Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Today (like most Saturday's in the summer), we went to the Carp Market.  We weren't going to, 'cause I was tired (asthma is killing me this summer).  But my hubbie talked me into it.  Aww shucks, I love the market. 

I saw some great produce (as per normal).  We got corn (of course), from Hudson's.  Truly the best corn around here (Ottawa)!  I know I've mentioned them before, along with the Carp Market!

Today, I decided on two other purchases.  A big basket of red bell peppers and some lovely cherry tomatoes. 

I'm a pepper, you're a pepper...wouldn't you like to be a pepper too...roasted pepper....mmm roasted pepper!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TWD-Johnny Cake Cobbler

I am so glad this is an easy recipe.  I don't think I could have handled anything too labour intensive this week. (Just getting over a cold or flu.) 1-800-waaa (Call toll free!)  So this is going to be a short and sweet post (kinda like me). 
I also had an easy recipe to make for my Baked Sunday Morning's group.  I made a Whiskey Peach Upside Down Cake.  (And that was Da Bomb!)  Seriously good.
So I am feeling very lucky to have been able to make both recipes, even though I'm still feeling kind of worn out.  (And shaky from the extra ventolin....darn asthma.)

Anyhoo, I love cobblers, crumbles and crisps. (Made a gluten free crumble here.)  This johnny cake cobbler is made with nectarines and plums.  Found some lovely fruit (in a store, not just in a random place).  Am using black plums, rather than purple.  (They just looked too good to pass up.)
I even watched the video with Johanne Killeen making the cobbler. (Not that I really needed help with the making of this.)  I just enjoy watching the shows. 

Nectarines and plums were sliced and then cooked with some butter and sugar.  I'm thinking I should have used a bigger pan here....hmm.  Well my birthday is coming up....just sayin'.

A lot of liquid came off of the fruit during this process.  And I didn't think it really cooked down much (as the recipe indicated).

 I added all the fruit and the juices to the dish.

The making of the topping is pretty straight forward.  The butter gets blended into the dry ingredients (with the food processor) or if you're like me and really don't feel like lugging out the food processor just to pulse for a few seconds, you used a pastry cutter.  And it seemed to work just fine.  Then the heavy cream gets added and mixed in.  And again, if you're like me and realize you used the last cup of cream in the fridge to make the peach ice cream (to use up the last of the peaches), then like me, you used 1% milk and a little half and half.  D'oh!

I didn't have any individual size ramekins (6-8 oz), so I did a family size cobbler.  Though now that I've watched the video of her making this dish, it is clear imperative that I need get some big ramekins for such things.  Until then, I will remain large ramekin-less.  Please listen to the saddest song being played on the world's smallest violin until I pull myself together.

So the topping got spread onto the fruit.  And now it is just a matter of baking this for about 15 minutes.  Easy, breezy. 

Here is the finished product straight from the oven.

And here is a bowl of the cobbler to try. 

I got an "it's okay" from the hubbie.  I think he's being kind.  I didn't enjoy it at all.  The fruit tastes good (can't go wrong with that).  But I found the topping to be disappointing.  The topping has cornmeal (which I love), but in this I found it most disagreeable.   Now I'm not sure if it was because I went with the option of adding a bit of ginger or what.  But I really didn't like this.  But wait, we also made her Gingerbread Baby Cakes and I didn't like those at all.  Hmmm...maybe I have a new theory.....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Whiskey Peach upside-down Cake

I had thought about not making this recipe.  Truth.  I just wasn't feeling it.  Plus I have been sick for a week with a cold or flu or something...and that has totally messed with me and my asthma.   Or it might have been the peaches I bought a few weeks back that went bad so within two days of buying!  What's up with that?  Oh, oh.  I shouldn't have uttered or even thought that any SNL fans out there know what's coming next.  I can't stop's out's coming your way.  You can't look away or avoid it...or ever say this phrase ('What's up with that?') again without thinking of these skits from SNL.

