Saturday, 16 November 2013

Modern Potato Salad

Is that not the most beautiful potato salad you've ever seen? "Plate-able and not scoop-able" as the Smitten Kitchen cookbook puts it, which is where I found this gem of a recipe. If you don't know Smitten Kitchen, you should. Every recipe I've tried is a winner. Last weekend, I made her "yogurt lime cake with blackberry sauce" that was perfect. Tart, sweet, moist. I will definitely be making that cake, and this salad again.

Here's her recipe:

Pickled Celery
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small shallot, minced

- 1 pound fingerling potatoes, boiled until fork-tender & cooled
- 2 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and cut into quarters

+ any additional other toppings (I used arugula and parsley)

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together and add the celery, let it soak for an hour in the fridge (the longer, the better)

Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. You can add in any additional spices or herbs you would like.

Assemble. Cut the potatoes in half, lay the potatoes down cut-side-up on a plate and drizzle the vinaigrette overtop. Top with pickled celery. Push the egg quarters through a fine mesh sieve yolk-first, to top the salad with egg-fluff :) ... Add any other additional toppings you'd like.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

London Fog Donuts

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Sunday just seems like the right day to be in the mood for a London Fog. Which is why, right after yoga this morning, I headed straight to the nearest coffee shop to pick one up. It's perfect for when you're not in a coffee mood but would still like something [caffeinated] to sip on.

If you don't know what a London Fog consists of, let me break it down for you:
                          - Strongly steeped earl grey tea
                          - Vanilla syrup/flavouring of some sort
                          - Steamed milk
            All conveniently stirred into one delicious cup. 

And as it so happens, I was near a David's Tea today, and picked up some "cream of earl grey"- essentially earl grey tea with vanilla. 

And behold, I've taken my recipe for cinnamon sugar donuts, and transformed it (by merely omitting the cinnamon, steeping the milk in earl grey on the stove first, and drizzling a lemon & vanilla bean glaze over top).

**You do need a donut pan if you'd like actual donuts, but I wouldn't doubt that making these in a muffin pan would have a similar effect.

If you'd like some earl grey in your life, here's the recipe:


Dry Ingredients
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk (I used almond milk)- steeped in about 2 tbsp earl grey tea (or about two teabags)
  • I steeped mine for about 10 minutes in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, with a metal strainer of the loose tea leaves just resting in the saucepan. Try to make it as strong as possible.
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

Glaze (Optional)
~1/2 cup powdered sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1 tsp milk


1. Preheat oven to 350*F

2. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

3. Pour mix into greased donut pan about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes; remove from oven when toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

5. To make the glaze, simply combine all ingredients and drizzle over cooled donuts

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mac-n'-Cheese Stuffed Portobellos

Happy September, hello comfort-food.

I mean really, when don't we enjoy some heavy comfort food? But this comfort food has some funky twists to it. I used my mom's traditional macaroni and cheese recipe, but threw in some unexpected ingredients...


Sorry, I had to. But seriously, the cheese I used is extra old cheddar with whiskey hot mustard! WOAH. If I see something that incredible on the shelf in a grocery store, I can't help myself. Honestly it could have been $30.00 and I wouldn't have even cared (it wasn't though, thankfully).

So what goes well with whiskey, mustard, and extra old cheese? Macaroni noodles. And why not some mushrooms? Why not? I am definitely someone who has to have at least one vegetable in a dish, or else I feel hella guilty.

So here's the scoop:

You'll need...

2 cups uncooked macaroni (I opted for whole wheat)

White sauce
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
2 cups of a shredded cheese of choice + a bit extra for topping (my opinion= the stronger, the better)

Add in's
1 tsp hot dijon mustard
1 cup sliced mushrooms, lightly sautéed (I just used typical criminis)

& depending how many you want, portobello mushroom caps
--> you can just make a few if desired and cook the rest of the macaroni in a smaller baking dish.

So now what?

1. COOK the macaroni noodles. Drain & set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and whisk in the flour (should be pasty)
3. Add in the 2 cups of milk, stirring well. Continue to stir (constantly) on medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken- this could take 5-10 min)
4. WHEN sauce thickens, add in your shredded cheese, and optionally your mustard & sliced mushrooms.
5. Stir in cooked macaroni & preheat oven to 350*F
6. Place your portobellos top-down on a baking sheet or dish, and spoon as much macaroni as you can on top of each, sprinkle with extra cheese.
7. Bake for 15-20 min, until cheese is bubbling and browning on top. the next step is always eat.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Strawberry Nesquick Cheesecake!

