Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fusilli with Sausage Pasta

This pasta is a great mid-week dinner to make when you're short on time. Most of the ingredients are staples in most kitchens anyway, so the only thing you really need to buy in advance is a package of sausages.
Tip: Always keep a jar of roasted red peppers in your fridge or pantry. They are incredibly helpful to have on hand to add to pastas, salads, pizzas, and so much more!! I use them several times a week! You may make your own roasted peppers, but it's so much easier to just use the bought jarred ones, they taste just the same.
Note: You may use whatever type of sausage you like, but spicy tastes best in this dish.
Note: Thanks to the Mamma Rose for this recipe! :)

3 spicy Italian pork sausages
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (or more to your taste)
2 roasted red peppers
1 jar your favourite tomato sauce
375 g (or 1/2 a 750g package) of fusilli or rotini pasta
salt and pepper to taste

1. Broil whole sausages in oven (or barbeque) until cooked through and slightly crispy on the outside casing, turning once. About 20 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set at medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions appear slightly translucent.

3. In the meantime, boil a large pot of water. When boiling, add fusilli and cook as package instructs.

3. Add tomato sauce. Slice roasted red peppers and add to the sauce.

4. Once sausages are cooked through, slice and add to sauce.

5. Mix the pasta with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

April Fools!!

Oh my lovely Martha Stewart never fails me in having great ideas for every occasion! Here are some great April Fools ideas for TOMORROW! 

Molten Lava Chocolate Cakes

There are so many variations on this recipe, but the one thing that stays constant throughout is it's insanely rich and delicious chocolaty flavour! The other thing that should happen in every variation of this recipe is the incredible oozing of the chocolate as you slide your fork into the cake.  This is what this cake is known for, but unfortunately there are some recipes that fail at creating this finale.  The recipe I have provided here is super easy, and guarantees an oozing filling (as long as you don't overcook!).  
Tip: serve this recipe at a dinner party. Guests love individual desserts! 
Tip: Add fresh or frozen berries to the batter before baking to add another flavour dimention.

4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (baking chocolate works best)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
whipping cream for garnish (optional)
berries for garnish (optional) 

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF

2.  Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.  This is called a double boiler. To do this, just fill up a small pot about a quarter of the way up with water, then put a bowl on top so that it rests just above the water, or just touching the water. This ensures that you do not burn your chocolate.

3.  After butter and chocolate mixture have melted, stir in sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda, and salt.

4.  Grease 3-4 individual ramekins, and flour lightly.  Fill halfway with chocolate batter.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the sides are fully baked, but the centre is still oozing. Try really hard not to get tempted to open your oven till it is ready to come out.  These cakes are like souffles, they will sink! 

5.  Flip ramekins over onto individual plates so that the cakes will release.  Garnish with berries and whipped cream, and serve!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Christopher Walken is a God

I'm aware that calling Christopher Walken a God is a very bold statement to make, but he is one of those guys who can step into a room and all eyes are instantly on him! There is no denying his larger than life presence.  He is a great actor, comedian, and apparently makes one hell of a chicken! Don't know how many of you have seen this, it's been out for a while, but in my opinion it is well worth watching! 
Watch Christopher Walken roast a chicken!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lights Out!

This Saturday March 28, at 8:30 PM local time, marks Earth Hour, where switching off your lights for one hour acts as your vote for Earth against it's enemy Global Warming.  This is a great cause that I strongly believe that everyone should support as it affects every single person on the Earth! 

I encourage you to have fun with your Earth Hour! Turning off the lights for an hour is a great excuse for romance.  Set up a mini fondue set (you can find some for less than $10) filled with chocolate for you and your loved one to gather around.  Pair the chocolate fondue with a sweet wine to make things even more interesting.  Who needs electricity when you can have enchanting candlelight? Arrange some candles around the scene.  The flickering light of candles is much more romantic and flattering than any old light bulb.  

