Sunday, 31 July 2011

Pancake Project Week 1 | Orange Ricotta w/ Vanilla-Orange Syrup

Pancakes are officially back on the weekend menu!  It was a short lived period where we went without.  I'm happy to report, the griddle is heated, batter prepared and new recipes to be had.
Over the course of the next 4 weeks, I'm going to attempt a new pancake/waffle recipe each Sunday.  I'm very excited about this, because well, to be honest, I love pancakes!

Pancake Project (PP) Week 1 - Orange Ricotta

I'm loving everything 'orange' these days.  From jewelry, to clothes and of course food!  Last weeks Dark Chocolate Orange Scones, set it in motion for me, so I wanted to continue with a citrus themed breakfast this week.
Typically, when speaking of ricotta pancakes, I opt for a lemon flavour with a warm blueberry sauce.  After-all we know how well those two fruits go together.  However, today I was thinking orange, feeling, I'm going orange.  Mmm...refreshing, light, fluffy and a great wake up!

Now with a full stomach and a completely satisfied feeling, I'm off to the farmers market.  Nothing like a good loaf of warm baked bread and fresh produce to get me through the week ahead.  Happy Long Weekend!


Orange Ricotta Pancakes w/ Vanilla-Orange Syrup

1 3/4 cups (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp grated orange zest
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
confectioners' sugar or vanilla-orange syrup for serving (recipe follows)

In small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and baking power.
In medium bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, eggs, orange zest and vanilla.  Add flour mixture until just combined.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Add pancake batter using a 1/4 cup measure.  Cook until browned, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.
Serve hot with orange syrup or dusted with confectioners' sugar
Yields: 8 pancakes

Orange Syrup (simple syrup)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.

This is love!  Citrus Love!
pancake recipe - slightly altered from Everyday Food

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Seared Scallops with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Lately, I've been all about tomatoes.  Mainly, sweet grape tomatoes.  This is quite a change from me as a child.  I never wanted anything to do with them growing up, unless they were in the form of ketchup, tomato sauce or soup (accompanied of course by a gooey grilled cheese).  It's funny how our tastes change over time.  Now I'll eat them plain as a snack, on burgers, however, just keep 'em coming! 
Tonight for dinner I wanted oven-roasted tomatoes and garlic.  Unfortunately that on it's own isn't a meal.  So I started thinking about different protein sources I could pair with it.  I didn't want chicken or standard fish like tilapia or halibut.  Then it hit me.  Scallops.  They are simple, quick and easy to prepare.  And when cooked just right they are tender and moist and delicious.
This went over as a huge hit in our house.  Everyone including my 3 and 19 month old,  loved it.
We served it along side some crusty ciabatta bread, (to help soak up the leftover tomatoes) brown rice and grilled asparagus.  All in all a wonderful summer meal, that works as a weeknight dinner, yet is dressed up enough to impress company.



Seared Scallops with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

12-16 scallops**
4 cups grape tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for pan
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line cookie sheet with foil.  Set aside.
In small bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil, rosemary and S & P to taste.
Pour tomato mixture onto prepared sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to burst.  Stir once halfway.
While tomatoes are baking.  Heat olive oil in large non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Add scallops, season both sides with S&P.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve immediately.  Accompanied by some delicious bread.

Yields: 4 servings (3-4 scallops, plus 1 cup of tomato mixture)

**Note: make sure you pat scallops dry before cooking.  Getting rid of any excess mositure ensures for better browning.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Baked Eggs

This is easy and ridiculously simple.  But it's just too darn cute not to post.
I seriously love mason jars.  I may have a mason jar obsession.

