Friday, December 31, 2010

FFWD Week #14: Dorie's Go To Beef Daube

This dish is delicious, although I should have added more salt to mine. I used beef broth instead of the brandy and wine. I have to say that one of my favourite parts of this one was the carrots, they were soooo good! Right now there is a very tempting pan of Dorie's Chewy Chunky Blondies sitting on the counter... they are calling my name but I am doing my best to ignore them. For now.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

FFWD #13: Speculoos

I really enjoyed making these cookies, the dough came together easily and they smelled great while they were baking. These are lovely little spicy, crispy cookies, I'm very glad I tried them! Merry Christmas to all & to all a good night!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FFWD Week #12: Leek & Potato Soup

Well, well, well, it is time for soup! This soup smelled *amazing* while it was cooking and it was all I could do to keep from burrying my head in the pot! I halved the recipe and am quite enjoying it - perfect for winter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake

A few months ago I stumbled across a beautiful rose bundt pan at Value Village. I snatched it up with many plans of baking bundt cakes immedietly. However, I never got around to trying it out until a few weeks ago when I made the All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours. I've had my eye on this recipe ever since the Tuesday with Dorie baking group baked it over a year ago. I was scared stiff that the cake would stick to the bundt pan, but I buttered and floured the pan and the cake came out perfectly - thank goodness! I grated the apple instead of chopping it, and I think it was great that way. The cake was moist and flavourful and addictive so I gave it away. All except the many pieces that I stuffed myself with, naturally. See that lovely festive platter? Yep, thrift store too!! You can find the recipe for this lovely cake here!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FFWD Week #11:Spiced Butter-Glazed Carrots

I'm not usually a fan of cooked carrots, but these ones were delicious and I am certain that I will be making them again!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

FFWD Week #10: Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Nuts

This week I made the Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Nuts. I should have followed the advice of other members of FFWD who made the nuts also – I should have doubled the recipe! Seriously easy, seriously good. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! I followed the spice combination from the original recipe and used pecans and almonds - I can’t wait to try different flavour and nut combinations in the future. I stopped by Value Village today and along with some other goodies I picked up this awesome little yellow pitcher!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buttermilk Pie

I skipped last week's French Friday with Dorie (shame on me!) and instead made this buttermilk pie. I would have made the Caramel Semolina Cake, which just wasn't appealing to me at the time. I do hope to try it someday though, as it does sounds good! Ever since I saw this pie on Joy the Baker, it's been in the back of my mind. I needed to find out what it tasted like! I finally made it last Friday, and was quite impressed! I think the blackberry sauce really makes complements the simple filling. I made half a batch of both the crust and the filling and used a 6 inch spring form. I had some crust left over, but the filling fit perfectly. I love Joy the Baker, she makes me extremely happy =). You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FFWD Week 8: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

This was the first time I'd ever roasted a chicken or even bought a whole chicken! I love how this group is prompting me to try new things. I roasted this chicken for my family and it was ALL devoured. For some reason, my bread came out super soggy and mushy, but it still tasted great. I want to try this recipe again and not add the optional 2/3 Cup water and see if that makes a difference. The chicken was so pretty and crisp and golden when it came out of oven!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Double Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

