Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lunch in Wolfville, NS

I am on holiday in the Maritimes! So, just a quick post today, and I wanted to share the great lunch I had at a diner here in Wolfville called Front Street Cafe, at 112 Front St. I want to eat as much east coast seafood as possible on this trip, and the feasting started today with this huge plate of Digby scallops and chips. EXCELLENT! It was perfect! Check it:

Fries were homemade and fresh and the scallops were luscious and lightly breaded.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Halifax for the day. Not sure what I'm going to do there because there are tons of options. But there will be lunch!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shindig Rundown

Yesterday I had a small gathering at my place as a kind of going-away party, with the ulterior motive of using up as many of my leftover baking ingredients as possible before I move - all part of OPC (Operation Pantry Clear-out). It was lovely to just bake and bake for a couple of days. I realize I've been missing that in my life. However, the weather here was so hot, and continues to be, so it was a tad uncomfy to be in my kitchen for the amount of time I was. But it's OK.

Here is a shot of my spread:

So, on the white platter, top left, we have these rum & chocolate chip blondies, only without pecans because I'd already used them all up. Also on that plate are sour cherry & chocolate chip brownies. That recipe is basically my usual blondie recipe, only I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup of sifted cocoa powder. They are amazing!

In the pottery bowl next to that platter (the pottery was made by my super-talented potter friend, S) are these cookies. They were great.

Bottom row, left, we have a rhubarb tart. I made the pâte brisée recipe from Earth to Table, which you can see here. Incidentally, that's the same pumpkin pie recipe I used for the pumpkin pie you see in the bottom row, right, in the photo. It's sooooooooo gooooooood! I love that pumpkin pie recipe! It was a big hit at the shindig yesterday. For the rhubarb tart, I used frozen rhubarb, that, as it thawed, shrunk into probably just less than 4 cups of rhubarb; very annoying. But it was perfect for a tart, and I decided to do a lattice top. The rhubarb tart was a hit, too. The filling also contained 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, and about 1 tbsp of cornstarch.

Finally, between the two fruit pies/tarts, we have a basic banana bread. Very basic. I got this recipe from my friend Anita, who made this regularly when we were in university together. It's been my go-to recipe ever since because it's super simple and super moist.

Anita's Banana Bread

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces, optional

Beat the eggs with a whisk and add butter, brown sugar, and bananas until well-combined. Sift in the flour, soda, and salt until the batter comes together. Add nuts, if using. Pour into a greased or lined loaf pan and bake at 350F for about an hour.

Everyone went home with a baking doggy bag. I'm leaving soon after all - I didn't want to keep any of it.

Up next, my trip to the Maritimes, Wolfville, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, PEI, to visit family, I just know there is going to be absolutely TONS to food blog about! I can't wait!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip & Sour Cherry Cookies

I'm moving to the coast at the end of September, which has prompted me to start Operation Pantry Clear-out (OPC). I'm trying to use up as much as I can so I have less to move. Makes sense, right? Next Saturday, I'm throwing myself a little going away shindig and I thought it would be a great opportunity to bake like a madwoman in order to use up all kinds of stuff. Today I started, and this cookie recipe was the first thing on my list. Originally, this came from Tish Boyle's The Good Cookie, but I adapted it slightly since I don't have any white chocolate on hand (and why would I go and buy it, since OPC is in full swing) and I didn't use slivered almonds (again, not on hand so tough luck). My version is hugely delicious, however!

Chocolate Chip & Sour Cherry Cookies (adapted from Tish Boyle's The Good Cookie, page 59)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup chocolate chips

You know the drill (don't you?). 350F for 15 or so minutes. I got about 3 dozen.

Incidentally, as part of OPC, I also made the blondie recipe right below this post - and used up the rest of my rum! They are very rummy indeed!

EDIT: the cherries are Chukar cherries, and my friend Jodi - giver of great foodie gifts - got them from here.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies...With Booze!

The Good Cookie is a book I bought a few years ago and have not used enough. It's not that it doesn't have good recipes in it - it does - but I seem to always go back to my tried & true recipes and I seem to overlook it. But, in an attempt to reassess what cookbooks belong on my dedicated bookshelf and which ones I can do without - because I'm moving - I revisited the book to look for inspiration. And I found this recipe, which turned out to be just killer. The rum is essential, let me tell you! In fact, I doubled the amount to make these extra boozy! Yeah, I'm keeping this book. I gave the blondies, again, to family members because, again, what is a single gal trying to watch her waistline going to do with a big pan of blondies?

Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies, adapted from The Good Cookie, page 119, by Tish Boyle

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup amber rum
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper, or grease & flour it very well.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

3. In a mixer, beat butter & brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla and rum. At low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pecans & chocolate chips.

4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until just golden brown and the centre is set. A toothpick should come out clean but not dry. DO NOT OVERBAKE THESE!

5. Cool completely, portion, and serve!

Magazine Monday #82: Pumpkin Coconut Pound Cake

In addition to having a lot of frozen rhubarb on hand to use up before I move at the end of September when I move to the coast, I also have a ton of pumpkin in the freezer I really don't want to go to waste, either. I have a lot of pumkin recipes kicking around, and this one I have had in my binder for a few years; it's from Cooking Pleasures Magazine, which I used to get with my membership in the Cooking Club of America. I let my membership to this lapse a few years ago because it was getting too expensive with all my other various subscriptions (which have also gone by the wayside by now, too) but I still have quite a few recipes I've saved I want to try.

I made this last week and gave it to some family members to eat; I certainly didn't need an entire cake hanging around my house, especially as it was my birthday and I knew I was going to have lots of leftovers from my celebration (more about that later). I did take one slice, however, just to taste. I'll give you my critique after the recipe! Originally, this recipe is accompanied by a creamy vanilla sauce, but I didn't do that. I also didn't add the pecans as I had just used mine up in another project.

Pumpkin-Coconut-Pecan Pound Cake, from Cooking Pleasures Magazine

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree (I used 2 cups of my own pumpkin puree)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease & flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a large bowl, beat the butter until light & fluffy. Beat in the sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin & vanilla until well combined. Mixture will look curdled.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. At low speed, slowly add them to the wet ingredients. Fold in coconut & pecans.

3. Spoon into prepared pan & bake...about an hour or so, or until done.

4. Cool & serve!

Now I really liked the combination of pumpkin & coconut. I love both flavours and they work well together. But this cake wasn't super pumpkin-y, which was disappointing. The colour was a bit pale. I also over-baked this slightly, so it was a bit dry. My bad for sure. The taste was good and I would try this again, just perhaps with a bit more pumpkin in it and I'd be a little more careful with the baking time.

If you make it, let me know how it goes!

Cookbook Review: Best Recipes Ever

My regular readers should probably know right now that I am a huge fan of Canadian Living, as evidenced by the sheer number of Magazine Monday recipes I post here that come from their magazine. They publish a lot of cookbooks, and I was lucky to receive a review copy of one of their recent releases, Best Recipes Ever. It's a co-release between Canadian Living and CBC, which airs the show Best Recipes Ever, hosted by Kary Osmond. I have seen the show, and it's fairly basic and a tad boring, but they do have great ideas. In fact, it was after seeing an episode on cabbage rolls that I was inspired to email my friend Mr. Anchovy and ask for his mom's cabbage roll recipe, which resulted in my epic cabbage roll day.

The book is very much what fans of Canadian Living have come to expect over the years: reliable, easy, consistent recipes that have mass appeal. I found it refreshing that the book didn't get divided into the predictable chapters of "appetizers", "mains", "desserts" etc., but rather it was organized into categories like "Party Fare", "Meat-lover Mains", "Eggs and Brunch" and "Beat the Clock." It's different, and it's more specific, and it makes sense.

I recognized many of these recipes from the magazine and some of them I'd even made and showcased here as part of Magazine Mondays. For instance, the Curried Pork Burgers on page 105 - which has become a favourite among my extended family - is something I've made and posted here, as is the Blueberry Oatmeals Squares recipe on page 167. There are others I recognize, too.

There are plenty of recipes I am dying to try, as well. The Halibut & Spinach Curry on page 165 look amazing and is right up my alley - halibut is my fave fish! - and the Sublime Mac & Cheese on page 303 looks like it lives up to its name. And it probably will; the beauty of these recipes is that they are Canadian Living tried & tested, and I know from years of making them that they're going to turn out.

One new recipe I tried out was the Rhubarb Coffee Cake on page 281. I have a bunch of rhubarb I need to use up before I move and this was a good opportunity to bake with some. The cake was excellent, and everyone I shared it with loved it. Perfect texture, great flavour - just another tried and true Canadian Living Recipe.