Baked Eggs

4 eggs
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp parmesan cheese, shaved
4 tsp milk
salt, pepper, chives to taste

Preheat oven to 350F
Spray two mason jars with non-stick cooking spray
In small bowl season tomatoes with salt, pepper and chives to taste.
Line bottom of each jar with 1/2 cup of tomato mixture, reserving a few tomatoes for top.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese in each.
Crack two eggs into each jar.  Sprinkle with remaining tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  Season with salt, pepper and chives. 
Finally add 2 tsp milk to each jar.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until egg whites turn opaque.  Broil for 3-5 minutes. 
Serve with whole wheat toast.

yields: 2 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Cookie Dough & Chocolate Bars | Butterfingers Cookies

The equation above sums up how I feel about these cookies. 
Butterfinger Cookies.  I'm a fan.
It's been awhile since I've made these, in fact, I believe the last time was for a book club retreat almost a year ago.  I remember coming home from that trip with an empty container, always a good sign for a baker!
I was planning on restocking my cookie jar this week, but I wasn't sure what kind of cookie to make.  In my indecisiveness, I found myself down the chocolate/candy aisle at the grocery store.  I saw the usual cookie add-ins, M&Ms, Rolos, but I couldn't resist when I saw these mini Butterfingers.   I had forgotten all about them.  I'm pretty sure this was the universe telling me I needed to make these cookies.  Or not.  Whatever the case.  I now have a full cookie jar!  Thank You Universe!

Butterfinger Cookies

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
8 Butterfinger (mini 'halloween size') candy bars, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mat.  Set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. 
In separate larger bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy.  Add in egg and vanilla, beat.  Gradually add flour mixture and combine.  Fold in Butterfinger pieces.
Drop by slightly rounded tablespoon (heaping) onto prepared sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!  Bart Simpson would be proud I'm sure.

Note: As an extra special treat, try these as an ice cream sandwich.  Perfect for a hot day...oh so refreshing!

inspired by Nestle
yields: 2 dozen

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Apple Cranberry Coleslaw

Another weekend, another BBQ.  Life is tough.
Sunday was a hot one in YYC.  So a refreshing, light salad was the perfect sidekick to bring to the party. 

Apple Cranberry Coleslaw

5 cups coleslaw mix
2 granny smith apples, sliced match stick thin
2 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl.  Set aside.
In small bowl mix yogurt, vinegar and sugar.  Pour over coleslaw mixture.   Using as much dressing as desired.  Mix well. 
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Add walnuts.  Serve.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Homemade Vanilla-Maple-Almond Butter

I recently added a new kitchen gadget to my ever-expanding collection.  Introducing, my Kitchenaid food processor. 
The thing I was looking forward to most of all with this appliance was the ability to make my own nut butters.  The fact that I can now make my own homemade, all natural varieties and do away with the store bought ones, has me all-a-flutter! Seriously, I equate it to a kid getting an xbox for Christmas, I'm that giddy.
I decided that in addition to making the standard plain almond butter, this was my chance to try different flavour combinations that otherwise aren't available at the local supermarket.  Vanilla Maple Almond Butter being one of them.  This spread is fabulous on a piece of whole wheat toast, or stirred into a hot bowl of steel cut oats.  Mmm...

Some other uses for almond butter include:
protein shakes
dips for apples or pears
OR my favourite....
with a spoon straight out of the jar

Vanilla Maple Almond Butter

2 cups whole raw almonds
1/3 cup whole flax seeds (optional)
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, separated
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside
Using 2 tablespoons of maple syrup coat almonds and flax seeds (if using) and transfer to prepared sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once halfway.
Allow almonds to cool for a few minutes.  Place roasted almonds into a food processor and process for 10-12 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.  Once smooth and creamy, add remaining Tbsp of maple syrup, vanilla and oil.  Process for another 3-5 minutes
Store in air-tight container in refrigerator. 

