Monday, June 21, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Ice cream

My mom. niece and I made it. For my last birthday I got an ice cream maker, I think it is safe to say that it was the best gift ever. I love it. Making ice cream is pretty easy, the only thing you need to remember is to freeze the bowl the day before you want to make ice cream. I used to keep the bowl in the freezer all the time but I ran out of room. This recipe started off as vanilla and ended up strawberry, I ended up making one half vanilla and the other strawberry. If you want to make only strawberry add the strawberries in when you start the machine. I tend not to measure the amount of vanilla I use, really if you add more or less then a recipe calls for it doesn't really matter.

You will need for 2 quarts
3c half and half
2c milk
1c minced strawberries
1c sugar
Vanilla to taste

1) In a bowl mix everything.
2) Pour into frozen ice cream bowl and turn machine on

3) Let mix for 20- 25 minutes or until mixture is the consistency of soft serve ice cream

4) Put ice cream in a air tight container and let chill for at least 2 hours or until hard.


1) If you want to make more then one flavor it vanilla and strawberry once the ice cream is ready remove some of the ice cream and put in the freezer. Put the minced strawberries into the ice cream maker and let the ice cream mix for 2-3 minutes more.
2) If you don't like strawberry ice cream use whatever fruit you like.

Homemade Butter

I admit you don't have to make your own butter. I don't...well I didn't until now. I'm pretty sure I won't be doing this often considering whip cream is kind of expensive. But it was pretty fun to make. I salted the butter after I strained it. I over salted it so my butter came out salty, but overall it was tasty.

You will need
1 container of cream
1 tsp salt

1) In a cold bowl add the cream and whip until the cream separates into curdled butter and milk. The leftover liquid is buttermilk.

2) Drain the butter from the buttermilk.

3) Using a spatula fold the butter until smooth
4) Add salt and fold a few more times to combine.


Strawberry Torte

I went strawberry picking with my sister and niece over the weekend. It was amazing!! I got so many strawberries, so be the next few days will most likely be all about strawberries. I had read a recipe for a strawberry torte a few days ago. I couldn't find the exact recipe when I went to make this today so I just made it up from what I remember I had read. It is a pretty simple recipe, the only thing I would change about it is the use of puff pastry. It was good with the puff pastry but I think that I would like to make this with a pie dough instead.

You will need:
1 package of puff pastry
2c strawberries, washed stems removed and cut in half length ways
1/8 cup sugar
1c whipping cream or ready made whip cream
1tbs icing sugar

1) Roll out the puff pastry and place inside a pie dish. Cut off any extra dough, you can save the extra dough and use in a another recipe. Score the puff pastry with a fork, this will let steam to come out when baking.
2) In a oven heated to 350 degrees, bake the pastry until it starts to turn golden brown. About 15 minutes. Let cool.
3) Place the strawberries in the pie dish, you can arrange them to make them look nice. It is up to you. Bake for 20 minutes.
4) Put the whipping cream in a bowl and whip until soft peeks form. You can use either a whisk or a electric blender. Do not over whip, over whipping the cream will result in butter.
5) Sieve in the icing sugar to the whip cream, stir to combine. Place whip cream in fridge to firm up.
6) When the pie is cool, serve with whip cream.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade Pretzels

I had a lot fun making these. Trust me it is not as hard as it looks to make. Making pretzels is very similar to making bagels, in the sense that these are cooked twice. Once in boiling water and again in a very hot oven. The only downside of these pretzels, which was purely my fault is that I forgot to add the salt in with the flour. As soon as I bit into the pretzel I could taste that it wasn't in the dough. There is salt on the top of the pretzel so it sort of balanced it out. Next time I'll make sure I add the salt.

You will need
1 tsp dry active yeast
2 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup honey
1 cup milk plus 2 tablespoons
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
course salt(optional, enough to salt the tops of your pretzels)

1) Heat the milk to 110 degrees.
2) In a bowl, add the 2 tbs of honey, milk and yeast. Let sit for 20 minutes of until yeast starts to foam.
3)In a separate bowl add the 2 1/2 cups flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky, roll out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is to sticky. The amount of flour you will need to add will variety depending on the humidity and altitude of where you are.
4) Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let rise for an hour

5) Knead the dough for 5 minutes and cut into pieces. I cut mine into 5 then cut is piece in half. This way I ended up with smaller sized pretzels.
6) Roll the dough into logs. Place on a baking sheet and let rise for a further 5 minutes.

