Things I Should Be Doing..

I’ve been meaning to write this post since Tuesday. I had it all planned out; what funny little story I’d tell, how I’d lead into the round up. Then Tuesday my cell phone broke, so I spent the evening researching new phones, bought the phone and played  learned how to use it Wednesday night. Thursday I had an eye doctor appointment, where crazy drops were put into my eyes which stopped me from being able to focus. Now it’s Friday night, I’m home, relaxing with a cup of cocoa and planning what to make this weekend. I finally have time to share a few treats I’ve seen. I wish I could make them all, but I know something will always come up. Hopefully some of you will be inspired to make something you see here.

First up are Averie of Love Veggies and Yoga’s Baked Eggnog and Vanilla Donuts. The name just says it all, really. I can just imagine waking up to these first thing Christmas morning to these beauties.

Next on my list of things to make is this Bourbon Spice Cake from Russell at Chasing Delicious. I’m a big fan of Russell’s blog, everything he makes looks delicious and comforting, and this cake is no exception.

Ken over at Hungry Rabbit made these Ginger Snowdrops for the 2nd annual NYC Cookie swap, and I can tell you I seriously wish I lived in New York. The cookies look perfect, with crystalized, fresh and ground ginger to make sure you’ve had your ginger fix.

If you’re looking for a drink look no further than Carolyn of All Day I Dream Food’s Cranberry Ginger Mulled Wine. It’s got warm holiday flavours and it’s low carb (Carolyn’s specialty).

For something on the spicy side, this Cranberry Pepper Jelly from Janice at Kitchen Heals Soul sounds perfect. I think a jar of this would make an awesome gift. Hint, hint, Janice. Just kidding. Kinda.

Thin Mints from In Katrina’s Kitchen have been on my mind since she posted them a few months back. I’ve never had the real deal, but chocolate with mint is one of my faovurite flavour combinations, so I’m pretty sure these would be awesome.

Adam and Joanne of Inspired Taste’s Salted Caramel look perfect.

Chocolate Fudge S’mores Thumbprints from How Sweet It Is would satisfy any s’more craving you might have.

These Mini Anise Cakes from Just a Little Bite look adorable, and the I love the use of anise in a cake. (Recipe in Spanish)

Created By Diane’s Ginger Cheesecake Bites would be great for a cookie swap.

Can’t decide between chocolate or caramel? These Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies from Melissa at Eyes Bigger than My Stomach mean you don’t have to choose.

Enjoy!

Earl Grey Tea Cookies, Take Two

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who left a comment on my last post. My family has gone through a tough time lately, and although I’d prefer not to get into the details here, the virtual hugs are very much appreciated.

Secondly, I’d like to apologize to all my subscribers and followers for hitting “publish” instead of “preview” earlier today. This was the second time I’ve made that mistake, and I’m hoping I’ll never do it again. I hope having a broken link in your reader wasn’t too much of an annoyance.

Now onto the cookies. I was heading to a friends for coffee this weekend and didn’t want to show up empty handed. Cookies were the obvious choice; they’re quick, easy, and very transportable. I had a lot ideas about what to make but, as my mom pointed out, few ingredients. I took a look in the pantry and spotted a few containers of Mighty Leaf Tea. Tea in a cookie is something I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. I did a quick Google search and found a Martha Stewart recipe that sounded perfect. Then I had to make a tough decision; should I make the cookies as written, or should I make them with Jasmine Green Tea? In the end I chose to make them as written, but I will definitely be trying them with the green tea as well.

The cookies were perfectly crisp and very lightly flavoured with Earl Grey. Next time I make them I think I’ll omit the orange zest, because although Earl Grey is a citrus based tea, it’s flavour is too light to stand up to the orange. Despite that I really enjoyed these cookies, and I think I’ll be adding them to the Christmas baking rotation. I think they’d make a great gift along with some fancy teas.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

Makes about 60 cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp finely ground tea (tea can be ground in a spice grinder or mini food processor, use the best quality you can afford as cheaper teas have less flavour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
  1. In a small bowl mix the flour, tea and salt together. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar and orange zest together with an electric mixer until the butter is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the flour, mixing until well combined.
  3. Split the dough in half and create two round logs, 1 1/4 inches in diameter, wrap them with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. To keep the bottoms of the logs from flattening out you can slide the logs into paper towel tubes before refrigerating.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment, set aside.
  5. Cut the logs into 1/4 inch slices, place the slices on the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes until the bottoms are just golden. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack before serving.

