A Spoon Full of Lovin'

One Scoop of Love at a Time

Pasta a la meg: Meatballs and Kale — November 23, 2011

Pasta a la meg: Meatballs and Kale

I have a secret (obsession): It’s tall, handsome, and it’s the secret ingredient to make a dish which will bring you to your knees. Any guesses? Why yes…yes it is Mr.Jamie Oliver. I love this man. His food revolution, the fact that all of his recipes include some delicious herb and he does happen to have that British accent that we all love and adore…. aha okay Moving On!

So in case you haven’t yet checked it out, Jamie’s website is great for those dinner favorites. There are so many different varieties and ways of cooking vegetables, meat or anything your heart desires. And it’s okay if, when you check out this link and then start to cook one of his wonderful creations, you picture him the whole time..it’s totally normal and secretly everyone does it (aha we just don’t admit this to anyone).

I have been craving spaghetti and meatballs lately..I mean those meatballs that melt in your mouth with the perfect amount of herbs and fresh tomato taste. Naturally, I browsed Jamie’s website. I was on a quest to find a meatball recipe that used rosemary and basil, and I wasn’t about to give up. I found a perfect one, though i added some more herbs and used whole wheat bread to make some homemade bread crumbs http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/meatballs-pasta. They turned out absolutely delicious and were easy to make. I don’t have a lot of experience making good homemade meat dishes, so I can assure you that anyone can make this dish.

 

 

Homemade Meatballs

4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary (chopped finely)

2 Sprigs of fresh thyme (chopped finely)

2 Basil leaves (finely chopped)

1/2 Tbl oregano

450 g of Fresh Free-Range Beef

2 Tsp Dijon mustard

1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread (finely chopped in a food processor)

1 Egg

Sea Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

 

Slowly coat a pan with Olive oil. Adjust the heat to 3 (just below medium). When you hear that slight sizzle of oil, add your meatballs and make sure to spread them out. Within a few minutes, they should already be cooked quite well on one side. Continue to flip them over, cooking all the outer edges. Continue to flip every minute or so for about 8 minutes, until the outside is golden brown. I poked a knife through the centre of each meatball at this point and allowed them to cook for about another minute, ensuring there were no raw bits left in the centre.

Remove from the heat and add directly to your spaghetti sauce! I don’t know about anyone else but I always get this horrible, puff out my stomach feeling after indulging in such delicious pasta. So, I have come up with a wonderful creation! On a large plate, you put half the pasta noodles you would usually put, and then on top of that you put some fried up kale. You add your main pasta sauce with the meatballs and voila.

Grab your wine, and slowly sip your way through the rest of your night.

 

 

Want a Slice of Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie? — November 15, 2011

Want a Slice of Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie?

You know those Saturday nights when you know you should be getting your butt off of the couch, dressing up in your best heels or rockin’ boots and strutting your stuff all the way down to pub for some good tunes and delicious brew. Well last Saturday was not one of those nights. I willed myself to go out,  I really did but in the end it just felt so darn good to have a night in with a few of my favourite people, drinks some  wine, listen to chill music and make a cheesecake… a Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie to be exact. Best decision ever! There is really nothing I love more than relaxing with friends, eating good food and chatting the night away. I found this recipe on Joy the Baker’s Blog last week and just couldn’t not make it (http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/11/salted-caramel-cheesecake-pie/ ). I was a little weary because I have never made a cheesecake before but I felt a little less intimidated because it was also technically a pie. This delicious treat is really the best of both worlds and with the caramel drizzled on top it is definitely drool worthy. So with the much appreciated help of my wonderful friends Rhian and Kyal the cheesecake pie came to life and made for a delectable treat at the end of a busy day.

Ps. I am not going to lie. I got too excited about making this cheesecake pie and did not read all the way down to the bottom of the recipe to discover that the caramel topping had to sit in the fridge overnight before spread it onto the cheesecake pie. So we instead ate our pieces that night with butter sautéed apples on top and then went for seconds the next day with the caramel topping. Both were equally delicious, so if you are not the biggest caramel fan try out a fruit topping… any fruit would do!

