Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dark Days week 2: Concoction

Really, I should call this meal, "Clean out the fridge before you move and cook it all in one frypan." The cookbook where I saw the original recipe named it "Sludge," but I didn't think that sounded too appetizing so I've renamed it, "Concoction." Just like last week's one-pot meal, this one can make use of almost anything you happen to have on hand. I forgot to take a picture, which is just as well since it tastes much better than it photographs.

So here was this week's local dinner. All ingredients came from the Farmers' market except where noted.

Cleaning out the Fridge Concoction
(Serves two adults and one preschooler who didn't like it, but that's his problem)

1/3 lb ground beef (from our share of a local cow)
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (Note: I've been putting garlic in almost everything ever since I heard the Croatians think it wards off the little piggy flu. Hey, it can't hurt!)
1 tomato, diced and bad part cut off
1 cup dried pasta (not local -- I already packed my pasta maker)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I use local Tillamook)
Salt, pepper, basil (not local)

Fry ground beef and onion until beef is no longer pink. Add carrots. Wait a little then add garlic. Add tomato. Add two cups water and bring to a boil. When concoction is boiling, add pasta, basil, salt & pepper and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Reduce heat, top with cheddar and cover until cheese is melted. Tell your family it's a gourmet meal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Board games with Munchkin

Everything was going great until...

The green little gingerbread man fell over!!! Call the paramedics! Get the truck! Put him on a stretcher! He's hurt! He can't play anymore! Send in the red gingerbread man!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Purple Elephant in the press!

A long-time friend (we go all the way back to middle school!) has printed a review of my book The Purple Elephant on one of her blogs. Check it out here or drop by The Purple Elephant website to put your name in a drawing for a free copy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One local dinner (week 1)

The 3rd Annual Dark Days Challenge begins today, and I celebrated by cooking an almost an entirely local dinner without even planning it! For those unfamiliar with the challenge, the goal is to eat one meal/week which is made up of only foods found locally. Easy in summer, tougher in winter. Many people preserve summer produce and then use their stored food to create their local meals. I am trying the challenge with the added twist that since we are about to move, I have already used up as much of my pantry and freezer stash as possible. There's still some local food in there, but not much, so I'll be sourcing my ingredients weekly. For my purposes, local means the state of Oregon. We'll see how it goes!

Since we are moving in two weeks, I’ll count my blessings and write up this evening’s dinner for my first post. If I don’t post next week, it’s because the contents of my kitchen are packed and we’re eating take-out. (Shhh! Don’t tell Laura!)

Anyway, I think I’ve posted this recipe before, but it’s become an old standby and it’s sure great on a night we need a quick dinner. I call my recipe “Egg Scramble,“ since I can’t stand Scrambled Eggs. Pretty funny, but this dish contains so much good stuff that I hardly notice the eggs.

I purchased everything but the cheese, salt & pepper at a local farmers’ market. The eggs were huge -- the egg lady said her hens lay really large eggs this time of year, when they aren’t on strike. I lucked out and the chickens were working. I used only three eggs for two adults and a preschooler, but if they had been normal size I would have used four. Here’s my recipe, which I created based on a meal at a local restaurant. I never make it the same way twice. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures.

Egg Scramble

1 medium potato, skin on, sliced very thin (any variety will work, but red is prettier)
1/2 large leek, both white & green parts, diced (you can substitute an onion, but I think the leek tastes better and besides, the green adds color)
1 bell pepper, diced (red or orange is pretty)
1 large clove garlic, minced or diced
2-3 strips bacon, diced (we used up the bacon from our pig long ago so I also bought this at the farmers‘ market)
3-4 eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I use local Tillamook)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, fry bacon. Remove & drain. In the same pan, fry potato slices in olive oil. When potato starts to soften, add leek. Add bell pepper. Add garlic. Add fried bacon. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat slightly. Add eggs to frypan and stir until they are cooked. Turn heat to low, top with grated cheese, and cover pan until cheese is melted. Salt & pepper to taste. Serves 2. Tastes best with a hot homemade blueberry muffin on the side.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Delayed remorse

This afternoon, Scott was in the car when Munchkin began asking questions about Christmas lights. They talked a little and then Munchkin was quiet. A few minutes later, he let out a small cry.

Scott asked what was wrong and Munchkin wailed in the pathetic manner only a 4-year-old can that the gingerbread man didn't have legs anymore. At age two Munchkin ate an ornament off our tree, and he just realized what he did. Click here for the original post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dennis the Menace moment

We closed on our house -- all done, signed, and delivered. Now all that's left is to pack, find a new home and move! Before I leave the "selling" part of the process, I had to share one story...

The whole-house inspection by Mr. Scary (not his real name) was almost complete and it looked like we would pass (whew!). The buyer took notes as the inspector walked her around the house making comments. He opened the cabinet under the kitchen sink, pointed to an electrical cord leading to the disposal and told the buyer that it needed to be tied up to something. As the inspector was about to close the cabinet, Munchkin piped up helpfully, "There's a whole bunch of ants in there, too!"