Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Spaghetti Carbonara

When I lived in France, I had a couple of host mothers who would make Spaghetti Carbonara on a Saturday night for those who were around and looking for something quick.  I always loved the bacon and cheese in the sauce, but I could never figure out once I started cooking for myself how to get the sauce that they would make. 
I think part of my problem was that I was going from memory, which can be a hazy thing.  I knew there were eggs, but how to cook so that there wasn't just scrambled egg clinging to the pasta?  I also couldn't decide beyond bacon and cheese what needed to be added.
Enter a second look at the March 2006 Everyday Food.  While flipping through the Weekly Menu article, I found a familiar looking comfort food from my time in France.  When I told J what I was making, and explained what Spaghetti Carbonara was, I was met with tolerant skepticism.  I don't think J truly understood the magnitude of a dish with such simple ingredients that could just make you happy.
I was told, however, at the completion of this dish that I could make it again when I wanted.  High praise indeed.
I present to you now from the March 2006 edition of Everyday Food, Spaghetti Carbonara:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Things that make you go hmmmmm: Ben's Chocolate Ice Cream

With the weather of this past week, where I'm back to wearing socks and long sleeves, I know what you're thinking:  Why are you making ice cream?  Are you mad?
The short answer is no.  But I will warn you that this is a recipe where you question many things, including why you haven't made it yet.  While freezer diving a couple of weeks ago, I ended up shifting the bowl of my ice cream maker around, and I started thinking about how great ice cream made at home is, and how it's been so long since I've made it, and how I need to start making ice cream again.
Then I started looking at Facebook.
One of the blogs I like and follow on Facebook is The Way to His Heart.  I think I found Maeghan and her blog through Pinterest with the stuffed Taco Shells.  I followed that up by making Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from there as well.  And while there are many things that I consider making, I don't always get around to it.
When I saw this ice cream, I knew that that would be different in this case.  For whatever reason, I've not made a good, plain chocolate ice cream.  Perhaps I've considered it too easy, but chocolate ice cream just sounded good.  The recipe was also full of pantry staples so that I could make the batter without buying a thing.  So I wasn't questioning the flavour, nor the ingredients.  Let's take a look at what I did wonder about, shall we?
I present to you now from The Way to His Heart, Ben's Chocolate Ice Cream:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

According to my mother, I ate a banana everyday as a very small child.  I'm not exactly sure when this stopped, but I know that for as long as I can remember I have not liked bananas by themselves or as a simulated flavour.  That being said, I have started making banana chocolate chip muffins (or even better Monkey Muffins) which have been enjoyable.
In the January/February 2006 issue of  Everyday Food, there was a recipe for banana chocolate chip bread with nuts.  You could probably turn it into muffins, but I decided to widen my scope and try my bananas studded with chocolate in loaf form.  I don't think it was a mistake.
I present to you now from the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Planning: April 22-26, 2014

Easter happened.  We went to see my mom.  I made rolls for Easter dinner, and was told that I could sell them.  Heh.
But now we're back for a short week. I seem to have an awful lot of cooking that I want to do in this week.  We are out Friday night for a baseball game, but other than that we're around.  As a result, I want to get a bunch of things in that need to either be made or attempted. 
I'm still planning lunches as well as dinners around here.  I'm not good about actually getting the lunches on the table like I am dinner.  I think it's that by the time I realize that I want to make lunch it's too late for the recipe I think sounds good and we have something quick instead.
Ah well.  One can always try.  Here's the plan for this week:

Wonton Soup
Leftover Soup
Leftover Enchiladas

Asparagus and Sausage Saute
Enchiladas and Spanish Rice
Leftover Enchiladas
Spaghetti Carbonara (I know, I know...this is week 3 this has shown up.  I still haven't made it.)

Desserts and Baking
Glazed Cheese Croissants
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Ben's Chocolate Ice Cream
Secret Recipe Club testing - More info to follow May 5!

Sounds like a good week.  And the banana bread just came out of the oven.  It's delicious.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Magazine Challenge: Mini Salmon Loaves

Fish is not one of my favourite things.  It is one of J's, though.  I promised a while ago that I would start cooking fish for him more often, and I will when I see it on sale.  When I saw these in the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food, I figured they were worth a shot, and then promptly forgot about them.
In the past couple of weeks, I've been watching Save with Jamie on On Demand.  There are 4 recipes in each episode, and I would like to try most of them!  One thing that he makes every week is a "mothership roast" that can be turned into other entrees during the week.  One episode, he roasted a side of salmon and made a fish pie with the leftovers.  Fish pie doesn't really turn my crank, but one of the things he talked about in the episode was that if you were serving just the meat roasted, buy fresh.  In something where the texture of the fish wouldn't be noticed in the same way, you could use frozen.
When I went to the grocery store, the 3-day sale for fresh salmon was over.  I decided to see how frozen would be.
This was really a huge experiment.  I halved the recipe, probably overcooked the fish, and then couldn't get it to form into patties.  But based on what went into them, and the improvisation that I did, it all worked out.
I present to you now my adaptaion of the December 2005 Everyday Food's Salmon Cakes:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Teriyaki Chicken Wings

