Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year!

Today, there was no leaping for me! I am was tiiiiirrrreeeedddd - and for not a very good reason. I stayed late to work, but then, I started to research food processors and waffle irons. Yes, I am overtired today but I was doing market research for kitchen items. By the end of the weekend - I will own both, if not at least one. I feel that a processor is a key. How I've lived this long without one, I am not even sure.

So, some very exciting new for me today! I follow this blog: http://www.peanutbutterandpeppers.com/ through Facebook and she had this fantastic post about signing up for a "Food Penpal" Yup! That's right. It's true. I can't wait, but a little nervous because that means people are going to read this. People that are outside of the "exclusive" membership! But, this is good because it means I have to keep up on this! YAY!


Tonight, I thought I might talk about my weekday food experiences.This week is special, per say because I am staying in camp (do every second week) and someone else cooks for me! Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. Sometimes I have to read the menu to make sure I know what's on the slop line and sometimes I don't know what the titles on the menu means (for example - P.E.I Vegetables - What the H!? Right.... Green and yellow beans... I had no idea those were native to P.E.I or classified as their vegetable. What would an Alberta vegetable be?? I'd really like to know). Backing up slightly - for those who are not familiar with the camp life - A company has an operation in a remote location, so they build a "camp" for their employees to stay in while they are working in this area. Camp isn't tents - its a big building, which has many rooms (think college dorm), a cafeteria, gym, pub, Tim Hortons, etc. etc. It's really not so bad! I meant to take pictures of all of my meals today but forgot so, I will share the few that I have. The menus are set up well in advance, so you will know Monday, what you are eating Wednesday, Thursday, etc. etc. Wednesday is typically "Steak or Prime Rib Night". Tonight, it was prime rib and ribs! I, for whatever reason, was feeling ribs and felt plesantly surprised to see asapargus (though it was mushy). You can't be fussy to eat here - that's for sure!


Brontosaurus Ribs?















Anyway, that's about all for tonight, I need to get myself to bed. The mornings come quick when I'm up here!

Sandwich a La Camp


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Night Kitchen Party: Part 2

And it continued....


My grandpa is AWESOME. I seriously love that man. He's been eating Roger's Porridge mix since 1984. I am not kidding you. We discussed this on my last visit. He has been eating this mix everyday since 1984, and he even buys it in bulk and drives it down to Phoenix, AZ with him. I am not exaggerating, and not at all joking. He is 86 years old, still drives, still golfs and still gets goofy. That's proof that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. No effin' around. When I was in Safeway on one of my many shops, I walked by this epic porridge mix and couldn't leave it on the shelf. I took a bag home with me (I paid, don't worry).


I've adapted the recipe that was on the back of the bag shown in the picture. These cookies aren't pretty and to be honest - I am not even sure how they taste baked. Side bar - I don't eat my own cooked products unless it's cooking. The baking doesn't interest me. Do I eat the unbaked product and the chocolate chips that go into the creations - YES. Just not the finished product. Weird... I know. I'll eat other people's baking and sometimes my car even takes itself to bakeries and forces me to buy cookies and I eat those, just not my own. Since my roommate moved out, I haven't had anyone to immediately try my items so I apologize if you make these and they taste like poop. 


Here goes. In the name of my grandpa (whom I LOVE), we will call these, Gordon's Cookies! I hope they taste good or it will be a disgrace to grandpa and his porridge mix!


Gordon's Cookies
1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (I think I used a bit less because it's all I had)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups Roger's Porridge Mix


Mix the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter, applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla together. Add the Roger's Porridge Mix, then the flour mixture. 
Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350F for approximately 15 minutes. 


I realized as I wrote this, I forgot eggs. DAMMIT. I think this needs 2 eggs. Disgrace. Sad face. 
At this point, he's been eating Roger's Porridge for 1 year.


Happy Saturday!! xo

Saturday Night Kitchen Party

So, when I posted last night, I thought that my baking for the weekend was over! I was SO wrong. After sitting in a classroom for the last 2 days, I guess I needed some expression of creativity! I cranked the tunes, pulled out the cook books and got down to work!


First up!


Pumpkin Oat Muffins adapted from http://sweetandnatural.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/pumpkin-banana-oat-muffins
My version:
1 can pumpkin (not the pie filling, we're talking straight up pumpkin)
1 cup of applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flax meal
2/3 cup agave nectar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Rogers Porridge Mix (or oats of any type is fine, this is just what I had)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (also added nutmeg and cloves)
2 eggs


Mix all of your wet ingredients together (I am sure you know the difference between wet and dry). Then, mix all of your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Mix until blended. Add a cup of chocolate chips to dress it up if you like! 


