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Iced!

Iced!

When you harvest a whole bunch of rhubarb you need to find ways to use it.  Conveniently mom sent me a recipe for rhubarb crunch (or crisp).

Ingredients :

  • 4 cups of chopped rhubarb stalks (cut into half to one inch chunks)
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tbls corstarch – I used potato starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

Steps :

  1. In a large bowl mix in your flour, oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon.
  2. Press half the mixture into the bottom of your cooking pan. For this one I just used a rectangular pyrex cooking dish.  You should be able to have about 3/4 to 1 cm of the mixture evenly on the bottom.  Leave the other half in the bowl for later.
  3. In a pot mix together the sugar, starch, water and vanilla.
  4. Using low to medium heat reduce the mixture while stirring until its thick like syrup.  Shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes.
  5. Your chopped rhubarb now goes on top of your pressed crisp base in the pan.
  6. Pour the reduced mix over evenly over the rhubarb
  7. Top everything up with the remainder of the crisp mix
  8. Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour.

Verdict :

For a very simple recipe this turned out really good.  Just put it in a bowl and warm it up in the microwave then top it off with some ice cream of your choice (I used butterscotch ripple).  I will be making this in the near future as I still have a few bags of frozen rhubarb to use up.  I also defrosted some cream cheese icing I had frozen from my last endeavor and iced it in a cross pattern.

Mmmmmm

Mmmmmm

Turned out great!

Turned out great!

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So this one has a slightly funny start to it.  I had been talking to a girl on Plentyoffish… haha yeah I know bad way to start a post.  Anyway, that didn’t really go anywhere, but during the conversation she mentioned once that she was going to go bake a cinnamon roll cheese cake.  I immediately knew this was something I had to make.  I think I asked her for the recipe but she never responded (see I told you it went nowhere)…  Since she wouldn’t tell me I had to ask my other friend… google.  So this recipe comes from a blog called The Girl Who Ate Everything which I have modified to be ever so slightly healthier. (and I mean ever so slightly).

I was a little nervous when I started this one out as I have never attempted a cheesecake before but cinnamon rolls and cheese cake are two of my favourite deserts so I cannot see how this could turn out bad.

So as Joe would say… LET’S DO THIS!!!!!

 

Ingredients :  Comes in 4 tiers

Cinnamon Roll Batter:

  • 2/3 cup organic white sugar
  • ¼ cup organic unsweetened unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup whole milk (homogenized)
  • 1 Tablespoon organic vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic whole wheat flour (here’s the slightly healthier part.)
  • 2 teaspoons organic baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheesecake filling:

  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature (8 oz comes out to 230 ml, which is roughly one package)
  • 1 cup organic white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon organic vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons organic whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs

Cinnamon Filling:

  • 1/3 cup organic  unsweetened unsalted butter, melted (I had to look this up, but this means you measure out 1/3  cup and then melt it. If you remove the comma then you have to measure 1/3 cup of melted butter).
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons organic cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened ( 3 oz comes out to roughly 90 ml.  I just eye balled it on the package as it was marked in 60 ml blocks.)
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) organic unsalted unsweeted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

No need to worry, the ingredients are pretty much all listed in the order they go into bowls.  Just a note that you will need to use a fair bit of mixing bowls for this recipe or you can do like I did which is just use two, but keep washing out one as you go.

Preparation :

Cinnamon Roll Batter :

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. Mix butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  I had to use a spoon to really squish some of the butter and get it all mixed up properly.
  3. Mix in your egg,  milk and vanilla.
  4. Use your second bowl to swift the flour, baking powder and salt together before adding it into the batter.  As always try to add it in a little at a time.  Eventually it should look like dough.
  5. Split your dough into two equal pieces and set one half aside in the bowl.
  6. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan with some butter and flatten out your dough until it’s covered the whole bottom of the pan.  The dough is pretty sticky so you may want to grease your hands up as well, or just take a slight loss like I did.  I got it spread out and only lost about half a teaspoon.  Note : Just the bottom of the pan, you don’t need to go up the walls or anything like that.  Should be about half to one cm thick.