This is definitely a keeper cookbook for me, and if your a Canadian Living fan, or want to be converted into one, this is a great investment and worth some space on your bookshelves.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Latest Coyote's Kitchen Column!

Wow, has it really been a month since my last post? Um...I have lots of material...just not a lot of motivation right now. We'll see what the next few weeks brings me in terms of energy levels.

In the meantime, here is my latest food column in Bread 'n Molasses Magazine. Ice cream - just in time for summer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Couple of Miscellaneous Vancouver Meals

There is one chain restaurant that without fail pleases me every time I go there: White Spot. Call me crazy, but I love White Spot! And when there is one in my vicinity (none here in the Kootenays) I make a huge effort to go to one for a meal because I just love their food. It's comfort food at it's best. They make great breakfasts, they make great burgers, they make great milkshakes, they make the best coleslaw ever, and they're just a comfortable place to go for a casual, yummy meal.

I ate at White Spot three whole times in the 8 days I was a the coast. Terrible, I know, but also awesome! I didn't take pix of all my meals there, but here is the BC Chicken Burger, which is one of my perennial faves.

Now onto something a bit more refined but just as casual and yummy. I had a visit with a blog friend on the Saturday morning I was at the coast - the day with the best weather on the trip, BTW - and we headed into the city from Maple Ridge to Granville Island. I adore Granville Island! It's a quintessential Vancouver experience and I try to get there every trip. We only had a short time for lunch, but luckily there are lots of quick places to choose from at their food fair. I knew I was going for waffles at Miura shortly with my brother and also that he and I would be having dinner, so I went for something small and light: a bagel with cream cheese & lox. Yum!

And this was our view from outside the market, where we sat in the sun to munch:

Incidentally, I was there during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and one of the fancy bakeries in the market was selling all kinds of these, which looked great:

Very cute, but I didn't buy one. That Saturday was one awesome day of food for sure!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dinner at The Cactus Club

I went out to the Cactus Club with my friends Shihtzustaff and her partner, Deb, who hosted me during my stay. It was their treat and I was happy to go there because I'd eaten at the CC a few times before and really enjoyed it. The CC, from where I stand, is fairly chi-chi, but when you get there you realize that it's probably one of the places the real wannabe chi-chi people go to pretend they're chi-chi, while the true chi-chi in Vancouver go to places like this.

In any case, the CC does great food, and one of their selling points is that they have a bunch of signature dishes on their menu created by big-name celebrity Chef Rob Feenie, who owned the now-closed Lumière. Deb kept raving and raving about the Hunter Chicken (for a description, go here) and vowed to order this, even though she is a vegetarian. After agonizing over an appy, I ordered the Tuna Tataki, which I'm not sure is a Rob Feenie dish, but it looked good and it was light, and indeed, when it came, it was very tasty. I had never had Tuna Tataki before, and this was a great first time experience.

As for my main course, it was a tough call. The Hunter Chicken, which not only did Deb order, but Shihtzustaff did as well, was very appealing. But I was in the mood for lighter fare, and went against the crowd and didn't order a Rob Feenie dish; I instead ordered the wonton soup. I added shrimp and Cajun chicken to it. My was shaping up to have a very Asian theme to it, as I had just come off my Momo sushi experience in Gastown a few hours earlier.

The wonton soup was amazing. Lots of veggies, the broth was excellent, and the wontons were tasty. The only downfall of the dish was the Cajun spiced chicken; it didn't really go with the Asian flavours so I wouldn't do that again. But it was a lovely bowl of soup, and quite filling, so I was pretty happy.

Dessert was a very tempting affair. Although I was pretty full, the CC dessert menu was gorgeous. I caved and ordered this chocolate thingy - the name escapes me and I'm not sure if it's a Rob Feenie dish, either - and boy was it good. And it was a nice light dessert, too. A great ending to a great meal.

The Cactus Club is a busy place, so if you plan on going and trying it out (which if you find yourself down at the West Coast, I encourage you to do) make a reservation or go at a non-peak time. But it'll be worth it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


My brother & SIL live in downtown Vancouver, right at Robson & Seymour, and there are like a zillion options for eating out right within a block's radius. It's ridiculous. When I went to visit Jem last Saturday, after our Miura Waffle experience, we decided a couple of hours later that it was time for dinner. Since Jem was very under the weather, he was in the mood for soup, and he recommended a pho joint near Robson & Richards - a mere two minute walk from his place.

