Thursday, August 19, 2010

Moving right along!

So we've been plugging along in our efforts. We have to re-epoxy the bar to get a more even surface on it. Daddy Chef worked tirelessly yesterday to remove the old linoleum from the stairs and today his dad is helping us put the new stuff down. We bought a lot of equipment last week including a Garland convection range for me!!!! I was talking to GM while we were there and I believe his exact words were, "I can hear you vibrating over the phone..." needless to say I was more than a little excited. We also bought some line fridges and racks along with a new range for Daddy Chef to have on the line. The old one didn't have an oven which would have been awkward. I would love to get a Salamander but I think we're going to have to wait on that.

Now on to what everyone is actually interested in. It looks like Opening night will be September 16th. Our furniture is due on the 14 so hopefully it is on time! We''re in good shape for everything the electrician (who is awesome) came and all of my nightmares were just that so I am a happy camper so far! Countdown is on and stay tuned for website details and a few menu teasers!

Hope you are all as excited as I am and please comment on your favorite desserts and I'll try to fit them into rotation. If you don't tell me what they are then I can't make them especially for you!!!

My sister Em is moving to China next week to teach high school over there. I'll be making these (although my own recipe which for now I'm guarding in my brain) for her going away party! Bye Em Little Miss Pants will miss you!!!! So will I but I'm not that important! ;p

Enjoy!

-lexi

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Busy Week!

Sorry I haven't written for a while everyone, we've been super busy with the place! We've done pretty much everything we can until the trades guys come in. The bar is done we're just waiting for the epoxy to dry, which takes 3 days, and then we'll be close! We got our banquettes and booths ordered finally and on the plus side we're under budget!!! Which may end today as the electrician is coming to take a look at the matrix that is in our basement. I've honestly been having nightmares about it. I'd tell you about them but they're just to dorky and terrifying! Let's just say they could possibly have been written by Joss Whedon. Shudder.

I Thought I had before and after pics but I don't have the after ones right now, also it's still a work in progress but I'll take some pics today so that you can check them out later! Big props to The Breakable Woman and GM!!! We couldn't of gotten what we have done so far without you!!!

It's really exciting we can start to see what the place is going to look like and we are all beyond pumped!!!

I made my own cupboard version of this last night. I had some eggplant left from the Ratatouille I made a few days ago. I've made this recipe before though and it's pretty awesome!
Eggplant Parmesan
As always Enjoy!!!!

-lexi

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beer Day!!!!!

So today off we go to the distillery district to meet our possible beer rep!! If all goes well I will be plugging not just the beer but recipes for it here in the blog! I like this kinda work. I get to go eat food and drink beer on someone elses dime!! Who wouldn't want to call that work?

Yesterday we had the banquette people come in to measure and pick swatches for the tables and booths which was a lot of fun and we think they're gonna look really great. We also went to Home Depot to buy a mess of things that involve finishing the bar and about a zillion swatches to put up to decide what version of white we'll be painting the place. The woman at the paint counter was super helpful and showed us everything we needed as well as making some great suggestions. The guy was an idiot and just told us that they didn't have ANYTHING that we would be able to use. I like it when the women are more helpful and knowledgeable in hardware stores. It makes me smile.

Also Daddy Chef got to get to know our space a bit better after his trip and we continued a little bit of demo work. All in all a good day. We also tried the new "name me" burger at Harvey's considering the price I'm going with "The Ripoff Burger."

It's really hot today 31C but feeling like 45C so my recipe today involves freezing, and that's it. My sister looooovveeesss these!! (That's how she says it) So this one's for you Em!!!

Limber de Coco (Coconut Cream Popsicles) : The Noshery

Enjoy!!!

-lex

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 5

So yesterday not much got done. I was all by myself so I just finished up a few projects that were lying around. I the bar in places the palm sander won't reach and finished all I could reach if the "door thing" (which is what we call it as we are not sure it has a name. Divider maybe? I dunno) and waited around for Daddy Chef to get home from his trip. Not super productive n=but it was boring stuff that needed to get done and it did. Today we are doing a Home Depot run and probably a Lee Valley one so that we can sand and stain the bar!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!

So this is really white trashy food but not gonna lie it's a family favorite. Also It may be a winter menu spoiler. However I usually make puff pastry cheese straws to go with it. If you aren't crazy like me and live in Canada Presidents Choice makes an AWESOME frozen puff pastry dough that I love. For Cheese Straws that go with this recipe just brush with butter or olive oil and sprinkle on some parmesan, chili flakes, basil and oregano. Tasty.

http://noblepig.com/2009/01/07/belle-of-the-bowl.aspx

Enjoy!

