Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cultural Food Marriage - A Worthy Mash Up

Since its not Monday I can't call this a Mash Up Monday post even tho it is and I AM going to post it in the tab - try and stop me!

I wanted a burrito.
But I wanted to use up my chicken.
I love Mexican.
But I want to use up my cucumbers and tomatoes from the market.
I want Mexican.
No wait, I want soulvaki.
Oh I have feta.
I love Greek flavors.
Darn it....why can't my stomach/head pick one thing and stick with it!?

A Greek inspired burrito.
You'd almost think I smoke the funny green stuff with all my back and forthness (totally a word) and indecision's.
Setting the record straight - I don't, but if I did OH MAN I bet my food ideas would be even better.

This was a healthy enough meal, pretty sure I covered off all the food groups even.
A for effort and taste.
My head/stomach made the right move tonight.  I guess indecision's can work to your benefit (sometimes)

I'm Listening To: Something in the Way - Nirvana

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Savory Whipped Cream

Um who says whipped cream has to be for dessert dishes only?
Its those "they" people at it again isn't it?!

Well, I'm stickin it to "them" tonight.

Where did this come from you ask?  My lack of fridge ingredients is what happened.
No sour cream, no cream cheese, no yogurt.
I needed something for a burrito dish I was preparing and for some strange reason I had an abundance of whipping cream (yet none of the others listed above, go figure).

This recipe happened to be a Greek variation but you could mix up the spices to suit your dish.
Dollop it on a cream soup perhaps?
Possibilities are endless.
Try it out!

I'm Listening to: Amber, 311

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Magazine Recipe - Spicy Bread Alert!

I flip through myriads of foodie magazines at home, I always peruse through them at the checkout (annoying the man behind me as I hum and ha about purchasing yet another) I sometimes scribble out notes while in the doctors office (because I feel bad ripping out the pages) and yet I can honestly say with all the recipes I see on almost a daily basis I have yet to actually make any of them.

This changes when I spied a focaccia recipe in the October issue of Canadian Living yesterday.
I love all things bread.
My favorite smell is freshly baked bread steaming from the oven.
I burn my fingertips trying to be the first to taste it with a slab of butter.  And it doesn't matter how many times that happens, it will be a constant, it will never change!

Did you know that most artisan breads are best if let to rest at least 30 minutes prior to slicing?
Pffft that may totally be true but this gal doesn't wait for someone else to have the first piece!

My bread maker sits on a shelf in my kitchen collecting dust.  I like to make it by hand(ish).
This recipe peeked my interest with some bold flavors of chipotle and aged cheddar.
Sounds right up my alley!
And boy was it, burning fingers and all.

Normally my breads are mixed, risen and baked all in one day so when I realized I had to proof overnight it was a little depressing.  I hoped I wouldn't wait all night long only for it to be rock hard (ever have that happen?  I have). 
Success!  Totally worth the wait my friends.

I'm Listening To: Workin for the Weekend - Loverboy

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Autumn Cake

Farmers market season is coming to an end.
Its time to stalk up on fresh homegrown goodies my friends!
Friday we picked up tonnes of lovelies but my favorite thing this week was a bunch of parsnips.

They're related to the carrot, not like a sister, more like an aunt twice removed.  They are both root veggies, grown in the ground.  They are white, slightly sweet with a hint of a spice you may recognize - I say cardamom.

Mr. BM looked at me with a half cocked grin when I picked them up and pretended to put them in my ears to symbolize I was not listening to him when he was trying to tell me he wouldn't eat them.
Oh you'll eat them because you wont even know you are doing it!

Today I pulled them out, peeling and grating like a mad woman.
I do not own a food processor, I suspect this would have made the task easier.  They are definitely the annoying relative of the carrot - they don't shred as well. 

I was bound and determined to make a cake inspired by fall and carrots.
I think I succeeded.
The boys came home today, I handed them each a piece of cake and they thought it was carrot cake - teehee
I bet your family will enjoy this too!

