Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Coconut Lime Profiteroles

A good friend The Jo, and I will be baking up a storm in a few weeks for charity.
All around the world people are making it their goal to help Japan in the wake of their devastation in any way they can.

I was approached via another foodie to help out by donating our time and baked goods for the Toronto Bakes for Japan initiative and immediately I was brainstorming, creating and salivating.
I didn't have to ask Jo twice, she was on board as soon as I mentioned baking, together - DONE!

On April 10th we will be bringing down our goods and helping out selling - so if you are in Toronto, or know anyone in the area, please check out the website for the locations and show your support.

We are thinking of making eclairs.  We wanted something eye and palate pleasing and something a little unique to bake sales. 

This got me thinking....I have never made a choux pastry before, I should really make sure I can do it first before I commit to 100+ eclairs.
You wouldn't want to come and buy a boat like pastry that sinks would you?  I didn't think so.

Since I am trying to watch my weight for the wedding I figured making a batch of eclairs might not be the best for my waistline so I decided profiteroles would do the trick.  A few for dessert tonight and since I am off tomorrow to a dinner party I will bring the rest.

Now, traditionally they can be sandwiched with a frozen treat such as ice cream, gelato or yogurt, alternately they are filled with pastry or whipped cream.

This is where we get interesting, I happened to be listening to Coconut by Harry Nilsson (which can be heard of the Practical Magic soundtrack or by clicking the coconut link) and dancing around the living room this afternoon, Coconut...Lime....Cream, enough said....
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A Blog Name Which Needs to Live Up to It's Name!

Let me first off say that from this post on I am going to be posting the musical inspirations behind a dish or what I am listening to when my food thoughts arrive.  I have just adapted my tag line to reflect why I started this blog, to eat good food and to enjoy good music.

It has always been in my heart and life since a very young age. 
For as long as I can remember my dad was in a band (in his younger days - now he rocks out in the basement, poor mom).  I used to love going to see his band practices.
I can remember sitting in one of his friends' guitar cases at the foot of the bass drum watching, listening and dreaming.
I have learned over the years to play guitar and I LOVE to sing (in the car, in the proverbial shower and even in public - after a few beverages of course)
Recently my parents purchased and ran a music store in a small town in Ontario, Canada.  I have to say it saddened me a little the day they decided to sell.

My blog title comes from a song title, if you didn't know - a great hard metal band from the 80's, Van Halen.

They were big in the 80's, which is an era that I honestly can say I am not a huge fan of, but they have done well over the decades and I do enjoy their tunes.

I usually am listening to some melodies during the day and I thought I should really start throwing that in to my posts since the title of my blog is based on music as well as food, my two loves (other than my son and fiance).

So, from now on, my posts will either show what I am listening to or what inspired my dishes. 
If you have your own band or have friends that have a band and want me to give em a looksee send it over!  I love indy music and I am all about passing along great things!!  Alternately if you have a favorite tune send that to me too, by comment or by email, I'll give it a listen :)
Back to groovin and bakin....

I'm Listening to: Running With the Devil, Van Halen, 1978 (the year I was born, and fitting for this post!)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

White Asparagus Gratin

Oh boy was there a fight at dinner last night!
Little Ugh hates, and when I say hate I mean loathes, asparagus. It is one of the very few veggie that he could do without. 
I am sure if we allowed our puppy to eat table scraps he'd be nonchalantly whisking it onto the floor for Dion, batting his long eyelashes and coyally (is that a word?) flipping his bangs at me.

So fight numero uno, "Mom, you know I hate asparagus (in the most annoying of teenager whines)...can't I just have extra rice and eat some carrots instead?" NO
Part duex - Mr. BM and his animosity towards rice. It doesn't matter how many times I try to prepare it different ways he still detests it.
"Babe, how bout I give him my rice and I will eat his asparagus?" NO
Hey, did you like that?  Two different languages in one paragraph - who says I am not multilingual?!

Guess what boys...momma doesn't own a restaurant!  Eat what I give you and like it! :)

This interlude was to blindside you so when I tell you that Little Ugh ate all (the 3 pieces I gave him) his asparagus he didn't actually "barf" and maybe even enjoyed it (slightly).
Mom 1, boys 0!!
Bring IT

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Task 2 - Diaper Cake and Sugar Cookies

Blue cupcakes with booties and rattles that shake,
Bright bows and flowing ribbon hats that all need to make,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Diapers in circles and bears on the top,
Little carriage sugar cookies will not be a flop,
These are a few of my favorite things....

