Wednesday, November 30, 2011

cannellini bean salad with lemon and cilantro

Ever since my semester ended last week, I've been doing what Adam and I call 'wifing' (said, of course, with tongue-in-cheek amusement. Our sense of humour isn't always politically correct). While he goes off to work, I do all kinds of fun stuff like cleaning. Really, I've been doing more cooking and baking than cleaning. I've also been doing a lot of reading, researching, blogging, tweeting... It's been a blast. I can't remember ever enjoying myself so much! When I was slogging through my Bachelor's degree, I only found this level of relaxation in the days rolling up to the new semester.

I took my lovely and amazing cousin out to Westmount today to stop by our favourite used bookstore. Of course, this also necessitated a visit to Le Fournil, the second most delicious bakery in the city (the first being Fous Desserts, where they make the most ridiculous almond croissants known to man). By the time we were headed home, I realised that the house was still in the same state of absolute horror that it was when I left in the morning (think scenes from The Walking Dead) and I had barely enough time to get supper on the table and get things under control (thanks in part to the above-mentioned lovely and amazing cousin!).

Monday, November 28, 2011

sugar and spice cookies

I've noticed that whenever I follow cookie recipes, I end up with far fewer cookies than the recipe predicts. It never fails. Sure, you could blame the fact that I'm a spoon-licking dough-eater when I bake... but I didn't eat 35 cookies worth of dough. Yeah, you read that right. This recipe was supposed to make 55 cookies, but it made 20.

Like I said, it's not exclusive to this recipe. It's every recipe. Am I living on another planet? Could I have eaten 35 cookies raw? The logical explanation is that I just made my cookies too big. In fact, a quick glance at this particular recipe indicates that I did and I'm probably a repeat offender in this respect.

Friday, November 25, 2011

sour cream blueberry scones

You know what's counterproductive to exercising? Sour cream blueberry scones, served piping hot from the oven. Hot enough to burn your hands when pulling them apart. Even further negating all the hard work I did in the morning is that homemade lemon curd I served it with, too. Not good at all. How about the clotted cream, you ask? I hoped you hadn't noticed. Well, I ate that too and I'm not sorry about it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

simple caesar salad

I think a lot of people feel intimidated about making their own caesar salad at home. They'll buy a bottle of Kraft dressing or a caesar salad kit. It's obviously a pretty common side order when eating out, too. Here's what most people don't know: once you taste caesar salad dressing from scratch, you will swear off the bottle. You will swear off the kit. You will only ever make it from scratch from this day forward.

Think it's hard? Are you a little bit scared? Don't be. It's easy. I used to go through all that nonsense of coddling eggs, but you don't have to. This is a simple recipe that relies on good quality ingredients for its classic lemony and cheesy taste.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

silk dragon jasmine tea shortbread

I woke up this morning to a wonderful present - the first snowfall of the season! What an excellent excuse to bake shortbread - you know, Christmas and all. I've lately been toying with the idea of different scented shortbreads (this may or may not have something to do with The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011...) and suddenly it hit me: jasmine shortbread. Though jasmine tea and shortbread come from totally different parts of the world, it's a perfect marriage of flavours and textures - the floral notes are subtle, but there. The tea adds a little bit of texture to the otherwise melt-in-your-mouth characteristics of shortbread.

I used the organic silk dragon jasmine tea from DavidsTea - why? Because, as they say, its scent is magical. It's lovely, delicate and smooth. It's instant relaxation in a mug, especially on a snow day. Feel free to use whatever jasmine tea you have on hand, but if you live near a DavidsTea, I recommend you pick some up... and not just for the cookies!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

pear and fennel seed upside-down cake

This has been the week of cooking and baking failures. I swear, I have tried the pear and fennel seed combination in four (yes, FOUR) different recipes this week because I had so much faith in it. The first three were colossal flops. 

The original was a pear and fennel seed tarte tatin, which I adapted from Joy the Baker's apple tarte tatin. It came out WAY too saucy because, well, pears have more juice than apples. So... disaster. Recipe two was a modified version of said tarte with less butter and sugar in the topping. When I overturned my pan, the puff pastry fell out, but the pears didn't.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

emily's green olive hummus

This hummus is the brainchild of my cousin Emily. We had planned an afternoon of girl movies and face masks, and when Emily and I get together, we tend to do copious amounts of eating. Knowing this, Emily brought along this green olive hummus that she'd made. I immediately demanded the recipe and was ultimately rewarded with an approximation - Emily's an 'a little of this, a little of that' kind of cook.

