My friends and I recently decided to start a dinner club. Once a month, we’ll get together and one of us will cook. This is honestly perfect for me, because I obviously love to cook, and it gives me a great opportunity to try new recipes and skills. Both of my friends have gluten sensitivities, so I tried my hand at making an entirely gluten free meal. Here was the desert:
The mandatory ingredient shot.
Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Courtesy of Simply Gluten Free)
1 ¼ cups salted dry roasted peanuts
1/4 cup sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ cups milk
¾ cups half and half
2 large eggs
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
¾ cups creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put peanuts and sugar in food processor and pulse until ground up. Pulse in the melted butter. Press evenly into the bottom of a pie tin. Make sure you even it out. Bake 15 minutes. It will start to brown and be pretty set. It will still be a little soft when it comes out of the oven, don’t worry it will firm up. Set aside to cool slightly.
While crust cools, melt chocolate and cream together in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring often until melted and glossy. Spread over crust and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes while making the filling.
Whisk the milk, half and half, eggs, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until it becomes the consistency of pudding, 5 or 6 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk in the peanut butter and the vanilla. Let cool slightly. Spread evenly over the chocolate and refrigerate 4 hours or until cold. Pulse chocolate chips and peanuts in food processor until broken into small pieces, then sprinkle evenly on top of the pie. Serve with a glass of wine. Enjoy, a lot!
The other day, I was inspired to make burgers. The reason was that we have just received a massive dump of snow, chiming the arrival of winter for good. I know, burgers are not winter foods – but I find that if I make summer foods throughout the winter, it helps me get through the long dark of the Canadian winter. Also, these burgers were delicious, so why not?
Throw it all into a bowl, and add breadcrumbs until it sticks together.
Tilapia Burgers with Lemon Dill Aioli
For the burgers, you will need:
5 tilapia filets, cut into chunks
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1 whole garlic clove, peeled
salt and pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
For the Aioli, you will need:
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dill weed
Combine tilapia, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, old bay seasoning, garlic and salt and pepper in your food processor. Blend until evenly combined. Transfer to a bowl and add breadcrumbs. Form into patties and put in the fridge to firm up for at least a half hour. While you’re waiting, make the aioli by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl. Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a pan over medium heat. When it reaches frying temperature, fry the patties until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Serve on a bun, smothered in aioli. Enjoy, a lot!
I am happy to announce that I’ve decided to join the Canadian Food Experience Project. The project began back in June, 2013, and is a collection of stories through regional food experiences. Through these stories, participants hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian Culinary Identity. I joined the project a little late, as I didn’t think I’d have the time to commit to a post a month. Now I do, and I am playing a little bit of catch up. This post speaks to challenge five: the Canadian Harvest in Alberta. As a member of OFRE, I can’t think of a more regional harvest celebration than apples!
Remember my post on apple pressing and how, at the end of the post, I promised to tell you what we made with all that juice? Well, here it is. The product of my fall harvest: Pommeau. While pressing all that juice at Kevin Kossowan’s place, he introduced us to Pommeau. It’s a simple and tasty mix of Calvados (apple brandy) and fresh apple juice. It’s incredibly simple to make, and takes the annoyance out of having to make cider out of all that juice. Also, because you are mixing the juice with such a high percentage of alcohol, it kills all the bacteria and natural yeast, meaning you do not have to pasteurize it! How awesome is that?
Next step, corking. This was super fun! We rent a machine from winning wines, and the process was extremely efficient.
Depending on how much pommeau you want to make, you will need:
1 part Calvados (we used Boulard)
2 parts fresh pressed apple juice
Mix together. Serve on ice as a aperitif, or serve with some club soda for a sparkling beverage. Enjoy, a lot!
One of the best parts of being French Canadian is that I have a long family history of making traditional comfort foods that have been passed down from generation to generation. This recipe is the one that my Grand-Maman made during the holidays every year, and was passed down to my mom. This weekend, she asked her girls to help her out by making cretons (as she does every year at this time, to give away as Chrismas gifts). I thought it would be a great opportunity to preserve our heritage by capturing the recipe in a post!
Cretons is essentially a spiced meat spread. I know what you’re thinking – a meat spread? It sounds absolutely disgusting – and some in my family might agree with you (ehrm, my sister!), but with the perfect combination of spices and meat, you will be coming back for seconds! My mom did all of the first steps to the recipe, so that it could simmer for 4 hrs before we arrived. Here’s the recipe as it is simmering.
