Sunday, August 31, 2008

I done broke my eyeclares!

Well sit right down,
yes sit right there,
let me tell you all about
Sara and her eclair

Oh the day looked good
and it seemed like she had luck,
but by dessert-time
it was clear that she was f-

Oh hi! I didn't see you there. Let me just put down my poem. So you're here to check out my Daring Baker post for August. Well Meeta and Tony sure picked a fun recipe - Chocolate Eclairs by none other than Pierre Herme himself. Yum.

I was going to make these on some lazy Sunday, but then early in the month we invited some people over for dinner. Perfect - I could make the dessert and have extra people around to eat it.
Because Meeta and Tony are benevolent hosts, they allowed us to alter the recipe slightly. The eclair recipe as written called for chocolate cream in the pastry and chocolate glaze on the tops. M&T allowed us to change one of the components if we wished, as long as one stayed chocolate.

I decided to make them a little more summery and change the filling to simply whipped cream mixed with vanilla, a little sugar, and some raspberries.

And then I broke my eclairs.

The day of: Thank God the recipe is easy and fast. Got home almost an hour late from work. Instead of 2 hours until the guests arrive, I've got just over an hour to make the eclairs, filling and glaze, as well as get started on the rest of dinner. The choux pastry came together easily and with my plastic-bag-turned-into-a-piping-bag I got 24 eclairs.

We baked the pastries, and when the were puffy, golden brown and seemed firm, we removed from the oven and let cool. I turned my attentions to other parts of dinner, but a few minutes later I walked by the cooling rack. Almost all of the pastries had deflated. We cut one open and decided that they might be a little undercooked; perhaps that was why they sank. Back into the oven where they got a little browner and puffed up again. But again, as soon as they came out of the oven, flat city. I don't know why. We followed the recipe exactly, our size was right, our oven temperature was good. Last year cream puffs were an element in a different DB challenge and they were fine. Could it be the altitude here in Kamloops?

There wasn't time left to fuss with them any longer, so I started gathering the ingredients for the glaze for the tops.

Wait.

Was that the doorbell?

Crap.

I ran out of time. We'd hardly done anything for dinner, and now everyone was here. While I got drinks and put out some chips and salsa, Scott made a fast glaze of chocolate and cream, and drizzled the tops.

After dinner I squished some raspberries up, and mixed them into cream whipped with vanilla and powdered sugar. I used another plastic-bag-piping-bag to fill them, and look how lovely they looked:

Lovely!

Ok, so I didn't really break them. They just didn't go as planned. Were they warmly received by all diners? Yes. Were they yummy? Yes, although I found them to be more eggy than I am used to. Were they fairly easy to make? Yes. Would I make them again? I'm not 100% sure. We don't eat a ton of dessert anyway, and I was pretty bummed about the flatness. Which may or may not have anything at all to do with the recipe.

Head over to Meeta or Tony's to get the recipe. And over in the right column there's a link to the Daring Baker blogroll, all eleventy billion of us.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bread Baking Babes - Pita Bread

Every month baking with the Babes is exciting, because I'm baking breads that I would never in my wildest dreams thought I would have tasted, much less baked. But this month is especially cool, because it's pita, something I eat and love, but again, would never have thought I could bake.

The recipe is amazingly easy (go here to Ilva's to see the recipe), and the pitas came out perfectly. I don't have a baking stone, and I can't imagine how fabulous these would be baked on a stone, because they're pretty damn fantastic the way I baked them.






I liked my pita with a bit of peanut butter and jam. Scott liked his with ham and mustard and tomato. My Dad turned one of his into a breakfast pita with eggs, bacon and potato (drool), and my Mom filled hers with greek salad (obviously the smartest of us all). Does it really matter what you fill it with? Nope, just make 'em and eat 'em!
Please go and visit all the other babes and see how their pitas turned out; their links are all over on the right hand side.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge reminder

Don't forget that Weekend Cookbook Challenge 31 - Get Your Grill On - ends August 30.

