Friday, October 30, 2009

Ginger Spice Cookies

It's Halloween tomorrow!!!! I'm so excited. Well excited and sad, because it will be over soon. We're going to check out a local haunted house tomorrow - it's supposed to be one of the best in the area. I can't wait! I hope you all have a Happy Halloween and lots of yummy treats! I picked up some candy corn today for my boyfriend and tried a few pieces. I always thought I hated candy corn but it is really addictive! Now onto the food...

These cookies are pure magic. They are everything I ever could have wanted or hoped for in a ginger molasses cookie. Soft, spicy, not too molassesy, a bit chewy. Absolute perfection. They're really similar to the Starbucks ginger molasses cookie which of course I love (and I know there are many other addicts for this cookie as well). These will be in my cookie rotation until forever. The only thing I might change about the recipe is to cut back on the ginger a bit to 2 teaspoons instead of 2 1/2.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters
Lime Sugar Cookies

Ginger Spice Cookies
Adapted from Bon App├ętit, March 2000

Yield: Makes about 30

2 cups all purpose flour (Ashley note: I halved the recipe and used 143 g.)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) light/golden brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses (not blackstrap molasses)


Combine first 6 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Put some sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Transfer to racks and cool.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christopsomos - Greek Celebration Bread

Seeing all the gorgeous delicious breads people have been making from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I knew I had to steal the book from my mom! Well not steal, just borrow for an indefinite amount of time. The first loaf I wanted to try was the Christopsomos Greek celebration bread. I love the shape! It's so fun. Mine didn't turn out quite as defined though.

Looking back at the photos, it looks like such a huge monster of a bread! And it was. Not that there's anything wrong with that because it was fun to make and really delicious and soft. I love all the spices and flavours - cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves (my favourite!), orange extract and almond extract. There are also some raisins, dried cranberries and walnuts thrown in there too. The flavours are similar to the pecan fruit rye bread I made before and loved.

I think I let my final shaped dough rise too long so it became a bit too big. And I'm wondering if that's what also caused what looks like tearing in the dough? Hmm. The only other bread I've tried out of this book so far are the bagels. I feel like I'm really developing a love for bread making! (As long as I have my Kitchenaid and don't have to knead by hand - I haven't learned to love that yet.) Anyone have recommendations for good bread books?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Golden Cinnamon Loaf
Oatmeal Knots
Garlic Rolls

Christopsomos - Greek Celebration Bread
Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

1 cup (7 oz) poolish (Recipe follows)
3 1/2 cups (16 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 large (3.3 oz) eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup (2.67 oz) honey
1/4 cup (2 oz) olive oil
3/4 cup (6 oz) 1% milk, lukewarm (90F-100F)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp sesame seeds

1. Remove the measured amount of poolish from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough. (The poolish should be made the day before.)

2. Stir together the flour, salt, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the poolish, the extracts, eggs, honey, oil and milk. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a ball.

3. Mix on medium speed with the dough hook. Add more milk or flour as needed to form the dough into a soft, but not sticky, ball. It should be tacky and very supple. Mix for approximately 10 minutes. In the last 2 minutes of mixing, add the raisins, dried cranberries and walnuts. The dough should pass the windowpane test.

4. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment the dough at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 pieces, one piece twice as big as the other. Shape the larger piece into a boule. Transfer it to a sheet pan that has been lined with baking parchment or a Silpat mat. Mist the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Place the smaller piece of dough into a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator.

6. Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough nearly doubles in size.

6a. When the boule is ready to bake, remove the smaller piece from the refrigerator, divide it in half, and roll each half into a 10 inch long strand. Cross the 2 strands of dough over the top of the boule. Using a pastry scraper, split the ends of each strand and coil them to form a decorative cross.

7. Preheat the oven to 350F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

8. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and registers 190F. (If you're like me and don't have a thermometer, take it out when it is golden brown.) It should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Glaze the loaf a soon as it comes out of the oven.

9. To make the glaze, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the honey and extract and turn off the heat. Reheat the glaze, if necessary, before applying it to the bread. Brush the loaves with the glaze and immediately sprinkle the loaves with sesame seeds.

10. Transfer the bread to a rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.


Note: This makes about 11.5 oz and you only need 7 oz for the recipe.

