Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, coarsely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 8 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and cut into thin rings
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into thin rings
  • 1 cup thinly sliced black olives
  • 1 pound crumbled hot Italian sausage
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza Dough:

  • 11/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 teaspoons to grease bowl
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. While the dough is rising, make the tomato sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the herbs, seeds, salt, and black and red peppers, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, wine and sugar, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using.
  2. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  3. Oil 2 seasoned 12-inch round deep-dish pizza pans with the extra-virgin olive oil. Press 1 piece of dough into each pan, pressing to the edge and stretching about 1 1/2 inches up the sides. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Layer the mozzarella cheese all over the bottom of the pies. Top each with half of the pepperoni, mushrooms, bell pepper rings, onions, black olives and sausage. Ladle the sauce evenly over each pizza and top with Parmesan.
  5. Bake until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve hot.

Dough Recipe

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar and stir to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the semolina, 1/2 cup of the oil, and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes. Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil.
  4. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Divide into 2 equal portions and use as directed.

I also recommend this pizza dough recipe.

The Truth About Cast Iron Pans

Here are some tips from Serious Eats on how to care for your cast iron pan

These are the only rules you need to know to have a successful lifelong relationship with your cast iron.

Season it when you get it.

Even pre-seasoned cast iron can do with some extra protection.To season your pan, heat it up on the stovetop until its smoking hot, then rub a little oil into it and let it cool. Repeat this process a few times and you're good to go.

Clean it after each use.

Clean your pan thoroughly after each use by washing it with soap and water and scrubbing out any gunk or debris from the bottom. I use the scrubby side of a sponge for this.

Re-season it.

Rinse out any excess soap with water, then place the skillet over a burner set to high heat. When most of the water inside the skillet has dried out, add a half teaspoon of a neutral oil like vegetable, canola, flaxseed, or shortening. Rub it around with a paper towel. Continue heating the pan until it just starts to smoke then give it one more good rub. Let it cool and you're done.

Fry and Sear in it.

The best way to keep your seasoning maintained? Just use your pan a lot! The more you fry, sear, or bake in it, the better that seasoning will become.

Don't let it stay wet.

Water is the natural enemy of iron and letting even a drop of water sit in your pan when you put it away can lead to a rust spot. Not the end of the world, but rust will require a little scrubbing and reseasoning. I always dry out my pan with a paper towel and coat it with a tiny amount of oil before storage.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Shrimp Jambalaya Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse chopped yellow onion
  • 2 medium garlic cloves - peeled and minced
  • 1 cup chopped sweet green pepper
  • 3/4 cup Finely diced celery
  • 4 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 3 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 6 oz smoked ham - cut in 3/8-in cubes
  • 1 lg bay leaf; crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled leaf thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
  • 1 can Tomatoes (1 lb, 14-oz)
  • 1 can Tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 3/4 cup Cold water
  • 1 3/4 cup uncooked converted rice
  • 1 1/2 pound medium shrimp, raw - shelled, deveined

Directions

  1. Set a large kettle (not made of iron) over moderate heat. Saute the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery in the bacon drippings for 8 to 10 minutes until they are limp and golden. Add the parsley, ham cubes, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper. Saute, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt, tomatoes and their juice, tomato sauce and water. Simmer the kettle, uncovered, for 5 minutes, breaking up any large clumps of tomatoes. Adjust the burner heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Stir in the rice, cover the kettle, and boil the rice for 40 minutes. Add the shrimp, tossing the mixture lightly to distribute them evenly.
  2. Cover the kettle and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until the shrimp are cooked through, the rice is done, and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste the jambalaya and add the cayenne pepper and salt, if needed.

Dinner Rolls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter OR margarine

Directions

  1. Combine 3/4 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees F). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.



Saturday, 15 November 2014

The world’s biggest chocolate-maker says we’re running out of chocolate

The problem is climate change but the solution in part is stop eating so much dark chocolate

There's no easy way to say this: You're eating too much chocolate, all of you. And it's getting so out of hand that the world could be headed towards a potentially disastrous (if you love chocolate) scenario if it doesn't stop.

Those are, roughly speaking, the words of two huge chocolate makers, Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut. And there's some data to back them up.

