’twas in the dead of wintertime…yet it hardly seems it. We had a great walk around the neighbourhood today, and it was chilly but the sun was blazing. We spent the afternoon readying the house for the New Year, after the post-Epiphany cleanup.
Then to dinner. An amazing chicken breast (the whole thing, not just parts) from Plank Road Market. The husband did it as a simple roast, nothing added. We mad a little garlic mash and served it with a salad of Ontario veg, many hothouse-grown. Lettuce, arugula, cukes, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Dressing of mustard, chicken fat, and cider vinegar. A little candlelight, some East Dell wine. Ahhh…
It’s the time of year when minds turn to winter weight loss. But we’re not big believers in the quick fix. What gets us into a mess can often be turned around to get us out. We’re free of holiday distractions and back into our normal “eat less, move more” routine. Today though, the Toronto weather is still in the deep freeze. (Yes Winnipeg, we hear you laughing…) it made us want a warm and satisfying breakfast.
For 330 calories, here’s what we had: 2 large eggs, scrambled in a nonstick pan and topped with 1/2 ounce of Shropshire Blue cheese. On the side, a slice of whole wheat toast with 2 teaspoons of blueberry-raspberry jam we made back in the summer (thanks, East Lynn Farmer’s Market!) and half a small hothouse local tomato.
Starting the day in a satisfied frame of mind!
Even if we only have time to bake one Christmas cookie, this is the one. it’s practically foolproof, the recipe can be doubled, kids can help, and it lends itself to a variety of shapes.
1/2 c / 125ml cornstarch
1/2 c / 125ml icing sugar
1 c / 250ml flour
3/4 c / 175ml butter
Sift the dry ingredients together. Blend in the butter with a wooden spoon if you must, but clean hands are more fun! You can also use a food processor. As soon as it forms a dough that stays together, it’s done. If it’s too pliable, chill for half an hour.
Roll out with a floured rolling pin to 1/4″ or 1/2cm, and cut with cookie cutters, or roll into balls and flatten with something textured, like a butter press or the bottom of a fancy glass, dipped in flour. You can also shape it in a log, roll in colored sugar or nuts, chill for half an hour, and slice. Decorate with sugar, cherries (or not).
Bake on an ungreased pan (parchment is good for cleanup but not necessary) at 300F for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to racks immediately to cool. Break at least one so as to force a taste test. Smile.
. Don’t you love a meal that looks fussy, but isn’t? Tonight we made Beet Wellingtons (check our recipe page!) and a tasty salad with hothouse greens, tomatoes and mushrooms.
For the dressing, we used some of the red pepper and rosemary pesto we made in the summer, thinned with some wine vinegar.
Tasty, fast and packed with colours. Mmm.
Today Advent begins. We’re well underway with the secular preparations for Christmas, but now we start the real work of preparing ourselves to celebrate the holy feast.
Even the food begins to take on a more symbolic character. So for our dinner, we prepared a roast chicken breast, the whole thing, just with legs and wings removed. We coated the roast with some Daily Dijon from Kozlik’s, thyme, and orange zest. After nestling it on a bed of onion in a Dutch oven, we added the juice of the orange, and a splash of white wine.
We popped the whole thing in a 450F oven uncovered for half an hour. Then we covered it until done. (Depending on the size and how cold it is when you start, this will take 1/2 hour to an hour more. Your instant-read thermometer should be at 185.
At the same time we roasted some beets.
While the finished chicken rested for 10 minutes or so, we steamed this varietal cauliflower – it looks like tiny Christmas trees on the plate. It was delicious and for that we’re very thankful.