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Excuse me for the crap photography! I had to settle for an iPhone snapshot today.

Hello Mr.'s and Miss's.. (and Mrs.'s and Mz.'s).... I hope your day has been beautiful. Mine definitely had it's up's and down's... it's down's being waiting for almost three hours in the police station for a record check, and then walking out after only 2 numbers had been called in ONE hour! (I was still six away, I would have been there all night), BUT my up was this. This, beautiful, thing. Strawberry Nesquick cheesecake.

Did you ever have strawberry nesquick as a kid? Well I still do. On a regular basis. But that's beside the point. Sprinklebakes is one of my all-time fav's and she always has the greatest recipes. However, this one stood out. I actually couldn't find the powdered nesquick anywhere when I was originally going to make it about a year ago! Luckily, I have friends in high places and the lovely Laura from NYC was kind enough to seek it out and bring me it! Skip ahead a number of months and here we are- about 15 nesquick drinks and a cheesecake later, and the container is empty.

Here's the recipe...


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup jimmies or non-pareils... (the rainbow sprinkles- either the little sticks or the tiny dots)
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, melted

2 1/4 cups whipping cream
2 pkgs cream cheese (softened at room temp)
1 cup nesquick powdered mix
2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
non-pareils (sprinkles)

2. Combine graham crumbs, salt, sugar & sprinkles in a medium sized bowl. Add melted butter and combine until fully incorporated.
3. Press mixture into the bottom & up the sides (using your hands) of a 8- or 9-inch spring-form pan. Set aside.
4. Using an electric mixer, mix the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then slowly add the cream cheese until all incorporated (there may be some little chunks still but no worries- no one even noticed).
5. Add (sift if possible) the nesquick mix and sugar and continue mixing until it is well incorporated.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust just until it reaches the top of where you've pressed the crust to.
7. Whip the remaining topping cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, and then continue to whip until stiff peaks form. At this point, you can either 'dollop' some whipped cream on in any fashion you like, or pipe on stars around the outside and centre.
8. Sprinkle some non-pareils on top :)
9. Set in the freezer for 4-6 hours or overnight. You want the cheesecake to be partially frozen when you cut it, but not totally, so remove about 30 minutes prior to serving, or you can keep it in the fridge for an hour or two.

**For easy removal from spring-form pan, soak a tea-towel in hot water and wring dry, then wrap it around the sides of the pan to thaw the sides from the pan. This will help when you release the sides.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Protein Packed Veggie Chili

Not sure you could get more meat-free protein in this dish. This chili includes, as usual, a lot of beans. It also includes 'veggie ground' (a meat-free substitute for ground beef) and a ton of quinoa! Triple threat chili! This dish is also effortlessly vegan, provided you don't top it with a handful of cheddar. But I know you wouldn't, it's too good on it's own. ;)


1 red onion, sliced or chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 pkg veggie ground
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh garlic if you have it handy)
1 huge can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 (small) can of tomato paste
1/2 cup red quinoa

Ok, here's where it gets tricky.

1. First, cook the onion and green pepper on medium heat in a large pot until fragrant & softened.
2. THEN add the spices & veggie ground and let cook for a couple more minutes.

3....THEN...literally add the rest in, one ingredient at a time (down my list). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Optional to top with avocado, cilantro and green onion!

TIP: Even better consumed the next day. It continues to thicken overnight.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Spinach Ricotta Enchiladas

NEW POST! I am *trying* as always, to be healthy and not make cheese-slathered meals or buttery baked goods. I did cave earlier this week and bake some raspberry-coconut-lemon scones. Luckily, my colleagues at work eat things like that and happily consumed them all (I might have taken a couple...)

Today, spinach enchiladas. Not covered in cheese. just filled with it (but not all that much)... I also opted not to pour enchilada sauce all over them, as is the default. So alas, I ended up with something moderately healthy. Spinach, onions, tomatoes, garlic, spices, black beans, and some ricotta, all rolled up tight into whole wheat tortillas and baked. Not bad, right?

