Posts tagged baked
Posts tagged baked
Weekend baking: marbled chocolate banana bread
Up until now, my go-to recipe for a marbled banana bread was this, which is technically a vegan recipe. But I wanted to use up some eggs that were getting pretty close to their expiry date, so I went on the hunt for a more traditional marbled banana bread recipe. I came across this one on the Globe and Mail's website, so I gave it a try.
This recipe features a mixture of both all-purpose and whole wheat flour, which I found added some great texture. The result was a fluffy, not-to-sweet bread. I followed the recipe exactly as described except that I reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup (from 3/4). I will also note that I found the directions for making the chocolate swirl (taking 1/4 cup of the batter and adding the cocoa powder) proved to be difficult, and I needed to add a bit of milk to the mixture to loosen it up enough to be stirred.
I would definitely make this banana bread again; it was easy, quick and delicious! Click here to link to the recipe.
A (delicious) baking fail (blueberry marble coffee cake)
Sometimes shopping at Costco isn’t the greatest for a two-person family, but I just love it! Thank god for the freezer (yes, we have a chest freezer! haha).
One of my favourite things to load up on at Costco is fruit: it is usually very reasonably priced, fresh, and, of course, there is plenty of it! After coming home with a giant package of blueberries on our last trip to Costco, I thought I’d put a good chunk of them to use in a delicious summery dessert. Coincidentally, I had just come across a tasty looking recipe on the Serious Eats website for a blueberry marble coffee cake, so off I went to get baking! (Click on my photo to link to the recipe).
I made the recipe exactly as described except for the following: I used bottled lemon juice (instead of fresh from the lemon - so what? Yup, I’m lazy) and I used fat-free plain greek yogurt (instead of full-fat).
And now for the fail….
So, when I was at the final stage of the recipe where you swirl the blueberry mixture into the rest of the batter that you’ve poured into your bundt pan, I realized that there might be a slight problem. I followed the recipe’s directions exactly, but realized that my batter was quite thick, and swirling in the blueberry mixture into the rest of the batter was not going well. And I was right - as you’ll see in my finished product, the blueberry swirl ended up being, well, a blueberry bottom! So, I would encourage you to follow your gut while making this, and, if your batter is thick, I’d add half your regular batter to your bundt pan first, then the blueberry swirl (and swirl it around with knife to properly mix), and then the rest of your regular batter.
I will definitely make this cake again - it was insanely delicious and easy to make - but with the knowledge of making sure to properly swirl my blueberry mixture!
Weekend baking project: cornbread
I have a confession to make: I have an addiction. To what, you ask? Why, anything corn-based. Cornbread, corn tortilla wraps, corn tortilla chips …I just can’t get enough. There is something about the flavour and texture of corn-based baked goods that makes my mouth water just thinking about them!
I had been on the lookout for a good cornbread recipe, something that I could make and freeze to eat with soups, stews, chilis and whatever else with which I could pair it. A work friend mentioned one day about making a batch of cornbread, so I asked her for her recipe, which is one that she has tweaked and tweaked until getting it just right for her taste. I loved it! It is the perfect combination of not too sweet but with that excellent texture that comes from the cornmeal. I made a few minor tweaks myself, and below is my adaptation of her recipe. The recipe makes a lot of muffins (almost 24), which is perfect if you’re serving them at a gathering, but if you’re not, I recommend freezing them and pulling them out when you want to eat them. They freeze well but don’t leave them in there for more than a month or two!
Cornbread muffins - makes almost 24
- 2/3 cup of butter (softened)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 and 2/3 cups of milk
- 2 and 1/3 cups of flour (half white/half whole wheat)
- 1 cup of cornmeal
- 4 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 cup of honey
In the bowl of a stand mixer , cream together the sugar and butter. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. In another bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder.
Using the sugar/butter mixture as your main bowl, alternate adding in the milk mixture and the flour mixture on low speed until all ingredients are mixed. Then add the honey.
Preheat oven to 400. Divide the batter among two greased muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden.
Let cool for a few minutes in the pans before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Mine came out of my muffin tins very easily (none stuck to the sides). If you’re more comfortable using muffin cup papers, feel free to do so as well.
Weeknight supper: honey dijon baked salmon with walnuts
One of the quickest weeknight dinners that I know how to make is baked salmon. Pair it with a salad, and voila: dinner is ready! The other great thing about salmon is that it can be seasoned with so many different flavours to keep your taste buds interested.
One recent weeknight (while the husband was filling his craving for a pizza) I decided to top my salmon with a mixture of honey Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and then top it with chopped walnuts. I baked it at 425° for about 15 minutes (bake for more or less time depending on how well done you prefer your salmon - I don’t mind if mine is just slightly underdone in the middle) and served it with a side of Farm Boy’s freshly prepared Mediterranean orzo salad. This is definitely one of my new favourite ways to season my salmon! What’s yours?
Product review: Village Buns cinnamon buns
Over the Christmas holidays, the husband and I indulged in a few treats, one of them being Village Buns cinnamon buns. Available in the frozen, take-home food section at one of my favourite Ottawa food shops, Thyme and Again, I had seen these cinnamon buns on numerous occasions but had not purchased them. I finally gave in to my addiction to cinnamon and brought them home to try!