So now that I've committed to making this dessert, I guess I need to get out there and buy me some peaches (she says the day before this post is due).  Now I'm not moving to the country to eat me a lot of peaches....just gonna head down to the market and pick up a pound of peaches.  No big whoop.  (Indeed I won't be making up a song about it.) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hot and Cold Sweet Treats

This weekend, along with the Patty Melt's (this post), I also made a few other things.  The first being a Berry Crumble.  For this crumble, I used a combination of strawberries and rhubarb.  I got the strawberries yesterday from the Carp Farmer's Market, at the McGregor's stand.  I also got the rhubarb from there, but earlier this summer (so it has been hanging out in the freezer).

This crumble is a gluten free dessert.  Using brown rice flour and oatmeal in the topping.  Generally, a crumble has both white sugar to sweeten up the fruit (especially that tart rhubarb) and brown sugar to sweeten up the oatmeal and flour topping.  But for this lovely version, raw honey is used to both sweeten the fruit and the topping.  (Though some say it could have been sweeter.)  I think it was sweet enough and let the flavour of the fruit come through.  And is also good for breakfast...I kid you not....really it is just cereal and fruit with some honey and spices.  I bet some breakfast cereals aren't even near this healthy.  Coconut oil has been used rather than butter for the topping.  And this one contains all natural sugars in the form of fruit and raw honey.
Raw honey has been reported to be healthier for us.  Here's an interesting post about its benefits.

Super simple recipe to pull together.  Use your favourite fruits or whatever is in season or in your freezer.  I can't wait to try it with apples.

Topping gets crumbled over fruit filling.

A great dessert to make for Sunday dinner.  It can bake while you're eating dinner and will be cooled down by the time the table is cleared, the dishes are put in the dishwasher and the lights are turned off in the kitchen.  Then it is time to sit with a cup of tea and a dish of yum (otherwise known as a crumble).

The only naughty bit of the dessert, is the whipped cream (made with a few tablespoons of vanilla infused sugar....white sugar).  Oh the evils of sugar (says she who bakes with it...regularly).  Heehee
Sugar is the perfect segue for the next thing I made....or perhaps cream was the perfect segue?! 

Guiness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream by David Lebovitz.  Yeah....I made ice cream again.  Third time is the lucky charms just the luck of the Irish with a hit of Guiness Stout in this ice cream.  Hells ya!  This is my third batch of ice cream, not my third time trying this one, btw. 
Ice cream is seriously easy to make and I'm so glad I bought this book.  (Which does contain this ice cream recipe.) 

Make haste to the freezer my dear!

I am giggling to myself, making both a super healthy dessert and an ice cream.  But then again, I did also buy both of these books (see below) on the same day. (true story)  I like to believe that makes me complex....or is it conflicted?  Both books give me great pleasure, both in reading and in preparing the recipes inside said books.  I highly recommend both of them. 

Meghan Telpner's Undiet book is a great read. (As is her website.)  She shows us the good and bad of what we consume and how to get more 'real' with the foods we eat.  I love that it isn't a diet book, but rather lifestyle changes to better ourselves and our planet.  (To make us think before we eat.)  Common sense we sometimes forget for convenience sake.  Please note, I am also reading this book and it has really made me think about how and what we buy at the grocery store. 

David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop book is essential (period).  Anyone interested in making some great ice cream at home really needs this book.  Of course, some of the recipes can be found on David Lebovitz's website, as well as many other interesting things.  I love reading his posts, especially the ones about his travel adventures and his adventures living in Paris. 

But now I must go....we have to exorcise some demons from our dear sweet Willow.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Garlic Festival and Patty Melts

Where has the year gone?  It is already time for the Garlic Festival at Carp Market(here in Ottawa).  I love the Carp Market in the summer and look forward to all the fresh vegetables and everything else the carp market has to offer.

This weekend we headed to the Carp Market.  We try to go most weekends during the summer, when we're free.  It is my favourite place to go and see all the farmers selling their beautiful produce.  And this weekend, the market is even bigger with all the vendors selling garlic.  So many varieties of garlic and different produces made with garlic.  (We even saw Garlic fudge!  True Story.)
Of course I bought some garlic.  We will be trying two varieties. (Siberian and Killarney) 

If you are in the Ottawa area and love garlic, get out to the Carp Market!  It is going on all weekend, so there is one more day to enjoy the goodness that is garlic.  (Excluding the less loved garlic breath...of course.) 

