Sunday, October 30, 2011

indian style pumpkin soup with coconut milk

Hello. Is it soup you're looking for?

I think that anyone over the age of 30 (or anyone who really really loves the internet) can guess the soundtrack to our weekend. Yes, we listened to "Hello" all weekend and we carved a Lionel Richie pumpkin. There were a few tense moments, but we pulled it off with a paper stencil, some packing tape, a safety pin and a dull paring knife. Can I claim credit for moral support?

Of course I began thinking of ways that I could possibly showcase his work of art at Unhip Squirrel, so I made pumpkin soup. It doesn't really matter that I used an old mystery squash I picked up when we went apple picking. Pumpkins are squashes. It was a lateral move. Besides, Adam and I made a bet... he bet that the squash would go bad on our counter and we'd have to throw it away. I rise to challenges like these because I have a proud streak, so I used the squash. Two birds, one stone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

nutmeg pot de crème

I made pot de crème twice yesterday. The joy of working from 1 PM to 9 PM two days in a row is that you can make a pot de crème in the morning, screw it up, get home in time to purchase more ingredients from the grocery store and try it out all over again.

Let me tell you something about how my brain works. Sometimes it just completely glosses over stuff. For example, the first time I made these yesterday, I followed the recipe as written and completely forgot to cut the brown sugar, even though my standard custard recipe uses half of that in regular sugar. The finished product was inedibly sweet and the nutmeg was totally overpowered by caramel flavour. I threw it down the toilet with a sad face, but vowed to try again in the evening.

Monday, October 24, 2011

orange-scented apple blackberry crisp

You might think it's difficult to find a use for 20 lbs of apples. Don't worry, I'll find one - even if I end up munching through the whole bag myself. See, I'm an apple-a-day kind of girl. I bring one to work every day with my lunch (unless I fail it up at the food court). Unfortunately, I seem to enjoy a crisp apple a little too much. I've recently become aware that when I eat apples, it's not pleasant. It's noisy and unladylike. This new development is the subject of much hilarity in our household.

One way to keep yourself from French-Bulldogging-it with an apple is to cook it. Everyone will appreciate your efforts, especially if you bake your apples in this orange scented apple blackberry crisp. I really love the blackberry orange combination. Apples and blackberries are also a match made in heaven. I know they say that apples and oranges are, well, apples and oranges... but I dare say that this delectable dessert blows that expression out of the water.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

slow roasted mango ribs

Put on your fat pants people... it's ribs time!!! These ribs are my secret weapon. They are what the internet meme MOAR! was created for. I can impress anybody with them, foodie or not. In fact, that is one of the things I love most about cooking. When you make something that is so hands down awesome that the conversation at a dinner party takes a back seat to French bulldog style snuffling, you can't help but feel pretty good about it. My parents were behaviorists in the 80s, so I am very susceptible to this kind of positive reinforcement.

They key to making awesome ribs is to cook them slowly. Very slowly. That's how you'll get them to fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. I usually make roughly half this recipe (which is enough to serve four people, but only three when you're dealing with some of the male appetites I deal with). This time I was serving an additional male appetite, I made the full recipe and they were slightly less tender than before. I also realised today, as I consulted the recipe to do this post, that I'd forgotten the orange juice this time around, so perhaps that had something to do with it. Whoops. No worries though, I've made this recipe countless times...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

chai-spiced apple galette

This weekend we went on a spontaneous apple picking excursion. I've never been apple picking before - it was so much fun! I ate so many apples off the trees I almost made myself sick. These apples were the best apples I've ever tasted in my life. Completely different from what you get at the grocery store. Sweet, tart and not a hint of mealiness.

And I came home with a 20 lb bag of them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

lavender shortbread

You know what I realised today?  I've been spelling lavender wrong for my entire life. No joke. In my head, it's always been lavendar. Where this comes from... who knows?

I've always been a pretty good speller. I've avoided the confusion between there, they're and their and I've never typed 'congradulations' on anybody's Facebook wall. I wrote a lot in my rapidly disappearing youth - I spent a lot of my childhood typing awkward nerd stories into the DOS version of WordPerfect. In my early twenties I wrote even more awkward nerd stories which still exist on the internet under a pen name that I will never admit to. Now I write facts in emergency mode for a living.

But 'lavendar' isn't the first spelling mistake revelation I've had - it was only about five years ago that I stopped writing 'rediculous' and about one year ago (the shame!) that I abandoned 'alot'. My dad, at one point a professional editor, is facepalming as he reads this, I'm sure. None of this, of course, has anything to do with lavender cookies (or mythical lavendar cookies), which are buttery, delicious, melt in your mouth and absolutely pop with lavender flavour.

Monday, October 10, 2011

columella salad

Not too long ago, Adam came home with an exciting piece of information - a friend of his had bought a cookbook filled with ancient Roman recipes. How fun! My interest in ancient Greece and Rome goes back many many years, and in fact the first half of my degree was in classical studies. I took three years of Latin and I still bristle when I hear it described as a dead language. Even though I can't read it anymore. Sad!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

lemon vanilla trifle with blueberries and blackberries

You know what Thanksgiving means? It means that it's epic dessert time! Okay okay.. I know that Thanksgiving means more than that.  But one of the most fun things about any holiday is that, since you're cooking for a large group of people, you get to bake something amazingly huge and ridiculous. One of my favourite things to bring out for birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, et cetera, et cetera is this lemony cakey custardy fruity masterpiece. I've been slowly developing this insane dietbuster over the past ten years. I'm not even joking. It's taken several forms over that time, but three things have remained constant: some form of white cake, a butterfat laden custard and the tartest and tangiest most lip-smacking lemon curd in the land.