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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Scream, You Scream.....

My sister-in-law just graduated from school as a Doctor of Chiropractic. To celebrate the occasion my in-laws threw a fabulous party. Most of the party was catered but my mother-in-law asked me to help out with the dessert table.

Inspired by a post by Amy Atlas (here), we decided to put together an ice cream sundae bar. We got various ice cream flavours, and stored them in large ice buckets and then filled a table with various glass vessels full of toppings that included: chocolate sauce, sprinkles, cookies, candies and much, much more!

In addition to the ice cream I wanted to make another little treat. Inspired by my previous post (here) and Bakerella's post (here) I decided to make Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops. They were SUPER cute!

Check them out:

The party was so much fun and the dessert was a HUGE hit! Congrats Deb!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Smoky Chipotle and Lime Flank Steak Tacos

The other night I had a craving for tacos, but not the ground beef and crispy shell mess that my husband loves, I wanted traditional tacos with fresh corn tortillas, grilled steak and fresh toppings.

I chose to use a flank steak. I marinaded the steak the night before, then we grilled it up on the BBQ, before slicing it up and serving it with tortillas and traditional taco toppings. YUM!

Smoky Chipotle and Lime Flank Steak
Serves 4
  • 1 flank steak (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup smoky BBQ sauce (like this one)
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1-2 Tbsp. pureed chipotle in adobo sauce (use more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Place the steak into a large zip-lock bag.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the steak. Make sure the steak is covered and refrigerate over night.
  3. Before grilling, remove the steak from the fridge to take the chill off.
  4. Heat your grill to high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill until cooked to desired doneness (about 4 minutes per side for medium rare).
  5. While the steak is grilling, pour the extra marinade into a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat on the stove and bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice the steak and serve with your choice of taco accompaniments including the sauce made from the leftover marinade.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Strawberry Macarons

    This past weekend my friend asked me to make some macarons for a bridal shower she was throwing. Macarons can be very temperamental but I was very happy with the way they turned out. 

    Last night, after flipping through the channels only to find nothing interesting on TV, I headed into the kitchen and decided to make a batch for myself with the leftover ingredients. Inspired by the bright pink peonies I picked from my garden a few days ago, I went with a pink cookie with a strawberry frosting for the center.

    For the cookies I used Bakerella's recipe found here.

    For the filling I made a delicious, yet rich strawberry frosting. Here is the recipe:

    Strawberry Frosting (For cookies, cakes, cupcakes and eating off a spoon)
    Makes about 2 cups
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
    • 2 Tbsp. good quality strawberry preserves
    • 1- 1.5 cups icing sugar 
    1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until fluffy.
    2. Stop the machine and add the preserves. Mix until combined.
    3. Turn the machine to low, and while running, slowly add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved. The more sugar you add the more dense the frosting. 
    4. Turn the machine to high and mix for another minute until fluffy. 

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Tales from our Garden: Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad

    The time has come to finally pick some of the vegetables that we planted and I could not be more excited!

    We planted three types of lettuce - Green Romaine, Red Romaine and Boston. All three are growing at a rapid pace so after researching on the internet I found out that I can pick some of the outer leaves of lettuce while the plants are still young and the plant will continue to grow. Yesterday, I headed out to the garden and plucked a bunch of leaves off of each of my Green Romaine plants.

    The lettuce right before I picked it
    When I think of Romaine lettuce I automatically think of Caesar salad so that is exactly what I made with my garden pickings.
    Here is my recipe for Caesar salad. I like to roast the garlic for the dressing instead of using it raw. I love the sweetness of roasted garlic, and the fact that I don't have to chew a pack of gum after eating it.

    Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
    Serves 4
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 1 egg (traditionally a coddled egg is used)
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • 2 tsp. anchovy paste (can be replaced with 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce)
    • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
    • salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, ripped or cut into small pieces 
    • homemade or store bought croutons
    • 4 slices of bacon or pancetta, cooked until crisp and crumbled
    1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
    2. Follow my instructions on How-To: Roast Garlic.
    3. In the bowl of a food processor  place the egg, lemon juice, Dijon and anchovy paste. Turn the machine on and slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until the mixture is thick and emulsified.
    4. Turn the machine off and add in the parmesan cheese and the roasted garlic paste, pulse the machine until just combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. In a large salad bowl toss the lettuce, croutons and bacon with your desired amount of dressing.Top with some more Parmesan and serve.
    *Tip: If you are worried about using a raw egg, or you just want to make the process quicker  you can replace the egg and olive oil with 3/4 cup of store bought mayonnaise (I love Hellman's Half the Fat). Simply stir the mayo together with the lemon juice, Dijon, anchovy paste/Worcestershire, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper. 

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Delicious Lamb Marinade

    Last week I taught a Cottage Entertaining class at work. The chef for the night, Sandra Katsiou developed an amazingly delicious leg of lamb recipe for the class. I have been dreaming about the lamb ever since so I decided to make it tonight. A leg of lamb is too large just for the two of us, so I used the marinade on some  lamb chops. I served it up with some salad and it was perfect summer evening dinner.

    Sandra's Lamb Marinade
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup regular dijon mustard
    • 1 Tbsp. grainy dijon mustard
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
    • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
    • 2 shallots, minced
    • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
    • the juice of 2 lemons
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until combined.
    2. Pour all but 3 Tbsp. of the  marinade into a zip lock bag with the lamb and let marinade for at least 1 hour or overnight.
    3. Grill your lamb on the BBQ, basting with the reserved marinade.

      Tuesday, June 7, 2011

      How-To: Oreo Pops!

      Desserts on a stick are the newest trend, and one that I LOVE! Oreo pops are a new one that I have seen popping up around the blog world. This weekend my sis-in law and I decided to whip some up. They were super quick and easy and only required 3 ingredients. *Please note: doubled stuffed Oreos work the best but we also experimented with some Fudgee-O's which were equally delicious!

      Check out this quick how-to:

      1. Take a lollipop stick or skewer and push it through the cream center of an Oreo cookie, making sure to only go 3/4 of the way up.

      2. Melt some chocolate (we used white).  Using a spoon to help, cover the cookie with the melted chocolate.

      3. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sprinkles or any other decoration of your choice.

      4. Repeat with the remaining Oreos and place in the fridge to harden.

      5. ENJOY!

      click to enlarge
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