Monday, 31 October 2011

Marble Streusel Muffins

Welcome to the first installment in Baker Street's Muffin Monday holiday series! I suppose this just means the muffins get more and more decadent from this point onward? An excellent start, then, with this Marble Streusel Muffin.

This week's recipe looked perfect just how it was. I didn't want to change anything. A batter made of two parts chocolate, one part cream cheese, all swirled together and then topped with a chocolate chip streusel? This  muffin sounded like a treat for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.

I really wanted to know what they tasted like, especially after learning that cream cheese was getting involved.  [Heavens part. Enter heavenly choir.]


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Pumpkin Flans with Chèvre & Walnuts

The internet has been flooded with pumpkin-themed recipes as of late, whether to use up leftover pumpkin from Canadian Thanksgiving, in preparation for American Thanksgiving, to welcome autumn, or in anticipation of Halloween. Whatever the reason, I have welcomed this flood with open arms and an open mind.

I've had an oversized can of pumpkin in my cupboard for weeks. I had intended to use it over Thanksgiving a few weeks back, but when that fine pumpkin pie swung into town courtesy of my mother, my tin of pumpkin got pushed to the back of the pantry.

Hidden it may have been, but certainly not forgotten. I eyed that can, day after day, foraging for lunch to take to work and imagining all it would become. I saved, printed, and scoured recipes every day, wondering what manifestation this can of goodness would take. Not that I couldn't just run out and buy a few more cans and experiment with other recipes - and still could - but this can of pumpkin was meant for greatness.

Or, maybe not. But it sounds nice, right? 

A delicious and silky smooth Friday evening dinner.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Citrus, Coconut & Kahlua Muffins

Happy Muffin Monday!

When I read the primary ingredients in this week's recipe - lemon zest, orange zest, and coconut - the first thing that came to mind was: "COCKTAIL, please!" So, in a departure from all my talk of autumn these days, here, my friends, is my swan song with summer.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

#Baketogether: Sour Cream & Apple Coffee Cake

These days, I feel like a decade-younger version of myself, in university, agreeing to join any and every committee, agreeing to go to any and every event, spreading myself much too thin, only to realize I had no time left for - uh - school. But that's how I used to excel, push, and challenge myself. There was no time to waste time, so I had to get it done. Even still, I'm grateful for the many gracious professors who always took my papers in late. I even had one paper in grad school that was an entire semester late! Thankfully that was the only time I ever let it get that bad. I always had good reason - as every student does - and it wasn't for lack of initiative. Quite the opposite, actually. Somehow, by the grace of the post-secondary gods, I still managed good grades and got all that committee work done.

Maybe I'm getting a fresh injection of ambition as I enter my new decade, but the 30-year-old version of me seems to be signing up for every food blogging event I can get my hands on, including trying to plan one of my own in the new year. Stay tuned! The odd thing this time around, remarkably, is that I'm very much on top of things. Who is this new me? I haven't handed a single thing in on time in my entire life. If it weren't for the last minute nothing would get done. I think it speaks volumes about how much I'm enjoying this blogging venture, because I can honestly say I no longer live by those words.

#Baketogether is another lovely event I've recently signed up for - on top of the Muffin Mondays, the Food & Wine covers, the cookbook reviews, the Random Bakes of Kindness, and a several other events in the works - and technically, I still have over a week and a half to submit my post. (Oh, if only those professors could see me now!) What is #Baketogether, then? It's a blogging and baking event run by the venerable Abby Dodge, and in her words, "#baketogether is all about sharing your take on this recipe with us – just as if we were all together in one (big) kitchen swapping ideas, inspirations and forkfuls." For October's #baketogether - or R'ock-tober, as Abby has named it - I have the great pleasure of joining them.

The recipe? A classic, sour cream coffee cake.

My twist? An apple-y one.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Orange Date Muffins

I knew I couldn't resist this week's Muffin Monday assignment when I found out what kind of muffin we'd be making, despite it coming in the midst of a very busy couple of days!

Orange zest, dried dates, cinnamon, and walnuts. The flavour! The texture! Swoon-worthy, right?

