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7 ways to preserve tomatoes for winter

This one will be short, friends, because let’s face it, we all should be canning this weekend. Tomatoes are still lining the aisles at local markets, heaped high in baskets and waiting to be brought home and put up for the winter.

Around here, tomatoes take front and centre in fall preserving. Rather than introduce a new recipe, I though I’d shine a light on a handful from the archives that are tested and perfected to the max.

Take your pick between a simple slow cooker ketchup or a classic Marinara sauce. Stick to whole canned tomatoes or choose to preserve them already crushed. Just get busy!

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How to make a squash soup tureen | Simple Bites

How to make a soup tureen from a squash

If you’re like me, you keep a fairly trim collection of serving dishes and the ones you own are multi-purpose to save on space and money. I’m a big fan of oven-to-table cookware for that exact reason.

Here’s what I don’t own and probably never will: a soup tureen. I’ve seen them in kitchen stores, usually taking the shape of an enormous head of cabbage or a rooster. The fact is, I’m not even sure if soup tureens suit my style. I certainly don’t have a place to store one, especially if it only is used a handful of times a year.

Ebay lists gazillions of pumpkin-shaped soup tureens, but why not just make your own out of a real pumpkin or squash? That is what I did recently for a weekend dinner where butternut & leek soup was the main event.

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Spinach Crepes with Maple-Stewed Blueberries | Simple Bites #breakfast #brunch #recipe

Spinach Crepes with Maple-Stewed Blueberries

The evening I prepped this recipe was just like any other. I puttered barefoot in the kitchen to the tunes of Buena Vista Social Club, music I am revisiting and finding as just moving as the first time I heard ‘Chan Chan‘.

I cracked eggs and beat them with flour, melted butter and sauteed spinach into a crepe batter that would chill while we slept, or supposedly slept. There was no way I could have known what the night held, although little Clara had been nursing a cough during the day and was reaching for me to cuddle more than usual.

The last of my prep finished, the table set for the morning, and the final email sent, I headed upstairs to wind down for the night. It was close to eleven, and it had been a long day. A long week. A leisurely Saturday morning breakfast and the whole weekend stretched out before us, full of projects and plans, among them an autumn hike in the fall foliage of the Laurentians.

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eggs

Weekend links

A few of us are down with colds this weekend, so this one will be short. Be sure to tune in Tuesday for our favourite new brunch recipe.

Have a wonderful weekend, all.

chicken stock

Homemade bouillon cubes

This is one of those cooking tricks that I’ve always done without thinking much about it, but it’s probably time to share. They say the secret is in the sauce, but these little gelatinous lumps are the secret to the sauce!

I had quite a bit of leftover pork stock from my head cheese project, and after freezing several jars, I decided to reduce the rest down further for a soup enhancer known as bouillon.

I tossed store-bought liquid and cube bouillon from my pantry a very long time ago. The amount of  salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and hydrogenated oil (trans fat) that they contain just isn’t something I want to feed my family. Why make a soup from scratch only to then add a highly processed ingredient? (Remember Shaina’s story?)

Instead, in addition to homemade stock, I flavour soup and sauces with natural aromatics – fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese, dried mushrooms, chilies, garlic, spices, vinegars – and homemade bouillon like this.

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