Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Loaf of Bread, A Bowl of Soup and Thou.

Today in Souper Sundays, a celebration of all things soupy, saucy and slow-cookery created by Deb from Kahakai Kitchen, I have a twofer. A slow-cooker tomato and onion soup, and fresh baked bread. What could be better than fresh baked bread with savoury soup after grocery shopping in minus 10 degree weather? (That's 14 American)
These are the days when I love my slow cooker best. It just chugs along all day and has dinner ready for me when I get home. It uses far less energy that a regular stove and you don't have to babysit it. This is why I now have two, a 5 litre and a 3 litre. They don't have to cost much and they are a great investment.

Tomato Onion Soup
3l slow cooker
3 large onions, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
850 mls beef broth
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes - broken
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced.
Pinch caraway seeds

In a large pan, heat up olive oil and onions on medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweated down and starting to brown, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and Dijon. Add beef broth, white wine, garlic and tomatoes. Place in slow cooker and add diced potatoes and caraway, adjust seasoning to taste.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Mash lightly with potato masher. Serve garnished with cheese, green onions and black pepper. Bread or sandwiches on the side.

This weekend I made another bread from A Year In Bread, a small bread baking group with a standing invitation to bake along. Well, you know me, I like an invitation to bake along.
I made the three loaves that this recipe makes, storing one in the freezer for a later date. They came out beautifully. The crumb is chewy and sweet and it makes an excellent sandwich. Susan, from Farmgirl Fare, has done it again.

And I do mean that literally! I was fortunate enough to receive a gift basket from Procter and Gamble a little while ago. Apparently they figured that a woman who lives in a little tiny house with 3 teens and 2 dogs wouldn't mind a hand in the clean-up department!
I did let them know that a) I am not much of a housekeeper, I do what I can but I would rather cook and b) as I have a pug who will eat or lick most things, I only clean with vinegar in the puppy zones.
I, however, am always excited to try new things and what I was most excited about was the Febreeze Noticables - you know, the plug-in deodorizer in the commercials. I tried it in a few spots, the kitchen, bedroom, living room.. but found it strong for those small spaces. I ended up putting it in the family room in the basement where it seemed to be perfect for the space. I am enjoying the fresh scent and you really do notice it, unlike the other ones I have bought. This got filed in the win category. The other product I tried was the Mr. Clean Disinfecting Wipes. I used them in the laundry room which is a no puppy site - just in case. I used a couple to wipe down the crusty washer and dryer that came with the house and they indeed worked really well. The fibres were stronger than other ones I have tried - the downside is that you only get 25 in a container which won't last all that long. I will let you know how I liked some of the rest of the cleaning products.... when I clean. Baking is just so much more fun!