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

When tragedy strikes we feel the need to do something, anything, to make it better. Sometimes there are no actions that can be taken. All we can do is be there to comfort each other. The only thing that can make things better is time.

Comfort can come in many forms; kind words, a hug, or even a cookie (or two) with a tall glass of milk. These cookies were adapted from Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin cookies. I substituted unsweetened apple sauce for the pumpkin puree. Since apple sauce is much thinner than pumpkin puree, I strained the sauce with a coffee filter to get a thicker consistency. You could also try cooking the sauce down.

The cookies have a very cake like texture. The apple flavour came through very well, and was wonderfully complemented by the brown butter icing. One note on the icing, make sure to whip it well otherwise the butter will separate.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Makes approx. 48 cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce, strained
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes with an electric mixer). Mix in the eggs, followed by the apple sauce, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Add the flour, mixing till well combined. The batter will be quite thin.
  4. Spoon the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making cookies approximately 1 inch rounds, spaced 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and the tops spring back when pressed. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Brown Butter Icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Put the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter becomes golden brown and smells nutty. Pour the melted butter over the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape the brown butter bits in as well. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Use to ice cooled cookies.

Enjoy!

Panko Crusted Rack of Lamb

What makes you happy? I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately, mostly in a work context. Turmoil at the office has me thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Yes, I know that by all reasonable measures I am a grown up, but I’ve always gone with the flow and let circumstances lead me rather than making real choices. Not really grown up behaviour. Circumstances have now led me to a place that makes me very uncomfortable, and I’ve realized need to take control.

When I think about what I want to do I draw a complete blank. The question seems so huge I can’t manage it. So I’m trying to frame the question differently; what makes me happy? The answer to that question tends to be little things.  A Tuesday night with friends and wine.. my yellow rubber boots.. singing at the top of my lungs in the car. And a great meal with family. The kind where everyone is there, my cousins telling the most ridiculous stories, and all of us feeling stuffed beyond belief. A staple at these meals has always been lamb, one of my favourite things to eat. This doesn’t really solve my career issues, but having lamb for dinner Sunday night did make me feel a little better. The little things will always be there, no matter what goes on in the office.

My dad usually handles the lamb, but since I planned on blogging the recipe I decided to make it myself. I did go to him for guidance though, like should it be roasted with the fatty side up or down and how will I know when it’s done? The fatty side should be up, and there’s a pretty neat trick to figuring out if it’s done if you don’t have a meat thermometer. Press the thumb and index finger of your left hand together, now with your right hand poke the fleshy part of your thumb. That amount a give is what you would feel if you poked a piece of lamb that’s cooked rare. Press your thumb to your middle finger, and that amount of give is what you would feel from medium. The next finger over is well done. Or you could just use a thermometer.

Panko Crusted Rack of Lamb

(serves 4)

(Adapted from Laura Calder and Gourmet)

  •  1/2 cups panko
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1  tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 frenched rack of lamb (8 cutlets) at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Mix the panko, garlic, parsley, rosemary, onion powder,  and half the salt and pepper together. Stir in 2 tbsp olive oil to hold the mixture together. Set aside.
  3. Season the lamb with with the remaining salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil till it just starts to smoke. Add the meat to the pan, browning on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet. Cover the lamb with the Dijon, then press the panko mixture onto the mustard. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes for medium rare (130 F on an instant read thermometer). Cover with foil and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

Have you ever started to write a sentence in a card then completely lose your train of thought? It happens to me all the time. In fact it happened to me this weekend. I was signing a card for my friends wedding and for some reason I started a sentence with “after”. I’m still not sure where I meant to go with that. I do know that what I ended up writing might not have made much sense, I got myself all flustered. So Steph, if you’re reading this, I meant to say I love you and I’m so happy for you.

