Saturday, 23 February 2013

20 Minute Scones

As much as having guests is great, not everyone has time to whip up a 5 course feast with an intricate multilayer pastry/cake/custard creation all the time and for everyone, this is where this simple recipe comes in handy. These scones are light, fluffy and devilishly quick to assemble, all you need is a tad of time and only one bowl. It's great for surprise guests if you don't have time to bake something up and don't want to run down to the store to pick up icky overpriced pastries. Not only does this make a not too sweet dessert but it also doubles as a breakfast or of course, as the traditional accompaniment to afternoon tea. Serve fresh and piping hot, right out of the oven with jam, butter, whipped cream, clotted cream (if you can get your hands on it/make it), fruit or any combination of the above.

Time: 20 minutes
Makes 6 scones

2 cups minus 2 tbsp. flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/4 c. cold butter
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4c. buttermilk or acidified non-dairy
2 tsp baking powder

1) preheat oven to 400
2) Combine dry ingredients and sugar, mix thoroughly
3) Cut butter into flour until it is shaped into pea size balls using a pastry knife or fork (do NOT over-mix)
4) Add buttermilk, mix until it hang in a rough mass, portion out into 6 balls on a baking sheet
5) Bake for 12 minutes

If you're pretty quick at prep you should be able to mix that all up in less than 8 minutes, pop it into the oven for 12 and then serve hot! If you wanna be really fancy feel free to dust the top of the scones with sugar or cover them in egg wash before baking!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Young Rainbow Potato Salad with Bacon and Red Onion

Although I tend to associate potato salad with warm weather and picnics, last weekend saw me seized by an urge to make it. Assembled from tender baby potatoes and with a vinegar sauce typical of Bavaria and parts of France this recipe brought a touch of spring to an otherwise freezing cold day. I had been planning on posting a recipe for a chai tea concentrate but alas the sample bottle made an impromptu acquaintanceship with frozen pavement as I walked it over to my girlfriend Shannon's house. With that said, back to the potato salad! This salad is tender due to the potatoes but also has some lovely crunch from raw red onion and crispy bacon.

1/8c. Olive oil
4 Slices bacon
1 Clove garlic
1 Small yellow onion
½ of a large red onion, diced
2 lbs of Rainbow potatoes
½ tsp. Brown sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1/4c. Cider vinegar
1 pinch mustard powder
1 1/2tbsp. Dried parsley
¼ c. Chicken broth
2 tsp. Rice vinegar

1) Chop bacon into little bits and fry on medium heat until crispy, reserve one tablespoon of bacon grease, set aside
2) Chop yellow onion and garlic, fry with some oil on medium until soft and fragrant, set aside
3) Bring some water with a large pinch of salt to a rolling boil in a pot big enough for your potatoes. Clean them carefully and them for about 15 minutes

Make sure to wash the peels and leave them on, they're far too nice to lose!

4) While your potatoes boil, assemble all wet ingredients in a bowl or jar with the sugar, mustard and parsley, mix thoroughly
5) When potatoes are ready, strain and cut while hot (don't burn yourself!) into quarters as fast as possible piling them into a bowl, it is important to keep the potatoes hot so that they absorb the liquid
6) While still hot, pour liquids into the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, mix thoroughly with onion and garlic mixture, bacon and diced red onion

Serve as a side-dish, it goes swimmingly with some string beans and a delightful sausage:

Friday, 15 February 2013

No Sugar Added Blueberry Pie

Blueberry pie, is commonly known for being sickeningly sweet, kind of like yesterday's holiday. However, that "blueberry" pie, made mostly of sugar, is, I dare say, not what I would consider to be the real deal. Having spent a sizeable chunk of my life in the blueberry capital of our province, I've been subjected to several atrocious renditions of this confection assembled with what is otherwise an amazing fruit that is robbed of any flavor by cartloads of sugar. Anyway, having ragged on bad pies enough now (don't even get me started on bad crusts) I should probably proceed to telling you why you should make THIS blueberry pie. This recipe was an attempt to make a pie bursting with unadulterated blueberry flavour, what makes it different? It calls for double the amount of wild blueberries, no sugar (only a bit of honey!) and DEFINITELY no corn starch. So if you have a ton of blueberries in your freezer, or after picking (not the best season right now I warn you) and you aren't a big fan of commercial pies this is the one for you!

Makes 2 pies

-3 pie crusts made using David Lebowitz's awesome French tart dough found here
-9 cups of wild blueberries
-Hefty pinch of nutmeg
-2 tbsp. honey (optional) can be substituted for sugar (or nothing at all!) and the quantity can be toggled to taste, it serves mainly to bring out the flavor of the berries, not actually sweeten
-Zest of one lemon

1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Assemble two pie shells
3) Roll out remaining tart dough, adding flour if necessary until it reaches a cookie dough consistency. Use a cookie cutter to shape it into any shape you like (I used hearts for Valentine's Day) put your "cookies" on a baking sheet.
4) Bake shells and "cookies" for 10 minutes at 400 degrees to proof
5) Heat blueberries at medium heat with all other ingredients, reduce by at least half until thick, mash to desired consistency, if you wish to thicken it more add a teaspoon or two of flour and whisk.
6) Lower oven to 350 degrees, pour filling into pie shells, top filling with the cookie shaped crust piece and bake 15 minutes
7) Remove from oven and let cool, enjoy with some cream, be it whipped or just poured on top!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

