Archive for November, 2011

Italian night out.

Posted: November 30, 2011 in cooking, reviews

Tonight I had the real Vancouver Italian experience. We started off by going to Anton’s Pasta Bar. At Anton’s the portion sizes are HUGE for example… if you order the lasagna you don’t just get a piece of the stuff you get the whole @##!$*&% tray! So pretty much I’ve got lunch for tomorrow. Anyways, I ordered the cannelloni and my parents had their massive dishes but I don’t remember what they’re called.

Another thing to know is that usually there will be a very very very long line. I’ve waited there for 2 hours! Although, tonight we bypassed that situation.

To finish my Italian experience we went to La Dolce Amore gelato (on Commercial Drive) which, for the record, is the best ice-cream in all of Vancouver. Tonight the flavours I chose were lemon crunch (top) and experimental santa clause (bottom) (both names made up by me cuz I can’t remember the real ones!) all in all it was a great night ending with a sweet tone.

Yum.

Subway

Posted: November 29, 2011 in cooking, reviews

Today I had a subway sandwich, now I remember in my early child-hood, when going to subway was a treat but my experience left something to be desired. It was just boring, the flavour was bland and there was no “pop”! It was extremely one-dimensional and I was not impressed. Now it may have just been the certain restaurant but   in the future I plan to make my own sandwiches and I would suggest you do the same if you really want better quality.

Breakfast of champions

Posted: November 28, 2011 in cooking

Breakfast. Today in our world of fast-movingness and schedules it can be hard to get a decent meal, especially at breakfast. That is why I enjoy slowing down and spending the weekends with my family, siting down to eat a delicious brunch. My friend had spent the night and we all woke up late so he, my mom and I made a delicious mexican brunch consisting of hash browns seasoned with paprika, scrambled eggs with jalapeno jack cheese, tortilla chips toast and a beef hash. The whole thing was cooked in under 45 minutes and we made ourselves a total feast. Another great thing is that all we used was either locally grown or organic! After we ate we sat down and started a day of relaxation. Ahhh…

About a week ago it was my dad’s birthday and  I decided to make him a cake. Now, the first thing you must know about my dad, is that he absolutely loves caramel, not in a “ya caramel is good” way, but in a “OH MY GOD I NEED THAT CARAMEL NOW” kind of way. So you can see where the idea for the caramel cake came. Another great thing that happened the day I made the cake is that we got five inches of snow so I didn’t have to go to school and had lots of time to finish the cake-then we threw him a surprise party and the cake was a big hit!

The cake itself is a caramel cake (I obtained the recipe from the joy of cooking my personal cooking bible) with butterscotch frosting spread in the middle. I decided to sprinkle some toasted pecans over the frosting, then added the second layer and drizzled the chocolate ganache over the whole thing and I finished it with some yellow lettering.

Although the cake was delicious there were a couple things about it that I was displeased with:  I found the cake was  partially dry and the yellow frosting didn’t stiffen. Although both those things were probably my fault. Anyway, this cake will be a treat for family and friends. One thing to note is that I used a double batch to fit into my two nine-inch 2 deep cake pans.

For the cake…

ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups of cake flour or 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans (or one if doing a single batch). In a large bowl, whisk together the: flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the: eggs, milk and vanilla and mix together at medium speed for 2 minutes. beat in the butter for one minute at low-speed. Scrape the bowl and beat for 1 1/2 minutes at medium high-speed. Scrape the bowl again and beat for 30 seconds at low-speed. Divide evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the pans cool on a rack for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edges and unmold. Let cool on the rack right-side up and let cool.

For the butterscotch frosting…

ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup light cream or evaporated milk
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or rum

Heat the: butter, sugar, salt, and milk, stirring in the top of a double boiler untill smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar and beat until spreadable. If necessary, add some more confectioner’s sugar until thick enough.

For the chocolate ganache:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz semisweeet chocolate finely chopped

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until moste of the chocolate has melted, cover and seat aside for ten minutes then take the lid off and let stand until spreadable.

To assemble…

  1. (and 2 ) put the butterscotch frosting in the middle, sprinkle with the pecans and add the other layer.
  2.  (well really step 3 and 4) Drizzle/ spread the ganache and add a coloured frosting of choice although it is not necessary.

One last thing, notice the wax paper beneath the cake, it is there to catch any frosting that may fall.

Beets Beets Beets

Posted: November 21, 2011 in cooking

Check out these massive beets! They were grown right here on island. they have a diameter of 12 inches. That’s huge! My mom and I plan to make a borscht in a week or so.

Chocolate Maple Pecan Swirls

Posted: November 15, 2011 in cooking, treat

What happens whan you wrap chocolate chips and pecans in dough and drizzle the product with maple syrup? Well in one word… yummyness! In My last post I talked about egg whites for rising soufflés but now It’s yeast’s turn to step into the ring and go a few rounds! This recipe is great for brunch or as a late night dessert. The main problem I found with this recipe is that I tend to need way more liquid then it calls for and they go stale really quickly (not that that is much of a problem cuz they’re gone fast enough if you know what I mean). Sometime in the future I plan to use the same dough  to make cinnamon buns. Another thing I tried is adding homemade marshmallows (don’t worry the recipe will come soon) on top of the dough before I rolled it and once I pulled them out of the oven the one’s close to the top were golden and the ones in the middle were melted and gooey.

” The dough before I rolled it, one with chocolate and pecans only and one with marshmallows on half.”

Another hero of this dish is brown sugar. What the brown sugar does is it creates a gooey caramel that laces its way through the other elements of the roll.Without it the roll would be completely dry! Another thing to note is to try to have the rolls together tightly and your pan  well-greased before you let them rise (I learned that the hard way!).

Well, good luck and enjoy.

ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 envelope easy-blend active dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup to finish

 For the Filling

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
  •   1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Grease a deep 9-inch springform pan. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar and yeast. In a cup beat the egg yolk, with the milk and water, then stir into the dry ingredients to make a soft dough.

knead until smooth, then roll out to about 16 x 12 inches. Brush with the melted butter. To make the filling, sprinkle the dough with the brown sugar, chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Roll up the dough from a long side like a jelly roll, then cut into 12 thick even slices.

“well risen dough”

Pack the sides closely together in the prepared pan. Cover and leve in a warm place for one and a half hours, until well risen and springy to the touch. Preheat oven to  425°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well risen, golden brown and firm. Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack, to finish spoon the maple syrup over the cake. pull the pieces apart and serve!

This recipe is from “the great big cookie book”

A warm hug on a cold day

Posted: November 15, 2011 in cooking, treat

two cups of this delicious treat one with a homemade marshmallow

Today when I woke up I saw my first frost of the season. It filled my thoughts of christmas, sitting by the fire and drinking warm drinks, one in particular… warm milk with butter and honey. Now I know it may sound strange but my mom first showed me this drink when I was little, and her grandmother used to do the same.

There isn’t actually a recipe for this delicious treat so you just have to play it by ear. Put some milk into a pot (as much as you need for how many glasses you have) add some honey and butter, wait till they melt than taste it, add more of either as you need it but don’t put too much in because once it’s in you can’t get it back. wait until it gets to the temperature you want then pour into glasses and enjoy!