Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta

Work has been draining this week, so on the walk home today, I was incredibly tempted to just stop at the new sushi place near my house.  Instead, I dragged myself home and cooked.  How can a recipe that's so simple and so easy be delicious?  And it can almost be considered healthy.  It's just craziness.  This is not a pretty dish.  This is not a dish to serve to company, because it doesn't look appetizing. 

I was too tired to even think about doing creative substitutions.  I did substitute crushed chilis for dried pepper flakes and used a bit more than a pinch because I like spice.  I also left out the onion and scaled down most of the recipe, except for the cheese.  Measurements below have not been adjusted.

Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta (from Smitten Kitchen) (from Chez Panisse Vegetables)


2 heads cauliflower
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
500g whole-wheat pasta
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
White wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 ounces ricotta salata or feta cheese 

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets. Peel the onion and slice it very thin. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put the pasta on to cook.
2. Saute the cauliflower in olive oil in a large saute pan.
3. When the cauliflower begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add the sliced onion and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium to high heat until the vegetables are brown and tender. The cauliflower should still be slightly crunchy and should not taste steamed.
4. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn; if it starts to brown, add a splash of water. Add a few drops each of vinegar and lemon juice and the toasted walnuts. Taste and correct the seasoning.
5. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the cauliflower, adding enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat the pasta thoroughly, toss together and serve, with the cheese crumbled over the dish.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake

I don't like yogurt as a snack.  I realize that makes me a bit odd, but there you have it.  So when I bought yogurt to make butter chicken and realized I'd accidentally gotten too much, I figured that was the universe saying I needed to try this recipe.  Why else would I have two extra lemons and a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer on hand?

I really should have thawed the blueberries as even after leaving the cake in the oven for an hour or so, a tiny bit of it was still undercooked ... oh well, it was still delicious.  I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup and used olive oil.  Go to the original site for ideas on additional variations you can try.  They seem endless.

Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake (from Smitten Kitchen) (from Ina Garten)


 1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsps grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
2. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
4. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
5. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
6. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.


Simplicity at it's best.  Just don't tell me if you shred the meat.

I don't think I found pork butt, so I used a random cut and a random amount of pork, but it came out close enough.

Carnitas (from Homesick Texan ... adapted from Diana Kennedy)


1.5 kg of pork butt
1 cup of orange juice
3 cups of water
2 tsp of salt

1. Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), add to a large pot with the liquids and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.
2. After two hours, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan.
3. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will be liquid fat in the pan). Serve either cubed or shredded (pork will be tender enough that just touching it will cause it to fall apart).

Ninfa's Green Sauce

I have a slightly obsession with green sauce.  Chuy's bean burrito with tomatillo sauce is one of my biggest cravings.  This sauce is amazing.  Great for dipping chips or tortillas, it can be poured over burritos, or pair it with the carnitas recipe I'll be posting shortly.

I couldn't find fresh tomatillos or jalapenos here, so I had to use canned.  For the tomatillos, I could find canned whole tomatillos, so that was easy, but for the jalapenos, I could only find canned diced jalapenos, so I used 2 heaping tbsp of the canned diced stuff.  The result is a sauce that isn't super spicy, but does have a tiny bit of warmth.  I was able to find green tomatoes at Jean Talon (for $1 a bushel!), but they were super tiny, so I doubled the green tomatoes.  Original recipe instructions are included below for people more likely to find the proper veggies.  Oh, and if you're looking for cilantro in Montreal, it's coriandre.

Ninfa's Green Sauce (from Homesick Texan)


3 medium-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped (you can substitute yellow if you can’t find green ones, but never use red)
4 tomatillos, cleaned and chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 small garlic cloves
3 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
4 sprigs cilantro
1 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 cups of sour cream

1. Combine chopped tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (tomatoes provide the liquid), reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. Place tomato mixture with the avocados, cilantro and salt in food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
4. Pour into a bowl and stir in sour cream.

Flour Tortillas

While I have not yet mastered the fine art of rolling a tortilla out thinly into a nice round circle, these are still amazingly good.  Much better than the sad bags of Old El Paso tortillas you'll find in Montreal ... not to mention cheaper!  I still can't believe they charge more than $3 for 8 - 10 tortillas.

