Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lemon Grass Beef Salad

Now that we are in the double digits (yay!) it is time to enjoy some bright summery food! 

We have been firing up the BBQ as much as we can, and last week we made this delicious Lemon Grass Beef Salad. I love the flavour of Lemon Grass, it is so bright and tasty.

This recipe is from Company's Coming Good Friends, Great Grilling. We have made two recipes so far from this cookbook, and both have been awesome! I can't wait to try more this week.

The leftovers were also great, I was definitely looking forward to lunch the next day.  This makes about 4 large servings.

Lemon Grass Beef Salad

  • 2 lemon grass stalks (bulb only), chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 tsp chili paste (I used Sambal Oelek)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups cooked rice noodles (I used vermicelli)
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 lb beef strip loin steak
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon grass, brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime zest, chili paste, and pepper
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice noodles, sliced sugar snap peas, orange pepper, and fresh mint
  3. Take 1/2 cup of the lemon grass mixture and toss with the noodle mixture
  4. Season the steak with salt and pepper, and cook on the BBQ until the it reaches the desired doneness
  5. Remove steak from the BBQ, cover with foil, and let it sit for about 10 minutes
  6. Slice the steak into thin slices (across the grain) and then mix the beef slices with the remaining lemon grass mixture
  7. Serve the steak slices on top of individual portions of the noodle mixture
  8. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maple Mousse in Shortbread Cups - My first Daring Bakers Challenge!

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

I was so excited to see the my first Daring Baker's challenge at the beginning of April! I love maple syrup (who doesn't?) and the added aspect of coming up with your own unique edible container was just the type of challenge I was looking for to get my creative juices flowing.

I had read on the site that some people found the mousse to be quite sweet, so I decided to make a shortbread cookie cup because shortbread cookies are a wonderful buttery cookie.  The semi-sweet chocolate was added to make the dessert a bit more interesting and to add some colour.

I wasn't sure if the shortbread cookies would bake very well in a muffin tin, but it worked out awesome! I think this would be an amazing way to serve ice cream, pudding, etc., in neat individual portions.  When making cups with shortbread cookie dough, make sure to spray the muffin tin well with baking spray, and prick the dough with a fork before baking. Halfway through the baking time, press down the sides and bottom of each shortbread cookie cup with a spoons to keep them sturdy from getting too pouffy. I used my classic Shortbread Cookie Recipe to make these shortbread cookie cups.

After the cookie cups had cooled, I melted some semisweet chocolate chips and coated the inside of each shortbread cookie cup with the chocolate.

The mousse itself was lots of fun to make as I had never worked with gelatine before.  I was so surprised with how well it worked out!  The recipe was provided by the Daring Bakers.

I didn't find the mousse to be overly sweet, but that may be due to the type of maple syrup I used, I actually found it to be quite delicious and well-balanced!  This recipe made quite a lot of maple mousse, so I have included the directions for half of a regular batch as I had a ton left over after filling the 12 shortbread cups.

I am so glad that I gave this challenge a shot, it was so much fun and I definitely pushed my own boundaries!

Maple Mousse

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 package (about 1/2 tbsp) unflavoured gelatine
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  1. Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, and then remove from the heat
  2. In a heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks while slowly adding some of the hot maple syrup
  3. Add the egg/syrup mixture back to the remaining maple syrup and mix well
  4. In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of whipping cream, sprinkle in the gelatine, and let sit for about 5 minutes
  5. Microwave the whipping cream/gelatine mixture at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the gelatine has dissolved
  6. Pour the whipping cream/gelatine mixture into the maple/egg and whisk completely
  7. Set aside and whisk every 10 to 15 minutes until set 
  8. When the mixture has set (has a thick consistency), whip up the remaining 1/2 cup of whipping cream and fold it into maple syrup mixture
  9. Let refrigerate for at least an hour
  10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

In addition to the beautiful cake my husband had made me for my birthday, I whipped up some vegan vanilla cupcakes (using the lemon vegan cupcake recipe without the lemon juice or zest) and topped them with an amazing Raspberry Buttercream.

