Friday, December 10, 2010

Most Important Question of All

I've never been a pie girl, mainly for two reasons: How many pies contain chocolate? Also the ratio of maximum dessert satisfaction does not come in the form of a sliver. You know it's true and after you eat that sliver you always go back for more! My friends all put up with my never ending food questions the most important one being: Do you like desserts!? (If they say no for a tiny second I have to re-think our friendship but conclude we can still be friends, as long as they like some sort of food and then I'm determined to change their mind that they WILL like desserts after I'm done with them). Other's include, what's your favorite sandwich?! What's your most favorite thing your mom made for you growing up?! Fruit desserts or chocolate desserts!? Oh and of course the second most important question of them all, are you a pie, cake or cookie person?

Have to say majority of the answer I get on this one is PIE. WHAT! I knoww..where's the crispy chewy dense rich gooey fudgy cookie cake lovers? BUT I have to say, after hanging around so many pie people I find myself liking pies, tarts and pastry more and more. A friend of mine held a dinner party and I was in a baking mood (okay more than usual), so after making pie pastry for a lemon meringue pie I decided to make a different type of dough called pate sucree for an apricot custard tart. Typical pie dough being tender and flaky, pate sucree is more of a flaky but sturdy dough (a cross between pie pastry and a sugar cookie). For good measure (and for the non pie lovers) I threw together a batch of my toffee pretzel chocolate chip cookies. Of course for quality control purposes I had a "sliver" of pie annd tart annd a cookie (or 2). Don't judge, I didn't pick that blog name for nothin.

Apricot Custard Tart
Makes one 8" tart
Pate Sucree Dough
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or 3/4 white flour, 1/2 w.w pastry flour)
3 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (cold, cut into chunks)
2-3 tbsp water (approx)
1 egg yolk

1.In a bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and using a pastry cutter or fingers cut butter into pea size pieces.
2.Add egg yolk and 2 tbsp of water, mix just until dough starts to come together, add extra tbsp of water if needed. (If you pinch a small chunk of mixture and it stays together you are good)
3.Turn mixture out onto a clean surface and bring together just until it forms into a ball. Flatten into a disc shape and saran wrap.
4. Chill in fridge for 1hr.

Custard Filling
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
apricot halves (or whatever fruit you like)*
1.Whisk together all ingredients except fruit and set aside while rolling out dough.
To Assemble the Tart
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In an 8" fluted removable bottom tart pan roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and slightly larger then the pan itself.
3. Place dough into pan and press into the fluted creases, cut off any excess dough that hangs over the edge of the pan using a pairing knife.
4. Place on a baking sheet and place apricot halves overlapping into the tart pan, cut side up.
5. Pour filling into tart, letting the liquid seep into every crevice.
6. Bake tart for approximately 40 minutes or until the top and fluted rim of the pastry is slightly golden brown and custard is set. (To check gently shake the pan, filling should jiggle (yes this is a technical term) only slightly.
7. Let cool and serve room temperature or chilled.
8. Eat 1/4 of the tart or a sliver and 2 cookies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best Egg Salad of Life (or My Life Anyways)

So what do you do when you come back from a weekend away, to a near empty fridge? Usually I'd say, I don't know what that means, my fridge is never empty! On a normal weekday open my fridge and it looks like I could feed a family of 4. I'm pretty sure I get this from my mom, back home go in our dry storage in the basement and I swear it's like a mini Safeway down there. She'd say "go downstairs and grab me the penne" I'd run down, shout "wheeree I don't see it!" she'd say " it's next to the soup section and swansons chicken broth which is next to the hoisin sauce, jello and Italian olive oil packed tuna!"

In my place I always have something I can throw together, in this case I had ONE egg (usually I panic if I don't have enough eggs to throw together a couple batches of cookie dough) one stalk of celery, 1/2 an avocado and basil that were surprisingly still green,a few tomatoes, a bell pepper and an insane variety of condiments and jarred goods (which takes up the whole middle shelf of my fridge). Good tip is to keep your favorite bread, already pre-sliced in the freezer so it's easy for a quick de-frost or to pop in the toaster (preferably a hello kitty toaster). I love when you have next to nothing and turn it into something good! Oh and if you have bacon, slice it, fry it, add it. EVEN BETTER.

