13 December, 2008

Presents, Plaster, and Pie

My, oh my, another busy weekend on the Suburban Plot. The garden has received some unprecedented, and much needed, rain, and thus has lost our focus for the past few days. So, our attentions have remained inward. Though, my daily inspection did reveal fresh wheaty, tasseled plumage sprouting proudly from the 3 Sisters Corn, and a few summer broccoli and cabbage seedlings pushing their way toward the sun.

Christmas is upon us and today I managed, with Bing Crosby's Holiday Inn and Going My Way for atmosphere, to finish up our homemade gifting for the overseas crowd. I'd dearly love to share what we got for my family, but a fair number of them read these entries and I'd hate to spoil the surprise.

The gifts are simple, nearly free, but there is a lot of love wrapped up in those decorated envelopes. Packages take longer than letters, so the seasonal cards will go out early next week. The postman complemented the wrappings, so I hope the American folk enjoy them.

After having accomplished measured recovery of the house from Kitchen Phase 1, we've handily wrecked it again with Bathroom & Laundry Phase 1 and Hardwood Floors Phase 0.25. Ah, the joys of home renovation! It really amazes me how we're somehow doing this without spending much money, at all...as in barely even over $100. Of course, the gift of second-hand kitchen cabinetry helped more than one could imagine.

We will soon search for a good home for our old cupboards and shelves and I'm considering a cheap classified sale or, failing that, seeing if any place would accept them as a charitable donation. I'm curious if Salvation Army takes such things.

One very negative aspect of all this manic toil is the total lack of time and creativity it lends to my cooking. There have been multiple incarnations of homemade bolognese sauce with pasta and veggies crossing our table in the past two weeks, and even a night of take-out pizza. Though, I did attempt a shred of crafty cookery, reworking last week's delectable Rustic Lamb and Pear Casserole into a tasty mixed meat and vegetable pie. The recreation scored 10 out of 10 on the Hubby Dinner Rating Scale, so that's a definite win! Perhaps when we head to the "Salvos," as it's known here, to enquire about donating the kitchen, we'll pick up an old crockpot to aid in my construction site cuisine.

If you care to try the pie adaptation, whip up a good, strong double-crust pastry of flour, olive oil, salt, and milk, then saute a bit of meat (I used ground beef), an extra carrot, some spring onion, a touch of minced garlic, and tomato paste—season to your liking. Stir in the leftover Casserole and you're ready for some crusty action!

Pre-bake your bottom crust, after venting with a few fork punctures, for 10 minutes at 180C (350F), fill, cover with the top crust, poke a few more holes, and bake at 205C (400F) until the crust is lightly browned. Serve with a dollop of ketchup, sour cream, or fresh and clean!

Steamed Brussels sprouts are my recommended side—the pickle is optional.


Maggie ~:) said...

Check the animal rescue to see if they need the cabinets as well. The shelter I work with was once gifted with someone's cabinet tear outs and we were Greatly Thankful!!!

Margo said...

Oooh that pie looks scrummy! And I highly recommend a crockpot - it's my favourite kitchen item of all time

Kelly the City Mouse said...

Maggie: Hmm.. All we have nearby are government funded super kennels. Like the RSPCA. But I'll check around, that's a really good idea!

Margo: We finished gulping down the pie tonight. Still yummy two nights later! Oddly, I've never really crockpotted. I had a good one but lost it in a prior relationship, then had only a small cruddy one after, not good for much beyond warming soups. I'll have to learn a whole new style of cooking! How exciting!