Flour Tortillas (from Homesick Texan ... adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison)


2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cups warm milk

1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
2. Slowly add the warm milk.
3. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
4. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
5. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
6. After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
7. After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
8. In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
9. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dutch Winter Stew

Is it wrong to decide to make a recipe because it uses the most ugly vegetable (celeriac or céleri-rave in French) I've ever seen in the Metro around the corner? It also seemed like the perfect meal for a cold, gray, rainy day.

I stuck mostly to the recipe on this, but scaled down the amount of meat to slightly less than 0.5 kg (and scaled down the ground mustard accordingly). I had plenty of shallots on hand and only one onion left, so I switched to shallots. And because I had an open bottle of red wine with only one cup of wine left, I subbed that for beer. The wine (Saint-Emilion from Bordeaux) gave it an amazing smell while cooking ... 20 minutes into the cooking, I was starving!  Also, no fresh thyme on hand, so I used dried and I didn't see any celeriac leaves, so I threw in some bay leaves.

The end result?  A delicious, satisfying stew with just the right amount of veggies to balance the meat.
Dutch Winter Stew (from Kayotic Kitchen)
0.5 kg beef, cubed
1 shallot, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celeriac root, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
3 bay leaves
dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter
1. In a small bowl, mix together flour, curry powder, and paprika.
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on meat.  Cover in mustard powder.
3. Melt butter in a stew pot over medium heat.  Add in meat and cook for 5 minutes or so.
4. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes.  Add celeriac, carrots, and garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
5. Sprinkle in flour mixture, coat and cook for 1 minutes.
6. Add wine, thyme, beef broth, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer at low heat for 75 minutes.
7. Add potatoes and leek and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leek, Ham, and Cheese Quiche

I have a confession to make ... I've never made a quiche on my own before and I wasn't even sure if I liked leeks when I made this recipe.  I don't think quiches are very popular in the South ... or maybe it's just Texas.  I can't remember ever having a quiche when I was little or even noticing them in the store.  Maybe I was oblivious though.  Clearly, this recipe is not healthy, but it is delicious.  I stacked the deck against this recipe and made it ahead of time (on a night of cooking madness when I made 3 recipes), then tried to reheat it in the stove, only to get impatient, cut into it, and realize it wasn't fully heated.  One minute in the microwave and it was perfect for eating.  But, even after all of that abuse, it was amazingly good.  The perfect end to a long day at work and the first snow of the season (I'm not counting the flurries a week or two ago that could have been written off as imaginary) and the unhealthiness can almost be justified by the body design class today.

I found my pie tin was too small and I couldn't use all of the ham and I overflowed the cream mixture, so try to find a deep pie tin if you can.  I left off the onion, just because I don't like the texture, but feel free to add it back in!

Leek, Ham, and Cheese Quiche (from Smitten Kitchen) (from Le Pain Quotidien)


2 leeks, diced
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, diced
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups diced ham (1/4 -inch dice; about 250g)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

1. Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks in the olive oil 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix it until a dough forms.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate and press to remove any air bubbles. (I was having difficulty rolling ... nothing was going right for me on this cooking night! ... and found the dough a little dry.  Then, I remembered when I helped Sophie make quiches that she just kind of spread it around the dish without this step, so I think you can cheat here.)  Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leeks evenly over the base. Sprinkle the ham and then the cheese over the leeks. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.
6. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

This is one of those recipes that is quick and easy and infinitely adaptable.  I'll give you the recipe that I made, but really, listen to Kay and just put whatever you want in it.  I had cherry and sweet and sour dipping sauces in the fridge, so I pulled those out and they worked great.

Chinese Scallion Pancakes (from Kayotic Kitchen)


3 scallions (green onions/spring onions), chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on your broth)
2 bacon slices, chopped
2 eggs
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/4" inch slice of ham chopped
1/4 tsp sesame oil
oil for frying

1. Beat the eggs in a bowl.
2. Mix in all the other ingredients except the frying oil.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet.
4. Pour 1/4 of the batter in the skillet.  Cook until the edges turn brown, flip.  Cook a couple more minutes.
5. Repeat until you have a total of 4 delicious pancakes.

Lemon Bars

I'm not fully convinced of this recipe, but other people seemed to love it, so what do I know?  The bottom layer seemed a little hard and less than amazing to me.  Maybe a little more butter next time or a little less flour?  It just seemed to dry and dense.  I scaled it down to fit a smaller pan as 9x13 seemed like way too much lemony goodness for me!