Best Egg Salad of Life
1 boiled egg*, chopped
grated aged cheddar
artichokes, rough chopped
olives, rough chopped
dill (only had dried but use fresh if possible)
s+p, grains paradise
fresh basil, torn
celery, small diced
red bell pepper, small diced
mayo 2tbsp
Dijon 2 tsp
Yogurt 1 tbsp

Tomato, Sliced
Crispy Bacon if you are lucky
Bread of your choice( I used a brown rice artisan bread), toasted

**To boil an egg**
In a small pot place one large egg, cover with water and with lid on, bring to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes, take off the burner and set aside for 6 minutes. Drain water and shock egg in cold water.

1.No instructions really necessary, throw everything together and try not to eat it off the spoon before you place on your toasted bread smeared with avocado and tomato slices.

I wasn't joking, I really do own I the only one who gets excited when the toast pops up
and her face is imprinted on it!? I swear this is as far as the Hello Kitty obsession goes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So I was thinking about those Brown Butter Scallops...

I made awhile back and it made me laugh remembering this one time in Culinary School...My class was working the Highwood dining room, which was the school's restaurant and one of the last things you do before you graduate. That day I was assigned the appetizer/garde manger (cold food) section and had come up with an apps special of seared scallops with baby greens in the middle. While waiting for orders to come in I got a little bored since my prep was all done and started playing with some leftover bread dough I had from something else. I thought it would be fun to do a “mock version” of what the finished plate looked like, with raw dough formed to look like the scallops, complete with the salad in the middle! I showed it to my friend who laughed and said wow that looks so real!

So the lunch rush came around and I was putting out plates as fast as I could, I remember turning around to flip my scallops and when I turned back my table was empty, all plates had been taken out to the dining room…I thought oh good, they came and got them and turned back to my scallops. A realization occurred to me and my eyes got all wide as I slowly turned around, looked at the table and realized there were noo plates left on my station…including my “mock plate”. I remember at the time thinking O.M.G somebody right now is eating RAW doughhh! My second thought was O.M.G I have to tell my CHEFF! I told a couple friends who thought this was hilarious and then I went and talked to Chef and explained what happened…I could see the corners of her mouth turning up but trying hard not to smile and just be serious about the situation. Not a minute later one of the servers (a culinary student from another class) came back into the kitchen holding a half eaten appetizer plate. “Chef, this lady said her scallops taste funny”. By then my whole class knew what was going on, as they all laughed and peered over my mock plate of ½ eaten scallops and I’m looking at the plate thinking hmm yess how does it take eating TWO whole chunks of dough to realize something doesn't taste right! By then I too was trying not to laugh and be serious as Chef tells me I had to make a new plate ASAP and bring it out to the table, apologize and explain what happened. I did what I was told but thought to myself, heyy how is it my fault that I made a mock dish that looked so much like the real thing that the server mistakenly took it!

I remember walking into the dining room in my whites, more curious than embarrassed to see what this lady looked like that could eat 2 whole chunks of dough before realizing they weren't really scallops. Needless to say the group of ladies were extremely nice and laughed at the story and I definitely learned my lesson, never to make a fake replicate of a dish again!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins w/ Crystallized Ginger and Toasted Walnuts

From being in the kitchen I'm so used to having my nails short and not being able to wear nail polish that I still don't wear it. It was my brother's wedding last month and my mom and I went to get our nails done and after she spent a good while buffing them and whatever else they do, she asked me, so what color would you like!? Clear please! She looked up at me and said clearr? I said well after you do my nails I'm going home to bake 200 cookies so there's really no point....

I've been missing the kitchen lately and it's little things that bring me back, I'll be pan frying something and the oil will splatter up my arm and I like the burn, I'll be peeling beets and chopping garlic till my hands are stained red and I have that lingering smell of garlic on me and I really don't mind. I'll be leaning over the oven door to stick my hand in to see if the muffins are done and that intense rush of heat comes at me and I just breathe it in. Weeeird right? I know I know, bare with me while I go through this nostalgia. In the meantime make these muffins first thing in the morning for your co-workers like I did and your day (and theirs!) will be so much sweeter!

