Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

This week, I decided to tackle making bread from scratch! No big mixer, no bread machine… just my two bare hands.Something crazy happened - the yeast frothed, the dough rose (and then rose again), the house filled with the smell of bread, the crust browned…. IT WORKED!
It was probably pretty hilarious to see how excited I was when the dough actually doubled in size, when I cut into it and saw a real swirl, and when I finally took a bite and it tasted like bread!! Delicious bread at that! Simple things, I guess.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
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I followed this recipe, but made a few small adjustments:
Ingredients:
Yield: 3 loaves
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup warm water (must be between 110-115 degrees)
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast – I used instant yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins – I used up the last of my raisins, which was about 1.5 cups
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour – I used bread flour, and I ended up using 6.5 cups
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (approx.)
*When I make this again, I will probably add one more tablespoon of cinnamon, and use a touch less sugar in the filling mixture.
Directions: Warm the milk in a small sauce pan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm, about 120-125 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so (make sure your water is at the correct temperature or the yeast won't activate.) Then mix in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. Place in a large, buttered, mixing bowl and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a warm, damp cloth and let rise (I like to let my bread rise in the oven with the light on. It has just the right amount of heat and keeps the bread out of drafts.) Allow to rise until doubled, usually about 1 1/2 hours. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands. Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cut into thirds, and tuck under ends and pinch bottom together. Place loaves into well greased (you can use Crisco or butter for this) 9 x 5 inch pans and lightly grease tops of loaves. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, again for about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until loaves are lightly browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Take melted butter and spread over tops of loaves. (I skipped this step) After about 20 minutes, lay loaves on their sides and remove from pans. Allow to cool before slicing.
P1010905 Enjoy!
R.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Huggy Buggy Bread Pudding

Prior to making this recipe, I’d been wanting to try bread pudding for ages! I knew I would love it, I mean, what’s not to like about bread soaked in cream and topped with cinnamon and raisins.

When I saw this recipe from Aarti Sequeira (love her!) for bread pudding make with coconut milk, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer!!

Oh boy… was I glad made this! It was delicious, and only gets better if it sits in the fridge for a day or two!

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I followed the recipe found here, except I used skim milk instead of whole (it worked great!) and skipped the Cardamom because I couldn’t find any. I just added a touch more ginger and cinnamon. The only thing I found about this recipe is that the looking time is nowhere near accurate – mine was in the over for just over an hour. I would recommend keeping an eye on the pudding and removing it from the oven once bread begins to brown and it springs back when touched lightly.

 Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not low-fat)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 baguette, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 7 cups)
  • 6 dried figs, soaked in hot water for at least 15 minutes, thinly sliced*
  • Handful roasted unsalted cashew nuts, whole or chopped
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the melted butter into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and use a pastry brush to make sure the dish is well coated.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the coconut milk, the whole milk, the spices and a pinch of salt. Add bread and figs and toss. Let soak for 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prepped baking dish and sprinkle with the cashews. Bake until the pudding pulls away from the sides of the dish, about 35 minutes.

Remove the pudding from the oven and serve with ice cream

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Make your own Chocolate Vodka!

I recently read an online tutorial which assured me that I could make my own chocolate vodka with two simple ingredients and… a dishwasher? What?

Of course, my curiosity was intrigued. A few of my friends decided to try it last night, and… it worked! Mostly!

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Ingredients:

1. Vodka – The recipe says you could use cheap vodka, as the chocolate masks the taste. It does mask the taste somewhat, but the better the vodka you chose, the better this will taste. We used Smirnoff (the bottle above was about $36.00 CAN), my friends used Alberta Pure (about $33.00 CAN), and even then the difference was notable.

2. Chocolate Bars – We used Mars bars, as called for in the recipe. Any chocolate bar will do, as long as there are no fruit and/or nuts, because they will not melt properly.  You’ll need 5-6 full size bars for a 1.14L of vodka.

 

Directions:

1.  Chop Mars Bars into strips thin enough to fit through the neck of the vodka bottle.

2. Pour out about a third to half of the vodka into a glass. Save for a future use (like waiting for your chocolate vodka to finish!)

