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Long Weekend!!!

Well it’s the unofficial start of summer and I’m stoked! Unfortunately for my waistline, summer means FOOD! I am excited about what we can make on our little charcoal grill, especially since I found this Weber’s cookbook dedicated to burgers. I initially thought, how in the world can you write a whole book about just burgers, but when you think about all the different types of meat and meat alternatives you can use to create a burger, it’s totally possible. I think we’re going to try something with mushrooms and onions. I’ll keep you posted. If you click the link below you can get a preview and a few recipes. We made a couple of recipes from other Weber cookbooks last summer and they were really good so I have high hopes for this one. If you give any of these a try, let me know.:)

Have a wonderful long weekend!

big-book-of-burgers

http://bigbookofburgers.weber.com/

 

Mother’s Day Goodies

Not much is going on over here except I’ve been recovering from the head cold of doom! I missed two days of work and ended up in the E.R. because my body didn’t like my medsūüė¶ Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking much. But I was feeling halfway decent on the weekend. The little Miss had a play date on Saturday and Sunday I spent in my night gown, cooking up a storm. Breakfast was a mishmash of two recipes I’ve made previously – those amazing Cheddar Garlic Biscuits and the Boursin Cheese Sauce I made a while back. Sooo goood! For lunch my guy BBQ’d some pork tenderloin, and in the afternoon I made Cinnabon Cake. For dinner I made slow cooker Honey Garlic Chicken. It was pretty good but lacking a little depth. I think Steve and I¬†are¬†developing a taste for spice, so next time we might add a bit of warmth to the dish, plus a touch more garlic. I’ll post the recipe once it’s perfected.:)

cheddar garlic breakfast sandwiches

Poutine Fest

majorshill

Across the way at Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa, ON, Canada

I thought I’d give a little update since I haven’t posted anything in a ¬†while. I’m still working quite a ways from home. It takes me 1.5 hrs total to drop off my daughter at the babysitters in the morning, then jump on another bus to get downtown, then yet another bus to get to the west end, and if I’m lucky I’ll catch a third bus to get to my office. Then I do it all in reverse to get home, except they’re doing construction near a main intersection downtown between the mall and the university so traffic gets tangled pretty badly and it’s been taking an extra 10-15 to get to the babysitters around 5:30. By the time we get home it’s 6 or after and I’m tired and hungry. If I don’t have leftovers I end up eating chicken fingers or some such thing with Miss M. I’ve been making recipes I know by heart so I haven’t been trying anything new lately.

Steve gets out of work earlier than me on Friday so he came over and made a giant roast beef. He cut up some white potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions, threw them in the roasting pan and nestled the beef on top, then roasted it. It was pretty good. The veggies were better than the meat actually. We have a ton of leftovers that I’m going to save to make enchiladas later this week.

Saturday we checked out Spark’s Street Poutine Fest but actually didn’t anything because the lineups were ridiculously long. They didn’t have enough chip trucks set up so wait times were way too long for us, especially with a 4 year old in tow. We headed home and made our own poutine with frozen fries! lol Here’s a recipe we made last year if you want to give it a try yourself.

 

Nigella’s “Crustless” Pizza

I found this recipe for quick, no rise pizza in Nigella Lawson’s cookbook “Nigella’s Kitchen”. It sounded like a busy parent’s answer to frozen pizza so I had high hopes. I mixed it up and popped it in the oven but then things got weird because it really puffed up in the middle – like 4-5 inches! I was so surprised, I took it out of the oven and pressed it down. I still don’t know if I should have done that or whether it would have fallen on it’s own. ¬†I left it in the oven for 5 minutes to heat the pepperoni and melt the cheese, then cut it open. Inside it was soggy and spongy. I thought it wasn’t done so I put it in for 5 more minutes, then 5 more. It never firmed up. I ate it anyway, but the texture was quite gross. I suspect this kind of thing is why British food gets a bad rap. Sorry Nigella, I’ve loved everything else I’ve made from your cookbooks but this one is a definite miss.¬†After reading the reviews on the food network I discovered someone compared it to a Dutch Apple Pancake but in pizza form. In my opinion, these two dishes should never have a food baby. lol If any of you readers disagree, here’s the recipe so you can have your own Frankenrecipe adventure!

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Crustless Pizza

Total Time:53 min
Yield:2 to 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt
1 cup whole milk
Butter, for pie dish
1 cup grated Cheddar
2 ounces small chorizo or pepperoni slices, about 3/4-inch diameter, optional
Special equipment: 1 round ovenproof pie dish, 8 or 9 inches in diameter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the flour, salt, to taste, and milk to make a smooth batter.

Butter a round ovenproof pie dish, then stir half the grated cheese into the batter, before pouring it into the dish.

Bake for 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and add the chorizo or pepperoni, if using, – or anything else – now, too. Return the dish to the oven and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes to make sure it’s heated through.

Once the cheese on top is melted and looks burnished fold on the crustless pizza, take it out of the oven and serve, cut into slices. A green or tomato salad on the side would not be a bad idea…

Leftover Note:Leftovers can be reheated the next day in a hot oven for 8 to10 minutes, but sadly they won’t be as nice as the first time around.

From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Every once in a while I get the biggest craving for biscuits – last weekend was one such time. The itch needed to be scratched and this was the recipe to do it! From what I hear they’re reminiscent of Red Lobster’s biscuits. To rack up even more comparisons (and the saturated fat content) I melted some butter and added garlic powder, then drizzled it on top of the biscuits before serving. *drool* This unassuming recipe from Canadian Living Magazine actually beat out Ina Garten’s biscuits for top spot on my all-star recipes list. They’re¬†so fluffy and flavorful! And a bonus – you don’t need buttermilk or extra large eggs.

