Tag Archives: easy

Puff Pastry + Whipped Cream + Red Currants = you rock bringing dessert to the BBQ

Berry Tart Whipped Cream

So you buy the puff pastry, roll it and bake it.  Whip cream. Stir in icing sugar.  Spread. Top with summer bounty.   Kick dessert ass.

Really, that’s it.

(Loving Tad’s photo.)

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The Family Sweet Marie Bar recipe (you will love me so much)

Pic 1 Final

When I say “family” I don’t mean this is some sort of East European treat– this I claim as my own though it is truly a Seaborn classic.  I feel that I have eaten enough of them over 17 years to have some ownership.

We are going camping this weekend and I made a batch of these.  The step-by-step is posted her at the foodnetwork.ca blog but here’s the basic recipe.   Takes no time.  You must make it.  Trust me on this one.  (and also– just go with the corn syrup and margarine, don’t screw with perfection.)

SWEET MARIE BARS

makes about 20-25
Ingredients:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup salted peanuts
1 package real chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Heat peanut butter, sugar, corn syrup and butter over low heat until mixture starts to boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add Rice Krispies and peanuts. Mix well.
  3. Press into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan.
  4. Cover with chocolate chips while hot. As chips melt (give it a couple minutes) spread over the top.
  5. Let cool until chocolate solidifies and cut into squares.  If the chocolate is a little soft it’s ok, but if cut when still melted you will have quite a mess on your hands! (my mother-in law pops the pan into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the process)

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Homemade Ricotta, Easier than Pie (guest post by Ally Chang)

PIC 2 ricotta

How did I get so lucky to have two of my talented friends blog recipes on Cheese and Toast this spring?  First Johanne Durocher made Saag Paneer and now my friend Ally Chang (another cheese obsessed cohort) will show you how to make homemade ricotta–it is SO GOOD–especially warm, and Ally  also added her ricotta pancake recipe.  How good is it to live at her house?  Enjoy,  SR.

How to make Ricotta Cheese      by Ally Chang

Making ricotta cheese is so incredibly easy and it tastes so much better than store-bought too.  I have modified a couple of recipes to make it even easier – I like recipes that call for things I have on hand, not specialty items that I have to buy.  So if you have milk, cream, salt and lemons you are in cheese making business.  We eat some of this warm, fresh ricotta in the morning for breakfast with fresh fruit.  I then use the rest to make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes the next day.  The pancake actually freeze well so the left-overs go into a Ziplock and into the freezer and I have a quick and easy breakfast option for my kids during the busy weekday mornings.

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If you do not have cheese cloth is available at most grocery stores or the bulk store.

Ricotta

Bring the following ingredients to a gentle simmer:

1 litre (4 cups) of 3.25% milk (I use organic but you can use non-organic)

1 1/2 cups whole (35%) cream

1 tsp salt

Then add:

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp white vinegar

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Draining the ricotta through cheese cloth.

Let this cook for 1 minute and you will see the curds separate from the whey.

After 1 minute, drain the cheese through a cheese cloth (doubled) that has been placed in a colander.  Let it sit in the colander to further drain for a few minutes.

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Enjoy warm with fruit or let cool then store in a container in the fridge.  The next day you can make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

PIC 1 FInal Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 

Whisk the following ingredients together:

3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups Red Fife flour (which will add a lovely nuttiness or use all purpose)

2 tsp baking powder

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1 egg

2-3 tsp lemon juice

Then fold in 1 cup of homemade ricotta.  Cook pancakes on a medium low heat (you can keep them warm in the oven set at 200).  Serve with blueberries and warm maple syrup.

**Ally has also told me that these freeze really well for make-ahead, instant breakfasts.

RICOTTA

Originating in Italy, the name “ricotta” comes from the Latin recocta or “recooked,” reflecting the fact that the whey is reheated after being “cooked” once already when separating the curds and whey.Ricotta can be made from sheep’s, cow’s, goat’s or water buffalo’s milk and is a fresh, loose cheese with a mild flavour that can sometimes have a slightly granular texture (ripened and smoked varieties also exist). Some ricottas are made with skim or whole milk, which increases fat content and makes them more moist and creamy.  (Like Ally’s recipe)

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Connie’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe–even easier than no knead dough

Irish Soda Bread

I am late for the airport.  Or will be. Which is why I shouldn’t be posting.  But this is typical for me, “I’ll just insert complex activity before the taxi gets here in 1 minute”.   Anyway, our cheese club meets 5 times a year and for our first meeting (now held at Cheesewerks –now serving amazing brunches!) was broken up into a few subjects.  One was Irish cheese and Connie, who presented it, made this Irish Soda Bread.  So soft.  So tender and dense.  So “make in a jiff”.   As in, 45 minute and done (35 minutes for baking).

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Make a well in the flour.
In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.
Add wet to dry all at once and mix with hands or wooden spoon just to combine.
Knead on floured surface to form ball that holds together.

Split the loaf in two and make two smaller loaves.
Place side by side on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes give to bottoms on the bread a little knock, if they sound hollow they are done.

To make a whole wheat version, substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour for 2 cups all-purpose (50/50 split).
Add 1 cup of raisins.  Some “traditional” recipes added caraway seeds as well.

