Posts tagged bread
Posts tagged bread
Weekend project and Gastropost submission: cinnamon bread
Feast your eyes on my contribution to this week’s Gastropost mission! Cinnamon bread is one of my all-time favourite kinds of bread. I first fell in love with it after biting into a slice of Richmond Bakery’s cinnamon bread a few years ago, and I’ve been craving it ever since!
I’ve always wanted to try making it myself, but, as I’ve said before, I’m intimidated by the idea of working with yeast and yeasted breads. As well, there is a quite a time commitment with making bread; this particular recipe called for two rising periods of one and a half hours each! But, in the end, it was well worth it. The bread was perfect, and I couldn’t be more proud of my first attempt to make it! The texture is dense and chewy yet light, and the flavour is a delightful fusion of both savory and sweet.
This is what weekends are made of.
Breakfast at Eggstyle (again)
The fiancé adores Eggstyle, so much so that he begs me to go there every weekend. Most of the time I say no, but even I have to give in every once in a while! haha
We try something different each visit, and this time we set our sights on the french toast. But not just any french toast: apple bread french toast! Two generous pieces of apple bread dipped in french toast batter, grilled and topped with hot cinnamon apples, yogurt, caramel and toasted almonds. It was quite a treat! The bread was fluffy and light and the combination of the apples, yogurt, caramel and almonds was a delightful taste and textural adventure.
Weeknight dinner: Corn chowder
After the first recipe from my Soup Cookbook turned out so well, I was eager to try another. I’d always been curious about corn chowder, and I know how much the fiance loves his corn, so I decided to give this one a try.
It is a bit more labour intensive; you have to puree the corn and milk and then press that mixture through a fine sieve to create a corn-infused milky liquid. Pressing it through the sieve took a bit of elbow grease but nothing too crazy.
The result was a delicious and hearty soup, much like the potato and pesto soup. To round out our meal and add some protein, I baked some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and then shredded the cooked meat on top of the soup. We also served it with some homemade garlic toast on the side. This recipe is delicious! The fiancé loved it too.
- 150 grams bacon, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, very finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 1/2 cups corn kernels (I used frozen kernels that I thawed)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 large russet potatoes, chopped into smallish bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups chicken stock
- pinch of cayenne pepper (I didn’t have it so I used smoked paprika and chili powder)
- 1/2 cup 5%/light cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley for garnish
- Fry the bacon in a large pot for 5 minutes over medium heat (or until starting to crisp). At this point, you can drain the bacon and excess bacon fat if you like; I did it this way. Add back the bacon, add the butter, and, once foaming, add the onion, red bell pepper and bay leaf. Cover and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, until the onion is soft but not browned (watch closely; stir often).
- Meanwhile, add 2/3 of the total amount of the corn and the milk to a food processor. Blend for at least 2 minutes. Push mixture through a fine strainer, discarding the solids left in the strainer, and reserving the liquid.
- Add the garlic and potatoes to the pot and moisten with a little bit of the stock. Add the cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Pour the remaining stock and reserved corn liquid into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining corn kernels and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and check the seasoning. Ladle into warmed bowl and garnish with cilantro or parsley.
Ukrainian Christmas Dinner
Part of my family’s heritage is Ukrainian, which is from my mother’s mother’s side. I remember a few lovely food-related traditions that I experienced at my grandparent’s house when I was very young, such as eating my Grandma’s borscht.
One way that my family has been able to continue to participate in the tradition of Ukrainian Christmas is by sharing it with a family who has always been close friends of ours. Each year they invite us to share in their tradition with their extended family and we are so honoured to continue to be included.
Everyone looks forward to sharing this special time catching up with our friends, and enjoying the huge and delicious meal that they make. The first course is borscht, a hearty soup with potatoes and cabbage in a clear, vegetarian-based broth. Then comes the main meal, which includes perogies, cabbage rolls, fried fish, mushroom gravy, pickled herring and kutia, which is a mixture of cooked wheat groats, poppy seeds and honey. My favourite is the home made sweet bread: if you’re a bread addict like me, this bread is insanely good!