Chocolate deficits, whereby farmers produce less cocoa than the world eats, are becoming the norm. Already, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. It also looks like deficits aren't just carrying over from year-to-year—the industry expects them to grow. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, the two chocolate-makers warn that that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.

The problem is, for one, a supply issue. Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region. A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn't helped either. The International Cocoa Organization estimates it has wiped out between 30 percent and 40 percent of global coca production. Because of all this, cocoa farming has proven a particularly tough business, and many farmers have shifted to more profitable crops, like corn, as a result.

Then there's the world's insatiable appetite for chocolate. China's growing love for the stuff is of particular concern. The Chinese are buying more and more chocolate each year. Still, they only consume per capita about 5 percent of what the average Western European eats. There's also the rising popularity of dark chocolate, which contains a good deal more cocoa by volume than traditional chocolate bars (the average chocolate bar contains about 10 percent, while dark chocolate often contains upwards of 70 percent).

Friday, 14 November 2014

Christmas Pudding Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour -- sifted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cloves
  • 1 cup suet -- ground or grated
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • Butterscotch, Nutmeg or Hard Sauce

Directions

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in suet, buttermilk or sour milk, raisins, and molasses. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn into well-greased 2-quart mold or casserole. Cover with tight cover or aluminum foil. Place on rack in large steamer or kettle. Add boiling water to height of 2 inches in steamer,
  2. cover. Steam 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until pudding springs back when touched lightly in center.** Serve hot, cut into slices with Butterscotch, Nutmeg,
  3. or Hard Sauce. 
  4. If desired, Christmas Pudding may be baked in a 300 degree oven. Place a pan of water in oven. Cover pudding and bake 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.


Butterscotch Sauce: Combine 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and 1/8 teaspoons salt. Stir in 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

Hard Sauce: Cream 1/2 cup butter. Add gradually 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Blend in 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon boiling water, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons Rum or Brandy Flavoring, if desired. Chill until serving time.

Nutmeg Sauce: Cream 1/4 cup butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Blend in 1 egg yolk, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon French’s Vanilla. Gradually add 1 1/4 cups boiling water. Cook in top of double boiler over boiling water, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

2014 Christmas Gift Guide for Your Teens

2014 Christmas Gift Guide for Your Teen

Shopping for teens is almost as hard as coming up with good recipes.  Now you could take the easy way out and give them a gift card for the mall or you could read my husband’s 2014 Christmas Gift Guide for Your Teens and give them something they will love for years.  Your call.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Christmas & Holidays Gift Guide for the Cook (or foodie) In Your Life | 2014 Edition

If you are shopping for a foodie this Christmas (or even if you are not) here is my broad guide to great Christmas gifts for the kitchen.  It’s a series of things that I love that make life in the kitchen better.  If you have any comments on things that I have listed or have things that I have missed, leave them in the comments.

Inexpensive Christmas Gifts & Stocking Stuffers: Under $25 

Wine Aerator

Adding air and slowing down the pour of your wine enhances flavor and bouquet. This unique aerator by slows the flow and gently adds oxygen into the wine by funnelling it through a series of channels inside.

Wine Aerator

Wondering if a wine aerator is worth the money and hassle?  It depends on the kind of wines that you drink.

Red wines intended to have earthy flavors or age for years in a cellar (and often cost more than $10 or $15) can get to their optimal flavor faster with aeration. Inexpensive and fruity red wines are often fruitiest and most enjoyable directly from the bottle and either don’t improve or taste worse with aeration. White wines (especially fruity white wines) generally don’t improve with aeration.

Soapstone Whisky Chilling Stones

Soapstone Whiskey Sipping Stones

Don’t let melting ice water down your drinks.  Instead use cold frozen soapstones to keep your whiskey cold and preserve it’s rich taste.

Silicon Pastry Mat

Silicone's is both flexible and things won't stick to it.  It's ideal for rolling pastry and cookies.  It not only makes things easier on you but it means you can use less flour, resulting in a more delicate and tender product which means everyone wins.

Silicon Baking Mat

Thoughtful yet Inexpensive Christmas Presents:  $25 to $50 

CucinaPro Pasta Fresh machine

Nothing beats a plate of truly fresh pasta. And now it's easy to roll out your own at home. Whether the craving is for spaghetti or fettuccine, this sturdy machine handles the job with efficiency and style. CuninaPro pasta maker looks great on the counter and is easy to use--there's nothing to plug in as this is the tried-and-true hand-crank variety.

