Gnudi with brown butter, dried apricots, and sage

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I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written something! But I got pregnant and had a baby! When I was pregnant, I was quite sick, so I couldn’t really cook much. I survived on mostly ice cream. And over the past 16 weeks, I’ve been so busy with the baby, I haven’t had much time to cook anything good or write. But I’ve started trying new things again.

Last night I made gnudi for the first time. It’s basically the same as gnocchi, I think, but I’ve never made that either. This is the first time I’ve made something from a cooking show and it was awesome! I saw it on Bitchin Kitchen yesterday and needed to make it. So here is the recipe:

4 large russet potatoes (I used 5 medium red potatoes)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 beaten egg
Salt
Pepper

1/2 cup butter
12 dried apricots, julienned
12 sage leaves, julienned

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put washed potatoes in oven and bake 1.5 hours. Take potatoes out of oven and cool enough to handle.

Put a pot of water on to boil. Scoop the flesh out of the skins and put into a bowl. Mash the potatoes or put them through a ricer. Mix with the flour, parm, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix with your hands for about a minute.

Put the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into quarters. Roll each quarter into a log. Cut the logs into 1 inch pieces. Put the pieces into the boiling water. Take them out after about a minute, when they begin to float.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Let it cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the apricots and sage. Cook them for a few minutes until the butter is browned. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the gnudi. Mix and then serve.

Delicious! I don’t have any pictures this time, sorry. But my husband said this is something I need to make again, so I might post some in the future.

Happy Cooking!

Triple Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

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My local newspaper is looking for recipes for this year’s Christmas publications. Specifically recipes for baked goods. So I decided I needed to contribute to this with one of my desserts. The problem is that most of my recipes aren’t MY recipes. So I was racking my brain trying to think of something I could make my own. Then I remembered last year on New Year’s Eve, I had to work until sometime in the evening, so I decided to make a cake and bring it to work for those of us unfortunate enough to have to work late that night. My husband had to work late too (the joy of call centres!), so I made one for him to bring in too. I just used a boxed cake mix adding a bit of mint extract, and used two round pans, putting one layer on each plate, and putting a chocolate glaze and candy cane bits on top. Easy, not too big, and delicious!

So I decided to submit something like that to the newspaper. However, while boxed cake mix has its place, it is not in a cookbook or other publication. At least not with my name beside it!

Instead, I searched online for a recipe that I could use as a base for my recipe. I found something, and worked with that recipe. And I wasn’t sure what to put in the middle of the two layers, if I should have two layers at all, or if I should go with a rectangular cake. So I looked up chocolate cake fillings and found a recipe that I could alter to make a chocolate buttercream. And it is delicious!

Here’s what I came up with:

Cake

2 cups white sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk or chocolate milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1 square semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon mint extract

1 cup boiling water

Cake Ingredients

Filling (Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

2 squares semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup butter

4 cups icing sugar

1/3 cup light cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 candy canes, crushed

Filling Ingredients

Chocolate Glaze and Topping

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup butter

2 candy canes, crushed

Glaze Ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients for the cake. Add all the wet ingredients except the water and combine and mix for two minutes. Add the boiling water. This will make a very runny batter.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
  5. While the cakes are cooling, melt the chocolate for the filling in the microwave. Heat for about 1 ½ minutes and stir to finish the melting process. If necessary, put the chocolate in for longer, taking out and stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted. Let the chocolate cool.
  6. While the first batch of chocolate is cooling, make the glaze by melting the 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate with the ¼ cup of butter using the same method as above. Let the glaze cool.
  7. Beat the ¼ cup of butter for the filling until soft and fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar and cream slowly, alternating. Beat in the vanilla and then chocolate until fully combined.
  8. Stir the candy cane pieces for the filling into the frosting.
  9. Once the cakes are cool, place one, top-side down, onto the serving plate. Spread the filling on top, being careful not to let it overflow, but completely cover the cake. Place the second cake, also top-side down, on top of the filling.
  10. SLOWLY ladle the chocolate glaze over top of the cake. Wait a minute for it to set slightly, and then sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces over the top.
  11. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This cake was deadly good! I’ll make it again for any event I’m invited to! Delicious!

Delicious Final Product

Happy Cooking!

I received word from the newspaper that my recipe WILL be featured on December 1. If there is a link to it online through them, I’ll post that then!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pecan Topping

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Last weekend was Thanksgiving, and I was lucky enough to get invited to two different dinners – one at my in-laws on Sunday and one at my Aunt’s house on Monday. I made a few things over the weekend. This post is about Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pecan Topping. I’ll write about my cheesecake later.