Alas, I did not get the name of this pho place! But as soon as I entered it - it was tiny and had two chairs available at a small window front counter for people to eat at, so it's definitely a take-out place - I was overwhelmed by the smell of broths containing star anise. It made my tummy grumble. There was a small menu that included four types of pho, a few Vietnamese subs, and some salad roll type things. My brother opted for one of the beef phos and I had the chicken one. They were all $6.45. I also ordered a Vietnamese salad roll for $2.75.

This is not environmentally friendly take-out, as you can see. You get with the pho three containers: one for the noodles & meat, one for the broth, one for sauce, and then you get a plastic baggie with bean sprouts and fresh basil. You mix all this up at home.

Plus, I of course had a container for my salad rolls. Mother Nature is no doubt justifiably upset.

Guilt aside, the meal was great. The salad rolls were OK (I've had better other places). The noodles were a rice stick, there was plenty of chicken, the addition of the bean sprouts and basil was great. But I had some surprises in store for me. As I was eating the soup, I came across two small eggs. I am assuming by their size that they are quail's eggs. I was not expecting that. I also was not expecting a few large chunks of pale sausage of unknown origin. It tasted OK, but I was a little leary at first. I doubted it was a pork sausage but I also doubted it was a poultry sausage. In the end, it was a mystery. It tasted fine, though.

The sauce that came with the pho was not to my liking. It was actually a brown sauce with a large squirt of a red spicy sauce, so I just skipped that part of it. All in all, excellent meal at an excellent price. I just wish there was a more environmentally friendly way of doing this particular kind of take-out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Some Vancouver Sushi

During my trip to the coast in March, which was 5 days long, I didn't get any sushi. None. It was very disappointing indeed. During this most recent trip last week, I made sure I got some sushi in. Sushi is ridiculously cheap and easy to come by at the coast. It's everywhere and it's good and it's very economical. Here in this one horse town, I can get a sushi roll at LOGS for about $7 - $8. At the specialty grocery stores at the coast, like T&T Supermarket, which is Chinese, H Mart, which is Korean, and Fujiya, which is Japanese, there is excellent supermarket sushi (and bento boxes and other roll-ish foods) in copious amounts and for super cheap prices. It's like heaven. Seriously.

The first sushi I had was at a place in Gastown called Momo Sushi. I had just had a busy afternoon of shopping and visiting with blog pal Scout of Harper Valley, and after we parted I had some time to kill before my ride went to take me back to Shihtzustaff's place, where I was staying. So, I saw this Momo place along Water Street and looked at their menu. To my shock, I could get a duo of sushi rolls - Dynamite and California - for $7.25! I was in! I got a seat, ordered, and was soon in sushi bliss.

It was absolutely wonderful sushi, and beautifully presented. I couldn't believe how much sushi I got for $7.25! I was blown away when the waitress brought me my board full of sushi.

I highly recommend this place if you're in the Gastown area and in need of a sushi fix!

I used to shop at T&T Supermarket when I lived in Coquitlam when I was in culinary school and it was always such a cool experience. It's like no other grocery store I've been in. There are so many live fish available for purchase that you practically feel like you're at the Vancouver aquarium (no, you don't eat the fish at the Vancouver Aquarium, but you get what I'm saying). T&T has pretty good grocery store sushi, so I got myself a spicy shrimp roll as I was in the store looking for some cooking ingredients I can't find here. This was just OK; not terribly fresh, but tasty enough and it was good enough considering it cost like $4.

Fujiya is where I hit the jackpot with awesome grocery store sushi. In fact, I also got a bento box for good measure. This is a spider roll, made with deep fried soft shell crab. With an exotic ingredient like that, I was super stoked about the pricetag:

$4.95! That is unheard of in these parts! And it was really tasty and fresh, and the crab had a bit of a kick to it in the batter. Awesome!

I also got a bento box for frakking $5!

This was a bit odd, I have to say. The shrimp were great, the rice was great, the green sesame salady thing (top left) was great, but the potato salad (bottom right) was brutal and contained frozen peas & carrots (ew!) and the other seafood items were weird. They included two fake scallops. I have never heard of a fake scallop, but it was much like fake crab meat only scallop-shaped and not pink. There was one deep fried shrimp, which was fine, and then there was a small piece of other fish I couldn't identify. This was accompanied by tartar sauce. Next time, I'd go for something else because this was nothing to write home about and the combinations were really strange.

