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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Fabulous family friend Meredith helping to prepare just one of our amazing feasts over the holidays. Seriously, check out all that chicken!

I estimate that during the past month (and much of this has been over the past ten days) I have consumed approximately four litres of eggnog, one dozen hot buttered rums, two dozen glasses of red wine, fifty rums and cokes, three litres of ruby red grapefruit cider (my new favourite – not really festive, I know, but anyway), and 376 Lindor chocolates. And you?

Oh, and one magnificent slice of turducken from the local “happy meat” butcher. It’s hard to capture the unparalleled majesty of a turducken, but here you go. (A turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, all deboned and with stuffing in there, too, in case you’re not familiar.)

We also played about 85 games of Settlers of Catan, many of them consecutive. I was having total Catan withdrawal, and it’s still barely been satisfied. Fortunately there are more games to come this weekend.

Oh yes, Christmas is continuing in full force in my world. I still have two more Christmases to go, which I’m so looking forward to – we went to visit my husband’s family for actual Christmas this year (I’m 35, and this was my very first Christmas away from my family!), and so this weekend we’re having another Christmas at my mum’s, and then one at my dad’s. So this coming weekend, while the rest of the world is getting on with their lives, we’ll be watching ‘Christmas Vacation,’ singing along to the Roger Whittaker Christmas album (a beloved holiday staple in my family), exchanging presents, having a rockin’ good time with my sisters and eating more turkey. For this Christmas lover, the chance to extend the holidays a little further is incredibly exciting. (Let’s see, how many times can I write ‘Christmas’ in one paragraph. Ummm… nine.)

Can I also please add how amazing panettone French toast is? Just buy one of them cello-wrapped packages of the ubiquitous Italian Christmas bread from Safeway or where ever, slice it up in rounds, and make it as you would French toast. Yum.

Best photo of panettone ever, I thought. And, oddly, I found it on the blog of some guy who dislikes both panettone and Christmas. Well, hmpfh.

What an amazing holiday season it’s been so far with Josh’s family. As a born and bred coastal girl, I’m used to a whole lot of green Christmases. (For example, there was a snowblower at Josh’s dad’s house, and I had no idea what it was.) It was so cool, and so festive, to be in a place where snow and Christmastime go together. A few photos from our yuletide adventures (with a heavy emphasis on the cute baby shots):

Happy holidays, everyone! I’ll be back in the new year with renewed vim and vigour, more posts and some changes around here – stay tuned.

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What a week! Two more classes under my belt, my and Josh’s third wedding anniversary (and ten years together – we celebrated by going out for free-range wings at Habit, which I would totally recommend – get the Moroccan Spiced ones!), ongoing closet renovation and de-cluttering, meeting a few writing deadlines… but no energy to blog about any of it! Maybe next week.

I do, however, have a wee spark of energy to share with you, as promised, this Plum Platz recipe, from the Mennonite Heritage Village Cookbook. Platz are a Menno tradition – sort of a hybrid between pie and coffee cake. Eating them fresh out of the oven (well, blowing on them a bit first) reminds me so much of my Grandma Goerzen.

Plum Platz

Dough:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
5-6 tsp cold water
Mix as you would for pie crust – cut the shortening into the flour and salt until it resembles fine meal, then add cold water until you can form a crust out of it. Press it into a lightly greased 9-inch square pan, and up the sides a little. Cover with halved, pitted plums (or rhubarb, or apples, or whatever you want!). Sprinkle with a little sugar.

Topping:
2 eggs
Pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

Beat eggs and fold in other ingredients. Pour over fruit and bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

Yummy!

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For the fall equinox I made my mum Sher’s famous Autumn Soup recipe, and I also made a Mennonite favourite for dessert, Plum Platz. I’ll share that recipe next week.

The making of a big, steaming pot of this delicious soup was always a glorious herald of fall in the Goerzen house when I was growing up. I hadn’t had it probably since I was a young teenager, before I went vegetarian and then pescavorian (is that a word?) for fifteen years. But now that I’m eating meat again… well, with the coming of fall I knew I had to call up dear ol’ mum for her Autumn Soup recipe. I made it for Equinox Dinner, and my god, the memories that came flooding back.

I remember sitting at the table in our house on Camwood Avenue, putting an ice cube in the soup to cool it (I remember doing that a lot with soup), then dipping a slice of buttered bread into it. I remember running off to watch Punky Brewster or Silver Spoons after said dipping. I also remember riding my bike home from school for lunch, and having a nice steaming bowl of this comforting soup on the table to greet me. (Which I would then promptly put an ice cube into.) Food memories are so strong, aren’t they?

I’m happy to share my mum’s recipe with you, and I’ve cut and pasted it right from her email, exactly as she so adorably typed it out. (BTW, I used the canned tomatoes method.)