I haven’t had the opportunity to attend Ukrainian Christmas in many, many years, what with living so far away from our friends. But fate and luck came together this year and I was able to attend, and I am so thankful to have shared in this tradition once more, and to catch up with my extended family.
Spicy gingerbread cake
A friend passed along a copy of this recipe to me, and I was instantly excited to make it. Despite my excitement, the recipe sat in my “to make” pile for quite some time.
When I finally did get around to making it, I absolutely kicked myself for waiting as long as I did! This cake is made up of a number of my favourite flavours: coffee, molasses, cinnamon, ginger (and fresh ginger!!) and cloves. It is unbelieveably moist and dense, which I adore. I used my own quick glaze recipe (icing sugar, cream and cinnamon) to add a bit of sweetness and decoration. I will be making this cake again soon!! It would make a perfect addition to any holiday dessert line up or as a snacking cake to be served with coffee or tea if you have company coming over. Click on the photo for a link to the recipe.
Weeknight #dinner: (store bought) spinach and ricotta manicotti with my simple tomato sauce recipe. #Art-is-in bread to share!
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-apart Bread
Is there a recipe that sits at the back of your mind forever and ever, one that you know you want to make so badly but never end up taking the initiative to do so? Well this cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread was on my to-do list for as long as I can remember, especially since I made a pledge to get into baking with yeast, but I only got around to it one recent weekend, and I am thrilled that I did!
Part of my process was finding a recipe that I really liked, and this one is fantastic. I found it on the lovely Annie’s Eats blog, on which I’ve found a ton of great recipes! Click on the photo for a link.
This bread turned out deliciously; the boyfriend and I couldn’t tear (haha) ourselves away from it! So soft, chewy, sweet and with a wallop of cinnamon, I will be making this again very, very soon. Yum.
This was the bread basket that was on each of the tables at my bff’s wedding last weekend. I had to keep myself in check BIG TIME to force myself not to eat every single item in this basket!
The catering company, Savoury Pursuits, is known for their homemade breads and now I know why! My favourite was the pesto roll, with the whole wheat loaf coming in at a close second. I appreciate excellent bread so so much and this was amazing!
Lunch at Fratelli
Yet another work-related retirement occasion brought my coworkers and I out to dine at Fratelli, a local restaurant with a number of locations focusing on creative, wholesome Italian cuisine.
I’ve been to Fratelli many times but had not been in quite a while, and not for lunch, so I was curious to try some of their different options.
As always, the service is friendly and attentive, and no sooner are you seated when, voila, a basket of their famous rosemary bread (and accompanying olive oil and balsamic vinegar) arrives at your table. Try to resist it, I dare you! It is delicious, soft and oh so hearty and comforting in a way that only fresh bread can be.
I’m on a huge cappuccino kick right now; anywhere I go where I can order a freshly brewed cappuccino, I do so straight away! So I started my lunch with a yummy and satisfying cap, which was served with a generous dollop of frothed milk and an adorable mini almond biscotti, which I smartly saved for dessert.
After much humming and hawing over the menu, I finally went with the Fish Soup. Not the most creative name for what turned out to be a spectacular dish, but there it was, and it was delicious! A rich tomato and white wine broth overflows with large shrimp, pieces of salmon, baby scallops, mussels (in the shell), calamari, diced zucchini and baby spinach. Served with a grilled slice of the rosemary bread, this was one of the best meals yet for me at Fratelli.
Strawberry Banana Bread
Do you ever tire of reading food blogs? I don’t! I could (and do) read them endlessly using the amazing Google Reader tool. There are so many and I don’t know how each and every one is so unique, amazing and inspirational! Often, when I come across a recipe that I’d like to make, I immediately review the required ingredients and either mentally or physically take stock of what I already have on hand. I am immediately hugely satisfied when I realize that, magically, I do not have to make a trip to the grocery store to make the recipe!
This sweet turn of events was exactly what transpired when I took a mental checklist of the ingredients required for this Strawberry Banana Bread from the blog Cate’s World Kitchen. A perfect storm of factors had lined up for me to make this bread: the Canada Day long weekend was approaching and I wanted to bring something along with me to the cottage; the bananas were very ripe; and the boyfriend would never eat the strawberries left in the fridge. Magic!
