Saturday, 25 January 2014

Chef Love-In #2 : Ina Garten -The Barefoot Contessa / Apple Crisp

I'm a BIG fan of Ina Garten. Best selling cookbook author, and star of the Food Network's The Barefoot Contessa. Ina lives a pretty spectacular life in East Hampton, New York with her husband Jeffrey. She once owned a specialty food shop in the Hamptons and then moved on to books and her own tv show.  What I like most about her books/show is that she shares her stylish recipe ideas with great energy and a sense of fun. Her passion for food and for creating special meals for family and friends shines through. Her recipes are foolproof, unique and delicious and I adore her!!! I have 5 of her 8 sister has the other 3!!! :) Check out the Barefoot Contessa here.

The Barefoot Contessa's Apple Crisp (adapted)

This apple crisp is SPECTACULAR!! When I made it, my husband said...'keep this in your regular repertoire!!!'...You will LOVE this!!! It is one of the best I have ever had...and that is saying a LOT!!!

5 lbs of Macintosh apples
Grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the crisp topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9 x 14 x 2-inch baking dish. Peel,and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and cinnamon. Pour into the dish.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas (this can also be done by hand, but it's a little more work). Scatter evenly over the apples.
Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm. 
Wedges of apples waiting to be topped with the crisp mixture...
The topping...Sugar and there anything better???
After an hour in the oven, bubbling and brown and SO SO Good!!!
Happy Weekend! Make some apple crisp!!! You'll be VERY happy you did!
As Ina would say... "How easy was that?"....

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Birthday Dinner - Part 2 Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Icing.

The Best Carrot Cake....adapted from Canadian Living

Bake one today, for someone you love....

Cream Cheese Icing - Adapted from Canadian Living

8oz cream cheese
1/4 cup of softened butter
2 tsp of vanilla
1- 1/2 cups of icing sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
Whip this together in the stand mixer or beat by hand until light and creamy. Frost once cake has cooled and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Happiest of Birthdays Mr. McComb!....xo

Friday, 17 January 2014

A Birthday Dinner - Part 1: Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Icing

My husband celebrated his 48th Birthday on Thursday.
We are having some dear old friends over for dinner on Saturday night and I am making an Italian Feast.

I am chilling out this afternoon with the CBC, the dog, a cup of chai tea and the wonderful task of making CARROT CAKE for my's his favourite.
The recipe for this Carrot Cake is adapted from Canadian Living Magazine. It's an oldie, but a goodie and it's tried and true.
The Carrot Cake comes out moist and not overly spicy. The icing, made with cream cheese and icing sugar is yummy, and not too sweet.
Two secrets to this cake....1) Finely grate the carrot, and 2) the key ingredient in the cake is...crushed pineapple! Brilliant!


CARROT CAKE RECIPE - Adapted from Canadian Living
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder\
1tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup drained canned crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two round cake pans; set aside. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a stand mixer bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugars until smooth; pour over the dry mixture and mix until just blended. add in carrots, pineapple and walnuts. Divide into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 mins. until done. 
House smells so good...and Drake is in full relax mode...Time for a walk!
Happy Friday!
Will ice this cake tomorrow...check back in!





Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year! Split Pea Soup

May 2014 be your best year yet!
I've missed my blog.
We've been away....3 glorious weeks of holidays and now it's back to business, back to school, back to regular life, eating well and exercise and yoga!!! Hope your holidays were joyful, restful and spent surrounded by friends and family.

How cold is this winter???
It's so ICY and SUPER COLD OUTSIDE (seems like all the time)!
So Today......
A crowd-pleasing, soul-warming Split Pea Soup.

I started with these ingredients:
2 medium onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbl of olive oil
3/4 tbl of dried oregano
3 carrots, diced
1 small potato, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
8 cups of chicken stock *
750g bag of dried mixed legumes or dried split peas **
( OPTIONAL: I also had a ham bone  that I had frozen from Christmas Eve dinner which I added to the soup) 
*  When I need chicken stock in a pinch, and don't have time to make it (yes, homemade chicken stock IS the very best, and truthfully, I don't make it very often!!) I use BETTER THAN BOUILLON....Fabulous!!!
** The dried mixed legumes I used was SURAJ brand.
Combined mixture of lentils, green split peas and yellow split peas.

 Method: In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until onions are softened. Add in the diced sweet and white potatoes, and oregano. After several minutes, add the mixed legumes and then pour in your stock. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes making sure to stir often to make sure soup is not sticking on the bottom. Again, if you have a smoked ham hock or ham bone, then add it in for additional smoky flavour.
The soup will simmer-up lovely and thick. ENJOY!!! and STAY WARM!