These were easy cupcakes to make, but they were so good! 

To make the raspberry buttercream I mashed about half a cup of raspberries together, and then strained out the excess fluid. The raspberry mash was then whipped into the buttercream, and then piped onto the cupcakes.

I love how versatile the buttercream is, you can add so many delicious fruits for a variety of flavours! 

This raspberry buttercream recipe is enough to decorate 1 dozen cupcakes.

Raspberry Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup butter (or shortening)
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp butter flavouring (if using shortening)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • heavy cream
  1. Cream together the butter (or shortening) and the vanilla (and butter flavouring if using shortening)
  2. Add the icing sugar a cup at a time, and mix until smooth
  3. Mash together the raspberries, and drain out the excess fluid 
  4. Add the raspberry mash to the icing and whip until fluffy
  5. If the icing is still too stiff for piping, add heavy cream 1/2 tbsp at a time until the desired consistency is reached
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Congratulations Ashley & Brett!

This past weekend we attended a wedding reception for my cousin, Ashley, who had gotten married to Brett in Mexico on March 15, 2011.  

Ashley and her mom were kind enough to ask me to make the cupcakes for the reception! The wedding colours were so fun: pink and orange!

Everything packed up for the 3-hour trip to Calgary!

My dad made the cupcake stand for me, and I baked up 9 dozen cupcakes for the event. On the day of, my sister helped me decorate and we were good to go!

It was a really neat experience to make cupcakes on such a large scale, I really enjoyed it! 

My sister and I with our finished cupcakes!

I think they went over well, there weren't very many left at the end of the night which I am taking as a good thing :)

Thank you again Ashley and Brett for letting me be a small part of your special celebrations!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Florentines

A couple of weeks ago I had a birthday request that didn't involve buttercream or cupcake liners. The birthday girl had requested some 'Florentines'.

I said 'For sure! not a problem!', and then proceeded to jump right onto google to figure out what a 'florentine' was!

These are awesome cookies! They are quite light, and have an amazing crunchy and slightly chewy texture. They came together so easily, and baked up in only 5 minutes!

These cookies are so simple, they are just like a very thin oatmeal cookie.

I decided to put milk chocolate on the back of a third of the cookies, semi-sweet chocolate on the back of another third, and to leave the remaining cookies plain.

My favourite were the cookies that had semi-sweet chocolate, but everyone had their own favourites :) You can definitely customize these for your group (or yourself!).

Definitely do not crowd these cookies on the pan.  They spread from a tiny teaspoon of dough, into a cookie that is up to 3" in diameter!

These were awesome cookies. It was fun to make something I had never heard of before, and they were so addicting after that first bite.

The original recipe is from, and I made just under 4 dozen cookies with it.

Chocolate Florentines

  • 2/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 2 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • about 2 cups of chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Mix together the oats, flour, salt, and sugar
  3. Add the melted butter and mix well
  4. Mix in the corn syrup, milk, and vanilla and mix until a dough forms
  5. Place 1 tsp of batter onto the prepared baking sheets for each cookie. I only placed 6 - 7 cookies per sheet and they just had enough room to spread.
  6. Bake for 5 - 7 minutes, watching carefully in order to remove them as son as the edges start to brown
  7. Let cool completely on the cookie sheets
  8. Melt the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave and spread on the back of each cookie
  9. Let dry face-down until the chocolate sets
  10. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, to me!

That's right! Today I turn the big 2-6!  

I can't believe what a busy year this has been: we had our amazing wedding, I ventured out into the blogging world, I learned a ton of new things in the kitchen (and have many more to learn!), we got our puppy, and so much more!

This past weekend we celebrated with some friends, and I had the best surprise of all, my husband made me a birthday cake! And not just any birthday cake, he made a tilted, tiered birthday cake!

For someone who had never decorated a cake before, he sure pulled out all the stops.  The bottom layer was cut on an angle and then covered in fondant. He then used a quilting tool and finished it off with silver sugar beads.