3.  Place the cut up chocolate bars into the vodka. It will look VERY unappealing    at this point. Don’t panic.

4. If necessary, pour some of the saved vodka back into the bottle to fill to the top.

5. Place the lid back on and secure tightly. We were worried about leaks, so we also secured the lid with some duct tape, which worked well.

6.  Now, place the vodka into the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run for one normal cycle.

7.  Wait for a seeming eternity for the dishwasher to finish.

8.  Once the dishwasher is done, take the vodka and shake, shake, shake it up! There may still be some unmelted chocolate floating around. If you’re much more patient than I, you run it through another round in the dishwasher. We did not do that, but some of the sediment seems to have broken up while the vodka was in the freezer.

9. Place the bottle in the freezer to allow for sufficient cooling.

10. Enjoy!

 

This will go great in some hot chocolate or with some milk for a sweet alcoholy treat! From experience, I do not recommend taking it as a shot!

Now, what to do with the rest of the Costco sized flat of Mars bars?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Santa:

With the days getting shorter and the air getting colder, it’s hard not to think about the upcoming holiday season!

I’ve already started brainstorming for my family’s gifts, but I couldn’t help but take a few moments to rack my brain about my own Christmas list.

Not so surprisingly, my list is almost entirely cooking or baking related!

A Light Box!

lightbox

This would be great for food photography, especially during the winter when natural light will be hard to come by.

Cupcake Icing Kit

bestevernewkitlg

How adorable can these get?

Beautiful cupcake liners

ren-val-lg

So pretty!

An adorable apron! 

decodot_audrey 111-JS-94R 

I love these super feminine and fitted retro-style aprons!

KitchenAid Mixer

kitchenaid_mixer

A girl can dream! ;)

What is on your Christmas wish list?

 

R.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

 

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By the psychotic look of my smile there, Snow White may not be an innocent as she seems!

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Snow White and a (giant) Dwarf!

I’ll be back this week with some more posts! I was sick for the better part of the past two weeks, so I decided to rest up and come out strong!

R.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Favourites – Volume 4!

Here we are! Nearly Friday again!

The 5 Favourites for this week:

Grilled Poutine Pizza from FotoCuisine

poutinepizza 

For the Project Food Blog Challenge #5, the contestants were challenged to create a pizza recipe. These guys put together possibly the most incredible marriage of two of the greatest foods on earth! Poutine Pizza! My Canadian heart is all a-flutter!

 

Joe and Betsy: Project Newlyweds

joeandbetsy

This is such a great idea!  This couple is trying something new together everyday for the first year of their marriage. The blog is a great read! A mixture of a food blog, art blog, healthy living blog with a dash of general awesomeness! Check it out! They also had a great entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #5.

 

Cheesy Clintons from Amuse Bouche

cheesyclintons

My friends and I have somewhat of a fascination with ridiculous over-the-top snack food. The more EXTREME the better. I was happy to learn this week that the Cheesy Clinton is a piece of pizza inside a grilled cheese. The story of how it originated is quite hilarious, and can be found on the Amuse Bouche entry. I’m pretty sure this would make a good entry on thisiswhyyourefat.com, but I’m also pretty sure it’s genius!

 

Coolest Science Project Ever!

If you’re a bit of a space nerd like I am, this video is worth your 7 minutes. A father and son send an iPhone into space in a weather balloon… it actually ends up 19 miles in the air and still keeps filming. You can see the curvature of the earth! SO. COOL.

 

Curling in Costume!

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Last weekend, a couple of friends and I participated in a curling tournament! The theme was Things That Start with ‘C’, so our team went as Canadian Stereotypes. I’m on the left as a hockey goon… complete with a black eye and missing teeth! Also of note: Curling is super fun!!

That’s all for me! Hope you have a great week!

R.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Mousse Tarts!!

As I previously mentioned, last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. This one was extra special for me, because I decided to try my hand at making Thanksgiving dinner -  all on my own!

My mom was a phone call away for all of my novice questions.. “Does the stuffing have to go in a bag, or can it go straight in the turkey?” (For those wondering, either works!)

