Monday, November 26, 2012

Chewy Pistachio Gingerbread Bites

Inspired by Snixy Kitchen Blog and Martha Stewart I decided to make this recipe instead of my traditional gingerbread recipe that I make every winter.

Now the recipe looks so simple, I figured I'd whip it up in between commercials while watching my favourite show on sunday nights.. little did I know it was a disaster (not the recipe, more like the experience) so I spent my evening making it twice.  The first time I used old molasses, the stuff I had laying around from last year. I knew the texture was off but I ignored my gut (as usual) and went ahead and made it.  Also I baked it in a 9 X 13 instead of the 9X9 in the recipe (there is a huge distance between my living room (computer) and kitchen, I often make this mistake of writing down or remembering the recipe wrong  (I know I know, really should be looking up the recipes on my phone or PRINTING them out, yikes)

Think I learned my lesson.   My only regret was the half cup of pistachios that went into the recipe, they're pretty expensive :( 
Good thing I had just enough pistachios to make another batch, this time I used my glass 8X8 square and baked it at 325 (usually with glass you take 25 degrees off because it heats up more than a typical pan) 
This time I used the good new carton of molasses (just fancy molasses, not even sure what unsulphured molasses is which the recipe asked for)  also 1 tsp - tbsp of oil went into the second batch because I had to coat the measuring cup with it to get the molasses to slip out easily.  

My review on the recipe is that it's still not quite there, I would like to try to experiment and see what I can come up with because it's still a bit dry, and not as chewy as I expected.  
I baked it at the 45 mins and the middle was still runny but I had to turn off the oven because the sides were drying out. I thought I'd saved it in time but the sides ended up having to be sliced off. 

At the end I served them coated in powder sugar (confectioners sugar) and some in cocoa powder (if the bite was a bit sweeter this chocolate combo would really work!)

I'm definitely going to experiment and see what I can come up with to improve this recipe and get it to what I'm looking for. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mini Veggie Flatbreads

  The weather this week has been GORGEOUS! I'm not kidding, it's tshirt weather in southern ontario, I've never seen weather this warm at this time of year but I'm not complaining!

In my house we have a pizza day at least once every two weeks, but lately we have not had it in a quite a while and every so often I do like to switch things up so this time I prepped the dough and roasted off a few fun ingredients that were laying around (You won't believe how long you can store a butternut squash!)

I decided to prep a tray of ingredients, roast some nuts and seeds and make a garlic oil then assemble it all outdoors in the great weather, it was so fun!

I hope this inspires you to make some yummy flatbreads with stuff you've got laying around (soup does not need to always be the go to recipe when cleaning out your fridge)

The key is to prep ahead of time, I roasted the butternut squash, layed out the previously made roasted red pepper. Roasting eggplant is a little trickier just remember to salt the eggplant after chopping to remove excess liquid so they roast up nice and brown.  

Toast seeds and nuts on the stovetop in a dry pan on medium low, just until they smell nutty and have toasted a bit in colour. 
I went with Spanish paprika, sliced onion, lemon zest and a homemade garlic oil packed with fresh grated garlic as flavour agents. 

To make garlic oil use the pan after toasting nuts, set them aside on a plate and add some olive oil to the empty pan on medium heat, add tons of grated garlic and sautee just until you begin to smell the garlic (it should not even brown)  Set it in a small plate with a spoon and begin slathering away.

Some toppings can be added after they're baked like goat cheese, or Arugala greens.

Add eggs to the last minute of baking, simply move toppings around to create a sort of "nest" and crack the egg inside, it takes seconds for it to cook in the oven and remove immediately when white begins to set if you want the yolks to stay runny. 

Hope this was an inspiration for you to try giving your  pizza a little twist next time! Go wild with ingredients and ideas, this is just about what I had on hand and tried to make the most of. 

Keep it simple and the dough part really thin, then serve with a salad and enjoy! :)

Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom (with chicken, or not!) 

- 3 cups Chicken stock  (homemade is always best)
- 3 tbsps Olive oil
- Mushrooms (I used 3 packs and finely diced the mushrooms) 
-Salt & Black pepper (to taste)
-1 clove garlic (optional) 

- Few tbsp flour
-Whole cream

Garnish options: 
-Sour cream or greek yogurt
-Chopped chives 
-Chopped leftover chicken
- Hot sauce
-Fresh thyme 

Add the olive oil to the pot or dutch oven, sautee mushrooms under brown, if you have too many do them in batches so they all brown nicely without just getting grey and soggy.  Add garlic clove (grated, or whole and then you can just pull it out) 

Season with salt and pepper (to taste)
Add stock over and simmer for 15 minutes on low. 

When ready to serve heat this mushroom soup back up to a boil. 
Blend together about 2 tbsp flour with cold milk, about 1 1/2 cup. Add 1/2 cup cream (or more if you want it to be super rich!)
Add this mixture and begin whisking until thickened, if it's not thick enough then prep another 1 tbsp with some milk and whisk it in again.

This mushroom soup is rich and tastes great, and if you're used to the canned stuff you'll love this fresh version! 


Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter cake

Chocolate Fudge Peanut butter Cake is one that I had bookmarked from Halloween but haven't had a chance to make.  Finally after finishing my home renovation projects (which were crammed tremendously -  laying a whole room's laminate floor in 6 days! Is that even possible?!) I had enough time for this cake.

This cake is intensely chocolatey with a whole cup of added chocolate chips into the bundt, then coated in a fudgy milk chocolate ganache and finally a creamy sweet/salty peanut butter sauce is poured over and then it is decorated with chocolate sprinkles! 

Do try it! Here is the recipe thanks to How Sweet It Is
I made this cake for the office, however I did sneak a piece (I had to taste test it!! ... and who's gonna know, right? Everyone comes in at a different time and grabs a piece, it won't look suspicious at all ^O^)

I devoured my piece with a big mug of forever nuts from David's tea, maybe because you gotta be nuts to eat a piece of rich cake like this before 6 AM.

I've included a few shots of the instant dinner I whipped up (Ramen, frozen asian veggie mix with leftover stewed meat gravy) and finally my laminate floor, complete. :)