Pumpkin Muffins w/Crystallized Ginger and Toasted Walnuts
Yields 12

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup w.w pastry flour, ½ cup white flour)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sugar (I used cane sugar)
1 teaspoon baking soda
few swipes fresh nutmeg (on the microplane/grater)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (or pecans)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger
1/4 cup cinnamon & sugar (used cane sugar)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.Mix together toasted walnuts and crystallized ginger, *reserve 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top*
2. Mix together all dry ingredients (includes sugar too)
3. Mix together all wet ingredients
4. Add dry mix into wet mix, don't overmix
5. Fold in walnuts and crystallized ginger
6. Scoop into muffin tin, sprinkle w/walnuts and ginger and cinnamon sugar mix.
7.Bake for 20-25 min or until pick comes out clean.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brown Butter Seared Scallops with Peach Salsa

Wine night with girlfriends! Of course it can never just be wine at my place so earlier that day I headed over to Granville Island. There I was standing in the Lobster Man store looking at the scallops for a good few minutes.. I’m sure the lady working there was wondering why I looked so dazed but I do this from time to time and every so often someone that works at the store/market comes over and asks if I’m okay and if I need any help! Really though I’m standing there because in my head I'm picturing the flavors, textures and contrast in colors (I love the light green on dark green), what I have in my fridge to go with it and even how I would want to plate it.
I had originally come for the Mussels to do a play on Moules Frites , which seemed like a great idea till I realized how messy that could get, considering I don’t have a proper dinner table in my 500 sq ft pad! So scallops it was. Peaches were in season at the time so I knew just what I would pair it with. To complete the eats for the night I picked up some Cognac Pate and Bison Bresaola from Oyama, a couple Cheeses from Les Amis de Formage, Onion Walnut Bread from my favorite bakery and made Yam Fries w/ a Balsamic Reduction and Truffled Aioli. Seeing as it was just Thanksgiving lets check off what I am so so very grateful for, amazing family, friends, food and wine!

Brown Butter Seared Scallops w/ Peach Salsa

8-10 scallops
3 tbsp butter
fleur de sel
grains of paradise (or black pepper)

Peach Salsa
2 peaches, diced
1/2 jalapeno, fine diced
3 tbsp orange bell pepper, fine diced
2 tbsp red onion, fine diced
cilantro, rough chopped
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
*(can add honey if peaches arent as ripe)*
For garnish:
avocado, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
pea shoots (tossed w/honey apple cider vinaigrette I had made previously, can use
lemon juice, olive oil, s&p instead)

1. Combine all salsa ingredients, set aside in fridge.
2. Pre-heat pan to med-high, throw in butter.
3. Pat dry the scallops, season w/ s+p.
4. Sear scallops only flipping once. Baste with brown butter. Cook till medium. Let rest. Finish
with fleur de sel.
5. Place dressed pea shoots on plate, then scallops, avocado and tomato garnish, finish with

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Grape Mostarda

Summer is almost here and to me that means trips to the beach, frozen yogurt, beach picnics, gelato, summer festivals, frozen yogurt and did I mention gelato? One other thing that means summer to me is BBQ! My little hibachi has served me well. A good hot dog and hamburger is nice and all but there are so many other great foods you can throw on that bbq. I always grill a ton of veggies which also make great leftovers for paninis and cold salads (grilled leftover veg w/ brown rice penne pasta, fresh basil, lemon zest, goat cheese and aged balsamic come to mind!). This pork tenderloin (marinated in orange juice, thyme and garlic) takes no time on the bbq and the grape mostarda is a great healthier alternative to bbq sauce. It's not surprising that I like sweet on my savoury foods and this condiment has all the elements and balance of flavors (sweet, sour, spicy and garlicky) that go so well with grilled meat.

Grape Moustarda
2 ½ cups red grapes
½ large red onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 bay leaves
s+p t.t
splash red wine
flat leaf parsley

1. Saute onions, then garlic, add in red grapes, mash half of them, add Dijon, honey, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and everything else. Reduce until right consistency.

Eats on the beach...

