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Posts from the ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

2010 bread count = two

June 26, 2010

zora naki

first time doing the mixing/rising in the bread machine before rolling and baking the bread in the oven. When i read the instructions, it just seemed like extra work, but the finished quality is nice – lighter than some of the loaves i’ve done entirely in the bread machine. Used sea salt with ground herbs and it adds a lovely flavour to the finished product. Next time – spritz the inside of the oven with water to crisp up the crust.

father’s day trout burgers

June 20, 2010

zora naki

I invented trout burgers for dinner tonight – delish!

1 lb trout, chopped
1/2 small onion, minced
2 eggs
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp dill weed
juice of a lime
1/2 cup panko (bread crumbs)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together and form into five patties (205 calories each). Chill for 20 minutes before cooking. Fry over medium heat in a non-stick pan, using olive oil spray.

We served them with mustard, cheater’s tartar sauce (mayo, capers, relish), pan-fried mushrooms, and slicer dills on sourdough buns – extremely yummy.

happy father’s day!

the ikea kitchen

November 10, 2009

zora naki

say what you will about IKEA, their kitchens have a decent reputation (Consumer Reports did an article ranking them 3rd, but unless you pay to sign up to their site, you can’t read it). The hardware is Blum – fully extending drawers, decent quality. Until I can afford Viola Park (or in my dreams henrybuilt), I will be very happy with my brown-black Nexus and glossy white Abstrakt doors.

kitchen after painting

the ikea kitchen

after cabinets…
the ikea kitchen

before with bumpout

the ikea kitchen

after with cabinets. Because of the heating ducts and sun tunnel, the two tall cabinets next to the back door were hacked to be 12″ depth – I just need to exchange some shelves and drawers to fit these new dimensions.

the ikea kitchen

The contractor built bases for the cabinets out of wood. In his opinion, this is a much more solid option than the legs provided. It seems like a good idea, especially since part of the lower cabinets dogleg across the room without a wall to hang on. I’ve also read that  a reinforced base is recommended if you are planning to use a heavier countertop material like granite or quartz.

the ikea kitchen

On the tall cabinet side, we boosted these up an additional few inches on top of the regular toe kick height, so that the upper cabinets would start at 70 1/2″, thus clearing the top of my new fridge.

the ikea kitchen

Bought a nice, square range hood on clearance (last year’s model) at midland appliance – half the price of a comparable IKEA model.

the ikea kitchen

the corner windows before…

the ikea kitchen

and now. We raised them up about 12 inches to match the window over the sink, and also to give us some more wall space for things like hiding counter clutter from the neighbours.

the ikea kitchen

IKEA has kitchen sales events two-three times a year: spend more than $1000 and you get 10 – 15% back in IKEA gift cards. FYI – my cabinetry was about $5K. I used the gift cards for closet fittings (IKEA kitchen cabinet boxes + drawers=way better value than the PAX system).

Keep in mind that if you are going to go down the same path, you must budget for AGGRAVATION. Measure your kitchen and play around with the kitchen planning software on the IKEA website. Save your plans online, and then retrieve them at your local store. The kitchen clerks are generally helpful – when you can get their attention (this can take a loooonnnnggggg time). I like to pick one clerk and stare at them mercilessly until they notice me. Small whining children can help speed up this process.

Remember that any cabinet can be set up in any combination of shelves and drawers – more options than are available on the website (especially for the tall cabinets). The clerk should help you sort this out.

After that, they will add all of the pieces that you’ve forgotten (trim, etc.), and if they are really good, they will provide you with a labeled layout and a manifest of which item goes with which cabinet (ESSENTIAL). Then plan on going back at least three times for exchanges and missing parts. It’s the nature of the beast…

if you want to read more about other people’s opinions on IKEA kitchens, check out these links:

apartment therapy q&a

this is the smallest person’s opinion of the goings-on…

the ikea kitchen

Grow Your Own #29

June 17, 2009

zora naki

Wow! Prepare to be awed by the fabulous entries for this edition of GYO.

Cannellini Bean Salad

Cannellini Bean Salad

Andrea Meyers (Virginia, United States) of Andrea’s Recipes came up with her usual yumminess in her recipe for Cannellini Bean Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Artichoke Salad with Sage

Graziana of Erbe in Cucina used sage from her Italian garden to make Artichoke Salad with Sage.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

I never thought that a chicken recipe would appear on my blog, but this one from Núria of Spanish Recipes (which makes sense since she is from Barcelona) sounds good – Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Rosemary, Honey and Orange.

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron

Jessamyn Tuttle from Mount Vernon, WA used up some of her rhubarb harvest in Braised Rhubarb with Herbs and Saffron which you can read all about in her blog Food on the Brain.

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake

Bee and Jai from Jugalbandi created a Lemony Rosemary Polenta Cake using some home-grown rosemary from their garden in the North-Western U.S.

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Quinoa Flake Crisp

Linda Simon (WI, USA) from Kitchen Therapy created a lovely Q-is-for-Quinoa Flake Fruit Crisp using the last of her rhubarb.