Well, I'm no Julie Andrews but these were some of my favorite things this week.
Another shower down, 1 more to go.

When you have a large family and many groups of friends sometimes it is necessary to host a few showers, each one deserving of creative differences.
Instead of creating an edible cake this go round, I decided a picture perfect diaper cake was in order

along with some "thank you for coming" loot bags which included sugar cookies, blue kisses and candy bottles.

My Thursday and Friday this week was spent making dough for the cookies, baking cookies, making icing, tinting icing, piping icing, hand writing the little cards, packaging the bags and preparing the fake cake.

Some diaper shirt shapes, some carriage shapes and some teddy bear shapes (not shown)

Ok, so it sounds like it took me a whole 48 hours when in reality it didn't take that long - I spread it out over the course of those days.  I didn't want to get hand cramps from rolling and piping you know!

I will be posting the sugar cookie recipe only but if you want instructions on the diaper cake or to tell me how AHEM, how wonderful I am, please feel free to visit my "contact me" page and shoot me off an email, I'll pass along my wisdom.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lentil Nachos - No Really, I'm Serious!

How do you get rugged men and picky children to eat lentils?  Read on friends...

I was perusing through our local Bulk Barn today, for nothing more than something to pass some time.  I picked up some vegetable elbow pasta, a baggy of loose tea, the cutest dog biscuit shaped cookie cutter (for when I make my own dog treats) and some lentils.  I have NO idea why such a range of products but like I said I was wasting time....good thing I only had 10 minutes!

So I get home strutting my stuff like a peacock, praising myself for buying lentils and then realize I haven't the slightest notion of how or what to do with them.  ANNND feathers fall flat.
I haven't eaten lentils since I was about 13 years old. My mom used to make them, and I used to hate them. Story of her life.

Palates change; I have heard that but I didn't want to believe it because I still hate mushrooms and despise the brussel sprout and for some reason I don't want to like them.

You might have already read that I am not a fan of soup either and there are a million and one recipes for lentils and flavored water, ugh, I mean soup.  There are also a lot of recipes that incorporate bacon, tomatoes, even pasta.  I did some research on the red lentil because I have only had green or black/brown - whatever.
So it seems the red variety doesn't tend to hold its shape, turns a bit to mush really.  PERFECT that's what I bought! 
Then it hit me! Refried beans watch out, the lentil has now replaced you on my nachos!  Honestly, this dish doesn't even need a side if you put enough vegetables on them!
You are welcome - Enjoy!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Task - Baby Shower Cupcakes

You might have read my post about the new addition in our extended family, no, read here.
He really is a doll!

To mark such a special occasion my MIL is hosting a small dinner shower with some close friends (28 of us)this evening up at the cottage (or the "summer home" as we like to call it).  We will be having a larger shower with many friends and family members at the end of the month however so if you're reading this please comment on some other treat ideas you may have used.

For this event we will be having Oreo pudding stuffed cupcakes!
I find that cupcakes are much more desirable that a big ole piece of cake slathered in oodles of icing.
You can grab it in your hand and don't need to be dainty about shoving it into your mouth - it's expected!
Now, my son's chocolate cupcake recipe (listed in the blog list) is fantastic but we wanted something a little different. 
Like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, the stuffed cupcake really "takes the cake".
In a few short steps you have a wonderfully unique treat that can be made with different fillings, toppings or flavors.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Almost a Jerk (Wet Rub)

Oh how I long to be in Jamaica!  The beautiful beaches, the salty waters, the music and the famously spicy jerk foods!!
My fiance and I had a trip booked and paid for a little while ago but sadly we had to postpone, please do the sigh with still hurts to talk about it.

That does not deter me from talking about how much I enjoy spicy foods though.
I can recall many moons ago meeting up with a group of friends every Tuesday night for wings.  We'd go to this little pub around the corner (which is another sad story - it's no longer there) grab a table for 10 and begin our ordering.
Mild for that guy, honey garlic for the weak sauce, over there's gonna have hot...but SUICIDE for me!

Now way back when they didn't post the scoville units on menus but I am going to say that these wings were WAY up there. 
I mean your eyes would start watering even before they hit the table sort of hot.  I would eat them, sweat pouring down my brow enjoying every morsel.  Maybe that's why I had so much heartburn while I was pregnant? Huh...

Now this recipe isn't quite THAT hot, I have 2 "lameos" in the house so I have to make things less fiery, but I would certainly recommend adding a scotch bonnet or two (HA) to really really make this jerk rub pop!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Fennel and Pizza Experiment

Well, we have hopefully seen the last of winter for at least a few months, we have passed the test of setting our clocks forward and it not messing with our internal clocks - onwards and upwards people!