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie

This recipe makes one 9-inch pie

For the Crust:

2 cups ginger snap cookie crumbs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 stick salted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

1 pound (2 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used unwhipped -whipping cream)

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional but you should just go for it- it is delish)

For the Caramel:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place two rack in the upper and bottom third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  You will need a 9-inch pie plate and a 9×13-inch pan for boiling water.

To make the crust, place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and grind to a fine crumb. Mix together with butter and brown sugar until you have made sure that all the ginger snap crumbs are moistened.  Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and press with fingers until sides and bottom are evenly coated with crust.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheesecake filling.  The reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Boil a kettle full of water because you are going to need to add hot water to the 9×13-inch pan to place under the baking cheesecake.

To make the cheesecake filling:  In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy… I justified eating way too much of this cheesecake pie by the arm workout I got from this.  Beat in salt and vanilla extract and then eggs –one at a time-.  Once creamy and smooth, beat in the cream. Add lemon zest because it tastes so darn good.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the prepared cheesecake crust.

Place 9×13-inch pan in the bottom shelf of the hot oven.  Carefully pour in hot water, and fill to 1/2 full.  Push into oven… carefully!

Place cheesecake on the upper oven shelf.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until cheesecake is browned and puffed.  When cheesecake is all nice and browned  prop open the oven and let cheesecake rest for another 20 minutes in the cooling oven.  Remove from the oven and cool completely, for at least 4 hours. We clearly did not follow this step because we started to eat it before getting to this part of the recipe. Oops!

While the cheesecake cools, make the caramel so it can cool as well. As I have states previously the cheesecake had barely cooled down before we dug into it. And I must say it was just as good as when I ate the fully cooled piece the next day.

To make the caramel, add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice.  Bring to a boil and allow to brown.  Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add heavy cream and butter.  Mixture will boil and foam.  Stir well.  Add salt and stir well to incorporate. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to cool in the fridge overnight.

Pour the cooled caramel over the cooled cheesecake, return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt then slice and serve. I definitely did not follow this last step but what can ya do?! In the future I promise to have more self control and post pictures of the full cake decked out in caramel just to prove it.

Hope you are having a Happy Tuesday!

-L

Autumn Apple Crumble Muffins — November 14, 2011

Autumn Apple Crumble Muffins

Every Saturday, I merrily take an early morning stroll along the quaint streets of Halifax, chatting sleepily with my friends and enjoying the early morning air. I love Saturday mornings. The joyful feeling of waking up to newly formed frost on my window, as the sun shines through and I lie curled up in the abundance of quilts that I have layered upon my bed. I smile to myself as I fall out of bed and slowly find the thickest wool socks and scarf that I can find to keep me warm on the way to the market.

I love the market. All different sorts of people, milling about, chatting with one another as quirky and eco-conscious children run around, eating their cinnamon buns and laughing. The market brings everyone together, people of all different shapes and sizes, tastes and preferences.

November in Halifax is the perfect line between autumn and winter. Food wise, this means that our household get’s in the “ooey gooey” mood. We begin to crave deeply roasted, baked and toasted dishes which will warm our bodies. Passing by a sign this past weekend at the market that said “buy one bag of mcintosh apples, get the second free”, my mind began to wonder about melting brown sugar, butter and apples all together. Then came the craving for crumble. That’s right folks..I got the crumble crave.

These last few Sundays, our friend sara has joined us for an evening of baking and tea/wine (depending on the day we have had hmm?). Sharing my desire for crumbly muffins, we all began to smooth butter and brown sugar together. Slowly our kitchen filled with that warm smell of cinnamon spice, as it melted with the buttery crumble, creating a sort of muffin perfection. Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (http://traceysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2009/10/whole-wheat-apple-muffins.html) our low sugar version created the perfect sweet and spicy muffin. So go ahead, add some spice to your life one of these November mornings!

Whole Wheat Apple Crumble Muffins

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 Tbl Cinnamon

1/2 cup Salted Butter, room temperature

6 Tbl Splenda Brown Sugar

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk

3 Mcintosh apples (peeled and thrown into the food processor)

Crumble topping

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat the Oven to 450 F and butter your muffin pan.

Place the flour, baking power, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in your egg and milk. Whisk together until there are no ‘chunks’. Add this wet mixture to your large bowl of dry ingredients. Add the apples that have been processed.