This bread was, like most quick breads, very easy to make. The only changes I made to the recipe were to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and non-fat plain greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt. I also added a light sprinkling of demerara sugar before popping the loaf into the oven to bake.
The result was a moist, delicious, and not-too-sweet quick bread that I plan to make again and again! Click here for a link to the recipe.
Lunch at Art-is-in Boulangerie
My work pals and I decided to scurry off for a delicious lunch of fresh and amazing sandwiches at Art-is-in Boulangerie one recent Friday. The boyfriend and I had been there before a few times, but I’d forgotten my camera, so this was the first time I was able to capture all that deliciousness to share with you!
The couple of times that the boyfriend and I went to buy fresh bread, we noticed that they’re almost always sold out of most flavours of their sandwiches, so I was eager to go for an early lunch to have the full menu from which to choose!
I chose one of the daily specials, the Flash Fry Beef Melt. The sandwich featured a healthy serving of sliced quick-grilled beef, topped with provolone cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, grainy mustard, and Thousand Island dressing, all loaded on one of their potato, caramelized onion and fresh dill baguettes. Oh. My. God. Amazing. That is all.
My work bffs all enjoyed their sandwiches tremendously. One of those sandwiches was the proscuitto, arugula, ricotta and white truffle, all served on their kalamata olive baguette. This is one of their regular menu items that is a favourite! Delicious!
I guess it is pretty obvious how much I love this place; maybe next time I’ll do a post only on their desserts and baked goods! The question is, how soon? haha
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am so proud to tell you about my first real time baking with dry active yeast! It sounds weird to say it like that, but it truly was a surreal and life changing experience for me! Haha
I used this recipe from the lovely Cake Duchess blog. It is short and straightforward, and her directions (and accompanying photos) are very helpful.
I wanted to start off with a more basic focaccia for my attempt at the recipe, so although hers calls for toppings (cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions), I went with a basic herbed focaccia and used herbes de Provence and olive oil to top my dough.
The result? For my first baked bread, I think this turned out pretty freaking great! I managed to not burn it, and the flavour was delightful. The texture was ever so slightly stiff according to the boyfriend, but I think his expectations were a little bit off (I think he was picturing fluffy white bread, and although the centre of the focaccia was fluffy, the crust was a tad stiff).
We ate a little bit of it the first night that I made it, and then cut the rest into two further servings and froze it. When we reheated, we topped the focaccia with garlic butter and parmesan cheese and served it with pasta. Funnily enough, the reheated focaccia was just as great, if not slightly better than the fresh-out-of-the-oven version, but I think the garlic butter may have been the culprit for that!
Having made this focaccia, it has opened up the door to many other future experiments (pizza dough anyone? Flatbread?), all of which I will happily share with you! Now that I have jumped that first hurdle of using the dry active yeast for the first time, I feel more confident. Let the recipes start flowing!
I threw together this dinner for myself one night recently when I needed something quick, and I couldn’t have done it without Farm Boy. They have such a great selection of in-house products, especially their Chef Prepared section filled with delicious freshly made take home items. One of my favourite items from their Chef Prepared section is this pearl barley and apricot salad with toasted almonds and a lemon vinaigrette. There is something about the texture of the salad that I find so addictive, and it has such a light, fresh flavour.
Two of my other favourite Farm Boy products are this cranberry pumpkin seed bread (and in this case in the form of a demi-baguette) and this in-house roasted turkey breast (from the deli). The cranberry pumpkin seed bread is so versatile - you can use it for sweet or savoury pursuits and it is incredibly tasty! Let me be clear that Farm Boy does not give me anything to say these things; I am simply in love with their amazing products.
Country Harvest Cranberry Muesli Bread
The boyfriend bought this bread on one of our recent grocery shopping trips. It was the first time he’d seen it in the store (and from the packaging, it appears to be a new product) so he decided to give it a try. As prepackaged bread goes, it’s actually quite nice and flavourful. Studded with little bits of dried cranberry and flax seeds, and with a hint of cinnamon, it has excellent texture and taste. It’s great when a new product comes along that is a little bit different and that is actually good! I think this bread would make for tasty French toast or a sweet grilled sandwich of some kind.