30 October 2010

oh that versatile sweet potato

The end of the season with our CSA box yielded quite a lot of sweet potatoes and never one to pass up a challenge of finding a new use for whatever we have in plenty, I thought I'd try a sweet potato biscuit. J had read a recipe for one in one of the many food mags she gets but after a lengthy search, we could not find it so I turned to the trusty internet and voila, Martha Stewart had a recipe.

I have never really made biscuits from scratch before but I was determined. So on a Saturday morning before heading out to the Brick Works market to meet some friends, I got busy in the kitchen. While they did taste really good - not to greasy and not to potatoey - they were not as fluffy as Ms. Stewart's appear in the picture on the recipe page. Nonetheless, throw some sweet butter on those babies right after you take them out of the oven and they are quite heavenly.

This picture is terrible - they did come out in a relatively nice golden colour - who knows what was going on with the lights and the camera on this one!

27 October 2010

Fresh never tasted better

I was spoiled during my trip to Mexico earlier this year when I was able to eat freshly made tortillas every day. Coming back to Toronto and having only the option of pre-packaged was disappointing. It's a lot easier to find fresh flour tortillas but corn ones were elusive. So imagine how thrilled I was to happen upon La Tortilleria the other day.

I was working at home that day and decided to take advantage of the nice weather by going for a ride on my scooter to get some lunch in Kensington Market. Lunch, in case you were wondering, was a Jamaican goat patty, which I love. As I was heading back to my scooter I spied the sign of the tortilla shop on Augusta Ave. near Baldwin. I had to go in. It's only been there a month or so and is apparently a chain. They serve up Mexican food (which I did not try) and, of course, make fresh tortillas. They have white, blue, and yellow corn. I got the yellow as there's no blue available on weekdays, I was told.

They were still hot and wrapped in newsprint for the trip home. I could barely wait to taste them . . . they were absolutely delicious and not very expensive: $1.75 for that big pile you see in the photo. Of course, they didn't all get eaten the first day and still a few days later, after being kept in a ziploc in the fridge, they were still fresh tasting. I could tell they were going a little stale when they started to fall apart like the packaged oneswhen you tried to wrap some food in 'em. But that was five or six days, and at that point they are still better than the store-bought ones. So a great find and I hope the tortilleria stays in business!

22 October 2010

Oh what a beautiful cupcake

J really wanted red velvet cupcakes for her birthday, so who am I to say no even if it's way out of my comfort zone to make 'em.

I used the recipe from the Hummingbird Cafe cookbook, which was a present from a friend for my birthday. I followed the instructions religiously but was worried the batter was too dense. Same deal with the cream cheese frosting, which didn't look like it was coming together. But it all worked out well and the cupcakes were delicious. My frosting job wasn't too professional but as they say, it's what's inside that counts.

17 October 2010

Toronto Restaurants!

I love Toronto.  It's positively the best city to live in, and it's even better to eat in!

One night, after a particularly harrowing day, french fries were calling my name.  Shwarma was calling G's name.  What's a girl to do?  Shwarma fries!!!!

Crazy.  This is some random shwarma place on Yonge street, and the meat was reallllllly fatty.  I know some people like pork belly and all that kind of fatty meat, but I just don't go for it.  I find the texture of fat to be really off-putting.  So while an interesting idea, better shwarma would've made it.  But fries and hummus... oh yeah baby.

We also had a lovely feast at the Lahore Tikka House.  Now the first time I ate there, I had curry which made me very sick.  But I've been back and fallen in absolute LOVE with their grilled meat platters.

Yep.  It was as good as it looks!  So, on that plate is a MOUNTAIN of rice, cooked perfectly.  Then topped with this marinated beef that absolutely makes me salivate to think about with some chicken tikka.  On top of that, yes, there is grilled onion and peppers and carrots and schtuff.  It's so tasty, and an absolutely GINORMOUS portion.  I can't remember how much it cost, but it's somewhere under $20.  If you've never been to the Lahore Tikka House, you're in for an experience.

More Food From Other Bloggers.

About three years ago, G and I went to Ireland.  I may have mentioned it at the time.

I did poor research on good food in Ireland, and therefore we ended up not having the best meals while there.  Until Galway Bay and this amazing sweet potato and lentil curry with brown rice that totally rocked my clock.  It was like the first good meal I had had in weeks, it seemed, and I absolutely SNARFED it!

I was in heaven.  Shortly after that, I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchens blog for a very similar dish.  And I was so excited and vowed to make it the very next week!

Fast forward three years and look at our house full to the brim with sweet potatoes, and that vow finally made its way to the dinner table!

It's not pretty.  No it surely isn't.  But it was goooooooood.  It is full of veggie goodness, and with a serving of brown rice was a very fibre rich bowl of yum. The swiss chard was delicious, but I honestly think I could have doubled the amount.  We have an enormous amount leftover, and will likely have leftovers tomorrow and Monday for lunch!  Goooo fibre!

