Cupcakes

30 07 2009

Cupcakes

Everyone loves cupcakes, they are a fantastic treat anytime, a great dessert and an easy way to please a crowd. They have seemingly been growing in popularity over the past couple of years, fueled by their simplicity, the ability to customize them, and amazing viral videos…(Can’t embed the real one)

Lazy Sunday – Remade

Here are some recipes, some must reads, and some reviews of locations. Please send in your ideas in the comments so that we can post them!

BlogTO came up with a list of the 10 best cupcake stores in the city. There are some brief reviews and some maps included so that you can hunt these places down.

Cupcakerecipes.com seems to have a ton of easy recipes on it, and lots of variations including a Coca Cola Cupcake and Theme Cupcakes.

The best resource has to be Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes site. She has hundreds of videos, recipes and design inspirations that should keep you fresh with ideas for months.

Here is an amazing idea I found while researching this:

Cupcake Ice Cream Cones

Here is a basic cupcake recipe from Cupcake Creations

Basic Vanilla Cup Cake Recipe

Ingredients

5 oz (150g) Butter – softened
5 oz (150g) superfine (castor) sugar
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350oF (180oC).
2. Line a 12 cup cake pan, with cup cake papers.
3. Crack the eggs into a cup and beat lightly with a fork.
4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to touch.
8. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
9. Allow to cool fully before icing.

As with anything we post, have some fun with it, make them your own, and please share your recipes and ideas!





10 Things Every Broke Ass Chef Should Have on Hand At All Times

29 07 2009

Grocery


10 Things Every Broke Ass Chef Should Have on Hand At All Times

Having these 10 essentials on hand will make you feel like a gourmet, even in a studio apartment

Bulbs of fresh garlic – Garlic is fairly inexpensive to buy and its uses are almost endless. It can last 2-3 months when kept in a cool, dry place in your kitchen, so you don’t need to buy it too often. Just about any worthwhile dish calls for garlic, so it’s good to have it on hand. You can successfully season steak or chicken using just garlic and herbs. Garlic is also good for the heart, so you can never feel bad about eating too much.

Bacon – Keep a package of bacon in your fridge all the time. Because everything is better when it is made with bacon. Not only can you have it with breakfast, but it is also good to chop and sauté with corn, wrapped around asparagus and baked, on burgers and sandwiches, in pasta carbonara, and my personal favorite, sautéed with chopped onion and pierogies. You can also buy bacon in bulk and freeze the packages you don’t need to use immediately.

Chicken breasts – This is the best thing to buy at Costco. For about $19.95 you can get a 5-pack of individually wrapped boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 per pack). You keep them in your freezer and take out a pack and thaw when you need it, for me they usually last for a month’s worth of good dinners. You can do just about anything with chicken breasts, so it’s good to have on hand when you feel like a wholesome home cooked meal. Chicken is novice-friendly, cooks pretty fast and can be used in just about every genre of cooking. My go-to meal is baked rosemary and garlic chicken breasts with golden potatoes. Simply make a mixture of olive oil, finely chopped garlic, chopped fresh rosemary, a little garlic powder, and some sea salt and cracked black pepper. Coat the potatoes and chicken breasts in it and place both in a glass baking dish with some whole sprigs of rosemary and more garlic if you like. Bake at 350 (F) degrees for about 30 minutes, cover with foil if need be.

Sea salt and black pepper grinder – Buy a shaker carton of Mortons or Baleine sea salt to have on hand by your stove (preferably fine textured). Sea salt is just so much better tasting than regular grainy salt and worth the little extra you will spend on it. I will only salt pasta water with sea salt, you notice the difference. It’s got more of a bitter taste than regular salt, so you will end up using less of it. Also pepper should be grinded, not shaken. Fresh cracked pepper, as opposed to pepper from a shaker makes a huge difference in recipes, and just looks and smells so much more appetizing. You can buy the pepper corns in the grinder from the grocery store for about $3.


Onions (yellow or white)
– Raw or cooked, you will use onions in so many things. There’s really nothing like grilled onions on a burger. They will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, so you can just slice them up when you need them on sandwiches or what not. I always seem to use them within a couple days of buying them. Onions are pretty cheap too, so make them a staple in your fridge.

Fresh or dried herbs – Whether you buy them dried or grow them yourself, you should always have these essential herbs on hand: Italian flat-leaf parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, and thyme. I buy this dried Italian Seasoning that has all of them in it and I use it all the time, it’s a pretty common find at any grocery store, and cheap too. Another important dried ingredient is red pepper flakes. You can use them in any kind of spicy cooking, as well as on pasta and pizza. I also grow herbs on my balcony of my apartment, and they are surprisingly easy to take care of. It’s a good idea to buy a long planter (with enough room for the herbs to root) and plant flat leaf parsley, oregano, sage and thyme. In another mid-size pot plant a rosemary tree. And in another smaller pot plant some basil. You’d be surprised how little it costs (the pots, a couple bags of soil, and the herb plants), and how rewarding it is to have these ingredients right on your front porch, it’s a bonus that they smell amazing. You can use herbs in so many things; it will really broaden your culinary horizons.


