Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Bean" there, done that! Molasses Baked Beans

Baked beans on the East Coast of Canada is a comfort food. Whether they're home-made or from a can doesn't matter, they always taste great. As a kid, we often had them on top of buttered toast or as a side dish.

I have to be honest and tell you I haven't made baked beans from scratch in a very long time. Instead, I "cheat" and start with canned beans, add a handful of this and a handful of that and then bake them again. After a couple of hours the sauce becomes thick and rich and sweet...mmm.

Last night we had them with pulled pork sandwiches...a perfect meal.

4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp worstshire
2 heaping tbsp grainy mustard (but any type will work)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup bbq sauce or ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
3 cans baked beans - I prefer Bush's vegetarian beans
1 can white beans

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Throw every thing in a large oven-proof casserole dish.
3. Stir.
4. Bake for 2 - 2.5 hours.

Note: DO NOT put cover on baking dish or sauce will not thicken. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baby Bok Choy with Sweet Chilli Sauce

Have you had the pleasure of eating bok choy? Bok Choy is member of the cabbage family. It has a large base, crisp white stems and crinkled, dark green leaves. Although there is large version of bok choy, I prefer the baby verison.

This dish is a super easy side that is absolutely delicious! It's great with chicken & pork.

This will serve 2.

10 baby bok choy
1 tbsp oil
4 tbsp thai sweet chilli sauce
salt and pepper to taste

What to do
Trim a little bit of the base of each bok choy.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add bok choy. Sautee for approximately 4 minutes until tender crisp. Add sweet chilli sauce and saute for 1 minute more. Salt and pepper to taste.

Plate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pineapple Loaf with Lime Glaze

I had some left over fresh pineapple and needed to whip up something for my son's Father Day Tea. But what? Luckily, my Mom's Pineapple Loaf recipe was the perfect solution. It has a subtle sweetness thanks to the pineapple and if you add cherries (I didn't this time) it is also very...well... cheery!

I added a lime glaze for an even brighter taste. I was worried is might have too much citrus taste for the kids but they loved it!

4 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup crushed pineapple
3/4 cup cherries (fresh or old school marashino) - optional
1 tsp vanilla

What to do
Preheat oven - 350 degrees.
Cream shortening and sugar until light approx 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix well about 1 minute.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Mix dry ingredients alternately with crushed pineapple.
Stir in vanilla and cherries (if using) until just combined.
Pour batter into 8x4 loaf pan.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes and then prepare glaze.


Juice of one lime.
1 cup of powdered sugar.
Extra water if needed.

Mix juice and sugar. You want a consistency that will pour off a spoon in a nice steady stream. If it's too thick add a teaspoon of water at a time until desired consistency is reached,

Poke loaf with toothpick all over. Drizzle glaze over loaf.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blueberry Apple peach Muffins

These delicious blueberry apple peach muffins were made with the same basic recipe as this recipe but I added a golden delicious apple and blueberries to go with the peaches. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to go with the vanilla and took out the cinnamon. Finally, I didn't use the glaze. Instead I sprinkled some coarse sugar to the tops for a great crunch. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tomato Chocolate Cake

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes is easily one of my favorite books - the photos are mouth watering and the recipes are straight forward and very detailed. So, of course, I was going to choose one of the delicious recipes to celebrate my husband's birthday.

My husband's favorite cake is chocolate with raspberry filling and covered in chocolate icing. He is not a huge fan of tomatoes. So when I read her "Tomato Chocolate Cake with Mystery Ganache" I turned the page almost immediately - seriously tomatoes and chocolate?? Sounded almost healthy and I am NOT a believer in healthy birthday cakes!

The thing that made me turn back was the picture. It looked delicious and fun and, oh did I mention, delicious. I decided to take a chance (of course, I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was putting tomato soup in it).

It is easy to prepare, easy to decorate and yes, delicious. It is very chocolatey, light yet deep in flavour and the presentation is whimsical yet sophisticated.

I used a combo of semi sweet, dark and milk chocolate in the ganache and it was great. I also mixed some vanilla pudding and raspberry jam into 1/3 cup of the ganache for the middle filling.

My suggestion is to put the "cookie" candles on JUST BEFORE serving as they do go soft fairly quickly (still ate them the next day soft or not).

I think piping gel works best for the candle "flame".

Make the ganache in the morning as it needs time to cool and thicken.

Everyone including the birthday boy loved the cake and NO ONE could guess there was a tomato in it!