chocolate mousse cake with pomegranate overhead The wedding had me in a celebratory mood the following day. Celebrations to me mean cake, and the best cake I can think of is my mom’s famous chocolate cake. Family members have left their sick beds for a slice of that cake. I would to share the actual recipe with you, but my mom honestly can’t say what the recipe is. It’s been altered and modified so many times it only exists in her mind. I can tell you it’s chocolate cake spiked with Kahlua, with layers of ganache and whipped cream. I based this cake on that but made it my own. I used a chocolate genoise baked in a jelly roll pan, and filled it with chocolate mousse and whipped cream.  I think chocolate can always use a little fruit, so I topped the cake with pomegranate seeds. And, of course, I spiked the cake layers with Kahlua.

 

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Pomegranate

For the Chocolate Genoise

  •  1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a 15 by 10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment, then grease the parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa together. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Place the bowl over and pot  with 1 inch of simmering water and whisk until the eggs reach a temperature of 130 F, about 4 minutes depending on the size of the bowl and pot. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using an electric mixer (hand held or standing) beat the eggs until the have tripled in volume are back to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
  5. Fold the flour into the eggs in three additions. Stir a spoonful of the batter into the butter, then fold the butter into the batter gently. The batter will deflate a little at this point.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center springs back when touched.

For the Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  1. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cinnamon once melted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk till double in volume and the colour has lightened. Mix into melted chocolate. Refrigerate while whipping the egg whites.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
  4. Take a small amount of the egg whites and mix it into the chocolate to thin the chocolate, then fold the chocolate into the egg whites.
  5. Set aside.
For the Cream
  • 1 cups35% cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  1. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
For the Kahlua Syrup
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1 cups water
  1. In a saucepan bring sugar and water to boil. Remove from the heat, let cool, then add the Kahlua.
To assemble
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  1. Slice the cake into three 5 by 10 inch slices. Place the bottom layer on the serving plate. Soak with 1/3 of the Kahlua syrup, then top with the chocolate mousse. Place another layer of cake on top of the chocolate mousse. Soak that layer with 1/2 of the remaining Kahlua syrup. Top that layer with half of the whipped cream. Place the final layer of cake on top of the whipped cream layer. Soak with remaining Kahlua syrup. Top with the remaining whipped cream, then decorate with the pomegranate seeds.
  2. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the cake to set.
Enjoy!

 

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Today was a rough day at work. A new VP for my division was named a couple of months ago, and as always a change at the top means changes throughout. My department wasn’t directly impacted, but someone I worked for for years has been shuffled out. I respect her very much as a manager, and over the years I had come to see her as a friend. She has always been there to listen and offer advice. I’m not worried about her, but I am sorry to see her go. I hope our office friendship has what it takes to be a real friendship.

The announcements and the feeling of uncertainty change always brings has me pretty down. It’s the kind of day that calls for comfort food. Shepherd’s Pie is a favourite of mine, one of those dishes that soothes the soul. I based this vegetarian version on a Chuck Hughes recipe. I’ve made this a few times, each with a little change. Originally I used goat cheese then switched to feta. I’ve also gradually be upping the sweet potato to regular potato ratio. I think all of my adaptations have led me to something pretty tasty.

Combining the sweet potato with regular potato allows the sweet potato flavour to shine through while the regular potato cuts down on the moisture. I really like the combination of lentils and spinach with the mushrooms, and I truly believe feta makes everything better. Well, almost everything.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • olive oil for frying
  1. Soak the lentils in 2 cups of water for 1 hour. Drain then set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, fry the onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add two cloves of garlic and fry until you can smell the garlic. Stir in the lentils, then cover with two cups of water. Add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary, along with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 30 minutes (you can taste the lentils to test). Drain the lentils and set aside.
  3. In another medium pot, cover the Yukon Gold’s and sweet potatoes in cold water and add salt to taste. Place over medium heat, bring to boil and cook until both kinds of potato are tender then drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk, then crumble the feta and mix it in. Set aside
  4. Heat the onion to 400F
  5. While the oven is heating prepare the spinach and mushrooms. In a medium pan, fry the mushrooms with the final clove of garlic until browned. Stir in the spinach, season with salt and pepper, then stir in the lentils. Remove from the heat.
  6. Spoon the lentil mixture into a baking dish, then top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

I discovered something this weekend, something I probably should have known. It turns out I can no longer stay out till 4 AM without suffering any consequences.

