Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

I’ve been making a lot of pies lately, mostly because it is easy to bring the pie together when all the boring prep work is done beforehand. The making of the whole pie itself is pretty time-consuming, but what I love is that the process can be broken down.  The pie crust can easily be made ahead and frozen and then baked when needed. Whatever vegetable puree you use can also be made ahead of time and frozen and then defrosted. Baking doesn’t really count as work; you get to go lie down or watch TV while the oven does all the work. Really, making the filling takes about five minutes. 


Today I used purple sweet potato (the skin of the potato is purple; the flesh is yellow—makes me think of Barney and Big Bird). I had yet another pie crust in my freezer (from when Suzy and I made the banana cream pie for our culinary arts summative). Today, I pulled it out of the freezer and baked it. Then I mixed the filling, all five ingredients worth, and poured it back into the pie and shoved everything into the oven. The oven did all the work and an hour later, I had this magical pie which tasted almost like pumpkin pie, but naturally sweeter and creamier and richer.


The hardest part of this pie would be roasting the sweet potatoes for the filling. Again, this isn’t active work, but it does take a while. 

Garage Sale

Last year, my friends and I volunteered at a community garage sale. I love garage sales; finding neat knickknacks and even greater prices. I volunteered last year, but this year the volunteer coordinator didn’t reply to my email in time (I shouldn’t be surprised, she very, very rarely replies to any of our emails), so I decided to just take the day off to go to the garage sale.


I was pretty excited to go to the garage sale; last year, my best friend Jennifer and I had bought a ton of books after we finished volunteering. Of course, the carrying of the books home in a cardboard box wasn’t so great. We ended up collapsing in exhaustion on somebody’s lawn while that somebody stared at us suspiciously. Cue the hysterical laughter that often comes over extremely weary people and we were pretty sure that guy thought we were high. But we weren’t, really. 


This year, I went with my younger brother Kyle. He was grumpy at first, since he hadn’t been able to sleep in, but all his sleepiness evaporated when he found a typewriter for five dollars. I ended up buying a whole box filled with books, two decorative clay jars from a tiny pottery village named Korond in Romania, a blue jar which had come from England, and some new napkins. And a PIZZA STONE—how could I have forgotten about the glorious pizza stone? I was elated when I saw a next-to-new pizza stone at the garage sale because I had been looking for one to bake bread (and pizza) on for a while.


I assumed that these jars were vases, so I had placed flowers in them; I changed my mind when I realized that the water was seeping out of the clay and staining my kitchen countertop an unsightly yellow colour. I guess these jars are truly for decoration purposes only. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Bread Pudding

Today, I went out for lunch with two of my friends, Jonathan and Shaun. We hadn’t gone out for lunch together in a while so we decided to go to our favourite sushi place for a couple rolls.


Jonathan is one of the nicest people I know and he’s been one of my best friends since eighth grade. We live in the same area(-ish) so we go home together a lot. I’ve always wanted a best friend who lived next door and since my previous neighbours, whom I was good friends with, moved away three summers ago, Jonathan is the next best thing.

Shaun is the guy who works at McDonalds. He works at McDonalds but we actually respect him for having a job. I know my little brother Kyle respects him (even though the first time Kyle met Shaun was in the boys’ bathroom...) for getting a job just after turning fifteen; Kyle’s told me more than once that he wants to work this summer. Shaun is also the one who I can count on whenever I need help with a club bake sale or fundraiser. He’s the reliable one.


So as we were making our way to the sushi place, I told them about the delicious bread pudding I’d made the night before.

“Hey guys, guess what?” I said, with a smile on my face (I can’t help it; talking about food makes me happy). “I made bread pudding last night.”


Jonathan made a noncommittal response. “Mhmm,” he replied. He had probably lost interest after I said “bread pudding,” but I took it as a sign to continue. I talked animatedly, describing how surprised I was that the bread pudding tasted so good, having been made with half a stale baguette. Jonathan nodded absently while Shaun began talking to him about some video game.   

I sighed and asked Jonathan what I had just said. His eyes took on a look of slight panic as he glanced at Shaun and then back at me.

“Um,” he said, “You were talking about how the bread pudding tastes good.” Then he turned his attention back to Shaun. 


I rolled my eyes. He’d gotten the answer right, but I couldn’t blame him for not clinging onto my every word. I often tuned out whenever Shaun and Jonathan talked about video games, which I had no interest in. Of course, I’m sure Jonathan and Shaun would have been more hooked had I mentioned that I would give some pudding to them...

