Monday, August 27, 2007

Family Golf

Every year my mother's family has a family golf tournament. It's just one of those wacky things my family does. While I am not that into golfing, the tournament does have two components I really enjoy: prizes and potluck.
And you can win a prize even if you don't golf. It's awesome. This year I got a "Coors Light Cold Case", and while it claims that it can hold 18 so called "silver bullets", I was more interested in the fact that it also big enough to hold a 9x13 pan.

My Uncle made this peach pie and it was totally awesome. I am hoping he will pass on the recipe.

This year the corn salad has been my go to potluck recipe, so I wanted to repost it in pot luck size. I've also changed it up a little, switching red onion for green onion (I like chopping red onion more), and adding pine nuts.

Super Jumbo Corn Salad
(for taking to potlucks)
1 kg bag peaches and cream frozen corn
2 red peppers
1 green pepper
1/2 red onion
handful of basil or parsley
1/4 toasted pine nuts

24 hours before:
Take corn out of freezer and put it in fridge.

The afternoon or night before:
1. Chop red onion, and peppers. I usually try and make corn kernel sized pieces.
2. Make the salad dressing.

Before you serve:
Chop basil. Drain corn. Combine everything and toss with dressing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Corn Starch Ice-Cream

I hope you don't think I forgot about the summer of ice-cream. A few weeks ago the Times published an article about making corn starch ice-cream. As soon as it was post my ice-cream correspondent, Mr. Yummy-Baguette himself, Yannick, and I began a feverish correspondence on the subject.

Unfortunately, Yannick, is currently on the other side of the world, and thus, far from his ice-cream maker. So the burden of trying out this recipe has fallen to me.

I made this batch for my parents. You may recall that my parents are the owners of the ice-cream maker currently in my possession. I feel it is in my best interest to periodically provide them with home made ice-cream in the hopes that they let me keep the ice-cream maker. Sadly, my father tactfully said that he had enjoyed other ice-creams I had made more. I think it might be in my best interest to make up another batch for them pronto.

We ate this ice-cream with peaches, and the flavour was good. But texture of the ice-cream on it's on was off: a bit chewy and gritty.

Buttermilk Ice-Cream
adapted from the Minimalist, Mark Bittman

2 cups buttermilk
1.5 cups whipping cream
4 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

1. Heat buttermilk, 1 cup cream, sugar and salt until steaming, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, mix remaining 1/2 cup cream and corn starch until smooth and lump free.
3. Bring to a slight boil, and cook about another 5 mins until thick. (You don't have to be too precise here, because, well, it's going to be frozen.)
4. Freeze according to your ice-cream maker's directions.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I am very wary about food poisoning. So naturally, I am wary about eating mussels. However, I ate them at my best friend Evangeline's early in the summer and they were quite frankly delicious and food poisoning free. (And according to her very healthy and chock full of everything I am deficient in. For those keeping tabs at home, I am deficient in seafood and deliciousness and maybe iron.)

Plus, it seemed pretty easy. So, I decided to make them for myself. After much consultation of the internet (thanks again Serious Eaters!), the fish man, and Evangeline herself, I felt ready to cook mussels for myself.

Here is a summary of the things I learned.
1. ~2 lbs (or 1kg) of mussels makes a main course for two people.
2. If they are open before you cook them, even after you tap their shell, that's bad. These ones should be tossed.
3. If they don't open after you cook them, than that's' also bad. These ones should be tossed too.

The tomato I used was extra juicy and I ended up with too much cooking liquid - and not enough cooking liquid chunks, much to Paul's chagrin. But it was still delicious. Seriously delicious.

Overall it was happy times.
(Notice I have some awesome pots. The one on the left was my mom's.)

So here's what you do
1. Fry up some onion and garlic.
2. Add some chopped tomato (maybe, seed the tomato if it is juicy)
3. Add a bay leaf and some white wine, but not too much wine, or the broth will not be chunky the way Paul likes it. Wait until everything is boiling.
4. Add the mussels, cover them and wait until they open.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Honey Peach Ice-Cream

So what did I do with all my peaches? As only fitting for my summer of ice-cream, I churned them up. (For those of you keeping score at home, last summer was the summer of jam.)

I wanted to make the honey peach ice-cream from Baking: From My Home to Yours, but it required a custard and I was feeling a little lazy. I don't know if I mentioned this yet but I bought David Lebowtiz's The Perfect Scoop - looks like it might be the autumn of ice-cream too. Happily The Perfect Scoop has a recipe for peach ice-cream. So all I had to do was put the recipes together.

The interesting thing about eating this ice-cream is that the honey taste is initially very strong, but as your tongue gets cold it becomes almost imperceptible.

Honey-Peach Ice-Cream

mash up of David Lebowtiz's Peach Ice-Cream and Dorrie Greenspan's Honey Peach Ice-Cream

4 large peaches
1/4 honey
2 tbsp water (I used more, but for juicy peaches I think this is a better amount.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup whipping cream

1. Peel peaches and cut into large chunks. (I blanche them to make is easier to peel.)
2. Add peaches, honey and water into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook about 10 mins until the peaches are squishy when poked with a fork.
3. Add sugar to peach mixture and stir until dissolved. Let mixture cool a bit.
4. Blend peach mixture with sour cream and whipping cream briefly so some chunks remain.
5. Freeze in your ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Maple Walnut Cake

Hola internet amigos!

I have a lot of things to tell you about.

First, something I wait for all year.
I love love love peaches. And I have some big plans for these ones...but I will tell you about that another day.

Next, it's Dorrie time. I made these chocolate macaroons to use up the egg whites from my coffee ice-cream. I used a Nigella tip, and froze the eggs whites until I was ready to use them. It seemed to work okay.
I don't think macaroons will ever be my favourite, but these were pretty nice.
(They are very fragile, so you have to arrange them carefully.)

And finally, the main event, my Dooda's birthday cake.
My Dooda's favourite ice-cream is maple walnut, so I used that as the inspiration for this cake. The cake is nutmeg walnut; the icing maple butter cream; and it is all topped off with candied maple walnuts. If you want to make a super jumbo 9x13 cake, the recipe needs to be tripled. I'm not going to lie, it's really weird to make a cake using 9 eggs.

The cake was very popular. The texture of the icing was not perfect, but the taste was so good that I will probably play around with it in the future to see if I can get the texture the way I like it.

Walnut Nutmeg Yogurt Cake
adapted from Dorrie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 cup flour
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp baking power
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350F, and oil a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
2. Mix flour, walnuts, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.
3. In a seperate bowl mix sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet, then fold in the oil.
5. Pour into prepared pan and bake 50-55 mins until a skewer comes out dry.

If you triple the recipe to make a big cake like I did, it will take about 60mins to bake.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Trying out the summer express

Mark Bitman posted a list of 101 simple summer meals last week. Tonight, I tried out number 4.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting a lot from "Open a can of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, small or chopped shrimp, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are done; garnish with more olive oil." I didn't have fresh thyme, I only had frozen cooked shrimp - but I did have a nice can of cannellini beans.

I played with the instructions a little. I started by softening 1/2 a red onion is about 2 tbsps butter, then added 3 cloves chopped garlic and about a tsp dried thyme. Once everything started smelling delicious I added the beans, shrimps (thawed) and a little olive oil. When it was almost warmed through I added a little more thyme. Seriously delicious. I ended up with leftovers and it was good even the next day. I think the beans soaked up some of the thyme flavour. This might become a summer staple.

And to finish, coffee ice-cream. I love Hagen Dazs coffee ice-cream, but this is better - and happily decaf. It's almost too rich.