7) Shape the dough into pretzels. Take the ends of the log and fold them to the center of the dough, the ends should cross each other in the center. Pinch the ends to the bottom piece of dough, this is very important. If you don't do this your pretzels may open when boiled.

8) Heat a pot with water, add the 1/3 cup of honey and stir. Allow the honey to be incorporated in the water.
9) Place one pretzel at a time into the pot, do not crowd the pot. Cook for 1 minute then flip and cook for another minute.

10) Take the cooked pretzels out of the pot and place on a baking sheet. I used my stoneware pans, I find they bake bread nicer then a regular metal pan.
11) Lightly spread some of the 2 tbs of milk on top of the pretzels. Sprinkle the salt on top and place in a pre heated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


1) I didn't have course salt, so I use regular table salt. If you don't have course salt do the same.
2) You can make pretzels balls as well, I did. I made 6 regular pretzels and 4 pretzel balls.
3) Don't roll the logs to thin, they may break when resting.

Olive Tapenade

I was looking through my cabinet yesterday and found a jar of black olives. Now I don't really like black olives and I can't remember when I bought it. So I decided to make tapenade. I tried to make it in my mini food processor but when I tried to puree everything my processor wouldn't start. I have no idea what happened to it, but that ok. I bought it from Wal-Mart for $8.00, so really shame on me. I ended up using my room mate blender.

You will need
1 can black olives
1/2 cup green olives
2 garlic cloves sliced
2-3 anchovies
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs parsley minced
the juice of 1/2 a large lemon or 1 medium lemon

1) In a blender add olives and garlic, puree
2) Once puree, add anchovies and 1 tbs olive oil blend for 30 seconds or so
3) Add additional 1 tbs olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Blend until combined

To Serve
1) Put in a glass jar and serve with bread or crackers
2) Slice a baguette on a diagonal, drizzle oil over the bread and toast in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Spoon tapenade on each piece and serve.
3) If you want to keep the tapenade for several days, place in a jar and cover with a film of oil. It should stay for about 2 weeks in the fridge.


1) If you buy olives with pits and easy way to remove the pit is: using a knife press down on the olive, the olive with separate from the pit.

Mushrooms and Haloumi English Muffins

I have no idea what to call this. So I decided to call it mushrooms and haloumi English muffins. I ate it for breakfast but to me it looks like something that you could make for a brunch.Yesterday I was at the super market and stumbled on a package of Haloumi. I remember Nigella Lawson using it is several of her recipes. I had originally bought it to make some of her recipes. Haloumi is a hard cheese, it taste similar to feta cheese but is a little rubbery. Yesterday I pan fried it and ate it with a salad, it was so good. I'm hooked.

My mushrooms and holummi English muffins are very simple to make. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes to cook. Really it the hardest and longest thing to do it saute the mushrooms. In the past I've made something very similar to this. It was my mushrooms on toast, which I've also blogged about. Mushrooms on toast was my inspiration for making this. If you don't have Haloumi or can't find it don't worry, just try it with whatever cheese you have at home. The same goes for the beech mushrooms. I buy them in a package from the Asian super market. If you are going to use them I suggest just using the top part. I tend to put them into inch long pieces, I find the tops taste better then the bottoms. If you can't find them or don't want to use them just use a few more button mushrooms, or try shiitake mushrooms that are finally sliced.

You will need to serve one
3 button mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup beech mushrooms
1 English Muffin (cut, toasted and buttered)
1/8 cup parsley
1 piece haloumi cut in half
pinch of salt (optional)
1 tbs butter or oil

1) In a saute pan heat the butter or oil and add the mushrooms and salt (optional) Saute until soft and slightly browned.
2) Add the parsley and cook for 2 minutes.
3) On a plate, place the toasted and butter English muffins buttered side up. Remove the mushroom for the heat and place on top of the English muffins.
4) In the same saute pan put the sliced haloumi and brown on each side. This takes about a minutes per side.
5) Remove from heat and add on top of mushrooms


The addition of salt is optional because the Haloumi has some salt in it. I added the salt to this recipe, salt bring out the flavor of the mushrooms.