Mother's Day Breakfast: Thomas Haas Double Almond Croissant, Farmers Market Strawberries, Soft Boiled Egg

Dessert while watching the sunset (can you think of anything better!?): Panaderia Latina Bakery Tres Leches Cake, Dulce de Leche Custard Cream Cake, Alfajore (Shortbread Cookie filled w/ Dulce de Leche and rolled in Coconut) annd classy Pinot Grigio in a water bottle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just A Few Reasons Why I Like To Fly Home...

To spend time with this lil lady (Ma)

To eat her dessert: Chocolate Banana Cake w/ Peanut Butter Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting) She pretty much created a cake that includes everything worth living for into one circular piece of heaven.

To wake up on the weekend to the sun streaming into the kitchen and breakfast on the table

Home cooked comfort food (Chicken Marsala Stew w/ Dumplings)

Seeing two of my best girlfriends

Sampling and picking up Cheese from Janice Beaton Fine Cheese for dinner
(Chamour, a soft cheese from France, Smoked Gouda, Vintage Gouda, Local Bison Sausage)

Seeing my bro help in the kitchen, a rarity I tell you, eating is what he does best! (Shaving parm on my sis-in-law to be's delicious Mushroom Risotto)

Spending time with the fam (around the dinner table of course!)

Perhaps this would explain where my obsession of food comes from...!?

Monday, May 3, 2010


I've gotten more into yoga this past year and usually do power yoga because I feel like if I'm going to put on workout clothes I at least want to get a good sweat in! This past weekend I thought I would try a hatha yoga class thinking it would do all the things its supposed to do, achieve inner peace, mental clarity, emotional balance... NOPE. I sat there thinking about everything and anything BUT that! A friend of mine was telling me about her experience in an Ashram she attended in India. For the 7 days she said she thought about every single boy she ever dated, every single movie she ever saw, hummed in her head every single song she could think of...haha okay so these methods don't work for everybody! Whirl of the mixer, clicking sound of the cookie scoop and the smell of fresh baked cookies.We all have our things that give us mental clarity and inner peace, mine just happens to involve a mixer, chocolate chips, butter, flour, sugar and a 375 degree oven.

Clarity Cookies aka Loaded Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
Makes 24

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (can use white sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup toffee bits
1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup rice crispies ( I used brown rice crispies)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Beat together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla then applesauce
3. Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed butter mixture
4. Add in oats, raisins, chocolate chips, toffee bits, toasted coconut and rice crispies
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden

Friday, April 30, 2010


I came across an old email that I had written to my mom and it made me smile. Our convos prettty much revolve around food. She is the reason for my love of it and reading this email reminded me of the drive, ideas and inspiration I felt going to work at the bakery. I feel thankful to be surrounded by friends and family who share (or put up) with my non stop chatter over everything and anything to do with food! Two things I am incredibly excited about that are coming out next week are my mom for a visit and the Trout Lake Farmers Market, I can't think of anything better.

Hey mom!
Sorry another really short email, just got home a bit ago from dinner at Gastropod! Had a good day at work, it was just me again and Isabel came down for a bit to make a couple things but I just cranked my ipod and baked today. Made a really good sourcream coffee cake with a crumble topping the other day, my croissants are turning out really good and today I made individual mushroom tarragon quiches with my tart pans that I brought into work. I also made the chocolate chunk brownie cookies I've been meaning to make at home but never got around to. Tomorrow I'm hoping to try making mini chocolate silk tarts but with just me in the bakery there is always too much to do! Gotta get to bed before I am exhausted for work tomorrow...can't wait to have tuesday off! I'm going to try and get a bang trim and do a little shopping, I havent gone shopping in foreverrrr! Hope you're having fun, oh I'm sure you will find this amusing....I have taken a liking to drinking soy lattes at work! That coffee (same one that I bought you) is SOO darn good!! I put a shot of hazelnut sweetener in it sometimes too. I toasted an ezekiel muffin this morning, and then scrambled an egg and egg white in the microwave with chopped roasted vegetables (that we use in our sandwiches) and put that in between, it was delish!
Anyways better get to bed, talk to you soon!
Lotsa love,