Luckily,  I avoided making any noob mistakes  - though I narrowly escaped cooking the gizzards in the neck. Somewhat surprisingly, everything turned out great! The turkey was perfectly browned and moist, The stuffing was delicious (even though it wasn’t mom’s recipe), and I managed to get the mashed potatoes right. This is a feat given that I don’t actually like or eat mashed potatoes! Mom was there for guidance while working  on the gravy, which was the most complicated part.

It was a great success!

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I have to say though, the star of the show was dessert. Hands down.

I kept everything traditional for the dinner, but wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary for dessert. Being Thanksgiving, I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the standard pumpkin pie. The result was nothing short of amazing.

You know when you make some recipes you have such high hopes and the results end up being  a little “ehhh.” This is not one of those recipes. This recipe was more delicious than I had anticipated. This recipe is super easy and, in my opinion, it is BETTER than pumpkin pie.

 

Pumpkin Pie Mousse!

P1010837 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling, not a large can
  • 2 small packages instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups lightly sweetened whipped cream (make sure to use the real stuff!)
  • 1 pre-cooked pie crust or 12 pre-cooked tart shells*

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix both packages of vanilla pudding with 1 cup of milk and stir.

Add the pumpkin. Whisk to combine.

Add the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

Fold in 2 cups of whipped cream.

Spoon into baked pie crust or tart shells.

Spread whipped cream over pumpkin filling.  (I added dollops to the top of my tarts)

Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice over the top.

 

* The recipe I used said it serves 8, but I had a full bowl of leftover filling after making 12 heaping tarts. You could probably make 20 regular tarts with this filling.

If you’re looking for something a little different this Thanksgiving, try these! You can thank me later! ;)

R.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday Favourites – Volume 3!

It’s Friday already! One of the best part of long weekends in the short work week that follows!

Time for my favourites of the week!

 Candy “Apple” Donuts from duhlicious!

candyappledonut

What a great idea! Timbits (for Canadians) or donut holes (for Americans), coated in syrup and dipped in sprinkles, toffee bits and… potato chips? That’s so crazy, it just could work!

 

Brown Eyed Baker

browneyedbaker

I discovered this lovely blog this week, and I’m hooked! There are tons of great recipes, beautiful photographs and tutorials! She even has a baking ‘bucket list’, which I think it a great idea!

 

Caramel Apple “Pies” from Tasty Trials

applepie

I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t particularly like pie crust. I’ll eat it, but it’s usually as a means of getting to the more delicious center of the pie! I’m one of those people who eats the crust first to get it out of the way! But I do love me some puff pastry! I can’t wait to try this recipe, because it’s the best of both worlds! Delicious flaky puff pastry and apple pie filling, with no pesky pie crust in the way!

 

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Liv Life

chipotlesweetpotatoes

Sweet Potatoes + Chipotle Peppers + Lime = Happiness.

 

The Social Network

The-Social-Network

I saw this movie on last Friday, and it was fascinating! I did some research afterwards, and I think the movie took some liberties with the real story of the creation of Facebook. Nonetheless, it’s worth seeing!

Cheers,

R.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These may well be the best chocolate chip cookies ever! I love soft cookies, and these ones stay that way thanks to a secret ingredient… vanilla pudding mix! They got rave reviews!

P1010822

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

*The recipe says 10 to 12 minutes, but I only baked mine for about 9 minutes (granted I am at high altitude). Please keep in mind that these cookies will not look done when you take them out. I just waited until I started to see a light browning on the edge of the cookie, and they were perfect!

Enjoy!

P1010825

R. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friday Favourties – Volume 2!

It’s time for another  round-up of my favourites of the week! Always an honourable mention in the list is the fact that it’s Friday! It’s a long weekend here in Canada too! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Without further adieu, and it no particular order:

Fresh Apple Bread from Sweet Savory Planet

applebread

My co-worker was telling me that she had a laundry basket full of apples from her apple picking excursion, and didn’t know what she was going to do with them all! I printed this recipe for her when I saw it and MAN IS IT DELICIOUS.  She added a little nutmeg to the mix, which was a nice touch! In her words (and I agree wholeheartedly)… “It’s a keeper!”