We have stories, many of which are too shameful to share here. When we're together, the first thing that people notice is that we have the same laugh. She and I also have the same sense of humour, one which she archly says is 'too sophisticated' for Adam, who doesn't think our jokes are funny.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

buckwheat pancakes with spiced apple plum compote

There are those who like to buck the status quo and do things like eat breakfast for dinner. There's nothing new or special about that - especially if you're young enough to remember your days as a 20-something in university. Or your 2 AM runs to the grosser-than-gross Fresgo Inn on Davie street in Vancouver for a breakfast so huge you can split it in half and call it a decent meal. Breakfast for dinner is a concept that is solidly entrenched in Gen X culture.

The Fresgo Inn on Davie is long gone (though apparently still operating in Whalley - who knew?) and I don't think I've had breakfast for dinner in years. However, today I double-bucked the status quo: I ate breakfast for lunch. 

Now, don't you go thinking that I slept in. No no. I got up reasonably early, ate a bagel for breakfast, went out in the cold, blustery weather to shoot an assignment, then came home and made pancakes at 2 in the afternoon. Buckwheat pancakes. With a spiced apple and plum compote.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

buttermilk banana bread with cinnamon honey glaze

I know I've talked before about how I have a thing for buying bananas, and forgetting to eat them before they start turning brown. Well, after months of abstaining from buying bananas for this very reason (especially as I have at least five bananas in the freezer, just waiting to be turned into banana bread) I made the same mistake. Why do I never learn?

Well, it goes back to that whole thing I was talking about before: positive reinforcement. See, when I saw that the bananas had developed brown spots and were therefore as good as dead to me as a snack on their own, I of course used it as an excuse to try out some new banana bread. I was rewarded for not only purchasing unnecessary bananas but allowing them to languish on my counter with what I call luxury banana bread - any banana bread that calls for a full half cup of butter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

roasted winter vegetables with fresh thyme

You know what one of the cons of having a food blog is? Having the excuse to constantly obsess over food. See... I'm already obsessed with food. Cooking it, eating it, writing about it, sharing it with others. I'm a boredom snacker. I eat my feelings. I snack the whole time I'm cooking. It's terrible.

7 lbs of terrible since I started this blogging business. That wouldn't be a problem if I were a 6 foot amazon, but I'm not. I'm a teeny little person at 5 foot 2 inches and I'm nursing a food baby that I didn't have before.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

dijon chicken with rosemary

This chicken was not much to look at. I struggled with whether or not to blog it based on its looks. I've posted ugly foods on this blog before (pulled pork with bourbon orange coriander barbecue sauce comes to mind, as does pea and mint soup), but as I progress through this blog, my standards are getting a little higher. With experience comes improvement. Improvement was not evident in any of the photographs taken. Only struggle, oversized garnish and ugly chicken.

Then I tasted the ugly chicken.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011

Hurray for cookies! No recipe in this post - just a super duper FUN announcement. I'm taking part in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011! I get to bake 3 batches of cookies and send them to a three mystery food bloggers who could be from anywhere in North America. These three mystery bloggers will be sending me a batch of cookies. It's kind of like a secret Santa with cookies. Could it be anymore fun?!

If you're a food blogger and interested in signing up, please do so here. The more the merrier!

Stay tuned next month for the results of the cookie swap...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

deep dish green apple pie

This pie was the result of multiple failures. I have been planning this pie for at least a week and a half. It was supposed to be much more than just a deep dish green apple pie, but if I tell you what the surprise ingredient was, I'll steal my own thunder next time I make an attempt.

That being said, even though this pie failed to live up to what it was supposed to be, as a straight up apple pie it was wicked. It had a simple, uncomplicated flavour. It was beautifully tart and apple-heavy - for me, there's nothing worse than an apple pie with a high goop to fruit ratio, like the kind you get at the supermarket. Gross. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

bruschetta with ricotta and oven-roasted tomato

Let me take a minute to talk about how I struck lucky and ended up with the best boyfriend out there. Boyfriend seems like sort of an odd, backwards term to describe him given that we've been pretty much married for what feels like a decade (in a good way!). He's rational, sane, unselfish and when you get down to it, an honest to goodness good person. He humours me even though he doesn't laugh at all my jokes.

For example, today we were out running boring errands (of the Home Depot and Canadian Tire variety). One of the items we needed to purchase was some storage jars for our kitchen. While walking down St. Laurent on our way to Canadian Tire, I spotted a kitchen store and suggested that we look in there. There was no way that we'd possibly find any reasonably priced storage jars in a place like this, but I really just wanted to poke around anyways and, you guessed it, Adam humoured me.