Pasta machine

The easy-lock adjustable dough-dialer rolls thick or thin pasta, and it comes with spaghetti and fettuccine cutters. Cutters for tagliatelle, ravioli and angel hair pasta are available separately

Aeropress Coffee Press

It makes one of the best cups of coffee you'll ever taste. This innovative uses the ideal water temperature and gentle air pressure brewing to produce coffee and espresso that has rich flavour with lower acidity and without bitterness. It makes 1 to 4 cups of coffee or espresso (enough for 1 or 2 mugs), features a micro filtered for grit free coffee, and takes just 1 minute to make coffee (actual press time takes only 20 seconds).

 Here is how it works

 
Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky to live close to Christie’s Mayfair Bakery and The Night Oven, the two best bakeries in Saskatoon.  I also want to bake better bread myself.  That is why I love The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

The Baking Bible Cover

Legendary baker Rose Levy Beranbaum is back with her most extensive “bible” yet. With all-new recipes for the best cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, candies, pastries, breads, and more, this magnum opus draws from Rose’s passion and expertise in every category of baking.
 
As is to be expected from the woman who’s been called “the most meticulous cook who ever lived,” each sumptuous recipe is truly foolproof—with detail-oriented instructions that eliminate guesswork, “plan-aheads,” ingenious tips, and highlights for success. From simple everyday crowd-pleasers (Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins, Gingersnaps, Gooseberry Crisp) to show-stopping stunners (Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Tart, Mango Bango Cheesecake, White Christmas Peppermint Cake) to bakery-style pastries developed for the home kitchen (the famous French Kouign Amann), every recipe proves that delicious perfection is within reach for any baker.

Belgium Waffle Iron

Enjoy delicious fluffy Belgian waffles with the Hamilton Beach Belgian Style Flip Waffle Maker. Made with easy to clean non-stick grids to bake the perfect waffle with deep pockets to hold butter and syrup. The indicator lights let you know just when to add the batter and the removable tray and grids make for easy clean-up.

Hamilton Beach Flip Waffle Maker


Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

For the first time, trusted and beloved cookbook author Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, answers the number one question she receives from cooks: Can I make it ahead?
 
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply making dinner on a hectic weeknight, Ina gives you lots of amazing recipes that taste just as good—or even better!—when they’re made in advance.
 
In Make It Ahead, each recipe includes clear instructions for what you can do ahead of time, and how far in advance, so you can cook with confidence and eliminate last-minute surprises. Make a pitcher of Summer Rosé Sangria filled with red berries, let it chill overnight for the flavors to develop, and you have a delicious drink to offer your friends the minute they arrive. Simmer a pot of Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup, enjoy a bowl for lunch, and freeze the rest for a chilly evening. You can prep the kale, Brussels sprouts, and lemon vinaigrette for Winter Slaw ahead of time and simply toss them together before serving. Assemble French Chicken Pot Pies filled with artichokes and fresh tarragon a day in advance and then pop them in the oven half an hour before dinner. And for dessert, everyone needs the recipe for Ina’s Decadent (gluten-free!) Chocolate Cake topped with Make-Ahead Whipped Cream. Ina also includes recipes for the biggest cooking day of the year—Thanksgiving! Her Ultimate Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy with Onions & Sage may just change your life.
 
With beautiful photographs and hundreds of invaluable make-ahead tips, this is your new go-to guide for preparing meals that are stress-free yet filled with those fabulously satisfying flavors that you have come to expect from the Barefoot Contessa.

Oxo Kitchen Scale

A scale is really necessary if you're going to do serious cooking because wherever possible, you should measure your ingredients by weight, not by volume. 

Oxo Kitchen Scale

A given mass of flour can vary a lot in volume, depending on things like humidity, temperature, and how long it's been sitting.  A weight indicator shows the capacity left on the Scale before maximum capacity is reached. Press the zero button to offset the weight of a container or to set the weight back to zero to add additional ingredients. The display features large, easy-to-read numbers which measure in 1/8-ounce and 1-gram increments and the platform can be removed for cleaning. The Scale has a 5-pound capacity and two AAA batteries are included.

