Monday, December 26, 2011

Candy Cane Trifle

Red and White.
Traditional candy cane colours.
Minty freshness.
Original winter flavour.

When I found a recipe in our LCBO magazine (which I had yoinked off my mother in law's counter - sorry, I'll bring it back!) that featured a red velvet cake (which is my son's fav) and white layers of minty whipped cream and white chocolate ganache I knew I wanted to make this for our family holiday dinner.
Bringin back the old school desserts - awesome.  Maybe I should bring back the jello salads? NAAA

I should divulge I cheated a little.
I used a boxed red velvet cake mix. The recipe did give direction for making your own but, well, I didn't have time and my mother in law had given us a bunch of cake mixes (red velvet since its the Little Ughs fav) so might as well use em right?
If you have a favorite recipe for it please be my guest, replace it with your cake recipe or you could use the recipe supplied by the linked recipe below.

This is a beautiful presentation and a wonderful dessert to serve at your next gathering - but I would suggest not making it for 2.
I also suggest using a tad more peppermint extract.  I used a touch more than the recipe called for but it really could have used another 1/2 tsp. or so.

Enjoy - we did!

I'm listening to: Candy Cane Children - White Stripes

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Refrigerator Rolls

You want to know one of my favorite things about blogging?
Meeting new friends and sharing tips and tricks, new ideas and tried and true recipes!

Since a few ladies were getting together this week for dinner, I put a call out to a dear woman, Denise, who I KNOW loves her bread.  I mean her blogs name is The Bread Fairy.....duh!?!  I needed a recipe. She'd be able to point me in the right direction, I was sure of it!

This week was a little hectic (not because I was busy per say but because I haven't been feeling great) and I had wanted to find a recipe that I could make in advance, freeze or refrigerate and bake on site.
Denise came through!

Thank you darlin!  They were spectacular.

Here's how I made them:
Basic Roll Dough
1 c. milk
3 tbsp. margarine
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg

Over medium heat, warm milk and margarine until warm (not simmering or boiling). 
In the bowl of your stand mixer with your paddle attachment, blend warm liquid, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, egg and add the yeast after you've started mixing at low speed until moistened.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. 
Switch to a dough hook and add remaining flour to form a soft dough. 
On well floured surface, turn out the dough and form a ball.  Place dough in an oil bowl, cover let rise until light and doubled in size 45 to 60 minutes.
Punch down dough.  Cut and shape into rolls, place on a baking sheet and bake about 8-10 minutes in a preheated 300F oven to set (they should not have colour)
Cool completely and either refrigerate or freeze.
When you are ready to heat and serve, preheat your oven to 400F and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

I'm Listening to:  AnnaMolly - Incubus
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Review, An Amazing Dinner, and a Giveaway!

Ever go to the mailbox, look inside to see a package staring back at you that you've been dying to receive so you leave all other pieces behind, rip open the wrapping and giggle in delight?!
That was me this morning.
Today in the mail I received a bottle of Camelina Oil from Three Farmers, a group of farmers from Saskatchewan, Canada who take pride in producing a natural product.

When I was approached to receive a complimentary bottle to test out and possibly write a short post on the oil (which I had never heard of until the Delicious Food Show in Toronto), I was intrigued and elated.
What got me was the fact that every bottle can be traced to the actual farmer that produced it to guarantee accountability, quality and to give that personal connection between producer and consumer.  How amazing is that?  Its nearly as if you were stepping foot on the farm yourself!
You also can't beat the fact that it is also a source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturates as well as having loads of Vitamin E.
So what is Camelina Oil?  It derives from an ancient grain that originated from Northern Europe and parts of Central Asia and now in Saskatchewan.  It is cold pressed which allows the natural oil from the seed to be extracted.  It really does have a wonderful aroma, it has a nutty tone to it and I think I am in love.
For more information please visit the web site's FAQ section.

Of course I tested it out this evening in 2 ways.  I wanted to check the 475F smoke point as well as the flavor itself.  Both I am happy to report, are an A+!
Dinner was delicious.