-lex

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 4

So I was going to take a half day off today but it looks like I gotta go in this morning, mainly because I'm kinda dumb. You see for those of you not in Canada today is a civic holiday which means NOTHING IS OPEN!!!! Luckily I found a hardware store that is open until 1pm so I can get some supplies that we need. Also I get my Little Miss Pants back this afternoon and I want to get some work done in case Daddy Chef gets stuck in traffic. So I'm gonna do a quick clean up at the apartment. Not that it's too bad, I haven`t really been here. Just a bit of cleaning up my bachelorette style cooking. Which I have to say is shockingly similar to bachelor cooking. See we're not that different guys!

Anyway I'm on my own this morning as The Breakable woman has to work and The GM (We really need a moniker for him!) has his parents visiting so he needs top clean. I'm kinda psyched though I can listen to all the crappy music I want with no one bothering me!!! Wish me luck guys!! And I'll Talk to you all again real soon!!!!

For all you fabulous people who hold sunday brunch/lunch heres a quick and easy monday night recipe for your fabulous leftovers!!!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Smoked-Salmon-Souffle-10897

Enjoy!

-lex

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 3

Quick note before I run off! We did a lot of work yesterday with a lot still to go but all in all a productive first day!! Don't have long as I slept in but I'll try to update tonight!!!!

Lex

Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Full day!

So today is the first full day of our ownership! My GM and I didn't get much done yesterday due to the portuguese "water of life" that the former owner pressed onto us. It was moonshine, hence the reason I did not update lastnight. So today we actually get some work done!!! We have a lot of work ahead of us but I think we can do it. I'd really like Daddy Chef to come back from his trip and be amazed at how much we've done. Not sure how much I'll be able to update today as we don't have internet at the resto right now but hopefully I'll be able to do a quick one when I get home. Until then not much to update. Hopefully we'll start working on the bar today with the fantastic Breakable Woman so yay!!!

Update!!! So we just got home from wrecking day!!! We got a lot done, got all the decals and rails off the walls and stripped all the barstools. Doesn't sound like a lot but Daddy Chef will freak when he gets home!!! Tomorrow patching walls and stripping the bar!!!!!! Wish us Luck!!!!!

Until then here is a great Saturday recipe It taked forever but is quite possibly my favorite ratatouille recipe ever. Since it takes so long I reccomend making a double recipe so that you can freeze some of it. If vac sealed you can taste some fresh summer in the middle of winter!!! At least it's this summer. Is anyone else LOVING the veg this year? I made a peach pie ou of underipe peaches the other day and NO ONE NOTICED!!! Ok I'm off topic and I need to wrap this up. Enjoy this rat as everything seems to be perfectly sweet this year. I promise when the veg are gone the memory of this will get you through the winter!!!

http://www.justhungry.com/2006/09/ratatouille.html

Enjoy!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Closing day!!!

So it's 10am here and I'm about to go get the papers signed. BD (or I think I may steal the nickname Daddy Chef from his crew) is still in line at the bank so we can go hand over the money! I'm hoping to be able to get in there later today but that may not happen. I'll post before pictures soon probably along with some wrecking pictures!!! Wish us luck!!!

Ity is now 12:32, we just got back from the lawyers office and will hopefully have the keys in a couple of hours!!!!! I can't wait to go in and start wrecking stuff!!!! Daddy Chef is off to one of his best friends bachelor parties for the weekend so it's up to me to get some work done this weeekend. Tonight shall be an evening of lists and bubbly, hopefully in that order, and starting a few renovations! Wish us luck!!!!!!

3:34 pm, just got the call that I can go pick up the keys! So just finished getting in my scrubbys, including my kitchen shoes that I haven't worn in a year and a half!!!! They are super stiff as anyone knows if they have workboots they haven't worn for a while. Just waiting for my future GM (nickname to be decided shortly) to show up so we can get over there! AARRRGGGHHH too many exclamation points!!! I don't know if you can tell but I'm really excited. Just wish Daddy Chef could be here with me!

-lex

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

World's Worst Blogger!!

So I suck.

There ya go I said it! The problem is that there hasn't been much I can write about. A lot of the things going on officially I can't really talk about and unofficial things have been so spaced out and insignificant that they didn't really come together until now. We've been basically lining up as much as we can so I can go in there on Friday get 'er done!!

Yesterday we went to order banquettes and tables and chairs. Stopped off at IKEA to look at lighting and silly little things like candle holders and vases and such. Also to get a cheap lunch! ($.49 Hot Dogs anyone?) We've also been looking at how to sell a bunch of the stuff that's getting left behind by the old owners. Anything worth anything we're selling to raise money to buy all the other things that we need!

We bought some lamps from an insanely talented glass artist that we know, I'll post pictures of them as soon as I can but they are melted bottles (beer and wine) that have been sandblasted to create a beautiful soft light. These will hang over the bar as pendant lamps and we think will add a very funky personal edge.