 
Yotam Ottolenghi''s owns four eponymous restaurants--each a patisserie, deli, restaurant, and bakery rolled into one-- that are among London''s most popular culinary destinations. Now readers can recreate Ottolenghi''s famous dishes at home. 
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
 
Named on of Amazon’s books of the year, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook features 140 recipes inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean—recipes like Harissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad and Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters with Lime Yogurt. The recipes reflect the authors'' upbringings in Jerusalem yet also incorporate culinary traditions from California, Italy and North Africa. The recipes feature numerous fish and meat dishes, as well as Ottolenghi''s famed cakes and breads. With Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, readers are invited into a world of inventive flavors and fresh, vibrant cooking.

Cusinart Immersion Blender

Don't buy a cheap one--stick with Braun, Cuisinart, or KitchenAid.  They aren’t cutting edge but if you don’t have one, you don’t know what you are missing.  I use mine for my making Caesar Salad Dressing, mixing up packets of mix and pureeing soups

Cusinart Immersion Blender

With a stylish design and durable stainless steel carafe, this 8-cup coffeemaker is perfect for home, office or practically anywhere you want hot, fresh coffee at the touch of a button. All this, plus an easy-clean control panel and dishwasher-safe removable parts for effortless cleanup.  The advantage of the carafe is that you won’t be stuck with hot burnt coffee in case you don’t get it off the maker in time.  The coffee will be as hot and fresh later as it is right now.

Black and Decker Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker

SuperStone / 11
The classic Superstone line of natural unglazed bakeware that produces spectacular results in your kitchen! This Superstone La Cloche dome baker allows air to circulate around the baker for uniform browning while the unglazed lid helps regulate moisture to create the crackly crust and light crumb of delectable breads baked in professional brick-lined ovens. Base of dome measures 11" in diameter and 2" high and measures 8" high with the lid on. 
 
The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

With more than half a million copies of their books in print, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François have proven that people want to bake their own bread, so long as they can do it easily and quickly. Based on fan feedback, Jeff and Zoë have completely revamped their first, most popular, and now-classic book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Responding to their thousands of ardent fans, Jeff and Zoë returned to their test kitchens to whip up more delicious baking recipes. They’ve also included a gluten-free chapter, forty all-new gorgeous color photos, and one hundred informative black-and-white how-to photos. They’ve made the “Tips and Techniques” and “Ingredients” chapters bigger and better than ever before, and included readers’ Frequently Asked Questions.

This revised edition also includes more than thirty brand-new recipes for Beer-Cheese Bread, Crock-Pot Bread, Panini, Pretzel Buns, Apple-Stuffed French Toast, and many more. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to fill a kitchen with warmth, eager appetites, and endless praise. Now, using Jeff and Zoë’s innovative technique, you can create bread that rivals those of the finest bakers in the world in just five minutes of active preparation time.

 Alcohol Dispenser for Vodka, Whiskey, etc

For centuries, whiskies have been aged in wooden kegs. The charring on the inside of the keg helps to filter the beverage from impurities while also giving whiskey its unique, brown color. 
To celebrate the advent of the slow, smoothing, and character building process of aging liquors, here is a handsome glass keg decanter complete with a wooden resting cradle. 

Bourbon decanter

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Sportsman's Charcoal Grill

If you are a griller who loves to cook on charcoal, you will want to check out this cast iron hibachi grill.

Lodge Pre-Season Sportsman's Charcoal Grill

  • Measures 19 by 10-1/4 by 8-1/4-inch; limited lifetime warranty.
  • 2 Adjustable heights temper cooking speed; wash by hand
  • Draft door regulates heat; coals accessible behind flip-down door
  • Cooking grate measures 17-1/4 by 9-inch; seasoned and ready to use
  • Rugged, charcoal, hibachi-style grill made of durable cast iron

 

Bodum Tea Press

A lovely way to brew tea to your exact preference, the Bodum Shin Cha tea press combines elegant shaping with crafty functionality. The spherical glass pot features a stainless-steel plunge infuser inside and a stainless-steel lid. Fill the infuser with loose leaf or tea bags, add hot water, wait the desired amount of steeping time, then plunge. The plunger pushes the tea below the infuser holes, so brewing stops on a dime and tea does not over steep to the point of bitterness. To clean up, the unit goes safely in the dishwasher. With its glass spout, body, and handle, the Shin Cha showcases tea colors beautifully but does require somewhat careful handling. 