 

This picture found on yes and yes

learnto 

Yes and Yes is one of my favourite non-food blogs. It’s full of interesting articles inspiring advice, and pretty pictures. Like this one! I love the picture and the message!

 

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls from Framed

baconcinnamonrolls 

Yes. You read that right. BACON cinnamon rolls! This woman may have unleashed delicousness of unspeakable magnitude upon us all! I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m fairly confident that when I do, I will never want to eat anything else ever again. Check out the rest of this blog too! I love the writing style, and the recipes are amazing and creative (*ahem* Mac ‘n Cheese Cupcakes and French Toast Muffins) if not a little hazardous to the waistline!

 

Hipster Puppies

hipsterpuppies

The name says it all. It is just pure glory!

 

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

P1010822

I’m firmly on Team Soft and Chewy when it comes to cookies! The only time I really like crunchy cookies are when they’re dipped in milk! These cookies are where. it’s. at!

I made them for a charity bake sale at Mr. Aussie’s (my boyfriend) work, and the reviews I received are “the better than the ones from Cookie Occasion (a local bakery)” and “This is one of the best cookies I’ve ever had”. Funny story: The latter review was from a member of the Calgary Police Service who questioned my boyfriend when he saw him walking by with a tray of cookies. Mr. Aussie explained that they were being sold for charity, so 3 officers bought some of the cookies from him before they made it to the bake sale table! Of course, he gave the money to the organizers.

Now who knows, maybe Mr. Aussie is making this stuff up so that I keep baking for him! ;)

Don’t fret.. I’ll share the recipe this week!

Until next time! Cheers!

R.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Loco for Loco Moco!

Every once in a while, this dish pops into my head and I must have it right away.

I’ll admit. This is somewhat of a strange combination. Trust me on this though, it’s awesome!

Loco Moco is a native Hawaiian dish. It is rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with a fried egg and typically drizzled with some sort of sauce or gravy. My boyfriend had seen the recipe on a Food Network, so he had to try it when we visited Hawaii over Christmas!

The dish we had was topped with a sauce very similar to teriyaki sauce, so that’s what I do when I make it on my own.

Loco Moco!

P1010790

Ingredients:

4 hamburger patties

4 eggs

4 servings of rice – I used brown rice. Basmati or sticky rice would be delicious as well.

2 tbsp teriyaki sauce

 

Sauce:

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

1/8 cup water

1 tbsp sesame oil

A few splashes of fish sauce

 

Prepare rice according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, place the hamburger patties in the oven on a baking tray – frying them will work fine, I just didn’t feel like cleaning another frying pan! ;)  After flipping the hamburgers, brush hamburger patties with 1/2 tbsp of teriyaki sauce.

Add all of the sauce ingredient in a bowl and whisk together.

As the hamburgers finish cooking, fry 4 eggs over easy. The best part of this dish is the combination of the runny yolk with the hamburger and teriyaki sauce, so make sure to leave the egg runny.

Assemble the dish with rice of the bottom, hamburger, egg and top with the sauce. I added some sesame seeds for garnish

Serves 4

Mmmmmmmm!

R.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Friday Favourites* – Volume 1

I’ve decided to start a weekly round up of 5 of my favourite things from the week! They may be recipes, blog discoveries, music, books, fashion, entertainment.. who knows!

Here it goes for Week #1.

In no particular order:

Homemade Twix Bars from Gingerbread Bagels!

I need to make these. Stat. The recipe uses saltine crackers! I love me some salt and sweet!

Kooza by Cirque du Soleil!

kooza 

Cirque du Soleil is back in Calgary, and I’m so so glad I got a chance to see it this time. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish! If it happens to be touring through your neck of the woods…. GO! You won’t regret it!

Friday Socks by drywell on Etsy

fridaysocks

This print adorable little print made me laugh out loud. Are you wearing your Friday socks?

The Happy Poet

thehappypoet

This is an endearing movie about an out of work poet who opens an organic food cart. Paul Gordon, who wrote, directed and stars in the movie does a wonderful job of creating quirkly, lovable characters. I was smiling the whole way through. It’s here as part of the Calgary International Film Festival, but there are dates on the website for further screening information.