Now the Cheesecake filling :

  1. Get a third bowl, or clean the second bowl and reuse it.
  2. Beat your cream cheese and sugar together and medium to high speed.  You may want to scrape down some of the filling and mix it a little more as it does tend to fly everywhere when you first start.
  3. Add your three eggs one at a time, mixing the mixture for about a minute after each egg.
  4. Mix in your vanilla and flour
  5. Pour your mixed filling on top of the layer of dough in your spring form pan. You can pretty much scraped all of it out with a spoon or spatula easily.
  6. Wash your bowl or get a new one.

Cinnamon Filling :

  1. Mix the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until well combined.
  2. Grab a teaspoon and drop your filling into the cheesecake batter in your spring form can.  You can pretty much drop it at random, I wouldn’t make the clumps too big but it’s all up to your discretion.  The only rule is to not put any really close to the edge of the pan as some bubbling make occur when it bakes.
  3. Once your are done that, do the exact same thing with the second half of the dough that you set aside earlier.  I would probably try to keep the spoon fulls small in this case as you are trying to cover most of the top of the cheesecake with it.
  4. Once you are done it was suggested to try and use a knife to gently swirl the dough around a little bit.  I was able to spread a very tiny bit of it around, but for the most part it just caused the dough to sink into the filling.  I wasn’t sure if that was ok at the time, but in the end it turned out fine.  So swirl on my wayward son!
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until it turns golden brown.  I added 4 minutes overtime cooking as I wasn’t really sure if it was ready (again first time dealing with cheesecake).  If it suggested that if it starts to get too brown you can cover it up with foil for the last 10 minutes… I did not need to do that.

Once it is done you can leave it out to cool for 20 minutes.  After that you need to cover it up and put it in the fridge for 4 hours.  Once that’s done you can take it out till it warms to room temperature.  This is when I decided to make my frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting :

  1. Mix together your cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt… so yup, all the ingredients.  It will start out clumpy but if you are diligent and try to squish down some of the clumps you will see that it will eventually mix into a lovely icing consistency.
  2. If you don’t like the consistency you can add 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of milk at a time until it’s how you want it.  If you go too far you can add a little more icing sugar.  But I have to admit, this frosting came out perfect without adding anything at all.
  3. Now you can either grab a spatula and spread the frosting across the top of your cheesecake or what I did was throw all the frosting into a freezer bag and cut a tiny hole in one of the corners.  Zip up the bag and squeeze out any pattern you want.  Once you are done you can put that bag into a second one and freeze what’s left over. (or so I’ve been told at least haha)

 

And Voilà!  You are done.  Your cheesecake should look similar to this :

 

Mmmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmmm

 

Turned out better than I thought!

Turned out better than I thought!

 

Verdict :

The puppy turned out pretty friggin awesome.  The cream cheese icing is deadly and the cinnamon roll and cheesecake are a perfect duo.  The only flaw I saw was that the cheesecake turned out really fluffy, almost dry but not quiet.  I suspect this is because I didn’t trust the bake time and left it in too long.  It’s definitely very minor because I enjoyed every single bite!  The recipe is pretty easy, despite having to wash the bowl over and over.  Very recommended!

Here is a photo of my first slice 🙂

It will make sweet sweet lovin with your tastebuds.

It will make sweet sweet lovin with your tastebuds.

Cinnamon Roll Batter:
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheesecake filling:
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2012/10/cinnamon-roll-cheesecake.html#fPssTbueVklKpc7U

HhhJJheCinnamon Roll Batter:
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheesecake filling:
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2012/10/cinnamon-roll-cheesecake.html#fPssTbueVklKpc7U.99

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Alright, this one has been waiting to be posted forever…

Last November after watching a very amusing bit by John Stewart on the Daily Show about how much of an abomination the deep dish pizza was, I was even more amused when the very next morning when I turned my tv on.  It was still on CBC from the night before and I just happened to turn it on right when a cooking show was doing… you guessed it.   Chicago style deep dish pizza.  Coincidence?  Or were the cosmos telling me I should try and make one.  Well probably A, but I went and made one anyway.