Bodium Tea Press


Burr coffee grinder

For grinding larger quantities of coffee beans for a coffee-drinking crowd, Capresso's commercial-grade Infinity grinder handles 8-1/2 ounces of beans at a time. Sixteen different settings--four each in the four categories of extra fine, fine, regular, and coarse--let you adjust the grind to the specific blend of coffee and method of brewing. The finest setting is ideal for preparing Turkish coffee, which is a rare feature to find in a grinder.

Buff coffee grinder

A built-in timer sets the grind for anywhere between 5 and 60 seconds so you can walk away without having to constantly press a button to continue the grinding process. The Infinity has an advanced conical burr design made of steel that is usually only found on commercial grinders. This burr design slows down the gears and reduces the amount of friction and heat to preserve coffee's flavour and aroma. The coffee container holds up to 4 ounces of grounds and remains sealed during grinding. For safety, the bean container also needs to be locked into place for the Infinity to operate. For easy cleaning, the bean container and upper burr lift off so you can clean the grinding chamber with the included brush and wipe down the exterior housing.

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler

Yes you have a George Forman grill but this is so much more than that.  The Cuisinart Griddler is actually five appliances in one. A hinged, floating cover and one set of removable and reversible cooking plates turn the Griddler into a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle. Dual temperature controls and indicator lights make this product easy to use.

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler
Extravagant Gestures:  $150 and Up

Kitchenaid Convection Oven

It’s a great replacement for the stove in the summer and a supplement to the oven when you are making a big meal or for parties.  I am surprised how much cooking and baking I can do with it.

Kitchenaid Convection Oven

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

The Professional 600 TM has a powerful motor that is crafted for commercial-style performance, the direct drive, all-steel gear transmission delivers unyielding power for professional results. The mixer can effectively mix up to 14 cups of all-purpose flour per recipe and produce up to 8 pounds of mashed potatoes. The Soft Start mixing feature helps minimize ingredient splatter and flour puff with gentle acceleration to selected speed after start-up. Electronic Speed Sensor monitors operation to maintain precise mixer speed. Commercial-style motor protection automatically shuts off the mixer when overload is sensed to protect the motor. Durable all-steel gears provide reliable service. The mixer includes a 6-quart-capacity stainless-steel mixing bowl with a contoured handle, as well as a professional wire whip, a burnished flat beater, a spiral dough hook, and a one piece pouring shield. Its multipurpose attachment hub with a hinged hub cover flips open to allow for easy installation of attachments. The Professional 600 Series bowl-lift design raises the bowl into the mixing position, and its solid, truly seamless one-piece motor head design is easy to clean and comes in a variety of fashionable colors.

 
J.A. Henckels International Knife Set
 
Here are the highlights
  • Full tang extends the length of the knife, adding balance and strength
  • Triple-riveted, ergonomic handle ensures comfort and control
  • Satin-finish, stainless steel blade provides precise cutting, peeling and slicing
  • 18 Pieces Forged Premio Knife Block. Set Includes 3 inches paring knife, 5 inches serrated utility knife, 6 inches utility knife, 7 inches santoku hollow edge, 8 inches chef's knife, 9 inches sharpening steel, 8 inches bread knife, 5 inches boning knife, kitchen shears.Stamped Steak Knives (8 Pieces) Hardwood Block
If you are looking for a set of knives a step up in quality, check out the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature 19-Piece Knife Set with Block for $330.  If you want to go nuts on a knife set, you will want to look at the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro-S 18-Piece Knife Set with Block
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro-S 18-Piece Knife Set with Block
The J.A. Henckels Twin Professional S (or Pro S) knife series features trustworthy quality and classic three-rivet styling--it’s a line of knives admired by both professional chefs and home cooks of all skill levels. The Twin Pro S line contains knives for all tasks, including the following open stock knife types: parer, bread, peeling, sandwich, utility, carving, steak, chef’s, Granton edge slicer, santoku, and others. Twin Pro S knives are also available in a range of block sets and gift sets, to be sure that your cutlery needs are covered.
 
Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens
Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens
 
Out of Old Saskatchewan Kitchens is the story of people and the food they prepared. With more than 50 photos, it is a window into life as it was then. If you want to know what life was really like in early Saskatchewan, come to the table with us.  It is by local Saskatoon writer, columnist, and cook Amy Jo Ehman.

Canon Powershot S120 camera
 
For the Foodie and food reviewer on your list, check out the Canon Powershot S120 camera.  Why do you want it?  It’s compact and great in low light which means that your food shots in a restaurant or even in your own home won’t need a flash.  No more washed out looking meals or annoying waiters and those around you.  Great photos also mean better reviews and more traffic to your blog.
 
Of course not only will it mean better cooking photographs but better shots of your loved ones, kids, vacations, and adventures.

Christmas Gift Guides and Gift IdeasIf you are looking for more or past Christmas Gift Guides, check out my husbands excellent series of Christmas gift and idea guides that he posts each year on his website.  If you think I am missing something, let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded American-Cheddar cheese blend (4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen cut green beans, thawed, drained
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheddar French-fried onions (from 6-oz can)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 1 1/2-quart casserole, stir together soup, cheese blend and soy sauce. Stir in green beans, bell pepper and 1 cup of the onions.
  2. Cover; bake about 30 minutes or until beans are tender and mixture is heated through. Stir; top with remaining 1/2 cup onions.
  3. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes longer or until onions are brown and crisp.

Roasting the Perfect Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey (12-20 lbs or )
  • 1 kg salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • herb sprigs (optional)
  • carrots (optional)
  • celery (optional)
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. If your turkey is frozen, thaw it out. Leave it in your fridge, in its plastic wrapper, for five hours per pound. If you’re using a 15-pound turkey, that means it’s going to take about three days to thaw — be sure to plan accordingly!
  2. Make sure your turkey is pretty close to being thawed before brining, otherwise the turkey will not absorb the solution. First, remove the giblets bag from the turkey and reserve in the refrigerator (I use them to make stock, which I add to the gravy). Find a clean plastic container that is big enough to completely submerge the turkey — a large picnic cooler or industrial-sized bucket should work. Place the turkey in the container along with the salt and brown sugar. Fill the bucket with cold water, cover, and let sit for four hours for a turkey under 12 pounds or six hours for a larger turkey. If you can fit the container in the refrigerator, put it in, if not, put in the coolest area possible and replenish with cold water if the water temperature starts to warm. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse under cold water to remove the salt solution, and pat dry. Put the turkey in a roasting pan uncovered and refrigerate overnight so that it can dry out.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees C. Prepare your turkey for roasting. If you like your stuffing in the bird, stuff it now. If you prefer to do stuffing in a casserole dish, stuff the cavity with aromatics such as a lemon cut in halves, carrots, celery, and fresh herb sprigs and skewer the opening of the cavity shut. With the turkey breast side up, brush it with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast turkey for about 20 minutes per pound, until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (be careful not to touch the bone with the end of the thermometer). Baste with juices at the bottom of the pan at regular intervals throughout roasting. If you find the turkey skin is getting too browned before it’s done cooking, cover the breasts with foil.
  5. Take the turkey out of the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for about 30 minutes (it can sit longer if the rest of the meal isn’t finished yet or if the turkey cooked more quickly than you anticipated). Carve and serve.

Here is how Butterball suggests brining.

How make a great Charcuterie Board

Safeway has some great tips

Charcuterie board

I am a lover of charcuterie boards, or as the less cosmopolitan among us call it, a good old fashioned meat and cheese platter. Charcuterie platters are a great way to put together an appetizer (or a meal) of delicious tasty food, without too much preparation on your part. While you can always just slam some of your favourite meats and nibbles onto a board and call it a charcuterie plate, putting together a truly spectacular board is worth the effort. Here are the elements to make your next charcuterie offering a show-stopper:

1. Meat

The meat needs to be the star of the show — the word “charcuterie” refers to the preparation of the meats. Don’t skimp out on quality here, look for specially prepared sausage and deli-meat and go for a variety of interesting flavours. Choose at least one fairly spicy meat, something milder, and a couple of things in between. Aim for traditional charcuterie varieties like dry-cured salami, prosciutto, or chorizo. You don’t have to go crazy, but make sure you have enough meat for all of your guests (about 55 to 85 g per person) and enough variety to keep everyone happy. If you’re feeling adventurous, add in a nice terrine or jellied meat.