Send you entries to me at iliketocook at shaw dot ca.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

del.icio.us recipe of the week - my take on Michelles Beanapaloosa

This is possibly the fastest that a del.icio.us recipe of the week has made it from computer to plate - the same day. I saw this recipe on Tuesday morning before I left for work, picked up what I needed from the store at lunch, and made it that night for dinner.

When we packed up our house in Calgary to move here, cleaning out my pantry was the hardest part for me. I gave away a fair amount of spices, sauces etc, but some stuff I just couldn't part with, and a jar of garlic black bean sauce was one of the things that came with us. But what to do with it? No idea, which is why it was still in the pantry unopened until my Tuesday morning visit to Je Mange la Ville, where I found her Chicken and Green Bean stir fry.

Doesn't it look and sound delicious??? Or del.icio.us (ha! sorry.). Yes it does. But when I was at the grocery store I had a change of heart. We've eaten a lot of chicken lately, to the point I don't want to eat chicken again any time soon. Maybe I should save the recipe, and make something else tonight. OR, I could make a switch and use beef instead of chicken! Am I brilliant, or what?


This was ohmygod good. As I said, I used beef instead of chicken. I also used about 1/2 lb each of the beef and the beans - I am trying to cut down on leftovers around here - but left the sauce amounts the same, as we do love sauce. Scott was pretty uninterested in this when I started cooking it, but practically knocked me out of the way to get at it when it was done, then ate 3/4's of it, and said that anytime I wanted to make that again, it was ok with him.

The only thing I would do differently next time would be to cut back on the amount of garlic I used. Michelle's recipe calls for fermented black beans, and I used garlic black bean sauce. As fabulous as it was, I swear we radiated garlic out of our pores for the next two days.

Recipe: Chicken and Green Beans with Fermented Black Beans

del.icio.us recipe update, as of today 267 recipes. After I hit 300 in May I had to go through and delete recipes I knew that there was little chance I would actually make. And then I severely cut down on how many recipes I added to del.icio.us during the summer. Instead I just bookmarked them to my favorites, or wrote them out instead. So I really got ahead there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

VGT 100

I saw this over at Mary's the other day, and she saw it at Stephanie's, who found it over at Very Good Taste - the 100 things that Very Good Taste thinks everyone should eat at least once in their life. Here's what you do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

Here's my results -

1. Venison - I do not eat venison, but was tricked into trying some. Not once, but twice, in my 20's. I think that's very mean.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses - had to google this, it's a type of cheese washed in rainwater. doesn't that sound romantic?
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Elephant Island, baby.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal - google - hottest type of curry
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel - yuck.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin - i don't know, google is giving me clay. but i wouldn't eat clay.
64. Currywurst - sausage with curry and ketchup???? yes please!
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette jesus! nononononononononono
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost i would try this. google revealed that a cheese shop i used to go to in calgary sells it. wish i'd known that last year.
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake - I think i had snake once. I'll have to check with Scott.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I think I'll have a salad for lunch.


CANADIANS -

Maple Leaf Consumer Foods and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are voluntarily expanding a recall of certain ready-to-eat packaged meat products and are warning people not to serve or consume the products as they may contain Listeria monocytogenes.

The following foodservice and retail products are affected by this alert. All carry the Establishment # 97B and have a best before date up to and including those specified in the following table.