Lemon Bars (from Smitten Kitchen) (from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)


For the crust:
1/3 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
pinch of kosher salt

For the lemon layer:
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a less than 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.
2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
4. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Asian Style Green Beans

The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but I skipped those for no other reason than I forgot to look for pine nuts at the store.  It was good without them, but feel free to add.

Asian Style Beans from Kayotic Kitchen


String beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Ginger (thumb sized piece, grated)
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (or 1 tbsp soy sauce + pinch of brown sugar)
1 tsp chili sauce
1/4 tsp chili powder

1. Parboil the beans in lightly salted water for 13 minutes or so.
2. Heat oil in pan.  Saute the bell pepper and then add the onion.
3. Add ginger and garlic to the pan.
4. When the beans are ready, drain them and rinse with cold water.
5. Add beans, chili powder, soy sauce, and chili sauce to the onion and pepper.
6. Stir until beans are cooked, then serve.

Pork Strips

I can't remember the last time I've cooked with pork (unless you count bacon), so I guess now is as good a time as any to get back in the habit.  This is a simple, light stir fry.  Slightly sweet, but with a little bit of heat.  Serve with rice and extra veggies (or throw more veggies on the frying pan).  I scaled down the amount of pork, but left the amount of sauce and bell pepper the same.  If you aren't doing a side vegetable, I would increase the bell pepper.

Kay's Pork Strips from Kayotic Kitchen


6 pork cutlets, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp apricot jelly (she says you can use any jelly - apricot, orange, peach ... I ended up using jam)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil (I think I forgot this ... oops!  It was a long day.)
1 tsp ginger (or a tbsp), freshly grated (I think I forgot this ... oops!  It was a long day.)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 chopped chili pepper (I upped this to a full chili pepper)
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
3 spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp oil

1. In a bowl, whisk together jelly, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and pinch of salt.
2. Cover pork in marinade and let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.  Add pork strips.  Do not stir immediately.  Let the sauce caramelize.  After a few minutes when the pork starts to turn white, flip it.
4. Add bell pepper and onions.  Cook until done, but don't overcook the pork.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Potato and Bacon Muffins

The first time I saw the pictures of these, I knew I had to make them.  Potatoes, bacon, cheese ... what's not to love?  The original author serves them as a dinner side, but I think it can qualify as breakfast too ... these are all ingredients that are found in a good Montreal breakfast, so why not?

The only downside to this recipe is it requires leftover mashed potatoes.  I couldn't wait until after Thanksgiving for leftover mashed potatoes, so I made a quick mini-batch last night while the chicken curry masala was cooking.

This recipe is as good as it looks/sounds, but I do have one change.  If you didn't put much garlic in your mashed potatoes, go ahead and add 1 tsp of garlic powder when you're mixing everything together.

Potato and Bacon Muffins (from Kayotic Kitchen)


1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup grated cheese (I used medium Cheddar)
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder (if your mashed potatoes are lacking garlic)
2 tsp salt
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 cup milk
4 - 5 slices bacon
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cook bacon and drain on paper towels.  Crumble in a small dish.
3. Cook onion in bacon grease.
4. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes and milk.
5. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the potato mixture.
6. Add sour cream, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and butter.
7. Stir in bacon, onions, and cheese.
8. Add flour and baking powder.  Stir.
9. Butter muffins pan liners (the silicone muffin tins work great with this recipe!).  Fill 12 - 14 muffin tins or 6 large muffin tins.
10. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes depending on the size of your muffin tins.

Chicken Curry Masala

This smells amazing when it's cooking, so make sure you're not starving when you start cooking.  I made this last night and only used half of the chicken that the original recipe called for, so the gravy seemed to be a little bit runny, but we'll see if it's less liquid-y as leftovers.  I was apparently tired when I went to the grocery store and invested in safflower oil instead of sunflower oil ... close enough I hope.

Chicken Curry Masala (from Kayotic Kitchen)


1 kg chicken (with bones)
1 large onion
1-2 red chili peppers, deseeded
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp curry powder (Suriname masala is prefered)
5 tbsp sunflower oil
8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 cup water
2 to 3 bay leaves 

1. Use a food processor to chop together the onion and chili pepper.  It will become a pretty orange mixture.
2. Add garlic, salt, curry, and 1 tbsp of oil.  Mix together.  It should smell delicious.
3. Place chicken in a dish and score a few times.  Rub marinade into chicken.  Cover dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Add 4 tbsp oil to a dutch oven.  Heat over medium heat.  Cook chicken until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes.
5. Remove chicken from pan.  Pour in 1 1/2 cup water and stir to loosen bits stuck to the pan.
6. Crumble in chicken bouillon.  Add 2 - 3 bay leaves and potatoes. 
7. Place chicken on top of the potatoes, crack lid and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, shuffling occasionally so things don't stick.

