So many Green Beans.

Ok, Ok, I'm now feeling it. A little more inspired. A little more rested and a little more alive. Feeling like I'm not just breathing deeply when I inhale but also letting a big sigh when I exhale. I've actually managed to get a couple of things done. There is fresh corn in the freezer and also some wild blueberries. All ready for winter to come and remind me of the tasty bounty of summer. I might even can some peaches!!

I've been reading some interesting books this summer. The Stieg Larsson trilogy is almost done now and what a ride! Another book that I picked called 'Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations' has proven to be very interesting so far. I'm not very far into the book but the author's have done a great job thus far of documenting how historically food has had much to do with whether or not civilizations not just survive but thrive. What will be interesting is how they apply that history to our own present food industry situation. I'll keep you all posted. I'm really enjoying beans and peas this season.

I've been growing some lovely specimens on my back deck with decent success and I've also been getting some great stuff from the food box. In short, I've got a lot of green beans. I've been putting beans in everything and they kind of just mix in. This recipe, however, features beans front and centre. It could be a side dish I suppose but we've just been eating it with some rice and calling that supper. The spices that I used are a bit of a mishmash but I liked it. Feel free to adapt to your own tastes. I actually found this really tasty although - just thinking out loud here - fried tofu would be great too.

Spicy Green Beans and Sausage
serves 4 (or so)

3 cups of green beans
3 LARGE hot italian sausage (feel free to use another sausage if you wish), cut into large chunks
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced mushroom
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle powder (or something spicy)
small handful of basil, minced
salt to taste
splash of water, wine or stock.

Heat a large pot on top of the stove. Throw in a bit of oil for sauteing and add in the onion, green beans and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes or so. Add in the chunks of Italian Sausage. Saute for another 7 minutes. Add in the spices and mix well. Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook for another five minutes. Add a splash of liquid as needed. Check the tastes and adjust if necessary.
Serve over rice.

It's too early for stuffing.

I'm already feeling it. It's only the middle of August my peeps but I'm already anticipating it.

The beginning of school.
I work at a school as a Vocal Coach which means that unlike most of you, I get the summer off. From September through June though I work like a dog. I teach at the school and then come home and teach privately in my home studio. It's a hustle and, to be honest, I'm not anticipating the September through June hustle at all. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and am not complaining about it ('cause I know what all'ya are thinking ya know). Still, my baby (kid #2) is off to JK in September and I'll miss his first day of school - softly muffled crying in the background. It's only just now that I'm beginning to feel rested and things are about to get crazy again! Meh, let's look on the bright side right? Just around the corner will be great apples and pears and beautifully coloured leaves, cool nights AND the half marathon that I'm training for.

So here I am thinking about stuffing things already. Stuffing isn't supposed to be happening until October, I know. I'm just, well, already looking ahead I guess. Whatevah, I'm stuffing these things. I don't even like stuffed turkey anyway - this looks a whole lot more interesting to me. Let's be honest though, this stuff isn't going to change your life. This is stuff that gets you through the week. It tastes good. It doesn't take forever. It's got lots of vegetables. It's not fancy.
Works for me.

Stuffed Veggies
Serves 4 as a main course

3 medium sized zucchini
4 medium sized Peppers (any colour)

3 cups of cooked rice
1 lb minced beef (could use pork, lamb or turkey)
1/2 cup minced onion (I used green onion)
1 rib of celery, diced small
2 cups of mushrooms, chopped
2 - 3 cups of spinach, chopped
insides of the zucchini once they've been scooped out, chopped small
8 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Soy Sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
1 tbsp oregano
dash of chipotle powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup (or so) of cheddar, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Halve the peppers and cut out any insides. Scoop out the Zucchini's and reserve the insides. In large heated pot, saute the veggies in 2 tbsp of oil (your choice). Once the veggies are softened add in the minced beef and mix well. Let it cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat down a bit and add in the Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Sugar and spices. Mix well. Remove from the heat and add in the cooked rice. Mix well. Check the taste and adjust as necessary.

Stuff each Pepper and Zucchini as much as you can (You might still have some rice leftover). Bake for about 20 min. Remove from oven and add the cheese to the top of each stuffed veggie. Bake for another 15 - 20 min.
Cool slightly before eating or enjoy at room temperature.

Lemon Drizzle Loaf

Well here it goes. My big confession. I'm not a fan of the oldies. Nope. Not at all. I don't love fifties music. I'm not gaga over the Beatles. As a forty year old white woman, this is quite declaration, I realise. However, on the weekend kid #1 was performing in a huge street festival that takes place here in Toronto, '
Taste of the Danforth'. She was dancing hip-hop, jazz... that kind of thing. Before her first performance, she and some of her class friends were telling me that they were dancing to some 'oldies'. Now when I think of oldies it's fifties music that comes to mind. However, when they got up to dance here is what was playing:

I've got the Power (proper name is 'The Power')
Girls just wanna have fun... and even a piece by 'New Radicals' called 'You get what you Give'

OLDIES!!! What the What??? To be fair, I think that they meant 'Old School' but whatever - I felt like a complete antique.

Now Lemon Loaf is an oldie - no doubt about it. This is one oldie that I love. Anything lemon is most welcome in my belly truth be told. However when I saw this ... YES, in the UK Delicious Magazine, it was just enough of a twist on the old classic as to grab my interest. Here's the thing. It's not just the regular 'add lemon zest and lemon juice' business. With this recipe you through the whole lemon (2 lemons to be exact) in a blender or food processor and whiz the things into oblivion. Cool.

Finally tried the recipe and it's turned out very tasty. It's VERY lemony - yeah!!! I had to bake mine for a bit longer than the recipe indicated and although the edges are a bit dark it was none the worse for wear. I also changed up the icing a little bit because when I made it to the recipe it was just too runny. The crumb is very nice too, it's a little bit coarser in texture because the whole lemon stuff is in the loaf. It works though.

Lemon Drizzle Cake (adapted from Delicious Magazine UK)
serves 8 - 110

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 lemons
300 g self raising flour*
440 sugar
4 large eggs

40 g butter
400 g icing sugar, sifted
juice of half an orange (or mix with lemon juice)

* to make self-raising flour, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and a dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a large (2 litre) loaf pan.
Chop up the lemons and whiz in the blender or food processor until finely chopped (take out any seeds). Add the butter, sugar and eggs and whiz until smooth. Mix with the flour and pour into loaf pan. Bake about 1 hr or until a cake tester comes out clean (I was about 8 minutes over or so). Remove from oven and cool completely (turn onto a cooling rack once it's cooled just a little).

Icing: Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until it's the desired consistency. If it's too runny add more icing sugar little by little. Ice the loaf once it has cooled completely.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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