News and stuff like that

Well, I’ve been MIA over the last few posting days, and I really apologize about that. I was all gung-ho about posting last week and then hit a creative-cooking block on Friday. I am going to blame it on my exciting news! I’ve been waiting to post about it until I had a chance to chat with my first internship host, Dave at The Tyee. They were wonderful all summer and were particularly wonderful when I had to bail at the end of August to be with my family. The project I was working on is on its way to being wrapped up, so I am going to pop around from time-to-time to help out, move things along, etc. Anyway, chatted with Dave today and so now I can announce that I’ve taken on a second internship with…. (drum roll sound effects here) Appetite by Random House!

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Alternative pizza crust time! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a yeasted dough, probably more than most things in life. But trying new things isn’t a bad thing and this was certainly worth the adventure! I was looking into alternative crusts and came across the “meatza” which is a ground beef crust… delicious, I’m sure, but also terrifying. Gen suggested a cauliflower crust and after some searching around online I read enough to decide that this was worth doing. The crust honestly doesn’t taste like cauliflower. It tastes almost like a fluffy, soft biscuit. The way I went about making this created a fairly stable crust (though we did have to eat it with a fork), and it crisped up nicely on the edges. It certainly wont replace a yeasted crust in my heart, but it was a good experiment that Gen LOVED, so we will certainly be eating it again.

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Spicy Almonds and Buffalo-style Almonds- awww yes, snacking goodness

These are a great snack when you want something a little spicy, totally convenient, and easy to make! They both whip up in about 20 minutes, and you could cook the two batches together to save time. I tossed the two flavours in a bowl together for a bit more excitement! We only had almonds on hand, but this would work great for mixed nuts, so go wild. The red almonds are the buffalo ones and the other are the general spice mix. I am going to try a few more combos for a future post.

Buffalo-style Almonds

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 1 to 2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/3 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 small pinch of cinnamon (for a little sweetness to add to the spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk your egg white in a medium bowl until foamy. Add the almonds and stir to coat, allow to sit while you prepare your spice mixture.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt your butter. Stir in your spices, salt, and Frank’s.
  4. Drain your almonds in a colander, return to the medium bowl and coat in the Frank’s mixture. Stir well to evenly coat.
  5. Spread your almonds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F and roast for an addition 8 minutes, or until browned lightly.
  7. Allow the nuts to cool before storing.

Buffalo wings… wait no, almonds! Tasty.

Spicy Almonds

Recipe adapted slightly from here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk your egg white in a medium bowl until foamy. Add the almonds and stir to coat, allow to sit while you prepare your spice mixture.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together your spices.
  4. Drain your almonds in a colander, add your almonds to the spice bowl and stir well to evenly coat.
  5. Spread your almonds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F and roast for an addition 8 minutes, or until browned lightly.
  7. Allow the nuts to cool before storing.

In case you aren’t sure about whisked egg whites…

Eating time!

Fluffy & creamy Cauliflower Mash! May replace potatoes in your stomach’s heart!

Well, potatoes are awesome and mashed potatoes are one of my faves, but this dish could possibly ruin mashed potatoes for me forever. These are sooooooo good. This cauliflower mash is not runny, which can be an issue with these types of mashes. There is no overly skunky cauliflower flavour, just creamy, dreamy goodness. You can mix up the cheese and be sure to add spices you love (nix the garlic, add curry?). I was eating this with a spoon right from the pot, ate it from the plate with my pork, ate it while taking the pictures… notice the finger scoop mark on the right… Even cold, these are amazing.

