Saturday, March 26, 2011


We recently ran out of the organic flour and I had to buy some flour from the store. My bread turned out awesome :( I say that is sad because I don't think that the flour from the store is the healthiest option and so we picked up more organic flour. And I'm going to keep on trying to improve it until I love the organic bread. It's not awful, it's just different. It's way crumblier (good if you want breadcrumbs though) and the taste is stronger, it doesn't rise as much and the crust is often way crunchier. I also really don't like how it feels to mix it with my hands, and I have to sift the flour every time I use it, making it more time consuming.

But I WILL NOT GIVE UP. This flour will not have the better of me. I refuse to believe that I can't make good bread with it. I just have to keep trying.

Today I tried again and so far so good, but I haven't cut into the bread yet :) The dough actually had air holes in it and was a lot more flexible than usual. I just kneaded it a lot more. Knead for 5 minutes. Let stand. Knead for a few more minutes, let stand. I must have repeated that 5 times or so. The buns tasted really good and if the bread turned out then I guess I know what I have to do.

My next dream is making my own cheese. Right now I've ordered a few books from the library and then the next step will be getting the starting cultures and whatever else I need. I'm thinking it will be way cheaper than buying the organic cheese from the store, plus I can control the ingredients. And I don't know about you, but there is a great satisfaction in doing it yourself. Yes it takes work, but time is relative. And what better way to spend my time than to make good things for my family, and save money at the same time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BBQ Sauce & Moroccan Veggies

So I'll tell your right now - the BBQ sauce is awful! Incredibly awful . . . TR said it smelt like something that had been left out for weeks, and it didn't taste much better! The name of the recipe however is . . .

The Best BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Dash of tabasco sauce

Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute about 5 min. Stir in remaining ing. Simmer 5-10 min. After it had cooled a bit I blended it so that we would have a smooth sauce. Up until the blending it looked okay, but the oil didn't want to mix properly so I don't think it would have worked without blending. Maybe it was the kind of oil I used (extra virgin olive?). Whatever the case I will be taking this recipe out of my book and into the garbage.

Moroccan Roasted Root Vegetables

4 cups root veg. cut in 2 cm cubes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp. dried parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix spices and oil. Coat veg. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Cook uncovered 40-50 min, turning occasionally.

This was AWESOME! We all really liked it a lot. Even Chloe asked for seconds. I just did potatoes this time and left the peel on. They were crunchy and soft on the inside. The flavour was really really good. I am sure that this will be a staple in our house from now on :)

* Just a little side note about turmeric. It is a really healthy spice, but in order to get the full benefits (I read this in a book about fighting cancer) it needs 2 things. You need to mix it with oil before you add it to the dish (it stabilizes it I guess) and you should eat pepper at the same time too.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Birthday Cake

So the recipe really is called Birthday Cake, and that is what I used it for :)

Makes 1 11" spring form pan & 1 7" spring form pan.

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (about 340gr.)
1 cup butter
10 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour

1. Melt chocolate and butter
2. Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
3. Fold flour into choc. with rubber spatula. Fold into egg mixture.
4. Fill 11" pan 3/4 full, pour remaining into 7" pan.
5. Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes.
6. Once ready, allow to cool at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

I cut this recipe in half and didn't layer it. It made a 9" square pan. It tasted a little like brownies and was REALLY good. I had to have two pieces :) The eggs took a really long time to get stiff and they really didn't get all that stiff. I used brown sugar and not white. I would like to try it with honey too, but figured for the birthday I didn't want to change too much. I cooked it 10 min. longer than they suggested because the center still seemed too soft. Next time I think I would maybe let it cook 30 min. but the extra 10 minutes was too long, and the edges were starting to dry out too much. But overall a great cake and definitely one I'll make again!

Icing I used:

1/2 cup-3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup honey
about 1/2 cup whipping cream

Blend together in food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Works best if honey is not runny.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shepherd's Pie with Lentils

Another new recipe. I really liked it. TR said it just needed some more salt :)

2 small potatoes, quartered
2 carrots, sliced
1 cauliflower seperated into small florets
olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 1/4 cups canned green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. savory or dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried parsley
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups creamed or niblet corn
1 tsp butter cut in squares

Preheat oven to 350 F

Cook potatoes and carrots app. 20 min. Cook cauliflower in microwave 8-10 min.
Heat oil in skillet and saute garlic and onion until tender. Add beef and cook. When meat is cooked add lentils and seasoning. Remove from heat.
Drain potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. Puree and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer meat to ovensafe dish. Layer corn and then veg. puree.
Dot with butter and bake uncovered 30 min. until crust turns golden.

So of course I did a few things different. There's no point in turning your oven on so early. I cooked the potatoes and carrots together and then when they were almost done I added cauliflower to the pot (I used frozen). I added cream and butter to the mashed veg. I used peas instead of corn and I didn't dot with butter since I'd already added butter when I mashed them. (I did puree them a bit and the texture was good) It took a little longer in the oven then what they said, but I think that was because I prepared all the layers in advance and cooled them and then just put it together before supper.

Skillet Roasted Chicken with Rosemary, Garlic, Maple Balsamic Glaze

So that is really the title in the recipe book! I found it in a Cast Iron Skillet recipe book. I did cook it in the oven in our cast iron skillet, but I'm sure it would work in other oven-proof pans too.

2 tbsp. fresh rosemary (about 5 sprigs) plus 5 sprigs
2 cloves garlic
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 whole chicken, (3-4 lbs)
2 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered.
Salt and Pepper

- Place rack in the centre of the oven. Preheat to 400 F
- Using a mortar and pestle crush together the 2 tbsp. of rosemary, garlic and lemon zest until they form a paste. Place paste in a bowl and whisk in vinegar, oil, syrup, and lemon juice (or put in blender)
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub with salt and pepper. Loosen skin and rub rosemary mixture under skin. Halve the lemon you used for zesting and place in cavity along with the 5 sprigs of rosemary.
- Place potatoes in a 10"-12" skillet. Season with salt and pepper then place chicken on top. Roast in oven for 55-65 min. for a 4 lb. bird (add 8 min for each additional lb.)
- After 20 minutes baste the chicken. Repeat 20 minutes later. Roast until thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170 F - 175 F and juices run clear.
- Let chicken rest 5 min. before serving.


This was REALLY good. I enjoyed it a lot. TR said it tasted like a fancy meal at a restaurant. I did make a couple of changes and that is I used 1/2 of a chicken from a farm. It took probably 1.5 hours to cook. I think next time I would either cut the potatoes a lot smaller or put them on the sides of the chicken instead of under. The potatoes that were under cooked a lot slower and we ended up putting them all to the side about half-way through. I used dried rosemary as I didn't have fresh, but grinding it in the mortar worked really well. Since I used a half of a chicken I didn't have a cavity and just omitted putting lemon halves and sprigs of rosemary in the chicken.