You know how you go to the grocery store and buy things that are on at a great price, blithely having no clue what you plan to do with your awesome score because you meal plan?  So then you put it in the freezer, knowing that you will make something awesome that will be super cheap and you will gloat about what you made with that thing you bought?
Me neither.
I make the super score, bring said item home, put it in the chest freezer, and promptly forget about my great shopping prowess.  Until months later, I go freezer diving looking for something else and find what I bought.
These wings would be a case in point.  I think J and I bought them in the fall when they were on sale, thinking we would have them one Saturday during football season.  I think.  No matter.  The important part of this story is that I found the package of wings in my freezer while looking for something else along with the sad ends of a 5 pound bag of broccoli from Costco.  By happy coincidence I had been reading the April 2006 issue of Everyday Food looking for things to make.  The Cooking for One article fit the bill for both using up the broccoli bits and the wings. 
This dinner used up both, and J told me that I'll need to make these wings again during football season.  You know, if I buy wings again when they're on sale and stick them in the freezer for a special occasion...or a Tuesday.
I present to you now from the April 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Teriyaki Chicken Wings:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Got Milk 5: Old Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies

In 2005, I was involved in a cookie exchange with some friends that I had made through the Cooking Light community bulletin boards.  It was one of the only cookie exchanges that I have ever done, and probably one of the most fancy I will ever be involved in.  I agreed to make the Rum Balls from that year's Martha Stewart holiday cookie magazine.  Essentially, you made a really rich brownie which you broke up and put into the mixer while still warm with good quality rum to make a paste that I rolled in ground pecans. Yum.
I have had that cookie magazine ever since.  In flipping through it, I discovered that I have not made another recipe from it until now (do you notice a theme with me, cooking magazines and the lack of things I make?  I certainly do).  J and I wanted cookies, so I went looking for something new and different.
The closeup of these cookies was intriguing.  You could see the sanding sugar standing out on the tops of these cookies.  I was sure it would add an interesting crunch.  I was also interested in the fact that it didn't make a huge batch with a yield of 20 (I got 21 cookies).  I just happened to have a bottle of King Arthur Flour Sparkling White Sugar in the cupboard that I had received as a part of a Christmas gift.  This would be a perfect way to use it!
I present to you now from the Martha Stewart 2005 Cookies magazine, Old Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gilding the Lily: Chocolate Cream Pie

I know that I seem to be doing a ton of baking at the moment.  Perhaps it's because it's Spring, or maybe I just want more sugar in my life.  But whatever the reason, I've been going through a whole lot of sugar and flour.
While I make and bake a lot of things, I don't make pie crust.  When I have made crust in the past, it's turned out tough and non-flaky.  As a result, it's a whole lot easier to just buy the frozen ones and get on with things.  I mentioned to J that I had a frozen crust in the freezer, left over from when I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  He asked me to make his favourite:  chocolate cream pie.  
Chocolate cream pie has never been one of my favourites.  I think of it mainly in 2 ways:  as the pie on the dessert buffet that invariably looks good but never tastes that great, and a graham cracker crust concoction with instant chocolate pudding and Cool Whip topping.  Neither really tickles my fancy.  I'm also not a huge fan of gelatinous cooked pudding, which is what the filling for a chocolate cream pie really is.
But then I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and it looked delicious.  I clicked through and saw the recipe was from King Arthur Flour.  It sounded even better.  Cooked pudding or no, this is a filling on steroids - there is nothing that would remind you of a Jello cooked pudding in this.  Then you ice the whole thing with real whipped cream.  J wanted a chocolate cream pie, and I had found a recipe that I was sure would be a winner.
When I told my mother that I was making a chocolate cream pie, her response was, "Yuck."  I kind of get where she's coming from.  As a woman who has made a pie a month forever, she makes a lot of really great pies - but mostly fruit ones.  I now firmly believe it's because she's not tasted this pie.  Obviously I'll have to make it again when I know she's coming.
I present to you now King Arthur Flour's Chocolate Cream Pie:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tea Time: Lemon-Cherry Hot Cross Buns