I made a few changes to the recipe, which again, you can find here... mostly just added more curry powder and left out the cilantro because I am not a huge fan (though I think a little bit would have been nice)... and I forgot to add the nuts or chopped scallions, so whoopsie daisy, but yeah, it's a definite keeper.

16 October 2010

Easy Peasy Pudding.

As G has been hellbent on turning our humble home into a Mexican restaurant, I have been relieved of spending too much time in the kitchen lately.  This has worked out well for me, as I was training for the Scotia Half-Marathon and was too tired to do much of anything!  (I did run the half, and I did do well, thank you for asking!!!)

G was travelling for business recently and I was hankering for something sweet and spongy.  I am not a huge sweets eater, but I can be convinced from time to time to partake in cake, so I searched the internet for a little recipe I had seen some time ago for a microwave sponge.  And I found it!

Alex Rushmer, of Masterchef fame, made this delicious Microwave Sponge Cake that I knew was perfect for me!  So, I halved the recipe and made use of what was in the house... that would mean some nasty-ass I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread that G bought on sale, flour, and some lovely orange marmalade...

So.  I halved the recipe but neglected to half the cooking time.  D'oh!  It was quite overdone, but also quite delicious!  And super easy... 25g flour, 25g butter, 25g sugar, mixed together with half an egg (I used egg beaters) and poofed onto a generous amount of jam, jelly, or in this case marmalade.  Microwave about 2 minutes or so until it's all ready to go.  Flip out onto a plate and enjoy!!!

I really enjoyed it and will make it again soon, I am sure of it.  :)  Alex's blog is great, with lots of neat recipes.  I was surprised that he didn't win Masterchef, but Dhruv was amazing, as well!  I really liked that season of Masterchef!

10 October 2010

A touch of the south

It is Thanksgiving here this weekend and this house was full of sweet potatoes, so what to do but make something that I've not done before. Sweet potato pie rang my bell as it has that bit of the south that I find attractive!!

Once again I lazed out by using pre-made pie crust but that is life, man! The filling was actually really easy to make though. Boil up some sweet potatoes then mash them up with butter, loads of sugar, some evaporated milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggs. Pour the filling in the shell and pop it ij the oven for an hour or so. It made the apartment smell like heaven. Haven't eaten it yet though so let's hope it's taste and wonderful as it smells.

09 October 2010

A vegetatation sensation

I have not been around the homestead very much lately with work travel taking me all over. As a result, we've had a bit of a buildup from our veg boxes. There is currently a surfeit of carrots and sweet potatoes, which I will deal with later on. However, I did manage to make a dent in all of it with last night's dinner: leek and gruyere tart and some squash soup.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a double helping and that week included what is known as delicata or sweet potato squash. Here it is inside and out.

I've not used or eaten it before and didn't know what to expect. But I marshalled on and hoped my extensive kitchen experience and general know-it-allness would keep me afloat. So I cut it up and started by roasting for about an hour with just a bit of salt. Once it was softened, I took it out of the oven and removed the skin and went ahead with my plan for slightly spicy roasted squash soup.

Roasted delicata chipotle soup (4-6 servings)
  • 2 small or 1 large delicata/sweet potato squash roasted and peeled
  • 1 dried chipotle, seeds removed and sliced thinly.
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • few tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
In a medium-sized pot, saute the garlic and onion in the butter or oil until it is soft. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Then lower heat to medium-low and add pieces of squash, nutmeg, chipotle, and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Check seasonings. Serve with a little dollop of sour cream.

The other half of the dinner didn't seem all that complicated but somehow it all took forever. It was pretty delicious and used up the whole lot of baby leeks I had on hand but next time I might make my own pastry as the frozen pie shell I used was a bit too greasy. But here's my recipe.

Leek & gruyere tart
  • Some leeks (I had about 10 or 12 baby leeks of various sizes and it was about right)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (I used some from our window herb garden)
  • salt & pepper
  • 75 grams of gruyere, grated
  • 1 frozen pie crust thawed out
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Cut the leeks into 2 cm rounds and rinse well (discard the dark green end leaves). Saute the leeks and thyme in a frying pan until they are soft, probably about 15 minutes or so.

Lay the softened pie crust out flat on a piece of parchement paper and put half the cheese in the middle of it (leaving about 5 cm around the edge uncovered). Then spread the leeks on top of that and finish it off with the rest of the cheese. Slowly fold the edges of the pie crust up until you have a nice round tart with an open middle so the cheese can get all nice and brown and crispy. Slide the tart and paper onto a baking tray and put in the oven for about 25 minutes until the pastry turns a lovely golden brown.

It is rich but also very yummy. We ate the soup and tart together. I also roasted a few grape tomatoes which added a sweet, sweet extra to the whole affair. The tart is enough for 4 people if you add a salad or eat lots of the soup. I, however, managed to eat a half by myself, no problemo! Both of these recipes are adapted from about 50 things I looked at on the internet, so let me know if you try either one and how you liked it.


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