Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

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Recently I have been experimenting with brownie recipes. Embarking on the task of finding and amazing brownie is not an expedition for the feint of heart. What characteristics does a brownie need? Well it needs to be:

  1. Chewy
  2. Chocolaty
  3. Browniey
  4. Quick
  5. Foolproof

The only true method to find out these things is to go through each recipe one by one, in a barbaric trial-by-fire method until you find one that tickles your fancy. I went through quite a few recipes but, most forgot about characteristics #1, #4 and #5 and therefore only got 40% of the overall brownie experience, which, for your information, is not acceptable in any way, shape or form.

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FUN FACT:

Did you know that there is actually something called

the edge brownie pan, designed to make only delicious edge pieces?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnCGatFwag0

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Anyway, this recipe produces a very satisfying brownie indeed. Chewy, chocolaty and, in some ways most importantly, super easy, done (including cleanup) in 30 minutes (not including baking time. I grant this recipe the highest rank I can give it… a true spoon licker. Seriously, if you make these with someone younger and less powerful and they ask if they can lick the spoon, you say ‘No!’, overpower them and lick it yourself, that’s how good it is. So go make some brownies (and lick a spoon while you’re at it!) and absolutely, positively, I could not stress this more, don’t share…EVER!!!

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Also, if you are out of light brown sugar, and there’s no chance to nip to a convenience store for the chocolate, then just use 1 1/2 cups regular white sugar and up the butter to 1 1/2 and the cocoa to a heady 1 cup.

Ingredients

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into small nuggety chunks (or 1 cup chips)

Confectioners’ sugar, to dust, optional

Special Equipment: Aluminium foil-lined baking pan or foil pan, about 13 x 9 x 2 inches

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a medium-sized saucepan.

When it’s melted, add the sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon (still over a low heat) to help it blend with the melted butter.

Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and pinch of salt, and then stir into the pan; when mixed (this will be a very dry mixture, and not wholly blended at this stage), remove from the heat.

In a bowl or jug, whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and then mix into the brownie mixture in the pan.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and quickly pour and scrape into a foil-lined baking tin or disposable foil pan, spreading the mixture with a spatula, and cook in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. It will look set, dark and dry on top, but when you feel the surface, you will sense it is still wibbly underneath and a cake tester will come out gungy. This is desirable.

These are wicked warm or cold, although do let them cool a few minutes first, also if you eat them warm be ready for a gooey delicious.

Make Ahead Note: The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in airtight container. Will keep for total of 5 days.

Freeze Note: The brownies can be frozen for up to 3 months in airtight container, layered with baking parchment. Thaw overnight in cool place.

Amazingly Amazing Roast Chicken

Posted: January 8, 2013 in cooking

20130103_185830Well, winter break is over so I am officially back into the swing of things (and that includes blogging, as I didn’t do it this December). I hope you all had great time this festive season. Anyway, as for cooking, well I haven’t stopped on account of, well, I love it! So I have lots of tales to tell you about, but let me start with that of my very first roast chicken.

This chicken was outstanding, the meat was moist and beautifully cooked and the skin was crispy (not fried chicken crispy, but crispy) and the veggies that were roasted along with it were perfect.

Preheat your oven to 405°F

To get started, peel and wash enough potatoes and carrots to evenly fill the bottom of your pan throw in halve a head of crushed garlic, lightly grease it all with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper (you can also add and other veggies you wan). Now take you chicken and pull out and organs and whatnot. Then cut an onion into eights, halve a lemon, quarter an apple, crush the rest of the garlic and have some sprigs of rosemary or thyme. Have this all at the ready. Now open up your bird and throw in one segment of each with the garlic and spices, then continue to add segments (I just did it randomly) until the bird is full, quickly boil a thick sewing needle then thread it with some dental floss or whatever there is on hand and sew up the bird. Put it into the pan (yes the one with the carrots and potatoes) and spared the veggies around it, rub it with some olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Throw it into the oven, then turn it down to 350°F and cook for 20 minutes per pound, every 1/2 an hour baste with whatever juices there are and occasionally add a little olive oil. once it’s done check the temperature with a thermometer  (it will say how hot it needs to be on it) and let it rest for 15minutes before serving. Then just dig in.

