Monday, December 24, 2007
If you are thinking these are gingerbread cookies, then you are wrong! I didn't have any molasses on hand so I figured I'd try something different this season.
These are soft chocolatey roll-out cookies. And they were a hit at gatherings. Many folks mentioned that they were very soft, great texture and a nice surprise from the usual gingerbread. Yummy! They were gone... in not time :)
I want to wish you all Happy Holidays! May you celebrate with food and drink with all your friends and family!
makes 36-42 average size cookies
1-1/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp almond or vanilla flavoring
for chocolate cookies:
6 ounces melted, unsweetened chocolate
Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs and beat until fluffy. Mix in melted chocolate.
Sift dry ingredients together and add alternatelyto creamed mixture with milk.
If mixture is too sticky, add a little more flour. Roll dough out 1/8 inch thick and cut into shapes.
Bake for 6-7 minutes at 400 F.
Recipe from: Roll-Out Cookies, Wilton Cake Decorating Yearbook
Labels: cookies / bars
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Sometimes a fancy grilled cheese is what a mom and her kids need for lunch. Yes, I'm not your processed-cheese-slice-with-bologna-on-white-bread type of woman. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't really prefer it.
I like whole grain or whole wheat bread. My kids don't really know what white bread is. Once in a while I buy plain sliced white bread but I prefer a french bread or sourdough if I go in that direction. I usually have a big ole hunk of cheddar in the refrigerator too and I love it aged and preferably old. It's so much more tastier. Though I don't buy bologna, I buy mortadella, (which is what I call Italian bologna), so really it's pretty much the same thing. haha. I like it because when you warm it up, the fat in it makes everything so much more tastier. Hmmmmm... fat.
And now for the secret ingredient! Ajvar! I LOVE THIS STUFF. I rarely make a sandwich without it. It's a vegetable spread made out of red peppers, eggplant and spices. You can buy it hot or mild, a bit more chunkier or pureed and it varies in taste among different manufacturers. So, if you don't like one variety, try, try again!
mortadella & cheddar melt
Your choice of:
Bread - 2 slices
Meat - 1-2 slices
Cheese - 1-2 slices
margarine or butter
Spread ajvar onto your bread slice(s), add meat and cheese and close up your sandwich.
Butter up the outsides and grill on a hot frying pan for a few minutes on each side until browned.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Almost a month ago, we celebrated my husband's convocation. He has been studying, part time evenings for the last three years, for his Masters in Business Administration. I often would joke that I was a single mother during those three years or that I too received the degree since it takes a team effort to make these things happen, but I am very proud of all his hard work and efforts. He is extremely deserving of every bit of praise.
To mark the celebration, we had a small family dinner party and I made cheesecake. My hubby is fond of cheesecake and I quite enjoyed making it since I have never done so before. The recipe is not very difficult but it is time consuming. Baking and allowing to sit in the oven takes more than 2 hours! But it was well worth it.
First off, I had some family members thinking I bought it at a bakery! How lovely to hear that! You will find below the basic cheesecake recipe but I took the extra step to make it a mocha marble cheesecake to give it a beautiful swirl design. With 2 tsp of instant coffee granules, the taste of coffee is enough but not overpowering in this recipe. I actually used light cream cheese and light sour cream and I found it just as creamy and tasty. Didn't miss the extra fat at all :)
mocha marble cheesecake
2 pkg (each 8oz/250 g) cream cheese (I used Light cream cheese)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups sour cream (I used Light sour cream)
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (ground down chocolate cookies)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Crust: Stir together crumbs and butter until well moistened. Press onto lightly greased 8 or 8.5 inch springform pan. Center pan on large square foil, press up side of pan. Bake in centre of 325F oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese until softened. Gradually beat in sugar; beat for 3 mintues or until smooth and light, scraping down bowl twice. Use low speed, beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in lemon juice, vanilla, salt and sour cream.
You can pour the batter onto crust and make basic cheese cake or you can do this next step and make it mocha marble cheesecake.
Mocha mud part: Dissolve 2 tsp of instant coffee granules in 1 Tbsp hot water. Divide batter in half. Whisk 8 oz (250g) semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled, into one half; whisk coffee into chocolate mixture. By cupfuls, alternately pour chocolate batter and plain batter over crust. Swirl handle of spoon through both batches, without disturbing crust, to create marbled effect.
Set springform pan in larger pan; pour enough hot water into larget pan to come 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake at 325 F for 1-1/4 hours or until shine disappears and edge is set yet center jiggles slightly. Turn off oven, run knife quickly around edge of cake. Let cool in oven for one hour. Remove from water and transfer to rack; remove foil and let cool completely.
