Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Brunch.....

Here are a few pictures from the Sunday Brunch we have where I work. We worked for 3 days to prepare the wonderful food you see here. I did the majority of the baking. I made my famous coconut cream pie( in tartlet form), buttermilk biscuits( Cook's Illustrated), the pastry cream for the trifle and the orange lemon cheesecake ( my boss's recipe), I also baked 2 huge carrot cakes for another job. I also made pie dough, lemon curd, I poached pears and made pear frangipan tarts. Hmmm, what else? Oh, I made some savory items too. Gravy for the pork roast, pumpkin pancakes, and I sat over a vat of hot oil and fried peppered tempura chicken( Robin better not ask me to make these at home). I did have one little opps when I accidentally sloshed water in the maple pupkin pot de creme's while transfering them to the oven for a bake( in a water bath)

This is most definatly the best brunch I've been to( even though I was working) in Ontario. Robin came with a friend of hers and they both raved. The quality and quantity of food were outstanding. And the best part was the staff got to take home leftovers. I see some Jumbo shrimp cocktail in my future lunch plans.....

Friday, October 27, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging.....

This is my sweet boy Oliver( he's probably thinking, mama, get this off me) crossdressing as Olivia. Weekend Dog blogging is hosted by Sweetnicks.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pineapple, Ginger, Coconut upside down cake( CI)...

Here is a cake that Mike and I made when I was in Florida. We've made this before and its definatly worth making again. Like all Cook's Illustrated recipes, it was tested and retested until it was perfect. The topping consists of fresh pinapple( 6 bucks in Florida,wow) grated ginger, brown sugar and butter. That mixture is cooked and placed in a cake pan. A moist and tender butter cake flavored with coconut milk and shredded coconut is placed on top and once the cake is cooled, its turned over and voila!! It was very good. Mike's bf picked up some fabulous vanilla ice cream from Kulwin's Chocolates( on Las Olas Blvd). That was some really good vanilla ice cream.

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Cinnamon Pumpkin bars( KA whole grain baking)....

Here is another whole wheat recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole grain baking book( what a mouthful!!). The jury is still out on this. When I first tasted them, they were kinda "wheaty". Today I like them a bit better( just a bit). The recipe contains 1 1/2 stick( 3/4cup) of butter, cinnamon chips, raisins, pumpkin, and whole wheat flour in additon to the eggs and leavening agent. I don't know, I just expected a lot more. They werent a wow for me.

There is a whole wheat cinnamon roll recipe that Id like to try. The recipe notes say it comes from author Jodi Picoult who is supposed to be an accomplished baker. Hopefully, I'll like those better.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Morning Glory Muffins( KA whole grain baking)

I've had my eye on the KA Whole Grain baking book for a while now so when I got an amazon gift certificate for doing some survey's, I wasted no time in buying it. What an amazing book, every single recipe uses whole grains. There are cakes and breads and brownies and even whole grain croissants. I can't wait to start baking.

The first recipe I made were these muffins. I used 100% white whole wheat( KA's light wheat flour). The recipe stated that regular whole wheat flour was ok too. Btw, for my Canadian readers, I buy my King Arthur flour in Michigan, sadly, its not sold in Canada.

Shredded carrot, apple, coconut and nuts( I left out) are added. A small amount of orange juice and a larger amount of oil are added along with some warming spices. They smell fantastic baking. Chelsea and Robin really loved them too.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Apple raspberry crisp.....

We served this crisp after the fantastic fish meal. I'm known as the crisp queen when I go to Florida, because I always make some sort of crisp for Mike and his family. I never measure my ingredients, and I always use the same topping. Flour( either AP or WW), oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nuts( this time we used slivered almonds), and butter. I throw it in the bowl and mike works the butter in. We used about 5 peeled and cubed apples along with a bag of frozen raspberries, I threw in a small amount of granulated sugar. I prefer my crisps not that sweet because we usually serve some vanilla ice cream on the side( in this case, we used hagen daz).

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Yellowtale snapper Vera Cruz......

I'm back from a glorious week spent in Ft. Lauderdale. I hung out with my 19 month old neice Emily, cooked a couple great meals with my friend mike, ate out some great food, shopped, swam and sunbathed.

This is a meal my friend Mike and I made on my second night there. We made a vera cruz sauce using a recipe from Zarela Martinez. The recipe can be found on You begin my sauteed white onion and garlic in evoo, to that you add canned san marzano tomatoes( or fresh), chopped spanish olives,white wine, pickled jalapeno;s, capers and fresh herbs( oregano, thyme) and dried marjoram. When the sauce is reduced slightly, you pour some under and over fresh fish. We used yellow tale snapper that Mike's partner Jim picked up at a fish market. The fish bakes for around 15 mintues and all the wonderful flavors of the sauce infuse the fish. It was so tasty. We made a brown rice blend on the side along with a fresh crisp salad and a tangy homeade viniagrette.