Cauliflower Mash

Adapted from I Breathe… I’m Hungry’s Cauliflower Puree. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup jalapeño havarti (it’s what I had on had, use any other sharp cheese, though this was gooooooood), shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

*shred a little extra cheese to top

DIRECTIONS

  1. Remove leaves and the bottom of the stalk. Roughly chop the cauliflower into medium-sized chunks (evenly sized for even steaming).
  2. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot until very tender, but not mushy, about 10 minutes. (If you don’t have a steamer, buy one… but also, check out IBIH’s instructions for microwaving)
  3. Drain the cauliflower and leave in the strainer for 5 minutes to remove as much water as possible.
  4. Back in your large pot, now dry, combine the rest of the ingredients with the cauliflower, allowing the cheese to melt a bit. Use a handblender, regular blender, or a food processor, to thoroughly puree the mixture. The result should be fluffy, creamy goodness. If you find it a bit wet, pop the pot back on the stove and let it cook over medium-low heat for a 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

Florets, steaming away. It is a smallish large pot and they barely fit!

Ahhh flash! So creamy and dreamy.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Dry-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Yikes, this is delicious. The dry rub is powerful and I will be using it many times in the future, on chicken, beef, pork, etc. Like I said use the rub sparingly, you don’t want to overwhelm your meat. I bought a big pack of pork tenderloins at Costco and dry rubbed each of them before freezing them, just a spoon and a half each did the trick.

The prosciutto kept the pork from drying out (Heidi, I do a service to you every time I want to write moist, I work really hard to find other language!) and it added a saltiness that I didn’t want too much of in the rub, to prevent the rub from over-salting a meal that I would rather salt while cooking. I served this with fluffy and creamy mashed cauliflower that I will be posting tomorrow, yes it is good enough for its own post! I also sautéed some baby bok choy with butter and garlic for some greens. Get on this meal!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Dry-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed red chili peppers
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 pork loin (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 6-8 slices of prosciutto

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together your spices and store in an air-tight container. Sprinkle 1-2 tbsps of the rub on your pork tenderloin and rub it in really well. At this point you can let the rub rest on the meat overnight or for an hour, you can also cook it up right away.
  2. Heat oven to 375°F. Grab a broiling pan, or if you don’t have that, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Lay your prosciutto slices out on the pan you are using, overlapping slightly to ensure a seal of sorts. You want a rectangle, the length of the tenderloin.
  4. Lay your pork onto the rectangle and pull the prosciutto strips up to wrap the tenderloin. Lay a final piece of prosciutto over the wrapped ends.
  5. Cook for 35-45 minutes, until the pork is cooked and the prosciutto has crisped up.

This is the least phallic of the photos I took.

Wrapped and ready to roast!

 

Saskatoon and Fruit Pies… an experiment of sorts. A wonderful experiment.

Living in berry country is great. Our friends, the Taylors have Saskatoon bushes out at their house on the lake and a couple weeks ago Natalie, their daughter, called to let us know that she had picked a batch of berries for us. Huzzah! Pies were to be made! We made these pies for Dad’s party, as they were another favourite of his. They were supposed to be straight Saskatoon berry pies but we realized that we didn’t have enough Saskatoons. So they were going to be Saskatoon and blueberry pies… but when Kellie and I got to baking we realized we didn’t even have enough of those two combined… so we frantically looked around the kitchen and assessed the fruit situation. We had oranges, bananas, five measly plums, and two apples. Huzzah! We quickly dismissed the bananas and oranges (whew) and started cutting up the rest of the fruit. We ended up with enough Saskatoon and blueberry filling to fill the first pie, I scooped out four scoop of that filling to round out the Saskatoon Blueberry Plum and Apple Pie. Both were huge successes and Mom really couldn’t tell the difference in them, the Saskatoons really took over the flavour profile perfectly. Enjoy!

Saskatoon Pie with variations

INGREDIENTS

+
Klondike Pastry (makes enough for the crust and tops of two pies)

  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb (2 cups) shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup cold water

+
Saskatoon and Blueberry Pie (makes one 9-inch pie)

  • 7 cups fresh or frozen Saskatoon berries
  • 1 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