Well That's all for now. I actually will start writing more often now that things are actually happening. Sorry I don't have time for a recipe of my own right now but I will leave you with a link to one of my favorite recipes on one of my favorite sites!!! The Pioneer Woman is a genius and this recipe is a family fave!! Also don't feel like you have to stick with the meat portion of the recipe we usually make this with whatever leftovers we have in the fridge!!!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/09/simple-perfect-enchiladas/

Click around her site you will NOT be disappointed!

Enjoy!

-Lex

Monday, June 14, 2010

A very dorky evening

In case you haven't figured it out yet I'm a geek. I am a food geek and pop culture nerd with a specialty in fantasy. Now if you haven't been living under a rock than you were probably watching True Blood lastnight. Whether you like Vampires or not there just isn't anything else on!!!! I had friends over we turned it into a party that had us sipping blood, eating raw flesh and being generally silly.

I made Cherry Srbet and made some very boozy cocktails out of it. They were tasty but unless you want to drink blood you may just want to eat it straight! I got the recipe from the Cosmic Cowgirl She has some really great recipes I highly recomend checking her out!!!

Now for the blood muhahahahahaha!!

This is my friend Sarahle. Isn`t she purdy!!!


You will need
2 lbs Cherries
1 cup water
3é4 cups plus two tablespoons sugar
juice of half a lemon
1/8 tsp kirsch or almond extract (I used almond extract as I had already made 2 trips to the liquor store!)

Pit your cherries. I reccomend doing this in front of the tv with a sheet pan. It takes a while 2 lbs is a lot of cherries!! It also doesn't help when you have Miss Pants and B.D. eating them!!!











Now throw everything, except your extract or kirsch, into a pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. You want it to simmer the cherries for 10-15 minutes. I waz busy and it simmered longer but that just helped the flavours I think. I also at the last minute decided to throw some chocolate mint in there. If you are doing something like this you want the stems in there. There is a lot more flavour in the stem than in the leaves. Just remember to take them out before blending!!!




Now I`m out of pictures other than the blood. Sorry.

Blend your syrup and cherries with whatever blending tools you have at your disposal. I used an immersion blender cause it`s easy to clean ;) but you can use a blender or food processor or really anything that has a couple blades and moves fast! Now chill the syrup for 8-10 hours. After that follow your ice cream maker instructions!! I use a kitchen aid attachment that I think is a good first icecream maker. I just keep the bowl in the freezer and make ice cream whenever I want!!

If you want to try the blood cocktail I made blend all your sorbet with a bottle of light white wine and about a cup of vodka. Blend and pour into glasses or nifty tru blood bottles!! If anyone is interested in how I made those I`ll give instructions but they were pretty easy!



And now for something completely different!

video

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A romantic meal for one

So the last few days have been really hectic! We've found a location for our restaurant and put in an offer. Been on the phone all day with our realtor and lawyer, not to mention trying to get a hold of a health inspector (a near impossible feat apparently!) So tonight all that is left is to wait. The deadline is 6pm tomorrow and we'll find out then.

Needless to say I've been a little nuts. Little Miss Pants has luckily been very patient (for the most part) considering how crazy Mommy and Daddy are! So tonight it's raining and my B.D. is at work and I thought "Why not do a little something for me???" I need to calm so that I can get through these next (eep) 22 1/2 hours, but hey who's counting? So I looked in my fridge and sighed. A dish that even sounds like a sigh came into my mind and that dish was souffle. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself a little. So chill that wine, and get ready for at least an hour of pure me time. After it's in the oven you do absolutely nothing. In fact the less you do the better it will be!

So come on and sigh with me souffle.....

Here's the recipe!
2 eggs, separated (I actually only used one and it did not work that well so use 2!!!)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cheese
1/4 cup ham
salt and pepper to taste



First things first! Set your oven to 350f and prepare your souffle dish. You prepare your dish by greasing it and dusting it with flour. You also "collar" the dish by tying parchment paper around it like so.
My souffle didn't really need it since I only used one egg but if you are using two you will definitely want to! it keeps the puff of your souffle from collapsing which means less time cleaning your oven and more time staring at your beautiful souffle!!!









After that is done you want to separate your eggs and grate your cheese etc. Souffle despite seeming fancy is made really, really quickly (if you have an electric mixer of some kind, if not also whip your egg whites here.)

If you do have an electric mixer throw your egg whites into it and turn on to medium high. I use an 8 on my Kitchen Aid.

Next throw your butter into a small sauce pot and turn the heat to high. Throw your milk in a microwave safe dish and nuke for 1 min 30 sec. Once your milk is in the microwave throw your flour into the butter and whisk like crazy!! Well no not really just make sure that it's all combined. When the microwave beeps pour 2/3 of the milk into your roux (the butter and flour mixture and throw in your cheese. It will be very thick so don't freak out!

