Saturday, 30 August 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies

These are rich and moist!  A really yummy and easy cookie.

2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup Cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 350F.
  • Stir together flour cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set.  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Coll completely.  About 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Beef and Corn Bake

This is extremely easy and family friendly.  I browned the beef and cooked the onion in my cast iron pan, added the ingredients and the popped it in the oven.

1 tbsp cooking oil
1 kg ground beef
1 onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
2 x 284 ml condensed tomato soup
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp ketchup
2 cups cooked noodles (I like the swirly ones)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Place oil in pan and heat over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft.  Add ground beef, stirring to break up meat as it browns.  Drain off and discard fat.  Add corn soup, pepper and ketchup.  Stir to mix with meat.

Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain.  Combine with all ingredients in pan.  If pan is ovenproof sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.  If pan is not ovenproof, place in a casserole, sprinkle with cheese and bake.

Serves 6 to 8

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Chewy Chocolate Brownies with Icing

The kids devoured these rich chewy brownies.  I did not put cocoa powder in the icing…for a vanilla icing…but either choice will work.

1 cup butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour

6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F.

In small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.

In large mixer bowl, beat sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt.  Fold in chocolate mixture, then gradually add flour.  Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool completely then frost.

For icing:  cream butter in small mixer bowl.  Add cocoa and confectioners sugar alternately with milk. Beat to spreading consistency (add a tablespoon of milk if necessary).  Blend in vanilla.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

A different peanut butter cookie!  The whole family enjoyed these treats.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup quick cooking oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter, brown sugar, white sugar and peanut butter until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.  Mix in the oats until just combined.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until just light brown.  Don't over bake.  Cool and store in an airtight container.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.  Mix in the Hazelnuts and white chocolate.  Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Strawberry Shortcake

This s a lighter version of the traditional Strawberry Shortcake. I liked the use of a strawberry sauce.  Use a vanilla bean like the recipe suggests in the sauce…it is so much better than vanilla extract.  I used Turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar.  Based on Food & Drink Early Summer 2014 recipe.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/3 cup loosely packed Turbinado sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 tbsp demerara sugar
Icing sugar for dusting

500g fresh strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tsp cold water
1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup whipping sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
500 g fresh strawberries, sliced 1/4 inch thick

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line the bottom of an 8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Combine all purpose and cake flours, turbinado sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, whipping cream, egg, vanilla and grated orange rind. Make a well in the centre of the flour ingredients and pour in the milk/cream mixture.  Fold together gently with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.  The mixture will look a little shaggy.
  5. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake pan and level the top with an off set metal spatula or the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle the top with the demerara sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the edges just start to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Allow to cool in the pan on a rack.
  7. Invert the cake out of the pan onto a cutting board and peel off paper.  Turn the cake right side up.  Trim the edges, then cut into 1 1/4 inch squares.  Store the squares in a sealed container until serving.  The cake is best the same day but can be made up to 1 day ahead.
  8. For the strawberry sauce combine the strawberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the black seeds into the strawberry mixture.  Add the vanilla pod to the pot.
  9. Place the pot over low-medium heat and cook until the berries begin to release their juices.  Toss gently and continue cooking until the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a boil.  Cook just until the juices have thickened.  Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and discard vanilla pod.  (The sauce can be made ahead and gently reheated before serving.)
  10. Whip together the cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks.  (Use immediately or refrigerate covered for up to 2 hours.  If necessary lightly re-whip before using)
  11. To serve, dust the cake squares with icing sugar.  Place about 2 tbsp of warm strawberry sauce on each plate.  Top with 3 cake squares per serving.  Distribute fresh strawberry slices on each plate, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.  
Serves 12

Monday, 11 August 2014

Lamb and Halloumi Pizza

This is a nice change from the regular pizza.  If you can't find Halloumi cheese Feta is a good substitute.  I used fresh lemon thyme and orange mint from my garden to give a slight citrus flavour to the recipe but any thyme and mint will work.  This is the first time I used ground sumac and was warned by the cashier at the bulk food store that I might not like it.  I must say that I did enjoy it.  I have been using more Middle Eastern spices lately though so perhaps I am a bit more adventurous with my spices than most.  I based this recipe from a Food and Drink original but have made a few changes to suit my palate.

1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp toasted almonds, chopped finely
1 tsp ground sumac
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
450 g lean ground lamb
2 Naan Bread
1 cup crumbled halloumi
1/4 cup fresh torn mint

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a bowl, combine thyme, almonds and sumac until well blended.  Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Brown lamb breaking up with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink.  Stir in spices.
  4. Place Naan Bread on a rimmed baking sheet.  Spread lamb mixture evenly over lavash.  Sprinkle with halloumi.  Bake in the centre of the preheated oven until Naan Bread starts to brown and halloumi melts slightly, about 15 minutes.
  5. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and top with fresh mint leaves.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Heritage Chocolate Cake

This is a really moist cake.  My biggest chocolate fan really enjoyed it!

