I am a wife, a mom of three, and the kitchen is my favorite place in the house. I read cookbooks in my spare time and enjoy getting kitchen appliances for presents :) I love preparing delicious and healthy food for my family and here are a some of what graces our table each week.

Email Me for any of the recipes :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge – June 2009 - Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.
After each month’s challenge, we have to wait a few days before the next challenge is revealed. I check the website daily, just in case they post the challenge early; that’s how excited I am. It never fails, however, that every month I wait too long to do the challenge. I didn’t even think I could do this month’s challenge, but I threw it together and have 30 minutes to spare!

As always, I used Smart Balance Light. I was going to use butter, but I didn’t have any in the house. I also didn’t have ground almonds, so I used ground walnuts and vanilla extract. I am about to take it out of the oven, shoot a picture and upload. Smells good!! and it was very tasty :) Danny finished his before I could finish this post and he threatened that if I didn’t hurry, he would eat mine also. Gotta go!!


Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimated for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes


Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

After such a rainy day, I couldn’t help but turn the oven on with a craving for some freshly baked cake. I had some strawberries holding their own in the fridge and remembered this recipe that I had seen on Nosh With Me. I also used applesauce and made my own buttermilk concoction. The crunchy sugary topping was my favorite part. Yum :)

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Asian Style Tilapia

Last night, I made this very easy, very yummy, very pantry friendly Asian Style Tilapia. I love the individually wrapped tilapia from SAMS, they defrost quickly in warm water and cook up in minutes. These ended up baking for about 20 minutes at 425-450F because of all the liquid and veggies, but the carrots and peppers came out crunchy and perfect. I followed the recipe exactly and added a few drops of sesame oil – you can’t do Asian food without it.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pizza Dough

Pizza is a definite favorite meal in this house. This is the recipe I have been using forever. I make two batches of dough which comes out to two cookie sheet pizza and a small personal pizza (I use the toaster oven pan). There isn’t much left when we are done, and the leftovers are just as good the next day (if they last that long…).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don’t Tell!

Did you see the pictures on my other blog? See those yummy cupcake crumbs? Well, I made those cupcakes for our trip to the Planetarium and usually replace all the oil with applesauce. Since I didn’t have any on hand at 10:00pm (oy!), I used Macie’s prune puree that I had made that day. I wasn’t too sure how they would turn out so I only replaced 1/2 the oil – 1/4 c. prune puree and 1/4 c. oil. Danny’s “only complaint is that they were too moist, the crumbs turned into mush and get into everything…” Here’s a hint, get the whole thing in your mouth! Yum :)

Yet Another Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

I always buy the 5 lb cottage cheese from SAMS Club and am always looking for ways to use it up before it expires.  Tonight, I decided to make Mac and Cheese with it.  I looked up recipes and they all had cottage cheese, sour cream and cheese and TONS of fat.  Here is what went into mine:

1 lb rigatoni - cooked
1 1/2 c. cottage cheese
2 rounded soup spoons of reduced fat sour cream
4 soup spoons of skim milk
2 c. reduced fat cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tobasco sauce
Mix everything together and top with seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350F until bubbly and then broil until golden brown.  Amelia had three helpings and “loved the cottage cheese”.  Danny preferred the “regular one” and I could eat either recipe every night for dinner.  Leo had plain macaroni noodles with parmesan :)

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(Last Week’s Chicken) and Sweet Potato Fries

It’s been a rough two weeks and not a lot of cooking took place in this kitchen. Sunday and Monday, we ate dinner out and Tuesday, I sent Danny to the butcher to get me a rib eye steak – I was craving meat SO badly. We scarfed those babies down so fast, there were no time for pictures.

Last night, I took out last week’s chicken (the post below!) and made some spicy sweet potato fries with a little salt and cayenne pepper. No oil, just some Pam and 450F and the only thing I did wrong was make too few. I will know better for next time.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Almost Grilled Chicken

Grilling during the week is tough, especially when we want to eat with the kids and get them showered and ready for bed at a decent hour. With fresh chicken in the fridge and a major craving for the grilled chicken we made a couple of weeks ago, I decided to use the leftover spice rub and throw it in the oven with some potato wedges. I really watched this chicken and raised and lowered the oven temp a few times, covered and uncovered the pan and even added a little water so the potatoes could steam a bit. As much as I was looking forward to this chicken, raw potatoes and overdone chicken was not going to happen. In the end, the chicken was perfectly done, the potatoes were to die for and I managed to get the table cleaned off and set *before* Danny came home so that we could sit down for a nice dinner.

For dessert and a pre-hockey snack for Danny, I made baked peaches. I wont go into why I didn't make a cobbler, a crumble, or something that may have looked more delectable.... Appearance aside, these peaches were the perfect ending to a pretty hearty meal.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whole Wheat Apricot Muffins

These are a variation of the pumpkin/squash/sweet potato muffins I am always making in the colder months. I made Macie some pureed apricots (stew dried apricots in water until soft and then blend the heck out of the them), but she just wasn't into them. I decided to make muffins with the puree and make them even more healthy than I usually do. Here's the recipe, adapted from Panache:

Combine 2 c. whole wheat flour, 1 c. white flour, 2 tsp cinnamon (a bit too much for me, will add less next time), 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
Make a well in the center and throw in 1 3/4 c. sugar (original recipe calls for 2 3/4 c.!!), 1/2 c. applesauce and 2 Tbsp oil (original calls for 2/3 c. oil), and 3 eggs.
Once combined, mix in 1 3/4 c. apricot (or whatever you have) puree and work those arm muscles until everything is incorporated and the bottom is well scraped.

Bake at 350F until ready. Using my mini-scoop and doing 2 scoops per muffin cup, I got 32 muffins out of it. Between, me, my mom, Amelia and big muffin man Leo, we downed almost a dozen of them as a pre-dinner snack.