Now whisk your egg yolk with the remaining milk. This is called Tempering and will prevent your egg yolk from cooking unevenly. Take the cheese mixture off the heat and add your egg and milk mixture. Add your ham or whatever extras you may be throwing in there. I'll point out quickly right now that souffle is awesome for leftovers!!!







By now your egg whites should look like this,

use a 1/4 to a 1/3 of this to lighten up you egg yolk mixture. Just whisk it in. After that you are going to want to very carefully fold in the rest of your egg whites. They should be just incorporated with the mixture.










My mixture usually looks like this.







Now put the batter into your prepared dish. I used a really weird sized ramekin from DollaRama. If I had used the 2 eggs it probably would've been the right size. If you have regular sized ramekins give it a whirl! You want that tall luscious souffle because your worth it!!!! Now here is the Me part, put your souffle in the oven and LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!! Seriously go watch TV, meditate do whatever you think you deserve!! I personally drank wine smoked cigarettes and read Douglas Coupland for about 33 minutes. You don't want to open the door so leave the light on and when it's golden brown (30-35 minutes) it'll be done!!

As you can see mine didn't rise as much as I would've liked but it still tasted AMAZING!! I enjoyed it with a warm spinach salad and some Fat Bastard Chardonnay!!

And you know why because I'm worth it!!!!!!









(I know this can seem a little intimidating but it literally takes about 8 minutes from start to finish. Plus you can feel like you earned your gluttony!!!)

As always Enjoy!!!
-lexi

Friday, May 28, 2010

Apologies to all!

So I have been the worlds worst blogger lately! I have an excuse. All I've been cooking lately have been recipes for the restaurant. While I will post ssome teasers and small recipes before we open I can't really do that yet. I do have good news on that front, we have been looking at a few places and may be putting in an offer on the place we looked at yesterday!!! If that is the case we will be able to open in August!!! So I'm sorry I haven't been around and I promise I'll think of something to post soon. As soon as this heatwave is over and I'm eating more than salad.
until then here is an oldie but a goodie. I don't have instructional pics but it's pretty easy to put together.

This is a poached pear tart. It is devine! I got this recipe from one of my all time favorite cookbooks The Seven Sins Of Chocolate.

This book is stunning and the recipes are to DIE for. Who could not love a book all about chocolate? Some of the recipes are a bit advanced for the average home cook but many are so simple (spiced hot chocolate anyone?) I highly reccomend it. I just love looking at it on a rainy afternoon the photos are stunning. I wish I had a better pic of this but trust me no one will believe you made this. It takes 2 days (you want to let your pears sit over night) but is really simple if you don't let all the steps scare you!!!
Lets start with the pears shall we? You want to do this the night before!




Poached Pears
3 firm pears
1 3/4 cups light red wine
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon Stick
1 vanilla bean split open (you can use a tsp of extract in a pinch but it really is so much better with the bean!!)
1 Star Anise (available in most asian markets)

Peel and Core your pears and slice in half add everything but pears into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once your sugar dissolves turn down the heat to a simmer and add your pears. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender when peirced with a knife. Wrap and refridgerate overnight.

Sweet Pastry
3/4 cup AP flour
2 tbsp almond flour (If you don't have it just throw some raw almonds into a coffee grinder)
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
6 tbsp butter chilled
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsp ice water.

Now I'm going to tell you a secret of making perfect pastry at home! Are you ready it will be here in a few moments in preperation for it stick your butter in the freezer! Now gather and mix all your dry ingredients you want your butter to be in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Now grab your cheese grater and grate that frozen butter rub it all together until it makes a course meal. I love this method beccause it makes that happen a lot faster with less handling. Which means less melting which in pastry is good! Now add your egg yolk water mixture and stir until it just comes together. If it's not add a little bit more water until it does!

Now wrap it and Stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours but up to 12. Now beat the crap outta it with a rolling pin until you can roll it out. Roll it out to an 1/8 of an inch thick. roll it onto your rolling pin to transfer to your tart pan. Lay it in the tart pan and use your rolling pin to trim the edges. Just roll it over the top. Wrap it and freeze it for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375f place the tart pan onto a baking sheet. Dock the dough with a fork and fill with parchment paper. Weigh the paper down with beans. This is called Blind baking. Bake like this for 10-12 minutes until the dough is set. Then remove the weights and parchment and bake for anothe 10 minutes until golden brown.

You may want to do this step the night before as well or at the latest in the morning. It needs to chill completely before you pour in the ganache!

Chocolate Red Wine Ganache
5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small peices
3 tbsp light red wine (use the same as the pears. I even used the poaching liquid to be honest with you! I think I drank the rest of the wine with a girlfriend the night before.

Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Wisk until smooth and then add the butter a peice at a time. Wisking this whole time add the wine and wisk until smooth.