Click below for the recipe.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

I love eating, baking, and cooking and I’ll use anything as an excuse to do those things. 


If you’re birthday is coming up, you can probably expect a batch of Fudgy Brownies to make your special day a little brighter. Birthdays are meant to be indulgent, and you’re so skinny that you can consider eating at least seven brownies before giving the rest away to your younger siblings.

If I owe you a favour, don’t be surprised if I decide to reciprocate with a batch of Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. In my opinion, Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies make a good return favour.


If you’ve lent me something, like a camera, you can probably expect some Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies in your mailbox along with a heartfelt thank you. I’m a monster with my camera and I would never lend it out to anyone (because it’s as good a camera as I’ve got since I don’t have a DSLR yet, sigh) so you lending your camera to me means a lot. Yup, I see those cookies making their way over real soon.

Of course, if you’re someone who helped my friend Suzy and I film our culinary arts summative, as well as lending us your camera, then you deserve a huge cake. Yes, Johnnie, I’m going to bake you a huge cake... for your birthday—unless you’d rather have some Kraft Dinner.


Kraft dinner aside, Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies are definitely in order. These cookies are chewy and soft, just as they claim to be. The punch of ginger melds so perfectly with the deep, robust flavour of the molasses. A classic elegant winter cookie, yes, but it’s seeing the light of spring.

Thanks for helping us film our summative and letting us borrow your camera, Johnnie. (:

Click below for the recipe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roasted Garlic Breadsticks

It's the end of May and we’re on the home stretch with everyone desperately trying to finish off lingering assignments and summatives. It’s shouldn't come as a surprise that the photography studio is packed with people shooting, processing, and printing afterschool, yet it did. After the last bell rang, I headed straight to the studio to process the roll of film I’d shot on Saturday. The studio which had been so serene the week before was bustling with people.


Long story short, my film didn’t develop properly. To say I was upset was an understatement. My summative was due in less than a week, and I was back to square one with no prints, no negatives, and no props (because I’d eaten them). Dejectedly, I left the studio with my friends Jonathan and Raymond, who were waiting for me so we could walk home together. While walking through the school, I contemplated when I would have the time to reshoot my summative. I frowned; there just wasn’t any time left. I decided that there was no time like the present, waved goodbye to Jonathan and Raymond and went to Pusateri’s to buy some more croissants and baguettes.

After I reshot, I realized that I still hadn’t finished eating the baguette from Saturday let alone the one I’d bought today. I spread some of the leftover lemon sage compound butter on top of a few fresh baguette slices and served those to my brother. No one likes eating dry three-day-old bread, so I had to devise a way to make it edible. The answer: garlic breadsticks. 

baguette slices with lemon sage compound butter.


These breadsticks that are literally made from bread. They taste a lot like croutons (the best part of any salad, besides the bacon) and can be served with soups and other dishes. The best part is that the minced garlic roasts, losing the sharp bite, and develops even more flavour as the bread toasts.

Click below for the recipe.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lobster with Lemon Sage Compound Butter

I rarely ever sit down on the couch just to watch TV. The only time the TV is on is when I’m eating, cooking, or baking in the kitchen and the only channel that is playing besides the news is Food Network. It’s usually used as partial entertainment to enhance whatever I’m already doing. Such was the case last Saturday morning when I was enjoying a hearty bowl of cereal to the background noise of Chuck’s Day Off. While Chuck was wrestling a lobster, I was engrossed in my quinoa puffs, chewing thoughtfully. My dad came into the kitchen and after watching Chuck steam the lobster, he asked to change the channel. I said sure and left the room.


Today, my dad came home with a live lobster. He asked me, “Do you remember how long that guy steamed the lobster for?”

I smirked. We’d watched the show over a week ago but obviously, that was where my dad had drawn inspiration. “Eight minutes,” I replied.

“Okay, then we’ll steam this guy for ten,” he said, referring to how large the lobster was.



So we had lobster for dinner. I whipped up a lemon sage compound butter to serve with the lobster. The compound butter was good, light and herby, but I found that I don’t much enjoy the taste or texture of lobster. It’s just so... rubbery. And I can’t seem to eat things that I had become acquainted with while they were alive. Having to kill something makes it a lot harder to eat. Maybe I’ll become a vegetarian... 