The buns come with simple directions on how to thaw, cook and frost the buns. I followed the directions and they turned out perfectly! We were so eager to eat them that I didn’t get the chance to make icing with which to top them, but recipes are available on the Village Buns website here.
If you’re looking for an easy, tasty way to serve cinnamon rolls to family or guests without all the work, these are for you! I would buy these again and would recommend them if you’re feeling too lazy to make your own (like me! haha).
Holiday baking: white chocolate covered pretzel and chip cookies
It has been forever since I have done any real baking, and, with the big dumping of snow that we got this past Sunday, I thought, what better way to spend the day? (and what better way to reward the husband and I after a whole lot of snow shovelling?)
I was also inspired by this week’s Gastropost mission, which was holiday indulgences. Cookies have to be my favourite holiday indulgence. Everyone gets so creative with cookies during the holidays!
I wanted to try a new recipe, and I also didn’t want the recipe to make too many cookies (fresh cookies laying around? Ok thanks I’ll eat 10!!!), so when I came across this recipe on the fantastic Yankee Kitchen Ninja blog, I was sold. The recipe makes about two dozen cookies, which seemed like a good amount: not too many and not too few. I planned to freeze most of them to serve to friends and family during the holidays! As well, the husband loves anything white chocolate, so I knew these would be a hit.
I made the cookies exactly as described (click here to link to the recipe) except that I added some red and green coloured sugar before baking for some holiday cheer! Happy holiday baking everyone!
The most perfect mini corn breads to accompany a southern BBQ-style lunch from @DoubleDsBarBQ - always a delicious meal!
Easy baking project: pumpkin cinnamon chip bread
I had a bag of cinnamon chips sitting in my pantry just screaming to be used, so when I came across this recipe on the lovely Peanut Butter and Peppers blog, I was all set to go! You see, cinnamon baking chips are hard to come by for us Canadian bakers; I had acquired my bag on our last grocery shopping trip to New York State.
I didn’t realize it until I actually set out to start baking the bread that this is seemingly a “healthier” pumpkin bread recipe in that the moisture comes from the pumpkin, some greek yogurt, egg whites and just three tablespoons of olive oil. I made a few substitutions to the recipe as follows: I used whole wheat all purpose flour (instead of white whole wheat flour); white sugar instead of presweet tagatose (something made from stevia); and just regular olive oil.
This bread turned out deliciously! It is quite dense, but I liked it that way. The cinnamon chips are an absolute delight; they pair perfectly with pumpkin, of course!
Weeknight dinner: broccoli and cheese baked pasta
I tend to avoid making homemade white pasta sauces; for some reason I can never get the flavour combinations right and it always turns out to be bland. I tend to have much more success with homemade tomato-based sauces, which, if I’m feeling in the mood for a bit of creaminess, I can add some light cream to the sauce for a rose sauce.
I decided to throw caution to the wind when I came across this recipe for a baked broccoli pasta on Food Republic's website; it has all of the kind of flavours that the husband and I love and I thought perhaps a baked pasta would be more successful. The result? It was still just a tad bland for the both of us. But, it wasn't terrible. We found it was even better when we had it as leftovers the next night; the flavours seemed to come together a bit more. Click on my photo above to link to the original recipe.
I would make this again but I would definitely make a few additions to add some of the kind of flavour that I like. Perhaps some pesto, or even some cooked crumbled Italian sausage. We made a few little changes to Food Republic’s recipe, which I detail below in my adapted version.
Broccoli and cheese baked pasta - slightly adapted from Food Republic
- 7 ounces fusilli pasta
- 1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 slices proscuitto, chopped and cooked
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup 5% cream (or whatever cream you have on hand)
- 1/3 cup 1% milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)
- 2/3 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
- salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425F. Oil a deep 9x9 ovenproof dish (I sprayed mine with Pam).
Cook the chopped proscuitto in a frying pan. When almost done, add the minced garlic to let it cook a little bit. Set aside to cool.
Cook pasta in large saucepan of boiling water according to package directions for al dente. Add broccoli for the last 5 minutes of pasta cooking time; drain. Rinse pasta and broccoli under cold water; drain, cool.
Combine eggs, cream, milk, cheddar, Italian herbs and the salt and pepper in large bowl and mix until yolks are diffused. Add in the cooled proscuitto, broccoli and pasta. Gently stir to combine.
Spoon mixture into baking dish; sprinkle with combined panko breadcrumbs, parmesan and lemon rind.
Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until browned lightly and set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Weeknight dinner: chicken schnitzel on a bun
Growing up, one of my Mom’s staple quick dinners was pork or chicken schnitzel from a favourite local butcher. It came pre-cooked, and it was incredibly fresh and delicious. I loved to eat my schnitzel on a fresh, soft roll, slathered in French’s yellow mustard.
