Sunday, July 26, 2009

Last week's leftovers: Week of 7/18/9

Still think factory farmed chicken (read: pretty much the only chicken available to you in the grocery store) is just fine? Read this article.

When your husband watches CNN all the time, you find out about things like mortgage apple cakes.

I'm so excited about Hagen Das' new 5-ingredient ice creams, but I have yet to find them anywhere.


I know it's supposed to be ironic, but Breakfast Floss is gross. I'm only posting about it because a) can't resist a bacon reference, b) I saw this in two different magazines this week alone. (One was a men's mag, go figure.)




My first official ice cream

This recipe was started on Sunday, but like most ice cream recipes it is a multi-day affair.

I felt it was about time I christened the ice cream maker I got for Christmas last year, and I found this recipe from Food & Drink (I think) in my archives:



1 cup whipping cream
1 cup homogenized milk
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts (or toasted almond pieces)


Bring the cream and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt.

Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, then place the mixture into a clean saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken.

Strain the mixture immediately into a bowl containing the chips and vanilla. Stir to melt the chocolate, then set the bowl over ice, and stir until cool.

Refrigerate overnight.

Next day, freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the nuts to the ice cream maker in the last 5 mins of the process or stir them in at the end. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until sufficiently hardened.

The result is pretty delicious, but by my estimation weighs in at a hefty 700 calories per 1/2 cup. (Almost Elvis territory.)

Oh, and ice cream making is fun and easy, but I'd like to find some lighter recipes and those cardboard pint-size containers to store my ice cream in; it just doesn't feel right serving it out of tupperware.

Enjoy in moderation!




Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No tip this week :-(

I was hard-pressed to think of a worthy tip, so instead I'll just send a shout-out to Nook & Pantry.

I stumbled across this blog when I went searching for a good recipe for halibut cheeks.

What I found was a blog filled with really interesting recipes, beautiful photos and excellent use of fonts (I'm a geek, I know).

Check out the recipe here. Shawn likened them to "McNuggets of the sea." Coming from him, that is the highest compliment.

ETA: I just realized that the Nook and Pantry blogger is also a med student. Wow, do I feel inadequate....




Monday, July 20, 2009

Catching up

Let's see what we missed during my break:

I celebrated Canada Day with maple cheddar. (It's not a party without cheese.)

In entertainment, the 20th century officially ended. That was sad.

But, apparently Elvis is alive... in ice cream. I discovered this delicious new flavour of Pascale's ice cream based on the King's favourite sandwich. It's half banana, half peanut butter and bacon and (thankfully) only sold by the quart, because if there's one thing Elvis taught us, it's the importance of moderation.

The Moonroom found its way into this English major's heart by bringing the bill in a copy of my favorite novel. Great food too, BTW.

Fancy vegetarian: Asparagus lasagna

I found this recipe on my chair when got into work one morning. I don't work in the food industry, so I took it as a sign.

The end result was delicious, provided you really like asparagus, but I do have some reservations about the prep, so I've annotated the recipe, below, should you want to try this one out for yourself:



2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
48 medium asparagus spears, about 1 1/4 lb
4 sheets of fresh lasagna noodles
3 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour
and continue to cook, whisking for 1 min. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk. Return to a low heat and cook, whisking continually until mixture boils and thickens. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place in a small bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the asparagus and tie together in bunches of 6.[1] Drop into the boiling water, and simmer until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove the cooked asparagus using tongs and drop into a bowl of ice water. Once cold, drain well and untie.

Return the water to the boil and add the lasagna noodles. Cook until al dente, then drain and rinse under cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Trim the asparagus spears into 4-inch (10-cm) lengths. Slice the remaining stems into thin diagonal slices and reserve. Cut the lasagna noodles in half lengthwise.[2]

Butter a large baking dish. Place the noodles against sides of baking dish with a third of each noodle on the bottom of the dish and the other two thirds overhanging one side of the dish.Divide the reserved asparagus between the noodles. Sprinkle with half grated Gruyère. Fold the noodle back over this and top the next noodle third with 6 of the 4-inch (10-cm) asparagus spears and more Gruyère. Finally, fold the remaining piece of the noodle back over this. You will have an S shape, with sliced asparagus stems and cheese in the bottom of the S and spears and cheese in the top half.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Whisk the cream until soft peaks form.[3] Whisk a couple of spoonfuls into the reserved sauce, and then fold in the remaining. Place a large spoonful of this mixture on each individual lasagna, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with parmesan, then bake for 20 min or until hot and golden brown.

