Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge: Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I learned two new things this month. One, crostata is Italian for tart. Two, pasta frolla is translated to "pain in the ass pastry that is very good but so finicky and delicate that I will never make it again". No, it is, look it up. This pastry reminded me of a teenager, it had to be coaxed, prodded, placated and bribed in order to do what it was supposed to do in the first place. I dropped so many expletives trying to get this stuff into the pan I am expecting an invitation to join a pirate ship any day now.

While there were many choices to fill the pain in the ass tart, I chose to make a pastry cream and top it with fresh raspberries. It was delicious. All that effort was worth it in the end. This does not mean I will be attempting this pastry again, I'm not a masochist you know....

Friday, November 26, 2010

French Fridays - Pumpkin Gorgonzola Flan

Well, it's now official, I have made my first flan. Dorie was gentle with me and this was a really easy recipe. It was also my first flop. My husband and I both liked them, but not enough to make them again. The texture was really nice though, smooth and creamy. Also, if blue cheese scares you, it really is mellow in this dish. I served them with sour cream and some maple syrup drizzled on top, if there is a next time I would advise against the sour cream, the dish is rich and creamy already. Don't let this one scare you, it's so quick and you never know, this may be a huge hit for your taste buds.

 Right out of the oven, the walnuts were perfectly toasted.

A nice simple dinner. I served the flans with a simple salad dressed with a white wine vinaigrette. It was a nice combination.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gah! Pears!

I will soon be seeing pears in my nightmares. Let me explain. When I began getting our fruit and vegetables delivered, I was pumped. It offered us an opportunity to try (be forced to eat) a larger variety of fruits and veggies. Except we live in Manitoba and it is now winter, which means there is no variety in local produce. This means we've been getting a lot of pears, serious amounts of pears, which would be fabulous if any of us actually liked them. Not a single person in my family likes raw pears, including me. Raw it's a texture thing, but my husband and I will eat them cooked. I thought I had solved my problem last week with two batches of pear granola muffins. But alas, the pears kept coming and we are now up to six, so enough is enough. Tonight for dinner we had roast pork and salad. Not just any salad mind you, this one has roasted pears and onions, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and is served on butter lettuce with a basic vinaigrette. For dessert I whipped up saffron scented pear upside down cake. Everything was delicious. That does not mean I want to keep receiving pears in my basket each creativity/willingness to cook them only goes so far.

Friday, November 19, 2010

French Fridays With Dorie: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

Roast chicken is one of those dishes that I love to make. It makes the house feel warm and smell good, and this is a good recipe for roast chicken. Since I was unwilling to pay though the nose for a chicken, I took advantage of the post Canadian thanksgiving turkey nausea and purchased a young turkey. I rubbed the turkey with a combination of rosemary, sage, and thyme. I also stuffed the cavity with a lemon and served it with roasted local potatoes and carrots tossed with fresh rosemary and a bit of butter, salt and pepper. My only mistake was not doing the deep fried chicken bread. That's okay though, it just gives me an excuse to revisit this gem time and time again.

If you are interested in joining our not so little group, buy this book, then join here. Fun times with butter can also be yours!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two weeks

It's been two weeks since I started my 100 day challenge, and so far so good. I have been doing mostly yoga and walking, and I have to say I have already noticed a change. Not so much in my waistline, although I have lost a bit, but mostly in my attitude. I have been more cheerful, calm, balanced and patient. It feels really good, now that my quads are getting used to the new routine.

The thing I found really funny about this challenge is that after the first five days I was way more sore then I was after biking for 160km. Seriously. After two days of grunting every time I sat down I decided to take an Aleve. The next morning I was fine, and have felt great since then. Aleve is magic, and my new best friend.

The plan is to keep on with the yoga, and as my strength and balance become better I think I will take a couple classes. As for the walking, as I get stronger, I may just have to start running, again, without all the injuries of course.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

French "Fridays" With Dorie: Potato Gratin

I'm just going to put it out there, I love potatoes. It does not matter how you prepare them, they are wonderful. When you prepare them this way however....I have no words. I took Dorie's suggestion in the book and added some bacon and onions between the layers, and you really can't go wrong with layers of bacon, potatoes and just can't.

 I tell you, this is heaven in a pie plate.

The people hosting the potluck I brought this to are lucky it arrived intact.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On My Needles

A little over a year ago I learned how to knit, and since then I haven't looked back. I love knitting, and I love that I have at least one hobby that cannot be consumed. This is what I'm working on this week.

 This is a skirt my eldest will be getting for Christmas. The last row is taking forever. To give you an idea, it takes an entire 50g ball of yarn to do 1 inch. The last row has to be 4 inches.

 This is the very beginning of a tiny pair of mittens for my youngest. I am using a brand of yarn called Noro. I am in love with it because the colours are awesome, and you never know what they will do next. The mittens will probably look mis-matched even though they are from the same ball.

In order to keep the peace I am also knitting a skirt for my youngest for Christmas. For both skirts I am using the Comfy Worsted cotton yarn from Knit Picks. It's great to work with but is also machine washable, which is very important in this house!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


While the whole yoga thing was working, my friend Wendy decided to do another 100 day challenge, so I decided to join her. Instead of doing yoga everyday, I'm going to be active for 30 minutes every day until February 8th. So far I have walked Rowdy twice, and we are both happier for it. I have also recruited another friend of mine, so if you want to take part, the more the merrier!