indian split pea soup with spinach, carrots and potatoes
November 24, 2010, 1:00 pm
Filed under: beans, carrots, recipe, soup, spinach | Tags: , , , ,

Back in the early days of our relationship I would occasionally make the dude a fancy soup. These health tonics, as I called them, were not much appreciated. Dude recalled later that he dumped the Beet greens soup I gave him for lunch. And I have captured on film the inimitable expression of *pain* that accompanied my personal favorite, the Indian Split Pea soup. Sigh. Dude did, however, struggle on gamely with the strange parade of healthy soups, and for that he got the big prize–the live-in cook (who sometimes makes him good desserts, right?!)

Well last night he said he was in the mood for soup. I have been on a carrot rampage of late, having bought two five pound bags of the things in separate shopping trips. We’re almost through the second bag! Woo hoo! So as I was googling I found this recipe. I kind of missed the indian part, but noticed that it called for a block of frozen spinach and it was labeled fast. So off we went.

The Food and Wine recipe. I really didn’t follow the instructions so much as it required two pots. And we can’t have that, now can we? Not when you don’t have a dishwasher you can’t.

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1 cup yellow or green split peas
9 cups water, more if needed
2 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled, 1 piece chopped
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound boiling potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Here’s what I did. I put the green split peas and 3 cups of water and a chunk of peeled ginger on to boil. I cooked them for about 10 minutes or so, they were still a tad crunchy. Then I added the chopped carrots jalapenos and potatoes. I only felt like using 2 carrots and found that that was enough. I added the spices. I cooked the soup again for about 10 minutes and then added the frozen block of spinach. The pot simmered along and the spinach slowly melted.

Additional googling revealed a review on cooking.com. She confirmed what I was afraid of, the soup needed more spice. She had some good tips for sauteing garlic and spices and adding them at the end (basically 2 garlic cloves, and another hit of all of the spices and more jalapenos and fennel). I might do that next time. But the extra pot thing, remember? So I just added more spices.

Serve with yogurt on top. Yum.

Next time I would do the extra saute step. If we get that dishwasher that is.


tricycle tart-AKA treacle tart–AKA fancy sugar pie
November 23, 2010, 6:34 am
Filed under: bread, dessert, recipe | Tags: , , ,

treacle tart is good!

Hard to believe that after so much anticipation the Harry Potter Premier has come and gone. Yes, we survived the midnight showing. The girl was so keen on this day. Sheesh! I put out a walkway of lumieres for their drive in from school (gets so dark early now!), just to add to the excitement.

I made a cardamom carrot cake for that night, and she thought/ hoped it was tricycle tart. She explained that treacle tart is Harry’s favorite. She thought it was pronounced tricycle tart which we all thought was pretty funny!

Anyhow I had some Lyle’s Golden Syrup in the house and I thought I’d try to make it.

You really need that syrup. I’d never used it before (must have bought it to make something, though I don’t know what). When I opened it up I knew it was unlike any other. It’s sugar cane syrup and it is so thick. Nuts man! I tasted it and after a while figured out what it reminded me of. Do you remember those little ice cream cone treats from the candy store? They had syrup inside and a solid bit at the top to keep it in the cone? That was some good eating. I never see them anymore, but the syrup in them –that’s golden syrup! But I digress.

Treacle Tart

For the pastry

1 cup flour
1 stick butter diced
1/2 cup sour cream

For the filling

1 1/2 cup golden syrup
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used two slices of wheat bread in food processor)
juice and zest one lemon
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Whiz flour and butter in food processor, add in sour cream. It’ll be crumbly but just starting to come together. Put on waxed paper and ball it up. Flatten into a disk and put in freezer for about 15 minutes.
Roll out to fit a 9 inch tart pan. Put gently into tart pan. Line with beans or pie weights. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 375. Remove beans and then bake another 5 minutes or until it looks like it’s a tad bit dried out in the middle.
Note: the pastry recipe I was using was in grams. So I estimated. The tart was pretty gloopy, but it worked and it was pretty flakey. Note: use parchment in between beans and shell. Don’t ask me about that.

Anyhow after your shell is ready, mix up the filling ingredients and pour into base. Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes. Serve cold. Whipped cream is good.

I tasted the filling while it was warm. Not so good. But cold this tart was pretty great! The lemony flavor was great.

cherry trees and climate change
November 17, 2010, 7:42 am
Filed under: farm, food issues, gardening | Tags: , ,

Been doing a lot of reading about climate change lately. You hear a lot about greenhouse gases and things, but it’s sometimes hard to get specific. It’s about the whole world, and rising sea levels and things like that. Hard to tell how it will really impact you, in your city or region.

But here’s a project that was intriguing–in michigan the climate has warmed up 2 degrees. And as a result cherry buds appear 7-10 days earlier. That doesn’t sound like much but that leaves the buds susceptible to early spring frosts. That meant that in 2002 the cherry growers lost 99% of their crop!

It’s a pretty big investment a farmer makes to plant trees or stay in the fruit tree business. How do you decide to expand, or to abandon ship? What a scary thought. On my little farmette scale, I sometimes feel overwhelmed about planning for the 5-10 year future of the garden. And I’ve really got nothing on the line financially to do so!

The cherry farmers gathered together an interdisciplinary team to study the effects of climate change to try and make some predictions that will help the industry decide what to do. They’ve looked at climate models and done all kinds of analyses to try and bring the predictions down to the microclimate level of their area in Michigan. I’m not sure they’ve wrapped up their analysis yet, and they’ve run out of funding I think, but I imagine that there are a lot of industry groups really starting to get serious about climate change impact on growing conditions.

See here: Climate change and cherry trees.