While at school the other day, I was suddenly hit by the desire to make Banana Cinnamon Rolls. I couldn't remember ever seeing them, but was sure that someone had thought of it before me - and I was right! I came across a few recipes for putting banana in the dough, and another recipe for including roasted banana in the filling. After a heated debate with myself I decided to combine them for a double banana cinnamon roll! In the end, for the dough I used a pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe from Goodlife Eats, and just swapped banana for the pumpkin called for and switched up the spices a little. For the filling I used the roasted banana cinnamon roll filling from Picky Palate. They turned out GREAT! I didn't have any icing sugar and was much too lazy to go to the store, so I just made a brown sugar glaze. This was good, but they would have been significantly more divine with a glaze made with icing sugar or even a cream cheese icing. Double Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Goodlife Eats & Picky Palate) *makes about 16 rolls, depending on size Roll Dough: 1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees) 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast 1/3 cup warm milk 1 large egg, beaten 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas) 1 tablespoon melted butter 2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour 1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg Filling: 2-3 ripe bananas (depending on how banana-y you want the rolls) cut into 1/4 inch slices 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces 2 Tablespoons brown sugar 4 Tablespoons softened butter 2/3 Cup packed brown sugar 2 Tablespoons Tablespoons ground cinnamon 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) And your favourite glaze or cream cheese icing! Directions: In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Let rest for 5 minutes before stirring. Add milk, eggs, banana, butter, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining flour (all purpose), a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Start with about 1 1/2 cups and increase if necessary. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place banana slices and cut up pieces of butter into a small baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp brown sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Next, use a fork to mash the roasted bananas until well combined. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts if using. Place dollops of roasted banana mixture evenly over top. Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife (I find a serrated knife works well), slice the log into 16 slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes. While rolls bake, prepare your favourite glaze or icing. Frost warm rolls with your prefered topping and serve immediately. Make sure you have people to share these with, or else you will end up eating all of them. Not that I did that or anything... really!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

FFWD Week 7: Potatos Gratin

I made this week's recipe for a French potluck hosted by a good friend. It was a great evening full of fantastic food and chatter. These potatos were well recieved by all. If I made them again I think I would use more garlic and more salt and pepper.

Friday, November 5, 2010

FFWD Week 6: Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans

Well, I jumped off the deep end this week and made the Pumpkin-Gorgonzola Flans from Around My French Table. At the grocery store I was warned against Gorgonzola and told that it was like eating "a stinky gym sock". Naturally this worried me some, but I decided that I would never know for myself if I didn't try it. And I gotta say, this recipe did absolutely nothing for me. The best part was the walnuts. Now, I'm sure that this is for other people, but it's not for me. I like my pumpkin with plenty of sugar and spices! And now I know: gorgonzola = not my thing

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FFWD Week 5: Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

To finish off the first month of French Fridays with Dorie, we baked Marie-Helene's Apple Cake. This is a very simple, lovely cake chock-full of apples. Instead of the rum called for, I used apple cider, and if I had been thinking at all, I would have upped the vanilla - but I wasn't, so I didn't. I enjoyed this cake, and will enjoy the rest of it, but I feel that it is missing something. Perhaps the addition of some spices, or the rum or stronger apple cider or vanilla flavour, I'm not sure. I love how moist it is though, and will probably play around with it in the future. I used combination of Granny Smith, Honey Crisp and Spartan apples. While at the grocery store, a very wise lady encouraged me to buy many Honey Crisps as they were her favourite. I don't remember ever having a Honey Crisp apple, and she was right, they are DELICIOUS! A big thank you to Laurie for organizing this great group and to all the French Friday with Dorie participants for a fantastic first month! I can't wait to see what we cook up next =)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Impulsive Pumpkin Milkshake

I had a wonderful impulsive pumpkin milkshake experience today! It all started out with me making pumpkin butter - just because I wanted to see what it tasted like. When I was in the dorm kitchen making it my neighbor was there also and asked for a taste. She loved it and we began to brainstorm all the delicious ways we could use pumpkin butter: on toast, in a date bar form, in a tart, a layer of pumpkin butter in pumpkin pie, cheesecake, etc! And then it came to us: Pumpkin milkshakes! I said, "I wish I had a blender!" She said, "I know someone who has a blender!" and we were off, in limited time because she had a class soon! But we were foiled and the girl with the blender was not around; so we decided to use some arm power and a sturdy spatula (thanks mom!) instead. We ran, literally, to the corner store and bought some insanely expensive vanilla ice cream and ran back to the kitchen, where we whipped up the most AWESOME vanilla milkshakes! I added some pumpkin pie spice to mine to make it spicier! I know that it doesn't really look like milkshake, seeing as it is in a ramekin and all. But you'll just have to bear with me until I get some more dishes! Please, do yourself a favour. If you have some pumpkin puree in your fridge or cupboard, make up some pumpkin butter, and then make a milkshake, doable even if you don't have a blender. You will be glad you did. Hmmm, I need to get some straws... as clearly, you never know when the milkshake urge will strike!