Caramel Apple Surprise Cookies from Hot Polka Dot

Caramel-Apple-Surprise-Cookies5 

Hot Polka Dot is quickly becoming one of my favourite blogs! Lindsey keeps posting these amazing recipes that she comes up with on her own! Thank heavens my boyfriend has a Bake Sale fundraiser for work this week, or we would have to devour these beauties all on our own.

R.

* This spelling of favourite might look strange so some, but this is how we spell it in Canada! Blame the Brits! ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brownie Pizza!

For my brother’s birthday in April, he had an ‘E’ theme. So, along with my Elmo shirt,  I decided to make some Extreme Cupcakes… I think I’ll keep the exact details of the recipe under wraps until they make another appearance, but let’s just say I had several strangers approach me in the bar to complement me on them!

This is another one of those recipes. Every once in a while, I like to throw caution to the wind and do something a little ridiculous when I bake for my friends.

Enter:

BROWNIE PIZZA!

P1010752

 

Step 1:  Bake your favourite brownie recipe into a pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Be careful not to overcook the brownies, as they will take less time than if they were in a baking dish. I started checking mine after about 20 minutes, and ended up taking it out after about 25 minutes.

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Step 2: Add a thin layer of cream cheese icing. I would recommend a bit thinner than you see here… this was REALLY sweet. Almost too sweet for me!

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Step 3: Add pecan Turtle pepperonis!

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Step 4: Add Skor bits!

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Step 5: Drizzle with caramel sauce.

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I got this idea after looking at this recipe from Betty Crocker. I can’t wait to try that recipe as well. This would be amazing with fresh fruit on top!

R.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The ‘Boyfriend’ Salad

I’ve noticed a trend as of late for oversized or comfy clothes being classified as the ‘boyfriend’ blazer or ‘boyfriend’ jeans.

boyfriendblazer boyfriend-jeans

The idea is that you’re taking items your boyfriend would wear and pairing them with more feminine pieces to create an eye catching outfit.

How does this relate to cooking in the slightest?

I don’t know about anyone else, but my boyfriend likes steak. Likes is probably an understatement actually, he would be glad to eat red meat for every meal! Throw in some garlic toast and potatoes and he’s in heaven!

I definitely enjoy the odd ‘steak and potatoes’ meal, but most of the time I try to mix things up.  In order to maintain my healthy weight, I try to sneak in as many vegetables into any meal as I can.

The best of both worlds??? …… Steak Salad!!

Or…. as I’ve lovingly dubbed it:

 The ‘Boyfriend’ Salad*

Grilled Steak Salad with Balsamic Blue Cheese Dressing

P1010782

 Ingredients:

2 small grilling steaks (cut of your choice) – We used one giant Brontosaurus steak from Costco and cut it in half.                                                                                                              

6 asparagus stems, cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

4 cups baby spinach

1 cup snow peas, trimmed

1 small red bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

 Dressing:

2 tbsp. low-fat balsamic dressing

1 tbsp.  blue cheese, crumbled

 

Season steaks with salt and pepper (or steak spice). Heat a pan to medium-high heat and drop in the steaks – you should hear a sizzle.

Heat a second pan to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add asparagus. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until asparagus becomes slightly more tender. Add mushrooms. Cook for 3 more minutes until mushrooms are sautéed, adding more cooking spray if necessary.

Divide the baby spinach onto two plates. Distribute the bell pepper, snow peas, asparagus and mushrooms.

Once steak is prepared to desired doneness, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips and place on top of the salad.  Add feta cheese.

To make the dressing, combine balsamic dressing and blue cheese into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Note: This dressing is strong. I recommend that it is served on the side.

Boyfriend Approved!

* This salad can be enjoyed by most anyone. Consumption is not limited to boyfriends. :)

 

R.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

Last night was another 'on the spot' meal, and my first experience with spaghetti squash. I have to say.... I LOVE IT! It kept a nice texture and wasn't at all mushy like I was expecting!

To cook the squash, cut it in half, remove the seeds, and place it in a glass baking dish with 1/4 cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 7-8 minutes. Once it's done, you should be able to pull the squash into spaghetti like strands with a fork. My smallish squash yielded a surprising amount - easily enough for me and my hungry boyfriend!