Who knew that taking action against global warming could be so much fun?!
Please show your commitment to the Earth by turning off your lights this Saturday. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seasonal Food Chart

Here is a great chart to have on hand to know when your favourite fruits and vegetables are in season in Ontario.  Fruit that is in season makes ALL the difference in cooking and baking, so if you are unfamiliar with the growing patterns of food in Ontario, refer to this


Here is some inspiration for your Monday blues! I wish that I could say that I made these three incredibly creative cupcakes, but sadly I cannot take credit for them.  The top slider cupcakes are from here, and the last ones, the corn on the cob cupcakes and the peas and carrots cupcakes are from good ol' Martha Stewart. If you find any other interesting cupcakes, or better yet you come up with your own, send them to me please! 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Welcome Spring!!!!

Last Friday marked the first day of Spring!!!! To welcome this beautiful season I made a tropical smoothie.  My smoothie has banana, pineapple, orange juice, and ice, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Almost any combination works so EXPERIMENT! I used fresh fruit for this one, but frozen fruit works just as well, and depending on how slushy you like your drink, sometimes even better! So the next time you see frozen fruit on sale, stock up! Smoothies are great for a healthy breakfast, snack, or a fun drink when entertaining company. 
Tip: Add a shot of rum to make this drink even more festive!
Tip: Add yogurt to add calcium and a more smooth and velvety texture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Favourite Pantry

Located on College St. West in Toronto, Pantry became one of my top new finds this past summer.  With it's trendy vintage-inspired decor, you are immediately drawn into the appeal of this "fine food take-out and gourmet grocery."  Pantry has caught onto the growing trend of local and seasonal produce, creating classic flavour combinations and dishes done to perfection!  Their menu also features many vegan and vegetarian dishes.  Not only are the dishes delicious, they are also presented beautifully.  It is clear that the owners have a great aesthetic eye, as all of their products reflect the trendy vintage atmosphere.  Although it is known as a take-out place, there is a small seating area with which you are able to watch their passionate chef at work in their open-concept kitchen.  
Be sure to check out their menu online to see what's new as it changes with each season.  Also make sure you go in the summer when they have a unique and ohhhh sooo good deconstructed vegetable lasagna.
Note: (updated April 1, 2009) Check out some recipes from Pantry in the Toronto Sun!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Newsletter and Updates

If you would like to receive e-mail updates from the site e-mail me at thisisgingerrose@hotmail.com.
Don't worry, I'm not interested in bombarding you with e-mails, just updates on new recipe additions (this includes printable versions) and the occasional newsletter. 
Above is a sample of a printable recipe that you will be able to have access to! 
Hit me up!

Food Substitutions

How many times have you been inspired to make something but you are missing one of the key ingredients in the recipe? Here is a great site to have on hand to help solve that problem! 

Nutella Cookies

I know in my last entry I said that it was time to start thinking healthy, but come on, who could resist these decadent Nutella cookies?! I can barely resist Nutella to begin with but put it in the form of a cookie and I'm a gonner!

I got the recipe from here but changed it slightly. I figured while we're going all out and making these already sinful cookies, what's another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips! Trust me, the chocolate chips make this cookie sooo much better!
Tip: If you buy the hazelnuts whole with skins on, toast them lightly and then rub them with a towel. Most of the skins will come right off and whatever is left on is ok to leave.
Note: If you don't have any unsalted butter on hand (as I did not) it is ok (although many pastry chefs would kick me for saying this) to use margarine. It tastes just as good!

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt (if unavailable, regular salt is fine)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Cream the ingredients together, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

5. Hand stir in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until JUST combined. Add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips until JUST combined.

6. Using a teaspoon measure, spoon out cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds evenly apart so they will not spread into each other when baked. Bake until lightly golden around edges, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cook.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bikini Ready Breakfast

This week marks the first week of spring and along with that comes pressure to lose that winter weight and start making healthy choices! Just because you are making healthy choices doesn't mean you can't still have a great meal, especially for breakfast.
A fruit and yogurt bowl is a healthy, yet filling breakfast that is a great way to get energized for the rest of your day! The one I have made today has berry yogurt, cottage cheese, red and green grapes, strawberries, red apple, dried cranberries, trail mix, and Kashi Go Lean cereal. Any fruit combination works and you can use whatever cereal or granola you have on hand.
Tip: This easy breakfast also makes a beautiful presentation to serve after a friend or partner has crashed at your place for the night. It's something you can whip up with whatever you have in your fridge and pantry, but with more thought than just a bowl of cereal.