Believe it or not, that was all the sushi I had. I could have had more, but there are so many foodie options down there it's just too much!

My Miura Waffle Bar Experience

Sometimes there are things you just HAVE to do. You see them, you drool, you get a tingly sensation, and you just KNOW that THIS IS FOR YOU. Such was the case when my friend Jodi told me about an eatery in Vancouver she saw on a food blog, and knowing that I was making a trip to the coast in the imminent future, she strongly recommended I try it so when she and I get together for the first time in person in October, I could wholeheartedly throw my own recommendation behind it and we could go there together. This eatery is the Miura Waffle Bar on Davie St. right in downtown Vancouver.

The post Jodi initially saw this place on is here. When I looked at this myself, I just about died! It looked fan-freaking-tastic, and a visit to the Miura site further convinced me that this was a MUST for my trip to Van, which I just came back from on Tuesday. I immediately alerted my brother & SIL, who live right downtown Vancouver, to the place, only to have my SIL alert me that they'd been already and they thought it was totally awesome.

I got the chance to go to Miura last Saturday, a spectacular day in which I met a friend for a small lunch and a browse around Granville Island Market, and then after taking the Aquabus over False Creek, I met my brother Jem outside his film school campus on Hornby St. Miura was on our way back to his place, so we stopped in. He was very ill and not interested in a waffle, but he did order a flavoured milk, as that is Miura's other specialty.

As soon as I saw the Miura site well before my trip, I knew what I was going to order: the Tiramisu Waffle Sando. It was a tough call given the other stuff on their menu, but I just knew the tiramisu option was for me, because tiramisu is one of my all-time favourite desserts.

For $4.49 you can't go far wrong. And so this is what I ordered. It was prepared for me in a short period of time and came to me in a little basket.

It was a little basket of pure orgasmic heavenly blissful sinful amazingness.

It was a freaking religious experience. I mean, check it:

Look at that oozy goodness! I mean LOOK AT IT. It's beyond words...It defies description! It was unspeakably unspeakable!

I almost wanted to order another right away, but I had to resist knowing that we were going to have dinner out in the not too distant future.

Holy crap, if you live in Van or are thinking of going there, I highly recommend you check this joint out! Jodi and I are definitely going there during our get-together in October!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Magazine Monday #81: Peanut butter, chocolate chip, and bacon cookies

I have to admit, until today, I hadn't ventured into the whole chocolate-bacon flavour combination craze. But as is common with me, strange cravings come upon me suddenly, and I get to thinking about recipes I've come across that didn't appeal to me at first glance but all of a sudden seem like something I just have to have right now. This recipe was one of those times.

Thank God - and my mom! - for Food Network Magazine! In the most recent issue, they had a recipe for peanut butter, chocolate chip, and bacon cookies, and so I made them this afternoon when a craving inserted itself into my brain.

The recipe is here.

Usually not a fan of savoury items paired with chocolate, these cookies were awesome! In fact, I think they could have used more bacon than what the recipe called for. I didn't put the chilli powder in the dough because I thought that was going a bit too far and seemed a bit too weird, but the bacon paired with the peanut butter and chocolate was just great. The cinnamon was a perfect little hint of spice. My dad came over and I fed him some, and he thought they were the oddest combination of ingredients out there - and he couldn't taste the bacon. So next time, more bacon! Also, I had to add a few tbsp of milk to the dough as mine was too dry to form into balls.

Other than that, a totally keeper recipe!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Magazine Monday #80 and 101 Uses for a Roasted Chicken #27

I'm on a bit of a pizza kick lately, and as mentioned in the previous post, I'm trying to use up things in my freezer. I still have a bunch of that roasted chicken from a catering gig last month frozen, and so I decided to make pizza with it - again! - and use a new pizza dough recipe I came across in Food Network Magazine, a publication I really look forward to receiving each month.

Yesterday, in addition to making blueberry crumble, I made a chicken, red onion, kalamata olive, and mushroom pizza. It was delish!

The pizza dough recipe is here, and it came from the March 2011 issue of the magazine. I really liked this recipe. It made enough that I could divide it in three portions and put the other two in the freezer, and it was quite a light crust that bubbled up attractively when baked.