The top layer was baked in 6" round pans, and then cut into a heart shape :)

Then he stacked everything together, and voila! An amazing wedding cake!  It took centre stage on the dessert table.

I can't believe what an amazing job he did! It looks like I will need to take cake decorating tips from him soon :)

Thank you John! The cake is so awesome, it made a wonderful day perfect!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baked Crab Dip

The other day I was baking up a storm, and realized I had missed lunch completely! My house was over-run with sugar, so I was on the hunt for something on the savoury side.

I remembered this recipe (Baked Crab Ragoon) was sitting on my 'to-try' list after I had see it on  My won ton wrappers were in the freezer, and I wanted something delicious asap, so I decided to bake up a dip instead!

This was not only ridiculously easy to make, but it was delicious! Such a perfect appetizer, snack, or in my case lunch! I cut up some corn tortillas and baked them to have something to dip with, and the worked perfectly.

I'm definitely making this again, and soon! 

Since I was home alone when I made this, I had quite a bit leftover.  This made an excellent toasted sandwich the next day with some lettuce, yum!

Baked Crab Dip

  • 1 can crab meat (about 6 oz)
  • 125 g cream cheese (1/2 a package) (I used light and it worked great)
  • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp chopped green onion
  • pepper
  • smoked paprika
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F
  2. Drain the crab meat and roughly chop it up
  3. Place the crab meat, cream cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, chopped green onions, and some pepper in a bowl and mix well
  4. Place the dip in an oven-safe dish, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through
  5. Sprinkle with smoked paprika before serving
  6. Serve with crackers or chips to dip!
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lots to come!

I realize that things have been pretty sporadic around here, 1 post a week for a couple weeks, then 5 posts in a row, and then nothing again for almost a week, oh dear! I don't have any excuses, things have just been busy, good, but busy :) 

First we got this goober, who pretty much is the centre of our free time, and not-so-free time (how do they take over your life so quickly? In a good way of course!).

Then I was away for work for over a week in Paris. No complaints here!

And since I have been back I have been working on the puppy/baking/blogging/wife/life balance. :)

I had just started to get a routine figured out, and then Chloe decided to demolish my lap-top cord. It's a good thing she's cute!

So I have been lap-top-less since the weekend. It is so strange! I finally caved and am now using my husbands desktop, poor guy won't know what to do when he realizes his iPhoto is full of food!

But I promise I have lots of goodies for you!

I baked up one of these

I made some of these for a bake sale

and some of this for lunch one day

I also whipped up a batch of these for a birthday

and made some of these as an 'eat on the run' breakfast

oh, and I made one of these for another birthday

I can't show you this one quite yet, but soon!

So there is lots to come :)  Thank you for sticking with me during this new phase of my life! I will get it all figured out, eventually, right?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Now that we are getting warmer days, I think it is finally appropriate to post this delicious Strawberry Ice Cream Cake!

I had made this cake back in February for a birthday, but it just seemed way to cold outside to be putting it up on the blog :)

This cake was really fun to put together. I got the idea for it from a blog post on, A Tasty Recipe: Banana Split Ice Cream Cake, and put together the flavours requested by the birthday boy.

For the bottom layer, I crushed about 20 Oreos in my food processor, and then mixed in a couple tablespoons of melted butter. After pressing the crust into a 9" springform pan, I added a layer of sliced strawberries and set it in the refrigerator to set. 

After the base layer, I added a layer of softened strawberry ice cream (I used a whole pint), followed by a hot fudge layer.  The cake went into the freezer to sent for about an hour, and then I added another layer of sliced strawberries, softened vanilla ice cream (another whole pint) and then placed the whole cake in the freezer to set overnight. 

Before serving I spread on some sweetened strawberries (after thawing them) and the cake was ready to go! In order to personalize it, I made some marshmallow fondant stars. This way we could just add them to the cake right before serving.

This is one of those cakes that you don't really need a recipe to make, you can just keep adding layers of what you like and you end up with a delicious ice cream cake!

For the original recipe, you can find it here!