Archive for the ‘Site Stuff’ category

Congratulations!

December 1st, 2011

Well, it’s a few minutes into December 1st, and since I’m still awake, that means it’s time to do the draw for a lovely new KitchenAid food processor!  Everyone’s name has been written on a scrap of paper and swirled together in my favourite red colander.  Now I just need to close my eyes and pick a name…

P1090870

Drum roll, please…

P1090873 P1090876

Congratulations, André! I know you’ll make wonderful things with this shiny new toy. If you’d like to share one of the new dishes on this site, just let me know.

Thanks to all of you for entering – and a huge thank you to the lovely folks at KitchenAid for providing the awesome prize.

Multigrain Raisin Bread PLUS a Giveaway!

November 14th, 2011

I love my kitchen – especially on cold, snowy days like today.  Its bright turquoise paint and cherry red accents make it feel fresh and summery, even in the bleakest of Novembers.  While the kitchen was already blue and white when I bought the house, the red is what really makes it feel like mine.  My Kitchenaid stand mixer was the first pop of colour, followed soon after by coordinating cafe curtains, sewn by my grandmother.  The mixer was also a present from her, for completing my Master’s degree in 2008.

Kitchenaid

Playing around in the kitchen is so much better when you have all the right tools to work with.  My mixer whips up breads, cookies and cakes without so much as batting an eye.  My knives work in tandem with the perfect cutting boards to slice, dice and chop to (amateur-acceptable) perfection.  And now, I’ve discovered another kitchen tool, one that I’ve had sitting in my basement for a while, but had yet to break out and use.

Clay baker bread

A year ago, I inherited a clay baker.  It was stashed away in its box, on the off chance that maybe, I might want to make a pot roast for one.  (unlikely)  Then the other week, the thought of using it to bake bread popped into my head.  All the cool bakers talk about using baking stones and steam to get the perfect crust – why wouldn’t a clay baker work perfectly for bread baking?  After bopping around the internet for a while, I found that yes, this was certainly possible, and had been tried by a few bakers, who mostly wrote of their findings on bread baking forums.  Enter a batch of grainy raisin bread dough, a soaked clay baker, and a cold, early winter afternoon.  The gorgeously browned results can be seen above.

KitchenAid Food Processor - Contour Silver Now for the part I know you’ve all been really waiting for - the giveaway.  Last week, I was asked if I would be interested in giving away a shiny new 13-cup Kitchenaid food processor for the holidays.  It slices, shreds, chops and purees, and comes in a couple of great Kitchenaid colours – white, black, or space-age silver.

Interested in winning the food processor? Just leave a comment telling me what you’d make if you won.  The deadline is December 1st, 2011, at which point I’ll put all the entries into a  hat and randomly pick a winner.  One caveat – you must be Canadian to win.  Good luck!

 

Multigrain Raisin Bread

1 1/2 to 2 cups white flour

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup honey

3 tbsp butter

1 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup stone ground oats

1/2 cup grainy hot cereal *

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1 cup plumped raisins **

In the bowl of your mixer, stir together 1 cup of white flour and the yeast.

In a large, microwaveable pitcher, mix the honey, butter and milk.  Warm for a minute at a time, until the butter has just barely melted.

Stir the warmed milk, salt and egg into the flour and yeast, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then continue to mix at low speed for 3 minutes.

Swap out the paddle mixer for the dough hook.  Add the whole wheat flour, grains, almonds and raisins on low speed, a single ingredient at a time, letting the hook bring everything together into a sticky lump.

Slowly add another half a cup to a cup of white flour, still keeping the mixer at low speed.  The completed dough should be kneaded for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Place the ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size.

Punch down the risen dough and shape into a smooth, round loaf.  Place the ball of dough on a large rectangle of parchment paper, cover and let rise again for 30 minutes.

While the dough is going through this final rise, soak both halves of a clay baker in water, drying the inside of the base before adding the dough.

Lift the risen dough on its parchment paper into the base of the clay baker.  Top with the lid and place in a cold oven.  Turn the oven up to 375°F and bake, covered, for 35 minutes.  At this point, remove the lid of the clay baker and continue cooking the bread for another 15-20 minutes, or until browned on top.