FFWD Week 4: Hachis Parmentiar

This week's recipe was divine! I've only eaten Shepard's Pie a handful of times and never made it myself. Dorie's version has much more flavour than I ever remember and is really very delicious! The sausage added a wonderful flavour to the meat layer, definitely don't skip out on it. I halved the recipe, and ended up with 2 ramekins and one 6 inch pan - enough for four small servings. I made the 2 ramekins without vegetables and the 6 inch with and liked them both, although I prefer the one with vegetables. Either way you make it, Hachis Parmentiar is a great dish! And next week we get to bake Apple Cake!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Ripple

I whipped up a loaf of pumpkin bread on Saturday morning to take to a good friend's house. Though originally from Joy of Baking, I found the recipe on Lick the Bowl Good. It turned out beautifully and very moist and was well received at lunch! Next time, I will add some spices to the cream cheese ripple and maybe up the spices in the bread too, I do love fall spices! All the pumpkin recipes popping up on blogs make me really happy, I love pumpkin and have a large folder in my favourites reserved soley for pumpkin recipes I want to try! I hope you are having a fantastic week, every one of you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

FFWD: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Thanksgiving weekend was spent at home, with the benefits of a lovely kitchen, room to breathe and the company of my dear family. I made this week’s recipe, Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, on Saturday so that I could share it with them. It was great to be able to make a whole recipe and have people to eat it with and to get more opinions! This soup was definitely different and we all enjoyed the interesting and new flavours. My sister said it tasted "like real food", which I enjoyed! I am loving this group and can’t wait for the Hachis Parmentier next week! Visit the French Friday's with Dorie site to see other members soups!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

FFWD: Gerard's Mustart Tart

Yay for week 2!!!! But not for posting late, that is unfortunate! First off: My copy of Around My French Table came! And with it came a copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours, so I am all set on the reading front for a while! Secondly, expanding my cooking repertoire! A Mustard vegetable tart is about the last thing that I would think of cooking. Ever. But, just like I knew it would, this group has pushed me outside my comfort zone to try something new and exciting. And guess what? I loved it! Being the non-mustard fan that I am, I opted to substitute some onion and garlic in for the Dijon mustard. This was also because I am cheap and did not want to buy a whole jar of Dijon mustard. However, next time I think I will splurge and try it. I used dry Mustard though, and was quite liberal with it! I quartered the filling recipe and made a mini tart, which was absolutely perfect for lunch today. I halved the tart dough, thinking that half of the recipe would be easier to handle than a quarter of it. The dough that I did not use for the mustard tart, I used to make a simple plum crostata with a few plums I had kicking around. I was pleased with how well the tart dough worked with both the savory tart and the sweet crostata! Yay for versatile dough! I do wish that I had added a bit more mustard and/or salt and pepper, to add a bit more flavor, but as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s recipe. Other things that are ‘YAY’! • Being home for Thanksgiving • Pajama pants • Pumpkin whoopie pies • Autumn leaves • The Mamas & The Papas (Yes, I am still obsessed. I don’t see things changing.) • Not stalling my standard car • French Friday’s with Dorie!!!

The Little Chocolate Bomb that almost pushed me over the edge

Okay, not really. But it was pretty close! Let's just say it was hard on me and leave it at that! But it turned out cute =)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