Assemble
Pour still warm ganache into your pie shell. tap it a few times so that the ganache is smooth. Drain and pat dry your pears and slice them very thinly. place in a circular design around the chocolate. Dust the edges with sugar and ta-da! It's done!!!

I know this looks like a lot of work but it's not really. Same as baking a pie. Try it and you won't be dissapointed!! It's so pretty and always looks proffesional.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Epic Cake.

I have a friend. My friend and I have been friends since grade 10. When we were young we got into trouble, we were however adorable (mainly her) and people would pretty much forgive us anything. We used to talk about gettng a loft. We had similar champagne tastes (that we couldn't afford.....and still can't.) with kooky, kitchy thrown in, (which we could afford and still can.) For birthdays and Christmasses we get each other similar gift bags that are bought at places like Urban Behaviour, Specialty candy stores and Outer Layer. Our dream for our loft was to have a Hello Kitty kitchen. We used to talk on the phone at night looking at these Hello Kitty sites wishing we had the credit cards to order something! In those days when our mid twenties (which we are now in) were as far away and exotic as the flying car.

Now this old friend is the Godmother to my child. So I decided to give her the gift of love and time. In cake form. Happy Birthday Jo we all love you!!!

I will post better pics/more intructional info at a later date. I more just wanted this out there! Believe it or not the cake was super tasty!!!



UPDATE;
So here are a few more pictures. I would be here for days showing people how to make this cake. I recommend this book. It is a great instructional book and is worth the money for the templates alone. The Hello Kitty cake is in here and I made a few additions and changes (all cosmetic none structural) from her Hello Kitty Cake. I love this book and has really Simple cakes as well as more advanced ones. I highly reccomend picking it up!!!

So here is the straight on cake from the front. The cake was 6 cakes (3 6 inch domes, 1 3x5 inch round and one 9x9 inch square) Not to mention all the lumber in there to keep it together (countless skeweres and toothpicks) The base was a 12 inch hexagong covered in fondant and coated with powdered black food colouring set with vodka. I used just the powder to give it that ashy, sort of apocolyptic look. I used this to create a stensil for the skulls on the base. They are also fondant. I did this while the cake was baking so that it would have a few days to dry. *Note* Beware traveling with this cake as the black colouring can get everywhere!! It will wash out of your clothes but it can get messy. I kinda looked like Cinderella by the end of it!







Here is a back side view. I don`t have a straight on back view right now but I am sure i will soon!! The cake was crumb coated with a raspberry buttercream. after that chilled over night I applied the fondant peices and then used a /10 tip bead on the snowsuit. Hello kitty has a bitten off ear and a cracked skull which is the exit wound from the necessary headshot. (I`m sure I don`t need to explain why a Zombie is shot in the head do I?) I used fondant for the skull and raspberry coulis for the blood. I also brought a squeeze bottle of the "blood" with me to the party to cover any imperfectiond from travel or so people could squeeze blood all over their cake. (This went over very well with a group of 20 something slightly inebriated individuals! The ribs are white fondant on black with a little blood for colour!





Here is her face. The face is rolled fondant shaded with powdered food colouring. I was inspired by this cartoon for the face. The eyes and nose are fondant attached with Royal Icing. The whiskers are toothpicks covered in royal icing. the drop of blood? More raspberry coulis.


Now you must be saying what my BD was saying. "OK that looks cool but it can't taste very good." He also says this whenever he watched Ace of Cakes, I agreed with him I could not figure out how to make a cake dense enough to do this taste good. Well Kate totally helped me there! The cake recipe I usedwas in the book I mentioned earlier and, well wow. It was chocolatey with a hint of coffee and some tanginess from buttermilk. It was delicious even when I left out the butter in one of the cakes! All in all if you like to decorate cakes (which I love!!) I highly reccomend inventing an occasion to make a cake out her book. Kate Sullivan you are a God. It was nice to be inspired by such a tallented individual. Not to mention my girl Jo without whom this cake never would have come into existence!!!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

schizo post




So it was my good friend Ingrid's birthday on Tuesday. My baking ingredients at the new pad are really pathetic, which will hopefully be fixed this weekend when bd finally has a day off and we can do a real grocery shop. That however did not help me on Monday as I was trying to figure out what to make for Ingrid's birthday. I don't drive so my grocery list had to be portable. Like really portable, my stroller has next to no storage space in it. Then I remembered this blog I had seen. I remember how cute they looked and how simple they were. I wish I was as talented at photography as she is!!

I made a few changes to the recipe which proved a few difficulties. I added sliced peach into the cakes which meant these weren't really as structurally strong as they would be without the sliced peaches. Peaches contain a lot of moisture so I had to do some emergency surgery on these babies! They turned out okay though. Especially seeing as they were viewed in a dingy rock n' roll bar on Queen West! So here are the little peach cakes!!!