PS: I hate this beta blogger, does anyone know how I can switch back?

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Going on Vacation....

I'm going to Florida( where I grew up) until Oct 19th. See ya soon.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Green Chili Chicken Enchilada's( cooking light)...

I whipped this up yesterday so we could have leftover's tonight. I work today ( Canadian Thanksgiving is Monday so we'll be making turkey, stuffing, etc, etc) and I knew I wouldnt cook tonight. Robin can make some more rice and heat up the leftovers for us. This is one of my favorite CL recipes although I've made a few changes. This recipe calls for 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. I use 1 can of light soup and then I fill the can with salsa verde. I also add a few more spices and leave out the onion. Furthermore, I used a light blend of mexican cheese and added some black beans to the filling. I made the black beans from scratch. So simple and so cheap. The rice is Lundberg Farms blend of brown, wild and black japonica. Shopper's drug mart had bags of it for 1.99. I used to buy it in California so I was excited to see it here. I can freeze the leftover beans and rice and Robin can throw together some burritos when I'm in Florida. I leave for Florida on Monday.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oven Baked Risotto( Everyday food)...

If you want perfect risotto everytime, try this method. I've been making risotto this way for awhile and while its not as rich and creamy as the long time stirred method, its still very good. You start by sauteing shallots and arborio in some evoo, deglaze with white wine, add some stock and water and bake for 25 minutes. Then, you stir in another half cup stock, and finish with butter and parmesean.

I also bought some super jumbo scallops. I got 8 for $13.00 and change. I seared them off, but they werent cooking thru so I added some wine and stock and chopped asparagus and let them steam.

Simple and delicious.

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German Chocolate Cake( Baking Illustrated)....

Oh the power of suggestion. Nic posted a teaser picture of a German Chocolate Cake before she went on vacation. I looked at the picture numerous times and then of course, I was craving it. I pulled out my baking illustrated cookbook and made the cake using their recipe. The people over at CI have never let me down. Their cake uses hershey's cocoa and some instant coffee and buttermilk( 1/3 cup). I made the icing recipe from a recipe that I've used before. It's basically evap milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, nuts and pecans. So yummy.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Robin cooked......

This post isn't so much about what Robin cooked( scrambled eggs, oven roasted rosemary potatoes, bacon and toasted bagels), as it's about why she cooked. When she told me last night that she was making me breakfast today, I thought " how nice". Ya see, I was so bone-tired( exhausted really) that I couldnt even comprehend breakfast. Our weekend ritual is the same each and every weekend we're in town. Robin gets up at the butt crack of dawn, I stumble out of the bedroom a few hours later and before I've even brushed my teeth she says " whats for breakfast". Each and every weekend. Robin isnt much of a breakfast eater during the week( I'll usually push a zone bar or a bowl of oatmeal on her), but she likes our weekend ritual.

I almost had tears in my eyes, I was so giddy that she COOKED ME BREAKFAST, she could have served me hamburger helper and I would have been happy( Not really, but ya know what I mean).

I started my new job on Friday and I worked 9 1/2 hrs. On Saturday I worked 10 1/2 hrs with nary a break( 20 min on Friday for lunch and 10 yesterday). I cooked and cooked and cooked. I baked a wedding cake for 120. I made 8x a batch of custard filling, I made morning glory muffin mix x 10, crabcakes, tarter sauce, and guacamole. I made the filling and assembled 26 quesadillas, I made a bechamel with 8 cups of milk, I filled a zillion vietnamese salad rolls, I made tuna, chicken and egg salad and filled 100 pieces of heart shaped breads for tea sandwiches. I chopped and sauteed and whipped and folded and assembled until I couldnt move another muscle. I litterally collapsed into bed on Friday and Saturday nights. Oh and I remade everything I made on Friday in my dreams that night.

I stood for hours on end and used muscles I didnt even know I had. I feel so old!!

But, I loved cooking everything. I love this caterer, she uses amazing fresh ingredients and doesnt skimp on quality. She( or the staff) makes everything from scratch. Oh and she's American( we clicked right away). She said I did an excellent job and that I have this inate ability( which was nice to hear, but which I already knew). She said that people have applied to work for her who flat out told her they didnt like to cook( she didnt hire them). Oh and the best part was that I didnt have to do 1 dish!!!.

I'll be working mostly Friday/ Saturday's and I won't be cooking or posting anymore over the weekend. When I left there yesterday, I didnt want to cook a thing and I didnt think I would ever want to cook again LOL( I ate a PB+J for dinner)( I used the wonderful raspberry preserves from BBM4). However, today I was itching to get back in the kitchen( after 8 hours of sleep last night and a 2hr nap today). We had a dinner function to atttend so the cooking will have to wait until tomorrow!!

Thanks Robin, you're a treasure.