Aunt Mary's Craisin Blue Cheese Salad

I had a salad similar to this when I was visitng my aunt and uncle to pick up my cat.  I don't know the original origin, nor do I know the exact amounts that I mix together, so I suggest you just do what looks good to you.

Aunt Mary's Craisin Blue Cheese Salad


arugula (or other salad greens), washed
grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
pears, washed and chopped
pecans (or walnuts), chopped
blue cheese, crumbled
red bell pepper, washed and chopped (optional)
Craisins (dried cranberries)
olive oil
balsalmic vinegar

1. Combine arugula, tomatoes, pears, and bell pepper in a large bowl.
2. Top with pecans, blue cheese, and craisins to taste.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar.

Sesame Green Beans

This recipe is simple, yet delicious.  It's a good change of pace from garlicy green beans.

Sesame Green Beans (from


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
500g fresh green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add sesame seeds. 
2. When seeds start to darken, stir in green beans. Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green.
3. Pour in chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. 
4. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

These are great finger foods to take to a party.  The original recipe contains chicken, but I've made it vegetarian.  It's also been scaled up to feed more people.  To save time the day of the event, you can make the wraps the day before and cook them the day of.  You can also add jalapeno peppers if you think your guests can handle the heat.

Southwestern Egg Rolls (adapted from


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 minced green onion
1 minced red bell pepper
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh spinach, rinsed
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
20 (6 inch) flour tortillas

1. Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender.
2. Mix in corn, black beans, spinach, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. 
3. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.
4. Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 30 seconds, or until hot and pliable.
5. Spoon even amounts of the mixture into each tortilla. Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. (I ended up folding these like mini-burritos and placing them in a baking dish fold side down.)

6. Store in baking dish in refrigerator until needed.  Preheat oven to 450F.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly crispy and heated through.  To help with crispiness, you can brush with melted butter.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Easy, but not quick.  Just toss it in the slow cooker and forget it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup (adapted from


1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can tomato sauce
1 can or bottle beer
2 smaller cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package taco seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients except cheese and tortilla chips in the slow cooker. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours.
3. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

I love biscuits.  Croissants are good, but sometimes I just crave the salty goodness of biscuits.  When I was little, Red Lobster won hands down for biscuits.  I was never crazy about their food, but could be convinced to go there based solely on the biscuits.  I found this recipe while searching online for something to make for breakfast one morning.  I didn't want to go to the grocery store and had no eggs available, so my options for baking were limited.  Luckily, I found this gem.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (adapted from


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1 1/3 cup milk

1. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in shortening until it resembles crumbles.
2. Preheat oven to 375F and butter a baking sheet.
3. Add cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, and milk to flour mix.  Mix until dough is firm.
4. Scoop into biscuit-sized pieces on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Peanut Butter Noodles

I found this recipe while searching for something that I could make that was quick and would not require having to go grocery shopping.  It fits the bill and has been a fall back recipe more than once now.

Peanut Butter Noodles (from


1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons hot chile paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Udon noodles (or spaghetti/fettuccine noodles)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. 
3. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. 
4. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.

Penne Arrabiata Sauce

The original recipe for this includes chicken, but I prefer it just as a pasta sauce.  You might as well make the sauce in a big batch and freeze it for later.  The original calls for diced tomatoes, but I accidentally picked up crushed tomatoes the first time around (no idea what the size was of the can) and I think I preferred the crushed.  Serve with cooked penne pasta.

Penne Arrabiata (adapted from


1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
2. Add the garlic, and saute for a few minutes. 
3. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes, and saute for another minute. 
4. Pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and add the basil. 
5. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bourbon Chicken

Easy to make, but it tastes amazing (even if it does have ketchup in it!  definitely not authentic Chinese, but that's ok).  Add your favourite stir fry veggies and rice.

Bourbon Chicken (from


0.5 kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
3. Remove chicken.
4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium. Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Kung Pao Chicken

This is a great recipe to make in large quantities and then enjoy leftovers for the rest of the week.  You can cook the stir fry veggies in with the sauce if you're trying to keep from dirtying too many dishes.

