Friday, August 31, 2012

Barbeque Lobster Tails

The ultimate summer indulgence. A great way to celebrate the Labour Day long weekend.

Serve with grilled asparagus.

Serves two


2 lobster tails
1/2 cup butter
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lemon


Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and lemon juice.

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the lobster tails straight down the middle of the top without cutting all the way through the meat. Gently open the shell to expose the meat. If desired, insert a skewer down the lobster tail to keep the tails straight. Brush with the melted butter.

Place the tails on the grill cut side down. Grill about 5 minutes. Turn the tails over and brush more melted butter onto the meat. Grill for another 4 minutes or until the lobster meat is an opaque white color and the shells are bright red.

Remove the tails from the grill and serve with more melted butter and lemon wedges.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mint Chocolate Meringue with Strawberries

I pinned this recipe forever ago and was quite happy when some friends invited us over for dessert so I finally had an excuse to make it. Even their 2½ year old loved it. Apparent he keeps asking if I will come over again with a "white cake".

Meringues always sound intimidating but are actually quite easy. They just require a lot of time, a gentle touch and some patience.

They are the perfect dessert for summer entertaining since most of the work can be done the day before and then quickly assembled before serving.

Adapted from Today's Nest, serves six


3 egg whites
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate, grated plus additional for garnish

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons superfine sugar

2 cups strawberries, sliced


Preheat the oven to 275°F. On a piece of parchment paper draw three rectangles approximately 4 inches wide and 10 inches long. Place the parchment on a baking sheet and set aside.

If you don’t have superfine sugar, simply pulse granulated sugar in your food processor or blender for about 30 seconds. Do not use icing or powdered sugar.

Beat the egg whites in the stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add ½ cup of the superfine sugar and whisk until mixture is quite stiff and glossy. Fold in the remaining sugar, cornstarch, and grated chocolate just until incorporated. Folding must be done very gently as to not deflate the egg whites.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip or large star tip. Pipe lines of batter to fill the rectangles on the parchment paper. Be sure your lines of batter touch slightly to keep the meringue in one solid piece.

Bake for 45 minutes. Rotate tray. Bake another 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely inside the oven.

Once the meringues are cool, melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a simmering pot of water, stirring until smooth. Spread the chocolate on the bottom of the meringue layers. Set aside.

To make the whipped cream filling, add the sugar, mint and cream to a chilled bowl and whip to soft peaks.

When ready to assemble, place one of the meringues on the serving dish. Spread half of the whipped cream on top of the meringue. Cover with a layer of strawberries. Add another meringue, followed by the remaining whipped cream and another layer of strawberries.

Add the final meringue. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, strawberry slices, mint leaves and grated chocolate.

Be gentle with meringues while assembling as they are extremely fragile.

Refrigerate until serving. For best results, cut with a very sharp serrated knife using a sawing motion.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

No Sugar Jam

When I first started making jam I was absolutely disgusted by the amount of sugar most recipes call for. After a considerable amount of searching I discovered this recipe and it has been my stand-by recipe ever since.

The amount of sweetener and type of sweetener are completely customizable. Sometimes I use a small amount of honey, 1/4 to 3/4 cup, but typically I use nothing at all. It can also be made with Splenda, stevia or cane sugar - 1 1/2 cups are the amounts recommended in most versions.

This recipe also works with raspberries, peaches, blueberries, cherries, blackberries...

Adapted from Craving Greens, makes about 5 cups


4 cups crushed fruit
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 package No Sugar Needed Pectin
Sweetener, optional
1/2 teaspoon butter, optional, reduces foam
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Sterilize and prepare six 250 ml jars with lids. Fill a canner with enough water to cover the jars by 1" and bring to a boil.

In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed fruit and juice. Add the lemon juice, butter and pectin. Stir until dissolved.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. If using sweetener, add the sweetener to the boiling mixture. Stir until it returns to a full boil. Boil for 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Gently tap to remove bubbles, wipe the rim clean and place the lid on the jar. Tighten just until finger tip tight.

Process in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars without tilting and allow to cool upright for 24 hours.

Any jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Homemade Honey Mustard

Adapted from Design Sponge, makes 2 cups


1 cup ground mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup honey, additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, optional
1 teaspoon ginger, optional


Combine all ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking gently.

Ladle into clean, sterilized jars with 1/2 inch of head space.

Mustard will last several weeks in the refrigerator or up to a year if hot water processed.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Baked Potato Salad

The easiest potato salad recipe ever. My standby recipe for any bar-b-que I am hosting.

This version of potato salad is a lot lighter than the traditional mayonaise and egg based recipes. It is a perfect salad for a summer potluck or picnic.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, serves  four


2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup green onions or chives, thinly sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled


In a large pot, cover the potatoes water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large boil, combine the sour cream, potatoes, green onions and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Fold to combine.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Better Baked Beans

Another recipe from David's birthday party that I didn't manage to get a photo of...

Baked beans are definitely not the most elegant food but they are a standard at bar-b-ques at Dave's mom's and I decide to make them since they would appeal to any young ones or picky eaters.

Typically baked beans just come straight out of a can but I was looking for something to take them to the next level and this recipe did not disappoint. And it did not require significantly more effort.

I used the slow cooker but they could also be made on the stove top or in the oven.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman, serves 18


8 slices bacon (or more), chopped
1 large onion, diced
6 14 ounce cans pork and beans
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard seeds


Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high heat for 2 hours. Serve hot.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Another recipe from David's birthday party that I didn't manage to get a photo of...

I made this frosting to top chocolate Guinness cupcakes using the same cake recipe from the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes I made for St. Patrick's Day.

This is very rich, very chocolaty frosting. I like that it contains no added sugar!

A single recipe frosts about 12 cupcakes.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes about 2 cups


8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional


Coarsely chop the chocolate using a serrated knife. Place in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, bring the cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the milk over chocolate and add salt. Do not stir. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of the chocolate. At this point the mixture can be cooled and used as ganache.

To make the whipped frosting, let the ganache cool to room temperature, about one hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Corona & Lime Cupcakes

I made these for David's birthday party and they were a complete hit. Unfortunately in all of the excitement I did not manage to get a photo but I got too many requests for the recipe to not post it.

The lime cream cheese frosting is to die for and would taste fantastic on a plain vanilla or yellow cupcake for those who are scared of beer.

Adapted from Erica's Sweet Tooth, makes two dozen cupcakes.


3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 cup Corona beer
1/4 cup milk
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
4 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375 F and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and zest, beating until incorporated.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the beer to the butter mixture, followed by half of the dry ingredients, the milk and then the remaining dry ingredients
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

In the stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  
Add the juice and zest. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well-combined.  Beat until smooth for about 2 minutes.
Using a large star tip, pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. 


Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole Jar of Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe has been in my collection for ages... it is one of Dave's favourites and the one he always requests when he is having a serious cookie craving.

Makes 5 dozen cookies 


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 18 ounce jar peanut butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, optional

  • Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with Silpat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until fluffy.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix to combine. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Baked for 12 to 15 minutes.

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