ENJOY!  This stuff is delicious!

recipe adapted from edibleperspective

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Scone Sundays

Ahhh...Sunday Morning.  I'm up early, which is the case on most days.  I've brewed a fresh cup (ahem, pot) of coffee and decided today is deserving of scones for breakfast. 
Our household is still recovering from the pancake overdose that took place a couple weeks back, so today was the perfect scone opportunity.
I adore these baked gems, they are delicious and usually what I gravitate towards at any bakery (well...unless the cinnamon buns get me first.) I absolutely love them.
Today, I decided to take my basic scone recipe and add in dark chocolate and orange zest.  Wow!  Seriously?  I should have tried this combination years ago, clearly I've been missing out. 
Now, my next statement is going to be a bold one. "These are no doubt the best scones I've ever had!  Honestly."  There I said it.  Move over pancakes, there is a new contender in town fighting for Sunday breakfast rights.
This was the perfect start to my day, now off to some antique markets for some unique finds.  I love Sundays!  Correction, I love scones and Sundays...or just scones any day.  Monday, Tuesday....

Dark Chocolate Scones w/ Orange Zest
(basic scone recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown)

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp (heaping) orange zest
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (good quality)

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange zest.  Cut in butter.
In separate bowl combine buttermilk and egg.  Add to dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Fold in chocolate chunks.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 times.
Pat out to form a circle 1 1/4-inch thick, cut into 8 equal segments.
Transfer to prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes or until golden in color.
Serve and devour ASAP.  Mmmm...

Yields: 8

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Pizza Date Night | Grape & Proscuitto

I'm always on the look out for unique pizza toppings.  I recently discovered the concept of a poached egg on a pizza - so delicious.  Next, was the perogy pizza complete with bacon and sour cream - life changing.  And now...Grape Pizza.

Up until today, the only fruit I had experienced on a pizza was pineapple. So the idea of grapes, instantly had me intrigued.  The ingredients in this recipe are straight forward, yet accompany each other perfectly.  It had me wishing that I had a second 'pie' baking in the oven for later...or now.  Yes, now! 
Despite being different from a traditional pizza, this was a welcome change.  Perfectly suited for a summer's night, partnered with a glass of wine.  After all, we may as well have grapes in all forms (liquid included and encouraged!)

Grape & Prosciutto Pizza

pizza dough
1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
3/4 cups prosciutto, slivers
olive oil
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shaved
1-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 Tbsp sugar
1-2 Tbsp cornmeal

Brush 14-inch pizza pan with oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around the edge to hold toppings.
In small bowl combine sugar with water to make a glaze.  Set aside.
Brush dough with olive oil, top with halved grapes, shaved parmesan and pine nuts.  Brush outer edge of crust with sugar glaze and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. 
Remove from oven and top with prosciutto and fresh rosemary.
Cut into triangles and serve.

Enjoy with a special someone, a glass of wine and good conversation. 
I Heart Date Night!

(adapted from women's day)

Homemade Pizza Dough

Every recipe box is in need of a few essentials.  Pie Crust, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lasagna and Pizza Dough to name a few.
As a kid I loved eating pizza, the crust being my favourite part.  In fact, I could usually be found eating other peoples discarded crusts (not strangers or anything...that would be weird), the same is true of me and pie.  Hmmm, I'm beginning to notice a pattern...
Anyways, for me (the crust connoisseur) the 'base' to any good pizza falls solely on the bread it sits on.  I haven't experimented too much with crusts, I've found one that works generally well, and depending on the kind of pizza I'm making I may throw in some fresh herbs, garlic and cheese for added flavour.

Happy Pizza Making!

image source


Crusty Pizza Dough

(Courtesy of Kitchenaid)

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115F)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 Tbsp cornmeal
fresh basil (optional)
fresh garlic (optional)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)

(kitchenaid artisan mixer)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed artisan mixer bowl.  Add salt, olive oil and 2 1/2 cups flour.  Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.
Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes.  Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover.  Let rise in warm place, free from draft, for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.  Punch dough down.
Brush 14-inch pizza pan with oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around edge to hold toppings.  Add toppings as desired.
Bake @ 450F for 15-20 minutes.