Lemon Thyme Shortbread Hearts

Elissa from the blog 17 and Baking lives in Seattle, WA (USA), and made Lemon-Thyme Shortbread Hearts using lemon-thyme grown in her herb garden. Sounds yummy. I wonder if she’ll have to change the name of her blog when she turns 18?

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers

Kim Lewandowski (Portsmouth, VA) of Live, Love, Laugh, Eat came up with a delicious Potato Salad with Peas and Peppers, featuring her spring peas.

Raspberry Tiramisu

Raspberry Tiramisu

And finally, this fabulous-looking Raspberry Tiramisu comes from Dhanggit’s Kitchen in Aix en Provence, France and uses home-grown raspberries.

Bon appetit! If I’ve missed anyone, please fire me an angry email. I hope to have the cojones to contribute to the next round of GYO – #30, hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina.

Grow Your Own 2009

a month of soup: vegetarian chili

February 23, 2009

zora naki

okay, so technically my month of soups will probably stretch over the course of a year, and chili isn’t really soup (unless you add a lot of water), and this isn’t really chili at all, if you’re any sort of purist, what with the lack of meat and all the veggies and stuff, but this is my blog, so there you have it.

vegetarian chili

this is tangy! zesty! quick to make, once you get past the chopping, and very kid-friendly, without being bland. i served it over some mashed roasted butternut squash, and topped with shredded cheddar, to go with the whole red/orange theme i had working. For those of you keeping tabs on grow-your-own, i incorporated my overwintered carrots (a bit meh raw) and some persistent thyme from the garden.

vegetarian chili

3 onions, chopped
1 head of garlic, chopped
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled & diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
a pinch of crushed chilies (more if you like to bring the spice)
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chili sauce
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 19 oz can mixed beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste

splash some olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion/garlic/celery over medium heat.

throw in the carrots/zucchini/peppers and saute until tender. add the corn.

stir in the chilies, cumin and chili powder (i probably would have used coriander as well if i’d had any).

add the tomatoes, chili sauce, orange (zest the outside first and then juice it straight into the skillet), beans and thyme. add a cup or two of water and then cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes (or until you’re ready to eat). Add salt/pepper to taste and serve.

Made enough for dinner (2 adults, 3 kids) with leftovers for lunch the next day.

prairie pickled eggs

February 22, 2009

zora naki

this recipe comes to us courtesy of my lovely mother-in-law, who obligingly brews up dozens of delicious pickled eggs whenever we come to visit.

i wasn’t familiar with this delicacy before i met my husband, but i’m addicted to them now! they huddle in giant glass jars, on the corners of small-town bars and curling rinks. this variety is peculiar to the Prairies and far superior in flavour to their West Coast brethren. in fact, just this past Christmas, we shipped a giant jar back home for an upcoming bonspiel.

best consumed with a beer and a sprinkling of salt.

prairie pickled eggs

1/4 cup salt
1/3 cup pickling spice (tied or sewn into a cloth bag)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Spanish onion, sliced
4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
3 – 4 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled.

You want the eggs to look pretty, not pockmarked, so take care peeling them. the family sent around this video on producing the perfect peeled egg without peeling (baking soda does the trick). it’s quite amazing.

Put the salt, spice bag, sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Slice onion and place in the bottom of a glass gallon jar. Put the eggs in the jar. Add the brine mixture (with spice bag) to the jar and seal it. Keep in the fridge. Takes about two weeks to achieve the perfect pickled taste. Enjoy!

a month of soup: kabocha, tomato & black bean

January 13, 2009

zora naki


kabocha: the squash that’s fun to say! this is another soup from a kosher collection, and i like it. I’ve never cooked a kabocha before, but really (like any squash), the hardest part is peeling and chopping it – it’s hard to go wrong after that. if you can’t find a kabocha, substitute butternut or acorn squash.

The addition of chinese 5-spice, along with various other herbs give this soup a bit of attitude which everyone seemed to appreciate (as usual, I doubled or tripled the amount of spice).

kabocha squash, tomato and black bean soup

kabocha squash, tomato and black bean soup

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chinese 5-spice powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes
1 medium kabocha squash (peeled, seeded, cubed)
6 cups stock
1 can (540 mL) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 lime (my suggestion)
a splash of soy sauce (my suggestion)

Sauté the onion in a splash of olive oil for around 5 minutes. Throw in the garlic, spices and sugar and stir for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, squash, stock, and black beans. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat until tender.

If you so desire (and i did) blend about half of the soup to give the base some heft for the chunky vegetables. After two taste testers sampled the final product, the general consensus was that it needed a little something something, and so i juiced a lime and added a splash of soy sauce to finish it off. yum.

a month of soup: sweet potato chowder(less)

January 12, 2009

zora naki

This recipe comes to us courtesy of my beloved Nana. She passed away last year and I asked for her cookbook collection, which heavily features soup recipes and Jewish food. This cookbook handily combines both into one fabulous kosher cornucopia.

