a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (27) Pizza, Soup and ACCIDENTS

I've been slacking when it comes to a.o.k. and even more when it comes to a.o.k gourmet. It isn't so much because I have nothing to write about... my mind is always buzzing and I'm still making food... but my life has been busier than usual lately. As usual, when things get busy, some thing(s) get put on the back burner.

But, hey, I'm here today, right?!? And I'm going to share my lovely Thursday  with you...

First there was the pizza dough mishap...

I started out the morning with plans of making pizza dough (I really enjoyed backseat gourmet's recipe which I shared in my last a.o.k. gourmet post... and home-made pizza has been our weekly menu ever since). I wanted to try Simple Bites' recipe this time around.

As the girls played together around my feet... I put the yeast in warm water to rise, measured out (with Layla's help) the flour, salt, water, olive oil and honey... I mixed it all together using the "dough hook". I found the dough seemed firmer and cleaner than the last time... but I transferred it to the greased bowl and covered it with a tea towel to let it rise. When I came to check the dough about 30 minutes later... it hadn't moved... or risen... at all. I spotted the bowl of foamy yeasty water that I'd forgotten to add into the mixer and felt my shoulders slump just a little. Seriously? Andrea? Come on!

I started over for the pizza dough... and stretched out the other dough to bake in the oven anyways... a flat bread maybe? Sigh.

Then there was the soup emulsifier incident...

By now, it was time for Meaghan's morning nap, so I put her down and then came back to the kitchen to make soup with Layla.

We chopped the vegetables (I even took some time to help her do some of the chopping with me). We measured the broth and other ingredients together. Before too long, it was simmering away on the stove and I was cleaning while Layla looked at some books.

When the soup was done, I sat her at the kitchen table with a small snack. After looking at the soup... and wondering if the texture of the full pieces of spinach would bother me and I decided to take out the emulsifier. I didn't want the soup to cook anymore, so I took it off the stove and placed it on a mat in the middle of the table. I plugged in my emulsifier and Layla laughed as I started pulsing the soup.

The laughing didn't last very long.When I lifted the emulsifier to try and grab some of the bigger chunks near the surface, the pressure sent the soup flying... onto Layla.
The rest is kind of a blur. Layla screaming and crying...  me grabbing her and running to the bathroom, throwing her in the tub with her clothes on and hosing her down with cold water... trying to calm her and explain the the cold water will help... visions of little children with burns on the faces or necks from similar and worse accidents... praying that the burns would be superficial... that the soup wasn't hot enough to do any major damage.

... and my shoulders slumping just a little more as my lunch plans changed from taking the girls to grandma's to having one of them babysat by grandma while I took the other to the clinic just to make sure everything was okay.

And thank God - everything IS okay. She has a few small spots that look like first degree burns. They'll be tender but they should heal well and quickly. One spot under her chin may be closer to a second degree burn and it looks like it's going to blister a little... but it should heal well and quickly too. (Today... two days later, you can barely tell there was an incident at all).

We learned that little children with burns get bumped to the front of the "sans rendez-vous" (no appointment) line at the clinic. We came out of there in less than an hour with big white bandages that made her look far worse off than she actually was... but kept the air away from her skin and reduced any potential pain. We also learned that emulsifying should be done far away from children... no matter how skilled or in control you think you are.


I also made my first soup... ever... and it's pretty tasty. I'm not going to go through all that and not share the recipe with you. It is very easy to make and highly recommended. The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" - one of my go-to  favorite cookbooks.

Lentil and spinach soup

Serves 6-8

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
1 ¾ quarts of chicken or vegetable broth (7 cups)
olive oil
thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger
½-1 fresh chili
10 grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cups red lentils
7 cups/oz spinach
salt & pepper
natural yogurt (optional)

To make soup:
(the strike through indicates how I actually prepared the recipe… not sure what it would have added to the flavor/texture of the soup, but I skipped a step and extra dishes!)

Peel and roughly slice carrots – slice the celery – Peel and roughly chop the onions – peel and slice garlic – put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling – Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil – add all you chopped/sliced ingredients and mix together with wooden spoon – Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew (until carrots soften but still hold shape and the onion is slightly golden) – Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the ginger – Seed and slice the chili – Remove stalks form grape or cherry tomatoes and slice tomatoes in half – Add the boiling broth to pan with lentils, ginger, chili and tomatoes – Give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil – Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with lid on, or until the lentils are cooked – Add the spinach and cook for about 30 seconds more.

To serve the soup:

Season with salt and pepper – You can serve the soup as is or using an immersion blender or liquidizer, pulse until smooth – Divide between your serving bowls – Delicious topped with natural yogurt.


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