On Jars: Sustainability in the Modern Kitchen

Hey everyone! If you were looking for a recipe today, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint, but hopefully if you bear with me checking in might still be worth it! As you may have concluded from checking out the title (a product of too much academic work), today's post is about sustainability and packing a nice healthy homemade meal in a simple eco-friendly way. This is done all the while attempting not to blow piles of cash on snazzy lunch products targeting wealthy suburban soccer moms. So for my first post on sustainability, enter star number one, the vulgar mason jar. Although a bit heavy mason jars freeze pretty well and microwave with ease. Even better than this, they don't leak. They just don't. This is a big thing if you, like me, have spent a fair deal on different containers claiming (and lying through their teeth) to be "leak-proof". Oh! And the jars aren't full of bpa's, cancer and death (yay!). Ok, rant aside, jars come in a whole bunch of different sizes, can be found at your local hardware store, have easily replaceable caps and are in essence, aside from being heavier than plastic and breakable,  perfect containers!  So if you don't mind a bit of extra weight, and are careful enough to wrap/not assault your jars you're golden!

Aside from pasta, chili, salad, etc. one of the best portable meals I've thought of using jars for is the yogurt parfaits found here. All I do is grab some yogurt, some homemade fruit puree or even some dulce de leche!

Layer em, seal and refrigerate!

Oooooo a nitty gritty ugly flash photo of my fridge, how risqué! Oh by the way they stack too (if you didn't notice)

Bring some granola in a separate container tadaa! Perfect breakfast on the go!

Ok ok you don't need a tiny jar, plastic can be used here, I just had an adorable jar hanging around.

Hope this catches on and y'all don't take me for a (complete) looney!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Dulce de Leche

As you can see from the last few recipes I've posted, I've been eating pretty healthily. However, I've always been a firm believer in balance ie. I think that eating well gives us the excuse to utterly spoil ourselves with oh so decadent desserts that aren't even remotely good for us. For all the caramel fans out there, this one's for you. Smooth, rich and crazy delicious this simple one ingredient recipe requires just a little skill and a bit of time. Although served all over the place under different names and brought to different degrees of caramelization, dulce de leche is most commonly associated with South America, particularly Argentina. So if you're somewhere cold (like me!), here's an excuse to make up some nice, rich caramel and dream of sunshine, beaches and good food.

Time: One to two hours

-Condensed milk (big can, small can, industrial sized can, whatever you choose it just affects cooking time)

To make dulce de leche, basically all you're doing is evaporating the water from condensed milk while caramelizing the sugar so all you need to do is...

1) Preheat oven to 425
2) Prepare a water bath, I used a large oven proof casserole dish with a smaller one inside, fill the big one with water until the water is halfway to three quarters up the sides of the smaller dish
3) Pour the condensed milk into the smaller dish, cover tightly with aluminium foil
4) Put your water bath and milk in the oven and bake, taking it out every 30 minutes or so to lift the aluminium foil (watch out for steam!!!) and keep the water levels up in the water bath
5) The 1-2 hour time is an estimate, take it out when it reaches a consistency you like, give it a good stir before bottling.
6) Serve poured onto fruit, nuts or rolled into a crepe (if you're feeling extra risky you can even combine it all and fill the crepe with fruits and nuts *gasp!*). You can also eat it on toast! It's like nutella except it doesn't even pretend to have health benefits *cough *cough* 

So far I've stored my dulce de leche in the fridge for 2 weeks, it's still goin' strong!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Posh Grilled Cheese with Oka, garlic and Apple

This is a simple one for all of you who've been nagging me for easier recipes, you know who you are! Accompanied by a tomato soup or a light salad with a glass of cranberry and lime this is a perfect lunch and is ready in minutes. So let's go guys, dress up the old gal and take her out, rework the classic in a new and delicious way. A bit of garlic with some Oka gives the grilled cheese the lovely flavour of cheese fondue, which when mixed with tart winter apples can be awfully addictive. This is a 100% local recipe made from (homemade) bread of Quebec milled flour, cold-stored apples, homegrown garlic and of course Oka cheese! If you don't have Oka cheese at your disposal any hard rind cheese with a strong taste should cut it. So cook up and enjoy!


-2 slices of white bread, preferably home-made but I won't shame you if you use store bought stuff (this time!)
- About 1/4 to 1/2 of an apple depending on how much you like apple and how big it is. Go for a tasty winter variety that is tart and hard. In fall I'd probably choose a Cortland!
-2 tsp butter
-4 slices of Oka cheese (to taste)
-Half of a small clove of garlic

1) Cut cheese and apples thinly, crush garlic into a paste, making sure it spread well.
2) Butter both sides of your slices of bread, if you need more butter, go ahead (still not judging)
3) On the inner side of a slice, spread the mashed garlic along the slice, cover with cheese and apple, close sandwich

4) Cook in high heat in a panini grill if you have one of on a pan to create a deliciously crunchy exterior, flip, do the other side and reduce heat to low for as long as needed to melt the cheese
5)Serve and enjoy!

Yup, I just posted a recipe for grilled cheese