Always one to keep it interesting, I made two different sauces to accompany the squash.

They were both very simple, and a great excuse to use my new Magic Bullet!
Once again, these recipes are approximate as I made it up on the spot!



Parmesan Garlic Sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 1cm x 1cm x 6cm block (approx. 1/4 cup) of Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a food process until the cheese is broken up. Add more olive oil as necessary, but this is more of a dry sauce.

(Note: This was pretty garlickly. If you're not as much of a garlic fan, I would stick to one clove)

Red Pepper Feta Sauce 
1 small red pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp chipotle chili powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor until well blended. This should make a runnier sauce.

Unfortunately the picture doesn't do the meal much justice. I'm looking into getting some proper lighting for these foods shots! :)

R.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

These cupcakes are yummy. They ended up coming out with a more dense texture than a standard "cakey" cupcake. I'm not sure if this was the recipe or the user, but it was a nice change!

These are definitely one of those indulgences in spoke of in my Live Your Life post. I've been on a baking kick lately, but I'm still getting used to the amount of butter and fat that goes in to regular  (less health conscious) baking recipes. Of this 1 1/2 dozen batch, I had two and promptly shipped the rest off in a care package for the rest of my family! :)

                                        

Maple Pecan Cupcakes 

For the cupcakes:
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature 
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 extra-large eggs
scant 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

For the frosting: 
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. maple-flavoured extract

Pecan pieces for garnish. 

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Place 18 medium size baking cups in muffin pans. 

Beat the  butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder over the egg mixture, then fold in. Add the pecans and fold in. 

Add the mixture to the prepared baking cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and well risen. 

Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in the maple-flavored extract. Spread the frosting over the cupcakes and add pecans pieces for garnish. 

Makes 18 cupcakes. 


Every day I find so many baking recipes that I want to try, that I've found myself with a dilemma. Who is going to eat all of this? Although my boyfriend is more than willing to help out with the treat consumption, it's still not exactly healthy to consume an entire batch of cookies between two people! I'll bring some treats in to work, but my office is super tiny with other 3 other co-workers. 

Do anyone else have this problem? So much to bake and not enough people to eat it! What do you do?

I have an end of season potluck for my Ultimate Frisbee team tomorrow, and I've requested to bring dessert. After all, I'm going to jump on any excuse to bake for a reason! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Maple Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Last night, the Aussie and I had my parents over for dinner. We had just bought a new roasting pan, so what better time to test it out! 

The whole dinner ended up having a 'maple' theme (appropriate for my French Canadian father), and it was great success - as Borat might say! 

Maple Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Potatoes and Butternut Squash
adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary plus 4 sprigs
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
One 4-pound boneless pork loin (about 12 inches long)
6 pieces maple coppalino bacon 
6 small baking potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), quartered
1 small butternut squash, chopped into medium size chunks
Salt and pepper

In a resealable plastic bag, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the mustard, maple syrup, chopped rosemary and garlic. Add the pork and turn in the mixture to coat; refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the rosemary sprigs in the center of a roasting pan.  Place the marinated pork on top of the rosemary. Lay the bacon slices over the pork loin. 

Place the potatoes and butternut squash in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to mix. 

Scatter the potatoes around the pork. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 150°, about 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the potatoes and squash.


I'll be back later this week with another maple inspired recipe. This time, it's dessert!

A little teaser, because I'm rude like that. ;)



R. 



Friday, September 10, 2010

Drunken Scallop Fettucini





Drunken Scallop Fettucini*

4 servings of whole wheat fettucini
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 medium sized scallops
1 cup white wine
1 small red bell pepper,sliced
3 large white mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/2 tbsp oregano
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
salt and pepper to taste

Cook fettucini according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

As the fettucini is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until onions start to become translucent. Add scallops and the 1/2 half cup of white white. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they have turned white. Remove scallops from the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Add sliced vegetables, marinara sauce, oregano and parmigiano reggiano and the second 1/2 cup of white wine. Stir in cooked pasta (and reserved pasta water if  necessary). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with scallops. Serves 4.

Enjoy!

*The measurements are my best estimation, as this was an on the spot creation!

R.