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Archive for January, 2012

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup Pepsi
2 cups fresh, pitted, Medjool dates
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 tbs packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs whole milk
1 tbs kahlua
1/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
for the soaking liquid/sauce:
1 1/4 cups butter
1 2/3 cups whipping cream
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 tbs kahlua
Preheat oven to 350F and butter 15 4-oz ramekins or line 24 muffin cups with silicone liners. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and spices. Set aside.
Bring the Pepsi, plus 1/3 cup water, to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add dates, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 7 minutes, until tender. Add 1 tbs water to the baking soda and stir into the dates (mixture will foam and darken). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and add eggs, incorporating one completely before adding the next. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add milk, kahlua and chopped chocolate, mixing until just combined.
Remove dates from liquid (reserving liquid) and chop. Return to liquid and let sit a few minutes before stirring into batter. Spoon batter into ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Let cool.
For the sauce:
In a medium pot over medium heat, combine butter, cream and brown sugar. Boil for 1 minute, then add kahlua. Set aside.
To assemble the puddings, when puddings are cooled and still in their ramekins, slice off and discard tops. Using a wooden skewer, poke full of holes. Spoon about 3 tbs of hot toffee sauce over each pudding, pressing gently to help them absorb the liquid. Reserve remaining sauce for serving. Let puddings sit for one hour or overnight.
To serve, gently warm puddings in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes. Release around edges with a knife and turn out onto serving plate. Reheat the sauce and drizzle over pudding. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.
Note: To store, tightly wrap unsoaked puddings, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

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1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
13 fl oz warm water
about 3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
Dissolve yeast in water. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt. Add yeast mixture. Using the end of a wooden spoon, bring ingredients together. When dough begins to form, turn out onto an unfloured surface. Knead until dough is elastic.
Form into a ball, place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled.  Do not punch down. Scrape dough onto a floured countertop. Cut in half and flatten gently with the heel of your hand into an elongated oval. Fold one side (lengthwise) into the centre and seal with your thumb. Repeat with the other side. Fold in half and seal along the seam. Roll a bit to shape lengthen and move to a towel-lined baking tray. With a pair of scissors held at a 45-degree angle to the dough, start at one end and snip deep Vees 3/4 into the dough. Push point to either side, alternating. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Preheat oven and baking stone to 450F.
Transfer, one at a time, to a floured baking peel or wooden cutting board. Working quickly, slide epi from cutting board to hot baking stone. Repeat. Generously mist inside of oven with water (about 12 sprays). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

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Potato Leek Soup


recipe courtesy of Christa Breuggermann
500 grams potatoes, peeled (I used Yukon Gold)
250 grams pound leek, white and light green parts, only
1 stalk celery
1 medium carrot
1 liter chicken stock
100 ml cream or whole milk
100 g butter (half that works very well)
1 tsp dried lovage leaves (or celery seed)
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
salt/pepper (at least 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
Dice potatoes into medium cubes. Roughly chop carrots, celery and leeks. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft. In a large pot, add potatoes, sautéed leeks, celery, carrot and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are very soft.
Remove from heat and puree using a hand blender. Return to heat and add seasonings, adjusting to your preference. Just before finishing, add cream or milk.

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about 12 large chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks (skinless and boneless or otherwise)
6 tbs Pataks brand Tandoori Paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
fresh cracked black pepper (several turns of the pepper mill)
Whisk together tandoori paste, coconut milk and pepper. Place chicken in a glass baking dish, poke several times with a fork and coat thoroughly with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
1/4 cup clarified butter (ghee) or canola oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tbs fresh gingerroot, grated
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 can (798ml) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 tbs brown sugar
kosher salt/freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream (not light or fat-free)
1 tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs almond butter (available in Superstore)
Heat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place marinated chicken parts in a single layer and bake until cooked through (do not over bake).
For the butter chicken sauce, while the chicken is cooking, add ghee or oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are tender. Add ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Stir to coat onions with spices. Cook for 1 more minute, until spices are fragrant. Add drained tomatoes, stock, brown sugar and salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Transfer 2/3 of the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to the pot with the remaining sauce and mix well. Return to heat. Stir in sour cream, cilantro and almond butter. Add chicken, stir to coat well. Continue cooking just until chicken is hot. Serve over hot cooked basmati rice.

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4 ciabatta buns (those big, yummy, triangular ones from Costco), halved
2 ripe pears
125g wheel camembert (or oka, if you’re more adventursome)
4 tbs Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam
Preheat panini press. Halve and core pears. Thinly slice lengthwise. Slice camembert (best done cold and with a serrated bread knife). Spread the bottom half of each bun with jam, top with sliced pears and camembert. Replace top half of bun and place sandwiches, one or two at a time, in press. Cook until cheese is gooey, then remove panini to a cutting board and slice into fingers. Serve immediately.
Where to find it: For Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam, either dash down to Okanagan Falls to the Meyer Family Vineyards, (250) 497.8553, or email jamgoddess@shaw.ca for mail orders.

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4 cups cubed roasted or poached chicken breast
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 cups halved seedless red grapes
2 tbs finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tbs tarragon vinegar
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper
In a large bowl, toss together chicken breast cubes, chopped walnuts, celery, grapes, tarragon leaves and blue cheese. In a separate, smaller, bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss salad together with dressing, adjust seasoning, and serve.
Note: The original Waldorf salad calls for apples instead of grapes. Finely sliced apple wedges may be substituted with

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about 6 large red potatoes
1/3 cup lard, bacon fat or canola oil
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
Scrub potatoes and slice into quarters. Cook in a large pot of salted water. Drain, slice thinly.
Heat fat in a large cast iron skillet until it sizzles when a bit of potato is introduced. Add potatoes. Cook until golden brown. Remove from fat with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season generously and serve.

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