Click below for the recipe.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chestnut Pie

The first time I ever drove to a decided destination for a specific reason was to deliver a slice of homemade chestnut pie to my grandmother. The look on her face was priceless when she saw me, and not my mother, in the driver’s seat. She congratulated me on learning to drive and I smiled abashedly. When you're sixteen, driving is kind of a big deal. It's the rite of turning sixteen, of growing up. This was the first time I'd driven somewhere (i.e. not in pointless circles practicing my right turn) and the chestnut pie seemed a worthy reason of such an occasion.



When I got home, I sat down and enjoyed a slice of pie myself. It was probably the most delicious pie I had ever tasted. Ever. Served with a pillow of  whipped sweetened cream and freshly grated nutmeg, you would think you'd died and went to heaven. I’m probably a little biased because I love chestnuts, but even my brothers liked the pie; the entire pie was gone within a day. Preparing chestnuts for the purpose of baking is no easy feat, but totally worth it. Chestnut puree freezes wonderfully and can be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. 


But I'm the impatient type and I usually don't even bother with thawing the puree overnight. Such was the case the other day, when I unearthed a container of chestnut puree from the back of my basement freezer. What to make was a question that answered itself when my eyes fell on the frozen homemade pie crust which had also been sitting in my freezer. It was a match made in heaven and there was no way I was going to wait for the puree to defrost overnight; I set it in the microwave let the box do its thing.



Click below for the recipe. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ribboned Asparagus Salad with Lemon

In celebration of my summer co-op placement acceptance, my mom took me grocery shopping at the nearby supermarket. This probably sounds more like a chore than a treat to most people, but I love going grocery shopping with my parents, especially my mom. It means that I get to help choose what we’re having for dinner. It also means that I can help my mom buy things that I actually want to eat—I’m a little bit of a picky eater.



I wandered the supermarket, taking in the plethora of different colours of the produce aisle. My eyes landed on the columns of green asparagus and I had a sudden flash of inspiration. A couple days ago, I had come across a recipe for ribboned asparagus with lemon. The salad intrigued me; I had never tried eating asparagus raw.


I picked up a couple pounds of asparagus, a block of my favourite hard cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, and headed home, hoping that the lemon I remembered seeing tucked into the far corner of the fridge was not yet rotten. As luck would have it, the lemon was fine to use, so I attempted to recreate the asparagus salad with a few changes of my own.


I used Parmigiano Reggiano instead of parmesan, lemon zest, as well as juice, and omitted the pine nuts and almonds. The result: a salad that is as light and fresh as it looks to be. The raw asparagus had a pleasingly different taste and texture from the cooked version. The asparagus flavour was more pronounced and the texture was decidedly crisper. The lemon brightened the different elements of the salad while the shaved cheese added some richness and nuttiness. A liberal grind of black pepper tied all the flavours together to complete the palette of the salad.

Click below for the recipe. 

Summer Co-op (Part 1)

A couple months ago, I was in a state of total confusion. It was mid February and course selection for the following school year was just a couple weeks away. I was having a lot of trouble choosing my courses for the pivotal junior year, despite having made multiple appointments with my guidance counsellor. We talked about the different course I could take in grade eleven, but no matter what he said, in the end, the choice was up to me. I couldn’t decide between taking a two-credit co-op or photography and an introduction to anthropology, psychology, and sociology; I’m the kind of person who wants to do everything. I debated the idea of going to summer school in June, which still would have only allowed me to take one of the two. After a long discussion, my guidance counsellor informed me, “You know that you can take summer co-op, right?”


 
I shook my head no. “Summer co-op?” I repeated, already warming up to the idea. I figured that if I took summer co-op, I’d be able to take two courses during the school year while doing something I enjoyed during the summer.

“Yes,” my guidance counsellor replied. He told me that the forms would be available in the following weeks and I quickly thanked him and left. He couldn’t have mentioned the summer co-op option at the beginning of our discussion...

In March, the summer co-op forms arrived and I diligently filled them out. Summer co-op is different from regular school-year co-op; it’s more competitive as there are 300 placements but around 500 students who want to participate in the program. There are two rounds of interviews. The first interview determined whether one got into the program or not and the second interview would be with the potential employer at the potential placement.

Yesterday, I skipped last period to prepare for my second interview. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as nervous as I had been for the first round, which in retrospect should have been the simpler of the two. I went home and fixed myself some of my mom’s beef vegetable soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. In my haste, I had turned the heat up too high and ended up burning both sides of the sandwich. Not the tastiest thing, unless you like half-burnt food like my aunt.