We are coming into my personal favorite season - FARMERS MARKET season!!!

Last year I made it my goal to start visiting our local markets once a week (I started a bit late and do I regret it boy let me tell you!)

This year will be different.
I plan to be there when the first stand opens and every week until it closes, pinky promise.

My purpose was to introduce new fruits and vegetables into our diets by having a mini competition.  Each week one of us got to pick our veggie or fruit and I would search for it and prepare it (hoping that we would love them) and we would keep buying this new addition and others we would put on the wayside.
Some of our adventures were not well received but THIS year we will have more varieties, more options, more time and different recipes.  I am gitty.

To kick off my favorite time of year I started the competition early. 
While grocery shopping this past weekend we picked up some fennel (and for you Italians out there I did not pick up any women - finocchio)

We've never had it fresh before - I have used seeds in meatballs and loafs but I didn't know what to do with a fresh one until I recently spotted a post on the Tasty Kitchen website. 
I like to give credit where credit is due so thanks to sweetpeachef for posting this Sausage and Fennel Pizza recipe.
I used the basis of roasting the fennel and the white cream sauce for my creation from her post but changed things up to suit our tastes.
I loved it so much that I can't wait to have it again, and again, and maybe again with some tomatoes or some artichokes.

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Today I Fill My Fritter Craving - Apple Fritters In the House

What could be better than waking up, having a warm hot cup of tea with a sugary dough ball filled with apples? 
Hey, don't judge!  I bet some of you don't even eat breakfast *wink wink*.

This post was inspired by my love of Tim Horton's apple fritters. 
I rarely, and I mean rarely stop there anymore but when I do I always order one to go with my tea.
For me it goes hand in hand like PB & J or cheese on pizza.
It just melts in your mouth and with the soft apples kickin around inside it just makes my heart melt (or clog as the case may be).
Now I have to admit I didn't share these with tea, I made them for dessert the other night because, well, I wanted to.
Almost like a donut but not if that makes any sense.
It's super easy, super yummy, and if you eat too many its super bad for you :)
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Baked Lemony Custard

I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood.  She is a distinguished Canadian author who grew up all over Canada, the US and Europe.  Some may recognize her by one of her most famous novels "The Edible Woman". Maybe not...She has written many fiction and non fiction novels as well as children's books and poetry over the years.
She also cooks!!
A woman after my own heart.

I have been making this recipe for a few years now and credit goes to her and her alone.  I found it in Bon App├ętit magazine in 2006.  An oldie but a goodie!

I happen to heart the custard.  I especially love the creaminess of it and I could eat it hot or cold, inside or out, summer or winter.  It is really a versatile dessert and can be made with many different variations.
This recipe has a surprise at the bottom!  OH I like surprises *in a high pitched voice*!
Cake like consistency on top with the custard on the bottom with just a hint of lemon :)

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cookie Stuffed Cookies - Say What?!

Oh hells yes with a please and thank you and a cherry on top - or rather an Oreo in the middle.

Recently I spotted this twitter post from Serious Eats and I just new the cookie was itching for something innovative.  I don't know why this idea hadn't become so popular before?!  Its like a turducken only with cookies!
If you Google cookie stuffed cookie" there are many many recent blog posts with bakers trying this out and I was not about to fall short.

We usually don't have store bought cookies in our house, we never have.  I have to only blame my parents for never having them and I just followed suit I suppose.  Only difference, I bake more than my mom did.  Don't get me wrong, my mom is great, I just don't remember coming home to cookies and milk growing up.  In our house I try to bake as often as I can.

When I saw this post my mouth started to water, I literally had to run out and buy some Oreos.  I walked down the cookie aisle and got gitty with anticipation.  Holy cow there are a lot of cookie varieties...Oh man, this is gonna be SO good!

I followed a recipe I found for a thicker chocolate chip cookie with the one exception - I added some peanut butter to my dough.
Trust me, you NEED to try this out, if not for you, for your neighbours sake!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

Well, after almost a weeks worth of eating takeout for dinner our family was having home cooking withdrawls.
My body was reeking havoc on me, not to mention I think I had to wear fat pants today just to feel quasi normal. 
I really have no idea how long haul truck drivers do that day in and day out for weeks on end.  We simply had a birth in our extended family and that just threw everything upside down.
All I wanted was to sit down and enjoy the fruits of my labour - and to know what exactly was in my meal.  I didn't even care if I made a plate of mashed potatoes just as long as I did it and it came from my kitchen.