Autumn Soup

1 lb.    ground beef
1 c.      chopped onion
4 c.      water
1 c.       cut-up carrots
1 c.       diced celery
1 c.       cubed-pared potatoes
2 tsp.     salt
1 tsp      bottled brown bouquet sauce
1/4 tsp.  pepper
1           bay leaf
1/8 tsp. basil
6          tomatoes**

In a large saucepan, cook and stir meat until brown. Drain off fat.  Cook and stir onions with meat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except tomatoes; heat to boiling.  reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.  Makes 6 servings.
**One can (28 ounces) tomatoes (with liquid) can be substituted for the fresh tomatoes (this is what I usually do).  Reduce water to 3 cups. Stir in tomatoes with remaining ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 minutes.  The canned tomatoes break apart and give a rosy colour (ahhhh).

Bon appetit!

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I’ve made pizza a few times the past two or three weeks, but we just gobbled it right up and I forgot to take photos of it. So, I drew one instead. It doesn’t look nearly as appetizing as this recipe actually is, though. Actually, it doesn’t look very appetizing at all. It looks more like something you’d see under a microscope, like a bacterial culture. Or maybe like a biology textbook photo of rods & cones in your eyeball. Oh well. As you can see, I still draw like I did when I was twelve.

Anyway, I’ve recently discovered the wonders of instant yeast, and so I went googling around to find a good pizza crust recipe using it. And I totally struck gold with this one, which I found on the Wheat Foods Council website.

I’ve tried a few different pizza dough recipes over the years, and this one’s the best I’ve ever tried. No fail, I’d say. It makes a soft, velvety dough that you can throw and twirl in the air like the pizza chefs do in the movies. Top it with some sauce, cheeese, veggies (I like arugula, zucchini and tomatoes) and meat (if you’re so inclined – I’ve drawn chorizo rounds above, can’t you tell?).

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour (or, for a fluffier crust, use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat
1 package active dry yeast/instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot tap water (120 – 125°F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 425°F

In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. Blend in water, oil and honey or sugar. Stir by hand vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed; about 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to desired size (I let it rise about 15 minutes).

Knead for a few seconds on a floured board, and roll out to desired size. Place dough in greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan or 12 to 14-inch pizza pan.

Add pizza sauce of your choice and your favourite pizza toppings; bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toppings are done.

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Rather than featuring a recipe per se, I thought I’d talk summery drinks today – my favourite libations that keep me hydrated and all sauced up during those hot days.

– Belgian raspberry beer & Fruli strawberry beer (found in the Single Serve Beer section of our local liquor store)

– Prosecco

– Fresca, grenadine & a shot of vodka – Joshua & I have dubbed this the Gainsborough (the name of our apartment building)

– Malibu & Coke (oh early twenties drinking memories, come back to me)

Rhubarb soda (I am addicted to making it)

– Iced honey bush tea with lemon balm & lemon slices

As you can see, this list is heavily weighted on the alcoholic side of things. I wasn’t able to drink last summer on account of being pregnant, so I think I’m making up for it now!

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Naan makin’ station

I’ve been going through an obsession lately with all things doughy and otherwise bready. A few weeks ago, while putting together a curry, I was suddenly gripped with the desire to try making some naan. I found this recipe at allrecipes.com, and it’s delicious – grilling it is so much fun. I folded in some minced garlic – I would definitely recommend it!

Grilled Naan

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

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Before we get to the recipe… I’ll be away from this space until next Wednesday, as I’ll be vacationing with my sisters, dad and stepmum, et. al.. Yippee skippy, I am looking forward to eating, drinking, fishing, swimming (or maybe it’ll be too cold) in the mountains and forests of our fair province. June is a month full o’ birthdays in my family, and this past week my dining room table has been covered in a mess of craft and sewing stuff as I made crowns, bunting and bookmarks for my sister, my brother-in-law and my other sister’s boyfriend for their birthdays. I was also hoping to make Keaton some pants, but that absolutely did not happen. How do those crafty mamas do it? It seriously took me so long just to sew fabric triangles into some bias tape. Sheesh!

Anyway, on to the recipe. This is the cake that was featured in last Friday’s This Moment photo – made in honour of a visit from my best friend Heather. Luckily I see her often, but even a regular get-together with a best friend is occasion to celebrate with some lovely coffee cake, don’t you agree? It was my first time making this recipe, and I was so impressed – it’s from one of my never-fail cookbook staples, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. Try it; you’ll love it.

Oatmeal Cake with Penuche Frosting

8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup oats, ground fine in a blender

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup milk

– Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, or use an 8 x 8 inch square cake pan.

– In large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until well-blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again until light and creamy.

– Thoroughly combine the flour, ground oatmeal, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat these ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, until well-blended. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 50 – 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool (I actually was impatient and didn’t wait at all – we ate the cake when it was still steamy, baby!).

– Make the frosting:

Penuche Frosting

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 tbsp milk

1 cup icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For topping: 1/3 cup finely ground pecans or walnuts

– In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted and blended with butter. Slowly pour in the milk, mix well and bring the mixture to a boil. Scrape it into a medium bowl and cool 10 minutes. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread over the cooled cake. Top with the ground nuts.

Delicious with a nice big cup of coffee!

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