Sunday, March 31, 2013

No-Book Recipes: Tzimmes

I'm not a great cook, but i really hate following a recipe. So, I'm always on the look-out for recipes that I can do from memory, and that will come out right even with variation in the ingredients. This is one of my favourites.

Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish dish of root vegetables and dried fruit in a sweet sauce. There are many variations. Google it for lots of pics.

Slow-cooker Tzimmes

(Note: I use a vintage 4 quart slow-cooker. Adjust accordingly for smaller or larger ones. )

1. Fill slow-cooker nearly to the top with cubed root vegetables.

(I usually use carrots and sweet potatoes, sometimes parsnip as well if I have some. Carrots and parsnip take a lot longer than sweet potato - cut them in smaller chunks.)

2. Add a few handfuls of chopped dried fruit.

(I usually use apricots and prunes, but I have also heard you can use cherries - that would be yummy!)

3. Add 1/2-1 cup of orange juice, 2-3 spoonfuls of honey, and a few shakes of cinnamon.

(Remember - I said I do this from memory. It is not exact each time. For the juice I use one of Kate's drinking boxes, since I don't usually have a whole jug of orange juice on hand!)

4. Cook until vegetables are soft (on low or high depending on how much time you have).

Mine is fine if I leave it on all day while I'm at work, but I have also done it in a couple of hours on high.

Serve as a side dish or with a grain base, like couscous, to make it more of a main.

This is my favourite dish to bring to potlucks, since it suits all diets (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.)


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The people you meet

I'd seen them before. Four real, live monks, complete with black robes and rosaries. Youngish guys. Riding the bus downtown at rush hour. You can't blame me for being curious.

Last week I found myself sitting next to one of them, so I decided to move from curiosity to inquisitiveness. I somewhat bluntly opened with something along the lines of "so what's your story?"

Turns out they are from a Franciscan order in Halifax and are here studying for a year. They are living in the rectory of a church near us and had to decide whether to opt for a long-term car rental or monthly bus passes to get around. I guess you get to meet more people on the bus!

We had a nice chat about Ottawa, the Pope, the work of their order, and the price of bus passes. Apparently, few people make it past the curiosity stage, and if they do they blurt out some quick question just as they're getting of the bus. Their loss. I haven't been on the same bus with the brothers again since, but next time I see them I'll be able to just say hi instead of trying not to look curious.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Coming out the other side

I wore my spring coat today.  It was -8 standing out at the bus stop this morning, but I didn't care.  It's lime green and it makes me feel happy!

The sun is getting stronger, the days are getting longer.  It's already light out when I leave for work, and it's still light out when I leave.  The long-range forecast no longer has any minus double digits - in fact, there's more than a few numbers on the plus side.  There's still mountains of snow, but you can feel things starting to turn.  It's something in the air.  When you have a mild spell in January, it's not the same.  Now you can smell the spring, smell the earth, smell the green-ness. 

We're comin' out the other side, folks.