(by hand)
In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast and salt.  With wooden spoon, gradually stir in water and oil until ragged dough forms, using hands if necessary.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time, if necessary.
Place in greased bowl, turning  to grease top.  Cover.  Let rise in warm place free from draft, for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.  Punch dough down.
Brush 14-inch pizza pan with oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around edge to hold toppings.  Add toppings as desired.
Bake @ 450F for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Baked Berry Oatmeal

Cereal.  More specially oatmeal, is how I begin most weekdays.  I love it warm with apples and walnuts, cold with yogurt and almond milk, and more recently in the form of steel cut oats with fruit salad.  I'm always on the lookout for new ways to prepare it, although I have yet to get bored.  The newest craze, at least to me, is baked oatmeal.  Think giant cookie with milk in a breakfast!  Whoop, whoop, this is how all days should start.  Hearty, filling and oh so yum.
The flavour combinations with oatmeal are endless.  Although for summer, I like to stick with fruits.  Feel free to add any fruit, dried or fresh, nuts or nut butters of your choosing.  I'll share more flavour combinations such as pumpkin and gingerbread when the season calls for it.  Currently I'm all about the berries, so here it goes:

Baked Berry Oatmeal

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 dried cranberries

maple syrup for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
Combine oats, 1/4 cup of almonds, 1/4 cup cranberries, sugar, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.  In separate bowl, whisk milk, egg, 1 1/2 Tbsp butter and vanilla.
Sprinkle two-thirds of blueberries at the bottom of the coated baking dish.  Cover with oat mixture.  Slowly drizzle milk mixture over the oats.  Gently tap dish on work surface to distribute liquid.  Scatter remaining berries and nuts across the top.  Drizzle with remaining melted butter.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until top is nicely golden and oat mixture has set.  Allow to cool slightly.  Drizzle with maple syrup.
Serve as is, or add almond milk in a bowl.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Flourless PB&J Cookies

...and I'm not talking about the sandwich.  Well, not in the way you are probably thinking.
Instead....A COOKIE!  Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies.
Here's how this came about...
It's lunch time.  The kids have requested Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.  They have also requested cookies.  We are out of cookies at the moment (aside from a Costco container of animal crackers - doesn't really count)
Looks like I now have something to do while the kids are napping.

This recipe couldn't be simpler:
Peanut Butter - check
3 kinds of sugar - check
Baking soda - check
Egg - check
Jam - check

Normally when I make peanut butter and jelly cookies, I do it in the form of a thumbprint.  You know, you stick you thumb in the middle of the cookie dough, then spoon in the jelly of your choice.  Not today.  Today is special.  Today I've been inspired by the sandwich the kids ate for lunch.
Best part about this cookie, is that you really get two!  

Flourless PB & J Cookies 

1 cup peanut butter, smooth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg

Jam Frosting
1/3 cup jam or jelly
1/2 powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.
Using a mixer, blend all of the cookie ingredients until smooth.  Drop by teaspoons full onto prepared sheets, flatten with the back of a spoon.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to rack.
To make frosting - whisk together jam (easiest if you warm it up a little) with powdered sugar.
To assemble - place frosting in between two cookies and press together.  Repeat with remaining cookies.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Chicken of the Sea. A Simple Lunch.

Tuna fish is what I would classify a pantry staple.  It's my go-to lunch at least once a week because of its versatility.  A blank canvas, allowing for numerous sandwich and salad possibilities.  One of my favourite pairings, includes apples,grapes and pecans.  This refreshing sandwich is perfect for summer. The sweet grapes mixed with the crunch of the tart apples is great on the pallet. A good quality bread finishes this sandwich off.  This week I opted for a multi-grain with nuts and sunflower seeds embedded throughout.  Yum!  All in all a wonderful mid-day meal.

