Monthly Archives: January 2009

  • Mini-financiers au miel Mini-financiers au miel

    Mini-financiers au miel

Mini-financiers au miel

  These morsel of honey-almond goodness are underwhelming at first glance. But anyone who’s taken a bit out of the dense dough is unable to resist “MMMMing.” That’s because it’s hard to believe these small beige bites could hold so much honeyed, almond flavour. I like to serve these financiers, made in a mini muffin pan if you’re not lucky enough to get an authentic financier pan, with coffee and tea and fruit. This recipe comes from the mignardises chapter in the Chocolate & Zucchini book, from which I’ve made the chocolate-dipped hazelnut marbles in the past. If you always happen to have blanched almonds lying around, like I do, this is a great recipe to turn to in a pinch, when guests are coming over and you only have bruised apples in your fridge. Dusoulier says the financier is usually rectangular in shape and resembles a gold ingot, therefore […]

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  • Cleaning out the pantry Cleaning out the pantry

    Cleaning out the pantry

Cleaning out the pantry

  I knew the time had come to clean out my pantry when I stopped bothering to check what I already had in the house before writing my grocery list. My pantry was a mountain of boxes and bags I had long forgotten about. So it was on a cold winter Sunday, when I was wandering aimlessly around the house, having fulfilled all my other housekeeping duties that I realized the time had come to face the music.I slowly opened the doors and surveyed the damage.Mismatched Tupperware lids, crumbs of cornmeal and pieces of broken spaghetti stared back at me, taunting me. So I took a deep breath and dove in.I found: four half-opened bags of jasmine rice, 3 bags of egg noodles (both large and extra-large), 5 nearly-finished bags of coconut flakes, and three opened boxes of baking powder. After cleaning out the pantry and arranging all the products […]

  • Emerging trends: Salted Caramel Emerging trends: Salted Caramel

    Emerging trends: Salted Caramel

Emerging trends: Salted Caramel

When Starbucks is opening yet another coffee shop in a neighbourhood, realtors know it’s a sign of development and rejuvenation and potentially – a housing boom. Similarly, when Starbucks begins to expand its product base and offer new products, foodies know those ingredients have hit the tipping point. Foodies have long known about salted caramel. With Häagen-Dazs introducing a new reserve brand of salted caramel ice cream, Starbucks offering salted caramel hot chocolate, President’s Choice selling sea salted caramel popcorn, it’s obvious salted caramel has crossed over into the mainstream. In an article in The New York Times, called “How Caramel Developed a Taste for Salt,” Kara Nielsen, a trend analyst at the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco says American food trends go through five stages, from “chef’s indulgence to supermarket staple.” Salted caramel was a slow progression that started with top pastry chefs in New York City […]

  • French bistro cooking class French bistro cooking class

    French bistro cooking class

French bistro cooking class

  A friend of mine wanted to take a cooking class and I recommended Dish Cooking Studio to her, where I’d enjoyed taking two classes on previous occasions: “brunch entertaining”, and “Simply French.” I’ve successfully adapted recipes, and skills, that I learned from these classes to my everyday life, and so it was with great anticipation that we signed up for the French bistro cooking class. A little bit of history here: The term “bistro” comes from the Russian word “quick.” According to an urban legend, during the Russian occupation of Paris in 1915, Russian soldiers who wanted quick service would demand “bistro.” The French bistro menu of the evening: Mussels in tomato Pernod cream sauce Sweet onion and Gruyere soup, a lighter adaption of the classic French onion soup Beautifully marbled onglet steak from Cumbrae’s, with Bearnaise sauce Bistro frites Dark chocolate and hazelnut mousse with berry coulis   […]

  • Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

    Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

  Ever since my trip to Bahamas this fall, I have been resenting the fact that I had to rush out of the airport without buying a box of the famous Bahamian rum cake.So I had my eye on this recipe in Jill O’Connor’s “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey” for several weeks after buying the book. Of course, I didn’t realize the night I made this cake would forever be seared into my brain as the night of the “Carbon Monoxide Drama.” I had just pulled it out of the oven, and settled in to watch a movie with my sister when the carbon monoxide detector went off, alerting me to call 911 immediately. Sure enough, dispatch put me through to the fire department immediately, and warned me to leave my house. Within minutes, a fire truck with flashing lights pulled up to my street, a dashing firefighter leaped over a […]

  • Acorn-shaped mini cornbread puddings Acorn-shaped mini cornbread puddings

    Acorn-shaped mini cornbread puddings

Acorn-shaped mini cornbread puddings

  I’ve been aching to try out my new acorn cakelet pan ever since buying it at half price from Williams-Sonoma during boxing week.In my first attempt, I made these mini cornbread puddings to accompany the curried zucchini soup I like to make when the mercury drops.This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.They’re called mini cornbread puddings because they are more moist than your typical cornbread. Ingredients: (Makes 24)Butter, room temperature, for pan1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)1/2 cup yellow cornmeal2 tablespoons sugar1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon baking soda1 large egg1 1/2 cups sour cream1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed and patted dry Directions:Preheat oven to 425 degrees, place rack in upper third. Butter mini muffin pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.Make a well in center of flour mixture. In […]

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  • Top five favourite cookbooks of 2008 Top five favourite cookbooks of 2008

    Top five favourite cookbooks of 2008

Top five favourite cookbooks of 2008

If 2007 was all about fast, faster, fastest foods, then 2008 marked a return to the simple life, la dolce vita, getting back to basics. Some of my favourite cookbooks of the year reflected that shift, perhaps partly because more people were dining in than eating out.   Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites by Giada De LaurentiisI’ll begin with Giada. Not only is she lovely to look at, but you have to give her credit for her straightforward recipes. Not one of them have gone astray in my kitchen. From this cookbook, I have made asparagus lasagne, sweet and sticky chicken drumsticks, and plan to make the hazelnut mascarpone cake for my dad’s birthday. I’ve also flagged the rigatoni with squash and prawns and the prosciutto mozzarella pinwheels. As with most of Giada’s cookbooks, the glossy photos are plentiful, and she offers helpful tips about freezing and cooking ahead above […]