Bake at 375F for approximately 17 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!

Friday, February 24, 2012

2 for 1!

This week hasn't been too much for large kitchen experiments but I'll leave you with a few for this weekend. 


For some reason, I have become obsessed with popcorn. I don't have an air popper so I have to make it on the stove. Here is how I did it:


Stove Top Popcorn:
Put a large pot on your stove top, add 2 - 3 tbsp of canola oil, make sure your oil is heated by putting a kernel in it and seeing if it pops. If it does, add 1/3 cup of kernels. I bought the cheap crappy Co-Op brand ones. If you're not cheap like me, you'll probably get better results. I am cheap because I buy food ALL the time. It's a problem - I go to different stores all over the city so people don't recognize me (kidding but I should). Once you've added your kernels, cover the pot and listen to the fun popping sounds! Once the popping slows down, remove from the heat. Also, shake the pot back and forth so it doesn't burn. Once you remove it from the heat, you can make whatever flavor combo you want. One night (yes, I ate this more than one night), I added dried cranberries and some cayenne (gross to you, delicious to me) and the second night, I added some cayenne and curry. The curry night was better (no surprise). Enjoy!!


Spicy and Sweet Combo!


Tonight, I made some lettuce wraps. When I am feeding just me. I am a bit of a slacker. They could have used some more flavor, so perhaps see this as more of a guideline than anything!

Lettuce Wraps:
Butter Lettuce
2 chicken breast, cubed
Red Pepper, cut in strips (there's a fancy name that escapes me)
Green Onion
Garlic
Mushrooms
Lime
Salt
Pepper
Coconut oil (or any other for cooking)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Chili Paste (the bottle with the rooster on it)

Heat a pan, put in your coconut oil. Add your chicken. Once your chicken is mostly cooked, add the garlic and green onion. Continue cooking. Add your red pepper and mushrooms, salt, pepper and any other spices you want, as well as the chili paste. Once done cooking, squeeze lime juice over your delicious mixture. Have a few pieces of lettuce ready for you on a plate and spoon the chicken mixture onto the lettuce wraps, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Eat and smile because you also have enough for lunch tomorrow!
Lazy Lettuce Wraps
Happy Weekend! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

NoT My BeSt WoRk

On Friday night I bought a huge bag of dates. When I think of dates, I think of seniors for some reason. I don't know why but I do. Anyway, I needed something to do with them, and mentioned this to my beautiful friend Allison, who sent me a recipe tonight. It wasn't her recipe that sucked - it was me. 


Date Snowballs
3.5 ounces pitted dates
1.5 tablespoons coconut
0.5 ounces almond flour*
sprinkle of cinnamon
*I subbed the 15 small almonds for almond flour


Throw it all into a food processor and make a mixture. Roll into balls, then roll into coconut. Eat. 


My result - I don't have a good food processor (WTF Kyla... I know, I need to get one), so things didn't get pureed very well. I took the mixture out and used a masher on it. Yes, a potato masher. It was ugly. Anyway, the flour made the mixture a little too sticky but I think if I played with amounts I could make it work. I also rolled mine in cocoa to be different, I haven't tried them yet but was thinking it could off set the sweetness of the dates & coconut. Here's hoping!! 


Date Lump Balls
Will I make this again? Yes, but I won't suck next time. 


Will I eat them? Yes of course - duh, but I won't serve these ones to my guests. 


Happy Family Day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday Dinner

I love hosting dinners. Love it! So, after my week of cooking deprivation, I invited my BFF over for dinner! Here is the menu:


Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin, butterflied
Sundried tomatoes
2 Artichoke hearts
Fresh Spinach
1/3 of an onion 
2 garlic cloves
Nutmeg
Lemon juice 
Lemon zest
Egg


Butterfly your pork and set it aside. Dice the onion (I used yellow), chop the sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and press the garlic cloves into a heated frying pan. Make sure to use some oil so things don't stick! Saute everything until the onions are translucent. Add your lemon zest & lemon juice to taste as well as your nutmeg. Set it aside to cool. Once cooled, add the egg to act as a sort of glue. Spread the mixture onto your tenderloin. Close it up with butcher string & bake it at approximately 350 - 375 for about 30 minutes or until tender. 
*My apologies for the lack of measurements, I just eyeballed it & tasted it to see how it was. 
While the filling was cooling, I felt like making something lemony. So, I found this "paleo" friendly Lemon Curd at http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2009/05/tangy-lemon-curd-honey-sweetened-and-dairy-free.html. I am not paleo to be clear but if anyone cares.... See my version of the recipe below.


