Saturday, January 30, 2010

Roasted Applesauce

I think I'm beginning to get a little bit of an applesauce obsession. Whenever there's a large quantity of apples in my house, the thought of warm, sweet, and comforting applesauce pops into my brain! I've also begun thinking of all different types of variations on the traditional applesauce. Apple and pear, apple and cranberry, apple and raspberry...oh my! That list could go on forever! This time though, I made a fairly traditional applesauce, but, instead of making it all on the stove like I did last time, I roasted my apples in the oven first. Roasting the apples in the oven allows them to caramelize, resulting in a more complex and overall delicious flavour. Because this applesauce has many dimensions of flavour, it tastes great on its own, but why not top off your next batch of potato latkes! I know that's what I did!

about 10 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1/4 cup orange juice
5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425º. Combine orange juice, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium-sized baking dish.

2. Place apple quarters in dish and top with small pieces of butter.

3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until apples are soft.

4. Using a potato masher, mash the apples in the same baking dish until you have reached your desired consistency. Stir in cinnamon. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Game Day Dishes

Next Sunday marks the Super Bowl XLIV, and while I'm not big on the football part of the Super Bowl, I am certainly a fan of the food that accompanies it! The Super Bowl just wouldn't be the same if it weren't for all of the tasty treats that go along with it, so here are some links to recipes to make your Super Bowl Sunday a stand-out occasion!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

One of my best friends is my sister if you know me and haven't spoken to me recently, you may find this a bit odd. The truth is, my sister and I didn't always get along. Growing up we were like two peas in a pod, always together, best friends, but as we grew older and went through changes in our lives, we began to drift apart. Going through that rift was torturous! Two redheads should never fight, because let me tell you, everything they have said about redheads having a bad temper is absolutely correct! This rift between us went on for years, and it was only until very recently (within the past two months!) that we put everything behind us and have begun getting along just as we used to! I cannot tell you how much happier I have been having my best friend back. Justine is such an incredible and unique person that I am so proud to call my sister!

But just as Justine and I began getting along, she finally found the perfect little apartment to rent with her boyfriend. As sad as I am to have Justine move out, and as weird as it is for my little sister to be moving in with a boy, I am so happy to see her so excited to have her very own place! My sister and her boyfriend can party like champs (seriously I don't know how they do it!), so clearly they had to celebrate their new home by throwing a housewarming party!

Justine's all-time favourite dessert is Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies, so I could think of no better treat to make Justine and her boyfriend for their party! Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies are dense semi-sweet chocolate brownies with ribbons of velvety cheesecake marbled within the batter. Chocolate chips are scattered whole through the batter, giving texture to the squares as well as incredibly chocolaty bites! After you try these, they will surely become a favourite of yours as well!

I love you so much Justine and I don't want you to ever forget it! You mean the world to me and you truly are the best sister I could ever ask for. I love you up to the sky and back again! xo - Stink

1 package (250 g) of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1 package (280 g) of chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg until smooth.

2. Make a double boiler by placing a bowl over a pot of about 1 inch of simmering water on the stove. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips with the butter in the bowl over the pot of water.

3. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 eggs until well blended.

4. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir in remaining chocolate chips into cream cheese. Pour evenly over chocolate mixture in pan.

6. Top with remaining chocolate mixture. Run a knife through the pan back and forth to create a marble effect.

7. Bake in a 350º oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool, and cut into squares.

Click here to check out Justine's blog!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ginger Rose Joins the Lion's Den University!

I am very excited to announce that I have joined the team at the Lion's Den University in a new column Spooning With Ginger, bringing you student-friendly recipes every Wednesday! Check out my first article on Maple Glazed and Citrus Herb Salmon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Brie in Puff Pastry with Port Glazed Caramelized Onions

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years Eve and have already made 2010 their best year yet! For New Years Eve this year, a friend of mine had a low key gathering with great people, food, drinks, and games. I have done both the bar and club thing in years past, and have realized that the best New Years parties tend to be the more low key ones. I would much rather go to someone's house and hang out with a few great people than go to an overcrowded club filled with sweaty, drunk strangers, bad music, and no coat check and end up stranded, unable to get a cab...yes, I am recalling a past experience. So my friends small house party was just perfect!

I wanted to contribute to the party by bringing party horns, sparklers, glow stick straws, and, of course, food! I enjoyed my Baked Caramelized Onion Brie in Puff Pastry from Christmas so much that I decided to make it again. Because I had just made it a week earlier, I wanted to make it slightly different. A few months ago I tried the best caramelized onions I have ever eaten at a restaurant. What made the onions so special was that they were cooked with port wine. I just had to duplicate that! Although the difference in flavour was subtle, it made all the difference to me! The subtle flavour of port added a whole new dimension to the dish! I also used a smaller wheel of brie, which allowed me to have leftover scraps of puff pastry. Nothing goes to waste in my house, so I cut out a star shape using a cookie cutter out of the leftover pastry, as well as lines to create a sort of shooting star look. Using an egg wash, I attached the shooting star to the top of my wrapped brie, and TA DA! I now had the most festive looking brie I've ever seen!
Tip: Make the onions a day ahead to save on time. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
1 wheel of brie (5 - 8 inches in diameter)
1 - 1 1/2 onions, chopped or sliced
about 1 tbsp port wine
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten (optional)

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until they have reached a brown colour. Add the port and scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the liquid has dissolved and the onions have darkened further and have become sweet and sticky. Reduce heat if burning. You want the onions to cook slowly. The entire cooking process should take about 30-40 minutes.

2. Lay out the thawed puff pastry on your work surface and flour lightly. Using a rolling pin, stretch out the pastry so that it is large enough to fully wrap the wheel of brie.

3. Using a large knife, cut the wheel of brie in half, lengthwise. Spoon the cooked onions onto one of the exposed (not the white rind) halves of brie. Place the other half on top. The onions should be in the middle of the two exposed halves.

4. Wrap the brie wheel in the puff pastry, lightly pressing the edges together. Cut off any extra pastry scraps and, using a cookie cutter, cut shapes out of the scraps. Place the wrapped brie on a baking sheet, seam side down. You may brush your pastry with the beaten egg at this point for a shiny finish. Add the pastry shapes on top of the wheel and brush with more egg wash. The egg wash adds a shiny finish and acts as a glue for the pastry shapes.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned in a 350º oven. Serve hot out of the oven with fresh bread and crackers.