Product Code Description Package Size Up to and including Best Before Date
26365 Sliced Cooked Turkey Breast 470 g SE 30
02106 Schneiders Bavarian Smokies 1 kg OC 28
02126 Schneiders Cheddar Smokies 1 kg OC 28
21333 Sure Slice Roast Beef 1 kg SE 30
21388 Sure Slice Combo Pack 1 kg SE 30
60243 Deli Gourmet Roast Beef slices 1 kg SE 30
02356 Seasoned Cooked Roast Beef 500 g OC 07
42706 Roast Beef, Seasoned and Cooked 500 g OC 07
21334 Sure Slice Turkey Breast Roast 1 kg OC 14
21444 Sure Slice Corned Beef 1 kg OC 14
44938 Montreal Style Corned Beef 500 g OC 14
21440 Sure Slice Black Forest Style Ham 1 kg OC 21
21447 Sure Slice Salami 1 kg OC 21
21331 Sure Slice Smoked Ham 1 kg OC 21
48019 Schneiders Deli Shaved Corned Beef 200 g OC 21
48020 Schneiders Deli Shaved Smoked Meat 200 g OC 21
48016 Schneiders Deli Shaved Smoked Ham 200 g OC 21
48018 Schneiders Deli Shaved Smoked Turkey Breast 150 g OC 21
48017 Schneiders Deli Shaved Fully Cooked Smoked Honey Ham 200 g OC 21
21360 Burns Bites Pepperoni 500 g 09 JA 01
99158 Turkey Breast Roast 1 kg SE 30
71330 Roast Beef Cooked, Seasoned 2.5 kg SE 30
71331 Corned Beef, Smoked Meat 2.5 kg SE 30

No other Maple Leaf products are affected by this recall.

There have been no confirmed illnesses associated with the consumption of the affected products.

Maple Leaf is taking every possible precaution to respond to this situation promptly and in the best interests of consumers and mitigate any potential risk. We are taking immediate steps with our customers to have all affected product removed from the marketplace.

For further information, call 1-800-568-5801.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I am not afraid of kale anymore.

Kind of.

I like kale, but other than this soup I have no idea what to do with it. And though that soup is fabulous (and it really is, and you should make some soon), there's only so much of it I can eat. Which is unfortunate, because this spring I planted 3 kale plants in the garden, and they've gone crazy. I deleted my early garden pictures by accident, but compare this picture which was taken at the end of July with this one below and you can see how fast it grows. I feared if I didn't start cutting some off soon it might invade the house.


When we were at the market on Saturday one of the vendors had some recipe sheets out and I grabbed a couple. I was thrilled to see a handful of kale recipes and a couple that looked darn tasty. I played around with one recipe last night and was so happy with the results. It's a cheesy baked kale, not too much unlike my yummy creamed spinach, except not nearly as good for you. Well the kale is good for you, but the sauce is not. But it is so creamy and cheesy and delicious. This recipe doesn't make a lot, but you don't need a ton either. It would serve 2 to 4 people, or 1 Scott.

Creamed Kale Baked with Cheese

serves 2 to 4

1/2 lb kale which has had the stems removed
2 tb butter
1 tb flour
3/4 cup hot vegetable broth
salt
pepper
grated nutmeg
hot sauce
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (from about 1 piece of bread)

Remove the stems of the kale before weighing, so you have 1/2 pound de-stemmed. Wash well. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, and cook the kale, covered and stirring often for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Squish the kale with your hands to remove the excess water (like with spinach), and then chop the kale. Set aside.

While the kale is cooking, heat 1 tb butter in a small pan. Add the bread crumbs and cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt the remaining 1 tb of butter in a small pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and stir or whisk until smooth. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until it is thick. Stir in half (1/4 cup) of the cheese. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and hot sauce to taste. Stir in the chopped kale and mix well.


Pour the kale into a small baking dish sprayed with non stick spray (I think mine is about 4X4, but it's upstairs and I'm downstairs and it's too far away to check). Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese, and half the bread crumbs. Then add the rest of the cheese and top with the last of the crumbs. Bake at 425' for 10 minutes, or until the crumbs are nice and crisp and brown.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Munch


Sorry, Scott and I are busy completely spoiling our nephew who is out for a visit.

See you next week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

WCC 31 - Get Your Grill On

It's August, it's boiling outside (most of the time)....so why not leave the oven and stove off and head into the yard with your grill? That's the idea behind this months Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Moi. For those of you who have not yet participated in a WCC, find a recipe from a cookbook, magazine, or off the internet that fits the months theme, make it, write about it, and send a link to me. Easy like pie.

