Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday cooking

In preparation for the work week ahead, and to meet my weeknight "dinner on the table in 30 minutes" goal, I like to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday prepping and cooking. It means less take out (which we're not so fond of anyways!), more nutritous food and an opportunity to try something new. Truthfully, it's for the last reason that I spend Sunday morning, coffee in hand, still wearing pyjamas at 11am, chopping, stirring and mixing. It's why my kid sometimes eats soup for breakfast....he sees it, he wants it, then seats himself at the table and waits. I love that kid. But I digress. The whole ritual is relaxing to me, and it's a little B time.

This morning I woke up around 5:45am, for absolutely no good reason at all. By 6, I figured I wasn't going back to sleep, so I put on a big pot of coffee and made muffins.....banana raisin. They were supposed to be Banana Espresso Muffins with Walnuts, from Super Natural Cooking, but lacking a couple of key ingredients, and a reluctance to use walnuts because of my son's sensitivity to some nuts, I improvised a bit and ended up with just an okay muffin. But I liked the picture, so there you go. I'll have to work on the recipe.

Then E woke up, and after a bit of a chat and a morning cuddle, he took off to play with his trains and trucks for awhile. So then I made the first of what will be several batches of red cabbage this fall. I make huge pots when cabbage is fresh, cheap and in season at the market. It freezes beautifully. E loves it, it's been his favourite since he first started eating solids it seems! This my old family recipe / method.

Braised Red Cabbage


1 whole red cabbage, cored and chopped into 1 inch chunks

1 large onion, cut into eight chiunks

8 whole cloves, stick one clove in each chunk of onion (this makes it easier to find and remove the cloves after cooking)

1 large apple, peeled and cored, chopped

2 heaping tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar


Lemon juice

Heat oil on medium high heat in a large pot / dutch oven. Dump in cabbage, toss with oil, stir frying for approximately one minute. Add onion, apple, brown sugar and vinegar. Add salt to taste. Toss everything together. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, usually 45-60 minutes. Add lemon juice and/or more vinegar, and salt to taste. Remove cloves.

Next up, the Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Super Natural Cooking, while tripping over trucks and cars which had, at this point, been hauled into the middle of the kitchen. Very, very yummy. I didn't make the pesto part, just used some that I had in the fridge. E had his with cheese and pesto, also good! (He actually had 3 for 'brunch', then another two later on for lunch). My non-vegetable loving husband (I make poor choices sometimes!), had a very small bowl (because I threatened him), and declared it 'not bad', once you got over the cauliflower taste (why me???)....then he filled up on bruschetta and Fruiliano cheese quesadillas (aaahhh, the wonders our fridge yields sometimes!). Anyways, try the soup, it's really really good.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Brazil Nut Pesto from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking

For the Soup:

3 tablespoons clarified butter or extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped (I think I used garlic)

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used half, and it was still pretty spicy)

1 large potato peeled and chopped

1 ½ pounds cauliflower, coarsely chopped

5 cups vegetable stock or water (I used a mixture of chicken stock and water)

1/3 cup heavy cream or Cashew Cream (I didn't have heavy cream so used a combo of sour cream and a little milk)

fine-grain sea salt (I used kosher salt)

For the Pesto:

½ cup toasted Brazil nuts

2 handfuls spinach leaves, stemmed

4 cloves garlic

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

generous pinch of fine-grain sea salt

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes, until translucent. Stir in the potato and cauliflower and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and puree thoroughly with a handheld immersion blender. Stir in the cream and season to taste.

To Make the Pesto:Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, drop a spoonful of pesto in each one, swirl around with a knife or toothpick.

Last on the agenda, a crunchy coleslaw with apples and walnuts with a dressing from, you guessed it, Super Natural Cooking. I'll say, at this point, that this book has been well worth the money!

I cheated and used a pre-packaged coleslaw that I had in the fridge. Added my own apple and walnuts though! The dressing is from Super Natural Cooking, Crunchy Slaw Salad:

Whisk together:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Juice of one lemon

Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Splash of heavy cream (I didn't have any, used a dollop of plain yogurt instead)

Toss cabbage, apples, toasted walnuts and dressing together. Serve immediately. Leave out the walnuts until serving, if you're not eating right away.

So, that was that for Sunday cooking. Washed some fruit, chopped some veggies, cut up a watermelon, cleaned out the fridge. All that and we had burgers for dinner.....go figure! They were good burgers though...all dressed up with good toppings, coleslaw and corn on the cob on the side.


Amber said...

Yummy. And you have to love a kid that loves soup for breakfast!! Mine will ONLY eat cereal even if they had a gourmet breakfast set before them. Ah well, it makes it easy.

It's nice to see that you plan ahead like this and soups are so nutritious and satisfying. That said, I wish I could get my family to agree with me more on this one!

Anonymous said...

Man! You're making me hungry! Is it lunch time yet?