You will need for the cake;
1 box of yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup of oil
1 cup milk
1/4 cup peach schnapps
sliced peaches (if you feel brave!)

For The Decorating
2 cups icing
2tbsp peach jam
12 whole almonds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bunch mint

Set the oven to 350f

Drain and dry the peaches on paper towel. Get the peaches as dry as you can, you brave thing you!!!

Mix the rest of the ingredients together as per package directions.

now pour into these nifty pans you really need these to make it work!
you can buy them here. I think they're nifty!

pour your batter in filling them up about 2/3 full. I filled them up too much don't do that. especially if you are putting the peach slices in.
now add your peaches if you are using them.


Bake for 18 minutes. I'm not sure how long if you aren't using the peaches. I'd say read the box and keep an eye on them.

Now for the icing. Now I want to say that I normally never ever do this. I bought icing. I know, I know. How could I do such a thing. Normally my icing is my pride and joy. Literally the icing on the cake! I recommend making your own butter cream I should of but I'm gonna be honest. I knew these were going to be drunkenly devoured around midnight at the bar. No one would notice that I didn't make the icing. So I bought icing and threw about two tbsp of peach jam into the mix and threw it in the fridge.

Now for the decorating! In two small tupperware containers pour 1/4 cup of sugar, in one container pour in six drops of red food colouring in the other 12 drops of yellow food colouring. Now shake them up!!! dislodge any clumps with a fork.
Once your cakes have chilled to room temp smear a bit of icing on the flat side of the cake place an almond on the icing and place a second cake on top creating a sphere. You can paint the cakes with simple syrup now if you like. It will help them keep a little longer but it's not necessary. Now I put them in the fridge for an hour to harden these cute little things up! While they are in the fridge you can cut your cinnamon sticks into stems about you want them fairly thin and about half an inch long.

Unfortunately while they were hardening my lovely assistant had to leave so I don't have any more process pictures. It will just have to be description from here on out! Don't worry I'm scared too!

When they come out of the fridge have your 2 plates of sugar ready dab the cakes into the red sugar to create those lovely blushing cheeks peaches have, roll the rest of the cake in the yellow sugar making sure you pas close attention to the icing. now use your cinnamon stick bits to poke in a mint leaf and you are done!!

(note take pictures right when you make them! The sugar will stay on as will the colour but it rained the next day. Humidity and sugar are not friends!!!)

Well sorry about the craziness of this post. i may fix it, I may not. I do however have some pics and notes from the old place so you can look forward to another post soon! I hope when my schedule gets a little less hectic I'll be posting about 3 times a week.

Until the next sporadic time for now!
-lex

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We're Moved!!!


So we moved to our new apartment last Thursday. Things have been a little hectic. We had to buy almost all our furniture plus all the other stresses of moving. I was so stressed out I left my kit behind!!!! So we are stuck trying to cook with a bread knife and two paring knives. Luckily I remembered my ice cream maker which as B.D. pointed out is the most important thing! He makes me laugh. So this is a back post. I made these for dinner one week and then made them as mini burgers for Superbowl Sunday. Until I get my knives back and finish oiling my lovely new prep bench that B.D. bought me for my birthday I will be scouring my pics for posts!!

I would like to introduce you to The Buffalo Chicken Burger!
Isn't it yummy looking!
You will need,

Burgers;
1 pound ground chicken (I grind my own, pre-ground pioultry freaks me out!!!)
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (not gonna lie, I pulled it out of the fridge for spelling)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp Frank's Original Hot sauce (or like but I LOVE Frank's!)
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Sauce;
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp worcestershire (I just copy and pasted that time)
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
6 oz blue cheese
salt pepper to taste

If you are grinding your own meat like I do, take two large chicken breasts and six chicken thighs.


Wash the chicked thoroughly and then cube into one inch cubes (approximately) and put into the freezer for 20 minutes. Now you are not completely freezing the chicken you just want to make sure that the fat is very very cold! If it isn't you will end up with a gloopy stringy mess that is among other things really hard to clean!


Once it is frozen run it through your grinder, or pulse in a food processor. Viola, ground chicken!! I usually steralize all my grinding equipment after by boiling for about 20 minutes. Slightly excessive but I'm a little neurotic. You will have two pounds now. I freeze one of them with my trusty vacuum sealer for later use!

Now make your burgers!!
mix your meat, egg yolk, wors.... I don't want to type that again.....the brown stuff ;), and bread crumbs all together in a bowl. Season them and pound them out. If they won't mold then stick the mixture in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes.