1 1/4 cups (11.13 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) water, at room temperature
1/4 tsp instant yeast

Stir together the flour, water and yeast in a mixing bowl until all of the flour is hydrated. The dough should be soft and sticky and look like very thick pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours, or until the sponge becomes bubbly and foamy. Immediately refrigerate it. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caramel Apple-Caramel Corn

Did you guys see Peabody's supremely amazing creation a couple of weeks ago - caramel apple-caramel corn?? Of course I had to make it as soon as possible. And oh it was good. Really really good. I don't know what size bag of popcorn she used because I halved the recipe and got more popcorn than she did for the whole recipe! Unfortunately the popcorn was only nice and crisp on the first day. The next day it started to get soft and it quickly after that got really soft. I'm not sure if it's because I should have heated the caramel more or if that's just what happens (maybe because the dried apples are in there).

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Peanut Butter Fudge
Caramel Walnut Chocolate Chunk Granola
Monster Cookies
Chocolate Scotcheroos

Caramel Apple-Caramel Corn
Adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Makes about 25 cups.

The caramels I found were in an 8 or 9 oz bag so I didn't use them all, and I just used whatever dried apples I had. The exact amount of the caramels and apples you use are not a big deal. Unfortunately my halved version uses 1 1/2 bags of popcorn - but next time I'd probably just use 1 bag to keep it simpler.

1 1/2 80 g bags plain (not buttered) microwavable popcorn, popped

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda

7 oz of caramels (unwrapped), chopped into fourths
6 oz dried apples, chopped into bite size pieces (this is probably about 1 1/2 cups)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 200F.

Put the popcorn in a large bowl or stock pot. Add the apple and caramel pieces and toss with popcorn. Set aside.

In a large saucepan bring sugars, syrup, salt, and butter to a boil, over high heat. Boil until all the ingredients has dissolved and it is boiling away at you.

Add vanilla extract and baking soda and stir quickly. Be warned, it’s going to bubble up and get mad at you.

Dump the caramel into the bowl with the popcorn, apples and caramels. Mix thoroughly.

Spread out evenly onto prepared baking sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Your caramels will melt, but will firm back up as they cool, don’t panic. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chayote and Corn Enchiladas

Can you tell that this is a picture of cold enchiladas? I tried taking a picture the night I made it but the colours were all weird so just took some photos the next day. I looove enchiladas but have never attempted making them at home. Not only did I make enchiladas, but I made the corn tortillas! I was very proud of myself. Mind you I didn't have a tortilla press and pushing down on them with a frying pan to flatten them out didn't seem to get them thin enough. Plus I opted not to fry them first which is supposed to make them softer. So rather than rolling the filling in the tortillas I just layered some tortillas on the top and bottom, sandwiching the filling. It worked!

This is one of my favourite Abby pictures! Look at her little tummy! This was when she was younger (and smaller). The white fluffy stuff on the bottom is my mom's dog's head.

The filling was yummy with chayotes, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, corn, jalapeno, cilantro, and cheese. And it was topped with an oven roasted tomato sauce, which on its own I thought was okay but with the enchiladas was perfect. I tried to keep it healthier by not adding much cheese but enchiladas are definitely more delicious when there's lots of nice melty cheese! If you just add the recommended 1/2 cup you may not even notice it there. And this is easily made vegan by omitting the cheese altogether.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Refried Beans (which I ate with the enchiladas!)
Roasted Taco Chickpeas
Black Bean Chilaquile
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Chayote and Corn Enchiladas
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I don't think I added the cilantro when I made it. The recipe calls for Monterey Jack cheese but I just used cheddar. And it recommends 1/2 cup of cheese - but I say either omit the cheese (and make it vegan!) or add way more than that because I couldn't taste it. Remember to start on the sauce before the enchiladas!

2 small chayote
2 zucchini
1 large red or orange bell pepper
1 white onion
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, from 2 ears if fresh
1 or 2 jalapeno chiles to taste, seeded and diced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas
2 cups Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce (Recipe Follows)

Dice all the vegetables about 1/4 inch across. Keep them separate. Heat the oil in a wide skillet, add the onion and chayote, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned in places, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper, corn, and zucchini, cook for 2 minutes more, then remove from the heat and season with salt. Let cool a little, then add the chiles, cilantro and cheese.