My hunger satiated, I began to think about what I was going to say in my interview. I reviewed my mental notes on the way to the bakery, trying to focus myself on the task at hand. My mind drew up blank. I had no idea what to say about myself. I really wanted to work in a bakery, but I couldn’t seem to arrange the words in my head as to explain why. I arrived there with five minutes to spare, so I decided to try to collect my thoughts before heading in. No such luck; after two minutes, I just decided to go in and get it over with.

The moment I entered the door, my nervousness evaporated. This was my one shot to impress my potential employer and my mind was ready to just let all the anxiety go. Baking was something I could do and I could do relatively well; the one thing, if above all else, that I didn’t need to be nervous about. Thirty minutes later, I was accepted for the placement.

I was ecstatic; this would be my first job experience. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up—the kitchen is going to be really hot in the summer and my employer had told me that my job would most likely consist of scooping cookie dough—but I can’t help but be excited. This will be the first summer that I’m doing something that I actually want to do. My last two summers were spent studying music history, which one should never study unless he or she actually has an interest in the subject. I remember wanting to tear my hair out from all the studying I did.

This summer is going to be different; I just have a feeling. This summer is going to be all about me and doing things that I want to do. I’ll finally have the time to slow down and just smell the flowers.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Steak with Steamed Garlic Broccoli and Sautéed Onions

My parents are pretty liberal; they leave me and my brothers to our own devices while still caring enough to provide us with everything we need, like regular meals. Whenever they go out, it’s expected that we take care of making dinner and washing the dishes. We usually eat steak when our parents aren’t home. Searing a steak and steaming some vegetables is pretty simple so I don’t really mind making dinner. My younger brother Kyle helps me in the kitchen and my older brother volunteers to wash the dishes afterwards. It works out pretty well because I can make as big a mess as I want and not have to clean it up afterwards I dislike washing dishes and my older brother doesn’t cook much.


Searing two ½-inch thick steaks takes about 1 ½ minutes per side. The onions cook in the time the steaks take to finish cooking in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven, which is about 15 minutes. The broccoli takes about 15 minutes to steam. Between me and Kyle, we can probably get dinner on the counter (we never eat at the dinner table unless our parents are eating with us) within half an hour. Had I been preparing dinner alone, it would definitely take almost an hour to produce the same meal. Ah, the power of teamwork. 


Click below for the recipe. 

Easy No Machine Banana Bailey's Chocolate Ice Cream

Okay, so maybe I’m only sixteen years old and a little too young to drink, but I’ve had enough sips of Bailey’s Irish Cream to know that I like it a lot. Bailey’s straight from the bottle is a little too strong for my taste, so I usually mix it with a little milk to cut through the richness of the cream and alcohol. My entire body warms as the liquid glides down my throat, the rich, dark, caramel-like flavour hitting every taste bud.


My infatuation with Bailey’s manifested a couple years ago with Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Bailey’s Irish Cream Ice Cream. It was love at first spoon. The ice cream was rich and smooth and tasted of Bailey’s without being overpowering. It was love at first taste.


Up until a couple months ago when my best friend Jenny bought an ice cream machine, I’d viewed ice cream as a novelty that only people with (unnecessary, as my mother put it) expensive ice cream machines could make. I didn’t have the patience to even attempt it— the alternative method consisted of putting the ice cream in the freezer and stirring it every hour. So the day before I went to Jenny’s house to make frozen yogurt, I googled ice cream recipes. To my surprise, I found a recipe for no-machine required chocolate ice cream from David Lebovitz. I was intrigued by his promise of a perfectly creamy ice cream without the use of an ice cream machine. I made a batch of the ice cream immediately. The ice cream was rather soft and tasted much too strongly of rum, but the texture was surprisingly smooth for an ice cream frozen without stirring.


The next day, I made a second batch of ice cream with a slightly different alcohol ratio. In a day’s time, the ice cream froze into a considerably smooth dessert. The level of sweetness from the bananas was just right, and the alcohol was strong, but not overwhelmingly so. Banana Bailey's chocolate Ice cream became my new favorite frozen dessert.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper, Onion, and Tomato Rotini

There's nothing amiss with a good tomato sauce, but for special occasions like Mother's Day, I like to make something a little more unique a flavorful.

Roasting the vegetables before puree them into a sauce adds so much flavor and body which jarred tomato sauces lacks. This might not be the most convenient pasta sauce, but so worth it.


Click below for the recipe.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pink Beet Soup


I love the intense colour of beets: the deep purple which stains your hands a rosy shade of pink and cooks into a rich red.