Olive oil
– You will use this ALL THE TIME, it is a cooking essential. Buy an extra virgin and a lighter flavor variety. Replacing butter with olive oil in many dishes is so much lighter and healthier. With the extra virgin olive oil, don’t skimp on quality, you can find a good bottle olive oil for about $12, also the bottle should be glass and stored out of the light (some better olive oils are packaged in light-proof bottles). A good olive oil will improve the flavor of your dishes by leaps and bounds. You can flavor an olive oil by heating it in a skillet (not too hot) with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or a couple crushed garlic cloves just until it sizzles. Drain pepper flakes from oil and you have a good chili oil. Remove garlic cloves and you’ll have a tasty garlic oil.

A couple GOOD cheeses – You should always have at least one or two good cheeses in your fridge. I like gruyere (it’s a bit pricey, but so worth it) or a sharp aged white cheddar (any really good cheddar is going to be white, the orange you see in a lot of cheddar cheeses is food coloring). Any cheese that is more expensive is often more rich and savory so you will end up using less of it. Good sliced cheese is a perfect snack with some water crackers (you don’t need to spring for gourmet crackers) and a glass of wine. Gruyere is also amazing with sautéed onions and bacon in an omelet, and doesn’t take any longer to make than any ordinary omelet. You can stuff a good cheese like Fontina inside a seasoned chicken breast cut horizontally and baked. Just make sure the cheese you buy is versatile. I’m no cheese snob, but the good stuff can be addictive. Plus, no matter how broke you are, snacking on a good fancy cheese just makes you feel that much more posh.

Eggs – Eggs are cheap, they last a while in the fridge and there are thousands of dishes you can make using them, other than just scrambled or fried for breakfast. You can use them for French toast, pastas, omelets, etc. They also come in handy for instant boxed baked goods like brownies (because aren’t eggs always the things we don’t have when we need them?) Try making a fancy omelet with gruyere cheese and cremini mushrooms and a spinach salad with vinaigrette on the side for a healthy dinner.

Lemons and limes – The most obvious use of lemons and limes is for drinks (use muddled limes and ice instead of those overly sweet margarita mixes). But you can flavor a lot of dishes with lemons and limes. Lemon and fish is a natural, lime and garlic is good on shrimp, the citruses are also great with chicken and vegetable dishes. A lot of recipes you will come across call for lemon zest (which you can grate with a fine cheese grater in a pinch, just remember to grate only the yellow part, the white rind is bitter and will ruin the zest). I like to make angel hair pasta and toss the hot pasta with lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley, a dash of cream, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, and grate some lemon zest on top for a light but flavorful side dish.





Spaghetti Carbonara

29 07 2009

Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

By: Lauren Belfoy

Spaghetti carbonara is the ultimate Slim Pickings food because it uses ingredients that most people already have in their fridge, and are fairly inexpensive and it’s easy to whip up. This is the spaghetti carbonara recipe that I use:

Ingredients

* 1 pound dry spaghetti
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 ounces bacon cut into one-inch-sized pieces
* 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (fresh is best, but dried works in a pinch)

Directions

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (“al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use later.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the bacon and sauté for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and sauté for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Add freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Don’t forget about our previous post on How to Sauce Pasta. You can use this as reference to get the job done right.





Italian Fish and Veggie Pockets

29 07 2009

Fish

We asked Lauren to send in one of her favourite existing recipes that was quick and easy, and here is what she came up with.  Enjoy!

This recipe is ridiculously easy, tasty, and healthy. It will impress the pants off any date because it seems fancier than it actually is (all you really need to cook it is a baking sheet and aluminum foil). The recipe is also really good with salmon; you can make it with just about any kind of fish fillet, though cooking times may vary. Add an instant risotto, cous cous, or wild rice as a side dish and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
– Lauren

Italian Fish and Veggie Pockets

(Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingredients

* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
* 1 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, stemmed
* 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
* 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 4 teaspoons olive oil
* 4 (4-ounce) trout fillets, skinned (or other fish about 1/2-inch thick)
* 8 thin slices lemon
* 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint leaves

Directions

Special equipment: 4 large sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl mix together the lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Lay out the 4 sheets of aluminum foil. Place 1/4 of the sugar snap peas, 1/4 of the yellow bell peppers, and 1/4 of the orange bell peppers on each sheet of foil. Over each pile of vegetables drizzle 2 tablespoons of white wine, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss.

Top each pile of seasoned vegetables with a piece of fish. Sprinkle the fish with some of the reserved lemon zest mixture. Top each fish with 2 slices of lemon.

Fold up the foil into an air-tight packet. Place the foil packets in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

Neatly slide the fish and veggies off the foil and onto a plate. Sprinkle the fish with mint just before serving (optional).





Spicy Italian Meatballs

29 07 2009

Meatballs

Spicy Italian Meatballs

By: Lauren Belfoy

My boyfriend and I made these meatballs one day out of stuff we already had in our kitchen, and they turned out to be the best meatballs we’ve ever had. They were dense, meaty and spicy. We sautéed most of them in some olive oil and garlic and baked a few of them to see which method was better. The sautéed meatballs were more flavorful as the outsides were a little crispy and the insides were soft and juicy.