Lemon Curd
3 eggs
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons coconut oil


In a pot on medium low heat, whisk together your first 3 ingredients. Then, add your lemon juice and coconut oil. Make sure to break up your coconut oil to ensure that it melts into the mixture evenly. Continue to whisk the mixture over medium heat until it has thickened. Once thickened, transfer to serving dishes and garnish. Refrigerate for about an hour or longer - then ENJOY!!!
*the recipe above recommends you strain the curd - I would probably agree. I didn't & the curd was grainy but still delicious.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cauliflower...what?

I've had a crazy week. My week started by hosting my beautiful lady friends for a Sunday brunch. Those girls know how to eat! They brought fruit trifle with strawberry whipped cream, egg/ham cups with little cheese hearts, maple bacon, jam tarts, banana bread, Sunday ceasars with bacon vodka, potato/cheese scramble, crepes complete with nutella & bananas, gluten-free blueberry muffins & I contributed with a gluten-free breakfast pizza. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of it, but it got great reviews & I would certainly make it again! I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix - success! I added oregano, basil & thyme to the mix before I baked it. Then I scrambled eggs, cooked turkey sausage, onions, mushrooms & peppers, and added them to the top, grated some cheddar, threw it in the over and VOILA! Anyway - back to the crazy week - I spent the week in camp in Fort McMurray. It's pretty much a second home for me so there was very little for home cooking. By the time I got home this afternoon at 3:30pm - I was in serious need some of kitchen time. 

I felt like pizza but binged on chocolate so I didn't want to eat anything that was going to make me feel worse! I've been wanting to try making a cauliflower pizza crust. So, here goes:

Cauliflower Pizza Crust 
*I didn't really measure and maybe that was my downfall this time...
~ 2.5 cups of cauliflower
~3/4 cup mozza cheese
2 cloves of garlic
oregano
basil
thyme
egg whites (in the carton)

Grate your cauliflower or put it in a food processor. Don't puree it, or else it will be too mushy for this recipe. Put the cauliflower in the microwave for approximate 7 - 8 minutes. Remove from the microwave, add the cheese, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and egg whites. Press the mixture onto a well greased pizza sheet. Bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes at 400F. 

Add whatever toppings you liked - I used pizza sauce, chicken breast, green peppers, mushrooms, red onion and mozza cheese. Broil it until the cheese is melted.

So, the review - it tastes good! However, the crust turned out a bit mushy. I am not entirely sure why. I think I might have used too much egg this time because it was too moist. I even baked it for a bit longer but it didn't quite set. So, I am thinking that I should have taken the advice of other sites saying to use almond flour or coconut flour. But regardless - well worth a try! 

Pizza Pizzaz!

YUM for Friday night pizza!!! :)) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Peanut Butter + Chocolate = LOVE

Seriously, peanut butter & chocolate... How can you go wrong!? You can't. It's impossible. I find myself researching all of the millions of ways that I can incorporate peanut butter into my baking....as well as my other guilty pleasure - Nutella. While this creation has left our friend Nutella out of the equation, it is a form of chocolate that I love to eat with a spoon out of the jar - straight up. Sometimes, I'll even have a spoon of peanut butter & then combine it with Nutella - bliss!!


I first made this cake in August, on a whim, when I was bored & feeling creative. I gave the entire thing away but not without enjoying some of the ganache while I was baking it! 


I borrowed the recipe from this website http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2011/08/27/chocolate-peanut-butter-cake/ who adapted it from another great site http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Cake-with-Cream-Cheese-and-Butterfinger-Frosting-231746.


So, without further ado.... Here it is!
Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing


Filling:
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter


Cake:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cups packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk


Frosting:
1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla


To make the filling: Bring cream and sugar to simmer in a saucepan, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and chocolate, let stand a minute or two and then whisk until smooth. Chill for several hours or overnight.


To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F and spray three 9″ cake pans with nonstick spray (or butter them). In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
The melty ganache icing - my first try!!


In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add it to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beating on low speed just until mixed each time.


Divide batter among pans and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.