Now I’m just going to go through how to making a pizza all over again.  The process for the dough and the sauce is the same as in my pizza from scratch recipe, found here : https://justeincroyable.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/homemade-pizza-from-scratch/

 

The only thing that changes for these types of pizzas is how you go about making thing.  Essentially you make it backwards.

Steps :

  1. Prepare your dough and sauce and set them aside.
  2. Roll out your dough into two round pizzas like you normally would. (My recipe for dough makes two medium sized pizzas)
  3. Place the dough in spring form cake pans or a pie plate if you don’t have two of those.  Anything that is a deep pan.  Make sure its snug to the sides so that it makes like a big bowl.
  4. Your cheese or cheeses go down on the bottom.  For my pizzas I used a marble cheddar, mozzarella, a tex mex mixtures and some parmesean.  You want a pretty thick layer of cheese, don’t be shy.
  5. On top of the cheese goes a layer of toppings.  Anything you want.  I had prepared some chopped up pork belly and some ground beef plus all my regular veggies : Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Onion, Mushrooms, Carrots.
  6. Once you’ve topped up your pizza you have top up your pan with the sauce.  To note that my recipe above did not make enough sauce for both deep dish pizzas, so I was forced to use a herb and garlic pasta sauce to finish one of my pies.  So I would suggest doubling the recipe as this type of pizza does take a fair bit of sauce.
  7. Place it in the oven at 400 to 450 F for roughly 25 to 40 minutes.  Bake until the crush around the edge is golden brown and the sauce starts to bubble a little bit.

 

Verdict :

I’m not sure I would make a pizza this way all the time, but it’s definitely good and a cool way to switch things up from time to time.  You can actually call it a pizza pie if you cook it this way!  And really it’s no more work than a regular pizza, it’s just inside out.  In retrospect I could have used more cheese… It seemed like a lot but it only ended up being a thin layer.  I think you really need to go nuts if you want a nice gooey cheese layer on the bottom.

 

Anyway, here are the pics!

 

Here is what the slices look like!

Here is what the slices look like!

 

Itsa nice a lookin a pie!

Itsa nice a lookin a pie!

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I bought some bananas this week and they definitely ended up on the way to mush a little faster than I expected. So instead of throwing away 4 bananas I decided to freeze them and wait a few days to gather some supplies to make some banana muffins. It just so happened that someone was talking to me about reces pieces the day before which gave me the idea to combine the two.

 

The idea in place I then looked up a recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip muffins where I would just sub in reces pieces instead. First hit turned out to be a good choice!

 

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup butter – Its not a bad idea to soften it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so first.
  •  1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda – woops, turns out I actually skipped over this one by accident.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (I did not really measure I just threw all 4 in. The recipe says roughly 3 should do the trick)
  • 1/4 cup honey – I had exactly this amount left! It took a little patience to let it collect and drip out.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup Reces Pieces

 

Directions :

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Mix together your butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Beat in the bananas, eggs and honey.
  4.  Add in the Flour, roughly 1/4 cup at a time until your batter is all well mixed.
  5.  Using a spoon you can then mix in your reces pieces until they are evenly mixed into the batter.
  6.  Spoon your batter into your muffin pan filling each spot up to the top (This recipe does not really rise too much so you don’t have to worry about it rising over the sides). Now I was a bonehead and thought I had the muffin liners but I didn’t. And then I was even more of a bonehead because I forgot to spray the pan with cooking spray before I started filling up the cups. However, it turns out I didn’t need either, the muffins came out very easily.
  7.  You will want to bake these for 23 to 28 minutes (or until you can poke a toothpic into them and it comes out clean). I put a timer on for 24 minutes, poked into a few and then left them in for an additional 2 minutes while I prepared my cooling rack.
  8.  Let them sit for a minute or two in the pan then remove them and let them cool on a cooling rack / plate.

Verdict :

I have only had one so far but I was very happy with the result. The peanut butter in the reces pieces had melted a little bit which gave the nice whole wheat texture of the banana muffin a sweet edge. Very tasty!

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Image

 

I was tired of buying cookies from the grocery store this summer so I decided to bake some cookies of my own to satisfying my sweet tooth. Note that 95 percent of my ingredients are organic.