Take the clay baker out of the oven, lift the parchment paper and bread onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing.

* I used some Daystart cereal from the Daybreak Scheresky Mill in Saskatchewan.  It’s a mix of millet, buckwheat, oat bran, flax and sunflower seeds.

** To plump raisins, toss them in a bowl and cover with water.  Microwave for 1 minute, then let sit for at least another 10 minutes before draining and adding to the dough.

Blogiversary Pie

August 19th, 2010

Stone fruit pie with ice cream

Today marks my sixth blogiversary.  I started up this site on August 19th, 2004.  It began under the name “Paige’s Kitchen” and was basically just a way to archive my recipes and share them with friends.  With the addition of WordPress and some splashy colour photos, the blog became what it is today.  It’s been quite the adventure, and I look forward to seeing where I go with it in the future.

Now go make some peach pie.

1 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
4-5 tbsp icy cold water

2 peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
2 nectarines, cut into chunks
4 apricots, cut into chunks
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white flour
1 tsp ginger

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the largest pieces are the size of small peas.
Add the cold water and toss together gently with a fork.
Turn the pastry out onto a floured counter and gently knead into a ball.
Roll the pastry out into a rough circle and slip into a pie plate.

In another bowl, stir together all the fruit and filling ingredients.
Dump the filling into the pie crust and flip over the edges, leaving the middle of the pie exposed.  (see below)
Bake for 40 minutes at 375º or until edges are golden brown.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving with ice cream.

Summer pie

I’m back!

January 18th, 2010

Well, it’s taken a while – a very long while – but I’m back.  Between my host company’s servers getting hacked twice in the fall, settling into being a homeowner, and becoming increasingly busy at work, my dear chef-girl.net has been horribly neglected over the past few months.  I’m hoping for a post-heavy 2010, with the calendar to the right serving as a personal reminder/incentive to blog regularly.  It isn’t that I haven’t been cooking, it’s just that nothing has made it here to the site since (yikes!) August.

I’ll be posting some photos and recipes from the fall, as well as a pile of things that were made over the Christmas holiday.  The easiest way to keep up with what I’ve been cooking?  Check out my photos over at Flickr.

So cheers!  And here’s to a fabulous 2010.

SOS Cuisine – Days 3,4,5

July 13th, 2009

Hunter chicken

So, I got a bit lazy with the last three days of my SOS Cuisine menu, at least when it comes to taking photos and posting about the meals. The meals involved two days of chicken and one day of pasta, and I was just too hungry/lazy to play around with my camera before eating. What can I say – the food just looked so good!

Day 3:

  • Proscuitto and kiwi
  • Hunter-style chicken
  • Cherry and peach compote
  • The proscuitto and kiwi was a real discovery. I wasn’t sure how the salty ham and the sweet fruit would work together, but they were brilliant. A great little snack or appetizer. The chicken was good, and made enough for a repeat on day 5. The cherries with peaches were something I subbed into my menu because they’re in season and showing up on fruit trucks all over the city.

    Day 4:

  • Proscuitto and kiwi
  • Fettucine with mini-tomatoes
  • Another delicious repeat of the proscuitto and kiwi, this time followed by a quick and easy pasta dish.

    Day 5:

  • Mixed greens and radish salad with feta cheese
  • Hunter-style chicken
  • Cherry and peach compote
  • This last day was all repeats, but still tasty. I really do love the radish and feta salad, and will be eating lots of it throughout the summer. The idea of making the fruit compote is a simple one, but one that I hadn’t really thought of until it showed up on the SOS menu. We do a fair bit of stewed rhubarb in this house, but not any other fruits. I’ll be trying it the rest of the summer with whatever is seasonal, whenever I need a bit of a treat.

    All in all, I enjoyed using the SOS Cuisine menu this week. I did a lot of customizing to what was originally posted, and their grocery cost estimate was way off for what I paid at the store. (might be AB stores, might be because it’s pretty hard to buy just 5 cherry tomatoes) It’s definitely a site I’ll use again, probably just for lining up three meals rather than the planned five. I like the range of recipes available on the site, and the matching grocery list that is created. I’m just too fickle to be tied down to five pre-planned meals in a week, especially in the summer, when the local produce is so inspirational.

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