29 January 2009

beautiful bolognese (with or without tagliatelle)

made a very pleasant, home-y tasting bolognese last night... and ate it for lunch today.

it contained:

about 2 tablespoons of butter
a tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 half a regular sized cooking onion, chopped
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped celery rib
1/2 a package of extra lean ground beef - probably like 1/4 to 1/2 a pound
salt and pepper - to taste - i probably used about half a teaspoon of both, maybe a little more
1/2 a package of ground pork - same as above -
1 cup whole milk (I cheated - 3/4 cup 2 percent, 1/4 cup whipping cream)
tiny bit of grated or ground nutmeg
1 cup white wine
1 tin of Italian tomatoes - San Marzano are good

after heating the (large, stainless steel) pan on medium-high heat, i put the oil and the butter into it and allowed the butter to melt and foam. then i added the onion, carrots and celery, and let it cook for a couple of minutes. then i added the meats and seasoned with the salt and pepper, then i cooked the mixture until the meats... weren't raw. then i added the (fake) whole milk and let that simmer away to nothing - roughly 8-10 minutes. i sprinkled the little bit of nutmeg in - it was honestly like an eighth of a teaspoon - then i added the wine, and let it boil away - same amount of time as it took the milk to boil away. then i added the tin of tomatoes with the juices included, and i also cheated a bit and added some tomato puree (the more watery stuff, not tomato paste).

i transferred the lot to my slow cooker and, on low heat, let it simmer very very quietly for about 5 hours. you don't want it at a roiling boil or anything - just some bubbling round the edges. it will not be saucy, so don't expect that - it'll kind of be like a tomato-y, meaty stew.

you should eat this with the pasta of your choice - tagliatelle is wonderful. i had a whole wheat tagliatelle and it was superlative. if you're gluten free, i would imagine that an egg noodle type pasta might work out okay. cook the pasta in salted water to your own preference for doneness. once you've drained it, swirl some butter into it and ladle it out onto plates. add the bolognese and mix it all up together with some grated parmesan.

nom nom bolognese nom.

27 January 2009

Just Say No

... to sodium laurel sulfate, that is. And parabens. And the host of nasty things that they put in soaps and shampoos because no one has really proved that they're not really very good for some people to apply topically.

Further to my last post, I've gone even further down the path of the unwilling consumer. Figured out that my eczema-ridden skin was angry because I was exposing it every single day to those chemicals listed above. Who knew a shower could be so toxic?

Now, here's my disclaimer: most people don't react badly to sodium laurel sufate, parabens and panthenol. That's why they're omnipresent in personal hygiene products. They're also cheap cheap cheap - great for mass production and keeping costs low. However, for those of us who just can't deal with the chemical onslaught waged by everyday life in North America, finding stuff that works just as well but doesn't end up with us scratching like we have fleas is a challenge. So, I've compiled my own list of Stuff That Won't Hurt.

Shampoo - Desert Essences or Prairie Naturals

Soap - ha! Fooled you. Can't use soap - it foams. Go for an oil or a homemade salt scrub. Take some organic sunflower oil (takes about 4-5 tablespoons) and combine it with plain old sea salt (4 tablespoons-ish). You can add a drop or two of grapefruit essential oil if that makes you happy. Scrub down. Rinse off. If you find you're still oily when you get out of the shower, it's cool. Just rub it into your skin as best you can - it'll absorb eventually. Herbal Choice Detergent Free Natural Body Wash is another option.

Dish Soap - always wear gloves. Seriously. I use Method dish soap as it works pretty well, but I still don't touch it.

All-Purpose Cleaning Product - Vinegar and Water. Get a sprayer thing from the dollar store and make enough of this stuff to last you through the winter. It's just one part water, one part vinegar - equality rules.

That's the short list. I don't think anyone actually reads this so I'll keep it brief. I think I'm getting healthier as I make these daily choices, and if anyone is reading this then maybe they'll think about their options, too. Maybe.