Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Roasted Chestnuts

Our first official snowfall of the year has came and gone - only to come again with full force!  As a result Christmas music has been dancing in my head.  On our way home from a recent trip to the city, we stopped to pick up groceries along the way and I saw a bin of fresh chestnuts.  Immediately I thought of the infamous line about chestnuts roasting on an open fire from "The Christmas Song" so I couldn't resist buying them. Since (much to my dismay!) we don't have a fireplace at home, and it's well past campfire season - I opted for oven roasting instead. 
I was surprised by the final taste - I was expecting a harder nut with a nuttier taste.  Chestnuts are quite soft (especially once roasted), and the taste is pretty mild. Marc and I both thought they tasted similar to mashed potatoes!  I'm going to try them again later in the week, only this as apart of squash soup!  
Ingredients
- fresh chestnuts, any quantity
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
With a sharp knife, cut an "x" in the centre of the chestnut, round side up.  As the chestnuts roast, the shell will curl away enabling easier peeling. 
Roast chestnuts on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes until lightly browned.
 
Peel the shells away while the chestnuts are still warm.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a true Canadian classic with the first recorded recipe dating back to the early 1900's.  I love classic recipes like these that have been able to stand the test of time.  It's so awesome to envision people making this same dessert back in the day.  Like most older recipes, this one is simple, and calls for ingredients that most people will already find in their kitchens.

Butter tarts are such a great dessert to serve during the upcoming holidays. The sweet, flaky crust, paired with the creamy, buttery filling creates an incredible flavour combination.  Not only can these be made in advance, they also freeze quite well so they make an ideal dessert to make for get togethers.  
For Pastry
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled
- 3 tbsp ice cold water
For Filling
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/2 cup raisins or chopped nuts (optional)
Directions
Place flour, sugar, and butter into a food processor and blend until combined.  Slowly add water and blend until a dough forms.  Place dough on a floured surface and shape the dough into a disk.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to relax the gluten in the dough. 
Once chilled, roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut 12 x 4 inch circles (I used a large mug as my cutter).  Place the dough ontop of the pie tin and lightly press down to create a cup.  Cover and chill cups for additional hour. 
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
Meanwhile, in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment wisk together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Mix in vanilla extract.  Add cream and whip until combined. 
Line the bottom of each pastry cup with raisins or nuts.  Divide filling amongst cups. 
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or so until the filling has bubbled out and is set. 
Let tarts cool completely before removing from the muffin tin.
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sell a Mo & help a bro.


An old friend of mine (above) recently opened up her own bakery in Qualicum Beach called "Mo's Mini's".  If you are in the area I highly recommend that you check her bakery out!  She makes some amazing miniature sized treats.

She is doing an awesome fundraiser for "Movember" and I thought I would share it with you all! 


Check out her Facebook page to see some of her delicious treats and photos of people sporting their very own Mo's like the adorable ladies below: 

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Butter

This recipe appeared in Thursday's Edition of The Hinton Voice.
  [Fall is officially here!  It’s my absolute favorite time of year.  The beautiful scenery, the crisp, fragrant air, the crunching of leaves as you walk on the sidewalk... and who doesn’t love the delicious fall treats that are only available this time of year?  I for one have been counting down the days until my favorite coffee shops come out with their fall menus.  It’s also harvest time, which means there’s lots of great local produce available.  I managed to acquire a 20 lb. box of apples recently, so with it I made a few batches of apple butter. 


So what is apple butter you ask? Apple butter is essentially a deeply concentrated form of applesauce that is the thickness of butter.  It can be spread on toast or pancakes, stirred into oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies, used in baking, or my personal favorite, eaten directly off a spoon.  A mere pint is packed with the nutrients from 12 apples, so you don’t have to feel guilty eating it straight from the jar - because trust me, this will happen.  The apples are cooked down slowly, for several hours until all of the sugar from the apples caramelizes into a spread that holds one of the deepest apple flavors you will ever find.

Assembling the ingredients is the easy part – the hard part is the wait!  It takes 12-16 hours to make apple butter, but thankfully a slow cooker can do most of the work. From hour 2-16 your house is going to smell better than an entire day of baking. I made this overnight once and when I woke up, my whole house smelled so amazing; no amount of candles, scent bars, or air fresheners could ever replicate it. 

So there you have it - a wholesome, tasty treat packed full of flavor. It tastes like pie in a jar, and reminds me of this wonderful season more than any other food.  I hope you enjoy this delicious fall treat as much as I do!]

Ingredients
- 1 dozen apples, any variety
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup filtered water
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice

Directions

Peel, core, and dice apples, then place them in a slow cooker.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.   Place the lid on the slow cooker, but prop it open slightly to allow moisture to escape (I prop the handle of a wooden spoon between the lid and the base). Set slow cooker on low and cook for 12-16 hours, until apples have reduced significantly and turn a deep caramel color.

Remove apple mixture from slow cooker and place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.   The apple butter is now ready if you plan on storing it in the fridge.  Apple butter will keep quite well in a fashion similar to jam.  

If you are planning on canning, return the apple butter to your slow cooker and bring it back to a boil.  Place the apple butter in hot, sterilized mason jars being careful to not spill any on the edges.  If you do spill some on the edges, be sure to clean the rim with a damp cloth, then dry it afterwards as even a small spill could ruin the seal.  Place a new seal on the jar and screw on the rim.  Place jars in a boiling water bath or pressure canner for approx. 10 minutes.   Once the jars have cooled, press down on the top of the seal to ensure that the jar has sealed properly.  Place any jars that didn’t seal directly into the fridge.

Recipe makes just over a pint (2 cups).

- Nutritional Info (1 tbsp) -

Calories - 41   Fat - 0    Carbs – 11     Protein - 0   Fibre – 2
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