Kung Pao Chicken (adapted from


0.5 kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs - cut into chunks
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp mirin (rice wine), divided
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 tbsp hot chile paste (more or less to taste)
4 tsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
250g chopped peanuts
stir fry veggies
cooked rice

1. To Make Marinade: Combine 2 tbsp mirin, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2. To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup mirin, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
3. Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens. 
4. Serve with stir fry veggies and rice.

Pasta Milano

Simple to make, but this tastes gourmet.  The original recipe had chicken, but I think I like it better without the chicken.  I usually make it with Trapiche Chardonnay (yes, I'm biased towards Trapiche for reasons unknown to me!).  It reheats fairly well if you leave the pasta and sauce separate.

Pasta Milano (adapted from

1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (or you can leave them unchopped if you're lazy)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
250g dry penne pasta

1. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, and wine; increase to medium heat and bring to a boil. 
3. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender. 
4. Add the cream and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Stir in basil.
5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

This recipe is great for when you're hosting a party.  Vegetarian friendly, easy to scale up, and easy to make.

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas (adapted from


1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp onion powder (or a chopped onion)
1 tbsp cumin (more or less to taste)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

1. Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Saute garlic.  
2. Mix in beans and corn. Add sugar, onion powder, cumin, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. 
3. Heat tortillas in microwave so they are flexible.
4. Preheat oven to 350F.
5. Take one tortilla and brush one side with melted butter or oil.  On the opposite side, fill with a little of the bean/corn mixture, sprinkle with cheese, and fold in half.  Do not overfill.  Place on a baking sheet.  Repeat until mixture is gone or all tortillas have been used.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  If top is not brown, broil for a couple of minutes.

Stuffed Zucchini

I stumbled across this recipe while trying to find something to use up the zucchinis from a pasta recipe.  These are good if you need something new to do with zucchinis.  I added some red bell pepper too because I had extra.

Stuffed Zucchini from Kayotic Kitchen


1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tomato
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tsp thyme
2 zucchinis
1 onion
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Slice zucchinis in half and spoon out the guts. Place in a buttered baking dish.
3. Chop the zucchini innards, tomato, bell pepper, and onion.
4. Saute the onion in butter. 
5. Add curry powder and cook for 30 more seconds.
6. Combine all remaining ingredients except cheese in a bowl and mix together.  Then spoon into zucchini boats.
7. Top with grated cheese.
8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Penne Rigate della Kay

This recipe is delicious, but a lot of work and the cheese for the pasta sauce can make it expensive.  It makes a lot of food though and reheats fairly well.  I found the cheese at the Valmont around the corner ... it had a slightly different name, but matched the description of being Mascarpone layered with Gorgonzola.

Penne Rigate della Kay from Kayotic Kitchen

Ingredients for Sauce

5 or 6 plum, juicy tomatoes
1/3 red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
250 grams Magor (or a mix of Mascarpone and Gorgonzola)
dried basil
4 - 5 tsp oil

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Wash, dry, and cut tomatoes in half.  Place them in an oven-safe dish face up.
3. Cut the onion into wedges and place the wedges between the tomatoes.
4. Add garlic cloves with the skins still on.
5. Add 3 or 4 red pepper strips to the dish.
6. Drizzle oil over the veggies and season with basil, pepper, and salt.
7. Roast for 45 minutes.
8. Transfer the veggies into a dish that you can blend with (either immersion or a stand blender).  Squeeze the garlic out of the skins.
9. Blend until smooth.  Add the cheese.  Pulse until delicious and smooth looking.  Store overnight to let the flavours meld.

Ingredients for Pasta
250g penne rigate
5 tbsp vegetable broth
500g broccoli
1 small zucchini
2 small tomatoes
1 medium onion
fresh basil
175g salami
pinch of salt
mozzarella cheese
2 eggs

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Wash the veggies.  Chop the broccoli, onion, tomatoes, and basil.  Slice the zucchini.
3. Cut the salami into strips.
4. Heat a tiny drop of oil, cook the onion for 2 minutes, add the zucchini and cook for another minute. Now in with the broccoli and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour in 4 tbsp vegetable broth, pop the lid on and simmer (over low heat) for about 5 minutes.
5. After those 5 minutes you add your chopped tomatoes, salami strips and stir in the penne rigate. Turn off the heat.  Add the basil and transfer to an oven safe dish.
6. Separate the eggs.  Whisk the yolks in with the pasta sauce.
7. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whip until you can draw peaks.
8. Pour the sauce onto the egg whites and fold together.
9. Pour the sauce mixture over the pasta and mix together.
10. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and dish is heated through.