Cretons (Courtesy of Grand-maman Bernier)
You will need:
3 lbs ground pork
1/2 lb lard
3 medium onions
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
Melt lard in a large pot until crisp. Strain. Add pork, onion and water to the lard and on high for 15 mins, stirring constantly to break up the meat into small chunks. Reduce heat, simmer for 4 hrs. Towards the end of the cooking time, add spices and salt and pepper. Let cool slightly. Blend until you have a spreadable consistency. Let fully cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy on crackers or on toast.
Here’s a new recipe I thought I’d try out today. Whole Lemon Bars. I bought Deb Preleman’s (of smitten kitchen) cook book a while back and I keep forgetting I have it. When I needed a desert recipe for family dinner, I turned to her book. She always has such beautiful photos, and her recipes are very well laid out. Here’s a good one:
As always, my ingredient shot.
Whole Lemon Bars (Courtesy of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
You will need:
For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
For the filling:
1 small-to-medium sized lemon
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Heat oven to 350. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Blend flour, sugar and butter in your food processor until the mixture is well combined and crumbly. Turn the dough into the pan and press evenly, using your fingers, until the bottom of the dish is covered. Prick the dough all over with a fork, to make sure no bubbles show up in the dough. Bake for 20 mins, or until the crust is slightly browned. While the crust is baking, make your filling. Cut the lemon into rings, remove the seeds, and throw the whole thing into the food processor. Add the sugar and run the food processor until it is thoroughly pureed (about 2 mins). Next, add the butter, and run until smooth. Add the eggs and cornstarch and pulse until evenly combined. When the crust has browned, add the filling to the baking dish and bake it for 30-40 mins, until the custard has set, and is no longer jiggly, or slightly brown. Let cool, then transfer to a cutting board, cut into squares and enjoy!
Ah Quiche. It’s the perfect thing to make when you have tons of veggies in your fridge that you need to get rid of. I also just found out the other day that Justin LOVES quiche. After 6 years of being together, I only just found this out about him. That’s the only problem with being someone who is that super easy going – They never tell you what they truly prefer in terms of food! They just go along, eating whatever you make, and finally, one day, when you hit the nail on the head of what they truly truly love, they go go berserk! This one was quite the winner, and super easy to make, too.
Here are all of the ingredients I used for this one. I found whole wheat pie shells at Save on Foods the other day. Eureka! No more pasty white flour pie shells for us!
I chopped up all the veggies in a large bowl.
Then I grated the cheese on top. I cracked all of the eggs into another bowl, so I could whisk them up well before adding them to the veggies.
One of the keys to a good quiche is the right spices. You don’t want your quiche to be bland, so make sure you add the right amount of your favourite spices and seasoning. Mix everything up into the bowl.
Then pour it into the pie crush.
Bake at 375 until golden brown. Serve nice and warm.
Jacquie’s “Clean-out-your-fridge” Quiche
For this recipe, you can use whatever veggies you have in your fridge, but I used:
1 sweet bell pepper
1 medium tomato
You will also need:
2 slices of ham
1 cup aged cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 uncooked whole wheat pie crust
Preheat oven to 375. Dice all veggies and ham and put into a large bowl. Grate the cheese into the bowl on top of the veggies. In another bowl, crack eggs and beat until well combined. Add milk and cream. Add milk and egg mixture to vegetables and ham and all your seasoning; then mix until evenly combined. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 for about 30 mins, until the filling is set, and does not wiggle when you move it. Serve warm. Enjoy!
With the weather about to take a turn for the worst this weekend, I felt it was time for some tasty comfort food, that would fill our bellies with warmth, as we prepare for what is sure to be a long, cold winter ahead. Now what is more comforting than a batch of muffins, right out of the oven? How about tasty Chai Spiced muffins?
And I topped it all off with some homemade granola
Jacquie’s Chai Spiced Apple Muffins
You will need:
1 cup cup milk
2 chai tea bags
1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 & 1/2 cups diced apples
Preheat oven to 375. Begin by heating up the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Once steaming, add the tea bags and steep for 3-5 mins. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Stir in apples. Grease a muffin tin and add batter, filling all of the cups. Sprinkle muffins with homemade (or store bought) granola. Bake for 20-25 mins, until muffins are golden and cooked throughout. Enjoy, a lot!