In a small, separate bowl, begin creaming together all the ingredients for the crumble. Make sure to press down lightly with a fork, but do not do this for too long as the butter will turn too creamy. Keep it nice and crumbly.

Place mixture in your muffin pan. Sprinkle as much crumble as desired on top of each muffin. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 400 F and continue baking for another 8 minutes. This recipe made 16 medium sized, deliciously moist muffins. I recommend this recipe to anyone who has the crumble crave..you will not regret making these muffins for an instant.

As you wait in anticipation for a taste of that warm, buttery muffin, brew some pumpkin spiced tea and chat anxiously with anyone who will listen… it’s painful but the time does slowly pass. Enjoy fresh out of the oven, with butter and the rest of your tea.

Feeling Healthy? —

Feeling Healthy?

 People when talking about being health always seem to throw that cliché saying out there: “You are what you eat.” I have eaten far too many cupcakes in my lifetime and I have not yet turn into one, although here’s to hoping I will! Not joking, if I were a food item I would want to be a cupcake. Not the ones with the icky fake icing on them but the ones that have the real butter cream icing. I would also request that I have turquoise icing, yellow sprinkles and a cherry on-top. Would that be too much to ask for? Anyways getting back to my point, this week I made a delicious Apple Pomegranate Brussels Sprout Salads to balance out all those cupcakes I have eaten throughout my 22 years of life. That’s right, I believe that one big luscious salad can counter all those cupcakes. I stumbled across the recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog and had to make it (Check it out! http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/11/apple-pomegranate-brussels-sprout-salad/). I substituted pecans for almonds and dressed it with a delicious maple balsamic glaze. So simple, so delicious and way to healthy.

 

Apple Pomegranate Brussels Sprout Salad

makes 4 small or 2 large portions

about 1 pound of Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

1 small fennel bulb, sliced thick or thin depending on how you like it

1 apple of any kind, sliced thin

handful of pecans

a little bit of  pepper if you would like

Rinse brussels sprouts and place on a cutting board horizontally, and slice thinny. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Wearing an apron (don’t forget to put it on… you will regret it if you do) deseed pomegranate and gather about 1/2 cup of seeds (usually the whole thing).  Add to the brussels sprout bowl. Add thinly sliced fennel and apple, as well as the slivered pecans.  Toss together and there you have it! Oh and don’t forget the dressing! If you aren’t a big balsamic fan:  a) I think you are a little crazy and b) Use lemon juice instead to dress it.

Now go, frolic and be healthy!

-L

 

 

Breakfast for Dinner..om nom nom — November 13, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner..om nom nom

Oh November long weekends, how I love you! Inspired by the falling autumn leaves and lazy mornings in bed, Lexi and I decided that there was no better weekend to make some delicious breakfast dishes..and what better time than dinner time to do so! This way, we could flip our pancakes with a mimosa in hand and no need to reassure ourselves that it must be noon somewhere…

While lazing about in the kitchen and browsing food blog after food blog, we came upon the most magnificent recipe I have ever had the joy of discovering. Honestly, when I was a kid, I made a whole website dedicated to chocolate chip pancakes. I used to have friends over just so that I could make the most delicious and thickest chocolate chip pancakes, slowly perfecting my skills as I moved from elementary shapes to making pancakes in the shapes of flowers and animals. But I was so busy focusing on my horrible pancake shape figures that I forgot to experiment with some of my key ingredients! What about cinnamon? Cream instead of milk? So many possibilities!

Well after this weekend, I have decided that my new, number one goal of all time, is to make the perfect whole wheat buttermilk chocolate chip pancake. Using my basic recipe that I have used for these last few months every time I make pancakes (honestly, i have tried so many whole wheat pancake recipes..and this is one of the best by far). Usually baking with whole wheat, you either end up with a baked good that is so hard, it would probably injure someone if you hit them with it. Or, there is absolutely no taste. Well, I have finally found some whole wheat joy.

