Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Scones


Being as how I posted a recipe for "Pumpkin Pie Spice" last week, it would be irresponsible on my part not to post a followup  pumpkin recipe!  I've made this recipe a few times so far this fall, and they remind me of the pumpkin scones that you find at Starbucks.  A few weeks ago I made them for co-workers (pictured above) and they were gone very quickly!  The great part about scones is that you can easily make the dough the night before and then pop them into the oven in the morning.  I am thinking of trying this recipe as "mini scones" sometime in the near future! 
Ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp cold butter
- 1/3 cup mashed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cream

Vanilla Bean Icing
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, scraped
- 2 tsp cream

Pumpkin Spice Icing
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 tsp cream
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Directions 
In a food processor combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt.  Add butter and process until combined.  In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, brown sugar and cream.  Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Place dough on floured surface and work with hands to form ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to relax the gluten.
Place dough on floured surface and form a disk, about 8 inches or so across. Cut dough into eight wedges (pizza style) and place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated, 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until scones are lightly browned. 
Let completely cool before frosting. 
For Icing Drizzle: 

Combine ingredients for each icing separately and place them each into a small sandwich bag (hint - place the sandwich bag in a cup to make it easier to fill). 
Cut a small tip off the bag that contains the vanilla bean icing and drizzle over the scones in a zigzag pattern.  Repeat with pumpkin spice icing. 
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Photo by Marc Delisle

Happy Fall Everybody! 
 
If you've been following along on my Facebook page lately, then you know how obsessed I am with fall.  The beautiful fall scenery, the crisp autumn air, and the crunchy leaves beneath your shoes... and who doesn't love the pumpkin treats that start showing up in everywhere? As far as I'm concerned, pumpkin flavoured everything is completely acceptable around this time of year (oh who am I kidding, it's completely acceptable any time of the year). 
 
I've been baking up a storm this month and working hard at preparing recipes to share with you all.  Something consistent in nearly everything I have been baking lately is pumpkin pie spice. 
 
One of the greatest spice combinations of all time (in my opinion anyway), this spice is easy enough to mix up at home.  Not only is it great in fall baking, but it's also wonderful mixed in with coffee, sprinkled on apple slices, or stirred into oatmeal or plain yogurt.  
 
 While you'll find several variations on the true way to make pumpkin pie spice, the following spices are consistent in every recipe.  The measurements are fun to experiment with, and below is my favourite combination.   This recipe makes just under 1/2 cup. 
 
Ingredients
- 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves 
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp cardamon 
Directions
 
Combine spices and store in an airtight container.  Best if used within 2 years.
 
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Honey Oat Bread w/ Chia Seeds

A couple of years ago while we were visiting my Grandparents, my Grampa gave me a bread maker that a friend of his was selling at their garage sale.  It's the exact same bread maker that my Gramma uses to make all of her her bread dough - I really love that we use the exact same one. 
 
Even though Grampa warned me that making the bread entirely with the bread maker would result in something closer to a cinder block than a loaf of bread,  I of course had to try it myself to see what it would be like.  He of course was right, and that entire loaf of bread ended up in the garbage.  Ever since then I have stuck to the "dough only" setting for all of my bread making needs.  I have even recently used my bread maker to make the dough for homemade donuts, but that's another recipe for another day! 
 