Goat Cheese and Pine Nut Ravioli

Short on time and need to make an impressive meal for two? This goat cheese ravioli is just what you're looking for! There are very few ingredients, ridiculously easy to make, and most importantly they look beautiful! By substituting homemade ravioli pasta dough with store-bought wonton wrappers, you save yourself a LOT of time and energy. The wonton wrappers also means that the final product tastes much lighter than the average ravioli, which means you still have room for dessert! I got this recipe from here, but I changed it slightly to add more flavor.
Tip: Crushed Garlic - you don't have to crush fresh garlic yourself! Buying a jar of pre-crushed garlic saves time and you can keep it in your fridge to have it on hand all the time!
Tip: Crushing Pine Nuts - put your already-toasted pine nuts in a plastic bag and crush them with the bottom of a mug

3 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp parsley (preferably fresh, but dried is just fine)
1/4 cup lightly-toasted, crushed pine nuts
plus one handful of lightly toasted pine nuts for garnish
1 package square wonton wrappers
olive oil (just enough to lightly drizzle on top of finished ravioli)
pinch salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, pine nuts, and parsley until smooth; season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

2. Assemble ravioli: Arrange 6 wrappers (to start out, you can add more as you go with remaining filling) on work surface, keeping remaining wrappers covered with a damp (not soaking! Just barely wet!) towel. Spoon 1 level teaspoon filling in the center of each wrapper. With a fingertip, wet edges of wrappers with water. Fold a corner of each wrapper over filling to form a triangle, and press edges to seal. Flatten area around filling to eliminate air pockets. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (If making ahead, cover ravioli with plastic wrap; refrigerate up to 1 day.) To see how they are assembled, see this image from the site that I got the recipe from.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; reduce to a bare simmer. Drop ravioli into water, one at a time, stirring them gently to prevent sticking. Cook 5-7 minutes.

4. Using a slotted spook, transfer ravioli to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and arrange in a single layer to drain briefly. Divide between two plates and drizzle lightly with olive oil and top with toasted pine nuts. Serve!


Hey blogging world! 
My name is Danielle and I am a student with three part-time jobs living in Canada.  Although being a full-time student and working my butt off to make enough money to have a decent wardrobe (and perhaps buying a few textbooks now and then) takes up a lot of my time, I still make sure to have time for myself and my own interests.  And that my friends is going to be the subject of this blog! 

One of my most passionate interests is cooking and baking!! While there are a few people out there on my Facebook friend list who share this interest, I have found that the majority of people my age are absolutely PETRIFIED of cooking and baking! I find this very strange considering it is something that one has to be faced with on a daily basis.  Many of the people within my age group are so intimidated at the thought of turning on their stove that they opt to go out to restaurants or indulge in fast food every single meal each and every day! Now, there are some great restaurants out there, and trust me I know how satisfying a Big Mac meal can be after a long day of classes, but going out to eat that often can add up! How can you afford anything after all that?!  

I am hoping to make this blog a resource for those of you out there who fit the profile that I have just mentioned, and also for those of you out there interested in learning about some great new recipes! In addition to recipes, it's inevitable that I will want to share other things that interest me, particularly within the arts.  I can become very passionate about all things within the arts that, knowing me, I will feel the need to tell the world about a great new band I have been listening to, a beautiful photograph I found, or a store that I just can't get enough of!

As I am new to the blogging world, I warn any readers that it will take some time for me to adjust.  If you have any tips for me please feel free to write me to help, because I really don't know a whole lot about creating my own blog.

Hope you like what I have to offer!

xo Danielle