Mint Brownies

This is a bit of work to make and dirties a lot of dishes, but it's worth it.  It makes a ridiculous amount of brownies, so the next time I make it, I will probably scale it down ... and hopefully remember to update this post with the scaled down version!

Grasshopper Brownies from Smitten Kitchen (from Gourment)


For brownie layer
3/4 cup unsalted butter
10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not extra-bitter or unsweetened and no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

For mint ganache
1/3 cup heavy cream
10 oz fine-quality white chocolate, chopped (see recipe notes)
4 drops green food colouring
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For chocolate ganache
2/3 cup heavy cream
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped

Make brownie layer:
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil and butter.
3. Melt butter and chocolate with brown sugar in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat.
4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt until just combined.
5. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake until set and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs adhering, about 20 minutes.
6. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make mint ganache:
1. Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat.
2. Pour over white chocolate in a bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.  If chocolate does not melt entirely, you can stick it in the microwave.
3. Stir in mint extract, food colouring, and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 1 hour.

Make chocolate ganache:
1. Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat.
2. Pour over bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. If chocolate does not melt entirely, you can stick it in the microwave.
3. Chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes.

Assemble layers:
1. Spread mint ganache over top of cooled brownie in a thin even layer using offset spatula, then chill until firm but still slightly sticky, about 30 minutes.
2. Spread chocolate ganache over mint and chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Scaled-down Ingredients for a 9x9 pan

For brownie layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not extra-bitter or unsweetened and no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For mint ganache
1/4 cup heavy cream
7 oz fine-quality white chocolate, chopped (see recipe notes)
3 drops green food colouring
2/3 teaspoon peppermint extract

For chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped 

Also note, cooling the ganauche seems to make it too difficult to pour at these levels, but it firms up nicely.  From now on, I'll let it cool some, but not completely before adding it to the layers.

Breakfast Tacos

When I lived in Austin, the office manager at my work got me hooked on breakfast tacos when she started bringing breakfast to us on Fridays.  Breakfast tacos are one of the most perfect ways to do breakfast.  You can put anything you want in them - eggs, beans, potatoes, meat, cheese, and of course salsa.  They come in an easy to eat format ... a tortilla usually wrapped in foil, perfect for on the go.  And in Austin, you can find them on practically every corner and they're cheap!  There's a recipe below, but really, they're however you want to make them ... that's the beauty.

Breakfast Tacos from Homesick Texan


 4 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or half-and-half (does anyone even know what half&half is called in Montreal?)
4 slices of bacon, or 4 sausage patties or 1 cup of chorizo
1 cup of refried beans, heated
1/2 cup of salsa
1 cup of shredded Longhorn cheddar (mild to medium)
4 flour tortillas
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk eggs with milk.
2. Heat up iron skillet on medium-high, and melt tablespoon of butter.
3. When butter is melted, pour in eggs and scramble for about three minutes or until done to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat up your flour tortillas either on a skillet, or by laying them on top of a gas burner. When tortilla starts to puff (about 20 seconds) turn it over and cook for another 20 seconds.
5. Take a tortilla and spread 1/4 cup of refried beans in the center of the tortilla. Add 1/4 of the scrambled eggs, 1/8 cup of salsa, 1/4 cup of cheese and either a slice of bacon or sausage patty.
6. Fold in bottom 1 inch of the tortilla, and then roll from left to right until self-contained.

Mexican Rice

I've tried a lot of recipes for Mexican rice over the years.  None of them seem quite right though.  They usually involve adding chicken broth and salsa to the rice and cooking it together.  The result is almost invariably a mushy mess with chunks of tomato and bell pepper on top with very little flavour in the rice.  Finally, I've found a recipe that's delicious and as close to restaurant Mexican rice that I've ever come.

Mexican Rice from Homesick Texan


1 cup of rice
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/2 cup of cilantro
1 tablespoon of cumin (You can use less if you prefer, I just like the flavor.)
Salt to taste

1. Add rice, chicken broth and butter into a pot.
2. Bring to a boil on high, stir once and cover.
3. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and keep covered for 5 to 10 minutes longer.
4. Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook onions in oil for 10 minutes or until just about to brown.
5. Add garlic to pan and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and cumin and cook for one minute.
6. Mix in cooked rice, lime juice and cilantro, and season to taste.

