November 2, 2010

Nature + Food

We went to the cabin last week for a few days of nature and relaxing.

There are three things I really love about going to the cabin.

1. Going for walks in the woods. It's so refreshing to walk in the woods instead of on sidewalks through town! I love seeing all of the trees and views, hearing the leaves crunching under my feet, and smelling the fresh air and nature.

2. Being with family. We get cell phone reception, but mostly being up there is isolated. I love spending the evenings ttalking, playing games around the table and reading by the woodstove.

3. The food. Every meal is pre-planned and we can take our time making everything. This time, everything we had was delicious! Mom and Dad made roasted tomato sauce with cheese tortellinis the first night, followed by Mom's fantastic apple pie.

For breakfast I made Spiced Apple-Pecan Oatmeal. I used apple cider instead of the juice and only 2 cups of milk. Once it was done cooking on the stovetop, I put it in a 9x9 pan in the oven for about 20 minutes. It would have been fine without that, but I like the crispier top that baked oatmeal gets. Plus I had the oven going to make Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti, which is such a deceiving name for what it was. It's actually a whole wheat biscotti with almonds and chocolate chunks. It was good, but I would've liked if it had a chocolate base, too. Next time, I suppose!

For dinner we had Wild Rice, Butternut Squash and Cannellini Stew, which is also a deceving title. Especially since I used pumpkin instead of butternut squash. I just have so much of it! The soup only called for 1 pound, so I pureed the rest to use for other goodies (more on those later - my posts are starting to have a common theme...). I cooked my wild rice in some spices to add flavor to the soup. And used small portobello mushrooms in place of the dried and button ones. And used about 4 times the amount of swiss chard it called for.  And more broth because I added so much extra of everything. So instead of serving 6 it served 4 people for 2 meals each. See below for all those details rolled into nice recipe format. To go with the soup we had Soaked Whole Wheat Ciabatta-Like Bread. Time-consuming but excellent!!

This is the pumpkin I used. Isn't it pretty?

Wild Rice, Pumpkin and Cannellini Soup
adapted from Sunset Magazine

Time: 1 hour
Serves 8

1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces small portobello mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2  teaspoons  dried thyme
5  cups  reduced-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
2  cups wild rice, cooked in spices of your choice
1 1/2 pounds peeled cubed pumpkin
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. salt
1 pound  Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped

1. Cook rice according to directions on package. Add spices to cooking water to give rice flavor. Set aside.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onion and mushrooms with oil, pepper, and thyme, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add broth, rice, pumpkin, beans, and salt to pan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until pumpkin is tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add chard to stew and cook until stems are tender, 10 minutes. If there is not enough broth, add more to your liking.

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