A Single Scoop

Posted: November 6, 2012 in cooking, treat

When I was a little kid my favourite flavour of ice cream was French Vanilla, no questions asked. Someone could take me to the pink palace in Vancouver so I could scrutinize all 218 flavours but all I would want was French Vanilla. So I guess -even with all the other flavours in the world- if the world were to end and I could have one more perfect scoop, French Vanilla would be the one. Now I love ice cream beyond belief and all flavours of ice cream but French Vanilla has this elegance to it that makes it perfect for toping virtually anything yet also amazing on it’s own. Don’t get me wrong though, some of the best Vanillas I have tasted have been variations of the classic. Such as this honey French Vanilla, give it a try… to die for.

To start take 2 cups of heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, 1/2 a cup of honey, one vanilla bean (scrape the seeds then add both the seeds and the pod) and a pinch of salt to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Meanwhile, start beating 3 egg yolks in a large bowl. Once the cream mixture comes to a boil remove it from the heat and cover it for five minutes. After the five minutes take out the pod and pour the hot cream -in a thin stream- into the egg yolks, beating constantly. Once it is fully incorporated Pour it back into the pan and stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until it registers 175˚F on an instant read thermometer and coats the back of a wooden spoon roughly 5-10min. Don’t ever raise the heat, keep it low also, don’t let it boil… ever! If it does take it and try to work out imperfections. Once it’s done, strain it using a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Then you can take roughly one cup and pop it into the freezer and put the rest into the fridge for at least four hours (for best results). After that time mix the frozen section with the chilled section, add a tbls. of vanilla extract pour into your ice-cream machine and freeze as directed.

One of my friends has a birthday on Halloween. His party was a few days later, on the third. My gift to him was to make him his birthday cake. I chose to make him a six layer chocolate cake with a pecan praline buttercream; each layer spread with a thin layer of chocolate frosting (for moistness and flavour) and every other layer spread with the buttercream then the outside spread with the praline goodness.

Ahhh, 3:30 A.M

It ended up being one of the most aesthetically beautiful things to leave my kitchen. I could not be more proud of my cake; the edges were beautifully smooth, the top was flat and the buttercream had the most perfect speaking of praline. The irony is that I stayed up until three thirty, making a cake that I couldn’t even try (gluten and sugar free, yall’) so I had no idea what it tasted like! -Luckily though I had my parental units so I trusted them with the judging of the flavour.- Everyone at the party loved the cake and it continued to get rave reviews when I made it to school after the weekend.

Along with the main cake I made a separate mini cake (the recipe I used makes four cakes, I only needed three so I had one to play around with), unfortunately no pictures were obtained because I left it to go get my camera and when I got back all that remained of the cake were a few lone crumbs. There is no evidence so far but I have a feeling I know who it was.

Anyway, this cake is obviously perfect and should be made for anyone who likes chocolate, caramel and pecans. So yeah, pretty much and body on this planet!

Croissants

Posted: October 17, 2012 in cooking

As some of you might remember last month was my mom’s birthday. During that post I describe waking up at six and surprising my mother with croissants. You might be wondering: why haven’t I learned to make croissants yet? The answer is simple. During the hurry I realized that I forgot to take pictures of the process. So, I could just lay down a recipe on you guys, just like that. But I figure if I’m going to make something as elegantly majestic as croissants they deserve a detailed tutorial. Although, I am posed with a problem… I am not eating gluten at the moment! (the whole process is going quite well by the way.) So, what do I plan on doing to deliver a beautiful tutorial on making the enchanting croissant? I will make them sometime around Christmas. That way I will be able to make them and there will be no school and therefore no six o’clock wake up. Bing, Bang, Boom- piece of cake (not literally of course). So there you have it, scratch it into your calendars whatever, and I can guarantee I will not flake out on you guys! Get it? Flake… (wow, this is just not one of my funny sessions…) anyway, bye!