Now that we are home from the market, and have a lovely bit of ground beef from one of the vendors there (Dobson's Grass Fed Beef Farm);  I think I need to make David Lebovitz's Patty Melts.  He made them this week and I just have to make them too.

It all starts with caramelizing onions. 

This pan full of onions turns into this small batch of caramelized onions.  Crazy, huh!

While the onions were caramelizing, I got the beef started.

Hold on.  Here we go.  The ground beef is seasoned simply, with salt and pepper and shaped into two oval patties. 

Why are they shaped that way?  Why all the better to fit onto the bread, my pretty.  And the bread I'm using for these patty melts, is Marble rye. 

How pretty is this bread?

First the swiss cheese....

Then the caramelized onions.....

a little Dijon mustard....

the beef patties.....

Then this all gets grilled until the bread is nice and toasty....

Like this!   

And now it is time for a bite....

Yep, it was a tasty patty melt.  I think if I were to make it again though, I'd season the beef more and perhaps make more caramelized onions....'cause you can never have too many. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

TWD-Mediterranean Pizza

Fluffy Cloud of Confidence

Yes, I am making pizza.  But not any ordinary pizza.  No Sireee....this pizza is made with the dough for pita bread.  How awesome is that!?  So I'm going to be making pita bread!!! (well the dough....and you know I gotta try using the dough to make pita!)  I'm very excited.  Probably more excited than I should be (that happens)....but dang it, I'm making pita bread, y'all!!! (And for some reason developed a drawl.)  I should make a slight correction.  I will be attempting to make pita bread.  I think it will be fine.  I've watched the video with Jeffrey Alford making pita with Julia and it looks pretty straight forward.  Granted, watching is always easier than actually doing.  But I am feeling oddly, surprisingly, naively, ignorantly, blissfully confident.   I'm just floating on a fluffy cloud of confidence. (And yes, these fluffy clouds were painted by Bob Ross)  Oh-oh...just had a thought.  Bob Ross made painting look very easy, but I know there is no way I could paint anything like he maybe I won't have an easy time with these pita breads either, since Jeffrey Alford made them look so easy to make.  Wait, let me get back on my fluffy cloud of confidence....ahhh that's better.

Before the pita bread can be made, a sponge must first be prepared.  Pretty simple stuff.....water, yeast, flour (whole wheat) gets stirred together and then that needs to rest for at least 30 minutes.  But 8 hours is recommended.
Now the only whole wheat flour I have, is bread flour.  I wonder if that will make a difference?

This mixture needs to be stirred about 100 times with a wooden spoon.  Just 90 more to go after this.....

100!  And I only lost count twice.  Don't try to do anything else when reading a recipe....or breathing.  I think more stirring is required.  Shh.

Half hour update:  The sponge has bubbles forming on top.  So it is going to be okay!!  (Because that is what it is supposed to do.)  Joy!  But I'm still going to let it sit for at least 5 hours...maybe 8.

After more than 5 hours but less than 8, I added the salt and olive oil and blended it into the sponge.

I then added the all purpose flour and did some needed kneading.  It feels like a really nice dough.  I did find that I needed to add a bit more than 3 cups to the dough though, as it is a bit humid here. 

Now this dough needs to sit for 2-3 hours until it doubles in size.  I love bread....but I hate all the waiting.  ugh!!

3 hours later and I've got this lovely bowl of dough.  Isn't it beautiful?!  Bread dough is so freaking amazing!! 
I think this is going to make some good bread. (Fingers are crossed.)

I've decided not to bake with it after this rise, so I'm just going to put the whole thing in the fridge and come back to it tomorrow. 

Day 2:  And now I think I'm ready to bake.  I am going to make the pizzas first (and later try my hand at pita bread....I'm not scared to try....I'm not...and I won't be thoroughly disappointed if the pitas don't turn out...). Cue sad Charlie Brown music.

I have left the bowl of dough on the counter to warm up for a bit, while I make the toppings for the pizza.  Simple little topping of ground lamb, shallots, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  The cinnamon and allspice certainly give it a nice flavour.