I asked Little Ugh what he wanted for dinner tonight and all he said to me was "Oh, you know what you haven't made in forever.....sweet and sour pork.  Do you have time to make that?"
As a matter of fact I do, and even if I didn't have loads of time it really only takes about 20 minutes or so.
You really only need a few key ingredients and I suspect the main ones you might already have in your pantry. 
The only way I think this dish could be improved upon is if I owned a wok - any companies want to sponsor a wok-a-thon?  Maybe I will ask for this for any next major holiday...Easter gift perhaps?
Anyway, maybe try this out on your fam - they will thank you.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Who's the Cutest Nephew Ever?

I haven't been cooking or baking or blogging or sleeping for that matter this past week but for good reason!!

We have a new nephew WOOOOOTTTTT!!!!!!
He is adorable, he is teeny, he is quiet and peaceful and he is just the cutest thing EVER and it has been a painstaking 8 1/2 months for my SIL!!

She deserves SO much credit and mad props for dealing with bed rest from very early on, uncomfortableness, morning sickness all throughout (that wasn't just in the mornings), weekly trips to the hospital for check ups and a few pre labour stays too.
Her little one came into this world with a bang, or a splash so I am told :) after only 26 hours of labour.  (see, this is why I am not so sure doing it again is something I really wanna do)

We received such emotional news when we got to hold him and one reason why I had to share.....we get to be his godparents!!! EEEP
I balled my face off - I was so happy to have that honor and for them to think of us!  All I could do was cry and then make them pass him over :)

I have already been shopping, bought him a new bedtime story - Goodnight Moon (my son's favorite book growing up and one that I don't even think I need the book to tell, all by heart folks) some new outfits (which I am holding on as hostage demands....give me the baby and I will dress him up for you when you get him back!)
I can't wait to see him again soon - but for now, we need to let the new parents rest and get used to having him home (sigh).

So this post is for my Sister and Brother In Law, and to their first born son and our god son!
We love you and are so proud of you!

ps I made carrot cake cupcakes and brought them to the hospital so you cant say this post is not food related :) AND I will be likely making some things this weekend and dropping them off so they don't have to worry about cooking for themselves.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

BBQ Chicken and Goat Cheese Ravioli

What can I say, I love ravioli.  There are 2 other posts for the homemade pillows of goodness here on my blog (Chorizo n Cream Cheese Stuffed and Spinach and Ricotta).  But I will forever find new ways of enjoying it! 

With Mr. BM fulfilling his civic duty (being called for jury duty) and my day full of training the puppy, cleaning the house, doing laundry and getting a pedicure, tonight's dinner was well thought out.
I have been daydreaming about sitting down and eating ravioli since about 9am, no lie.

We had leftover bbq chicken from last nights dinner and so the wheels were turning. I went back and forth on what I wanted in it, on it, beside it.
About 1pm I decided that I wanted chunks of chicken in my pasta - no puree meat this time darn it!   And so last nights chicken and goat cheese ravioli was born.

This is an easy fix for those working peeps - you could even make a bunch and freeze them for a late night craving. 
If you have leftover chicken great, if you have time to make fresh bbq chicken even better but even if you don't, some supermarkets carry precooked whole chickens (which is what I used).  There ain't no shame in a precooked bird!  And what about those wonton wrappers? - God sent!

What I couldn't decide on (until 5pm when I started preparing dinner) was the type of sauce I wanted to accompany them.  I went from a tomato based sauce - to acidic, to a pesto or alfredo, I even thought of making a tomatoey bbq sauce.  I went for a more simplistic sauce so that the taste of the chicken and goat cheese wouldn't be played down.
A simple cream sauce with shallots and sage worked really well.
I hope you enjoy!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Son, the Teenager!

OK, officially he will be 13 on Tuesday but who's counting when you're this close right?

HOLY CRAPADOODLE I have a teenager (insert crazed, scared of what's to come face here).  I'm too young to have a teenager, or at least I keep telling myself that.

So many things have happened in his young little life from sorrow and pain to wonderful and unimaginable.  From vacationing at the family cottage to vacationing on white sandy beaches.  I think he's had a great start and its only about to get better! 

I wish so many good things for him (like only a parent could). 
One thing that I wish for me is for him to stay a kind natured, sweet and sensitive boy who won't talk back, try to sneak out of the house at midnight or worse!  I hope I haven't sealed our fates by even mentioning that.

