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.