It's been a great weekend of food around here, that's for sure!

Blueberry Crumble with Coconut Pecan Topping

Out with the old and in with the new! That's what I'm trying to do with my fridge freezer these days. I plan on making some more big batch stuff shortly, and it's also about to become summer fruit season, so I decided to stop hoarding frozen fruits and start using them so I can fill the freezer with fresher stuff. I had 7 cups of blueberries from last summer bagged up, and I took 6 of them out to make a crumble yesterday.

I never use a recipe when making a crumble. I eyeball everything and add what I feel would work. So that's why, apart from the 6 cups of blueberries, there aren't any measurements. Actually, I did measure the butter because, with the price of that particular ingredient, I am hoarding it a bit.

Blueberry Crumble with Coconut Pecan Topping

6 cups of blueberries
juice of 1 lemon
some white sugar (not too much; the blueberries were sweet enough themselves)
cornstarch, so it coats the blueberries lightly

for the topping:

brown sugar
two handfuls chopped pecans
2/3 cups butter

You'll need a 9x13 pan for this, and I'd bake it on a baking sheet in case the filling boils over. Bake at 375F until the fruit is all bubbly and the top is nicely golden brown.

It was pretty delicious, I must say! All it needed was some ice cream, which I didn't have on hand.

Now, I have a whole whack of pumpkin to use up!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Magazine Monday #79 (on a Saturday): Guy Fieri's Soft Pretzels

Strange cravings are upon me these days, and while going through a pile of magazines taking up space on my coffee table, this soft pretzel recipe by Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives host Guy Fieri caught my eye. I have recently become a Triple D (or, as I like to call it, D3) fanatic. I don't know why it took me so long! Where has this show been all my life! It took a while for Guy to grow on me, but grow on me he has, and now I am addicted. This is probably another reason I wanted to make this recipe.

Unfortunately, I didn't think too much of Guy's soft pretzel recipe, which came in the January/February issue of Food Network Magazine. The recipe is here.

Lately, I have been practicing making bagels, which are boiled. I have posted before (here and here) about some pretzels I've made that are also boiled. I have to say, I much prefer that recipe and the boiling method over this non-boiled pretzel by Guy. Guy's are tasty for sure, and I enjoyed the stuffed ones (I used homemade pesto and mozzarella cheese to stuff mine), but they are, essentially, a pretzel-shaped bun without that nice chewy texture.

So, I'd give this a miss. Sorry, Guy! I love you, but this wasn't my cup of tea!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scones for a Crowd

This is a recipe we make weekly at work, and they all go up to the hospital coffee shop. We alternate between blueberry one week and cranberry the next. This is a pretty good recipe, I have to say. It makes four big rounds that we cut into eight triangles.

Cream Scones

9 cups flour
4 tbsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups butter
8 eggs
3 cups cream or milk
egg wash & granulated sugar for topping
blueberries, cranberries - frozen - optional

Whisk together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until it's small pea-size. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet until combined. Add fruit at this point. It's always better to use frozen fruit so the juices don't saturate the batter with tons of colour. It's an aesthetic thing. Don't overwork the dough, but make sure you get a nice consistent dough. It will be sticky. Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and cut into four even pieces. Pat each piece into a circle about 1" thick. Place on greased baking sheet and cut into desired number of triangles. Glaze with egg wash & sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350F until golden brown and cooked through.


Vegan Black Metal Chef!

OMG! If you haven't seen this video yet, I highly recommend you sit back and prepare to be entertained!

I'm a metal fan, but not really a black metal fan, however, this is awesome! And it's hilarious and clever! I don't really like the looks of the sauce (too much sugar), but seriously, this is funny, brilliant stuff! This video is getting a lot of attention, and so it should! The lyrics are fantastic and there are so many priceless lines in it. This is the most entertaining cooking video I think I've ever seen.

Check it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

101 Uses for a Roast Chicken #26: Epic Chicken Sandwich!

So, I had a hormonally-induced hankering for a big-assed BBQ chicken sandwich. I also watched the Divers, Drive-ins & Dives marathon on Food Network over the weekend, and it had me salivating. Funny how one thing influences the other. I had a chicken carcass from one of my roast chicken dinners to turn into stock, and a couple of backs a relative gave me after a chicken dinner she made. I got a lot of great meat off these bones when I made up the stock on the weekend, and I wanted to do something different from the usual pot of soup. So, it was actually three events (hormones, Triple D, and stock-making) that induced this particular craving.