[1] I can see no value in bundling the asparagus. I guess it's to make easier to trim the spears equal lengths latter on, but any time savings there would have been negated by the tying and untying of 8 asparagus bundles.

[2] I'm 90% sure they meant to write crosswise. That, or my lasagna noodles were not standard size (doubt that) because when I followed the assembly instructions, my very large baking dish didn't come close to fitting all of the lasagna pieces. I had to use a second dish (hate that), and it seemed to me that the asparagus spears stuck out a little more than they should have. What I should have done was baked them on a foil covered baking sheet.

[3] I whipped the cream a little to thicken it before mixing it into the white sauce, but that's it. I figured that this step was purely aesthetic and that the recipe was labour-intensive enough without having to whip cream at the end.




Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tip of the week: better taco management

This is an ingenious tip I picked up a few years ago from Chatelaine magazine. If you follow this recipe I can guarantee you that all meat will remain within the taco during eating.



2 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 egg
1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
1 taco kit


Preheat oven to 425º.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk egg with taco seasoning. Crumble in meat. Add onions. Using your hands or a fork, work just until evenly mixed. Turn into prepared dish and pat evenly to spread out.

Bake in centre of preheated oven until meat is firm to the touch and edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 min. Lift meat from dish and move to a cutting board. Let meat stand 5 min.

Cut meat into 4 squares, then slice each square in half to make 8 pieces to fit the taco shells. (Depending on the size of your taco shells, you may need to halve the pieces a third time.) Tuck pieces into shells. Add toppings such as grated cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and taco sauce.

Also, since all of the rendered fat is left in the dish, the meat is not overly greasy and no grease drips from the taco — another peril of taco eating. It won't prevent your taco shells from snapping due to over stuffing (hate that), but this technique will go a long way to making your next taco experience even more enjoyable.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

This week at the grocery store...

I laughed at the hippie on the package of Glutenfreeda's "Peanut, Paul and Mary" cookies as I passed by the organic freezer section. Again. (It never stops being funny.)

Crazy hippie...

The brownies

I made these yesterday, and boy was I glad they were around today. (As if brownies are ever unwelcome.)

This consistently excellent recipe comes from my mother who got it from a charity cookbook put out by the the all-girls catholic high school that I narrowly escaped going to. ;-)



1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350º

Combine 1/2 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cocoa; set aside and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, siting well after each is added. Stir in vanilla. Add the cocoa mixture slowly and stir to combine. Stir in the flour.

Pour batter into a greased 9x9-inch (or 7x11-inch) casserole dish and cook for about 30 min.

Allow to cool on a rack, then ice.

To make icing

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Mixture will be very thick. To achieve the consistency of icing add a drop of water and stir.




Homemade Brownies on Foodista

Recipe for a busy evening

I'm back for my nearly month long self-imposed hiatus. Alas, my vacation did not consists of hamocks and Margarittavilles as you might have surmised, but of renos, repairs, other obligations and the flu.

Unfortunately, an emergency repair (which has left me with a little less ceiling in the living room than I previously had) derailed today's plans for a fancy return post. I'll try that one again later in the week, but, in the meantime I thought I'd post tonight's dinner — a recipe that has gotten me through many errand-filled evenings recently.



1 tpsp olive oil
2 sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup canned black beans
2 large flour tortillas


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes and cook for 10 min. Add peppers and beans and cook for another 10 min. Spoon mixture on to half of each tortillas and fold. Cook in a grill pan (or on the grill) for 5 min per side, or for 5 min if using a panini press (my preference).

Cut each quesadilla in two, and serve with sour cream and salsa.




ETA: But don't forget the brownies!