I was out for my friend Steph’s bachelorette party. I had a great time, and I hope she enjoyed her “last night of freedom”.

Unfortunately, even though I didn’t have much to drink, I was completely exhausted the next day. I had a busy day planned to so forced myself to get up early. The people at Eat In Eat Out Magazine have been kind enough to include I’ll Have What She’s Having in their Holiday edition. I need to submit two holiday recipes to them, so I planned to make at least one dish last weekend. But I was tired and cranky and really not in the mood for a holiday style dish.

I wanted something easy and comforting. I wanted a cookie. And a glass of milk.

So that’s what I made. A simple oatmeal cookie, the kind of cookie that brings back memories of childhood and makes everything better. These cookies are crispy on the outside with a chewy center. The sour cherries are a great contrast to the sweet cookie, and the cardamom adds a touch of warmth.  I had them with a glass of milk, and then I took a nice long nap.

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the oats, flour, cherries, baking soda, salt and cardamom together. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until well combined.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using about a tablespoon of dough per cookie, and drop them two inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy!

Maple Apple Pie

apple pie slice

I hope all my Canadian readers had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

For the first time in as long as I can remember we spent Thanksgiving in Montreal. There was a very good reason for that; my cousin Ramy got married. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy. Carla is wonderful and I am very pleased to call her family. It was a beautiful ceremony, followed by an incredible feast. There was poutine at the midnight sweet table!

Yet I still craved a Thanksgiving dinner. So on Sunday my mom made us a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins and I took care of dessert. I went the traditional; apple pie and pumpkin pie. I decided to throw a little twist into the apple pie by using maple sugar. I was hoping for a more pronounced maple flavour, but I don’t think I used enough to get the effect I wanted. Next time I think I’ll put half a cup of maple sugar, though I’ve written the recipe as I made it.

I usually use an all butter crust recipe, but this time I used half butter half shortening. It made a really nice flaky crust, and the bottom held up nicely to the moisture from the apples. Just a note about pie crusts in general, recipes will usually give a quantity of water to add, but depending on where your flour was made and the humidity in the air you may need more or less. In this case I almost doubled the amount of water I normally use. If as you stir with a fork the dough doesn’t come together, add a little more water, then a little more if necessary.

I only have one photo for this post. By the time the pie had cooled there was no light, so I worked some leftover slices the next morning. Unfortunately the sun was so strong that even with diffused light I was getting crazy shadows. Thankfully I got one good photo out !

Sour Cream Pastry

(from Canadian Living)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup shortening, frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  1. In a large bowl stir the flour and salt together. Using a box grater, grate the butter and shortening then add them to the flour. Toss the butter and shortening through the flour to cover it, then using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until a few small pieces of butter/shortening are visible.
  2. Mix the water and sour cream together then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Add more water if necessary. Using your hands bring the dough together and knead one of two times. Split the dough into 3 balls then flatten them into disks, cover individually with plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Maple Apple Pie
  • 4 cups apples peeled and cored (I used Cortland)
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine maple sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp four
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sugar for sprinkling
  1. Toss the apples with the sugar, maple sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour. Set aside.
  2. Roll out one of the pastry disks till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to cover a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate then fill with the apples. Dot the apples with the butter. Roll out the second disk and place on top the apples. Trim the edges then roll them in making sure to have a tight seal. Cut some slits into the upper crust, then place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450F. Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water, then brush the upper crust with the yolk. Sprinkle some sugar on the the crust (I used a course sugar to prevent burning).
  4. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 60-65 minutes.
  5. Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours before serving.
Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins


Last weekend I made my annual journey to St-Joseph-du-Lac, one of the apple picking hot spots in Quebec. The weather was incredible, close to 30 C with the humidity and sunny. Not at all the typical apple picking weather I was expecting. Normally the air up north is cool and crisp at this time of year, instead it was hot and sticky.

