Hermit Cookie Recipe

March 15, 2011 - 2 Responses

Here are the healthy(er) march break hermit cookies dedicated to teachers everywhere!

If you bake, you are used to being precise. If you bake with a child, you are used to not being precise, and to mopping flour off the floor and your brow.

Don’t worry, these cookies are forgiving. . They are also open to interpretation – we used walnuts and dates, but you could use pecans and dried apricots, for example. As always, my recipes are templates – let your appetite and your pantry be your guides.

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
teeny pinch salt
splash milk
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped chick peas

Cream together the butter and sugar. Do this well. With authority. Add the egg. Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl,  and then add them into the butter mixture. If the cookie dough is a bit dry, add a splash of milk.

Now add the good bits – yes, including the chick peas. You’ll never even notice them.

Drop these onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them, but I think they’re best when slightly darker brown.

I hope you love them.

Hermit Cookie Article

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Soba Noodles with Anything Recipe

March 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

This one is a true family favorite. I make it when my mum comes, and otherwise, at least once a month. Once again folks, anything goes. I’ll give you the outline and you colour and whoever goes outside the lines the most is the winner. This can be as simple or as complex as you like. I called for chicken in the recipe, but use whatever protein you have kicking around, shrimp are excellent, pork, beef and/or tofu. This is also a perfect time to use up veggie odds and ends – anything you would normally use in a stir fry, which this is. Mine are green, white and orange just in time for St. Patties day, but that’s just because I’m a wee bit mad. Serves 2 1/2, with lots of left overs. Don’t be surprised to find members of the family standing before the fridge with a fork at all hours.

Prep time: 30 minutes top to tail, or more, depending on how fancy-pants you get.

3/4 cup frozen edamame 500 grams
(17 1/2 oz) soba noodles, approximately
2 tbs olive oil 2 tsp sesame oil
1 cup cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely
2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp water
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk broccoli, divided into small florets
1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Boil up a very large pot of water. I immerse the edamame into the water in my metal colander or you can just dump them in and then take them off the heat and fish them out with a wire spider or slotted spoon when they’re done. Which is only a couple of minutes after they hit the water – if they are overdone they get mushy and gross – just think of bringing them from frozen to warm or, best idea (as always) TASTE them! Set aside.

Now add the soba to the boiling water. Again, you really don’t want to overcook them. So follow package directions and test them often. I don’t know if the ‘sticks to the ceiling’ test works for buckwheat pasta, but it’s fun for the kids. You however, must test with your teeth – al dente!

As soon as they are done drain them and rinse them with cold, cold water. Get those little fingers in there.

If you want to toast the sesame seeds, now’s the time, in a dry frying pan and keep them moving over medium heat until lightly browned.

In a wok or similar big pan, get the two oils good and hot. Toss in the chicken to brown, then remove and set aside. Now put the garlic and ginger in and once you can smell them, put in the soy sauce, water and the veggies. Stir-fry for a few moments before adding in the edamame and the chicken. When everything’s all nice and hot add in the stock and the soba. Use a couple of forks or spaghetti tongs to get everything all mixed together and piping hot. Squeeze in your lime juice and serve, garnished with sesame seeds.

Be sure to put the Sri racha (aka Rooster Sauce) or other hot sauce on the table (along with some lime wedges and chopped cilantro, you fancy pants) and enjoy.

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The Chopstick Trick

March 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

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Use this simple trick to help out the children or other chopstick-challenged folk.

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Banana & Cream Cheese Pancakes

March 12, 2011 - 3 Responses

Beautiful. Crowd pleasing. Pancakes, after all, and maple syrup. With melty gooey bananas and cream cheese inside. And if you were to put some finely-chopped walnuts in, it might spark a generations-long crunchy vs. smooth debate …. Go nuts. Ha ha.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Banana and Cream Cheese Pancake Recipe

YouTube Video

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Banana & Cream Cheese Pancake Recipe

March 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

We only had one egg, so we made this much (it was actually ample for the three of us):

one egg
3/4 cup milk
smidge nutmeg or vanilla (optional)
1 tbsp melted butter, cooled

3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp table salt
chopped walnuts (or slivered almonds, maybe some chocolate chips or shredded coconut, optional)

150 grams cream cheese (1/2 brick)
1 or 2 ripe bananas

Heat a buttered skillet or griddle.
Mix wet ingredients well. Mix dry ingredients well. Make a well in the dry into which you pour the wet. Mix, but not too well – leave some small lumps.
The batter should be fairly wet so add more milk if necessary.
Let it rest for a moment while you blend the cream cheese and bananas with a wooden spoon.
Use a blender if you are frail or infirm.
Or get a kid to do it.
Otherwise work those biceps. Smoosh and breathe and smoosh. Good times.

