Monday, May 23, 2011

A Scone Kind of Day

Mmm the pumpkin scone. I couldn't resist.

Every time I walk into Starbucks, I can't help but ogle at the display of pastries that sits next to the cash register. My eye always seems to end up at the awesomely delicious looking scones that are just calling out to me to take a bite. Sadly (and I guess gratefully), my discipline (well as much of it as I have these days) kicks in and I simply order my coffee.

But today, a day that I'm trying to do anything other than clean, I found some left over pumpkin puree that I figure I needed to use why not now.

Pumpkin puree + craving something delicious but not super sweet = pumpkin scone!

The scone is a pastry or bread that comes from Western Europe, and which we've adapted to obviously make bigger and sweeter in North America (since that's what we seem to do with all foods). Now since my family meals and delicacies as I was growing up centred around those treats from the Balkans, the scone was not in my mind's recipe index. My saviour?

These pumpkin scones were easy and quick to make, easy to alter if necessary or desired, and delicious to eat. They were definitely worth putting up with the extra heat from the oven on an already humid day. But about 30 minutes after my process of putting together and baking them, my husband's only suggestion was the addition of a cream cheese spread, filling, or topping to go with them. And I totally agree. Delicious on their own, yes. But just that added bit of cream cheese would make them even better.

Try them and enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Comfort food with style? What's better than gnocchi?

So it just seemed to be one of "those" days. Those "all I want to do is stay in bed, drink some cocoa, cuddle with my dog, and watch a movie" days seem to be creeping up a lot lately. Now there's a good chance that it all comes from the oh so fantastic weather of rain....and more rain....and rain...and let's not forget the teasing of sun, no sun, sun, no sun.

On my way home from, what seemed to be, way too long of a day of work, I couldn't help craving something comforting. I mean sure, there's always pizza or the quick pick up of some Thai Express. But comfort food is only really comfort food if it's made in the "comfort" of your home.  Ok, I know, way too many "comforts" in that sentence. But seriously, on a rainy and cold day like today, nothing could be better.

This was the perfect time for me to use the rest of the gnocchi I had sitting in my fridge, just waiting to be eaten.

I must say though, that I'm not a huge fan of pasta. So I wanted to get away from the "traditional" or more common pasta dish of some sort of noodles in a tomato based sauce. And thank you to for the recipe and idea of the night: Gnocchi Primavera.

This simple dish of gnocchi, zucchini, mushrooms, and roasted pine nuts tossed in some olive oil was easy to make, alter to my liking, and was a delicious side to the fish (for me) and chicken (for my husband) that I made to go with it.

So thank you for always being there when I need an idea or a recipe! : )

A delicious  mix of gnocchi, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, pine nuts,
olive oil, and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese for that extra bit of
something special. Unfortunately, the picture doesn't really do it justice.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's never bad when there's leftover rice

So my birthday was earlier this week, and to "celebrate" (it might be more honest if I say "thank people for putting up with me for 30 years") my husband and I decided to have our families come over for dinner. It's a great idea: experimenting with recipes and foods, having the chance to entertain, and enjoying some nice conversation with a warming glass of red wine. But cooking for a group of people always leads to one thing (for me that is): leftovers. I must admit that my mom always taught me that it's better to have too much than too little. Well, too much we did have. We were left with a large Corning-ware bowl full of a brown and wild rice mix.

I guess at first I had to question whether or not it was the rice, and if everyone just didn't want to eat it. But considering how much we started with (I definitely made a whole lot of extra rice), I was lucky there wasn't even more left over.

Actually, I may be using "lucky" in the wrong context here. I've actually come to realize how great leftover rice can be. Everything mixes well with rice. Everything. Want some sweetness? Make rice pudding. Add some raisins. Beef, pork, fish, eggs, any kind of vegetable; they all mix well with rice. So with this is mind, my "bad luck" was actually quite...lucky. I had a whole bowl of rice to use for dinner today. Meaning, I had a lot less to do and think about while making dinner.

Leftover rice+kale and mushrooms needing to be used up soon+some already peeled and cut up carrots that I didn't eat at lunch today=an easy mix of rice and veggies (with pieces of fresh parmesan cheese thrown in to add a little saltiness to it). I even threw in a poached egg on top for that extra dose of protein and a variety in texture.

Oh rice, thank you for being so easy to use and so easy to mix with anything I have on hand. And for that little bit of rice that I still have left...get ready for some rice pudding!!

And by the way, for next year's birthday, we'll definitely be dining out!