Tuna Salad w/ Grapes & Apples on Toasted Multi-Grain 

1 (170g) can tuna fish (in water), drained
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 granny smith apple, diced
1/2 cup red grapes, halved
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
6-8 slices multi-grain bread, toasted***

In medium bowl mix all ingredients.
Divide mixture among 3 or 4 slices of toasted bread.  Top with remaining slices of bread.
Serves: 3-4

**depending on how much filling you desire in your sandwich this recipe might yield anywhere from 3-4 sandwiches

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sliced Bananas with Oatmeal and Coconut Crumble

Here's my train of thought...

I love oatmeal. 

Tonight, I want dessert. 

Is it weird to have oatmeal for dessert? 

Hmmm...not if it's the form of a crumble over top fruit.  That's it!!

And so was born, the ending to our meal....Sliced Bananas with an Oatmeal & Coconut Crumble.  

Banana Crumble

3 bananas
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp coconut
1 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter

frozen yogurt & caramel sauce for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice bananas and divide among mason jars
In small bowl combine all dry ingredients.  Cut in butter, blend with fork until crumbly.  Spread crumbs over sliced bananas.
Bake 10-12 minutes, until crisp and golden in color.
Serve warm w/ vanilla yogurt & caramel sauce

Serves: 2
(Note:  We shared 1.  It was more than enough, to satisfy our sweet tooth.)

Monday, 18 July 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

zucchini with a side of chocolate...

...don't mind if I do.
Chocolate and Zucchini.  Well, that's one way to ensure kids get their daily vegetable intake.  Lucky for me, my kids (big and small) enjoy vegetables so I don't have to resort to hiding them in food. 
As it turns out, I had an extra zucchini lying around.  What to do, what to do?  I know, I will silence once and for all this chocolate craving I've been putting off for the last couple days.  Perfect.  This hit the spot!

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup applesauce (depending how much moisture in the zucchini)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp almonds, sliced


Preheat oven to 350.  Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners
In large bowl beat eggs, sugar and applesauce.  Add cocoa, vanilla and zucchini and stir well.
Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Mix until just moist.
Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling 2/3 of the way full.  Top with almonds.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.
Yields: 12 muffins
adapted from

PS. these have to be my favourite liners ever.  skulls and it.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Salads = Summer = Happiness

Can corn on the cob be considered a food group? the rate we consume the stuff during the summer months, I think it just may qualify.  It's so fresh and crisp, that you can't help but go back for that second ear.
So, to have a dish that pretty much encompasses corn and then adds a few other ingredients, is a nice way to give a little variety to this grain.  This recipe is courtesy of Eva Longoria (another desperate housewife...wait, did I just call myself desperate?  scratch that, 'housewife only') of course I made some adjustments to suit our preferences.  The end result is one fresh tasting summer salad that packs well to any picnic or backyard BBQ you may be attending.  ENJOY!

Corn and Zucchini Salad w/ Grape Tomatoes

5 ears of corn, shucked
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups zucchini, diced (1/4 - inch thick)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

Prepare large bowl of ice water, set aside.  Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add corn, cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain and immerse the corn in ice bath to stop the cooking.  Once cool, cut kernels off the cob.  Place the kernels in a large bowl.
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add zucchini, red onion and a pinch of salt, cook, stirring, until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Add to the bowl with corn.
Whisk together vinegar, oil, remaining salt and pepper.  Add to corn mixture, along with green onions and grape tomatoes.  Just before serving toss in basil.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves: 6-8

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Almonds

I have a giant bottle of balsamic vinegar in my house at the moment.  A giant bottle.
I also have too much asparagus.  So much, that upon finishing it, I'm likely to turn a nice shade of green.  I love Costco for this reason. 
At least I don't fall short on different ways to prepare this vegetable.  In fact I have 4 ways that we eat the stuff regularly.  All of them delicious, stay tuned for the remaining 3.  Trust me, it'll make eating vegetables fun (if you don't already think it is.  I live for vegetables, crazy I know.)


