureed with some ginger, sauteed onion, a few figs and skim milk to create a delicious autumn taste. The finishing touch: a dollop of sour cream and some chopped figs as garnish. Magnifique! Chris has even approved it for the first course of Thanksgiving dinner next week.
Once this was cooling on the stove, I switched modes to Karen-the-Baker. I pulled out my Eat, Shrink and Be Merry cookbook, which I highly recommend. Not only is it full of puns and delicious, healthy food, but they promise to respond to every single email they receive. I checked it out for myself last year, when I made "Marla's Maple Pork" from their Crazy Plates; it was so good that I wrote them fan mail, and I got a response before the day was out! Incredible. Unsolicited sales pitch: for a taste of the background principles (and general silliness), click here. Then buy their books (available at all major book stores)!!! Ok, back to me. I made the Bran New World muffins. Yum again! However, a tip to fibre-challenged types: one a day is plenty.
Finally (it being a bit past 10 pm), I set to work prep-cooking. I trimmed the stew beef, cut up carrots, potatoes and onions, and mixed everything up in the slow-cooker, to be turned on, bright and early Sunday morning. Sunday morning I was neither; who am I kidding?
Anyhoo, I got up just before 10, plugged it in, added the tomato paste, beef broth, and bay leaf, and left it to do its thing till 6:30, when voila! A hearty meal of home-cooked stew, complete with whole wheat scratch biscuits.
My goodness, can it get any better?
Well, this Saturday, hungover, I made a beautiful chocolate brownie trifle for Nat-and-Mario's housewarming.
(But, you ask, how could you have constructed such a fabulous dessert with a nearly broken thumb, a pounding headache, and a queasy stomach?)
Easy, sez I. 'Twas but a trifle.