+
Saskatoon, Blueberry, Apple, and Plum Pie (yes, it is many things) (makes one 9-inch pie)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen Saskatoon berries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 apples, sliced and chopped
  • 4-5 small plums, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1  cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prepare your Klondike Pastry:
    • 
    In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, baking powder, and brown sugar. Cut in your shortening until you have pea-sized bits throughout.
    • In a small bowl, whisk together your egg, vinegar, and cold water.
    • Pour your egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix only until a dough forms, don’t over mix. Split dough in half, roll out each half to desired thickness, lay into your pie plate, press lightly to fill and cut around the edges. Re-roll left over dough to form the top. Cut a shape out of the top layer before laying it onto the fruit mixture.
  3. Onto the fruit! In a large saucepan, simmer berries (and apple and plums, if doing that version) with the water for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the lemon juice into the fruit mixture, allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar, stir into the berry mixture.
  6. Pour the filling into your pie crusts. Place the top layer over the pie, pinch to seal the edges. If desired, use a pastry brush to brush the top with some milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F  and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Delicious berry filling (pre-realization that we needed WAY MORE FILLING)

The first pie, gloriously filled.

The second pie, the four-fruit filling pie.

This Saskatoon berry shape is old and well used.

Pre-baking.

Post-baking.

Carrot Cake

I have to tell you something before you scroll down to the intro photo. There was not enough time for me to take a good photo of this cake. We made it Friday night and were so busy once the party got started that I didn’t have a chance to slip away and take nice shots of the cut cake. So… what you see below is all that is left, it is a broken, half-smooshed tiny piece. Also, I too have kitchen issues, I definitely grated my finger in the process (don’t worry, it didn’t get in with the carrots) and have been band-aided for two days. Sigh. In all, I hope you know that this means that this carrot cake was too good for photos. Don’t judge this delicious cake by the photo…

We made some of my dad’s favourite foods for his party and the desserts were no exception. Dad has always loved carrot cake, so of course it was on the menu. We also made Saskatoon Blueberry Pie and Saskatoon Blueberry Plum Apple Pie, so stay tuned for those on Thursday. This carrot cake was a big hit, I had many requests for it to be posted and rightfully so, it is moist, perfectly sweet and everything we’d hoped! Dad would’ve loved it, and that is exactly what we wanted.

Carrot Cake

Cake recipe adapted from here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp cardamon
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 (14 oz) can pineapple tidbits (or crushed), drained
  • 1 cup walnuts, crushed (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 (250 g) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cardamon, and cinnamon.
  3. Add sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir well, mixing until smooth.
  4. Stir in carrots, coconut, and pineapple. (add walnuts now too)
  5. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. The centre might sink a bit, it didn’t for me, but don’t fear!
  6. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla, beat until creamy and fluffy, add more sugar as needed for the desired texture.
  8. Even better, frost with the mascarpone whipped cream frosting from the Guinness Cupcakes!

The infamous Bacon Jam (or Bacon Marmalade), we don’t fool around when it comes to bacon

Bacon Jam! I feel like not much more needs to be said. This is a smoky, savoury, caramelized treat. The appetizer we made from the bacon jam was inspired by a President’s Choice advertisement/recipe based on their Bacon Marmalade product. The appetizer construction was easy and delicious, but truly this bacon jam can be appreciated anywhere, on a sandwich, on crackers, with a spoon, with your fingers.

We made this for the party for Dad yesterday and it was a hit. I’ve been contracted to make a batch for one of our good friends, on the condition that he brings me the pound of bacon needed.

Bacon Jam

Recipe very slightly adapted from Dinner with Julie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb (one package) good-quality bacon
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (hot or cold)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Roughly chop the bacon and cook it in a large pan; transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, draining off most of the drippings.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic cloves in the remaining drippings for 5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.
  3. Return the bacon to the pan, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, and vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for half an hour, or until deep golden (mine was more bacon coloured… deep, rich browny red) and thickened to the consistency of jam.
  4. Serve warm on toast, sandwiches, crackers, etc. Or, follow the directions below for a delicious appetizer.
Bacon Jam Appetizers
  • a baguette
  • two pears
  • white cheddar
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • bowl of fresh bacon jam
  1. Slice a baguette and lay the slices out on a baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  2. Toast the slices in an oven set to 350°F for 10 minutes, or until crispy and slightly golden.
  3. Thinly slice your cheddar and place on the baguette slices.
  4. Put the tray back in the oven to melt the cheese and further toast the baguettes.
  5. Dollop some bacon jam on each slice and top with a slice of pear and a sprinkle of thyme.

