Monday, 29 August 2011

This Takes The Cake

I love this time of year in Victoria, BC for so many reasons. I won't get into all of them now, but I will tell you about one of them.

Blackberries. If you live here, you know what I mean. If you don't, I'll tell you! 

These sweet and tart little gems grow wild in almost every ditch, along almost every path, and almost anywhere else you can think of. And I don't mean just in the country either, because these suckers grow wild in the city too. 

I like to think that I am doing everyone a favour by picking baskets full of the fruit because then there is less fruit for the huge population of wild, city dwelling deer, as well less fruit for the homeless people. 

And if you think I'm being a little callous, maybe I do sound that way. But all I am really hoping for is for the deer to move out where it's safer and the homeless people to find fulfilling lives off the street. That's not as callous, right? 

Anyway, back to business. This recipe really does take the cake. 

I've taken it almost directly from Bon Appetit's July 2011 issue because it's just so great the way they showed it.

All I have done differently is to use almond extract in place of the vanilla extract and orange zest, and I used regular skim milk in place of buttermilk and duck eggs in place of chicken eggs.

Duck eggs really make baking much more creamy and delicious, but that's a story for another day... 

Does these small substitutions make it better? You tell me!

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Much like the Hawaiian greeting and farewell of aloha, konnichiwa means hello or good afternoon in Japanese.

But before you get too impressed, it's the only Japanese word I know. It's probably the only Japanese word I will ever know.

Well, except for Japanese words like wasabai, unagi, and sushi. But all of those words have food in common, so that only makes sense.

So here I am to show you some of my and Luke's favourite sushi recipes and tricks. After all, it was Luke's monthly trip to the kitchen. But now that he's cooked his three dishes of sushi, wonton noodle soup, and paella, what will be next?

I guess you'll have to wait and see.

For now, here's the sushi!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Simple Sides

It's Friday night and I never feel much like cooking after a long week of work, so today I am going to show you some of favourite side dishes for nights when you feel like I do.

They're simple, fresh, and summery. They're perfect for me on a night like tonight.

So with no further ado, here they are!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Summer Lovin'

Summer lovin', had me a blast
Summer lovin', happened so fast...

Yes, incase you were wondering, I did get to play Sandy when my class put on Grease. :) 

I think that they might have made me lip sync, but that's not the point. The point is that I got to play a star!

But, now my summer lovin' fame is long over and it's almost another September. This does mean that Christmas is getting closer, but it also means that summer's almost over. 

Fall and winter in Victoria mean rain, lots of it... And that doesn't make me happy. 

What does make me happy is remembering to appreciate the fact that summer is still here. So I get out to my BBQ every chance I can and make new treats as soon as I can come up with them. 

Tonight's treat is something that I've been meaning to make for a while and after one bite I knew it was worth the wait. 

This dessert is as simple as they come, but tastes so much like a creamy peach pie, it's uncanny. 

No cans in this dish though, just the fresh fruit of summer. :)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Micro Cakes

I had a china tea set when I was younger and it was beautiful.

It had roses painted all over it, little plates, teacups, saucers, a sugar bowl, a milk pitcher, and it all fit on a little tray.

My mom used to make tea for me to serve and we'd enjoy cookies or cake as well. She had little spoons for me to hand out to stir the cups of tea with and never minded when my unstable hands dropped a dish.

Some of the time we had petit fours, the tiny layer cakes that are only a mouthful and covered with pastel chocolate and tiny decorations. I thought those times were some of the best tea parties of all.

I bet you thought I made petit fours. But you're wrong. I do love petit fours though, but I haven't made them - yet!

I have seen a similar recipe to my microwavable cake on a television show and absolutely loved the concept, but the cake took forever to prepare and chill. And you need so many kitchen appliances that I would have felt like I lived in a department store.

So what could I do but simplify the recipe and still make it tasty? Read on to find out!

Pistachio Cake
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios, shelled
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese
  • eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp. of blackberry jam
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries
  1. Add pistachios, egg yolks, flour, and cream cheese to a food processor. Pulse until the texture is as smooth as you desire.
  2. Whip egg whites with a set of egg beaters until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and continue to beat until the peaks begin glossy.
  3. Use a spatula and scrape all the pistachio / cream cheese mixture into the bowl with the egg whites. Fold to combine, being as gentle as possible. If you need to use a little elbow grease, that's ok. The cakes will just be a bit denser, but equally as yummy.
  4. Puncture three holes into the bottom of 6 paper cups with a knife. Divide cake batter into the cups evenly.
  5. Place cups into the microwave and cook on high for 90 seconds.
  6. Run a butter knife around the edges of the cups and use a spoon to remove the cakes.
  7. Cut each cake halfway down the middle to form two layers and spread a half tablespoon of jam between the layers.
  8. Decorate each plate with a few fresh berries and enjoy!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Where Is The Love?