These biscuits can accompany just about anything. I made some wicked breakfast sandwiches with them and ate an extra couple as-is! They would also go well with soup, and of course sea food! Dangerous my friends. East coast cook-out here we come!

cheesebiscuits

Quick Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (18 mL) baking powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, cubed

1 cup (250 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) milk

Preparation:
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, parsley, salt and garlic powder. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add Cheddar cheese and milk, mixing with fork until ragged moist dough forms. Drop by 1/4 (50 mL)cupfuls, 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) apart, onto greased baking sheet.

Bake in centre of 425¬įF (220¬įC) oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 12.

Garlic Butter Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together ingredients, then brush on top of the biscuits right after you take them out of the oven. Sooo good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

(My goodness it’s taken me way too long to write this post.)¬†Easter weekend was also Steve’s birthday and his favourite dessert is Strawberry cheesecake. But last year we ended up throwing the cake out because there was just too much and after a day or so the topping got yucky. So my mission was to find something more manageable. I was inspired by Junior’s restaurant recipe from “Junior’s Desserts” cookbook but I used a graham crust instead of the vanilla wafer crust, ditched the macaroon crumbs, and I made the topping separately so that I could easily refrigerate the cake without the topping going soft. I cut them into individual portions and popped them in the freezer for whenever I have a craving for cheesecake. Taste wise, I did ¬†like it a lot but I think it was a touch too sweet. Next time I will leave out about 1/4 of a cup and see what happens. And as it states in the recipe, it really does puff up quite a bit but settles down fine. Mine had cracks but I have ¬†feeling I left it in a little too long. It was still nice and creamy though. I don’t know if I will bother making cheesecake in a spring form again!

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Cheesecake pie at top left, veg, and then C.I. Scalloped Potatoes

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The filling cracked quite a bit but it doesn’t really matter as you’re going to top it anyway.

Junior’s fresh strawberry cream cheese pie

1 recipe vanilla wafer crumb crust (I used graham crust)

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 8-ounce pkgs cream cheese at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream (35% m.f.)

For the Topping:
1 recipe Macaroon crunch (I didn’t bother making this)
1 1/2 – 2 quarts ripe strawberries, hulled
1/2 cup strawberry jam, melted and kept warm

Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. butter a 9 inch pie plate. Make the crust, adding 1 tsp baking powder in step 1. Press the mixture over the bottom and all the way up the side of the pie plate. Freeze for 15 minutes. Bake just until set, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

Make the cream cheese filling. In a large bowl with an electric mix (using paddle attachment if you have it) on low, beat one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together for about 3 minutes. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. This will take about another 3 minutes.

Increase the mixer speed to medium (no faster!) and beat in the remaining 1/1/3 cups of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. The batter will look light, creamy, and airy. Be careful not to overmix! Spoon the filling into the cooled crust. Bake the pie until puffed, 30-35 minutes. The filling will rise in the oven, then settle as it cools. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the macaroon crunch and cool. [Bake 2/3 cup of chopped mixed nuts and 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut for 10-15 minutes at 350F until golden.]

5. Arrange the whole berries, on their sides with the pointed ends out, in concentric circles on top of the pie, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Spoon the melted jelly over the berries, covering the top of the pie. Place the macaroon crunch around the edge of the pie, forming a 1-1 1/2 inch border. Immediately refrigerate for at least 2 hours (3 is better). The pie is best served the same day. [I sliced the strawberries and combined with the jelly to spoon over individual pieces instead so that the filling would stay good for longer.]

Basic Graham Cracker Crust

1 ¬Ĺ cups finely crushed regular or cinnamon graham crackers (24 squares)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350¬įF. In medium bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Reserve 3 tablespoons crumb mixture for garnishing top of pie before serving, if desired. Press remaining mixture firmly and evenly against bottom and side of pie plate. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown; cool on cooling rack. Fill as directed in pie recipe.

Quest for the Best Pizza

My daughter is getting so incredibly picky when it comes to her food. I’m thinking I may have to bite the bullet and try some tough love. But to temper it a little, I’ve make a homemade version of her favourite meal – mini pizzas. Steve and I have been trying out pizza dough recipes all winter but nothing has really wowed us. The one I made last week is from Ricardo Magazine and I really like it! The dough wasn’t too tough to knead and after rising and I could stretch it out quite well. When cooked, it’s kind of crackly on the outside and chewy on the inside. Very satisfying! I doubled this recipe and made a small pizza for myself, a large par-baked dough for later this week, and I still got 7 mini pizza crusts out of it as well. Instead of plain pizza sauce I took a page out of “Deceptively Delicious”s playbook and substituted 1/3 of the sauce with squash and corn baby food! I could not taste and difference at all, and it got the Miss M. stamp of approval as well!

pi

Pizza for Four

(Makes 4 small, 2 medium, or 1 large pizza)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups (560 ml ) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons (20 ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) warm water

Directions:

In a large bowl, with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer using the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and stir until it forms a soft ball. Knead dough for about 5 minutes on a floured work surface or in the stand mixer, until smooth.

Form dough into a ball and place back in the cleaned and lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm and humid place for at least one hour (ideally 2 hours), or until dough has doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Roll and stretch out dough and place on a pizza pan. Spread with sauce and toppings and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until crust has lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.

 

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