Changes for next time? Homemade garlicky guacamole for dipping :)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Blackberry & Coconut Tartlets

Tonight I had my dear friend Lesley over for some much needed catching up. As always, our meet-ups revolve around food. We are slowly hopping around Ottawa to all of the foodiest places we can find. Favourites so far include: Moonroom, Oz, Town and Two Six {Ate}. On the list of places yet to be visited: Union, Side Door, Trio, Absinthe. Soon enough!

But when we're feeling a bit more lazy or possibly broke, I just make a dinner for us and we eat in. Tonight the menu included curried cauliflower soup & these beauties of a dessert!... My very own creation of shortbread tartlets with homemade coconut curd, blackberries & lemon zest. Dang.

Alas, the night is not young- not when I have to get up for 5:20 AM... so I'll leave you with some pictures, with the recipes to follow....

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Caprese Roll-Up's

Woah, longest period of time I've gone without blogging in years! Sorry guys. I don't know what was wrong with me...

Maybe it was the desire to eat healthier, or the beautiful weather that forced me onto patios instead of into the kitchen- but I'm back. And this one's a doozy. 

Tonight I decided to make simple lasagna roll-up's- caprese style. 

Caprese= Mozzarella, basil, tomatoes. Add in some noodles and a bit of ricotta, and you have the perfect summery meal for a warm night in May. It was very easy, and if you pick your ingredients right- tastes so fresh! (Always opt for the fresh basil and super ripe roma tomatoes and you're set). 

8 lasagna noodles, cooked
about 2 cups shredded mozzarella 
3/4 cup ricotta 
1 egg
black pepper
3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
marinara sauce (I admittedly just used store-bought for convenience purposes) 

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 
2. Combine ricotta, egg, and about half the mozzarella. Mix well.
3. Cook your lasagna noodles and drain, do NOT rinse them! Lay them down on parchment.
4. Evenly spread some of the ricotta mixture (about 1/4 cup) over each noodle.
5. Top with tomato slices, basil ribbons & black pepper. Tightly roll up each noodle and lay together (nice and snug) in a large baking dish.
6. Pour a generous amount of marinara sauce over the noodles, ensuring to coat the edges (because they may get too crispy)
7. Sprinkle remainder of shredded mozzarella on top.
8. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Momofuku Blueberry & Cream Cookies

I know I've said it before. But my baking (or selection of recipes, most likely) must be getting better, because these are the best {homemade} cookies I've ever eaten. I bought the Milk Bar recipe book with birthday money I received in January... and although I had combed through it, dozens of times, I found the recipes somewhat daunting. Especially because I knew how Milk Bar products were supposed  to taste, thanks to my friend Laura in New York who introduced me to their coma-inducing birthday cake truffles.

So I started small. While I was in New York, we stopped by a Milk Bar and I bought a box mix for the blueberry & cream cookies. This week, while I had a night off with no plans, I decided to give it a shot. When you think of a box of cookie mix I'm sure you think "Cool! I'll just add eggs and oil and voila! Amazing cookies!" ...right? Momofuku clearly has higher hopes for their baking fans. The box contained the components- save for the butter and eggs, but you still had to basically go through the same lengthy process as if you had decided to make them from scratch. Four hours later and my night had flown by in as little as a "mix this in" then "bake that" then "melt this" and "stir that". What a process! However, just when I was about to write the cookies off as "too much effort for junk food," I tried a cookie. And then another. And possibly a third. Someone I work with told me they were the best cookies they had ever had...

"That's it!" I thought. "I'm making them from scratch this Saturday and no one can stop me."

Well. I've shopped, I've mixed, melted, coated, cooled, crumbled, mixed again, beat, folded, and baked.

I started this process when I got home from shopping at about 1:00. It is now 4:30 and I have a couple dozen cookies to show for it.

I highly highly highly suggest making these. You will not be disappointed.

Milk Crumb Ingredients
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick melted butter
1/4 cup milk powder- (yes, again)
3 ounces white chocolate, melted

1. Heat the oven to 250*F

2. Combine 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Toss until mixed well. Add melted butter and toss again, using a spatula until mixture forms small clusters.

3. Spread out clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes (however my oven is very hot- I only needed to bake them for about 12- do NOT let them get any more than a little brown. Please watch them closely-this happens fast). Cool completely.

4. Crumble any large clumps a bit smaller and add to a small bowl. Add the remaining milk powder. Melt the white chocolate and pour onto cooled crumbs in a bowl and coat the crumbs.

5. Place the crumbs back on the baking sheet in a single layer and put in the fridge until hardened, break apart pieces if needed and crumble a bit more.

