Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone it's been a little while since I've posted! I wanted to try some simple designs for sugar & gingerbread cookies this year. They were a hit at work! Recipes below from my good friend Irene! The sugar cookie dough is much easier to work with - you just have to work it a little once it comes out of the fridge, while the gingerbread dough is a little more crumbly.

Happy holidays & wishing you all a holiday filled with family, friends & food - best combination I know of!

Toronto Foodie Girl

Gingerbread cookies
Yield: 24
Gingerbread Cookies
• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Gingerbread Cookies
1. Cream shortening (or butter) and sugar until fluffy and beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in molasses and ginger until evenly blended. In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and add to molasses mixture, stirring just until dough comes together. Shape dough into 2 discs and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling.
2. Preheat oven to 375 °F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc to just over 1/8-inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If using cookies as decoration, put a small hole where a string will go to tie it). Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm to touch. Allow to cool completely.

Sugar Cookies
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 9 min
Level: Easy
Serves: about 3 dozen-2 1/2 inch
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 tablespoon milk
• 1 tsp vanilla
• Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg, milk & vanilla and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder:

- 4 cups (440 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon, almond)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup (120 - 180 ml) warm water

For Royal Icing with Meringue Powder:

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water. To cover or 'flood' the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.

The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
Makes about 3 cups

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

Happy Easter everyone! This year I made cupcakes with a girlfriend and I made some cute bunny toppers. To make the cupcakes toppers you need to find a simple design - a used a cookie cutter shape. I then printed out 10 to a page and then placed parchment paper on top. You may want to trace the design with a black Sharpie to make it easier to see through the parchment paper.

Then use thicker royal icing to outline the shape on the parchment paper and then fill with thinner royal icing. At this point you can add sprinkles in the wet icing.

Allow to dry overnight. Voila - edible cupcake toppers!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week 52 of 52 - Happy New Year!

Hi everyone - wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year! 2010 ended with a dinner party at my friends' house, menu below:

Ginger Carrot Soup
Caprese Salad
Seared scallops on celery root puree
Beef tenderloin with ratatouille
Dessert - chocolate cake from Rahier (absolutely incredible!)

It's officially been a year of good food and friends - 52 weeks (with some vacation weeks) and my foodie blog has been an experience! I will be continuing this year with my blog, but will be posting a little less often and it will probably be a mix of restaurant reviews and recipes. Thanks to everyone for following my blog the last year!

Two recipes from New Years are posted below.

Bon appetit and all the best in 2011!
Caprese Salad with Tomatoes and Soft Mozzarella with Pesto – courtesy of Dish Entertains by Trish Magwood
Cost $$
Rating (out of 5) *****

This is one of my favourite recipes of the year - love the fact that the cheese is marinated in pesto - adds some extra flavour. This will be a hit at any party! Also consider using small cheese + baby tomatoes on skewers as apps.


1 cup of loosely packed fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 balls soft mozzarella sliced into 1 cm rounds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
6 ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1. Put basil, garlic and lemon zest and juice in food processor; pulse to combine. Add oil and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse once more. Transfer pesto to a bowl. Add sliced mozzarella to bowl with pesto and gently mix to coat cheese.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer balsamic vinegar until syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
3. Make 6 to 8 stacks by topping tomato slices with a slice with mozzarella; top with a bit of extra pesto and season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Repeat, using about 3 slices of tomato and cheese for each stack.
4. Place a stack in the centre of each plate. Drizzle the plate with any leftover pesto and some balsamic reduction. Sprinkle pine nuts around each plate.

Ginger Carrot Soup – adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe
Cost $
Rating (out of 5) ****

This is an elegant soup perfect for any dinner party - tastes a little like butternut squash, and the ginger whipping cream is a nice touch!


• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped sweet onion
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 2 tablespoon minced ginger
• 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into even pieces
• 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
• 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock for vegetarian version
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning


In a heavy Dutch oven, (prefer porcelain covered cast iron), over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the sweet onions. Sprinkle with salt and sweat for 10 minutes, until just starting to caramelize. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the mixture. Stir in the carrots, potatoes and the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until carrots and potato is very tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Keep warm.