For my birthday last year, someone gave me The Vegetarian Collection by Canadian Living cookbook, and I saw this recipe in it when I was first looking through it. I’ve seen it a few times since then, and have wanted to make it every time, but as it serves 10-12, and there is a lonely 2 in my house, I could never find the opportunity.  Until Thanksgiving! The recipe is also available on the Canadian Living website.

Ingredients

This recipe was really easy to make. It just took about 20 minutes to cut the potatoes and combine the ingredients that needed to be combined.

Chopped sweet and regular potatoes

The tricky part was because I was bringing this to my aunt’s house for dinner, I needed to cook it before we left and keep it warm. The rest of my family isn’t vegetarian – just me, so they were having turkey. Their oven was occupied by this turkey, so I couldn’t cook it once I got there. So what I did was I timed my cooking of this at home to be finished about 5 minutes before I wanted to leave. I covered it in tin foil as soon as it came out of the oven then wrapped it in a clean bath towel, then put into a soft-sided cooler bag. This worked surprisingly well! It came out of the oven at my house at about 3:30. I took it out of the cooler bag to serve at dinner at about 6:20, and it was still steaming! I’m quite impressed by my ingenuity!

 

All ready!

 

And it was delicious! Everyone really liked it, except my sister, who didn’t like the pecans. But she is very picky. I would absolutely make this recipe again. And looking at the measurements, I could probably calculate a third of the recipe. Most of the measurements are divisible by three, or close enough!

 

Happy Cooking!

Pumpkin Soup with Apple-Walnut Topping

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Whenever I go to the grocery store and they have a free store magazine, I always pick it up! About 2 weeks ago, I picked up the Inspired magazine from Sobey’s. Most recipes in magazines like this are based upon the store’s premade convenience products, have meat in them, or both. However, in the magazine I found one that interested me: Pumpkin Soup with Apple-Walnut Topping. The only substitution I had to make was to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and I wasn’t as brand specific as I’m sure Sobey’s would have liked me to be.

Soup

I wasn’t sure how much pumpkin I would need or what type. I knew I needed 6 cups of pumpkin, but how many pumpkins equals 6 cups? That’s a tough one, as this was the first time I’d ever worked with fresh pumpkin. The grocery store I went to only had “Regular Pumpkins”. That’s what the sign said. Regular Pumpkins. So I got the smallest one of those I could find, but it was probably still about 10-12 inches tall before the stem. Turns out I needed just under half of one of those.

 

I really liked the topping. And the soup was acceptable. I think it would have benefited from a different type of pumpkin. Maybe I’ll go to Sobey’s next time. As the pumpkin is featured in this month’s magazine, maybe they have a better selection of pumpkins. I had gone to Sobey’s broke little brother store instead – Freshco.

 

Happy Cooking!

Cornbread Mini Muffins

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Last week we had a potluck at work. I said that I would make mini muffin. But then I decided that I wanted to make vegetarian chili instead. So I made that and cornbread mini muffins instead.

 

I googled cornbread mini muffins and used the first recipe I found. I would have just used the recipe I usually use for a full-sized cornbread, but I was concerned about the amount of time it would take to cook. The recipe I used was from someone else’s blog: Dreamy Dish. It wasn’t bad, but not as good as I was hoping.

Dry Ingredients

Adding Wet to Dry

I think my problem was that I used my stand mixer for the mixing. I’m pretty sure with cornbread, you’re supposed to stir it just until it is combined, and no longer. I probably overmixed it. I’m used to a little crunchyness with cornbread, and this was missing that. I also might have undercooked it a little. Overall, not the worst thing I’ve even, but not my favourite cornbread. But I got no complaints.

Final Product

Happy Cooking!

Caprese risotto

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A few weeks ago I got the new Chatelaine magazine in the mail. I typically look at the recipes pretty quickly in most magazines and this was no exception. They had a whole section of risottos! I’ve tried to make risotto twice before, and both were pretty bad, so I was a little apprehensive before I tried again, but I figured one of them might be good.

 

So I settled on the Caprese  risotto. My husband is somewhat picky, and I thought the name would help as he is in the process of restoring an old Chevy Caprice. I know – different things, but that’s ok.

 

Cooking Risotto

 

Cooking Risotto

It was a long, times consuming process, but it was definitely successful! I loved this risotto and I wouldn’t hesitate to make it again. At least I wouldn’t have had I not seen the nutritional information.  Oops!

Final Product

 

 

Happy Cooking!

Biscuits

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I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I have been terribly busy, but I have been trying new recipes. About two weeks ago I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. His response was chicken and biscuits. He is clearly not a vegetarian. My initial response was heck no! But when I was checking my emails, my daily recipe from Allrecipes.com happened to be for biscuits. So game on!

The recipe is available at this link. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I used margarine instead of shortening.

The were SO good! Light and fluffy and delicious! I would absolutely make these again. Maybe even tonight. Hmmm. They would go good with soup!

Happy Cooking!

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