The picture below is of the mushrooms when I first put them in the pan. You can see the Beech mushrooms.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Poached Egg

Here is how to poach an egg.

You will need
1 egg
1/4 cup vinegar
a pot
slotted spoon
regular spoon

1)Bring the water to a simmer and add the vinegar.
2)Crack the egg and add to the pot of water
3)Using a spoon spoon the white on top of the egg yolk. Be careful, the yolk may have sunk to the bottom of the pot.
4) Let cook for 3-5 minutes and remove from pot using a  slotted spoon.

My Spock Apron

My friend Jelena made me this apron for Christmas. I finally took photos of it today. I love it!!!

Eggs Florentine

This morning I made Eggs Florentine. Originally my friend Melissa had requested I teach her how to poach an egg. She had Eggs Florentine recently and wanted to make it herself. So I decided to make Eggs Florentine for myself... and Adam, but mostly for me. I was going to take a bunch of photos because there are several steps to making this but I forgot. I basically made up this recipe myself, I did read several different versions on the Internet last night but when it came down to making it I made it up as I went along. Basically there are 4 different parts, the English muffin, spinach, poached egg and white sauce. They are all pretty easy to make. I ended up making the sauce that I make when I make Croque Monsieur. Which is basically a white sauce with the addition of cheese and some nutmeg.

To serve 2 people you will need

For the Spinach layer
1 package of frozen chopped spinach ( or 1 1/2 pounds fresh)
Pinch of Salt

For the White Sauce
2 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 smoked Gruyere cheese

For the Poached eggs
4 egg
1/4 cup vinegar

For the Base
2 English Muffins (cut, toasted and buttered)

1) On a medium heat, heat a saute pan and put in spinach. The package of spinach I used was still frozen so I put a lid on the pan so it would defrost quicker. If you are using defrosted spinach squeeze would the extra water before putting in the pan. Cook the spinach for about 10 minutes, or until defrosted and no water remains in pan. Lightly season with a pinch or two of salt.
2)In a small pot melt the butter, add the flour and stir to combine (this is called a roux). Cook the roux over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes stirring the pot every 30 seconds or so.
3)Add 1/2 cup milk to the roux and stir, once combined add an additional 1/2 cup. Let simmer for 5 minutes. If the sauce is to thick add the extra 1/4 cup milk and stir to combine. You can adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more milk. But remember you will be adding cheese to the sauce. The cheese will thicken the sauce as well.
4)Add the cheese and stir until melted. If the sauce is to thick add a little more milk until desired consistency.
5)Bring water to a simmer in a pot, add vinegar.
6)Crack one egg into the pot. Using a spoon(I used a regular eating spoon) spoon the egg whites over top of the egg yolk. Some of the white will float to the top of the pot, this is ok. If the egg sticks to the bottom of the pot gently scrap it off the bottom. I like to turn the egg as I spoon the whites on top. Let cook for 5 minutes. The yolk should still be runny, it will cook some more in the oven.
7)In a oven safe dish(I used individual severing dishes) place the English Muffins, top with the spinach then a poached egg. Cover the top with the sauce and add a dash of nutmeg to the top and a slice of smoked Gruyere.
8)Put in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly brown.


1)You can poach the egg and make the sauce at the same time. This will save you some time. I found that the sauce was done before all my eggs were so I left the sauce on the burner with a very low heat on. If you do this, a skin may form on the top of the sauce, just stir it before assembling the dish.
2) The amount of vinegar will depend on the size of your pot and the amount of water you are using. Feel free to taste the water before putting the eggs in. You should be able to taste that there is vinegar in the water but it shouldn't be overwhelming. If there is too much vinegar the eggs can taste a bit like vinegar.
3)There are several different types of roux. The only difference is the amount of time the roux had to cook. The darker the roux the richer the flavour, but the darker the roux the darker your sauce will be. For this recipe you should make a blond roux, which means it should look like blond hair. If the roux isn't cook enough the sauce can taste a little like flour. So make sure to cook the roux for at least 3 minutes so you cook the flour.
4) You can add the nutmeg to the sauce when you add the cheese. Add about a 1/2 tsp.
5) You don't have to use smoked Gruyere cheese. I've made the white sauce with Swiss cheese before and it tasted great. Experiment with different kinds until you find one that you like.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Erotic Tomato

When I was in Chinatown yesterday I stumbled upon a very odd looking tomato. So I bought it.