Cheese Enchiladas

Words cannot describe how happy I was to find the Homesick Texan blog.  Although I am in love with the food here (especially the bread and cheese), as a Texan living in Montreal, I often find myself in Tex-Mex withdrawal.  While I've gotten good at improvising with refried beans (tacos, burritos, and other creations) and fajitas, sometimes a girl just wants an enchilada.  Canned enchilada sauce is difficult to find here and just doesn't satisfy the craving.  Then I found this recipe ... the only problem I still have making enchiladas here is the difficult finding corn tortillas ... at least they're not that hard to make (follow the instructions on corn flour or masa harina)!  I, of course, skipped the onions and just added some onion powder to the chili gravy.

Cheese Enchiladas from Homesick Texan (from Robb Walsh)

Ingredients for Chili Gravy
1/4 cup lard (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred if it’s available)
2 tbsp chile powder
2 cups chicken broth (or water)

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.
3. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.
4. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.
5. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Add water to adjust the thickness. Makes 2 cups.

Ingredients for Enchiladas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
One medium onion, diced
2 cups chili gravy

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Pour the oil in a small skillet, and heat the tortillas one at a time. Keep them wrapped in a cloth until all 8 are heated.
3. Pour 1/2 cup of chili gravy in a baking pan.
4. Take a tortilla, put 1/4 cup of cheese and 1 tablespoon of onion in the center and roll it.
5. Place rolled tortilla in baking dish, seam side down.
6. Continue with remaining tortillas.
7. Take remaining chili gravy, and pour it over the rolled tortillas.
8. Sprinkle remaining cheese and onions on top.
9. Bake for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Basic Risotto Recipe

After nearly a year of wanting to try making risotto on my own after having some at JF's sister's place, I found the courage to try try it.  Rice, wine, and cheese ... what could be more perfect?  It's not as hard as I thought and less time intensive than I feared.  I skipped the chopped onion and subbed onion powder, because of my odd dislike of the texture of onions and also skipped the celery because I didn't have any on hand.  I used Trapiche Chardonnay which probably isn't quite the right wine (and I've heard vermouth is the real secret), but it was still delicious!  In terms of scaling, the recipe below is heavily adapted, but it kinda works.

Basic Risotto Recipe from Jamie Oliver

1 cup risotto rice
1 wineglass dry white wine/vermouth
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the chicken broth.
2. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and 2 tbsp butter.  Saute the onion and garlic (try not to colour them). 
3. Add the rice and stir.
4. When the rice looks somewhat translucent, add the wine.  Stir occassionally.
5. Reduce heat. When the wine has evaporated, add a ladle-full of broth to the rice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir.  When the broth is absorbed, add another ladle-full.  Continue this process.  It will take about 15 - 20 minutes.  Taste rice occassionally and continue adding broth until it tastes cooked.
6. Remove from heat.  Add 1 tbsp butter and the Parmesan.  Stir.  Place lid on pan, allow to sit for 2 minutes, and then serve.

You can also follow the same general steps to make a red wine risotto (or check out this recipe from The Wednesday Chef).  It will turn out with an odd purple colour, but it still good.  I followed her recommendation and stuck to 1 cup of red wine instead of 2.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta

I was slightly underwhelmed by this recipe.  I feel like it's missing something (maybe more goat cheese?), but it was so easy to make and seems so amazing in theory that I can't help but post it.  Maybe in time it can be improved!  I couldn't find tarragon, so I substituted basil.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta from Smitten Kitchen (from Bon Appetit)


250g spiral-shaped pasta
500g slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish
150g log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste

1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests.
2. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.
3. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in.
4. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water.
5. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season genersously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice.

Raspberry-topped Lemon Muffins

Another recipe found while trying to look for creative and delicious ways to use raspberries.  I need to start keeping lemons in my kitchen all the time, because I'm beginning to be obsessed with all the blueberry/raspberry and lemon combinations.  I'm posting the recipe as is, but if I had it to make over again, I would put more raspberries on each muffin (or maybe my raspberries were just small).

