Another weekend inside, better make the best of it

I notice in my blog stats somebody searching for a way to make cauliflower easier to digest.

I've been craving those wintertime vegetables and decided to make a big pot of chicken vegetable soup.

I’ve been craving those wintertime vegetables and decided to make a big pot of chicken vegetable soup.

Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli not only make you fart, sometimes they give a person very painful gas. One way to get around that – boil the hell out of it in a soup. Sure, there was flatulence, nothing a married couple can’t handle – but no gas pains.

I’ve heard the best way to eliminate the gas associated with these vegetables is pickling them. I’ve had them pickled at a couple of local restaurants, and they’re delicious that way, thrown over a salad or a pizza, or just a snack with crackers. I haven’t figured out how to do it yet, but I’m working on it, I’ll keep you posted.

I love Brussel sprouts, the best way to eat those is grilled. I par boil them for about five minutes, halve them, dress them in olive oil and spices – try to pick bigger ones – and then my husband lays them on the grill as the meat is finishing up.  I don’t have a picture of those but here’s some lovely potatoes – I handle them same way.

These little yukon gold potatoes are also good for grilling - I steam them whole for about 8 minutes, halve them, and bathe them in a little olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

These little yukon gold potatoes are also good for grilling – I steam them whole for about 8 minutes, halve them, and bathe them in a little olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Another vegetable I always liked but heard was harsh on my stomach is egg plant. One year we had so many in the  garden I got sick! My homeopath told me eggplant can be hard on your stomach, so I just stopped eating them. I  mean, it was that bad, I thought my stomach was trying to eat it’s way out of my guts.

About a year ago I was watching Lidia Bastianich, and she said it’s the seeds in eggplant that irritate your stomach. Don’t buy the big, mature fruits, and then cut out the seeds you do find, she said. 

So I was at Safeway the other day and I saw the long skinny eggplant,  smallish, and I thought, what the heck, let’s try it again. I love eggplant parmesan, baba ganoush, roasted eggplant on my pizza, eggplant eggplant eggplant. And, it’s a really nice, easy vegetable to grow, very elegant plants with the prettiest purple flowers, very showy. 

I sliced it in half and laid it on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven. I put in a clove of garlic too, cause I wanted some roasted garlic for a batch of baba ganoush. I learned how to make baba ganoush from Ralph Nader’s mother, Rose, who published a cookbook back in the 1990’s. It’s a simple dish from the middle east – roasted, pureed eggplant with ample portions of garlic (roasted is good), tahini (sesame seed) butter, olive oil (I use cheap Euro trash to balance the cost of the tahini), a squirt of lemon, and salt to your taste.

I was shocked how quickly the eggplant roasted – not even 15 minutes. I think the garlic bulb took 20. I let these cool for a few minutes, then cut out the little bunches of seeds with a paring knife and scraped the rest of the eggplant flesh into my bullet blender. You could mash this with a potato masher, but it comes out so beautiful in a blender it’s worth scraping it out.

The garlic is fun because you just squeeze the cloves and the pureed,  roasted garlic comes right out, like a tiny pastry bag. Try some of that on a cracker, learn to live a little.

Yeah, your hands stink like garlic! Oh no! Rub a little behind your ears – keeps the mosquitoes away.

I’m so sorry, I didn’t take a picture. I took my little experiment down to my husband’s shop to engage my husband and son and a friend of ours in a taste test, and I’ll be damned if we didn’t just stand there and eat the whole thing, Badges bobbing up and down in front of us begging for crackers. Oh well, there’s always next time! 

No, I did not get a stomach ache! 

I’ll tell you what’s a good meal for a rainy night – spaghetti.

High tech pasta hanger - prop some wooden spoons under a stack of plates in your cupboard.

High tech pasta hanger – prop some wooden spoons under a stack of plates in your cupboard.

I made a big mistake when I was mixing up my pasta dough yesterday – too much whole wheat flour. I had even written myself a note – now I need to write myself a note to remember to read my notes!  Too much whole wheat flour makes the dough really stiff and hard to work. I was very frustrated at first, trying to knead it and get it into the cutter – I have learned one thing – don’t give up, just keep mashing it together. I finally got out my rolling pin just to flatten the dough enough to get it in the machine, and that worked. As soon as I could get it through the machine a couple of times it got more pliable. 

Then I found out, the up side is, the pasta is dryer and comes out all separated  and ready to go into the water. I hate it when the pasta sticks together and I have to separate the strands before they go in the boiling water. This turned out perfect, even given the wrestling match with the pasta cutter.

I made a big batch, plenty for a spaghetti pie. I usually use box spaghetti for a pie because it’s supposed to be a quick, easy dish, but here I got a bunch of homemade spaghetti to use. Sometimes life just goes my way!

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble - we went to a lot of toil and trouble to grow these tomatoes, and now we're enjoying them.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble – we went to a lot of toil and trouble to grow these tomatoes, and now we’re enjoying them.

There’s still plenty of sauce in the freezer, but my husband reported, he can now see the bottom of the freezer. It must be time to plant more tomatoes.

A morning well spent on a loaf of sourdough and roasted garlic pays off.

A morning well spent on a loaf of sourdough and roasted garlic pays off.

A salad using more winter vegetables...

A salad using more winter vegetables…

topped off with a batch of croutons made from the last loaf of bread.

topped off with a batch of croutons made from the last loaf of bread.

And it’s a meal.

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