Slow Food in a Flash

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What to do when you have to do a million things at once and one of them is make lunch for your teenage ballet dancer son, who needs to leave on time?
This was what I was faced with this morning, and it is what I am faced with every time I am working at home rather than at school. On the days of the week when I am home we usually spend the morning catching up on some homeschooling stuff, either on the administration part of it or planning, or we get caught in some interesting discussion. Today it was the meaning of democracy! By the time we got to the point when we were faced with the idea of the “dictatorship of the majority” it was time to make a nutritious lunch, which of course had to be tasty, not too heavy so that it doesn’t cause cramps while dancing, varied(not the same as yesterday, or the day before and possibly not even the day before that..), and definitely it ready exactly on time so that this particular dancer has time to take out the dog and catch the right train!
Well, in preparation for lunch, while trying to figure out why North Korea is called The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea I made a quick right eye scan of the stuff we had in our kitchen(we basically do everything in the kitchen, also homeschooling), while my left eye and a part of my brain was occupied with North Korea, Athens and democracy in general. I saw a whole pumpkin, tomatoes, red onions, a half of a red bell pepper and arugula(we have a glass refrigerator door, which is convenient for this sort of inadvertend scanning).  With these ingredients I figure I could put my cooking mind to rest for a couple of more minutes and give some more thought to the relationship between a democracy and a republic and ponder on how the democratic process killed Socrates, oh God!!!! I really got myself in trouble in this discussion, but my lunch deadline will save me and bring me back to the reality of my home world, which as was pointed out to me is not at all pure democracy. Never mind!

With the basic ingredients I saw on my counter and fridge, plus the the staples I had around I managed to think of this dish which integrates well with this autumnal day. It gives you the illusion of “slow food” while in reality it was pretty much made in a flash; between 12.30 and 13.00 o’clock to be precise!

Slow Food in a Flash
Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Rucola Pesto with Chipotle

1 bag of spelt pasta cooked

1/2 of a medium kabocha squash(or any pumpkin)
the tomatoes that you have around(I had 5 medium ones) cut in chunks
1 large red onion cut in medium size wedges
1/2 or 1 red bell pepper cut in medium size pieces
3 cloves of garlic chopped
a bit of olive oil to mix with veggies before baking
sea salt
black pepper

pine nuts roasted

– put all the veggies with the oil and the salt and pepper in an oven dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 200* until the squash is cooked.
– after the veggies are baked turn on the grill and grill for 2-5 minutes
-sprinkle with pine nuts

Pesto
a handful of arugula
2 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
about 15 cashews
sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle in adobe

-put everything in a mortar and pound until you get a pesto consistency. Keep it a bit rough.
-mix the pesto with the roasted vegetables and and add the cooked pasta.
-stir gently and serve.

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Pear Upside-Down Cake with a New Blog Look!

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Upside Down
I lived in a funny town 
Where everything was upside down!
The birds walked and the humans flew
Where the trees were totally blue!
Trees talked and laughed a lot
They stole each other’s fruit and fought
The bear was gentle, kind and sweet
He never ever ate raw meat!
Fishes went to school in a pool
Where a frog principal ruled.
Water was blue and the sky flew
And told me in life always be true!

By: Rosy, Tulika, Nikitar

Another Quick Post from one Busy Girl to Cyber Space
Pear Upside-Down Cake
If you’re into moist fruity cakes like I am this upside down cake will please you.

Cake:
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup maple or rice syrup
vanilla

Glaze:
2 or 3 medium pears cut in half then thinly sliced
1/2 cup pear or apple juice
1 tbs. rice syrup
1 1/2 tbs arrowroot dissolved in 1/4 cup of the juice mentioned above
dusting of cinnamon

Cake:
-preheat oven to 180*
-Prepare a round cake pan by covering the bottom with wax paper and oiling it with about 1 tsp. olive oil and greasing the sides
-in a bowl mix all dry ingredients
-in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients
-mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients
-drizzle the baking pan with about 2 extra tbs. of maple syrup and spread evenly
-place the pears gracefully in the prepared cake pan
-then pour the batter evenly on top
-bake for about 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean
-cool the cake and the invert onto a serving plate, peel the wax paper off carefully

Glaze:
-in a small pan heat up the juice and syrup
-add the 1/4 cup of juice with arrowroot and stir until it becomes thick and shiny
-brush, or gently evenly pour the thickened juice on top of the cake and sprinkle with cinnamon

One word of advice: don’t do what we do at or house and devour the cake before it is cooled off, it will not only leave you with an unpleasantly burned throat, but it won’t taste nearly as good. Wait until the cake has cooled down, it will be worth it!

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The Winter Pear

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The Winter Pear
by William Allingham

Is always Age severe?
Is never Youth austere?
Spring-fruits are sour to eat;
Autumn’s the mellow time.
Nay, very late in the year.
Short day and frosty rime.
Thought, like a winter pear,
Stone-cold in summer’s prime,
May turn from harsh to sweet.

These pears are truly wonderful and no work at all.

ingredients

large pears cut in half
1 tsp coconut oil
3 tbs. rice syrup
dusting of cinnamon

-spread the coconut oil over the bottom of an oven dish
-drizzle with about 1 tsp of rice syrup and place the pears cut side down on top.
-drizzle the pears with the rest of the syrup and dust with cinnamon
-place dish with pears in oven under the grill for about 15 minutes until the pears caramelize
-serve with roasted crushed hazelnuts and coconut cream.

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The Onion Pie

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Yes I am still alive, and realizing how much I miss my blog!

I won’t go into all the gory details of my hectic life, but I will tell you that we had a great Oktoberfest way back in october. This fall I have tasted the best apples ever, which I picked up off the ground of my friend Caroline’s drive way in some little village near Oxford.

Teaching school kids is an all consuming activity, which unfortunately keeps me from indulging in this totally wonderful process of cooking. Nevertheless even my school kids can’t escape my cooking frenzy and I have them writing a cook book in English(they are all Dutch).

This time I am bringing you an onion pie, and I know it will make you forgive my absence, since it is so delicious and easy to make.

The Onion Pie

2 cups of flour(white with some whole wheat or spelt)
This time I added 1 tbs. of powdered flaxseeds1 tsp. sea salt, but this optional
1 tbs. arrowroot
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of water(or maybe a bit more if the dough is too dry)

-combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
-add the wet ingredients and form into a ball.
-on a smooth counter surface covered with a bit of wax paper, stretch the dough with a rolling pin and put it on an oven pie dish
-poke some holes with a fork and bake at 180* for about 10-15 minutes
-when it is done you can proceed to cover it with the onions

Filling

about 6 medium onions cut in thin half moons
2 tbs. olive oil
1 bay leaf
sea salt
olives for garnish
sun dried tomatoes for garnish

-warm the olive oil in a large pan and saute the onions with the sea salt and bay leaf.
-cook the onions stirring regularly and let them caramelize.
-they are ready when they become really sweet, soft and shiny
-spread the onions evenly on the baked pie crust and garnish with the olives and sun dried tomatoes if you like.

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