I continued to make recipes from Crumb, trying to decide what I should use for the Secret Recipe Club reveal.  This is the second recipe that we ate.  I think I enjoyed them more than J.
Growing up, I was not a huge fan of hot cross buns.  While I liked the spiced dough and raisins, I had an issue.  The big thing I didn't like?  Candied peel.  My father didn't like raisins cooked in things, so the only one who really liked hot cross buns at my house was my mom.  Eventually, my mother found a brand that used just raisins, and while I ate them, I was always suspicious of the potential for candied peel. 
Seeing as this is *my* kitchen, I've had a bag of dried cherries hanging around which I have been trying to decide how to use.  When I saw this recipe, it involved the spiced dough with a dried fruit I like, and seeing as I was in charge, no candied peel!  How could this be bad?
I present to you now Crumb's Lemon-Cherry Hot Cross Buns:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Planning: April 6-11, 2014

I just realized that I didn't do a planning thread for this week.  This is a funny week because I've been planning lunches too.  Lots of baking and new stuff because I'm around to complete it.  Here's what we're eating this week:
Sandwiches, chips and pickles
Wonton Soup (2 days)
Scrambled Eggs and toast

Monday:  Tacos
Tuesday:  Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Dill Sauce
Wednesday:  Teriyaki Chicken Wings with Broccoli Rice
Thursday:  Out
Friday:  Grilled Steak, Stuffed Onion, Spicy Lemon Spinach

Dessert and Baking:
Chocolate Cream Pie
Old Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Yum, and I've already made some of this.  Looks like a good week.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Southwestern Shepherd's Pie

It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's Reveal Day for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club.  I was so excited to get my email this month even before I knew which blog I was being sent to stalk.  I was even more excited when I started reading.
This month, I was sent to explore Crumb.  Isabelle is a fellow Ontarian, and lives in east Toronto, but we won't hold that against her.  Despite the years that I spent living in East York, I'm still not sure that you should live east of the Don Valley.  I was still within earshot of the DVP.  Like here on the mountain, she also lives with a boy, and not one but two cats.  We also both have blue kitchens.  Obviously, on some level we're soulmates.
It was fun to spend time poking around Isabelle's blog.  There were so many things that I wanted to try - Mocha Brioche, Lemon-Cherry Hot Cross Buns, and Spicy Peanut Noodles, Southwestern Shepherd's Pie, and more.  I decided at that point that I wouldn't be making a single recipe, but a few.  In fact, this post kicks off two posts from Crumb this week around these parts.  Make sure to come back Wednesday to see what else we tried!
J is a huge fan of Shepherd's Pie.  Frankly, with a spring that never seems to be coming, this is a perfect meal for people who are dreaming of sunnier, warmer weather and searching for comfort as the snow slowly recedes, giving way to mud, brown lawns and the detritus of snowbanks.  So good.
I present to you now Crumb's Southwestern Shepherd's Pie:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Happy Birthday: Butterscotch Torte

If we're going to talk about the new things I made for my mom's birthday celebration, we must talk about cake!
I went back to my tried and true Cakes for All Occasions magazine that was produced by Taste of Home in 2006.  I love this magazine.  It's the one that the Peanut Butter Crunch Cake is from, along with a number of other tasty recipes.  I obviously went looking for something showy and delicious.  I was guaranteed delicious seeing as the recipe is from Taste of Home.  Based on the picture, I was sure it would be beautiful.
I would not say that butterscotch is one of my favourite flavours.  I mean, I won't turn down a hard candy; but I wouldn't go out of my way for one either.  Likewise, unless it's a turtle sundae I probably wouldn't think first of butterscotch sauce for my ice cream.
The butterscotch in this cake is different.  I was intrigued by the idea of using graham crackers, and that there was orange juice in the sauce.  I was also interested in the picture:  the cake had filling and topping, but the sides of the cake were visible.  I made mine just like the picture.  Well, almost.
I present to you now Lavonne Hartel from Williston, North Dakota's Butterscotch Torte:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: April Planning

It's so exciting to write "April" on this post.  The snow is finally disappearing, the robins are back, and we're moving into Spring foods.  This winter has been crazy, and it's nice to be planning for better weather.  Some day I will no longer have an ice cube in my backyard, but an actual pool.  I'm not expecting that anytime soon.
The April issue of Everday Food was fun to browse - with lots of things that sounded good.  Yet at the end of the issue, I still had only 6 things that I wanted to make.  I'm thinking it's because things like the parfait on the front cover are made with homemade cooked chocolate pudding, and I'm not really a fan of cooked pudding.
But beside that and the big article on leeks (not a flavour I really like), there were some things that looked quite delicious.  Here's the 6 selections for the month of April from Everyday Food, 2006:
  1. Glazed Cheese Croissants
  2. Teriyaki Chicken Wings
  3. Chicken and Dumplings
  4. Chicken Chaquiles
  5. Wontons
  6. Wonton Soup
 What I like about this list is that it's not dessert-laden.  We don't eat enough dessert around here or baked goods for that matter to really make a sugary list for a month feasible.  But with lots of chicken recipes, we'll see what happens. 
Here's to April and the beginning of Spring!