Step-by-step

  1. Roughly chop the bacon and cook it in a large pan; transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, draining off most of the drippings.

    Not roughly chopped, so much as evenly chopped.

  2. Saute the onion and garlic cloves in the remaining drippings for 5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.

    Onions, bacon, garlic.

  3. Return the bacon to the pan, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, and vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for half an hour, or until deep golden (mine was more bacon coloured… deep, rich browny red) and thickened to the consistency of jam.

    Jamming out!

  4. Serve warm on toast, sandwiches, crackers, etc. Or, follow the directions below for a delicious appetizer

    Preliminary bacon jam testing.

Rich Walnut Brownies

Another brownie post, I know, I’ve made one before. These are delicious and they are on the road to a flourless cake that I keep meaning to get to. These only have 1/2 cup of flour, and really, could probably have done without any at all, with a few adjustments. We’ve been making a lot of brownies around Mom’s house lately, with a house full of women, chocolate is a necessity. I love walnuts in brownies, I feel they add some awesome texture, but also take away any overdose of sweetness, they balance them out. This recipe is Alton Brown’s. I love that man and his recipes are always great, this one is no exception. These are pretty dark-chocolate tasting, so if that’s not your cup of tea, try the other recipe.

Rich Walnut Brownies

Adapted from Alton Brown’s.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup broken walnuts

INGREDIENTS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow.
  3. Add both sugars, beat well.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine, making sure to have a smooth batter (except for the walnuts).
  5. Pour the batter into your pan, smoothing the top.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Let cool before eating.

Whisking by hand and butter for melting.

Two sugars worth of tastiness.

 

Chorizo Tamale Pie

I love Maseca, the treated corn flour that is used to make corn tortillas, tamales, and all those delicious South American treats. I have had a bag of this flour in my pantry since I made pupusas (an El Salvadorian specialty… I will make them for NC soon) for Gen and am always looking for new things to make with it. I am not a huge fan of cornbread but the fine texture of Maseca made this twist on tortilla pie an extra treat.

In other exciting news, this is my 90th post, which means I am tantalizingly close to 100! I know, I know, I haven’t been around for a year, but I was pumping out posts like it was going out of style for the first few exhausting months of Not Crocker, so this means I am going to do some sort of giveaway for my 100th posts AND my one-year anniversary post in March! I am still sorting out a plan for both, but stay tuned so I can announce how to win whatever I am planning. In any case, get commenting, let me know if you’ve had Maseca before, or if you need some guidance on where to find it! It is awesome and totally worth a little search.

Chorizo Tamale Pie

Adapted from Scarletta Bakes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1- large (10-12″ ) flour tortilla
  • six large pork chorizo sausages, casing removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, diced (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic (3-5 cloves), minced
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 cups Maseca (masa harina)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch pie plate and press the tortilla to the shape of the plate. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet cook the chorizo, breaking it up with the back of a spoon to create an even texture.
  4. Meanwhile in a large bowl, use your hands to mash/mix together the Maseca, eggs, milk, cream, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and cheese until as smooth as possible. If it’s still dry, add a little water at a time until a dough forms.
  5. Once the chorizo is cooked set it aside.
  6. Add the onion and jalapeño to the skillet and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute more. Toss the onion mixture with the chorizo.
  7. Spread the chorizo mixture in the pie plate, over the tortilla.
  8. Cover the meat with the Maseca dough, smoothing as best as possible.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the Maseca top has browned and the meat mixture is bubbling.
  10. Serve immediately.

Maseca, so you know!

Chorizo mixture to the left, Maseca mixture to the top right, tortilla in a pie plate to the bottom right.

Pre-oven.