The recipe itself is for sweet potato chowder, but we have some unfriendly-to-dairy people in these parts, so i left the flour/cream out. But if somebody out there wouldn’t mind making it (i included the original instructions at the bottom) and letting me know how it tastes, i sure would appreciate it.

Without the chowder, the soup is sweetly unassuming – a bit of a wallflower really. Might be nice paired with something a bit more assertive – like pumpernickel croutons.

sweet potato chowder

sweet potato chowder

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 extremely large, or 2 middling sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
6 cups stock
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
2 yellow/orange/red peppers, cored, seeded and diced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup half-and-half

chopped sweet potato, carrot and peppers

Saute onion and celery in a splash of olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Add carrot, sweet potato and stock – bring to a boil and then simmer on medium low for 15 minutes.

Add the corn, peppers, salt and pepper and simmer until everything is lovely and soft. If you’re stopping here for the non-dairy option, I would suggest blending about half of the soup to give it some creaminess.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and half-and-half, getting rid of any lumps. Pour this into the soup, mixing well.

Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flour cooks and the soup thickens.

a month of soup: winter lentil

January 11, 2009

zora naki

day three of making soup, and i unleashed the root vegetables.

this recipe is well-meaning and a bit earnest — you probably wouldn’t want to be trapped with it in a corner at a cocktail party, but it would be great to come home to after tramping around a frosty field all afternoon. i started with bill granger’s dhal but got bored halfway through and added a bunch of things.

i don’t know if anyone else does this, but i found myself trying to chop the vegetables into small, equally square cubes in an homage to campbell’s vegetable soup.

winter lentil soup

red lentils

olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8 garlic cloves (what’s the point of just 2 or 3?)
1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
2 Tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 giant sweet potato
3 parsnips
2 small turnips
4 carrots
6 cups veggie stock
2 cups red lentils
1 Tbsp cumin
1 lime
salt to taste

heat a splash of olive oil in a large sauce pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger (i really should make this sentence a macro).

Throw in the jalapeno and the cumin.

Peel and cube your vegetables and toss them in.

Add the stock and the lentils and simmer over medium-low heat until everything starts to melt together.

Blend it up if you like a smooth soup.

Add the juice from the lime and salt to taste.

Makes enough for a dinner and lunch for 2 adults and 3 smallish kids.

a month of soup: pumpkin curry

January 10, 2009

zora naki

pumpkins last forever, and thank goodness for that, because pumpkin #2 from last year’s harvest has been sitting on my counter since September.

this soup is from bill granger’s Simply Bill. i really like his recipes. straightforward, delicious, uncomplicated – everything that i’ve tried so far (okay, all 5 recipes) has turned out very well.

my one small (eeny) criticism is that the book is filled with gorgeous envy-inducing photos of him and his family looking very lovely and australian in a donna hay kind of way and the man seems to live in all-white clothing. i don’t know about you, but i cook swathed in large bib-style aprons that my Nana made for me, and i still get splattered. also, he never seems to look directly at the camera, and i’m not sure why. Is he slightly cross-eyed or just avoiding me for some reason? maybe he doesn’t want to look at the mess i’ve made of my kitchen…

pumpkin-curry soup


1 volley-ball size pumpkin
olive oil
an inch of ginger, minced
1 pkge of Thai red curry paste (i used Asian Home Gourmet) or 2 tsp (Bill’s amount)
170 ml (1/2 can) light coconut milk (you can freeze the other half)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
salt to taste (my preference) or 1 tsp sugar (his suggestion)

roast the pumpkin by cutting it in half, splashing some olive oil on a rimmed cookie sheet and baking it cut-side down in a on a tray – 45 minutes in a 375º oven should do it. Check to see if it’s tender. Let it cool a bit before chunking it off the skin. I cut the pumpkin halves into strips, make vertical cuts down to (but not through the skin) and then slide the knife between flesh and skin (this sounds rather gory) to separate it into neat little chunks. I’m only telling you this in case you’re at all slow on the uptake (like me) and curiously persist in trying to scrape the pumpkin off with a spoon. why would i even do this? i think it has to do with getting rid of the guts in jack-o-lanterns – old habits and all that. Oh, and i seem to have forgotten to mention the guts. You can either get rid of them before roasting or wait until after – i don’t think it makes a difference.

Add a splash of olive oil, plus the onion, ginger and curry paste to a large saucepan and cook for a few minutes over medium-heat. Add the pumpkin and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend it up and then add coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and salt or sugar. Simmer for another 5 minutes before serving. Add fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish, if you are so inclined.

Served 2 adults and 3 smallish kids with enough left over for lunch the next day.

As usual, this is my modified version – more spice, etc. also, i roasted the pumpkin first for more flavor before adding it to the soup, whereas he just chops it up and cooks it in the water. actually, now that i read the recipe, he calls it a “butternut pumpkin (squash)”, so maybe this isn’t really a recipe for what i would call a pumpkin, but rather for a butternut squash. hmm. well, it’s all gourd to me!

this is the first time i’ve submitted anything to andrea’s grow-your-own event, but here goes… the post can be found here. gorgeous photos.

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