Blueberry & Cream Cookie Ingredients (makes about 12 to 17 cookies)

2 sticks butter, at room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white corn syrup
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk crumb (previous recipe)
3/4 cup dried blueberries

1. Combine butter, sugars and glucose in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides, add eggs, and beat for 8 minutes on medium-high  (this is important- the mixture should be very pale and fluffy in the end)

2. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix no longer than 1 minute.

3. Add the milk crumbs and mix for no longer than 30 seconds, then add the blueberries and again-do not mix for more than 30 seconds.

4. Portion out dough onto parchment-lined pan. Milk Bar makes giant cookies (1/3 cup of dough each, spaced 4 inches apart), however feel free to make slightly smaller ones. Refrigerate the unbaked cookies for a minimum of an hour (also extremely important-don't skip this)

5. Preheat the oven to 350*F.

6. Put the cold cookies into the oven, and bake for 18 minutes (again, about 10-12 for me!) or until edges just start to brown but centre still looks pretty uncooked- that's ok! You want that. Remove them and let them cool completely on the cookie sheet.

 CONSUME!... Cookies will keep fresh for up to 5 days in an airtight container, or you can freeze them :)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Salsa Verde

I love salsa. ANY kind of salsa. Traditional salsa, mango salsa, pineapple salsa- but especially green salsa... or salsa verde as it's better known. Green salsa? What the hell goes into green salsa?

Green tomatoes, obviously! No, they are not just regular unripe tomatoes. They are a different type- tomatillos! You're not likely to find them in your average grocery store, but hit up a specialty shop and you shouldn't have too hard of a time- I found mine at Nicastro, as they have just about any type of produce you can think of.

So what else is in salsa verde? Onions, garlic, hot peppers, a bit of salt and a drizzle of olive oil (and some cilantro if it suits your fancy). Simple.

How do you make it?

Well... first you take the husks off the tomatillos- yes, they have a papery-thin outter layer. After, wash them well and slice them in half. Lay them face-down on a foil-covered cookie sheet. There should be about 8-10 of them (roughly a pound).

Then, cut an onion in half (I used a sweet onion)- and take the outside layer off. Lay it face down as well on the sheet.

Peel two garlic cloves and lay on the cookie sheet as well.

Now you have your choice of peppers, but I reccommend something at least mildly spicy for flavour. I used a poblano pepper, which are fairly mild but still have a bit of kick (and added some hot sauce after...), jalapeños are also an excellent addition.

Drizzle it all in olive oil and roast in the oven at 450*F for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for a bit, before placing it all, along with a bit of salt and the optional cilantro into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and voila! Amazing salsa verde.

Mine's already gone.

Sugar & Shortbread Cookies

As you all know, I love baking. What's more, I love baking and sharing my baked goods with people. Strangers, even. After all, I can't eat it all.

This Valentines, I decided to make as many cookies as humanly possible in one night, and give them out to people at work the next day :) I am happy to say they were a big hit. Apparently crowds were swarming the plates.

I made classic white sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, and shortbread cookies and invited my friend Tara over to help me decorate them! (AND sample, of course.) We experimented with colours, designs and techniques, and had quite the stack of adorable cookies in the end.

All my recipes (including the royal icing) came from my SprinkleBakes cookbook- which is definitely one of my favourite cookbooks EVER and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys baking. All of these recipes can also be found on her blog, at ... check her out!

And enjoy my photos of the whole process! Tara is delightful company, and a great photographer :)


KitchenAid Standmixer- Love of my life.

Sometimes I taste-test.

Outline- Then flood the cookies.

Draw lines in another colour while the flooded icing is still wet.

Then drag a toothpick through the lines in the opposite direction and watch beautiful designs form

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Double-Decker Carrot Cake

Even though yesterday was only January 30th, and even though my mom's birthday is February 9th, we celebrated yesterday. My [lucky] parents left for Mexico this morning, but before they left they took me out to dinner last night (well, I picked the restaurant. Oz Kafe... great pick.)

After, I invited them over for dessert & coffee and presented my mom with the first birthday cake I've ever made her- carrot cake with cream cheese. The cake was dense, but super moist and sweet. NO RAISINS! As me, and my mom, and dad prefer...

Her age won't be revealed (although you're welcome to guess)...
Not quite a teenager anymore, although her texting habits would beg to differ...