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

- serves 16 to 20 -
Adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 can Campbell's tomato soup

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off

2 cups berry or castor sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 sticks (1-3/4 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Mystery Ganache (recipe follows)
Pans: Two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans coated with baking spray and flour.

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa, tomato soup, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and half the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, with the mixer off between additions, add the remaining cocoa mixture in two parts. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans, being sure to press the batter against the sides of the pans, and smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centers.

4. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto wire racks. Reinvert the cakes so that the top sides are up. Cool completely.

Mystery Ganache


12 ounces dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cocoa, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream

1/4 cup tomato soup

About 59 4-inch Pirouette Wafer Cookies (2 cans, optional) - I like LU brand

Store bought red piping gel - I like the gel because it is more translucent and "flame" like.

What to do:
In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. In a medium saucepan whisk together the cream and tomato soup and scald it (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around the side of pan). With the motor running, carefully poured the scalded cream into the spout of the processor and mix for a minute until smooth.

Cool for one hour on counter. Place plastic wrap on the top of ganache and cool till thick and spreadable ( a few hours).

Final Elements:
When the cakes are completely cool, spread a little of the ganache on a serving plate and set the first layer on top. Slide a few wide strips of wax paper or parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean.

Spread about 1 cup of the ganache over the layer. Place the second layer on top and use the remainder to frost the top and sides. With the tip of a 1/4-inch-wide metal spatula, make lines through the ganache on top of the cake. Remove the paper strips from under the cake. If storing the cake under a cake dome, allow the ganache to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight before applying the Pirouettes or the moisture from the ganache will soften them (seemed to get soft regardless).

To surround the cake with the Pirouettes, you may want to trim them to to varying lengths as in pictures, using a small serrated knife. Repair any broken ones using ganache and press them gently against the sides of the cake. The ganache will hold them in place. If the ganache becomes too firm, heat it by applying a spatula run under hot tap water and dried.

Pipe little flames of red gel on top of each Pirouette.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Strawberry Mango Peach Rocket Smoothsicles (Popsicles)

Our family loves yogourt smoothies - usually for breakfast or ocassionally as a snack. We also love frozen popsicles on a hot summer day. This easy recipe combines both of these treats into one - the "Smoothsicle". The ones we made today incorparated the fruit on hand - mangos, peaches and strawberries and vanilla yogourt but use whatever you have in your kitchen.

We also used these cute rocketship shaped popsicle molds. They come in a set of six and are easy to use as they come with an easy to use base. This recipe easily makes 12 rocket smoothsicles but ultimately yield will depend on the size of your moulds. But any left overs make a great smoothie!

2 cups vanilla yogourt
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen mangos
1/2 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
1. Place yogourt, peaches and mangos in blender and puree till smooth.
2. Add strawberries and pulse until incorporated but still chunky.
3. Pour mixture into moulds and freeze till solid.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Peachy-Keen Cinnamon Muffins

Peachy-Keen Cinnamon Muffins
I have to say I love muffins but I view them more of a dessert than a breakfast food. And that is certainly the case for this delcious recipe. It's based on a Fine Cooking recipe (Fine Cooking 77 , pp. 48-51) that I have used over and over again. This version accentuates the fantastic combination of peaches, cinnamon and vanilla! Together these flavours remind me of a warm night by a fire. The glaze is a nice touch that ties everything together.

Ingredients3.5 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1-1/3 cups sugar
10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup sour cream (at room temperature)
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 large egg yolk (at room temperature)
1-1/2 cups chopped peaches (fresh or frozen)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Squeeze of lemon juice

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 12 cup muffin tin with liners – I prefer silicon liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl whisk together butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and yolk.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients gently, until just moistened (there will be streaks of flour and will be lumpy – that’s ok).

Add peaches, cinnamon, zest, and vanilla. Mix gently and keep it lumpy! Less is more otherwise your muffins will be tough!

Divide batter amongst muffin cups. The batter should mound over the cups by about ¾- 1 inch.

Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown. These are big & delicious muffins!

Place powdered sugar in bowl and add water, cinnamon and lemon juice (I find the lemon juice brightens up the sugar considerably). Mix until lump free. The consistency of the glaze should pour with a medium speed off a spoon.

While muffins are warm (not hot) spoon glaze over muffins – or glaze just before you eat one. It will keep for a couple of days at room temp or in the fridge. Enjoy!