Balsamic Roasted Asparagus w/ Toasted Almonds

2 lbs. asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp shaved parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 400.
Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point, discard ends. 
In small bowl whisk together oil and vinegar.   Coat prepared asparagus in olive oil mixture and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until tender crisp.
While asparagus is baking, place almonds in a dry skillet and roast over medium-low heat until fragrant and golden. Careful not to let them burn. 
Remove asparagus from oven, place in dish and top with shaved parmesan and toasted almonds.  Serve.
Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Lemons and Blueberries.

Is there anything that shouts summer more than lemons and blueberries?  Nope.  That pretty much sums it up in my books.  These two flavours are meant to be together.  The sweetness of the blueberries, mixed with the tart lemon flavour is as refreshing as running through a sprinkler.  And, what better way to show off how these two fruits compliment one another than in a quick bread.
Introducing...Lemon-Blueberry-Almond Loaf.  Wow, that's a mouthful.  A delicious mouthful.

I was inspired to bake this bread today, as I heard July was national blueberry month.  Upon further investigation (and loaf baked, I should add) I found out that it's true for the USA, only the USA.  Us Canadians celebrate the berry in August.  Why?  Just to be different I suppose.  Looks like I jumped the gun.  Oh well, it's not a lost cause (no baked good ever is,) so look forward to another blueberry recipe coming soon!

Back to the bread...
The final destination of this loaf is going to the in-laws.  I'm lucky enough, to have our immediate family living in the same city.  Not only does this make for frequent family dinners and get togethers, it also means...Free Babysitting!!  I take full advantage of this, and when a "thank you" won't cut it, I like to show my appreciation with baked goods.  This is one of those times - hope they enjoy it!

Lemon-Blueberry-Almond Loaf

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen; i used frozen) + 2Tbsp
3/4 cup almonds, sliced

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly butter 9-by-5 inch loaf pan.
Mix first five ingredients in large bowl.  Add in almonds.  In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, applesauce, yogurt, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Fold into the dry mixture until just combined.  Add blueberries last, gently fold in.
Spread batter into prepared pan.  Top with additional 2 Tbsp of blueberries.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.  Cool 30 minutes in pan on a rack, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
To make glaze whisk all ingredients together.  Pour onto the cooled bread.  Let set, 15 to 20 minutes.

I'm off to deliver the goods...

(note: I used the same 'base' for this recipe as can be found in the carrot bread with hazelnuts and coconut)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Birthday Cake...errr...Birthday Pancakes

It's my birthday week!  Yes, I do mean week.  I make sure to make it as lengthy as possible and soak every last ounce of 'birthday' I can out of it!

Since I'm gaining a year, I figure the least I can do is celebrate many, many times over.
You may be curious as to what my favourite kind of cake is....chocolate? vanilla? carrot? cheese?  While all of those are delicious choices and I would turn none of them down (feel free to stop by with some...) my favourite cake is....A PANCAKE! 
Okay, now before you tell me that this isn't a cake you haven't seen the concoction I've got set up below.
Birthday pancakes!! Complete with sprinkles and a cream cheese glaze.  Do I have you convinced?  It's less like breakfast and more like dessert, but who am I kidding I'd still eat this for breakfast.  I love birthdays!!  Presents & Cake.  Plus, people always want to make a fuss over you...go ahead I'll wait... 
Happy Birthday-Week to me!
(on a side note:  I've come to the conclusion that I might need to change the name of this blog to 'pancake life in yyc' as the number of waffle/pancake recipes seems to be slowly taking over...)

Birthday Pancakes w/ Cream Cheese Glaze


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp sprinkles

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Sprinkles (to make it pretty!)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolks and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients until just moistened.
Beat egg whites in another bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold into the batter until well incorporated.  Add sprinkles.
Spoon batter in 1/3 cup portions onto lightly oiled griddle or pan.  Brown evenly on each side.
To make glaze:  Whisk all the ingredients together.
Pour over top of pancake stack and garnish with sprinkles. 
Om nom nom!

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