This soup is a refreshing change in both colour and taste from the typical butternut squash soup, whether it is served cold or hot. I liked it hot, but it still tastes exquisitely smooth and velvety when it’s chilled. The bright punch of colour is what I like the most next to the taste and texture; the soup is literally bright pink.

Mother's Day

I love my mom more than anything in this world. She’s done so much for me, day after day after day, for the last sixteen years of my life. All the childhood years go without saying, but my mom still takes care of my brothers and me, even though we’re old enough to take on some of that responsibility. She cooks all our meals, does the dishes, and drives us wherever we need to go.

Whenever Mother’s Day rolls around every year, I tell myself that I’m going to be a better daughter and start picking up some of the slack. And I do try; I do all my dishes after I’m done eating or baking, I do my own laundry, and I try to get to wherever I want to go by myself. But honestly, I don’t have the time and energy to take care of myself. Between school, clubs, homework, and other things on my perpetually long to-do list, I feel like I barely have enough time to sleep, which even my super-awesome mom has noticed. She’s always telling me to go to sleep earlier and doing the dishes/laundry/whatever other chore I needed to get done for me so that I can finish my homework and hit the hay. I love my mom for all these things she does for us, but above all, I love her for all the love she’s given us over the years and for listening and trying to understand us.

This Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something special for my mom, so I decided to make dinner for my family and clean up the dishes afterwards. After kicking my parents out of the kitchen, I enlisted my brothers to help me prepare the meal. It’s not easy to get them to help me in the kitchen, but they try to make an effort when it’s a special family occasion. My older brother bought flowers for my mom.

“So what do I need to do?” he asked.

“Dishes,” I replied.

He declared that he had done the dishes that had been left in the sink that morning and that we could just take his name of the card because he’d rather not do the dishes.  

Luckily, my younger brother Kyle was a lot more helpful. We made pink beet soup, roasted red pepper, onion, and tomato sauce for pasta, and honey tapioca pudding. Originally, I had planned to make a lasagne with homemade sage pasta. I found out the hard way that attempting to make pasta without a pasta roller is a very exhausting and time-consuming process. It makes me wonder how people ever got by without the technology we have today.

 I wiped my brow from all the exertion it had taken just to roll out half of my pasta dough into irregularly thick squares of pasta noodles. I despaired at the thought of having to repeat the process of rolling out the other half of the dough and decided to just throw in the towel and use dry pasta. 

When my parents came home, they found me amidst my pasta crisis, flour all over my hands and arms and streaking my face. My mom offered to help cook the salmon teriyaki. At first, I felt like I’d failed at making a special dinner for her. It was nearing 7:30 and only the soup and pasta sauce was done. But after a while, I accepted her help wholeheartedly; I realized that she was genuinely trying to help me and that she didn’t expect me to be able to throw a four course meal onto the table by myself. All the pressure I was under had come from my need to be as perfect as possible.

My dad came into the kitchen, presumably to help, and began poking at the pasta. I groaned. At my house, we tend to let failed food items sit on the counter for a while before throwing them out. It’s hard to throw out food when we’ve wasted it, so we take care of it after we’ve eaten. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted with the pasta dough and he lit up and began rolling the rest of the dough out. My dad’s the type of person who asks all my friends whether they’re hungry or not the moment they sit down when they come over. Then he offers to fix them something to eat, regardless of whether they respond that they are hungry or not. (Jenny would know this). He likes cooking and occasionally throwing things together and I sensed that the pasta was going to end up “casually thrown-together” with some other food.

As I helped my dad roll out the pasta, he whipped up a quick pork filling for dumplings. My mom laughed and rolled her eyes. I laughed too when I saw the fat, scrunched up pouches, bursting with cooked meat. I learned a really important lesson on Mother’s Day. Family support and help each other and try to turn mistakes into things we could laugh about and learn from.

 I love my family and I love my mom. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brownie Cupcakes

Ah, Friday, the last day of the week. It’s the day where you can’t help but feel tired, physically and mentally, from the days before. It’s the day when you apparently yawn so much that it becomes a “problem” for your English teacher so she asks you to go for a walk (as if that makes any sense). It’s the day that my best friend Jenny usually comes over to catch up, hang out, or bake. Jenny has singing lessons in the evening and her teacher lives a couple blocks away from where I live, so we chill beforehand.




On Friday, I decided to visit Jenny instead, partially because it’s not fair that she’s the one that visits me all the time and partially because I needed her to help me with my photography summative. We had planned to shoot outside, but by the time I knocked on her door, I was already wet from the light drizzle, so we decided to just hang out inside instead.
 