It's very simple: get a big giant bun. Grill some veggies (in this case, onions, peppers, and mushrooms), slice some havarti, and dig out your favourite BBQ sauce. After the veggies have done, put them on the bun and top with some havarti. Add some left-over roast chicken to the pan and heat through; add BBQ sauce. When everything is nice & hot, throw it on the bun & top with more havarti.


I served them with some homemade oven fries and this meal totally hit the spot!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lemon Trifle

Happy Easter to all my readers who celebrate it!

We had our Easter dinner last night due to scheduling issues, and after my lemon pound cake disaster last Tuesday, I offered to bring a dessert so I could get rid of that ugly beast pronto to make room in my freezer for more successful endeavours. Lemon-flavoured desserts in the spring are just the best, I think. Well, they're the best at any time of year, but it seemed particularly appropriate yesterday because it was a beautiful sunny day for once and lemons remind me of sunny things. This is a super simple trifle that was an enormous hit.


- one lemon pound cake, cut into cubes
- 1 jar lemon curd (I used Robertson's because it was the least expensive at LOGS)
- 500mL whipping cream, whipped to a decent firmness, just not butter
- 1 large package (the one that makes 6 servings) vanilla pudding, prepared

Layer in the cake with the lemon curd dabbed over the top of the cake cubes, then pour over the pudding, then some whipping cream, and repeat till everything is used up, topping the trifle with whipping cream. I topped mine with some almond flower decorations.

It took about 15 minutes to make and was absolutely heavenly and delicious!

Have a great day everyone, and for those of you who are Canucks, enjoy the long weekend!

Friday, April 22, 2011

101 Uses for a Roast Chicken #25: Pesto, Chicken, Goat's Cheese, and Onion Pizza

I've been on a pizza kick these days - probably due to hormones. I was very grateful today for a load of fresh basil from my AeroGarden, with which I made some lovely pesto. I used the crust from the last pizza I made and froze, and some of the leftover roast chicken I had from that pizza, too along with the pesto to make a super delicious pizza. The goat's cheese was a new product from President's Choice, a low fat version of the soft, unripened, famous chèvre. I really like it and can't really tell the difference between it and regular-fat goat's cheese.

I'm really loving my pizza stone for these pizzas; you can't beat it for crusts that are crispy on the outside and nice & tender on the inside.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Loaf Failure

Something must be in the air in this God-forsaken place! Spring is soooooooo slow in arriving, I'm cranky as hell, and today I had a very frustrating kitchen failure that didn't do anything to help my mood.

I was inspired to make lemon loaf today after seeing my friend Pierce's success with this recipe this morning. I have a thing to go to tomorrow afternoon, and I thought I'd pack a dessert with me, and since lemons were on sale this week at LOGS, I thought a lemon loaf would be perfect. Plus, it's spring-like! And God knows, I need more springlike things in my life right now!

Tina had great success with her loaf. But mine was a disaster. Granted, I didn't use the food processor as directed in the original recipe, but I don't think that's the explanation for this loaf that A) overflowed from the side of the pan during baking (luckily, I baked it on a baking sheet), B) had a texture that was a bizarre mixture of coarse sponginess with a bit of rubber thrown in, C) didn't rise, and D) it seemed like all the butter sunk to the bottom of the loaf during baking because the bottom was full of grease, and E) it wasn't very lemony. Perhaps my lemons were lemons.

BY NO MEANS AM I DISSING TINA'S RECIPE OR TINA! Tina's looks lovely and according to her, tasted great, too. I obviously messed up big time somewhere along the line, I just don't where. Sometimes things just don't work out. Like I said, there is something in the air up here... I will freeze the loaf and use it for trifle down the line somewhere. I certainly am not letting it go to waste.

101 Uses for a Roast Chicken #24: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Yeah, I know it's been forever since I've done an installment in this series. I haven't been on the ball, what can I say?

Recently, my relative, C, did a catering job and had so many leftovers she was giving them away to everyone she knew, and I was lucky enough to receive a bag of roasted chicken pieces. I put most of them in the freezer, which is a great boon to me. Tonight, I had a hankering for pizza, and since my friends Chris and Deb gave me a bunch of Tony Roma's BBQ sauce, I thought making a BBQ chicken pizza was the way to go.