Cause people got me got me questioning, where is the love...

I think that there could be a double meaning behind the Black Eyed Peas first big hit, Where is the Love.

Obviously they were discussing where the love is within humanity. You can hear that in the lyrics of the song.

However, I think that they may also have been questioning where is the love is for the first black eyed peas, the beans.

Well... maybe not. Maybe that is me doing a little reaching in symbolism, but you never know.

Anyway, that is question on my mind because I love eating those little beans, but they aren't a favourite of the majority of the population.

I mean, have you ever heard someone say, "I'm craving some black eyed peas" or "yum, black eyed peas, that's what I'd want for my last meal." I haven't heard anyone even mention black eyed peas as a semi-favourite food before.

But, now is your chance to try them in a yummy, nutty, way. And because they're paired up with another equally neglected bit of produce, swiss chard, you're doing double duty on the new food front.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

New Kids On My BBQ

I don't think that I've met anyone that can honestly say that they've never eaten pizza. It's common, easy to pick up, and most importantly, it's delicious!

And if I had to pick from the list of tasty ingredients, the hot and drippy cheesy goodness, the crispy crusts, the mountains of meat and veggie, I really don't think I could.

Ok, maybe the cheese, but I do love it all!

And I've tried, and eagerly enjoyed, every kind imaginable. With the exception of anchovy covered pies, because those furry looking fish just aren't my cup of tea. 

However, there is one kind of pizza that I've never eaten, up until now that is! And that kind is BBQ pizza. 

It's really easy and combines my year-round love of pizza with my summer love of BBQing.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Peas and Thank You

I am really loving my food processor, so much that I already have another tasty dish that I made using it!

But since I know the pain to reading about a recipe and then seeing you need a special piece of equipment to make it, I will help you out. If you don't have a food processor, try using a blender or immersion blender instead. I think it will work just as well.

So get your apron on and let's get going. It's easy peasy enough to try on a Friday night after a long week of work!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

One Hand In My Pocket...

And the other one is giving a high five.

I still love to listen my old Alanis Morissette CDs and that is one of my favourite songs. Did I get it stuck in your head? 

But Alanis isn't the only one giving out high fives. I definitely give high fives out for these tasty pockets of steak, spinach, onions and mushrooms that I made too. 

Just remember to high five each other before you starting chowing down, or else have a napkin in hand, because these puppies are messy. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Candy Cane Treat

Well.... I do love Christmas but even I know it's a bit early to start decorating and planning, so this recipe has nothing to do with Christmas at all.

Actually, to be honest, this recipe has nothing to do with me at all! It is my very first viewer's contribution and even though it's my mom's contribution, it still makes me feel excited that someone wanted to share their recipe through my blog.

My mom had been looking for special heirloom beet seeds, the golden beet variety specifically, forever. So when I found a huge selection of seeds at the great gardening store in Victoria, I had to get some for her.

I mailed the seeds off, she planted them, and now they're ready to be enjoyed.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Winner winner, chicken dinner

My prize from the D'Italiano Reinvent Your Passion competition has finally arrived and to celebrate I am going to share the recipe I entered first!

That's right, I entered two recipes in the competition and until now my first recipe has been hidden from everyone's eyes but my own.

Here are some clues to the mystery recipe:

It's warm, delicious, and traditional.

It's something that Luke turned his nose up at until he tried a bite of mine.

Some think it's boring and plain, but I sure don't.

It's meatloaf! But while a meatloaf by any other name might be looked at as boring, mine is really tasty. It really will perk up your taste buds and refresh your memories of the cafeteria mystery meat pucks to a taste of something special instead of grey junk.

I think it's a first rate meal and most likely didn't make the cut because it didn't celebrate bread as much as my bread pudding did. But had it been a meatloaf competition, you can be the judge!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sweet Tarts

I just got back from a weekend of camping and I can't count the number of the bug bites, aches, and bits of dirts on me.

Not to mention the facts that it was a long drive, it was cold, we forgot my sleeping bag and part of the stove. So... let's just say that I've had better camping trips.

So when I crawled out of our tent both mornings (yes, we did remember the tent) I longingly thought of the delicious pancakes I had created the weekend before.