Recipe from: Mocha Marble Cheesecake, The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I just took these out of the refrigerator and the classes are still a bit frosty!
If you remember, I mentioned in my last post that I would be using the chestnut butter for another recipe. And, this is it!
This dessert, it's HEAVENLY. That's the only way to describe it. The chestnut flavor mingled with chocolate and a touch of rum. Out-of-this-world. You must try it. The texture is smooth and I can't say enough yummy things about it. It's like an explosion of flavours in your mouth (Do you remember that from Ratatouille?- such a cute movie!)
Also, I've entered the above picture as my entry for Click Photo Event where this month's theme is "Nuts". I figure I'd enter this recipe picture because it has such a great chestnut taste.
chocolate chestnut mousse
1 -2/3 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweetened chestnut puree
2 tbsp rum (or 1 tsp vanilla)
In small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup of the cream over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge.
In a heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, sugar and salt. Slowly whisk in cream. Place bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring, about 8 minutes or until thermometer registers 160F and custard is thick enough to coat spoon. Remove from heat.
Whisk in both chocolates, chestnut puree and rum. Return to heat, stirring, just until melted. Place plastic wrap directly on surface, let cool until stiffened, about 1 hour.
In separate bowl, whip remaining 1 cup of cream. Fold one quarter into chocolate mixture. Then fold in remaining cream. Spoon into dessert cups. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 6 hours.
Recipe from: Chocolate Chestnut Mousse, Canadian Living Holiday Celebrations Special Issue, Fall 2007 Magazine.
Monday, December 10, 2007
This recipe is a bit labour intensive, as my hubby tells me, since he's the one who made it. He was reminiscing about a certain recipe, from his childhood, that contained chestnuts. He didn't find exactly what he was looking for but found this chestnut butter or puree instead.
We've tasted various "butters" before but only store bought ones. Of course, there is peanut butter, but there is also almond butter and hazelnut butter. All tasty.
This chestnut butter is very mild in taste with a hint of sweetness. Has the nice chestnut flavor that I love and that reminds me of Christmas. The hubby likes it drizzled with honey.
In my next post, I'll be using the puree for a really good dessert. Stay tuned!
1 kg chestnuts, peeled
1 vanilla bean (Or use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
200 mL milk
100 g sugar
Cook the chestnuts in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry.
Cut the vanilla bean and scrape out the meat. Add to milk and sugar in a double boiler or heat proof bowl over boiling water. Add minced up chestnuts and boil, covered, for 1 hour.
Puree the mixture to give a smooth textured "butter".
Recipe from: chefkoch.de forum
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I purchase tofu every once in a while. I find it a nice change from meat dishes.
It took us a while to figure out the firmness of tofu we prefer, what size to slice it for cooking and well, how to use it in cooking. It's not very difficult to work with but you have to know what you like.
In this dish, I used to use firm tofu but my husband prefers medium firm. I don't mind cubes on the bigger side but my husband wants them smaller so it's well coated with sauce so he "doesn't really have to taste it". haha. Medium firm tofu does fall apart more easily, so you don't want to be agitating it too much because then you're left with tofu bits and crumbs :)
This recipe is a very mild and light tasting curry, which I think goes well with the mild taste of tofu. It's also very simple to whip up...
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small can (~224 ml) bamboo shoots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1/2 block (~175 grams) medium or firm tofu, cut into small cubes
Saute onions for a minute or two with oil in hot pan. Add sliced mushrooms and saute further.
Add bamboo shoots, cumin, coriander and curry powder and cook for another minute.
Add coconut milk and sugar and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes.
Stir in tofu cook until warmed up.
Combine cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water and add to tofu mixture. Cook until thickened, about a minute. Serve with rice.
Recipe adapted from: On Golden Prawns, Crazy Plates Cookbook
Labels: vegetarian dishes
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Remember me talking about my apple trees? Well, this recipe came about from the ample supply of apples. I made a huge batch of applesauce and threw it into my deep freezer and it sat there waiting to be used.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but neither I, my hubby or children like to eat applesauce. So then I searched for a baking recipe of some kind that used applesauce. Voila, I found it.
My family and some friends who tried the applesauce pie all liked it. It was mild tasting, not overly cinnamony, and had the texture similar to pumkin pie. Creamy but not really gelatinous. Something different for sure!
1 store bought pie shell or a homemade one
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
15 ounces unsweetened applesauce (15 ounces)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
Prepare pie shell as directed, but do not bake.
Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and applesauce. Stir in margarine. Then stir in eggs. Blend thoroughly and pour into prepared pastry.
Bake at 425ºF for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer, or until center is set. Cool completely.
Adapted from: Applesauce Pie, Crisco.com Website