Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In the Garden: Week 16

We are now at that fantastic time of year when harvesting from the garden is a daily occurrence. 

Despite Dave trying to mow the plants down earlier this year, I manage to get a small crop of soy beans. I never believed I would actually eat edamame right out of my garden!

Soy Beans

 I am also quite happy to have four perfect pumpkins growing bigger every day.



 Still patiently waiting on the brussel sprouts...

Brussel Sprouts


Monday, August 29, 2011

(Almost) Paleo Pad Thai

Despite the lack of noodles, I found this to be just as satisfying as traditional Pad Thai.

I made a simple version as a side dish to Coconut Crusted Fish but it could easily be expanded with scrambled eggs, shrimp, chicken, pork or more vegetables.

As I was making this recipe, David pointed out that miso is a soy product and therefore the recipe is not perfectly paleo. However you could easily exclude the miso, increase the tahini or almond butter or substitute with tamari.

From What Runs Lori, serves four

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup miso
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large zucchini, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 cup nuts, crushed
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro

Combine the first eight in the blender and blend until creamy. Set aside.

Finely julienne the zucchini and carrots with a mandolin. In a wok over medium heat, sauté the vegetables in the sesame oil until softened.

Add the sauce and sauté until heated through. Top with crushed nuts, cilantro and green onion.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Caprese Salad

Another recipe from Shauna's baby shower. Caprese is one of my favorite salads and is so easy to make - especially for a large crowd.

Serves four

2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup boccaccini cheese
1 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cake

This is a rich, fudgy chocolate cake that would be fantastic on its own, however I actually made it as the first step in making "cake pops"... stayed tuned for the rest of the recipe!

From The Kitchn, makes two 9" round cakes or one 9"x13" rectangular cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup water, boiling

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour the cake pans.

Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the stand mixer bowl. Stir to combine. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add in the boiling water and mix to combine.

Pour the batter in to the prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 

Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

Serve warm with ice cream or cool and frost.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Mayo

This is one of those recipes that kept popping up all over the blogging world (with the promise of perfectly crisp fries!) so I figured I had to give it a try. I was actually impressed that something as simple as cornstarch makes such a big difference in how the fries turn out.

From The Art of Doing Stuff

1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 tablespoon ccornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon curry powder

Preheat the over to 425 F. Cut the sweet potato into chunky fries, no bigger than 1/2".

Place the sweet potato and the cornstarch into a plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag making sure to partially inflate it like a balloon. Shake the bag to fully coat the sweet potato in cornstarch.

Transfer the sweet potato to a bowl. Drizzle the oil over top and gently toss to coat. Season with salt.

Place the fries on to a non-stick baking sheet. Ensure to space the fries well to allow them to cook evenly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the curry mayo, combine the mayonaise and curry powder in a small bowl. Serve drizzled over the fries.



Friday, August 12, 2011

Strawberry Cake

This cake breaks all of the rules in our house - flour, sugar, red food dye... I did eliminate the imitation strawberry flavour from the original recipe but more because I couldn't be bothered to search the grocery store for it when I already have a killer fresh strawberry frosting recipe.

But I had good reason to break the rules... David's birthday!

Anyone who knows David knows he loves all things Superman so when I stumbled across a Superman cake pan on etsy, I knew I just had to make it for him. The pan has been hiding the basement for a couple of months now and thankfully he worked three shifts right before his birthday to give me enough time to make it without him seeing it.

I couldn't have been happier with the results.

Adapted from Lottie + Doof, makes 2 9" round cakes (or one Superman!)

3 cups flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
Red food coloring, optional
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Red food coloring, optional
1 pound icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon strawberry extract or 1/4 cup fresh strawberries, pureed

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9″ round cake pans with butter and coat well with flour, set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, jam and food coloring.

With a stand mixer, beat together sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Alternately add dry and wet ingredients to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with dry mix until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of cakes comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool completely before icing.

In the stand mixer bowl, beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the food coloring, 3 cups of icing sugar and strawberry extract or puree and beat until smooth. If fresh strawberries are used, more sugar will be required. Continue to add icing sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

Apply the icing to the cake and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

CSA: Week 6

This week's basket included kale, turnips, beans, beets, salad greens, green onions and carrots.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

As favours for Shauna's baby shower, I decided to do onesie-shaped sugar cookies. This was my first time attempting to frost sugar cookies so I was quite pleased with the results!

Makes four dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups icing sugar
Food colouring

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

Divide the dough in half and form into two rough disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Once chilled, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to approximately 1/4" thickness.

Use cookie cutters to cut into the desired shape and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat.

Bake in a 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Make sure to remove the cookies before they start to brown. Allow to cool.
To make the icing, beat the ingredients on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. The "outline" icing should be slightly runnier than toothpaste. If the icing is too thick, add water a couple drops at a time. If the icing is too thin, add more icing sugar.

Transfer the icing to a pastry bag with a #3 tip. Outline the edge of your design. Allow the icing to dry slightly.

Take the remaining icing and begin to add water, a couple drops at a time, to create the "flood" icing. The flood icing would have a liquid consistency. Transfer the flood icing to a pastry bag with a 1/4" opening or squeeze bottle. Use a zig-zag motion to fill the outlined area on the cookies. Gently shake the cookies to even out the surface. Allow the icing to dry for at least 3 hours.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

In the Garden: Week 12

Yup, I managed to neglect the garden for another three weeks... and the result: a completely overgrown patch of weeds and greens.

I finally buckled down this weekend, plugged all the weeds and greens, re-seeded a fresh batch of greens and voila!

Our compost bin is now overflowing and our freezer is well stocked with kale and mustard greens. Plus our fridge is well stocked with lettuce, beets, carrots, tomatoes and zucchini.

Beets, Carrots, Green Onions


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kale Chips

I have had this recipe flagged for a long time so I was quite excited to finally get kale in our CSA basket.

I was skeptical that it would actually turn out, how can something as moist as kale turn into crisp chips? But kale actually makes insanely crispy chips!

I will definitely be making this again when the kale in our garden is ready to harvest.

From Smitten Kitchen

1 bunch kale, washed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

Remove the stems from the kale and cut into large pieces. In a large bowl, toss the kale in the olive oil and salt. Ensure the kale is evenly coated with oil.

Arrange the kale in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

CSA: Week 5

This weeks basket included a head of lettuce, peas, chard, turnips, carrots, kale, beets and onions. The baskets are definitely starting to fill up! Unfortunately the strawberry crop is suffering, so no strawberries this week.

No, I didn't forget last week... I was just too busy to post... in last weeks basket we got peas, a head of lettuce, turnips, beets and kale.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

A savory watermelon salad? Yes I know it sounds weird but trust me. This recipe is a pleasant surprise...

Adapted from Cook Eat Love, serves four

1 seedless watermelon
4 ounces feta cheese
1 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
fresh ground pepper

Remove the rind from the watermelon and chop into cubes. Cube the feta cheese. Roughly chop the mint.

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.



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