I'm listening to: Change (In the House of Flies) Deftones

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pizza, Because SOMEONE Gave Up Pork

Mr. BM has given up pork.

Who in their right mind wants to give up pulled pork, pork chops, country ham, BACON??!!  BACON of all things?!
He told me he watched something on tv that made him think he should give it up.
Now, I'm all for personal choice, as long as it doesnt interfer with my meal plans.  Nobody likes a quitter.

We already don't eat a lot of red meat so now taking out the "other white meat" perplexes me slightly.
When its pizza night we have pepperoni, bacon, sometimes ham, what the heck?!  I can't use any of those anymore.
Mr. BM, I love you, really I do, but your whimsical ideas of just "stopping pork" really bugs me!  Just sayin.

Last night was pizza night.  My usual ingredients cast aside like an old toy a child no longer cares about.  I have to come up with a new toy.
Enter chicken.
Now I like chicken on my pizza but the boys usually turn their noses up at it because theirs has BACON on it and mine has spinach.  Not this time, or any other time from now on, you'll have no more pork.
Thank your father kid.
I didnt miss it, I love chicken.  And what I love more than that is pesto and chicken.
Its going on the pizza, yes indeed it is.
So goodbye porkalicious pies, the other white mean now invades your territory, drops its flag and owns it.

PETA better not infect his head or else we are all in trouble!


I'm Listening to: Fix You - Coldplay
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Buttercreams and Birthdays

I'm no expert when it comes to cake decorating.
I did take a course when I was about 14 so that totally makes me professional doesn't it?

I tell myself it does so don't burst my bubble.
I also like to hide the fact that it was nearly 20 years ago that I took said course when I cake talk.
So why not go into business?
Because until recently I didn't know a few things I'm about to share with you here:
  1. Never knew how people made such wonderful smooth fondant colours (when I try to mix I get streaks)
  2. Just learned about frozen buttercream transfers
And #3 is probably the most embarrassing for any true cake connoisseur
I have only ever made one type of buttercream because I didn't know other methods existed!
Now in my defence it WAS 20 years ago I took this course and it was only the beginner one at that.  I didn't want to make cakes professionally, I just wanted to make my parents a pretty anniversary cake. 

Since I am now hooked into researching, blog reading, fb fan page stalking and communicating with some wonderful people out there in the food world I've since found out that I have limited knowledge (or rather I should say experience) in the art of cakes.
One of my go to sites is Sweetapolita.  Amazeballs!  You should check it out if you haven't already!
This is where I learned there were other methods of making buttercream.

Since I had been asked by the mother of my good friend Muffy (no, she is not a stripper) if I would make her birthday cake I was on a mission to try something new.  Now, most people suggest (me included) that you should never try something new for others but the way I see it is I had time to mess up so why not?
I knew her family had enjoyed Fred's cake the weekend before but I know my friend, she likes vanilla not chocolate so I needed something different.
I saw this beautiful cake from Rosie (Sweetapolita) and I knew I had to mimic the look.
Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Swiss buttercream!
What?  What the heck is that?
Its a new fandangled buttercream I have never made (or heard of) using egg whites.
So I sent Rosie a msg on her Facebook page and she gave me encouraging words: "You can do it, Katrin! You'll be amazed at how easy and incredibly yummy it is! :)"
She was right.  It was yummy and it was easy!
Here's my version of the cake

French Vanilla Bean with a raspberry (traditional buttercream) filling and a lemon Swiss buttercream for the outside!
I admit her picture is better but I refuse to say hers tastes better, if anything they are each wonderful!