We like to use our grill pretty often, but most of the time we aren't very adventurous with what we cook. Many times if something is being marinated before grilling it's being done with a purchased sauce. Sorry if that offends. So I thought it would be fun to find a recipe that need a homemade marinade. And something with beef becuase I'd found a piece of steak in the freezer. And something fast, because we had plans to go out after dinner. And I found a recipe that checked off all those boxes in my second hand copy of The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith.


I haven't spent much time with this book, but I love it. Recipes from 35 different cultures from Armenian to Yugoslavian. There's some really interesting stuff. From the Korean Immigrants section I chose Beef Bulgogi.

I ended up altering the recipe in a couple of different ways. I omitted the sesame oil because I hate sesame oil with a passion. I also had to omit the sesame salt (ground toasted sesame seeds and salt) because I'd run out of sesame seeds. I changed some ingredient amounts as well, so really it came out more teriyaki than bulgogi. But it was very nice - speedy, and sweet and spicy. Because the meat was thinly sliced (well, as thin as I could, I really need new knives), it needs little time to marinate or cook. This isn't a 30 minute meal, but maybe 45.



Beef Bulgogi, Teriyaki Style
modified from Jeff Smith's Beef Bulgogi

Serves 4 or more

1 lb sirloin or other steak of your choice
2 tb soy sauce
2 tb sugar
4 green onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tb fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tb sake
1 tsp or to taste hot pepper flakes

Slice the meat thinly and set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, and add the meat. Toss to coat, and let sit for 30 minutes. Heat your grill over medium high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade and grill, turning once, 2 minutes per side or until done to your liking.

Serve hot, but the leftovers are tasty cold too.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That Cookbook Thing. Cooking with friends and Julia Child.

When last you saw the Julia Crew we'd wiped the soup off our faces, and come to terms that the curry sauce wasn't a complete success.

We've moved on to Rapee Morvandelle (Gratin of Shredded Potatos with Ham and Eggs and Onions). All the usual suspects Mike, and Ruth, Mary, Deborah, Mary, Shaun, Elle and Kittie are back too.

There's not a whole lot to say about this recipe, other than it's delicious and pretty easy to make. Onion (I used red) is sauteed in butter and oil (I cut back the amount). Diced ham (I used black forest) is added and cooked for a few minutes. The ham and onions are mixed with eggs, grated potato, garlic (more than the paltry 1/2 clove called for by the recipe), minced chives, milk and swiss cheese. Bung it in the oven and cook until firm and golden brown.

This would be a perfect brunch dish - eggs, ham, cheese and potatos all snuggled together in an easy to serve wedge. There is nothing about this I would change, although I might play with the herbs a little - maybe some basil, or sage?
Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Chop Salad

In 2004 Scott and I took a trip to San Francisco. We ate for the first time at a Ruth's Chris steakhouse, and on the advice of my boss, we tried their Chop Salad. It was absolutely fabulous and when we got home we made it a few times, and then the next time my parents were visiting we made it for them. My parents were crazy about it too, and since then they have perfected their version of the salad:


Looks great, don't you think? Well, come over for lunch then. I've got lots of leftovers in the fridge.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cuban Sandwiches

One of the best things about reading food blogs is discovering new sites. One of my newer finds and all time favorites is the blog at King Arthur Flour, Bakers Banter. Last week I was nearly drooling on the keyboard as I read their post about making Cuban style buns to make Cuban Sandwiches. They looked so amazingly good that I decided right there that I would make the sandwich and the buns.

The recipe makes 6 buns which in turn make 12 sandwiches. Because there are only 2 of us, I didn't follow the ingredient amounts in the sandwich recipe. When I marinated my wee piece of pork tenderloin I fudged the marinade by not measuring. I let the pork marinate all day.

I made the buns in the morning when it was less roastingly hot. As usual I added all the flour, which was not necessary, and had to add some extra water. Also the bun recipe calls for lard, but I used butter. Other than that the dough was fine.