Lay half of the corn tortillas in the bottom of a 9x13 pan, to cover the bottom. Put all the filling on top. Layer the rest of the tortillas on top. Spoon the sauce over the enchiladas. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 1/2 pounds Roma Tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. Put the tomatoes in a single layer in a baking pan with the onion and thyme, drizzle the oil over all, and season with salt and pepper. bake unitl they're soft, shriveled, and falling apart, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Puree in a food processor. Taste for salt and season with pepper.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chocolate Walnut Yogurt Muffins

When I saw these double chocolate yogurt muffins on Cookie Madness, I knew I had to try making them. I love yogurt in baked goods. I wanted to try making them healthier though so I changed a bunch of stuff. Now that I'm looking over the recipe, I'm thinking maybe I should've added more liquid to compensate for the sugar and butter I took out (well I replaced sugar with maple syrup and butter with oil, and reduced both amounts). But they turned out nice and soft when I made them. Next time I'll add more cocoa powder to make them more chocolatey. These muffins are a healthier version of a chocolatey bready baked good, but if that's not your thing then check out this coco-nana bread I made not too long ago.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
Strawberry Lemon Sunflower Seed Muffins
Whole Wheat Orange Spice Muffins
Applesauce-Oat Bran Muffins

Chocolate Walnut Yogurt Muffins
Adapted from Cookie Madness

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
1 cup yogurt, vanilla flavoured or plain
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (215 g)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

Stir maple sugar and oil together in a medium size bowl. Add yogurt, egg and vanilla and stir until thoroughly blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring only until blended. Fold in walnuts. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 22-25 minutes.

Makes 12

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broccoli Slaw

This broccoli slaw is a new favourite of mine, with sunflower seeds, cranberries, onion and a buttermilk dressing. What I wrote on the recipe was "SO addictive amazing delicious. make every week. LOVE IT. crunchy mm". That pretty much sums it up. In the summer I ate giant bowls of it with savoury muffins for lunch and dinner. But I will definitely carry this slaw into the fall, winter and spring. You might need to adjust the amount of dressing to your broccoli. Sometimes I had just the right amount, and sometimes not quite enough.

One of my brother's coworker apparently only reads my blog for photos of Abby (hi coworker!) which is awesome. (Who doesn't love when other people think ther kids/pets are cute?) And she had the excellent suggestion that I make an Abby tag for all posts with photos of her, so I did.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Mediterranean Pepper Salad
French Barley Salad
Portobello Salad with Mustard Dressing

Broccoli Slaw
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli (including stems) or 3 broccoli crowns
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Trim broccoli and cut it into large chunks. From here, you can either feed it through your food processor’s slicing blade, use a mandoline to cut it into thin slices, or simply had chop it into smaller pieces. (Ashley note: I hand chopped mine which was not as bad as I thought it would be. I just chopped it up like I was mincing an onion or something.)

Toss the sliced broccoli with the sunflower seeds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller one, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Should keep up to a week in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Epicure Selections

A few weeks ago someone from Epicure Selections contacted me and asked if I'd like to try out some of their products. I jumped at the chance! I've tried out some of their stuff before as my mom buys it so I was really happy to get the opportunity to try out some of their other products. Epicure Selections is a Canadian, family owned and women run company based in my favourite city Victoria, BC! They carry a wide variety of herb and dip mixes, spices, jellies, salts, baking stuff (chocolate, baking powder, dried fruit, etc), tea, cookware, etc. Definitely worth checking out!

In particular I love all the spice/herb blends they have. I love adding them to pasta and vegetables. And their dip mixes are way too addictive. I've actually been using the Cheese Chives & Bacon Dip Mix in pasta and scrambled eggs too though (they use fake bacon)! One thing I've yet to try is making a marinade with them for tofu - I bet that would be good. Or putting some Red Garlic Sansel on roasted vegetables mmm.

My favourite thing about the Epicure Selections products is that they can instantly make an otherwise okay meal into something much yummier. It's so awesome to have these products on hand for when I'm feeling tired on a weeknight and want something easy but tasty. And a lot of their mixes don't contain salt (though some do so if this is something you're concerned about I'm sure you could contact them and ask). They also kindly sent me their cookbook but there are lots of recipes on their website too that give you ideas for how to use their products.

The person who contacted me was so sweet to send me the things I wanted to try out plus added in some extras. And knowing that I'm a baker, she also generously offered to do a baking giveaway! Stay tuned for that.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the vanity in our bathroom has 6 lightbulbs and we had energy saving light bulbs in there previously. So they looked ugly plus only 1 of them was working. We didn't really notice or care but finally we went and bought 6 new lightbulbs (the energy saving kind but made to look like regular lightbulbs) and now our bathroom is SO incredibly bright. I thought I'd test this out by taking photos in there! Seemed to work better than doing it in the living room at night with one of those stand lights.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Caramel-Pear Tart with a Graham Shortbread Crust

I went to Caprial's Desserts to look up the recipe for this tart that I made, and I discovered that I hadn't written any notes on it! Whenever I make something, I always (or so I thought) write on the recipe any modifications I made, what I thought, if I'd make it again, etc. I used to hate the idea of defacing a book in such a way but now I love it. I love flipping through a cookbook and seeing all the writing on the recipes. So with this one, I will have to try and just dredge it up from my less than stellar memory!