 So, what are Chia seeds you ask?  Other than being a 90's phenomenon (who can forget chia pets?) the seeds are also great for your digestive system!  They are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.  1 ounce (28 g) of seeds contains 4 g of protein (9% of the daily value) and 11 g of fibre (42% of the daily value - that's a lot of fibre!).  The seeds contain the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium, and sodium in amounts that are comparable to flax.  
I discovered Chia seeds this year when I first tried Holy Crap Breakfast Cereal.  I loved the health benefits so much, I've incorporated it into a lot of my favourite foods (yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, even stir fry -  the possibilities are endless!).   A friend recently asked me if I had a recipe for chia bread, and since I didn't, I decided to come up with one.  I used as many wholesome ingredients as I could for a healthy bread I could feel good about eating. 
This bread is really nice for sandwiches - it's my favourite when paired with turkey & swiss cheese! 
Ingredients
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp butter (plus 2 tbsp more for buttering the dough)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup white flour
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 tsp quick rise (or bread maker) yeast
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup chia seed
Directions
Place ingredients in your bread maker in the order that they appear on the list.  Set your bread maker to the "dough only" setting.  
When the dough is ready, punch it down slightly to remove the air, form it into a loaf shape and place into a buttered bread pan.  Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush onto the surface of the dough.  Lightly drape with a clean dish cloth and set your oven to "proof" (if your oven doesn't have a proof feature, just place the dough in a warm spot in your kitchen).  Let rise about 30 minutes (45 if you aren't using your oven) until dough has doubled in size. 
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. 
Melt remaining 1 tbsp of butter and brush over the top of the crust immediately after removing it from the oven.  This will ensure a nice, soft, buttery crust.  If you prefer a crustier bread, skip this last step. 
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Chicken



It's here!  The much anticipated recipe for "Sweet & Spicy Chicken".  I posted the above picture the same night that I first made the dish and many of you begged me to post the recipe as soon as I could... so here it is!  I also shared this recipe in  the September 6th edition of The Hinton Voice.

[Every time we go out for take-out, I find myself migrating towards the chicken dishes. Honey garlic chicken, sweet Thai chili, and sesame chicken are all re-occurring favorites.  Other than being delicious, they all have a common theme – crispy breading, and great sauce.   

For this recipe I started with a basic breading, which consists of flour and egg.  While this will get the job done, it can end up tasting pretty bland - even KFC’s chicken has 11 herbs and spices after all.  For this particular dish I chose spices that work well with the accompanying sauce, but feel free to experiment with your favorite combination of spices instead.  As long as you stick with the basic breading concept, you really can’t go wrong.

The same leniency applies to sauces as well. When I first set out to make this dish, I wasn’t sure where I would end up with the sauce… I had visions of honey garlic, sweet Thai chili, sesame, and even ginger sauces all dancing around in my head.  While each of them individually would go really well with this chicken, what ended up on our plates that night was a combination of all of the above.  This sauce has become a fast favorite in our house, creating a perfect marriage of both sweet and spicy.

Whichever spices and sauces you decide to make this recipe with is completely up to you.  All I know is, I may never need to buy take-out chicken again.]

Ingredients
- 2-3 medium chicken breasts
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup water
- olive oil (for frying)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 green onion

For sauce
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed (or minced)
- 1 ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup honey
- ¼ cup soya sauce

Directions

Combine flour and spices in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and water.   Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.  Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, then into flour.  When all pieces are coated, dip them again into the egg mixture, and then into the flour.  This creates a nice thick crunchy crust on the chicken.

In a medium saucepan, heat approximately ½ inch olive oil over medium heat. Fry chicken in few batches, being careful not to overcrowd the chicken. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, until crust is nicely browned. 

For sauce

Combine the oils in a saucepan set to medium heat.  Once oil is heated, lightly sauté garlic, ginger and chili pepper flakes.  Add honey and soya sauce and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Cook sauce for additional 5-7 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and toss with chicken.  

Top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions.  Great served over a bed of steam fried noodles or rice.

- Nutritional Info (1/4 recipe) -

Calories - 520   Fat - 18    Carbs – 65     Protein - 15   Fibre – 2


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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Green Onion Corn Muffins

 
I'm a huge fan of corn muffins... every time we eat at Joey's Only (a popular seafood chain in Canada) I always order a corn muffin with my meal and save it until the very end of to eat as dessert.   
The great thing about this recipe is that it's easily customizable.  I had some green onions from the garden left over in my fridge that needed to be used up, and they went really well with the muffin!  Next time I think I might even try adding a fresh cob of corn to the batter... or perhaps even some jalapeños?  
Ingredients
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp liquid honey
Directions
Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Thinly slice green onions and toss with dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and liquid honey.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 
Pour batter into 12 pre-greased muffin cups.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.
Great served with chili or chowder, or even on their own with a dab of butter. 
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