2. Cheese

Again, the keys here are quality and variety. Choose both cheeses that are mild enough to complement the meat and those that are strong enough to be eaten on their own. Have at least one soft cheese and one harder cheese and make sure you include something blue.

3. Breads

This is the last absolute must-have: you need a vehicle for the meats and cheese to find their way to your mouth. Fresh sliced baguette is a good choice, as are artisanal crackers with fruit or nuts baked in — though make sure the flavour of the crackers won’t overpower the other ingredients.

4. Condiments

Here’s where we get fancy! A little smear of mustard or a dollop of fig or berry jam will elevate the flavours of the meat and cheese. Put a couple little pots of condiments on your platter, or if it’s a thick mustard, smear it directly onto the board.

5. Olives and pickles

A little bit salty, a little bit sour, olives and pickles make a great addition to a charcuterie board. Choose plain green or black olives, olives stuffed with garlic or peppers for some extra zip, or an olive tapenade to spread on the crackers. When it comes to pickles, super high quality cornichons are my favourite.

6. Go wild!

From there, feel free to put anything sweet or savory on your platter that will draw out flavours in the meat and cheese. I’ve seen charcuterie boards with pieces of honeycomb, pistachios, roasted almonds, figs, slices of pear and apple, prosciutto-wrapped melon, and even chunks of chocolate.

The best whiskey in the world is from Japan

This isn’t playing well in Scotland

Whisky expert Jim Murray described the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 as a drink of “near incredible genius”, awarding it 97.5 marks out of 100 in the 2015 World Whisky Bible.

To add insult to injury it is the first time in the Whisky Bible’s 12-year history that a Scottish malt has failed to make the top five drams. It is also the first year that a Japanese whisky claimed the highest accolade.

Mr Murray, who oversees the review that samples over 4,500 different whiskies, labelled the results a “wake up call” for Scottish distilleries, claiming the winner was “a single malt which no Scotch can at the moment get anywhere near”.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jalapēno Pollo Fajita Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Jalapeño flavor
  • shredded cheese lettuce, chopped
  • green onions , chopped
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • olives , chopped
  • flour tortillas 

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken breasts in lime juice, water and garlic. Broil or grill chicken; slice thinly and serve in flour tortillas with other ingredients.

Makes 8 fajitas.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ploughman's Lunch Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of cheese per person.  Many suggest English Cheddar but feel free to experiment.
  • Jar of Chutney
  • Baked Virginia Ham, thickly sliced  Other deli meats work as well.
  • Crisp apples, cut up
  • Celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise
  • Soft Hard-Boiled Eggs (see below)
  • Baby carrots
  • Loaf of crusty bread, thickly sliced (or your favourite cracker)
  • Unsalted butter, softened

Soft Hard-Boiled Eggs:

  • 6 extra large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Carefully place the ingredients on a serving plate and serve.

Soft Hard-Boiled Eggs:

  1. Place the eggs a large saucepan and cover them with cool tap water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs from the saucepan and immediately place them in a bowl of cold water until they are completely cool.
  3. Remove the shells, slice each egg in half lengthwise, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

How to make the perfect cheese plate

Choose a variety of cheeses.  Choose an older, firmer cheese (such as sharp cheddar), a soft, fresher cheese (such as brie), a goat’s milk cheese, and a blue cheese.  Jordon loves a marble and a swiss.

Serve with plain crackers or bread. Don’t use breads or crackers that have spices in them...it will interfere with the flavoring of the cheese.  Add foods like apples, grapes, pears, olives, and nuts.   Chutneys, jams, and honey are also good.

A good rule of thumb is two ounces of each cheese per person. Arrange the cheese on a plate from mildest to strongest. If you’re not sure which is strongest, smell it. Stinkier cheeses are usually stronger tasting. Serve at room temperature for fullest flavour.