There were tons of people out there. We even got stuck in apple picking traffic, who knew there was even such a thing? The traffic was frustrating, but we eventually made it out into the orchard.  We repeated last years taste test, and once again decided the Cortland was the way to go. Cortlands were originally bred from McIntosh, but they are firmer and sweeter. They’ll hold their shape in a pie, but you can also make a sauce out of them.

We got our hands on a good ladder and claimed a Cortland tree, then picked 20 lbs for each of us. Hopefully that’ll be enough for all the things I have planned!

When of my favourite things about apple picking is the cider doughnuts. Unfortunately, this years doughnuts were sub par, too greasy, not enough cinnamon sugar. I left the orchard craving  something more, something better. The solution was to make them myself,  but my deep frying experience has yielded mixed results and I didn’t want another disappointment. Instead I decided to make doughnut muffins with an apple cinnamon filling. The nutmeg in the batter and the cinnamon sugar coating completely satisfied my craving. They really do have the texture of a cake doughnut. The fact that they’re dipped in butter probably helps too.

Though these tasted amazing, I have to say that some of them fell apart when I took then out of muffin tin. I think it was my fault for letting the apple filling spread too much in the muffin, it basically created a complete separation between the layers of batter so the muffin top just came off. If you’re going to fill the muffins like I did make sure to make a little well in the batter for the filling.

Another thing you should know is that they are huge muffins. I adapted this from a Fine Cooking recipe, many of the commenters said they made these in mini muffin tins which I think is a great idea if you’re not using a filling.

Apple Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

Filling

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 apples, peeled cored and diced
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp flour
Doughnut Muffins
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Make the filling: In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook stirring often until the apples are tender and release their juices. Add the flour and stir until the juices thicken. Take off the heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Make the muffin batter: In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time beating till well combined after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Add the flour into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk and yogurt (you should start and finish with the flour).
  5. Grease a muffin tin. Scoop half the batter into the muffin tin, make a little well in each muffin and fill each with a tablespoon of the apple filling. Top with the remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden and firm to the touch. Let cool completely.
  7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping. Dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter then dip them into the sugar to coat.
Enjoy!

 

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

We’re at the tail end of our Indian Summer here in Montreal. For close to a week it’s been hot and muggy, but the forecast for the weekend is cold and rainy. It’s officially time to start thinking about cold weather foods. Although I’ll miss the heat and sunshine the Summer brings, Fall foods are my favourite. Soups and stews made with harvest vegetables, shepherds pie, roasted squash; all of these are warm and comforting to me. I could go on for hours about Fall baking, but for now I’ll just keep it to these two words: pumpkin pie.

We had a little preview of the cold weather a couple of weeks ago, so I took the opportunity to get a head start on the fall cooking and made this Roasted Squash Soup. This is possibly the easiest dish I’ve ever made, if you’re new to cooking this is a great recipe to make you feel like you can do it. Simply roast the squash, onion and garlic until the squash is cooked, then transfer it all to a pot adding chicken broth and spices. Easy peasy!

Roasting the squash, onions and garlic add a sweet, caramelized, dimension to the flavour of the soup. I made it quite thick because I like it that way, but if you prefer a thinner soup simply add more broth. I also use a touch of cream to add .. creaminess to the soup (there must be another word for that, richness maybe?), but that can be omitted if you’d prefer to keep the dairy out.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 litre low sodium chicken broth
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp ground sage
  • Salt a pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup cream or half and half
  • Sunflower seeds and chives to garnish
    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
    2. While the oven is heating, slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you’ll need a good knife to slice the squash). Peel the onion and slice it in half. Place on a baking sheet season with salt and pepper then drizzle with most of the olive oil. Slice the top off the garlic head then place it on a small piece of foil. Drizzle with the remaining oil, wrap in the foil and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 50 minutes until the squash is soft (poke it with a fork to test)
    3. Let the squash cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh into a medium pot along with the onion. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze it into the pot (the cloves should slide right out). Add the chicken broth, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the soup cool then puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.
    4. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with sunflower seeds and chopped chives.

Enjoy!