With a stick blender, puree the carrot mixture and gradually add in whipping cream, honey and thyme. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve immediately.

You can prepare the soup 3 or 4 days ahead, refrigerated.

Cook’s notes – serve with a dollop of ginger whipping cream and a sprinkle of thyme.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Week 51 of 52 - Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays foodie blog followers - I am now at home in Ottawa enjoying some home cooked meals. Nothing says home like my mom's simple meals. Wishing all of you and yours happy holidays! Stay tuned for the New Year's Eve extravagana planned :)
Bon appetit!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 50 of 52 - Gingerbread cookies

This week I’ll be taking part in a cookie exchange and no one does cookies better than Martha. Her website has the most beautiful holiday cookies and for me nothing says holiday better than gingerbread. This recipe although very easy does take a little bit of time – the dough will need to be chilled, rolled out and then frozen before being cut. I think keeping it cold helps the cookies keep their shape.
I tried substituting fresh ginger for the ground ginger and probably didn’t put quite enough – so I ended up with a lightly spiced ginger cookie. The cookies came out crisp and delicious! This is a classic for future holidays.

For decoration, I decided to keep it simple and sprinkled coarse sugar on the cookies and for presentation, a clear bag with raffia does the trick!
Bon appétit!

Gingerbread cookies – courtesy of
Cost: $
Rating (out of 5) *****
Makes 36.

• 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
• 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
• 1 large egg
• Decorating sugar or sprinkles (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/8 inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.
3. Loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets. Decorate with sugar or sprinkles, as desired.
Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10 to 18 minutes, depending on size. Cool completely on baking sheets

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cookies - week 49 of 52

Hi guys - no recipe this week, as I was in Oakville with one of my friends for our annual holiday tradition - cookie decorating!

We decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies - enjoy!

Bon appetit!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Woodland mushroom soup - week 48 of 52

It’s been absolutely freezing this weekend and nothing warms my heart like a good bowl of soup! I found this one in the Trish Magwood book “Dish entertains” – I love love love mushrooms and this soup for sure will impress the guests! It tastes like something from the restaurant (Trish mentions this is one of her favourite restaurant – recreated dishes).

This has just a few ingredients and that really lets the mushrooms be showcased. The soup is hearty even though it is not cream based. I substituted chicken stock for vegetable stock and also added the water from the reconstituted porcinis to add extra depth of flavor. If you have some truffle oil, that would be the perfect finishing touch to this dish.

Bon appétit!

Woodland Mushroom Soup, courtesy of Trish Magwood, from her cookbook “Dish entertains”
Rating *****
Cost **
Makes about 10 cups (2.5L)

- ½ cup (125ml) dried porcini mushrooms
- ¼ cup (50ml) grapeseed oil or butter
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 cooking onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups 1.5L mixed fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup (250ml) white wine
- 4 to 6 cups (1 to 1.5 L) vegetable stocks
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Splash of sherry or cognac
- ¼ cup (50ml) 35% cream (options)
- 1 tabsp (15 ml) finely minced chives, for garnish

1. Soak porcini mushrooms in hot water until softened (about 10 minutes). Drain mushrooms then gently squeeze dry.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook shallots, onions and garlic, stirring often, until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, gently wipe fresh mushrooms with a moist paper towel or mushroom brush to remove any dirt. Trim off toughest part of stems (tender parts of stems can go in the soup). Roughly chop mushrooms (this can be in a food processor).
3. Add chopped mushrooms and drained porcinis to the pot. Cook until mushrooms are soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in white wine and let liquid evaporate for 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough stock to just cover vegetables. Bring to boil. Then turn down the heat to medium and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until mushrooms are very tender. Skim off any foam that rises to surface.
4. Remove from heat. Using a hand (immersion) blender or in a blender, puree the soup until it is a creamy consistency, adding a bit more liquid if necessary. If soup is too liquid, return it to the pot and ocok until reduced to the desired consistency. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add a splash (or more) of sherry and stir in cream, if desired.
5. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with chives and a drizzle of 35% cream.