It is time for me to tell a tale; a tale of evolution, my lack of photos is somewhat embarrassing but it is a story none the less. There I was, decoding one of the many caption comics in the New-Yorker; searching for hidden profanities and whatnot when out of the blue the phone rang. Normally I would leave such a task until the very last minute – to give myself more time with the New-Yorker no doubt – but something different happened; suddenly a jolt of energy rushed through me and thrusting my hand upon the phone. It turns out that it was a fellow Lasquetian on the other end of the line, commissioning me to make her birthday dessert. I was ecstatic. I quickly flipped the magazine closed and rushed to the kitchen, and that is where our story begins.

I spent the rest of the night rustling through all the recipe books I had, the only request being ‘chocolate’ so I was forced to rack my brain. Hundreds of ideas bursting in and out. I slept on it. When I woke up in the morning I was certain as to what I would do: an assortment of French macaron on a chocolate dish, one dish per person for twelve people. I had miss-calculated. After nearly a week and a half of trying to create this delicacy. Using a variety of recipes and techniques I realized that my attempt was in vain. It turns out that it is in fact extremely difficult to make a perfect macaron. There was little time, so I had to improvise until I decided to make a dark chocolate tart with an almond crust. That day I made a prototype of the tart. It was fantastic. The next day was the event, I had previously requested the day off school so I was golden.

Then, at roughly 2:30 PM. Somewhere between pulling the tart out, and placing it on our wood stove. Literally hours before the dinner the crust fell. Straight…to…the…ground. I had trouble coping with the shock. I had no idea what to do; all my work just gone. After taking my time to grieve and whatnot I got my act together. I pulled some of the leftover dough from the fridge and started rolling; there was just enough. I put it in straight into the oven, no doubt skipping a step and waited. I didn’t even mind to pick up what remained of my tart off the ground. I just sat there emotionless until the timer rang.

I carefully pulled it out of the oven and placed it in its spot. I quickly whipped together the ganache filling and put it into the fridge for chilling. Miraculously, by the end of the day I had a beautifully elegant tart to serve for dessert. And that’s evolution, the evolution of an idea from macaron to tart.

That’s my story. Kind of cool. I’m just glad I could pull it off.

Last weekend was thanksgiving. I’m gonna stop myself there. Before I start going on about the food, (because yes… this is a food blog) I’m just going to say that I love thanksgiving. Yes the food aspect is one of the reasons for that but I find it so great to have an excuse to be with all the people that you like. So I could say that I am thankful for all the people I know that make my life super enjoyable, thanks you guys!

Anyway, the way I see it, you get this meal about twice a year: thanksgiving and Christmas. So I am sure to make it last. Yes family and friends are important (don’t get me wrong, I love these people), but that is only the case as long as no one gets between me, my turkey and a full plate. So pretty much, I fell that turkey dinners happen way less than they should.

The food at thanksgiving is always amazing, and I love it all, yes… even the brussel sprouts, I honestly don’t know why so many people hate them. My favourite dish on thanksgiving is the stuffing, I could eat plate upon plate of the stuff without stopping; it is just to darn good. Then of course we get to dessert, the finest of meals. Mine consisted of a very large scoop a vanilla ice-cream (did I mention I love ice-cream) and a sampling of the three pies: a pumpkin pie made by our good friend, a chocolate tart made by me (there will be more on that later) and a apple pie made by the black rook bake-house in Vancouver, they rock! (seriously, Google them or something). All in all, it was a successful thanksgiving, I went home with a full stomach, fresh memories and ready for a long rest.

I re-started being non gluten non sugar today, and I realized that it totally sucks, but I will live through it! Even if it kills me. Bye!