My dirty little secret with these muffins is that, while at the grocery store attempting to buy Buttermilk (for once, I usually just use yogurt), I spied those beautiful, red cartons. Those gleaming beacons of hope that cozy Christmas is coming soon. Yes! With Halloween not even out of the way, the grocery stores have already started selling Egg Nog.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Food & Wine Magazine: October Cover Recipe

It's soup season, friends!

As if I needed another excuse to love and celebrate autumn? I eat and love soup and stew all year round, truth be told, but I love the excuse of colder weather to put soup-making into overdrive.  

The theme for October's Food & Wine is New French Classics, and to exemplify it, the cover features a gorgeous White-Bean-and-Ham Stew. I am once again joining Jasmine of CookThatBook to test this recipe out and share my thoughts and impressions with you.  Don't forget to stop by her website to see how she fared with this recipe, as well as check out Kendall's latest wine pairing!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Spiced Cranberry Sauce & Canadian Thanksgiving

Is there any holiday more quintessentially 'foodie'-oriented than Thanksgiving? A time to celebrate harvest, to give thanks and count our blessings, and to gather with friends and family to enjoy the fruits of several hours of labour, until our top buttons are ready to pop...

I think not!

F. and I spent the holiday weekend in Montreal and Ottawa on yet another one of our whirlwind weekend trips. As such, we had a belated Tuesday-after-Thanksgiving dinner with my parents when we got home. I had gotten pretty used to being away from home for special holidays, but of all the comings and goings over the past few years, the one holiday I've consistently missed is Thanksgiving. It wasn't until my mother reminded me, however, that I realized just how long it had been since I'd been home in October: Four years!

Tell me those legs aren't sexy!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Treats in Threes

Before heading off into the beautiful sunset that is a holiday weekend, I wanted to show you three of my favourite treats I've been over-indulging in lately.

The first product is this Duck Rillette made by Frederic Tandy of Charcuterie Ratinaud. This little jar of sumptuous, beautifully prepared meat - similar to a paté - goes a surprisingly long way and is worth every, single penny. It's a perfect addition for an evening with company, on canapés, or just when you feel like indulging in something special. F. and I enjoyed some of it with this spread of cheese, crackers, and a glass of red wine. We had a nice sampling of it, too, and there is still 3/4 of the jar left! You can find Frederic's products at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, Obladee Wine Bar, or by visiting his website: http://www.ratinaud.ca/


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Canning, On a Personal Note

It was about this time last year that I started having incredible pangs of homesickness.

I have never been the homesick type, to be clear. Not that I don't love my home and family, but the urge to explore and the thirst for adventure has always trumped any feelings of homesickness in the past. I remember being a kid at summer camp and never understanding when, by the middle of the first week, my fellow campers were in tears and lining up at the only payphone on site to make their phone calls home. Weren't we having the time of our lives? Why would they feel sad?

It wasn't so much that I missed a particular place or city last year, it was that I had the overwhelming desire to put down roots. A place where I could create and flourish. I loved living in Korea, but for a variety of personal reasons, I knew it wasn't going to be my 'forever home'. My passion for food and all things home-cooked was getting stronger, and it was becoming increasingly frustrating not knowing how to read food labels or know which farms my food had come from. I had picked up some of the language, but I was nowhere near that level of understanding. There were just so many things I wanted to learn how to do that required the use of an oven, or at least the recipe book residing in my mother's head.

It was this time last year that I sent my mom a message saying, "If I come home, will you teach me how to put things in jars?"

One of the beautiful bowls I bought in Seoul last winter, holding my lemons for preserving this fall.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Alvaro's Zucchini Muffins

When I posted my latest Muffin Monday link on Facebook two weeks ago, a friend I met in South Korea left me an intriguing comment: 
"do you take requests? cause my momma made some bad ass zucchini muffins when i was a kid, i wanted to see your take on something like that. alas i don't have a recipe to share..."
I immediately wrote to Anuradha to see if we could include it in a Muffin Monday round-up, thinking it would be fun for Alvaro to see 10 or more versions of his childhood Zucchini Muffin, and not just mine. As it happens, An was already planning a Zucchini Muffin in the coming weeks, so she graciously agreed to circulate her recipe to the Muffin Monday crew.

So, Alvaro, these bad ass muffins are for you! 

Love the pop of colour from the zucchini!