To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth; beat in a cup of the icing sugar, then another cup along with the vanilla. Add more sugar, beating until you have something spreadable. If you need to, add a tablespoon of water or milk – the moisture content of peanut butters will vary.


To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving plate or cake plate and spread with half the chocolate ganache; top with another cake layer and the rest of the ganache.
*The first time I made this cake, I didn't let the ganache cool. The result a swirly looking icing because the ganache kept "leaking" out between the layers. While the end result was a success, I would recommend letting your ganache cool before spreading it on.


I also heard another trick for icing a cake - do a layer of icing, thin.... Then put it in the fridge to firm. Then, bring it back out and finish icing it! This way, you won't get the pesky crumbs in your icing!


Once icing is complete - EAT!! EAT!! EAT!!!


Happy Birthday Blair! 
The second time I made this cake - I cheated & used a boxed chocolate cake mix for the cake. The result - RAVE reviews!!



A Party In My Mouth

One more to share from this week before I tuck myself in! I am trying to successfully complete the Wild Rose Cleanse this week. It's a no sugar, wheat, dairy & alcohol diet. The first few days were tough but starting to feel great now! Here's a Wild Rose friendly dish! It can be found on http://www.eatcleandiet.com/the_kitchen_table/recipe/recipe.aspx?id=1912.


Moroccan Quinoa Stew adpated slightly from the above link


1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used the pre minced jar stuff, easier!)
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/2 tsp caraway seeds (I didn't have, so didn't use any - still delish)
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 L (4 cups) chicken stock, reduced sodium preferred
1 cup diced tomatoes, juice & all (I used an entire can)
2 tbsp chili paste (think the bottle with the rooster on it)
2 tbsp tomato paste (I omitted)
1 large cauliflower, florets only
1 cup quinoa
1 cup peas, frozen
2 cups chickpeas (I used one can)
Zest & juice from 1/2 a lemon (I used plain old lemon juice because I didn't have a fresh lemon)
1 cup cilantro for garnish




Moroccan Chickpea Stew aka Party In Your Mouth
Heat oil & add diced onion. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add garlic, spices & salt. Add stock, tomatoes, chili paste (and tomato paste). Bring to a boil & reduce heat to allow it to simmer. Add cauliflower, and quinoa. Cook partially covered for 15 minutes. Add water if you feel the liquid is low (the quinoa sort of sucks it up). Add chickpeas, baby peas & lemon zest. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Garnish with cilantro. Serve. Party in your mouth!!!

I want one! (Food Blog that is!)

For months I've been pouring over food blogs - it's become a borderline obsession of mine. If I find myself surfing the 'net, I will check Facebook, my gmail account, my work email account and between those food blog sites. I have a few "old reliables" if you will, but as I continue to harbor this need for blog sites, I've found that there are more and more and more people just like me (or arguably, I am just like them) that also LOVE food, cooking, baking, their kitchens, their cookbooks, sharing food and also, love food blogs. I've attempted this blog thing once before and ran out of material, but I've decided that rather sit back and envy those who have their very own grown up blog sites - I will try to attempt one myself. God knows I am cooking and baking in the kitchen enough that I do need one. Now, if only I could find a way to make this my day job. 


In honor of Valentine's Day, I kicked off my weekend by making my old "go to" Sugar Cookie recipe. Michelle Robertson, I dedicate my very first KitchenOfKy entry to you and your love of my sugar cookie recipe. I started using this recipe about 4 years ago and it has never failed me. Mind you, sometimes I fail it by forgetting my cookies in the oven and baking them a touch too long. I found this recipe somewhere on www.allrecipes.com though I couldn't redirect you to the exact recipe among the hundreds there. The trick with these bad boys are: don't cook them too long and keep the dough rolled just a little thicker than usual! This way, they retain their soft goodness that a sugar cookie should, in my opinion have! 


Enjoy the recipe below! To Michelle! Cheers!


Sugar Cookies: found somewhere on www.allrecipes.com


1 cup margarine, softened (room temp is best)
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Cream margarine & sugar together, add the eggs & vanilla. Add in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda & salt. Make the dough into a ball & refrigerate for approximately one hour. Take the dough out of the fridge & allow to soften if needed. Sprinkle flour on your counter top. Roll your dough out to a 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters. Transfer shapes to a non-stick cookie sheet.


Bake for 6 - 8 minutes at 375F. Let cool. Decorate how you like. Enjoy!!!