My shaping sort of sucked, but they were all fairly the same size and shape. After their second rise I slashed them and spritzed them with water.

Scott and I argued about when to take the buns out of the oven. I think we could have gone for a little more color, but whatever.

Then at dinner time, when it was almost 40'C in the backyard, it was time to turn on the barbecue! What joy. The pork was cooked and thinly sliced.


We'd bought some kosher dill pickles and sliced them, along with some swiss cheese. There was ham too.


And the sandwich was put together. The recipe calls for your buns to be spread with olive oil, but we used butter. We layered the pork, ham, swiss cheese and pickles on the split buns.


Then we closed up the sandwiches and brushed the outside of the buns with a little more butter. We heated our pan over medium heat, then added the sandwiches, turned the heat down (my stove is very very finicky), placed a piece of foil over the sandwiches, and put my heaviest pot on top. I pushed down on the pot slightly to press the sandwiches.


They cooked until they were nice and brown on the bottom, then we flipped 'em and repeated.

Bad picture, but still doesn't that look amazing? And so filling. I didn't think a half sandwich would be enough for me, but I barely finished it. Scott ate a whole one, but said afterwards it was almost too much. The best part came 2 days later when I took the other half of my sandwich to work for lunch. I ate it cold and oh man, it was even better! Next time I will make 3 or 4 sandwiches so they'll be lots of leftovers.

Recipe: Cuban Sandwich

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Saturday

I forgot to include in my last post a picture of my new apron I got at last weeks market:
So cute! I've wanted an apron of this style for ages. And it only cost $5. Score.

Yesterdays haul:
Organic carrots called Dragon something. Neither of us can remember. Organic green and purple peppers. Organic squash. Cherries. Green plums. Peaches. Corn.

We had a cocktail on the deck yesterday and picked some of our celery for our Caesars.
It was bitter, unfortunately. Perhaps it needs more time. But it looked purdy.

Half of last weeks jumbo zucchini was turned into Zucchini Saltimbocca, which I've made before.
This time I used provelone, basil and westphalian(?) ham, and coated them with panko instead of flour. They were just as tasty as I remembered. I have to decide today on what to do with the other half of the zuke. I'm thinking either zucchini cookies, which I have made before but I guess I didn't post about it, zucchini bread, this pasta, or this one, or maybe something new.

Our weather has perked back up, so we are heading out for a walk before breakfast. Have a great day, and happy long weekend to all who get one this weekend! Yahoo!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Lately

It's only hours until we head out to the Saturday market. Here's what we bought last week:

Zucchini ($1!) that I put next to my kitchen ruler to show how big it is; the ruler is 12". Potatos, cukes (2 for $1!), beans, yellow squash that I cooked on the bbq with olive oil and Spike, sprouts, and raspberries.

I have told you next to nothing about my garden this year. We had planned to rip up some sod and put in a garden like we had in Calgary, but it didn't happen. So we planted in the existing garden in the backyard. It's been pretty hit or miss; we had a slow start to spring/summer and then the heat hit with a vengeance. My squash and watermelon plants were the first casualties, and my herbs are all struggling. Here's what looks good still:

Celery! We are growing celery!

And kale. I think it's time to start picking. I only have one kale recipe, anyone got any suggestions?
Our 2 heirloom tomato plants. They are large and in charge and finally have some wee tomatos on them. Any time now....

Pepper plant, with little teeney peppers.

Zucchini! And a couple more possibly on thier way.

My potatos totally suck this year. So, so depressing.


Out tomato plant we bought from Costco. It looks like crap, but we've gotten a ton of yummy tomatos off of it, with more greenies waiting to ripen.

I made the cooking club recipe from Foodtv.ca last month - potato skins from the new show Road Grill. Ultimately I didn't submit this for 2 reasons. One, it was a miserable day when I made these and I didn't use the grill. Two, um, I really don't like this show. At all. And try as I might, I just couldn't write a nice post about it. But the skins were good - bacon, cheese, tomato and green onion. Potato skins rule!