I made this pie for Canada Day back in July. Ever since I got this cookbook I've wanted to make this pie - pears poached in 5 cups of wine, caramel filling with pear brandy, and a graham shortbread crust. Sounded irresistible. The result was good but it tasted more like a fairly regular apple pie, and less like the amazing thing I had hoped for. I think what ruined it for me was the nutmeg in the caramel filling - only 1/2 teaspoon but it killed the delicate flavours of everything else. I bet this pie would be much closer to my high expectations without it. The caramel filling did not taste like pear brandy! Sob. Well maybe a little bit but not distinctly (damn nutmeg). The crust turned out kind of soft, but I think that's partly due to the fact that I didn't have time to let it cool completely before taking it to dinner.

I've made another pear pie from this same cookbook, and what I can conclude is that pear pies taste like apple pies, they just sound fancier. Oh and the recipe says to reserve the poaching liquid for another use - what could you possibly use it for?

Hope all the Canadians have a good Thanksgiving!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pear Pie
Pecan Tassies
Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
Coconut Cream Pie

Caramel-Pear Tart with a Graham Shortbread Crust
Adapted from Caprial's Desserts

The recipe recommends a 9 or 10 inch tart shell, and I used an 8" one. I had caramel filling and LOTS of pears leftover. I think I used about 3 1/2 or 4 pears, but they were quite huge. You can bake the extra caramel and pears together in ramekins.

Poached Pears
5 cups white wine
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 (1 inch thick) slice of fresh ginger
5 or 6 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored (Ashley note: I think this is 5 or 6 small pears, and probably about 3 or 4 large ones.)

Graham Shortbread Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup graham flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced

Caramel Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup pear brandy
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I'd definitely omit this next time.)

Poach the pears:
Combine everything but the pears in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, add the pears, lower the heat to medium, and poach until fork-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool the pears in the liquid and refrigerate until ready to use. (For the best flavour, refrigerate them in the liquid overnight, if possible.)

Make the crust:
Preheat a standard oven to 375F.

Place everything but the butter in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the butter and process until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor; if it's too soft to work with, refrigerate until it's easier to handle. Press the dough into a well-greased 10" tart pan. (The easiest way to do this is to first press it into the sides of the pan, then finish with the bottom of the pan.) Bake just until set but not brown, about 10 minutes; let cool completely.

Lower the oven temperature to 350F.

Make the caramel filling:
Meanwhile, to prepare the caramel filling, place the sugar in a large saute pan with sides or a heavy saucepan. Gently moisten the sugar with the water, being careful not to splash the water and sugar onto the sides of the pan. Cook the sugar mixture over high heat, without stirring, until you see any part of it turning brown, then swirl the pan to even out the colour. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Carefully add the cream to the hot sugar, taking care to pour it in slowly because it will bubble up very violently. Add the brandy and cook, again without stirring, until the caramelized sugar has liquefied again and the mixture is very smooth and a deep golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool until tepid, then whisk in the egg and nutmeg.

To assemble:
Cut the poached pears into 1/4 inch thick slices, reserving the poach liquid for another use. Arrange the pear slices in concentric circles in the cooled tart shell, pour the caramel filling into the shell, and bake until the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve warm.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swiss Rarebit

I have discovered a new cookbook love, The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I now see that my life was incomplete without it! I took it out of the library, after reading Ricki talk about it and I was hooked and had to buy it. Vegetable-flecked bread? Curried sweet potato pie with coconut crust? Savory apple casserole? I could go on and on. I think I'm seriously going to make every single recipe in this cookbook. I own a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, and it is so incredibly rare that you come across a gem like this. Every recipe sounds so good, uses ingredients that aren't hard to get, and there's so much variety. This cookbook was originally published in 1982 and I guess I'm surprised at how innovative and interesting the recipes are. I think I assume that after all these years people would've come up with more interesting stuff, but that's definitely not true. This book is where it's at. I just can't believe I've gone this long without having it! I'm sure many of you already have it but for me it's an exciting new discovery (as I'm sure you can tell). I've already made 4 or 5 things from it and this is just the beginning. I don't think it can replace Rebar as my favourite vegetarian (and all around cookbook) but it might come out as a tie.

