Friday, April 3, 2015

Crab Rangoon



To celebrate the premier of Mad Men on Sunday, I teamed up with Modcloth and a group of my favourite bloggers to bring you Mad Men inspired vintage recipes, as well as an awesome themed giveaway! 

Today I'm sharing a vintage inspired recipe for crab rangoon, a common fare at Trader Vic's (a popular restaurant on the show).    


Ingredients

- 1 x 6 oz can of crab meat, drained
- 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 tsp A1 Steak Sauce
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pkg wonton wrappers
- 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Combine crab meat, cream cheese, steak sauce, and garlic powder in a medium bowl and mix until fully combined. 

Place 1 tsp filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper, then pinch in all four corners. Repeat until all of your filling is gone (24 or so wontons).

Using a deep fryer, fry wontons until golden brown. 

For a lighter spin, rather than deep-frying, bake the wontons in preheated 425 oven for 5-7 minutes (being careful not to burn).

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Join us for a #‎MadMenBlogParty‬!


Cocktails





  • Gin Rickey from Bakeaholic Mama
  •    




  • Whiskey Sour from Pass the Sushi
  •    




  • Old Fashioned from Poet in the Pantry
  •    




  • Mad Men Manhattan with Mushroom Pate from Creative Culinary
  •    




  • Pink French 75 from Kelly Bakes
  •    




  • Sazerac Cocktail from Jelly Toast Blog
  •    




  • Classic Negroni from The Messy Baker
  •    




  • Gimlet from Yankee Kitchen Ninja

  • Appetizers






  • Vegan French Onion Dip from The Viet Vegan
  •    




  • Pimento Cheese & Crackers from The Noshery
  •    




  • Chicken Salad Sliders from The Lemon Bowl
  •    




  • Crab Rangoon from Cooking with Jax
  •    




  • Fried Green Olives Stuffed with Blue Cheese from Simply Healthy Family
  •    




  • Cheesy Asparagus Spirals from Comfortably Domestic
  •    




  • Easy cocktail meatballs The Realistic Nutritionist

  • Desserts

       




  • JELL-O Crown Jewel Dessert Cake from The Apron Archives
  •    




  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake from I am a Honeybee



  • Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Homemade Dinner Buns and Flavour of Home

    This post is sponsored by Knorr Canada. I received compensation in exchange for this post, though as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own, and I only work with brands I use in my own kitchen. 

    Do you ever get nostalgic when a certain food scent hits your nose?  If you do, you're not alone.

    "According to recent studies,  80% of Canadians are reminded of their childhood simply from the aroma of certain foods."* 

    For me, the smell of freshly baked buns always brings me back to much simpler times, when the only concerns I had were whether or not I would be able to sneak an extra cookie or two out of my Grandma's homemade cookie jar.  

    Me as a child, snacking on something delicious in Grandma's kitchen.
    When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my Grandmother.  Every Saturday my Mom had to work, so she would drop my brother and I off at her Mom's house and Grandma would teach me how to create something delicious. 

    My beautiful Grandma at Solomon Hill, a landmark in my hometown. 
    My favourite memories were of baking homemade buns from scratch - I'd drag the small wooden stool that Grandma kept underneath her piano up to the side of the counter so that I could soak in every ounce of knowledge she had to offer.  We'd get our hands messy with flour and share giggles and memories between just the two of us.  Eventually every single nook and cranny in her house would fill up with the smell of fresh baked buns.  My older brother would run into the kitchen and we'd fight over who got to sample the first delicious taste of a warm homemade bun, always with a golden yellow drizzle of the real butter she kept beneath the counter for special occasions.

    "Knorr believes in bringing flavour to people's lives."  

    The brand's new film 'Flavour of Home', captures this sentiment while celebrating the greatest flavour on earth, the taste of home. Be sure to grab a tissue, this video will really tug on your heartstrings!
       


    When I saw this video that Knorr created to explore the power of flavour, I was instantly reminded of cooking with both my Grandmothers.  Not surprisingly, they found that 71% of Canadians, favourite memories from childhood involve meals with family or friends.*
    What foods bring back the most childhood memories for you? 


    Ingredients
    - 1 tbsp yeast
    - 2 tbsp brown sugar
    - 1/2 cup warm water
    - 1/2 cup milk
    - 1 medium egg
    - 2 tbsp olive oil
    - pinch of sea salt
    - 3 cups all purpose flour
    - 1 tbsp butter, melted

    Directions

    In a large bowl (or the bowl for your stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar, and water and let sit until yeast has dissolved (about 5 minutes).  

    Meanwhile, combine milk, egg, oil, and salt and whisk until well blended.  

    Add liquid to yeast mixture, being sure to combine well.  

    Add flour, 1 cup at a time until dough is shaggy. 

    Kneed dough for 8-10 minutes (on low speed with the dough hook if you're using your mixer).  You'll know it's ready when it's smooth and springs back to the touch. 