 

Ingredients :

 

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • a dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup uncooked quick rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts – I negelected these as I didn’t think I needed any and I was all out.

 

Instructions :

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine the sugars in a large bowl.
  3. Cream the sugars with the softened butter.
  4. Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Cream until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using). Add slowly to the wet mixture until incorporated.
  6. Once smooth, stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
  7. Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream/cookie scoop, drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

Note : The whole wheat colour makes it a little difficult to judge if the edges are golden brown or not. It’s best to put your timer at 12 minutes and check at that point.

 

Verdict :

These cookies were pretty good. I ended up cooking them a few minutes too long to make sure the edges were golden brown. In retrospect I should have just taken them out at the 12 minute mark instead of leaving them in for another 2 or 3 minutes. The end result was a very good tasting cookie that was just a little hard bite into. I think if I had not left them in for longer they would have turned out perfect. If you do leave them in too long all you have to do is pop them into the microwave for 20 seconds or so before you eat them and it should soften them up a bit.

I am hoping to make these again sometime soon and test out my theory of taking them out at 12 minutes.

 

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I decided for once that I was going to try to make an entire pizza from scratch. That means the dough and the sauce. This was an interesting challenge but I was certainly up to the task.

Home made pizza sauce –

 I found this recipe online and it seemed to get some ok reviews so I tried it out. I did my first major cooking blunder with this recipe as I ended up getting a large can of Tomato sauce and not tomato paste . I just assumed they were of the same consistency and boy oh boy was I wrong. The result was that I had to reduce the sauce for 45 minutes to get it down to the proper consistency. Lesson learned.

 Ingredients :

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Directions :

  1. In a small bowl combine all your ingredients together until well mixed.

  2. Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

 

The Dough –

This recipe I used my Joy of Cooking book. It turned out pretty good.

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/3 cups of warm water (105 F to 115 F)
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil / Safflower Oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional 1 tbsp of sugar – I neglected this one.

Instructions :

  1. In a large bowl mix ingredients together by hand or with a mixer on low speed for a minute or two.
  2. Knead dough for 10 minutes by hand. You can add a little flour to your hands to prevent sticking if needed.
  3. Coat a second bowl with olive oil and be sure to flip the ball of dough in the bowl until it is completely coated in a thin coat of oil.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm area. Should take 1 to 2 hours or so.
  5. Punch the dough into two separate balls and cover loosely with wrap / cloth for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Lightly dust your pizza pan / plate with flour before spreading your dough onto each pan. Remember this makes roughly 2 12 inch pizzas. A rolling pin is pretty handy to start off the dough, then you can use your hands to finish spreading it, making sure you leave enough around the edge to make a crust.
  7. You can brush olive oil over your dough at this point if you want. This is apparently supposed to stop the crust from getting soggy.
  8. Set your oven to Preheat at 475 F

 

Final steps :

I feel the next steps are somewhat easy but just for completeness I shall list them off anyway.

Once you have your pizzas rolled out you can spread your sauce evenly over both pies and add you toppings.

In my case I decided to go with just veggies this time around but in reality you can put whatever you want on there.

Top the toppings with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven at 475 F. I generally cook the pizza until the crust is nice and risen and the cheese is melted and on the verge of browning. I think this generally takes 15 to 20 minutes. I generally put a timer on for 10 minutes so that I can open the oven and rotate the pies to ensure an even cooking.

 

Verdict :

These pizzas turns out pretty good for a first try. I had been making my pizzas with pre-packaged pizza dough kits and I found it turned out quite similar to that. Of course the whole wheat crust has a slightly different texture and taste, but as a whole these recipes produced two really good pizzas. It is a little more work than usual but I found I was able to get the dough to rise a lot more than the kits, and therefore I was actually able to get two pizzas out of it instead of just one. More time… more food.

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A calm in the storm

Ok so I’ve had a bit of an issue with my macbook that stalled the production of any posting that I was going to to for April, May and June for that matter. The main issue was that the photos I took of my dishes were on my laptop hardrive and it crashed rather horribly. I was seeing if I could replace it before I started over but it appears I was plum out of luck on that front.

 

I’ve finally decided that I would post the recipes anyway and just not have the photos to go along with them.

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