To make Lemon Swiss Buttercream (I revised Rosie's version):
5 large egg whites
1 c. superfine granulated sugar - I took regular sugar and pulsed it a bit in my magic bullet
2 c. softened, cut into cubes
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp. or so juice from the lemon
Pinch of salt
Add egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer and place it over a simmering pot of water. Whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
Remove and with the whisk attachment, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture.
(Its possible it will curdle, especially with the addition of the butter, don't worry keep it going, it will take form soon, promise!). Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice along with the salt, mix well.
It will store in the refrigerator for about a week in an airtight container or you could freeze it (so I am told).  Either way you are going to want to let it come to room temp and then whip until it goes back to its fluffy self.

Next time, I am gonna try my hand at Italian Buttercream!
What the heck is that?!

I'm listening to: Party Rock Anthem - LMAFO
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chicken Milanese

Flat chicken.  That's what Little Ugh calls it.
By no means is he referring to taste.  He thinks its funny that people cut the breast and then pound it out to make it super thin.  What does he know, he's just a kid.

Because son, it takes less time to cook (but more time to prepare), because it can be breaded and fried or baked and still be juicy, but mostly because you didn't do your homework and since I can't beat you I might as well take it out on the chicken right?
I could have said that. maybe. probably. I did.

Normally when I pound out chicken or veal or pork for that matter I have been known to top it with red sauce and cheese for a scallopini.  Today there will be none of that.
Simple flavors are big flavors!

I'm listening to: We Didn't Start the Fire - Billy Joel

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goulash - Take One

Remember when I said I don't like soup?  Ignore it for this post.

Mr. BM reminded me when I made this dish that I don't eat soup, I don't like soup and I complain all the time when he pulls out a can of soup.
Actually, I believe his exact words were "Um, isn't this like opening a can of Chunky soup"
OHHH EMMM GEEE it's not even like a can of waste!

Dammit.  I might like soup. Sorta.

Little background as to why I want so terribly to master this dish:
It reminds me of a time that was simple.  High School.
We, meaning a few delinquents plus me, had a local hangout that no one else seemed to go to.
It was this little cafe about a 10 minute walk from school in the "village".  I have no idea why or even how we ended up there in the first place but it quickly became our haven.
They served home made pastries, they had a teeny lunch menu and a back room that we took over every day to chat and play cards while we drank tea.  Apparently I have always loved good food, even as a teen!
We were on tabs (which I always paid on pay week), and became good friends with the owners Penny and Richard.  A lovely couple with 2 kids.  Richard was the pastry chef, Penny, I'm not really sure she could bake or cook but she played a mean game of asshole!
Every other day when I could afford it I would order the same thing.  A bowl of goulash with rye bread and butter.
Ever since then I have craved Richards goulash.  I have yet to eat anything comparable, even in my own kitchen.
This is phase one of goulash conquering.  It was good.  It wasn't Richards.  Onward I go - phase two to commence in  few weeks once the "I'm pretty sure that's soup" comments subside.
And yes, I suppose its soup. 

I'm Listening to: Bulls on Parade - Rage Against the Machine

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Nectarine French Toast Casserole

Hey Anthony Bourdain, you suck big obnoxious donkey hooves.  There, I said it.
Paula Deen may cook some high fat, super sweet meals and desserts but you don't have to eat them, its called choices.

Today (well actually last night) I CHOOSE to make a Paula Deen dish.
This was the first one ever and this morning while it was delishishly baking in my oven I was doing a happy dance so that I could burn off some extra calories before I devoured it.

Amy over at Crumbs in my Mustachio posted a link for the Baked French Toast Casserole yesterday and we both started creating variations. 
Our plan of attack over a facebook conversation:
Me, nectarines and hazelnuts
Amy, well you'll just have to hop on over to her site in the next couple of days to find out :)

Now I have to admit to you that I am not a huge fan of casseroles, I've never actually made one in all my years of cooking.
Throwing things randomly into a pan and tossing it into the oven doesn't symbolize love of cooking to me.
This dish although being called a casserole didn't seem to fit the mold so to speak. 
Until I added in a few extra ingredients.

I will make this again you can count on that but maybe not for a few months to let my body loose a few pounds.

I'm Listening to: Pick Up Man - Joe Diffie

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