To keep this post size to a reasonable limit I am simply going to do a quick write up of the ingredients and method of the Pork Tenderloin Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette which we had tonight.
Why when I usually post step by steps?
Because dear friends I have even better news for you!
My new friends over at Three Farmers have offered to pass along a bottle to one lucky follower!!! WOOT WOOT!
I have no doubt the winner will absolutely enjoy this oil as much as I have.

So to make sure you read our dinner I'm posting the giveaway details AFTER dinner (kinda like dessert for you).

Pork Medallion Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette
1 pork tenderloin
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. sirachi (or hot sauce)

1 tbsp. juice of a clementine
1 1/2 tbsp. juice of a fresh lime
1 tsp. Dijon
1/4 c. Three Farmers Camelina Oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together your spices and rub onto a trimmed tenderloin (silver removed).  In a cast iron pan add 1 tbsp Camelina Oil and heat (medium).  Place your tenderloin in and brown on all sides about 4 min each.
Get together your glaze and spoon onto the pork while in the pan to coat.  Place in a preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes (or until inner temp is 145F)  Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes, meanwhile prepare your vinaigrette.
In a bowl add the juices and mustard with a touch of salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in the oil as you whisk to emulsify.
Drizzle over your plated salad and sliced tenderloin!

Ok dessert time!  Or giveaway rather ;)
A few details:
  • You must be a follower of my blog (and I'd love it if you would follow me on my facebook page as well.
  • This giveaway will close December 15th at 5pm EST.
  • Winner will be selected at random by
For one entry:
Leave me a comment, include your email address so I can connect with you, letting me know what you would like to make with this wonderful product.

For additional entries:
Share on Facebook tagging my page and leave a separate comment letting me know each time you've shared (once per day only please)
Share on twitter using "@ppkongacooks is having a giveaway!" and leave a separate comment saying you've done so (once per day only please)

One winner will be selected at random and contacted by email, they will have 48 hours to respond.
Three Farmers will send out the product directly - THANK YOU THREE FARMERS!
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Using Our Noggins

The Nog.
creamy.  eggy.  sweet.
Good thing it is only out once a year right?

Just after Thanksgiving while at the grocery store Little Ugh goes running to the milk section.
Could he be looking for some healthy milk to guzzle down?
Not likely.
He was searching for the nog.
"Why don't they have it out yet??!!?"  (Keep in mind our Thanksgiving is October)
"Because bud, they only bring it out for the Christmas season, you know, like the candy cane ice cream (droooool)"
Not a happy shopping trip for either of us really.

I admit that in the past I have bought our egg nog.  I've never made it before, nor have I really thought about it until now.
Now's as good a time as any right?
I know lots of people who make it, who only EVER make it.
I also know lots of people that eat take out 4 times a week but I don't judge them, so don't judge me!

We wanted a lower fat version, no cream, and I wanted something cooked - no raw eggs thanks.
The first time around I added a tad too many cloves, not that it was was just a little TOO clovey, if that makes any sense.
I think we also simmered the mixture about 45 seconds too long, it was a little thicker than what I was hoping for. 
It couldn't have been all bad because Little Ugh drank the entire batch and said it was WAY better than the store bought version.
So for our first time making the nog it was a hit and I think know we will be making more in the coming weeks!

I'm Listening To: Charlie Brown Christmas in the background (on TV!)

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Turning Another Year Older - Who Wants Cake?

Pretty sure my other half is about to have a mid life crisis.
He turned 35 this weekend and he's already convinced his life is over.  He isn't taking it well.
He woke up, walked down stairs slowly, proceeded to tell me he had to get up 3 times during the night to pee (forgetting that he drank a whole bunch of pop and water just before bedtime), complained his legs hurt (possibly the gym?) and couldn't remember where he put his phone (attached to his hip at all times).
It's ok darling, you still have your looks.

He didn't want to celebrate this year.  Let me re-phrase, his idea of celebrating was football chicken and holing himself up in the basement to watch his games, no going out for dinner (which we do every year, no family, no presents.
Fine by me.
BUT, what's not ok is giving me the opportunity to make a cake.
He was alright with that.
"Carrot cake please, you know, with the yummy frosting."
Good pick, carrots make you see better, you'll need that at your age.

So here's to you my middle aged man, per your request!

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