I have no idea who Tony Roma is, but he has a restaurant chain named after him, and this chain also sells its own name-brand BBQ sauce. I used the hickory one, and it was quite tasty.

The crust I used was Giada de Laurentiis's pizza dough, which is now my go-to recipe. I cut it in half and froze the other half I didn't use tonight.

Otherwise, the pizza was very simple: a light smear of cream cheese went on the crust first, after I softened it in the microwave. After that, I chopped up two pieces of chicken and mixed them in the pizza sauce, then put that down on top of the cream cheese. Then I sauteed some red onion and on that went. Finally, I topped that with a bunch of low fat mozza.

The end result: ridiculicous! This is definitely a keeper combination! And my crust was awesome - probably the best result I've ever had. I think the pizza stone I baked it on helped with the crispy texture.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic, and Fresh Herbs

My AeroGardens have provided me with such amazing bounty this winter. The fresh herbs alone have been a God-send, and I am so grateful to my friend Jodi for giving me this huge gift!

The oregano I originally didn't think would make it has become quite prolific, and the thyme is doing excellently, too. The basil is awesome, as is the Genoa basil plant that has a very anise-y flavour to it. The lemon basil is pretty much kaput and I think I'm just going to yank it out and put in some cilantro in its place. The mint is hugely prolific, as is the dill. I almost have an overabundance of both!

While wondering how to utilize all this hydroponic bounty, I had a brainwave: last fall, after the garlic festival I attended, I made this yummy meal, and so I made another version of it the other night. I didn't have the fancy garlic this time, but that was OK. I still used about a head of garlic in total, and I roasted the tomatoes & garlic with a bunch of sprigs of thyme. After it was done roasting, I added chopped oregano and basil. And Bob's your uncle!

It was another simple, spectacular, and very cost-effective meal ('cause I'm more about cost effective now than I ever was before).

Spoil-myself Food

When I feel like spoiling myself, I often make these shrimp salad rolls. They have fresh mint in them from my AeroGarden. They are very easy to make, but are a bit finicky. They are so worth it, however! And when I feel I'm worth it, I make them. This afternoon was such a day for such a treat!

Elk Steak Dinner

My dad is the local gun guru, and as such, he always has a line on some game meat through his gun pals who hunt. Dad hasn't hunted in years, but he did when we were kids, and I remember one time he came home with a moose that we ate for the better part of a year. It was awesome meat, from what I recall, and to this day, I really enjoy moose meat. Game meat in general is great stuff: basically organic, free-range, drug free, and leaner than beef, pork, or other meats you get in the grocery store. And it tastes amazing. Some meats I avoid, however: bear is gross and I don't like eating teddy bears; white tail deer is very gamey and strong; and I won't touch cougar for ethical reasons.

Elk is a large animal and it's extremely lean. I have had elk done poorly, and when it's done poorly, it's really bad. However, when it's done well, it's excellent. Last night, Dad brought over an elk steak of unknown cut for me to grill up along with a beef sirloin he had hanging around his freezer.

The elk steak was ginormous, and it required some trimming to that I could fit in into my rather modestly-sized grill pan. it had two sections of bone in it and a large piece of very tough fat around the edge that was almost the texture of cheese rind. After trimming, I managed to fit it into my grill pan. I seasoned it with Montreal Steak Spice.

I have one of those cast iron grilling pans and I've yet to master using the stupid thing because I always seem to heat it too high and cause a lot of smoking to happen. While grilling last night, it got so smokey in my kitchen that my smoke detector, located in the living room, went of twice. I reduced the heat but still got smoked out. It was brutal!

I don't know how long I grilled this per side. I do know that you don't want to grill the crap out of game meats because they are so lean, so my aim was to cook this to a nice medium rare - which is how I like my steaks done anyway. Once I took it out of the pan and let it rest, though, it wasn't done to my father's satisfaction: it was still too rare for him. So I put it back in the pan for another few minutes - creating more smoke - until finally, it was done to perfection.

It was delicious and cut like butter. It was a beautiful thing indeed. I served it with some mini potatoes, also donated by my dad, and some yams. It was so big we each had a hunk and I sent my dad home with about 1/3 of it that was left over.

Oh, and the beef steak was pretty good, too, but not as good as this bit of elk. Go game meats!


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