    Let the dough rise in a warm spot (I like to use the "proof" setting on my oven), until doubled in size, or about an hour. 

    Once risen, punch the dough down and shape into 12 equal size balls. 

    Place on a greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover loosely with a clean dishtowel.  Let dough rise for another 30-40 minutes. 

    Bake in preheated, 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until buns are a deep golden brown. 

    Brush with melted butter immediately (this will give the buns a nice, soft crust). 

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    *On behalf of Knorr, Edelman Berland (an independent market research company) conducted online interviews with 7,144 adults aged 18 or older from 7 countries (Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, and South Africa). Fieldwork was conducted March 5-10, 2015 amongst a nationally representative sample of adults in each country. The margin of error for the total sample of adults (n=7,144) is ±1.16% at the 95% level of confidence.


    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Acorn Squash Ravioli w/ Brown Butter Sage & Toasted Pecan Sauce


     I had some leftover acorn squash in the fridge from making this recipe the other day and the urge to make homemade pasta.  One thing led to another and before anyone knew it, this was being served for dinner!  I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did! 

    Ingredients
    - 1 recipe for fresh pasta
    - 1/2 acorn squash (about 1 cup, mashed)
    - 4 tbsp real butter
    - 1/4 cup pecans
    - fresh sage
    - pepper to taste

    Directions

    Roll pasta according to directions.  

    Stuff ravioli's with mashed acorn squash (I like to use 1 tsp filling for small ravioli, and 1 tbsp filling for large ravioli) and cut using your favourite method.  I really like this ravioli stamp I found at Williams-Sonoma last year. 

    Boil pasta for 3-5 minutes, or until until ravioli floats to the surface of the water.  Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta, so be careful not to overcook.  Once pasta is finished, strain and add a small amount of butter or oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. 

    In a medium saucepan set to low heat, brown the butter for 5-7 minutes, or until it starts to brown.  This will add a wonderful nutty dimension to the sauce. 

    Add in fresh sage and pecans and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the pecans are lightly toasted.  

    Pour sauce over cooked ravioli.  Garnish with a dash of freshly ground pepper and a few sprigs of fresh sage. 


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    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Orange Coconut Bread


    Every month I write a recipe column for my local newspaper, The Hinton Voice.  Here is my column for March. 

    [Recently a friend of mine gave me a vintage cookbook that features historical recipes from Jasper.  In it I found a multitude of recipes for orange bread, including the recipe that inspired this one.  Once I delved into the book I discovered that orange bread in Jasper was fairly popular in the early to mid 1900’s, and is a proud Jasper tradition to this day.  Orange bread was served at a local teahouse in the area (the Mount Edith Cavell Chalet) and was a favorite of many notable guests such as King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Bing Crosby and Marilyn Monroe, not to mention the multitude of tourists that came to visit Jasper each year.  Many thought the secret to the light airiness of the bread was due to the high elevation.

    In addition to the rich historical origins, one of the things I love most about vintage recipes is their simplicity.  All of the recipes use only a handful of ingredients that are readily available in most kitchens, or are easy to find at a local grocery stores.  Best of all, the recipes boast no fancy equipment - a simple mixing bowl and a sturdy spoon and you’re good to go.  This recipe book in particular even mentions using teacups in place of cups for measurement, which in itself is incredibly telling of the era in which these recipes were cultivated.

    Whether you’re making this bread for a little bit of Jasper nostalgia, or simply for afternoon tea, be sure to make a double batch because once the smell of this sweet orange bread hits your kitchen, nothing but a plate filled with crumbs is soon to follow.

    The earliest version of orange bread that I could find was served at the Cavell Teahouse located in Jasper, Alberta in 1927 by Mrs. Slark (and later Anne Guild, who took over the teahouse until it closed in the 1970’s).  The bread was made in batches of 12 loaves at a time, several times a day to keep up with the flock of tourists after WWII!]

    Recipe makes 1 loaf

    Ingredients
    - 2 oranges
    - 1 cup sugar
    - 1 egg, beaten
    - 1 cup milk
    - 2 cups flour
    - 1 ½ tsp baking soda
    - 1 cup shredded coconut

    Directions

    Using an orange peeler, scrape the rinds of 2 oranges into a bowl.  Add sugar and let orange/sugar mixture sit for about an hour to allow the oils from the orange rinds to incorporate into the sugar.

    Place sugar in a medium saucepan, and cover with 2 cups cold water (hint - for an even stronger orange flavor, substitute some of the water with freshly squeezed juice from the oranges).  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until mixture becomes a marmalade type consistency.  Allow to cool.

    In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder.   Slowly stir into the marmalade mixture, alternating with egg and milk, being sure to start and end with flour.  Gently fold coconut into batter being sure not to over mix.

    Pour mixture into a buttered pan and let stand for 15 minutes.

    Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour.

    Serve with freshly sliced oranges, or a make a simple glaze using a few tablespoons orange juice and a cup or so of icing sugar.

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    Saturday, February 28, 2015

    Catching up with Big Sugar



    Catching up with Big Sugar

    {I sat down with Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar this week to chat food, the new album, and their upcoming show in my local stomping grounds of Jasper, Alberta}

    J: So let’s cut the chase, what’s the last thing you ate?

    G: We just had some meatballs from famosos (a pizza chain in Alberta) that we went to right before the show.  We needed something good to eat – so we ordered from famosos.  It’s a small little quaint pizza place with really great sauce.  Order me famosos and I’m good to go.

    J: The band has been touring across Canada this winter, any great local eateries along the way you’d like to tell us about?

    G: We are always on the lookout for good Ethopian food – we know a couple of cities in Canada that we like to go to - Lethbridge Alberta has a really great restaurant [Abyssinian Restaurant]   The restaurant smells like frankincense, they make popcorn, roast all their own coffee, amazing vegetarian food - it’s a whole experience really.

    J: What’s your favourite Canadian cuisine? 

    G: I like a good poutine, I haven’t had any in awhile!   I have a drummer from Texas with me, and we have to get him a good poutine, where do you recommend?

    J: L&W Restaurant (a local eatery) has the best poutine you’ll ever taste – their poutine’s are legendary.   Kids away at college come home and the first thing the do is grab one of their poutines.

    G: Any other great eateries we should know about while we're in Jasper?

    J: Well we have a Famoso's, since I know you like that - Jasper is really a great hub for unique eateries.  Café Mondo has the best mulligawtany of your life and since I know you take your coffee pretty seriously, Coco’s Café serves up a great cup.

    G: Oh ya, that will make me happy.

    J: So you’ve been playing in rural communities vs big cities for this album - tell us about that. 

    G: The vibes have been lovely everywhere we go – big cities, small towns – because it’s an acoustic presentation it lends itself nicely to any space.

    J: What made the band go in a more acoustical direction for this album?

    G: It’s almost like recreation for us.  It’s so much fun and so easy to do – to play the music acoustically.  It was something that was inspiring us and
    it got such a nice response that we booked a tour around it.  We really like doing this.

    J: What’s your favourite song on the new albumn?

    G: All of them – we only play the songs we love.

    J: What inspires you?

    G: I’ve written hundreds of songs, I haven’t narrowed it down to one thing.  We’re constantly scribbling in books, cataloguing little ideas as we go.

    J: Something that helps you get in the mood to write?

    Yes, yes, red wine – there’s lyrics in every bottle! 

    J: Any wine recommendations?

    G: We are really liking the 2010 Chianti Reserve right now – we are really liking those. You’ve got to have a good red wine for it to be a good show.

    J: Are there little pieces of home you like to bring while on tour?

    G: Once we get on stage, we are at home.

    J: Any great Gordie recipes you'd like to leave us with?

    G: Something I’ve been doing lately is experimenting with Jamaican food.  I learned how to make a fried egg with coconut oil – it’s almost like a deep-fried egg. You heat up coconut oil, it will get really hot really fast, and you break your egg gently in the oil – it just crusts perfectly round.  It looks just like an English muffin when it comes out.  It’s hard and crispy on the outside, with a little salt and pepper, and it’s nice and runny on the inside, it's really great. It’s such a simple thing, but that coconut oil gives it a certain fragrance and it’s really great. 

    See you at the show!

    Location: 
    401 Geike Street 
    Jasper, Alberta

    Showtime:  
    Sunday, March 1st @ 8:00pm

    Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca

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    Sunday, February 15, 2015

    Bonhomme Carnaval: Traditional Maple Sugar Candy




    Every year, my hometown has a "Bonhomme Carnaval"event at our local ski hill. This event is a celebration of French Canadian culture with traditional activities like this maple sugaring off on snow, cross country skiing, Norwegian sledding, RCMP in serge, and a bonhomme mascot.  This year the event was hosted by the graduating class of 2015 - with all proceeds going towards their prom.  The students were hard at work all day with the sugaring off, selling cans of maple syrup, and serving up traditional french tourtiere (meat pies), sugar pies, split pea soup, and baked beans.  It was a truly French Canadian experience, and everything was authentic and delicious!  

    First they started by levelling off the snow: 


    Here they have pure Canadian maple syrup bubbling on the stove (at 113 degrees Celsius to be exact!): 


    A ladle of this is about to be turned into something quite delicious... 


    The ladle full of bubbling hot maple syrup is poured onto the snow: 


    You're given a wide popsicle stick, which you adhere to the maple syrup immediately.  As it starts to cool, you slowly start to wrap the maple syrup around the popsicle stick until finally...


    You have a stick of ooey, gooey, maple deliciousness. 


    Today was a good day.

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