Monthly Mélange: April 2010


Just to sum up my last week of the April challenge, “No Repeats” — LAME! Ahahaha, not the food, just me. I really only had two nights where I could cook this last week, and we opted for a ‘spread’ meal on Thursday. You’ll learn more about “spread” meals soon, but let’s just say that it doesn’t necessarily involve any cooking… The other meal I made was pretty darn good – Miso Vegetables & Tofu (from 101 Cookbooks).

To sum up the whole month, this has been a great challenge. I wanted variety in my cooking, and I got it!! I took the opportunity to dig into my cookbooks a little more, and made peace with the fact that they aren’t the kind of cookbooks I need (so I don’t feel bad not reaching for them all the time). Seriously, how many vegetarians actually make all of the “loaves” that are in some of these books? Argh!!

Just say ‘No’ to Food Waste!
I think I’m going to make this a regular entry in my rundown. Just because the official challenge is over doesn’t mean it isn’t still a part of my life! After collecting cutoffs from my veggies for over a month (think mushroom stems, herb stems, onion ends, other veggie ends that you don’t feel like eating but aren’t gross), I used my bag of frozen bits and bobs to make broth. I didn’t follow a long recipe, just sautéed some onions first, then the frozen stuff, topped it off with a ton of water and simmered for a nice long time. The broth was fantastic!! Who says veggie broth has to be watery… 🙂 I have continued to collect the ‘veg bits’, as well as shrimp shells, and have used both (and another special ingredient) to make an incredible broth for an upcoming post… tee hee hee.

One small ‘boo’ to add to this… I lost a half a bag of frozen veg bits to my own exuberance. I had added some new bits to the bag, had zipped it closed, and shook it a little bit too hard… the zipper popped open and my bits got strewn across the floor. 🙁 Le sigh. Let’s take a minute of silence for the poor lost bits.

I Made This!
The (New) Brunswick Stew was a huge success. Technically, I made it at the end of March, but I wasn’t allowed to post about it until April because it was the Daring Cooks challenge for April. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this stew, because I wasn’t really in the mood for stew when the challenge was first posted. Once I finished all of the leftovers, however, I kinda wished I had made the batch for 12 instead of cutting it down to 4. Next time.

Party in My Mouth
Aww, come on! You know what this is about — cupcakes! April was an amazing month for the sweet treats… On the other hand, I picked up a Jelly Belly “problem” and am now self-rehabilitating. I’m trying to cut down on sugar, in general, so that’s new…

Monthly Spice
Paprika. I put that s**t on everything! Seriously, I think I pick recipes just because they call for a buttload of paprika. Sweet paprika, smoked paprika… and the other day I ventured into the spice store in Kensington Market and found their stash of around 20 different kinds of paprika. I feel a blog post coming on!! First, I need to research the difference between Spanish and Hungarian paprika.

Mystery Ingredient

Shameful Secrets
No secret. I have now become a cupcake.

I’ve started to collect some herb plants for my balcony forest.  I really like the idea that I can just pop out there to grab some fresh herbs, green onion and eventually some tomatoes and salad greens. I am a little concerned that they will all die when I go on vacation, but what can I do?