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups soured milk (Use 4 1/2 tsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 1/2 cups

  • Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans
  • Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating just until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely.   Frost with Chocolate Fudge Frosting.
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat; add cocoa, stirring constantly until smooth and slightly thickened.  Remove from heat; pour into medium bowl.  Cool until very thick (about 40 minutes).

Add powdered sugar alternately with milk and vanilla, beating to spreading consistency.  About 2 cups frosting.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Crunchy Vegetable and Tofu Salad

I love the Tofu cubes in this salad.  It is enough for a main…but if you have a meat and potatoes guy grill some chicken for him too.  Based on a Food and Drink 2014 recipe…I changed it a bit.  I must say I had never had raw beets before and they are quite nice in a salad.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated fresh garlic
1/4 tsp Sriracha

2 large peeled carrots, sliced thin
2 medium peeled beets grated
3 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
2 cup sunflower or other crunchy sprouts
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves

1/4 cup canola oil
1 block (350 g) extra firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Combine lime juice, canola oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic and Sriracha in a bowl and whisk until uniform.   Reserve.
  2. Combine carrots, beets, cabbage, sprouts and half of the herbs in a serving bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Pat tofu cubes dry with paper towels and toss with cornstarch.  Fry for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden.  Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
  4. Toss vegetable mixture with dressing top with crunchy tofu cubes and remaining herbs.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Chevre Terrine with Watercress, Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper

This feels like a blast from the 50's type recipe.  I enjoyed it but felt it would be easier to cut up if the asparagus and peppers were diced.  Of course this wouldn't look as pretty if you did that.  Make sure the asparagus is not too firm.  Serve with pita crisps as an appetizer.  From Food and Drink 2014.

1 large sweet red pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
16 very thin asparagus spears, about 125 g
1/2 cup whipping cream, divided
1 packet (7g) gelatin
500 g creamy goat cheese
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp cayenne or hot smoked paprika
1 cup lightly packed watercress leaves or 1/2 cup snipped chives

  1. Cut roasted pepper into thin 1/4 inch strips; all the pepper may not be needed. Snap off woody ends from asparagus; discard.  Blanch spears in shallow boiling water for 2 minutes.  Immediately rinse under cold running water to stop cooking; drain.
  2. Line 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting ends generously hang over sides.
  3. Measure out 1/4 cup whipping cream; sprinkle with gelatin.  When 10 minutes has elapsed, heat remaining 1/4 cup cream in microwave for 25 to 30 seconds or until cream is hot or has just come to a boil.  Pour hot cream into cream and gelatin mixture.  Stir to dissolve gelatin completely.  (If some of the gelatin crystals are still visible after generous stirring, place whole mixture in microwave for 10 seconds.  Then stir well again.) Cool.
  4. In a food processor or with hand mixer whirl cheese with lemon juice, garlic, salt and cayenne until well mixed.  Scrape down sides; while running, add cream mixture.  Then remove 2/3 of mixture to another bowl.
  5. Chop watercress and add to remaining cheese mixture in food processor; whirl to incorporate.
  6. Spread half of white cheese mixture in lined pan.  Lengthwise, without touching either long side, alternately place, slightly apart half of the asparagus and red pepper strips so vegetables run from short end to short end.  Spread watercress-cheese mixture evenly overtop.  Lengthwise, alternately place remaining half of asparagus and red pepper strips .  Evenly spread remaining white cheese mixture over top.
  7. Bring up ends of plastic over loaf; pat gently into place.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.  To serve, lift set loaf from pan using plastic wrap; slice.  Kept chilled terrine keeps well for several days.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Butter Chicken Pizza

A flavourful and different variety of pizza.  This was simple to make and a great dinner when paired with a fresh salad. The best part of all was my husband made this for me.   From Food and Drink 2012.

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp medium curry paste
1/2 tsp mild paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
500 g cubed chicken

1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp mild paprika
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
3 tbsp whipping cream
2 tbsp cold butter, cubed
4 pieces naan bread
1 cup paneer or pressed cottage cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. In a bowl, stir together yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, lime juice, curry paste, paprika, cumin, coriander and salt until well blended.  Stir in chicken until completely coated.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.  Arrange chicken on a greased, foil lined baking sheet.  Roast in oven until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Put into bowl.  Do not turn off oven.
  3. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Cook onion until golden, about 8 minutes.  Stir in garam masala, paprika and curry paste.  Add tomatoes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in cream and butter until well combined.  Stir in chicken and remove from heat.
  4. Arrange naan on a large baking sheet.  Divide chicken mixture over each.  Sprinkle with paneer and put back into the oven until naan starts to crisp and sauce is hot, about 12 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Seafood Newburg

This is delicious but VERY rich.  it is relatively simple and quick to prepare.  Based on a recipe from Companys Coming.

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 cups milk
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
500 g scallops
300 g lobster
2 cups frozen shrimp

In large saucepan milt first amount of butter.  Stir in flour and salt.  Add milk.  Stir and cook until mixture boils and thickens.

Add tomato paste, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt remaining butter in frying pan.  Add mushrooms and saute until golden brown.  Add scallops, lobster and shrimp and cook until not translucent.  Drain and stir into sauce.

Place in casserole and heat in 350 oven for 30 minutes.