They were sweet, tart, and oh so warm and comforting. But thinking of them made me a little sad, since I was stuck with cold cereal.

I'll be enjoying these yummy creations of mine soon enough though. And, luckily, not all of the weekend was bad. Some of it was pretty fun.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Greener on your side

I hate the phrase "it's greener on the other side". I hate thinking someone else has something better than me and everything will always look better than what I have. 

Personally, I think that phrase is for unhappy people, because I am happy and I think I have it pretty good. 

Sure, there are a lot of little things I'd like to change. But when I achieve them, that's it. I'll be happy with them and I don't think that other people's things and lives will necessarily look better than my own. 

So because I am so happy with myself, I wanted to share the wealth and make a dish that screams green on your plate. 

Maybe then everyone will see parts of their lives that look pretty great and stop looking at their neighbours with envy to see what they have going on. Everyone has something great, you just have to find a moment to stop and smell the roses to find it.

In the meantime, try this super green rice. It's flavourful, healthy, and fun. I don't see anything wrong with it!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Pillow Fight

I never liked the idea of pillow fights when I was younger because they looked like they would hurt, my hair would get messy, and my favourite pillow might get ruined in the process. 

Basically, I looked at a pillow fight as a no win situation. And since I still don't have any inclination to partake in a pillow fight, I think I was right. 

The only type of pillow fight I can get on board with, is one around the table for who gets seconds of my Zucchini Pillows with BLT. 

These little pillows of goodness are worth fighting for because they taste great, are easy to make, and healthy at the same time. So in order to prevent a squabble, you might want to make up a few batches.

And if you choose to make only the one batch... Don't say I didn't warn you that a fight might break out for the last helping. 

And at least it's only an appetizer, so hopefully you can appease your friends with thoughts of the main.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Happy Appy

If you come over to my house for a dinner party and get something other than a pie for dessert, you know something's up because I love baking pies.

I love fruit pies, chocolate pies, sugary pies, tarts of all kinds, citrus pies, cream pies, and any other possible pie you can think of.

But have you ever come to someone's house and received a pie for an appetizer?  Would someone ever do that? Dessert before dinner?

Well look no further because here I am, the bringer of sweet tarts for a happy appy!

And the best part is that this little recipe is a quick one to throw together. Not to mention, there are only four ingredients in total!

So why wait? Get your friends over, make them a sweet treat to wet their palates before dinner, and fake them out when they hear how easy these are to make --- if you share the easy recipe!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Good Luck

Have you ever thought about how people say "oh it's good luck for rain on your wedding day" or "it's very good luck for a bird to poo on you"?

Well I had the pleasure of enjoying a whole lot of "good luck" if the latter of the two is actually true, because a few days ago I was walking down road and felt the most enormous wet splatter all over me.

This was no ordinary bird either; he had to be huge. It felt like someone had leaned out a window of the building I was near and poured a bowl of pudding on me. I was completely covered from my feet to my hair to hands and everywhere in between.

So to enjoy my so called "good luck", I decided to take a few eggs and create a quiche with them. Maybe that will teach the birds a few manners.

Here are a few of my tips for a yummy and easy quiche.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Beet the Heat

Living in Victoria, BC this year, I had practically forgotten what summer felt like. It feels a lot like spring feels like year round here and while I do miss the summer, I do not miss the harshness of the Halifax winters.

So when the heat rolls around here and I haven't been expecting it, I both love and hate it. I miss the summer but I'm not used to the heat, so the oven stays off and the BBQ goes on.

Here's a delicious salad I made to star in the this weather. And if it's cooler out, bake the beets in two small baking dishes. The oven really crisps up the bit of beet greens and adds a delicious texture!

Monday, 1 August 2011

From A to Z

I love to visit a Farmer's Market. I think about it all week and for once in my life I get excited about being spontaneous with cooking.

I do try and cook new things on a regular basis, but I always head to the grocery store with a list of items I'll need to make all the meals for one week. That means there isn't too much spontaneity once I get to the store.

But when I go to a Farmer's Market, there is no list in sight. I let my eyes do the talking, buy whatever I like, and somehow fit the goodies into my meal plan. But could you do it anyway else? There's someone selling everything and when you find some goodies you're forced to take them home.

At my last visit to a Farmer's Market I spied some huge zucchinis for $1.25 each and took two home with me to make into something. (That's another thing I love about Farmer's Market, you just can't beat those prices!)

I thought about it and finally decided on baking a loaf of zucchini bread.

I was glad to rediscover this old favourite and hope you're glad too.