Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stacia's Dinner

Stacia has been working on a Home Ec class this year. She's completed several sewing projects (PJ's, a dress, pillows, placemats), several knitting projects (hats and more hats and a scarf is in the works), and has learned a myriad of cooking tricks. She can bake cookies, cakes and cheesecake from scratch. She makes several entrees: Enchiladas, Tacos, Chicken Divan, Veggie Pot Pie... Part of her class has been participating in Raddish Cooking Club.  Each month she gets a box with a cookie tool, some conversation starters, three recipes and more. This month they all centered around an Irish Theme.

She asked to make dinner. I was her sous chef - I basically cleaned up and chopped. She did a great job.  In the video we ask - is this mint green or blue? There was an on-going debate about this on Saturday. LOL 

If you'd like to watch her preparing dinner, click here. If you don't want to miss future videos, subscribe and click the bell icon to get notifications. 

Everything was wonderful! I'll post recipes below. 

Lucky Leek and Potato Soup
A Traditional Irish comfort food - we understand why. 
2 lbs or Russet potatoes (about 4 small)
1 Onion
1 large Leek
3 T Butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 C vegetable Broth
1/2 C Heavy Cream (opt if you want it vegan)

Peel and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.

Dice onion.

Cut root away from leek. Slice both white and green parts into thin pieces. Wash leeks in colander until water runs clear. Add to onions.

Saute leek and onion in butter. Add salt and paper. Cook until soft, 6-8 minutes

Add broth and potatoes.  Bring to boil. Cover and simmer on low 15-20 minutes.

Puree soup until smooth. (We may leave some potato chunks in the future).

Irish Cottage Pie
An authentic savory pie. 
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes (about 3)
1 T  + 1 tsp salt (salt to taste)
1 onion
2 carrots
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 tsp garlic powder (we used quite a bit more)
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 tsp thyme
1 T tomato paste
3 T flour
1 1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C frozen peas (used corn instead)
1/3 C milk
3 T butter

Preheat oven to 450*.

Peel potatoes, cut in to 1 inch pieces, add to large pot, cover with water and 1 T salt. Bring to biol over high heat, reduce heat to medium. Cook until tender, 20 min. Drain.  Continue to prepare filling while you wait.

Dice onion and carrots.  Heat oil in pan over medium high heat. Add carrots and onions. Cook util softened, 6-8 min.

Add beef, salt, garlic powder, worcestershire, thyme, and tomato paste. Break beef into small pieces.

Add flour, broth, and peas. Bring to boil. Cook until thick, about 2 min. Add filling to 8x8  baking pan (ours was a bit bigger).

Mash potatoes with butter and milk.

Spread potatoes even on top of filling.

Bake until potatoes are browned and filling is bubbling, about 15 min.

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Irish-style pudding - a dense cake topped with toffee sauce! 
Tastes WAY better than it looks! 

Date Cake
8 oz pitted dates (1 1/4 C)
1 1/4 C water
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick butter
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350*.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.

Add dates, water and baking soda to pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to med-low and cook 3 min. Turn off heat, cool 2 min. Add date mixture to blender. Blend until smooth.

Add softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Add eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt to blender. Blend just until combined.

Pour into pan. Bake 30 -34 min, until toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients: Toffee Sauce (Prepare AFTER baking)
1/2 C cream
1 1/4 C brown sugar
6 Tb butter
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt

Add cream, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to medium pot.

Bring sauce to boil over high heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Poke holes in cake with a toothpick. Pour half of the sauce on top.

Serve cake warm, topped with extra sauce.

It FEELS Like Spring

I know, I know, I know. It's NOT Spring. It may not even be Break-up. I haven't any real clue. I've been told March will be full of warm, melty days and then inches of wet, heavy snow!  Break-up comes when? March? April? Break-up IS Spring? Break-up signals Spring's arrival? I've been told this is not break-up yet.

WHATEVER - it feels like Spring. Temps broke 40*.  It was a great day. Michael had a sleepless night - and I got 4 hours of sleep - so the weather was just the pick me up we needed around here.

 Michael and Izaak took the insulation off the RV in order to get the RV's engine started. This proved to take a lot longer than expected. Look at the chunk of ice the RV is sitting on. In the end, it started.

Nolan and Alex will be joining the older 3 boys for another 4 day epic hike up Resurrection Pass in May. The training has begun. Alex is spending an hour a day on the elliptical.  Nolan declared it a good day for a long walk. He loaded his pack with 30 lbs of books and he, Stacia and I took off. 

Question of the day: How does white snow magically turn brown when it melts off the mountain? ::snort;; Obviously, we still have lots of snow...but the roads are clear and it was a glorious day for a long walk.  Nolan calculated our walk at 5 - 6 miles.  I should have taken a clue from the kids - the sweatshirt was too warm by the end of the walk.

As we headed back to our road, Nolan got a phone call. Don't  you love cell phones? Alex, Arielle and Benny were out walking and wondered where we were. We met up and headed home. It was a pit stop for me, Nolan and Stacia called it a day.

Alex, Arielle, Benny and I decided to walk on down to get the mail - another 1.5 miles. Yuuki gave out on the last .25 mile. I felt like giving out at the same spot - but there was noone to carry ME.  I walked at least 6.5 miles - got my steps in - FINALLY.

Back at home, Michael had gotten the RV started and dug trenches through the snow berms...trying to direct the melt.  I got 3 blog posts published, and two videos saved to YouTube.  I did NOT figure out how to do the videos in Lightroom - but I got them done with Movie Maker.  Stacia made us a wonderful St. Patrick's day dinner (post to follow), Michael did swallowing exercises, we watched "Leap" and then the kids called it a day. 

I'm on a quest to find alternate planting containers for my seedlings. I refuse to pay for any more trays and have hundreds of seeds to go. Ideas? 

Responses to comments I've heard: 
1. I know you don't think it can be Spring with 2 feet of snow on the ground - but it feels like it. 

2. It is a DRY heat up here - yes, 35*, 40*, feels WARM - and IS shirt-sleeve weather.  I am not being careless with the children's health. 

3. I am planting seeds now to get a jump start on our very short growing season. 

4. Michael is not always left at home working - he stays home as long walks are no longer comfortable for him. When he wants to go, he does and pays the price. He encourages me to go. 

5. Break-up - the time when the snow melts from the mountains and homes and rushes down to creeks and rivers. It's a mess.....and then Spring arrives - or maybe that is spring in Alaska....I've not figured it out.