Ladle two or three palm sized disks of batter into the hot pan. Let them set for a moment then spoon some filling on.
Now maybe make a cup of coffee or do some dancing.
When they’re ready to flip spoon some more batter on each pancake, but try not to let it spill over the side.

Serve with maple syrup and receive the kudos with saint style grace and satisfaction.

Et voila!

Banana & Cream Cheese Pancake Post

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Beef Stew

March 9, 2011 - Leave a Response

Beef Stew 9am

Hooray for ubiquitous but delicious BEEF STEW!

A cold rainy Early March supper.*

Now, some might feel it’s a little dreary to be standing over a crock pot with your hands full of stewing beef at 9:00 in the morning.

It is, a bit.

But I’ll guarendamntee you, when you get in from those slushy streets, as you peel off those wet-frozen woolly mittens and wipe the sleet from your ear, prepare for a bear hug. When you smell this stew you will feel happy and self satisfied. And it’s the easiest meal. Ivy wasn’t actually a part of this one – she took the day off. And really, so did I. I didn’t even buy anything special. It’s just some cubed chuck I had in the in the freezer, some pantry staples and somewhere else we wanted to be today. Oh, there’s organic beer in there too. And your inspired addition(s) too, of course. Beef Stew Recipe

Presto Chango (well, if by presto we mean nine hours later)

So, Go out and chuck some epic snowballs, dodge falling icicles, get hither and yon, do whatever today and have this little beauty waiting for you at home:  a big pot of steamy, yummy love.

*Reminds me of a that Steven Wright joke: I went to a restaurant that serves breakfast any time. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.

Beef Stew Recipe

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Beef Stew How To

March 8, 2011 - One Response

Normally I would dredge the beef in a bit of seasoned flour and brown it, but the interesting aromas that waft through the halls around here notwithstanding, I didn’t think it would be very neighborly to smoke up the hallways with eau de meat before 9 am. I’m thoughtful that way, I guess.

So, no dredging, but this stew was excellent; the meat tender and delicious and the grated potato near the end does the thickening that the flour would have otherwise.

The three of us had this for supper over buttered egg noodles and we have half in the freezer.

So into the slow cooker:
1 – 1/2 lbs (500g) cubed beef
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tin plum tomatoes, juice and all, broken up a bit
1 cup beef or veggie stock, water or dark beer
5 or six dashes each of worshestershire sauce and hot sauce
1 scant tbsp. dried thyme
the same of oregano
and 3 or 4 bay leaves (best if you can use a combination of dried and fresh herbs, but if you’re doing so, wait and put the fresh in towards the end)
a good grind of pepper

I left the cooker on low and we went out for the day:


When we got back all I did was was taste and correct the seasonings, and grated in 1 peeled potato.

And that’s it. It was warm and comforting and delicious.

Easy as pie. Easier.

Beef stew story post

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Everything is Optional

March 3, 2011 - Leave a Response

I’m trying to get a cooking show to air. Cooking with Ivy. I’m a mum with a sweet idea and some pluck. This here blog is a dream factory, a testament and a testing ground (sometimes I don’t know genius from horsefeathers until i see it in bold and white). And for you it is a little glimpse into this crazy journey. And some excellent recipes to boot.

So in the midst of a slow motion food revolution, wherein good folks like Jamie Oliver are urging us back into our kitchens, I offer Cooking With Ivy. One half hour of good messy fun during which I, well, cook with Ivy. It’s sweet but not too, it’s scripted but only just. Things go charmingly wrong in our loving kitchen. Well they’d have to I guess, when a 2 year old is involved.

Oh and what a two year old she is. She’ll be three, I guess, by the time we shoot the pilot. You could catch her here: Hello Ivy.

I have my moments too. I’m just not so inclined to film them and stick them on youtube. In fact, my ambivalence about appearing on camera might be something of a theme here, as will my journey to become ‘camera ready’ (lovely phrase, that) involving pilates, a rowing machine and various other forms of torture. I’ve also gone back to school, to beef up my cooking credentials (so to speak), which should make for some good reading. For you that is.

Other likely content? Well, Ivy’s dad is likely to make a few appearances. He’s a good eater. Also the general progress of the show. To wit: I’ve written a script for the pilot episode. I have a willing crew in place to shoot it but not the ten grand it’s going to cost, so I’m working on that. I have some kind souls offering experience and connections. In other words, it’s moving along swimmingly (but it’s doing the crawl).

A note on the recipes in this blog: I want to share all this great food with you; pictures and videos and instructions and ideas, but strict recipes? Not so much. My amounts are hazy and my substitutions so many I cannot list them all. It would be all “use this or this or this with this or this or that” all day long. Really, each dish should be prefaced with:

Well, this dish sure worked out great! Let me show you what I did. But for goodness sake, please do it however you like. Just remember: everything is Optional and everything To Taste at all times.

Ivy (2 1/2) & Michele (somewhat older)


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