Set your pan to medium high heat and cook. Flip after 7 minutes and cook until the juices run clear (another 5-7 minutes)

While your burgers are cooking melt your butter in a small sauce pan and add the Frank's. Mix well and set aside. add all of the ingredients for the sauce into a food processor or bowl. Mix in the processor or with an imersion blender until well mixed. Pour into a squeeze bottle and set aside. You don't want to make the

Now drink half of that glass of wine that must be around somewhere while your burgers finish up. When they are done add the Frank's and butter mixture and coat the burgers with it!
Assemble as you would a burger using as much of the blue cheese sauce as you want!
Enjoy All!! I also made these as mini burgers and they worked a little better, and by better I mean spicier! I'll post how to do that later but right now I hear a baby stirring!
Ciao for now!!!
-Lex

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Domestic Goddess


So I know I said I wouldn't be posting again until I moved. I lied. Well didn't lie, our move in day got pushed back to the 4th so I figured I could shoot off a post. Something simple and easy... So who better than the queen of simple classy cuisine? I am of course speaking of Nigella! I love her. I think a part of it goes back to when I was 16 and she had an episode of how to cook for a dinner party when hungover. The episode started with her bleary eyed and scrambling for a cure. I still use her recipe to this day. But that is another story.


So this is a recipe from her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I love this book. The photos are fantastic and such great simple recipes. As I am in the process of being covered in dust and paper cuts, I wanted something simple. So I made this Savory Onion Tart. It is to me pure comfort food (second only to mac and cheese.) A sweet cheesy sconey goodness all together in one. I'm working on making these individual and I'll let you know the best way to do it soon!


So without further ado.....

Savory Onion Tart (addapted from Nigella Lawson)
(this is the way I made it I have added the actual recipe in brackets)

Filling
2 large videlia onions (or 4 red onions)
2 tbsp butter (1)
2 tbsp olive oil (1)
4 sprigs of thyme roughly chopped (same)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (not in actual recipe)
2 oz shredded gruyere cheese (same)

(I really like this pic!)

Crust
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp roasted pepper mustard (the actual recipe called for dried but I was out!)
1 egg
3 oz shredded cheese

So start by preheating your oven too 400f. Put your olive oil and butter into your pan on medium heat. Cut your onions in half then cut those halves into four. When your butter and oil start to bubble throw in your onions. Let those slowly saute until caramalized, about thirty minutes.
mmmm butter and oil. My cooking secret? I always add just a little bit extra!

Make sure you stir those often! Don't hover just go toss em around every now and then. Like in between getting your dough together!
Start your dough by mixing your dry ingredients. These would be your flour, salt, baking powder and cheese. In another bowl mix your wet ingredients. These would be your milk, egg, butter and mustard. (If you are using dry mustard it goes in here too. I could come up with some bs reason but I won't. It's because Nigella says so!)
Then mix them all together. Use a spoon, fork, I use my hand. I like to get messy, that's how I roll. Mix it up till it forms a ball. Let your ball rest for, oh lets say, 15 minutes. Nigella doesn't let her ball rest. I do, plus your onions prolly won't be ready till then.

Now butter a pie dish. Are your onions done yet? They should be. If not have a beer and come back to me..... Now they are done. So you are now going to add your roughly chopped thyme and balsamic vinegar. saute it for about two minutes or until your vinegar becomes syrupy and sticks to your onions. then pur it in to your buttered pie plate.
Sprinkle your Gruyere over top of the onions and pound out your dough. You can use a rolling pin or your hands.

I like using my hands it maked it all rustic. That and I don't have to clean my rolling pin. Lay your dough over top of your onions and tuck it under a little!
Bake for 15 minutes at 400f then turn down your oven to 350f and bake for another 10. (If you are like me and have a super slow electric oven do the 400f for 10 and the 350f for 15.)

Pull her out and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then run a butter knife around the edge and invert onto a plate. I had to let it sit for another 5 minutes before it came loose but it's well worth the wait! And look how perfectly it tuned out!!
It was soo tasty and simple and vegetarian! This with a "meaty" salad (I served it with avacado, mandarin and strawberry salad) is a perfect meal when wishing for spring!
Enjoy! Next time I'm posting I will be in my new hood!!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm Sorry

So I do have a line up of posts that I would like to put up. However Time is a little crazy short right now. We're moving on the first (Yay!) So I think I won't be able to post anything for a little while. I know I have been a while but things are a little intense. Naptime is packing time and by the time night rolls around and I'm finished my day I am soooo tired. So I'll see you all in a couple of weeks when I get my internet all sorted out. I Can't wait!!!!
Sorry for my suckiness!
-Lex

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to roast a chicken



So this turns out perfect. No seriously EVERY TIME! It's super moist and juicy and looks like it could be on the cover of a magazine! No matter who cooks this it looks stunning and although a bit of work most of it can be (and needs to be) done in advance so you can just pop it in the oven when you get home! You need a bowl or pot that can fit a whole chicken. Try this especially if you can't cook it will impress everyone who eats it!

