Cooking Comfort

Home cooked soups and stews are the ultimate comfort food especially when the weather outside is cool and damp. I particularly like making soup because  it allows me to be creative with whatever ingredients are on hand. Yesterday I needed to empty the fridge of leftovers, so out came my favourite crock pot. I love this crock pot because of its shape (tall and thin) and it doesn’t overheat or overcook food, and it was a gift from a very special person.

After doing the breakfast dishes, I put the following leftovers into the crock pot :

1 cup steamed cauliflower florets

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 leek chopped

1 handful of chopped spinach

1/2 pint stewed tomatoes

1/2 a  yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 not-quite-full quart of chicken stock

To this I added 1 quart of water, and 3 small russet potatoes cubed.

I turned the crock pot on high for the first hour, then let it cook the rest of the day on low.

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About 1 hour before supper, I added 1 leftover chicken-turkey sausage, sliced. I tasted the soup at this point and decided it needed a dash of Kosher salt. Perfect!

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What a comforting meal to end a busy, blustery day. Nutritious and delicious.

This made about 2 quarts of soup, enough for two generous servings (and more leftovers).

Note: For vegetarians: use vegetable stock, omit the sausage.

 

Where has THIS been all my life?

When I was a child, I spent quite a bit of time at the home of one of my closest friends. Taking up a fair lot of floor space in their kitchen, stood a foreign-to-me contraption. Curiosity of course got the better of me, so I had to ask what it was. My friend informed me that it was a “mangler”* and its purpose was to iron table cloths, sheets, towels etc. She removed the cover to show me the machine. Wow! It looked like the wringer on my mother’s washing machine, but on steroids! Actually the rollers were encased in cloth unlike the rubber wringer rollers.
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Apparently machines similar to this are still available under the name “mangle” and “rotary irons”.

Having suffered the chore of ironing my entire life using a hand held iron, I have often skipped the chore entirely. Really, who has the time? But I certainly don’t want to give up the floor space that a mangle needs. Then, quite accidentally while googling a place to repair my sewing machine (which is another story) I discovered that a solution exists: a steam press. While it doesn’t work quite the same as a rotary iron, it accomplishes the job of pressing in half the time and doesn’t take up much real estate.

A search on You Tube and then on Amazon led me to the “Magic Steam Press” by Singer. It arrived on my doorstep two days later. (Free shipping with Amazon Prime).

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I am in love with this. Being a sewer , the steam press is particularly useful. I can now quickly and efficiently press wrinkly pre-washed fabric.

For our Christmas dinner table, pressing the linen table cloth and napkins was so much fun!

Tip: My mother-in-law told me to dampen linen, put it in a plastic bag, and then chill in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes before ironing. It really makes it easier to get the wrinkles out.

Now, what needs pressing?

*Further note: Until I googled looking for a royalty-free image to use in this entry, I really thought the machine in question was  called a “mangler”. Well, that just shows that you can learn something new everyday.