The husband and I have made schnitzel on a bun one of our own quick weeknight dinners. Our favourite local grocery store, Farm Boy, sells fresh chicken schnitzel that is ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice. We serve ours on top of fresh toasted buns, and I’ve graduated from a little mustard to lettuce and tomato for my toppings. We made a batch of his (russet potatoes) and hers (sweet potato) baked oven fries to accompany our sandwiches.
The dinners that my Mom came up with so long ago were so simple at the time, but it is funny and heartwarming that it is those memories that are what fuel my own sense of creation when it comes to making dinner as an adult.
A very special dinner celebration
The fiance and I had the very special pleasure of attending an engagement party for my sister and her fiance one recent weekend. Hosted by my sister’s future mother-in-law, our two families gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion of their engagement (he popped the question this past January).
My sister and her boyfriend have been together for a very long time now, so this dinner was not a meeting of the two families. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories about her fiance’s Mom’s cooking, so, naturally, I was totally excited to see what we would be eating!
Well, the stories were true: the food was amazing! The huge buffet of home made goodness included chicken cordon bleu, scalloped potatoes, lasagna, roasted pork, baked beans, grilled pineapple, and caesar salad. I can’t say I’ve ever had home made chicken cordon bleu, so this was an incredible treat (and it is also one of my sister’s fiance’s favourite dishes, which is why his Mom made it!) It was a fantastic engagement celebration, one that we will not soon forget!
Dinner at Fresco Bistro Italiano
When I think of Fresco’s, I think of my early to mid-20s, a time when I lived downtown, had no responsibilities, and was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I enjoyed many a meal and drinks with friends at Fresco’s, and have numerous fond memories of hanging out at the resto.
So it was hugely exciting for me when I found out that Fresco’s was opening a west end location this past fall. I couldn’t wait to go and enjoy some of their delicious cuisine, and I was lucky enough to receive a gift certificate for Fresco’s for my birthday, so the fiancé and I finally went one recent evening.
I forgot how amazing their menu offerings are, and had quite the time making a choice about what to order. The fiancé was equally perplexed; there were just so many things we both wanted to try. We ended up starting with the baked macaroni and cheese, which was a rich combination of mushrooms, crispy fried pancetta, a three cheese blend, and elbow noodles, topped with a panko crumb crust and infused with truffle oil. It was amazing.
For our mains, I finally settled on the seafood bouillabaise, which featured a rich tomato-fennel broth with seared scallops, shrimp, mussels, salmon, roasted zucchini and celery root. It came topped with crostinis smeared with black olive tapenade and truffle oil. I couldn’t have chosen better as this dish was absolutely perfect - everything was expertly cooked and seasoned. I also think I am becoming quite the lover of bouillabaise; this is the second time I’ve ordered it in a restaurant in the last few months!
The fiancé went with his gut feeling and ordered the carne pizza, which came topped with tomato sauce, chorizo sausage, bison salami, roasted red peppers, caramelized onion, mozzarella and Benedictine bleu cheese. The size of the pizza was excellent - not too big or small - and absolutely delicious.
There was one last thing we had to try - I couldn’t come to Fresco’s without ordering the tiramisu! It was just as delicious as I remembered it to be, so rich but light as air, dessert perfection.
Fresco’s is still as great as it ever was, and I am excited, now a few years older and wiser, to make new memories.
Individual baked oatmeal cups
Just when you thought I couldn’t find yet another way to love oatmeal, I did just that! When I saw this recipe for individual baked oatmeal cups on the lovely Peanut Butter and Peppers blog, I immediately e-mailed it to myself to make on the weekend.
These little muffins are so versatile; you can add anything you like for flavours (spices, fruit, nuts) and you can adjust your preferred level of sweetness too. I opted to leave mine unsweetened save for a few pieces of chopped granny smith apple on top.
So simple to make, I whipped them up in no time, and I froze the whole batch to be able to pull them from the freezer for week day lunch snacks. They are fantastic!
My favourite fall treat: Scone Witch’s pumpkin scone
I treated myself to my favourite scone in the city earlier this fall - you have to get them while they are available! Scone Witch’s pumpkin scones are a fall tradition of mine. I like to buy two scones: I eat one right away with a cup of strong, hot coffee, bite by sip by bite by sip, and then I freeze the other one to enjoy later! The texture of the scone is so dense and chewy, and the flavour is the complete essence of the fall season! Yum.
Chicken fingers for grown-ups!
I finally took the time to make my homemade chicken fingers one recent evening. The boyfriend had been bugging me to make them since we didn’t eat them all summer due to the heat!
It takes a little bit of extra time to prepare these, but they are worth the effort. The first thing to do is set up your stations - you’ll need all-purpose flour, one or two eggs, scrambled until mixed, and breadcrumbs of your choice (I use panko crumbs with various herbs and spices added in). I take fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them up into chicken finger-sized pieces. Coat each piece in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip each piece in the egg. Finally, take the egg-covered piece and submerge it in the breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken. Bake the chicken fingers on lightly greased cookie sheets at 425° for 10-12 minutes per side. Serve with your favourite side dish - I had my sweet potato oven fries!