Today I'm sharing with you this delicious Swiss rarebit, which wasn't the first thing I made from this cookbook but seemed like a good thing to share right now while we're all looking for warm comforting meals. I've always wanted to make rarebit and now I want to try out other versions like with mustard and beer. This rarebit is made with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, white wine, tarragon and green onions - a wonderful combination. It makes enough to top 4 thick slices of pumpernickel (which I made using a recipe from this cookbook and it was awesome - to be posted soon), and we made the mistake of each eating two for our meal. It was super tasty and basically like a cheese/wine/mushroom fondue on toast (who can say no to that), but if you eat two slices like we did, you will feel really gross afterwards. Next time I'll just eat one piece with a big salad.

Wow I'm feeling quite verbose tonight. You'd think I'd be inspired to finish my essay right now when I'm in a mood like this, but no.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Feta and Ricotta Cheese Pie
Cauliflower Gratin
Cheddar Ale Dip

Swiss Rarebit
Adapted from The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest

The only thing I changed was to use half the amount of oil (and using oil not butter).

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
5 medium sized green onions, minced
up to 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (1/4 lb)
thick slices of toasted pumpernickel
freshly grated nutmeg & ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or medium-large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and salt, and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.

2. Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, then stir in the wine and tarragon. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Shortly before serving, stir in the green onions and cheese. Keep cooking over low heat, stirring, until the cheese is completely melted.

4. To serve, place 4 generous slices of pumpernickel toast on 4 separate plates or in shallow soup bowls. Spoon the rarebit over the top, grind on some fresh nutmeg and black pepper, and it's ready to eat.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cocoa-Nana Bread

I know I know I've said so many times I don't like banana bread. But it's a pretty impossible thing to not make given the fact that overripe bananas are bound to occur. The bananas used for this loaf were from my boyfriend's brother & wife who had a bunch of overripe bananas and somehow I went home with them. I asked my boyfriend what he wanted me to make with them and he said chocolate chip banana bread, but I thought I'd go a little further and do a chocolate chocolate chip banana bread. I found it in my most favourite baking book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. It was super chocolatey, had a great texture, and was really soft. And it was equally banana-y and chocolate-y.

Have I mentioned that I'm extremely excited that it's October?? Ahh my favourite month and time of year. What's yours?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
Mom's Banana Apple Bread
Garden Harvest Cake
Chocolate Strawberry Loaf

Cocoa-Nana Bread
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

2 cups all purpose flour (I used 272 g)
1 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1/2 cup store bought chocolate chips)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and placed it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other. (This will keep the bottom of the loaf from overbaking.)

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute, until softened. Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. At this point, the batter may look a little curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Still on low speed, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40 to 45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 to 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the brad and unmolding it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Feta and Ricotta Cheese Pie

How good does a feta and ricotta cheese pie sound? Insanely good I thought. I'm definitely a big cheese lover and couldn't ignore this recipe. It was deeelicious! Kind of like fancy scrambled cheesy eggs. There's no crust, though now that I'm thinking about it I bet a crust would make it even better. (But then I think crust makes everything better.) It would be great for a brunch, but really would be good anytime. Next time I'd like to try using half of the filling, and fill up the rest with sauteed vegetables. Adding a crust and vegetables sounds like I'm turning it into a quiche so I guess that's defeating the purpose of the feta and ricotta cheese pie, but it would be such a yummy quiche!

I think my blog might be down for a few hours tomorrow. I'm so very lucky to have my brother host all the files for my website and his server is moving tomorrow. I assume things shouldn't be down for too long? But if it's weird, then that's why.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Squash & Aged White Cheddar Tart with Sage and Roasted Garlic Custard
Apple & Spinach Tart
Cheddar Ale Dip
Onion and Mushroom Frittata

Feta and Ricotta Cheese Pie
Adapted from Dana Treat who adapted from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

1/2 pound good feta cheese
1 pound low fat ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup 2% milk
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried dill

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the feta with the ricotta in a medium bowl, without worrying about getting it perfectly smooth – you’ll want some chunks. Beat the eggs into the cheese, then add the flour and milk. Season with salt, pepper and dill.

2. Grease a 9 inch pie plate. Pour in the batter. Bake until golden, 35-40 minutes. Cut in to wedges and serve.