For us, hanging out is akin to eating and baking. Sometimes, Jenny comes over and makes chocolate chip cookies. Not because I want to eat them, but because she just feels like it. That’s just how we are. On Friday, we decided to make chocolate brownies. We didn’t have the correct size baking pan, so Jenny came up with the genius idea to use muffin tins and make cupcake brownies.



Deliciously fudgy and chocolate-y, these brownies don’t resemble the cupcakes in any way—besides that they were baked in the same muffin tin. Brownie cupcakes are substantial, like three good old-fashioned double chocolate cookie compressed into one flat little brownie/cupcake. If you can handle that much chocolate-y goodness in one brownie cupcake, then you are a true chocolate-lover.  



The thing I love the most about this recipe is that it produces the fudgy-est, chewiest brownies ever. And it’s a one saucepan deal—no extra bowls and cups to wash. However, I do want to warn you that reading the rest of this post may ruin your image of the perfect brownie. There’s a reason these brownies are so rich and fudgy: they have a ton of butter, sugar, and eggs, the three things anyone trying to avoid cardiac arrest on a diet would avoid like the plague. 

 
I liked the brownies, but I couldn’t eat more than two because they were so rich and sweet. My brother Kyle loved these brownies—the kid is as skinny as a metre stick, so it’s fine for him to ingest four of these brownie cupcakes, but my parents were more discerning. My mom ate one and claimed she had a toothache from all the sugar and my dad just didn’t eat past the first bite. “Your brownies are good,” my mom said, “but only for children who want to get cavities.”

Click below for the recipe.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tiramisu

A lot of people I know like coffee. Last year, I had this teacher who actually asked students to buy her coffee from the cafeteria while we were supposed to be in class. She doesn’t teach at our school anymore (but not for that reason...) I’m not a big fan of coffee (I’m still vainly hoping that I’ll grow a couple more inches) but I love ice cappuccinos and coffee-flavoured sweets.


Coffee, cream, and cake; need I say more? Creamy, sweet, and cool, tiramisu is a dessert in its own name. Lady fingers and stale cake just don’t do justice for such a rich concoction. Garnished with cocoa powder, each bite of cream and coffee-infused cake is like a wake-up call to the senses.



Tiramisu is generally seen as a refrigerator cake designed to revitalize stale cake. I usually use lady fingers instead of cake, but this time, I decided to go the extra mile and actually bake a cake for the sole purpose of making tiramisu. I made a pound cake, which tasted delicious, but my family members mentioned that the cake was a tad bit too dense in comparison with the cream. I kind of liked that the pound cake had body and structure; I've found that tiramisus made with softer cakes tend to lack definition between the cream and the cake.

As requested by my mom, I made another tiramisu using a small sponge cake bought from a bakery. My mom and my brother Kyle liked the softer cake and even I thought it tasted pretty good. Only the test of time will tell whether the sponge cake can hold up to the heaviness of the cream.


Anyone who has made a tiramisu will know that although it makes use of stale cake, it’s not a cheap dessert. The last time I bought a half-litre tub of mascarpone is a cheese, it cost $9.00. Mascarpone tastes like heavy cream, but even richer and with a sweet note. It’s deliciously smooth and thick, but at $9.00 a pop, I can’t afford to make tiramisu more than a couple times a year.

So instead of mascarpone, I used a combination of whipped cream and cream cheese. Although the cream tastes a little different from real mascarpone, it’s still quite delicious. It is whipped cream after all and whipped cream tastes good with practically everything.

Click below for the recipe. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Petite Thuet

In my experience, early Sunday mornings are for one of two things: catching up on some sleep and lying in bed until noon or eating brunch sweets at a little cafe midtown. Usually, it’s the first option, but yesterday, I took the path of the latter. I love sleep, but occasionally, my sense of adventure takes over.


On Sunday, my best friend Jenny and I went to Petite Thuet. The bakery is located in the heart of Rosedale and has a certain Parisian ambience. It took all my willpower not to buy a croissant, as I had already eaten a pain au chocolat. Instead, I decided to settle for a smaller treat. After much deliberation, I finally decided on a salted caramel-flavoured macaron. Crisp on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle, and filled with a salted caramel, the macaron was gone in two bites. The heavenly morsel of meringue melted in my mouth and I sighed in pleasure. The macaron was expensive, but worth every penny.


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