Posts Tagged ‘Food’

An Anti-Valentine’s Day Dinner Party


Like a lot of people out there (notably single) the over-commercialization of Valentine’s Day just grinds their gears. The over-priced heart-shaped chocolates, the fluffy teddy bears, the couples sitting down to a romantic meal in a restaurant, seeing your co-worker getting a ginormous bouquet delivered to her in the office by her significant other… you know the deal. Well this year I decided to have an Anti-Valentine’s Day Dinner to celebrate with all my single friends.

On the menu was:

Spring Salad

“Can’t Wait ‘Til” Spring Mix Salad and Avocado with a Creamy Vinaigrette

Making your own salad dressing is a big money-saver. For this one I used some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a dab of mayonnaise, some lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.

Shrimp Dumplings

“Stuff You” Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

I admit, this is from a store-bought package, but they tasted delicious!

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

“Spear My Heart” Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

So yummy. My first time trying anything wrapped in asparagus.

Jerk Chicken with Penne Pasta in a Cream Sauce

“He’s A Jerk” Chicken with Penne Pasta in a Cream Sauce

I marinated some chicken breasts overnight in a home-made jerk sauce (could’ve used more “jerk” though). Next time I’ll be sure to add some scotch bonnet peppers.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream

“Dark Hearts” Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

I meant to make the cake (and even the Ice Cream) from scratch, but was running out of prep time (had to go salsa dancing later that night!). Not as “lava-ey” as I hoped (I think I left them in the oven too long), but still quite tasty.

Chocolate-Caramel Apples

And my girl Colleen brought some fan-freakin-tastic chocolate-caramel covered apples for post-dessert! Courtesy of The Real Canadian Superstore (who knew?).

Dinner went wonderfully, and my lovely friends definitely enjoyed all the food (thank you for coming!). Who knows? Maybe I’ll make this an annual thing… we’ll see what cupid has in store.

I survived the deep-fried everything at the EX…


So another Labour Day has passed and so has another successful season of the Canadian National Exibition. I usually go every year, this time it was particulary to test my palette with this year’s artery-clogging, edible fad: deep-fried butter.

Yes, you read correctly. If you didn’t already hear all the hype surrounding these battered concoctions, you’ll probably have to wait until next year to try it again at the EX (unless you want to attempt whipping up a batch yourself).

When I first heard of the deep-fried butter concept, I tried to invision how it would look, and also how it would taste (the thought of eating straight butter is a bit of a turn-off). But basically the batches are made with a butter-mix (from the taste I’m assuming it’s a butter-creamed cheese ratio) scooped up with a melon baller and frozen. After the bite-sized balls are taken out of the freezer it’s dipped into a batter (think along the same lines as funnel cake), then deep-fried for several moments. Afterwards, they’re topped off with swirls of chocolate, rasberry, vanilla and caramel. Sounds delicous doesn’t it?

Was it worth the hour I waited in line to purchase one? Probably not, because I could’ve just spread some butter on my funnel cake from the kiosk next door and kill some time. As I bit in it was definitely rather tasty-delicious, but then that squirt of butter hits you and you’re kind of taken aback. It definitely wasn’t bad though. But I don’t think I’ll fork over $5 for 4 tiny butter-balls any time soon. My friend ate hers whole, and found it very appetizing.

Did I feel sick after eating it? Not really… but then again, I also had a bit of my sister’s funnel cake, a dozen Tiny Tom Donuts, and of course I had to pick up a deep fried Mars bar because I haven’t had one of those before either (don’t worry… I shared all those treats with my sister and friend who were there with me… I’m not that greedy!). Hmmm… I forgot to mention I also had some Mexican-ized poutine earlier on that day from the Food Building.

I thought our deep-fried binge was a good ending to a long day shopping at the EX. That’s right, we didn’t really see any of the attractions, go to the casino, see the super-pets, or play the midway games–we shopped. And that’s only because there were such great deals in the warehouse (Direct Energy Centre). French Connection UK, Stitches, Costa Blanca, Bluenotes, Sirens… I don’t think I’ll need to pick up any more clothes for the rest of the year. I only spent about $80 in total and picked up four sweaters, a nice pair of dress pants from French Connection, three dressy tops,  a couple of nice shirts, two cute skirts, three tanks.

Now to pay that Visa bill…

Recipe: Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my search to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I knew I wanted a certain texture along the same lines of shortbread cookies, but not so soft that they break apart in your hands. At the same time, I didn’t want to create them too hard and crispy that they were a tooth hazard. So after three attempts I think I’m satisfied with this version of mine. The first time around I added too much cornstarch and they crumbled in my lunch bag like streusel topping. The second attempt I was trying to think about how I could make them a bit more crisp. I guess I shouldn’t have added that extra egg, because the cookies (while delicious) came out too “cake-like” and that wasn’t what I was aiming for.

In my trials and research I learned the following baking facts:

  • More butter = more spread; more flour = less spread
  • By reducing the amount of ingredients that retain moisture (e.g. egg, flour or brown sugar), you can make a nice, crispy cookie.
  • Using white sugar instead of brown sugar allows for a crispier cookie, since brown sugar has molassas (higher water content)
  • Adding an extra egg, milk or water to the dough can lead to a cake-like cookie since the additional moisture adds steam during baking (making them puff up)
  • Baking a cookie for a longer duration and at a lower temperature will allow your cookies to become more crispy.

So now for attempt number three, and as they say, third time’s the charm. This recipe has just the right amount of a chewy, soft centre, and a crisp outside that will leave tasters asking for more.

Yield: 24-32 cookies (depending on size)


1 cup unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:Cookie Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Add the egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. In three parts, gradually fold the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.Cookies on parchment paper
  5. Drop about a tablespoon of cookie batter onto the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between each cookie.
  6. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden-brown.
  7. Remove baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest about 5 minutes before placing on a cooking rack.

Valentine Sweets


Yes, I know I’m a couple of weeks off (school leaves little time for blogging), but here are some photos of some yummy treats I made for Valentine’s Day weekend.  I’ve been on a baking frenzy as of late. I need to replenish my butter…

Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing
To make this yummy icing simply blend 2 or 3 fresh strawberries in a blender, mix with some confectioner’s sugar and a drop of red food colouring.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Icing

Shortbread Cookies
A very basic recipe: Flour, butter, confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch. I added some vanilla extract in my version for a little extra flavour.

Shortbread Cookies

Mousse-Filled Chocolate Cups with Berry Coulis
After taking a culinary workshop run by Tatiana (a classmate at school), I just had to try this at home. It came out delicious. I used a mixture of strawberries and raspberries for the coulis.

Mousse-Filled Chocolate Cups with Berry Coulis

Holiday Baking (Yeah, I know I’m two months late…)


I totally forgot to post some of the pics I took of all the goodies I baked over Christmas. Oh, well… better late then never!

Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Peppermint Swirl Cookies – One of the recipes I got from a holiday issue of Canadian Living. These came out really well.

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies – These were so yummy! Melt in your mouth!

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake – This was my first time making this type of cake from scratch… I didn’t realizes it would be so easy!

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle – My mom loved these… Got the recipe off