Raspberry-topped Lemon Muffins from Smitten Kitchen (from Bon Appetit)


1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice left to sit for 10 minutes)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 1/2-pint containers (about) fresh raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
3. Mash 1/8 cup sugar and lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
5. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 cup sugar and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg. Beat in buttermilk, then vanilla and lemon sugar. Beat in flour mixture.
6. Divide batter among muffin cups.
7. Top each large muffin with 4 raspberries.
8. Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

Easy Buttermilk Cake

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen while looking for something to do with the raspberries from the raspberry cheesecake brownies.  This recipe is super easy, quick, uses ingredients you almost always have on hand, and makes a fairly small cake.  I've made it three times now ... twice with raspberries and once with blueberries.  I have yet to try it with the lemon zest, but have tried subbing 2 tbsp of lemon juice.  I think it would be even more delicious with the lemon zest.

Berry Buttermilk Cake from Smitten Kitchen (from Gourmet magazine)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk (you can make your own buttermilk although it's not as good by combining 1 cup milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice and letting it sit for 10 minutes or so)
1 cup fresh raspberries/blueberries/fruit of choice

1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Place parchment paper in 9 inch round baking pan.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
3. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.
4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
5. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter berries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes (for some reason, my oven always takes a lot longer than this).
7. Cool in pan, but it's best eaten warm.

Blueberry Boy Bait

Another amazing food blog and recipe recommended by my former co-worker.

Blueberry Boy Bait from Smitten Kitchen (from Cook's Country which adapted the original)

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar, divided (3/4 cup for cake, 1/4 cup for topping)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl.
3. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl.
5. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour.
6. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 cup blueberries.
7. Spread batter into prepared pan.
8. Scatter blueberries over top of batter.
9. Stir 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter.
10. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
11. Cool and enjoy!

The Recipe that Started the Revived Cooking Obsession: Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

I'm sad to say, this recipe has been upstaged. Try this one with raspberries instead of chocolate chips.

I got this recipe from a friend from work who was leaving to do a master's program. The first time she offered me one of these brownies, I was a little hesitant ... cheesecake has never been one of my favourites, but one bite of these delicious brownies and I was cooked. When she shared the site it came from, I was even more excited ... Kayotic Kitchen ... beautiful photos, amazing looking food, easy to follow directions ... I was hooked.

Because I don't like having to buy 2 boxes of chocolate and 2 boxes of cream cheese, this recipe is scaled down from the original, but I think it remains just as delicious. Measurements have also occasionally been converted from ounces to grams, because Canada seems to prefer grams!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies from Kayotic Kitchen (from Delicious Magazine)

1 cup sieved flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
6 oz dark chocolate
5 oz raspberries (fresh or frozen, I've only used frozen)
250 g cream cheese
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs

1. Bring the eggs, butter, and creams cheese to room temperature.
2. Break/cut the cream cheese, butter, and chocolate into pieces.
3. Cover a 9x9 baking pan in parchment/baking paper and preheat oven to 350F.
4. Whisk the butter with slightly less than 1 cup sugar.*
5. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, until each egg is completely blended in.
6. Melt the chocolate. Let it cool slightly.
7. Mix the chocolate in with the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
8. Add slightly less than 1 cup flour to the mixture.*
9. In a different bowl, mix the cream cheese with 1 - 2 eggs,** 2/3 cup sugar, and 2/3 tsp vanilla.
10. Spread 2/3 of the chocolate mixture in the baking dish.
11. Pour cream cheese mixture on top and spread. Drop remaining chocolate onto the cream cheese and marble it on top. It doesn't have to be pretty!
12. Drop the raspberries on top.
13. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until the center sets. My oven always seems to take longer.
14. Cool and enjoy!

* We scaled down slightly, so these need to be scaled down. We're only using 6/7 of the original amount of chocolate.
**It will be a little runny if you use 2 eggs, but will bake up fine ... or you can use less than one full egg to have a firmer cream cheese layer (with the way we're scaling, it would be about 1 1/3 egg). If you add the 2 eggs, it will be harder to marble on the extra layer of chocolate at the end, but it's does make it a fluffier layer.


This is less of a blog and more of a place to put all of my recipes. Although I don't tend to like cooking the same recipe twice, whenever I do want to remake a recipe (or send it on to a friend), I have to remember the site it came from, what it was called, what changes I made to the recipe, and any conversions/scaling I may have done ... that's way too much work. So now, a place to dump all the recipes and comments on them. I've never been good at things like diaries, so we'll see how long this lasts ... and how long the cooking obsession lasts.