The dough is wonderful to work nice and tender and easy to roll.  I just took out enough
dough to make 4 little pizzas.  The rest of the dough is going to go back into the fridge until later, when I have time to try making pitas. (Which for the record I am not afraid to try.)

Still Life with Dough

The first two pizzas I made; I just used the lamb topping with the recommended pine nuts sprinkled over top.

For the next two pizzas; I did the same, except I also added some feta cheese.  (Cause everything is better with cheese.)

The dough bakes up nicely and is a perfect compliment to the tasty topping.  I am really impressed with this dough.  I think I'm over my fear ready to make pita since this dough seems just fine.

Day 3:  A Rocky Afternoon

I had my Rocky moment in the kitchen (when my pita breads turned out) well except for the running part, and the adoring fans/kids part, the leaping park benches and the running up monument steps part...but besides that, very Rocky like.  Could have just been me humming the theme song and jumping up and down.  (No further questions, please.)

So yeah, my pita breads turned out.  And I am beyond pleased about it!  Beyond!!! 

It is just an amazing thing to watch.  A flat disk of dough put into the oven puffing up into a beautiful pita bread! 

Crazy, huh!

Just out of the oven and stacked up.

What we have here is a pocket.  Yay!!!

So, this was a total success and I'm pleased as punch! (Punch the drink I guess...since a punch is not pleasing.)  Or do they mean Punch from 'Judy and Punch'?  I could google it, but I'm too busy being pleased as pita!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Lime Tarragon Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Topping

Paranormal Activity

Things I know for sure:
  1. I have never baked with Tarragon.
  2. Lime has other uses? (more of a question than a thing I know)

Lime...apparently not just for gin & tonics or Rum & cokes...I know, right?!?!....mind blown.  I feel like I learn a little every day I blog. 

I'm on the fence about these cookies.  Lime and Tarragon?  I love lime.  But tarragon?  This 'tarragon' will need to prove itself to me.  The first test will be its availability at the grocery store.  The next test will be the smell test.  Will it smell like something I want to put in a cookie....a cookie with white chocolate.  I will remain (precariously) perched on said fence.  (Metaphorically of course...since ladies don't sit on fences.)

Paranormal Activity Sighting:  Me cutting into a lime and it NOT being for a drink.  Not gonna lie; I'm a little scared right now.  Did you know that limes can also be cut up and put in ice water??!!  Seriously, who knew that?  Tanqueray?  Appleton?  Nope, they're not talking. 

Well, this tarragon really doesn't smell like anything.  Oh wait, now that I'm cutting into it, I do smell a bit of licorice.  Interesting.  (Not a favourite flavour of mine...but let's continue.)
Lime has been zested and juiced.  And still nary a drop of Gin nor Rum. 

Sugars (light brown and confectioners) are blended together with the butter.  Once all blended up nicely, the rest of the ingredients (lime juice, zest, tarragon, salt and flour) get blended into the mix.

The result is a speckled dough that is ready for a bit of a rest in the fridge.
It is a tasty cookie dough.  The lime comes through more than the tarragon I think.

After an hour or so resting in the fridge, the cookie dough is ready to be baked.

While they are baking, I'll zest the rest of the lime.  Is it just me, or does this zester look too happy.

Whoa...I hope he just enjoys his job and isn't demonic....I do not want to be dragged out of my bed by this little zester!

Once the cookies have cooled, the melted white chocolate gets spread on top and garnished with some lime zest.

And the only thing left to do now is plate these up and test them.

Well, they didn't wow us.  They were just okay.  I could definitely taste the lime, but I don't think the tarragon really come through.  I thought these cookies would be more like a shortbread, being that confectioner's sugar was used.  So I was a little surprised that they were drop cookies rather than a rolled and cut out cookie.  I didn't hate them.  I think I was just expecting more. 

I do have ideas on how I could change them up though.  I think it is a great base cookie (minus the lime and tarragon) to play with different flavourings.  So I made them again.  But this time, with lemon and instead of regular salt, I added lavender sea salt.  I picked up the sea salt on this trip.

I liked them more with this combination than the lime and tarragon.  The crunchy sea salt was tasty in the cookie.  I probably should have went with a Lemon and Ginger combination; like these rice krispie squares.

I'm a little teapot...short and stout...