Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish for the day

Green beer? Yuck. Heck, I don't even like beer. Plus, I can only imagine how awful it must taste, overloaded with food colouring. No, pour me a glass of Bailey's Irish Cream, please, on ice. And if I must have something green, then make it Mint-Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies. That kind of green I can take!
So for my "Irished" cookies, which are based on a really great recipe for a basic sugar cookie, I made three very important additions. I substituted mint extract for the vanilla in the recipe, added mini chocolate chips to the dough, and finally, I rolled the cookies in green sugar before baking them. It's a really easy cookie recipe and it's super-customizable for any taste and any occasion.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar until they turn lemon-coloured.
Stir in 3/4 c. vegetable oil and 1 tsp. peppermint extract.
Stir 2-1/2 c. flour and 1-1/4 c. baking powder into the liquid mixture. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl, but form a soft dough. It is easy to handle and form into balls.
For added texture and taste, I add 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips. You can use regular-sized chips instead, but the mini ones spread out more and make the cookies seem more chip-filled. Yum.
Using a 1-inch ice cream scoop, divide the dough into 1-inch balls. If you don't have a mini ice cream scoop, just roll the balls by hand, but I cannot sing enough praises for my 1-inch ice cream scoop. I use it for cookies, meatballs, melon balls, mashed potatoes, you name it, I have probably scooped it. It really is a very wise investment and will benefit any kitchen arsenal.
Roll the scooped dough into balls and toss them in green decorating sugar. For the amount of dough in this recipe, I managed to use up an entire jar of the stuff, plus a little yellow (!) for the last few cookies. Once the cookies are sugared, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the cookies in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. You might want to turn the sheets around halfway through baking, and take the cookies out when they begin to brown on the bottom only.
Place the on a rack to cool, and enjoy with a big glass of milk, or maybe even a little Bailey's. I'll leave that decision up to you.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Spring is coming. The geese are slowly returning to northern climes. The air is warming up and filled with the sound of chirping birds. On Sunday, we turn the clocks ahead and all of a sudden, the nights won't seem so dark. Plus, I took my fig tree out of hibernation 2 weeks ago, and just look at the little fella grow!

It even has figs! Really makes me want the snow gone and the grass growing now. Yup, spring is the great new beginning of things - the world outside is starting over again. It got me thinking about new beginnings, particularly here, and I realized that I started something myself, but I never really explained the genesis of the project itself. The "why" I did it - why I began a blog called supply on hand.

I wanted to share and talk about how to live within your means, using what you have on hand, but at the same time, I wanted to show how that doesn't necessarily mean boredom! The trick is to build and maintain a great inventory to pull ideas and inspiration from.

One of the best tricks I have for building that endless inventory is to never say no. What does that mean? When offered something free, never, EVER refuse, be it secondhand clothing, and old vase, an unwanted plant or some overstocked canned goods. You might not want it, but accept anyway. Refusal discourages generosity, so the more you take in, the more you'll be considered for donations in the future. This all goes to building that great supply I'm talking about. Do I keep everything? Not always - but I am a firm believer of sharing the wealth, giving away what I don't keep to others who do need it, be it friends, family, or an organization like the Salvation Army.

Stay tuned for more ideas, tips and projects using that supply on hand - and don't forget to turn those clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night before going to sleep!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Birthday! Itadakimasu!

Being sick sucks. More so because I have no energy to cook and no appetite. It's sad, really. This week, however, I mustered up enough energy to pull together a great dinner for my beloved's 30-something birthday. I took a trip to my local Asian grocery store and picked up the ingredients for Shabu Shabu, a Japanese hot pot dinner. Following the excellent instructions of Cooking with Dog, I assembled my meal.
 To cook in the dashi broth, along with thinly-sliced beef, I cut up shiitake and enoki mushrooms, chopped up some fresh spinach and baby bok choy, cubed soft tofu and soaked vermicelli noodles.
 For dipping, I mixed up two sauces: Ponzu sauce, a citrusy tasting mix of soy sauce and lime juice, with grated daikon radish and sliced green onion added in, worked great with the delicious slices of beef. The other, a white sesame sauce based on tahini, worked fantastically with the tofu. Yum!
Since my beloved loves sashimi, which was our alternate meal plan for the evening, I picked up a fillet of fresh salmon, which I sliced up and served  soya sauce and wasabi. I love raw fish.
After dinner, we finished the meal off with bowls of matcha green tea, and little mochi, rice dumplings filled with peanut paste, sesame paste or red bean paste. Even though we are both feeling under the weather, I think it was a very enjoyable evening.