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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eat to the Beat 2011

Last night I participated in Eat to the Beat a wonderful annual fundraising gala that gathers female chefs from around the city to support Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada. Check out some more info here.

This was my third year participating in this event. Each participating chef prepares a bite size hors d'oeuvre for guests to enjoy. Last year I served BLT Bites; toasted brioche rounds with sundried tomato spread, arugula, roasted garlic aioli and crisp applewood smoked bacon.

photo of my last year's offering courtesy of Eat to the Beat's twitter page
This year, inspired by the season I prepared a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with a Hint of Maple Syrup.

Because I prepared this soup for 1000 people I don't have the exact recipe but here is a scaled down version that is pretty much the same. I topped the soup off with some sour cream seasoned with sage and chives and some candied pumpkin seeds.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Syrup
Serves 4-6
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped ginger 
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 lb. butternute squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 granny smith apple. peeled, cored and cubed
  • 4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a small stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the onions. Saute the onions until softened and starting to turn golden then add the celery, garlic, ginger and sage. Continue to cook until softened. Add in the squash and apples and continue to cook for a minute longer.
  2. Pour in the stock. it should be enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil then cover and lower the heat. Let simmer until vegetables are soft and tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Sesame Street Cake Pops

    One of my nephews turned two a few weeks ago. He loves Elmo (or "Melmo" as he calls him) so I decided to make him some Elmo cake pops to celebrate.

    I followed the basic instructions from the amazing Bakerella's post here but slightly changed things up a bit.

    For the eyes instead of the white candy that she used I found candy googly eyes from Wilton at Bulk Barn, you can also purchase them here.

    For the nose Bakerella used a whole orange jelly bean. I found it easier to cut the jelly bean in half lengthwise creating a flat and sticky surface to stick the nose on with. If you are going to make these at home make sure to buy smaller jelly beans (like Jelly Belly).

    For the fur, Bakerella used a method of using a toothpick to paint the fur on using the candy melts. I found it a little less time consuming to use red sprinkles for the fur. I used the same method and order as Bakerella but when she painted I sprinkled the pops with the sprinkles.

    A few days after my nephews birthday I got a call from a friend of my sister-in-law's who asked me if I could make some Elmo cake pops for birthday party she was throwing for her daughters. As well as Elmo she wanted some Cookie Monster pops as well. The method for Cookie Monster was the same, but he didn't have a nose and I used half of a mini chocolate chip cookie instead of the mouth.

    Here is how everything turned out:

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Warm Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Shallot Dip

    Jord and I attended a pot luck Thanksgiving yesterday. For our contribution I made a delicious Cauliflower and Cheddar Casserole (my Mom's secret recipe...okay its not so secret you can find it on the back of a Campbell's soup can). I also whipped up a delicious warm dip. Unfortunately I did not grab a pic of the dip before it was devoured but I thought it was worth sharing the recipe anyway. This dip is perfect served with crackers, chips or cut up veggies.

    Warm Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Shallot Dip
    Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
    • 2 heads garlic
    • 2 medium shallots, sliced
    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaisse
    • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • a sprinkling of goat cheese
    • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Using the two heads of garlic, follow my instructions for roasting garlic found here.
    2. While the garlic is roasting, prepare the shallots. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat. add 2 tsp. of the olive oil and the shallots. Cook stirring occasionally until starting to brown then lower the heat to low and continue to cook until the shallots are soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the shallots to s mixing bowl.
    3. Remove the garlic from the oven and let cool. Turn the temperature of the oven down to 400 degrees F.
    4. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, remove the soft cloves and mash with a fork. Add the garlic puree to the shallots.
    5. Combine the shallot and garlic mixture with the cream cheese, mayonnaise and Dijon. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an ovenproof baking dish. 
    6. Top the dip with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and a drizzle of the remaining olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and hot, about 20 minutes.
    7. ENJOY!
    Image Courtesy of
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