Saturday, March 31, 2012

apple and rosemary chicken salad

Yup, things continue to be quiet around here. I'll tell you why, and it seems a little bit weird to be doing so while at the same time presenting you with a mayonnaise based salad...

Friends, no matter how many baked goods and treats you give away to your friends, eating unhip squirrel style is unhealthy. I always had the intention of presenting delectable morsels to you as once in a while treats, but the reality is that this blog has an "EAT ALL THE THINGS!!!!" sort of vibe. Because I get really excited about food. Oh man. I really love to be creative and fun and experiment with different flavours.

And do you know what can happen when you do that? You can gain ten pounds in one year, on top of the ten pounds you gained the year before.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

olive oil & fennel seed cupcakes with citrus buttercream frosting

Why such infrequent posting these days, especially since I admittedly had a backlog of recipes to share? Two reasons, but the short answer is school. Final projects. Brain is mush. Can't look at computer anymore without having a psychedelic experience. This is the point where I would probably say something along the lines of how cupcakes are a pretty good consolation prize when you're up to your eyeballs in schoolwork. They can keep you motivated ... just one more hour of moving pixels around and then I get to have a cupcake! ... but the reality is that I baked these like 2 weeks ago for my other final project. So no cupcakes in the squirrel household for me to truthfully segue into my topic from.

The cake part of these cupcakes really blew me away. The olive oil played a dual role in both flavour and fat. It's one of those think-outside-the-box scenarios; at first you may think that olive oil isn't meant to have a starring role a cupcake of all things, but you will come around once the shock wears off. I really, really think I could eat olive oil cake all day. Add in fennel seed, top with orange buttercream frosting and BAM, you're in weird-but-awesome cupcake heaven.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

red wine soaked burger with gouda, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli

I love New York City. I know that probably seems like the dumbest and most obvious thing out there that any person could say - akin, perhaps to announcing that you enjoy oxygen - but believe it or not, it's not. Adam is not a lover of New York City. He's not big on noise or crowds. He doesn't get the crazy eye when shopping. If anything, he gives the stink eye when shopping. He hates stuff and pretty things. Adam and New York City don't really get along. He is good to me though - he indulged me a few years ago when I wanted to visit the city for ten, yes TEN, days. Ten glorious days of shopping, eating, museum-going and generally gawping at things I'd seen on TV.

Now that I live in Montreal, it's a little easier visit New York. When my mom came to visit last month, I suggested we take a mini vacation, since a) it's fun and b) she's never been. After a long day of doing touristy things, and after having spent the day with all the good intentions of going somewhere a little less cheesy for dinner, we admitted defeat and picked the first restaurant we could within a one mile radius of our hotel. Proximity and rosemary aioli won me over to the Union Square Five Napkin Burger, which admittedly is fraught with Cactus Club style douchebaggery, but actually had a pretty good burger.

Of course, I planned to recreate this burger as soon as possible. As soon as possible ended up being about 2 weeks later (and one week ago). Here it is. Delicious and amazing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

vij's chickpeas in star anise

Man... I have a backlog of recipes to post for you people! Things have been so crazy. I have two final projects due in the next couple of weeks. One of my final projects involved, well, food (what else is new - food is my obsession) so I had to cook up a bunch of things that would look pretty in photographs. In fact, I blew my weekly budget at the grocery store on all these projects. I baked a layer cake (which didn't end up making the final cut, but was delicious) and some more cupcakes (which did). I redid my kalamata hummus photo. I baked cookies that sounded more exciting than they actually were. And I made a curry.

A curry that I've been desiring ever since the delightful Foodess posted it on her blog. People, this curry is just as good as it sounds. It's sweet, spicy, protein-rich and meat-free. Honestly, I felt that cardamom was more dominant as a flavour than star anise, but the anise was there. It probably would have been different if I'd used ground star anise.

But, in all seriousness, run (don't walk) to your nearest grocery store to get the supplies you need to make this for your dinner. Vij will not disappoint you. He never, ever does.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

whole wheat banana date muffins with honey

This week has been crazy with cooking and baking projects! I've got my final project coming up for my photography class and, big surprise, I chose to photograph food. Coming up, I have some pretty exciting things in the Unhip Squirrel arsenal - a chickpea curry, some cupcakes, a ridiculous chocolate cake (it's baking as we speak - exciting does not even begin to describe this), some fun cookies... I can't wait to share it all with you. 

Whole wheat banana date muffins are not part of my project. I made them because for my curry, I needed to buy dates and the only size available was HUGE (Thank you, Metro! ugh). So I had plenty of dates that needed using, and the result were these muffins. Stand by for more datey things. I've got plenty left.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

rosemary roasted brussels sprouts & cauliflower (and Liebster awards!)

I'm going to let these roasted veggies speak for themselves. Mostly. The only thing I will say is this: They are crispy and fragrant with delicious burny bits. Rosemary and garlic hits you full in the face the second you open the oven door. They are salty and everything else good.

I could actually spend a lot more time talking about the miracle that is rosemary roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower, but instead of tooting my own horn, for once I'm going to talk about some other bloggers who deserve recognition for their creativity and commitment to real ingredients. Unhip Squirrel was recently honoured with a Leibster award by Tobias at the lovely T & Tea Cake. This is an award given by bloggers to bloggers - it serves to recognise smaller blogs of under 200 followers that you think deserve to be noticed. I was ecstatic to be given this distinction, and now am absolutely delighted to be able to pass it on to 5 other bloggers who I think are doing something pretty special.

Friday, March 2, 2012

deep dish straight-up rhubarb pie

Do you have a grandma? If you do, go hug her. Now. I don't care if she's busy, or you're busy... just go hug your gran. Because grandmas are SO AWESOME. Seriously. Who else hides candy in the sofa for you?* Who else lets you eat popsicles for lunch, to the frustration of your parents? Who else makes perogies from scratch that are so margariney (yes), crispy and saltilicious? Your grandma does. Okay, well... my grandma did.

Of course, I had two AMAZING grandmas - Grandma Woods and Grandma Martens. Today I am talking about Grandma Martens because rhubarb pie was a Grandma Martens thing. 

She introduced me to straight-up rhubarb pie. In fact, all I ever knew was straight-up rhubarb pie, until I was old enough that I became aware of what things were being sold where. Most rhubarb pies that you buy are tempered with apples or strawberries. People fear rhubarb on its own. Guys... be brave. Do something different. Trust in my grandma and let the rhubarb be the star. She won't let you down. I promise.

*Yes, she actually did this. It wasn't old sofa candy.