Taken from the blog The Spiced Life (http://thespicedlife.com/2009/04/100-whole-wheat-pancakes.html), this whole wheat pancake recipe is sure to make everyone around you smile to themselves, as they can barely keep in their excitement when they scream for more maple syrup.  We adapted it slightly, by added one strip of cooked bacon to the middle of the pancake, and adding in chocolate chips all around it. The combination of sweet and salty was ohh soooo good. Served with a side of fried cinnamon and sugar apples topped with maple infused whipped cream, this breakfast brought back that sweetness to my belly.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Bacon pancakes 

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp salt

3 Tbl Brown Sugar

2 Large eggs

2 cups Cream

4 Tbl butter

Chocolate Chips

6 strips of bacon (one per pancake)

Serving size: about 6 medium sized fluffy pancakes

In a pan, fry the strips of bacon and set aside when done.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter and cream. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until all the clumps are gone.

Turn the heat on medium and butter your pan. Make long, thick pancake and add a strip of bacon in the middle of every pancake. All around the bacon strip, add as many chocolate chips as you want. Flip over and keep cookin good lookin 😉

 

Fried Buttered Apples with Brown Sugar and Pecans

2 Apples (peeled and cut in half slices)

2 Tbl Brown Sugar

1-2 Tbl Pecans

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbl butter

In a pan, set on low heat, slowly melt the butter. Add in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and then place the apple slices over top. Sprinkle cinnamon,nutmeg and the rest of the brown sugar on top of the apple slices. Add in the pecans. Remaining on low heat, slowly sizzle those apples, turning them over every few minutes.

You can adjust the spices and measurements to your preferences. You want to take the apples off when the pecans are sufficiently buttered and the apples are soft, just at the point before they turn to mush.

 

To satisfy your appetite, serve with extra butter, maple syrup and mimosas. Enjoy alongside some of your bestest of hungry friends and candlelight.

 

Morning Sunshine! Today on the Menu: Wake-up Cocoa Muffins with Lavendar Citrus Glaze — November 5, 2011

Morning Sunshine! Today on the Menu: Wake-up Cocoa Muffins with Lavendar Citrus Glaze

Good Morning! I made us a treat! I know that I promised you abundance of pumpkin goodies but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to get into the pumpkin groove with my baking this week. Alas I present you with Cocoa Wake-Up Muffins with a Lavender Citrus Glaze. Perhaps I just can’t let go of the fresh flavours of summer but either way I was excited to give baking with lavender a whirl.  I am currently addicted to looking at the vast array of baked goodies and breads on BGSK’s Blog.  The other night as I was all tucked in bed browsing bread recipes on BGSK I stumbled upon their Wake-Up Cocoa Quickbread (Check it out! http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2009/05/wake-up-cocoa-quickbread.html ). What could be better than cocoa, coffee and carbs all rolled into one big delicious doughy bread heaven right!? I know, I know! Making a dozen doughy little heavens…well actually two baker’s dozen to be exact. I adapted BGSK’s recipe slightly because I believe that no one can really have enough cinnamon and instead of putting the mix in a bread pan I decided that muffins would be much more fun and portable for those long days away from the house when you need a little delicious pick-me-up. If you are eating them at home with no worries of packaging them, then spruce ‘em up with a little dabble of Lavender Citrus Glaze.

Wake-up Cocoa Muffins
Makes 2 Bakers Dozen

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg

1/2 strong brewed coffee
1 cups whole milk (you can also use 1% or 2%)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pan and set it aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the butter with the sugar and cooled brewed coffee. Add the egg, beating to distribute evenly, then pour in the milk.

Then pour mix into each muffin mould until almost full. Place muffin pan in oven on middle rack and bake for 20-25 minutes. Pry those little babies out of there by running a well greased knife around the side of each muffin and gently tilt them out with the side of the knife. Repeat until all mix is used. You should have 24 muffins in the end.  Make sure to let them cool all the way through before putting the glaze on.

 Lavender Citrus Glaze is the perfect little add on to these tasty little snacks. I adapted the recipe from Andrea Meyer’s Blog: http://andreasrecipes.com/2007/09/29/applesauce-cake-with-citrus-lavender-glaze/.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon lavender buds

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

3 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cup powdered sugar

While muffins are cooling throw lavender buds, lemon and orange juice into small pan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Then mix strain mixture and blend together in small bowl with powdered sugar. Mix together until smooth and voila! You have yourself a delicious glaze to dribble over each muffin.

Dabble teaspoon of glaze onto the top of each muffin and garnish with a couple lavender buds to add some pretty factor.

Eat and Enjoy!

-L