There are 3 components to this don't be scared! The hardest part of this is boiling water and if you don't have fresh herbs use dried! The water will look like gross tea but it'll be fine trust me! So your 3 components are The Brine, The Chicken and The Gravy this gravy is really, Really easy. So if you got a gal or dude to impress make this for dinner they will think you are a domestic Goddess/God!

Enjoy!

The Brine;
You can make this days before or in the morning. If you are making it in the morning just make sure you have ice on hand too cool it down!

4 cups water
1/4 cup sea/kosher salt (I like sel gris because it's very salty. It also has an almost chicken broth flavour when mixed with the other ingredients of the brine)
1 small onion or large shallot
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
handful of parsley
2 smashed cloves garlic
2-3 bay leaves
5-6 peppercorns
2 tbsp sugar
4 cups cold water (or ice)

Now I know that looks like a lot of ingredients but don't be afrais. I often if I don't have fresh herbs use a handful of herb de provence or whatever herbs I have around. As long as they are green you will probably be okay!
(note; as you can see there is no rosemary in here, I don't care I do what I want! :)
So boil all of the above until the salt is dissolved remove from heat add cold water or ice and it's done! Just make sure your water is a little cold when you put in the chicken you don't want salmonella! Ew...
(hello little peppercorn)

Wash your chicken and put it in breast down. make sure it is covered in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Cut up 4 small or 2 large carrots, enough for the chicken to sit on. We are making a tasty roasting rack!
(You can do this ahead of time just store them in water in a sealed container. I also usually use cute smaller carrots and leave the tops on they look prettier but Little Miss Pants ate them all)

Now for the chicken
2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
More thyme (like 2 tbsp roughly chopped)
1 lemon
the goodies from the brine
salt and pepper to taste

Now haul out your chicken and pat it dry. Rub it down with the butter. Sprinkle your thyme and salt and pepper over top.

Fill the cavity with your lemon and all the solid bits of the brine. Then I like to tie it up. I'm kinky like that.

Place it on your roasting pan on top of the carrots. Roast in the oven at 375f for about an hour and a half of until your internal temp reaches 165f.
Yummies. Now you could eat it like this or you could make gravy. I like gravy. Now I don't have any pictures of it. It got eaten but here is what you do, to start you have ready;
3/4 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of wine (or more if you are like me and really like wine!
Pan drippings
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch

Mix water and cornstarch and set aside.
Deglaze pan with wine. Deglazing is a fancy word for scraping the heck out of a pan with a wooden spoon assisted by hot liquid to get all the yummy bits!
add the deglazed yumminess to the chicken stock in a small pot. you will see fat float to the top skim off as much as you can with a spoon.
let that reduce down to aout a 1/2 or 1/3 if you are like me and use too much wine!
whisk in your cornstarch miture and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
if you are really fancy you can strain the gravy into a gravy boat.
Now carve and serve!!
I like it with garlic mashed potatoes for some ultimate comfort food awesomeness!!!!

(also save the carcass and put it in the freezer for chicken stock!!!!)

Now feel the homey yummy warmth!!!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

KeyLime Pie!

Come here my friends, I would like to introduce you to someone. She is small and a little bitter. If treated the well however, with love care and a little time she is magic! My friends I would like you to meet Little Miss KeyLime!


My Granny loves Keylime pie. When you look at the ingredients you will see why! It is all that is great about old fasioned cooking! My Granny you see is Southern. So see if you can figure out why this pie is so close to her heart!


Now these are the ingredients for one pie. I made two. One of them for my dear little Granny. I tell you this because the photos show me making filling for two pies so you don't freak out when you have less in your bowl than I do. Or you could just make two like I did, and give it to a very special friend, or eat it before everyone gets home and watch them marvel at your willpower to refuse dessert!

The Ingredients;

The Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or about 15 graham crackers pulsed in a food processor)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter (mmmmm butter)

The Filling:
12 key limes, juice and zest
1 14 oz can sweetened condenced milk (I used Eagle Brand as that is what my Grannys recipe said!)
1 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks

Now for the crust mix all three ingredients together. Press into a 9 inch pie dish and bake at 350f for about 12 minutes.


For the filling, whip egg youlk in your handy dandy mixer until light and fluffy. They should look like this!




While that is happening zest and juice all the keylimes. This will take a while and you might get a hand cramp if your juicer is too big for them!


once your eggs are happy and fluffy add your whipping cream, condenced milk and half of your keylime juice mix until it`s nice and thick. Then add the remaining jucie and zest.


Pour into preparedd pie crust and bake for another 12 minutes or until just set in the centre (it should still be a little wiggly! Watch it dance and smile.)


Let it cool at room temperature and decprate with whipping cream. Or just slather it on all ``rustic`` like. However you want to do it!


Oh yeah my Little Miss Pants tried sweetened condensed milk for the first time....... I think it was a hit!