French Fridays With Dorie #1: Gougeres

For the past year or so I have been following the baking bloggers of Tuesdays with Dorie, and drooling over every recipe. The few recipes that I have tried from Dorie's book Baking: From My Home to Yours, have been fabulous. When I saw that a new group was created to cook and bake through Around My French Table, I was very intrigued! I considered joining, but thought 'I don't cook French food' and dismissed the idea. But then, I pondered it some more and thought 'Why don't I cook French food?' I am very excited for this group because it will get me to cook and bake recipes that I normally would not. My copy of Around My French Table is in the mail as I type, as is Baking: From My Home to Yours. I am super excited about both of them, I love reading cookbooks, especially when they have photographs! Luckily, the recipes for the month of October were supplied on the FFWD website, for situations like mine. How thoughtful =) Dorie chose Gougeres for our first recipe, a beautiful choice in my opinion! I love that they don't need any strange ingredients or a huge list of spices; just simple, easily available, lovely ingredients. I whipped up a quarter of the recipe on Thursday afternoon in the dorm kitchen. And I must admit, I was feeling pretty smug when I pulled out a tray of golden, firm and puffy cheese puffs from the oven. Of course, I did wonder why they were done so soon but still, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. That is, until a few minutes later I realized that I had forgotten to turn the oven down when I put the tray in the oven! And the instructions were right beside me! Ooops! I was pleasantly surprised at how much they puffed up while baking, and I would like to try mini ones next time. Next week is a mustard tart... I'm sure I won't feel quite so smug about my abilities when that comes around! I popped four of these one after the other, they are that good. I definitely prefer them warm, but then, that's my opinion on most all baked goods! So go to your kitchen and whip up some of these awesome gougeres (note to self: find out how to pronounce gougeres!) and you can feel proud of your cooking skills too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

My lack of photo skills do no justice to these lovely cookies, none whatsoever! These are Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with craisins and white chocolate chips, oh yes! (On a side note, I have recently discovered the magic which is the combination of white chocolate and peanut butter! Definitely awesome beyond compare!) Pumpkin season is here! I now have some pumpkin in my mini-fridge to do what I will with... I'm thinking pumpkin blondies? Or pancakes, soup, pumpkin pie bars, oatmeal, bundt cake, coffee cake, gnocchi, pasta, biscotti... maybe them all! Get the recipe for these cookies from Jamie at My Baking addiction.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, Monday

I love biscuits, but I only liked these ones. I don't think it's the recipes fault, I think it's mine. You see, the recipe makes around 10 biscuits, and I sure as heck don't need to eat 10 biscuits! I cut the recipe down and made two, and I think (know) that my measuring was not as precise as it could have been. They were still good, but nothing special. I enjoyed one yesterday for supper and the other for lunch today with tomato soup (thanks to Shanna!). There is a beautiful lake here that takes me about 15 minutes to walk to. Every time I go there are people just sitting and gazing, it's that beautiful. Song of the Day: Monday, Monday by The Mamas and The Papas

Friday, September 17, 2010

S'mores Cookies

I know, I know... It's September. But Fall isn't officially here yet, and so therefore it is still S'mores season! These cookies are SO good. It is crazy how good they are, honestly! My sister and my brother (both of whom have eaten their fair share of cookies, and then some!) proclaimed them to be one of, if not the, best cookies they had ever eaten. They were gone in hours. Usually, I attack chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven, but once they are cooled, I can take them or leave them. These were irresistible at any temperature. Many thanks to Jamie from My Baking Addiction for the recipe! The only changes I made were to take away 1/4 cup of flour and add 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs instead, and I used less chocolate chips, maybe half the amount called for. Visit Jamie's AWESOME blog for this fabulous recipe!!! These are simply too terrific to wait until next summer, bake them today =)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hi world!

It stands to reason that my first post should be about something in a loaf pan. This is out of necessity, as well as my love for loaves! See, I only have a few baking tools here: A loaf pan, a cookie sheet, an 8x8 pan, one mixing bowl and basic hand-held tools. No muffin tin, no 9x13 pan, no spring form pan, no mixer. This recipe from Amanda of Fake Ginger was perfect: it only used 2 bowls, (or in my case, one bowl and a measuring cup), and a spatula! I used 3 Tbsp of applesauce in the place of the 2 Tbsp of butter called for, and it worked out fine. The bread wafted the loveliest smell out of the oven while it baked as an added bonus. I don't have a zester or grater that will work for orange zest, so I had to use a knife. This resulted in larger pieces of zest than usual, but I say they add a nice visual. It was quite the challenge to photograph this bread. Not because it was ugly, it wasn't, but because the light in my dorm room is horrible! I managed to find one tiny patch of sunlight coming through the small window and took advantage of it. I shared it with 3 people who were hanging out in the common area, and one proclaimed me to be "amazing". I'm inclined to agree ;) This bread is super quick to throw together and tastes great. Perfect for the last little bit of summer. Head over to Fake Ginger for the recipe and thanks for stopping by!