Today Adam and I made Fondue. My sister bought me a fondue pot about a year again and I've been wanting to make fondue ever since. It was really easy to make, my only problem was when Adam and I turned the flame on the fondue pot. I think we had the flame to high, some of the cheese burned to the bottom of the pot. But once we noticed the the height of the flame can be controlled it was fine. I wasn't really sure what to dip in the fondue, well besides bread. So I just used what I had in the fridge. I ended up using french bread, mushrooms, red pepper, asparagus and carrots.

You will need
1 pound cheese (I used a mixture of Gruyere, Swiss and Fontina)diced or grated.
1 garlic clove- minced
1 cup white wine plus an addition 2 tbs
1 tbs spoon corn starch
A variety of bread and vegetables cut into bit size pieces

1)In a pot add the wine and cheese. Let the wine come to a simmer, whisk the fondue. The cheese may or may not be fully melted by this point. I had some chunks still,just stir until they melt.

2) When all the cheese is melted add the minced garlic and stir
3) mix the 2 tbs of wine and cornstarch together. Add to fondue and stir
4) Let thicken for about 5 minutes
5) Transfer to fondue pot


Nigella Lawson's Muclade

Yesterday I went to Chinatown and bought some mussels. I've been making a lot of Nigella Lawson recipes recently so I decided to maker her version of Muclade. It is from her book Nigella Express. I didn't try any, because I don't eat meat but my fiance loved them. I found them pretty easy to make, considering this was my first time cooking mussels. The only thing that I was unsure about was the addition of cream at the end. I found that it curdles slightly, I'm assuming because of the heat. I don't really think it was necessary to add the cream. If I make this recipe again,(which I'm sure I will)I'll try it without the cream. I halved Nigella's recipe,but purely because I bought about 2 pounds of mussels instead of 4 like the recipe called for.

You will need
1 cup white wine
1 green onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp curry powder
2 pounds mussels- cleaned and debearded.
1/4 cup cream

1)Clean the mussels, throw away any dead ones.
2)Soak mussels in cold water( I did this for about an hour)
3)Put the white wine, green onions, garlic and curry powder in a pot and let it come to a boil.
4)Add the mussels and put the lid on the pot. Shake the pot.
5)Let cook for 3 minutes shaking the pot every minute or so. After 3 minutes lift the lid, if most of the mussels are open add the cream. If not let cook for a further minute then add the cream.
6)Let simmer for 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl and serve.


***Mussel tip- when cleaning the mussels look for any mussels that are open. Close the open ones, if they stay closed they are alive. If they reopen discard, they are more then likely dead. The opposite foes for them once they are cooked. If any stay closed throw them out. They are most likely dead.***

Mushroom and Eggs on Toast

Mushrooms and eggs on toast is basically what it sounds like. Saute mushrooms on buttered toast with a poached egg on top. It take about 15 minutes to cook, the longest thing is the mushrooms. The amount of mushrooms will vary depending on the amount of people you are feeding and the size of the mushrooms, but 5-6 person tend to be enough.
Just remember the mushrooms so wilt when cooked.

You will need, per person
5-6 button mushrooms- clean and sliced
2 slices of bread- toasted
1 clove of garlic- minced
1 tbs parsley
2 eggs
1 tbs vinegar
2 tsp butter or oil

1)In a saute pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted add the minced garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are wilted and tender. About 10 minutes

2)In a pot with water and bring to a simmer. Add the vinegar then crack the two eggs into the pot. The proper way to poach a egg is to use a spoon and spoon the egg white over itself until it is a small ball. I tend not to do this, but your more then welcome to. Now I like to have my egg cooked so that is it a 50/50 ratio, by that I mean I like the egg yolk to be slightly cooked but so much undercooked that the yolk goes everywhere once pierced.

3) Add the parsley to the mushrooms and garlic, cook for a further minute.
4) Toast the bread and butter one side
5) Spoon half of the mushroom mixture onto each piece of toast. Then top with a poached egg.