**Maybe Connie will answer this: why don’t you mix all the dry together and just add the buttermilk to that?  Is there a reason?  I did it as per these instructions and it worked, but it was against my instinct!

Cheese Club at Cheesewerks. How perfect.

For those curious, here is our cheese club meeting,table loaded with cheese and goodies.  Jill is presenting about her and Lisa’s trip to NY to take a Cheese Boot Camp at Murray’s Cheese.

Cheese Tasting

Here we were pairing different cheese styles with sweet, salty, sour.

And now, I am off to NYC for a 2 day Master class in Cheese At Artisanal.  WHOOT!!!!   Crap, I’ve really got to get going.

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Weekend Wonder: Don’t Forget about No-Knead Bread

Did you forget what is possible by barely batting an eyelash?  Amazing, crispy-crusted, moist, chewy bread.  I know, I know, no-knead bread is so 2006.  But maybe it’s time to go back in time (anyone else thinking Huey Lewis right now?) and revisit.  I did not have a blog in 2006 and I want to be like all the other bloggers and write about it too. So in case you forget  how easy it is to be a bread superstar….here we go.    Recipe is from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and I used it as a great baking idea for kids and parents for the foodnetwork.ca.

14 hours later…

I like to mix this together (at least 3 minutes of hard work) around 9pm the night before I need (or don’t knead-ha!) the bread.  (Usually so it’s ready to go Saturday morning.)

Whisk together 3 cups flour (AP or bread flour) with ¼ teaspoon instant yeast and 1 ¼ teaspoons salt in the bowl.  Add 1 ½ cups water and stir with a spatula until a dough comes together (30 sec-1 min).  Lightly grease a second medium bowl and transfer the dough into.  Cover and rest the dough for 12-18 hours at room temperature.

Fold the bread over a couple times…

Flour a work surface lightly and remove the dough from the bowl.  Fold it over once or twice.  Let rest for 15 minutes on the work surface.

Shape the dough into a ball.  Coat a clean, cotton tea towel generously with flour and place the dough ball (seam side down) on the towel.  Lightly dust the dough with flour and cover with another towel.  Allow to rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.  Watch part of a What Not To Wear marathon.

THEN:

Preheat the oven to 450°F.  You will bake the bread in a 6-8 quart oven-safe pot with a lid (such as a Le Creuset).  Place the empty pot in the oven 30 minutes before baking.

Remove the hot pot from the oven. This is the trickiest part, transfer your dough, seam side up into the pot (BE CAREFUL!).  Try and just flip the dough into the pot using the tea towel –but if it deforms as it goes in, no big deal.  If you don;t have enough flour on the tea towel it will stick–so don’t skimp.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes covered.

After 30 minutes remove the lid.  The crust will be golden.  Bake another 15 minutes.  The rust will turn a rich, dark brown.  Remove the loaf and cool on a rack.

Oh boy!

REJOICE.  And contemplate being a baker.  Surely not everyone’s turns out this well?!   Now you can move onto No-Knead Pizza dough.

Here is Mark Bittman’s New York Time’s article that made this bread famous….(6 year anniversary coming up in November!)

And here is the Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Recipe with weight measurements (which I think is best to use if you own a scale).

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Homemade pesto– you’ll give yourself a high-5.

Who else falls into the “I’ll just grab a jar of pesto from the store shelf”  while shopping rut?

My basil plant has gone wonderfully berserk with leaves this year and I had to use up the bounty.  The colour and freshness of the homemade stuff is huge.

And so versatile when it’s crazy busy back in September mode–yes pasta, but also sandwich spread, fish or chicken glaze or add to sour cream for a dip.

I used pesto as inspiration for my latest blog on foodnetwork.ca so if you would like the recipe click on the link.  It truly takes not time at all.

(You can substitute walnuts for pine nuts or keep it nut-free (a la french pistou, here is my chef basics video recipe).

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Art of the Danforth: Feast in the East (and no knead pizza dough)

If you’re already thinking about the weekend (yes, that started Tuesday I know) you might want to check out some of the Art of the Danforth activities.  On Saturday night is an event called Feast in the East which will combine music, art and culinary art.  There are three such events over the course of the festival.  Last week the theme was British/Scottish.  This Saturday, May 26 is Italian and (I am excited about this one) June 9 is Ethiopia.

Meanwhile I am going to finally try the no-knead pizza dough recipe by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery.  It ferments overnight so I will let you know how it goes, but I find pizza is the perfect quick dinner for a Friday night.  Especially if I can whip together the dough today.  I have an easy, favourite recipe but this will apparently “exceed my wildest expectations”.  We shall see.

If you want to do this along with me (in fact, can you do this and I’ll come over and pick up half of the dough tomorrow) here is a link to the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Also, if you make this and then tomorrow on the drive home you’re like, “screw it, I’m ordering Thai” the dough can sit for three days.   A procrastinator’s dream.

Otherwise we can compare notes bright and early Saturday morning.  No, of course not, Saturday is for sleeping in until your spouse does not get up when your toddler is clearly making loud wake-up noises from his bedroom at 7am and someone needs to go get him….

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