Tuesday, August 30, 2011

buttermilk scones with crispy pancetta and cheddar

These scones have so many things going for them. Fancy bacon. Extra old cheddar. Butter. Flakiness and gooeyness. Need I go on? In all seriousness, I can't imagine anyone (vegetarians and vegans aside) resisting such a luxurious once-in-a-while treat.

I was inspired to make these by a recipe I found in the Alice's Tea Cup cookbook. Sadly, that recipe turned out to be disastrous; I remember feeling skeptical at the idea of using melted butter in scones. Doesn't that traditional flaky scone texture come from cold butter? The second time around, I ended up using an old standby scone recipe in Joy of Cooking and just adding in the pancetta and cheddar. The result was spectacular. Rich buttery texture, gooey cheese cavities, and a little bit of salty bacon crunch.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

chicken lettuce wraps

Sometimes it feels like I'm the only person out there who has no clue where her life is going. I'm surrounded by people who are well on their way or are already fully launched into stable, successful careers and have no reason to question their professional future. I know I can't possibly be alone - the many times I've googled "what should I do with my life?" over the past few years, Google has finished the sentence for me. It's a ten year old question and let's face it, as much as I love my Art History degree, it didn't help me find any realistic answers to that other cliché question - what would you be happy spending your days doing without getting paid?

The best thing to do when you start to get professionally existential is to get out of the house, spend time with your amazing friends, eat exceptional food and drink watermelon mojitos. To excess, of course.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

vegetable enchiladas

I love enchiladas, especially vegetarian ones. Don't get me wrong. Meat enchiladas are great too, but there's something about vegetable enchiladas that just makes me sing. Literally. All day. I'm sure it's annoying.

For one, meat enchiladas can be very heavy and they leave you with both food baby and food coma, neither of which are good. Secondly, I find the vegetables to be more flavourful. Thirdly, well.. they're just healthier. For all of these reasons I was craving vegetarian enchiladas late last night. Early this morning I was at the grocery store loading up on peppers, zucchini, onions, jalapenos, eggplants...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

biscuit blackberry shortcakes with vanilla bean custard

I can't hardly believe that we're approaching the end of summer. It's gone by so fast. Very soon, the temperature will drop drastically, and after approximately one month of autumn, we'll be back in a winter wonderland. Casual summer at work will end. Reading in the park will end. Cicadas will end. Iced coffees will end. Summer dresses will end. flip flops will end. Fruit will end. Barbeques will end. All of these things give me the sad face.

Speaking of barbeques, there is no better reason to concoct a delicious dessert than a barbeque. Sadly, as we do not have a barbeque, we have to rely on others for our deliciously charred meats and veggies, so we bribe our potential hosts with the promise of a lovingly prepared homemade dessert.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

cookies 'n cream brownies

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can't stand chocolate desserts. Wow, I really hate them for real. Sometimes though, I get the urge to bake them and prove to myself that I don't like them. Last night I did both of those things. Again.

This is no warning against these particular brownies - feedback from others indicated that they were delicious - it's just my own personal weird thing. I think that chocolate is just inherently too rich for me. Strike one. And further, if there's actual unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate in a recipe, it requires a metric ton of sugar to be "tasty" and for me, that's strike two. Just... blech. Still though, these brownies were whimsical, fun to make and popular with friends and coworkers alike. They were also worth it for the icing, which I licked off and enjoyed immensely.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

fennel, apple and ham salad with asiago cheese

There are two things in particular that are bad for a cooking blog - traveling and extreme heat. I've been away in Vancouver and New York City (with a week-long break in between) and the weather upon my return hasn't done much for my excitement to cook. All I can think of is how it's going to make our apartment even hotter. That's where salads come in.

This is a good one because, with some bread on the side (and perhaps a second helping), this salad is reasonable as a meal in itself. It's not cheap - the cheese, ham and nuts in particular add up if you don't already have them in the house, plus people don't generally have fennel lying around in their fridge - but if you're looking for a satisfying summer meal, this will do the trick.