Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Creative Space: someone's in the kitchen

On the kitchen window sill a gerbera is blooming again and suggesting the promise that is starting to occur outside. It is too early here to put out bedding plants and not all the grass is green and only some trees are in bud. The early bulbs are up and some I have even seen the odd magnolia in bloom. The will to put finishing touches on my WIPs is experiencing some sort of spring fever. We have had some wild extremes in our weather which has inspired me to cook food from two seasons in the same week. I suppose that it is quite old-fashioned to plan your meals by the season but it is an idea that comes naturally and seems to be embraced by many. Seasonally can be taken to mean what fresh food is in season or what the season inspires us to eat. We have jumped from chilly to hot days for more than a week and it has made meal planning interesting. Last Saturday was a lovely day and called for something grilled outside. My daughter was with me at the grocery store and made the request for pork brochettes, green beans and foil potatoes. If the side burner of our gas barbeque was still working, everything could have been cooked outside. The pork was marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano and threaded on skewars to grill. The potaoes were thinly sliced and tossed in olive oil and then wrapped in foil packets and grilled mostly on the upper rack. A third of the packets had the addition of chopped garlic and the family decided that we should do more garlic next time it is made. It was the first dinner to be eaten in our three season sunroom/screened porch.

Later that evening, I prepared dozens of meatballs for the freezer and and meatloaf for the next day. I also used the thrifted stoneware mini-bundt pan to bake some gluten and egg-free banana cakes. This is what it looked like the next morning when I got up. Count the cakes! Number 3 admitted later that day that he had picked at it and that looked very obvious and he ate the whole mini-bundt but it was very good.

It was a rather chilly day so the meatloaf was perfect along with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. We had strawberries and whipped cream for dessert with coffee from our not often enough used espresso maker (I have placed it on an eye-level shelf in one of the kitchen cupboards so it will not be a hassle to use). I do not usually serve out of season non-organic strawberries but I did have number 2 with me at the grocery store the day before; her interest in helping to plan and prepare the food persauded me.

Monday we ate an Indian meal with a meat recipe from one of my favourite modern cookbooks with rice,cauliflower and broccoli. While my children happily eat a spiced meat dish they tend to prefer their vegetables steamed just to tender. We repeated the previous nights dessert but without the coffee as we only had enough coffee for the next morning. Tuesday was busy with everyone on a slightly different schedule, so some of the meatballs were pulled from the freezer, spaghetti was boiled and jarred sauce was heated for those that like sauce accompanied by a store-bought crusty loaf toasted with garlic butter and served with green peas (frozen) and no dessert.

Wednesday it was warm again and I was inspired to make a simple coleslaw in a recently found pyrex bowl. I love this shade of yellow and find the square-round shape interesting. Apparently it came with a square lid with tab handles so I will keep my eyes open for a lid and may join the pyrex love flicker group in hopes of finding a trade. It is sitting on one of my vintage tableclothes which also feels spring-like.

Here is a new vintage cookbook that fills a hole in my library as my only barbeque cookbook is the Presidnt's Choice one which means it is full of recipes suggesting their prepared sauces and marinades. I have yet to cook from it but it helped to inspire Wednesday's menu.

I needed to go to the store for other reasons and was pleased to see a family package of wing steaks marked down before they expired. That was perfect served with rice and more broccoli. It also gave me the opportunity to use the steak knife set that my parents bought early in their marriage. I have always liked the look and feel of these knives and enjoy our relatively infrequent use of them. Steak for a family of six is not an everyday occurance and everyone enjoyed this meal. It was warm but windy, so we ate indoors.
The whole family seems excited to be switching into a more summer-like menu plan although we are still likely to have some cool days, I think the stews and heavier casseroles are over for this season. If anyone wants details of any recipes and how I alter traditional recipes to make them egg and gluten free let me know in the comments and I will happy to provide them. Link to Kristy's blog to what inspires others in their creative spaces.


gardener-b said...

I know what you mean by Spring fever...wish spring could last forever so I can catch up finally with my WIPs. It's great to leave behind the heavy meals of winter and begin to taste the freshness of spring's bounty. Great to have a daughter's interest in the kitchen.

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Fine Hand said...

I am getting hungry just reading about these recipes...the banana cake sounds yummy! We are anxious to eat outside too.