A lot of recipes called for breadcrumbs which we almost didn’t use until we realized the mixture was not firm enough without it, so we just toasted a couple slices of bread until it was hard enough to crumble and just a handful was perfect.

Spicy Italian sausage is KEY. You can buy it loose or in the casings, the latter is more common, just slice them lengthwise and remove the meat and discard the casing. You cannot make meatballs using just ground beef- it is sacrilege.

It’s the perfect broke-ass meal, and makes stoner-worthy leftovers. We didn’t follow a recipe so the ingredients are approximate, mix according to your tastes.

Ingredients:

  • Pound of ground beef
  • Pound of SPICY Italian pork sausage (about 4 links) – remove from casings if need be.
  • 2 eggs
  • Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkling of Italian seasoning herbs (dried) – Oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary. You can use fresh finely chopped herbs as well.
  • Finely chopped garlic (about 5 cloves, depending on how you like it)
  • Pinch of Garlic powder
  • Sprinkling of salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • Handful of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (pre-grated works too)
  • Handful of breadcrumbs (make 2 pieces of toast, crumble it finely)
  • Tomato sauce and a little red wine (to use for sautéing)

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together (minus the tomato sauce and red wine) with your hands, kneading the mixture until the texture is even and all ingredients are mixed properly. You may or may not need to refrigerate for the mixture to become more firm (putting it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes works in a pinch).

Form into balls, about the size of a ping pong ball, or larger if you prefer. Heat olive oil (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) at medium-high heat in a skillet with a couple cloves of garlic (crushed with the flat side of a knife) and red pepper flakes to flavor the oil. Remove the crushed garlic cloves before they brown.

Place meatballs in skillet. Once brown on the bottom, roll them on their side, keep doing this until all outsides are browned. Turn the heat down a little; add some jarred tomato sauce just to coat the meatballs and a splash of red wine. Cover the pan for about 10 minutes, turning meatballs occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook up the rest of the jarred sauce in a saucepan, add whatever you like, mushrooms, wine, fresh herbs, garlic, etc. Let sauce simmer while you boil the pasta to al dente (slightly chewy). Rigatoni, penne or spaghetti is recommended.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Serve with meatballs on the top, or on the side. Sprinkle a healthy amount of parmesan cheese and/or fresh Italian parsley on top.

It makes a decent amount of meatballs. Use the leftovers to make meatball sandwiches. Just toast some bread. Slice a couple meatballs into medallions, heat in microwave for a few seconds, place between toast slices with a little tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and some shreds of string cheese. George Forman it or cook it up in a skillet like a grilled cheese sandwich, until insides are hot and cheese is fully melted.





Fresh Cucumber Spring Rolls & Yogurt Dip

28 07 2009

Shrimp

Fresh Spring rolls with Cucumber and Yogurt Dip

By: Taylor Matthews

Yogurt Dip

1 cucumber cut into little pieces
plain yogurt 1/3 of a cup
1/3 cup mayo
Tsp of Chili Oil
Tsp Lemon Juice
Salt


Cucumber Spring Roll

Ingredients go into food processor or blender.

1 carrot (peeled) , slice put in processor
Add 2 cloves of garlic, add in 1 shallot
Mushrooms (remove stem add in processor)
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
¾ pound of shrimp
Pepper

MIX IT UP

Egg roll or Cellophane Wrap
make egg wash
crack egg in bowl mix with fork
paint outsides.

Take the wrapper and spread the blended items inside of it. Take the cellophane and wrap it up.





Cookies – Best of the web

27 07 2009

Our readers are demanding more sweets from us, and we are doing our best to oblige. As we work on some dessert recipes, we thought that we might be able to get away with some cookie recipes in the meantime. Let’s start everyone off with the history of the Chocolate chip cookie, complete with recipes. After reading that we can get into some of our favourites recipes we have found around the web.

Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – You are going to want to bookmark this immediately. Not only do they look fantastic, but the next link includes this recipe and then adds Oreo’s…Mouth watering yet?


Oreo Cookie Cookies (Sugar Cooking)

IMG_1429-1

Stumbled upon an amazing recipe over at Sugar Cooking. The blogger has taken an outstanding cookie recipe from All Recipes and added in Oreo’s. The pictures look amazing, and the recipe looks great, please head over there for the recipe, it only seems fair. You are definitely going to have to bookmark this site if you are into desserts!

Oreo Cookie Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies (Imagelicious)

Oatmeal

Oatmeal Cookies that look amazing, and taste amazing. These semi-healthy treats are delicious warm, and can last for weeks if stored correctly. You can also add raisins, chocolate chips or cinnamon.

Peanut Butter Cookies.  Period.  (Baking Blonde)

Peanut Butter

Lastly, and certainly not least, we feature an old classic, the Peanut Butter Cookies. Period. from the Baking Blonde Blog. As you can see from the picture above, these things look amazing, and will taste even better.

Everyone head into the kitchen and let us know how these turn out. Feel free to send in your recipes so that we can feature them on the site.

Thanks to all of the blogs out there that we could link to with your amazing recipes.