Each year we have a small group of friends and family celebrate his life but in the wake of teenagerism (look ma I invented a word!) my in laws family have other ideas on how the coming of age should be celebrated.
We gathered, all 40 of us, friends and loved ones to have a rockin good time.  We ate, we played games, we played pool, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.  But the end result was a happy bunch!

13 in our family comes a tradition of 13 embarrassing small gifts with one really good one at the end.  The gifts can range from tighty whiteys and razors to Tylenol (to take away pain of the teenage girlfriend) and pimple cream.  The most treasured gift for the boys in our family is the traditional "girlie" magazine - Little Ughs - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (heaven to a 13 year old) - it was enjoyed by many a man that day.

I have to say this was also a very tiring couple of days with the planning and cake making (did you think I was going to buy one).  He originally wanted a cake from the Ace of Cake`s Bakery in Baltimore - um, I realize you aren't great in geography yet but I don't think they deliver to Toronto - just sayin.
I knew I had to step it up. 
What does he love more than his games!!  And so the birth of a red velvet xbox cake was born.

I have never worked with fondant before - I can pipe like a super star though. 
Corners were not my friend, however by the graces of god the sides needed to be grey....I iced those :)

The controller was made from rice krispie treats and it worked out quite well!  The real thing is below and I think it turned out looking pretty similar.

He received many compliments as did I and although the migraine nearly put a kibosh on it I muddled through!  He said that it wasn't as good as an Ace of Cakes cake would have been because they would have had it light up but was pretty darn close and wished that his rice krispie controller would actually work because it looked so real.
So glad he liked it, so glad it tasted good, soooo glad its over!
I love you my son!
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leftover Pork Pizzas

While I very rarely post lunch ideas we do eat in the afternoon.
Sometimes its as plain as a pb & j sammie, sometimes it's leftovers from previous dinners, but other times we go all out like yesterday for instance.

Bacon was on sale at our local grocer and since I have a love of this salty fatty food I could not resist. Two packages for 1 low price - almost bought 4, but I resisted!
We had some left over pork loin and some thin hamburger buns kickin around.  These thin buns are perfect for making mini pizzas - with the holes in them they crisp up in the oven, fantastically!!

I decided to make mini bbq pork pizzas and I have to say they were darn good.

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Dinner Yo-Yo. Steak or Not to Steak?

I came home today knowing what I wanted to make:
Steak with a goat cheese sauce, roasted green beans and potatoes.  Only, I come home to find we have no potatoes.
In the words of Jersey Shore's Snookie - WAHHHHHHHHHH.

We need to go produce shopping in a BAD way!
Like when you get to the last few inches of milk, 1 egg in the carton, only crusts of bread left type of shopping - only we need fresh veggies and fruit, oh, and some starchy sides (i.e. potatoes and rice)

What prey tell are we going to have with the steak? 
This totally ruined my dinner plans :(
Famous last words of Mr. BM "we don't need anything, I'm fine with just meat, it's protein, who needs all the other calories?"
BAH, that is not going to happen, not when I'm around.
So with despair in my head and the love of starch in my heart I started brainstorming.

Ya, it took some time...EGG noodles!  Brown butter sauce? Uhhhh maybe? Not tomato based....Geez, I will figure something out, lets get to making the rest of dinner and let the cards fall where they may.
So I began making this sauce for the steak and after tasting it for seasoning I realized "Self, why are you being silly, use THIS sauce for your noodles"
And dinner was born.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pretend Like It's the Weekend - Makin' Banana Pancakes

Jack Johnson, you are dreamy and you make good tunes but I sir, make great pancakes!

March 1st, according to many sources on the internet, is National Pancake Day, which I do not think you should confuse with Shrove Tuesday - the day before lent, totally unrelated. 

National Pancake Day makes this momma a happy camper...
Happy as a clam...
Happier than a pig in S#^*t...

Let's face it, I adore breakfast foods! 
Likely because they are generally packed full of carbs (heck ya!), fatty means (ohhhh drool) and sugars (I could do without those if I had too). 
You can never go wrong with a great french toast with some icing sugar, Canadian bacon (peameal bacon) and home fries or a big haystack of pancakes slathered in butter and topped with whipped cream and syrup, a couple scrambled eggs, maybe some matchsticks with a side of smokey bacon.

So to honor NPD and Jack Johnson, I'm makin banana pancakes, pretendin its the weekend now.
Actually we had Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Pancakes - say that 3 times fast, with some caramelized bananas on top.
I liked this day, I wish there were more NPDs.

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