Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

This Saturday marks Earth Hour 2010, a darkened hour where the world is able to visually express their support for our beautiful earth. On Saturday March 27th at exactly 8:30 PM (local time) please show your support for our earth by turning off all your lights for one hour. No this one hour of darkness will not result in the end to global warming, Earth Hour simply acts as a a symbol for your willingness for change. Each year as the Earth Hour movement grows, and more and more lights are turned out, it is clear to see the success of the project. More and more people around the world are becoming aware and educated on what is truly going on in this planet, and are learning the necessary steps that must be taken in order to combat the negative influences that are affecting our planet.

Earth Hour can be much more than just an hour in the dark. Treat your Earth Hour as a celebration! Last year I suggested you have fun with your Earth Hour by treating it as an opportunity for romance. Gather up all your candles, put together a chocolate fondue set with your favourite fruit, play some great music, open a bottle of wine, and snuggle up with your loved one. What are you doing for Earth Hour this year?

Listening to:
Simon And Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence

Powered by mp3skull.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spicy Breakfast Quesadilla

I don't know what it is, but lately I have been having this crazy obsession with breakfast foods. Don't get me wrong, I always love breakfast, but as of recently it has actually become quite an obsession. It has gotten to the point where I can't sleep at night because I am daydreaming (...or would that still be called daydreaming?) about what I'm going to make for breakfast the next day. Last night, as I tossed and turned in bed attempting to sleep, I found myself daydreaming of a spicy breakfast quesadilla. I knew that I had all the ingredients that would be perfect to create such a fabulous breakfast, so the anticipation left me awake for hours on end, just thinking about the breakfast I was sure to have the next day!

Alas, after a near sleepless night, I awoke to make my dream breakfast! So here you have it, my Spicy Breakfast Quesadillas. Creamy, crispy, cheesy, and spicy, this breakfast will keep you satisfied all the way till dinner! There are so many different flavours and textures in this dish that it will leave you thinking about having the same thing for lunch...and maybe even dinner...heck, why not for a snack as well! Mmmm you have got to try this one!

1 flour tortilla
about 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
dash of milk
pinch of red pepper flakes
a few dashes tabasco sauce
about tbsp cilantro, chopped
about 2-3 tsp jalapeno peppers, chopped
about 1 tsp scallions (green onions), chopped
about 1 tsp butter
1/4 tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to season
avocado oil or olive oil (for brushing)
sour cream

1. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the dash of milk, red pepper flakes, tabasco sauce, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, scallions and salt and pepper, and whisk together until well combined. Set aside.

2. Lay out your tortilla on a baking sheet (I used my toaster oven baking sheet), and sprinkle the shredded cheese over half of the tortilla.

3. In a non-stick skillet set at medium heat, add the butter. When butter is melted add the egg mixture and cook, using a spatula to stir until eggs are cooked.

3. Place the cooked eggs over the half of the tortilla with the shredded cheese, and top with chopped tomatoes.

4. Fold the tortilla in half so the empty side rests on top of the egg and cheese side. Brush lightly with avocado or olive oil.

5. Bake in your toaster oven until lightly crisp, golden in colour, and cheese has melted, about 4 minutes.

6. Cut in half and serve with sour cream, salsa, and more cilantro for garnish.

Listening to:
Gorillaz - White Flag

Powered by mp3skull.com

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Listening to...

Just a week away from my one year blogaversary! I can't believe how fast this year has gone by and how far I've come along in just 12 short months! In the next little while I want to actively work at improving my blog in any way I can to cater to what you want to see! Step by step I want to turn this blog into something really exceptional.

Starting today, you will see one of the first changes. I am a very creative person who thrives on having art apart of my daily life. Whether it's visual art, music, dance, etc., art must play a strong role in each day that I live. So the first small change you will see on my blog is the addition of music. Hardly a minute of my day goes by that I'm not listening to music, and I truly believe that music has been one of my greatest motivations to help me to achieve my goals. Whenever I am cooking, taking photographs, or blogging, I constantly have music playing and I now want to share that music with all of you! At the bottom of each entry that I write, I will now display the song that was most influential for me while creating that dish. My blog is very personal, and I think the addition of music will allow for you to see a little further into my creative process. I hope you like this little change! Please feel free to suggest other songs or artists you think I may like!

Listening to:
Bloc Party - The prayer

Powered by mp3skull.com

Almond Cranberry Biscotti

When people think of their favourite cookies, biscotti isn't usually what tops peoples lists. The crumbly, dry cookie, known as an accompaniment for coffee and tea often goes forgotten when people consider baking cookies. I'll admit, I've always liked biscotti, but if I ever had the option of a chocolate chip cookie or a biscotti, I would always choose the chocolate chip cookie...well, that is, until I made these!

My Almond Cranberry Biscotti is one of my favourite cookies! Unlike many biscotti, which are hard as rocks, this biscotti is more like a dense, crumbly cookie, rather than an airy, hard, dry one. The almonds give the cookies a great nutty and sweet flavour, as well as texture, while the chewy cranberries add a hint of both sweet and tart flavour. A subtle addition of orange zest makes these biscotti really stand out. The orange zest brightens up the flavour of the cookie, while remaining almost completely unnoticed. I have made these biscotti so, many times I may as well have the recipe tattooed on the back of my hand! You have got to these with your next morning coffee!
Tip: If you don't have an orange on hand for the orange zest, simply use about 2 tsp orange juice. The zest has a more pronounced flavour, but orange juice will still do the trick!
Tip: Serve these cookies at your next brunch!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp orange zest

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixture, cream the butter and sugar together, at high speed, until light in colour and the mixture does not feel gritty when rubbed between fingers.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, at low speed, until just combined. Add the vanilla and combine at low speed.

4. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the flour to the egg mixture in several small increments, while mixing at low speed. Stir until just combined.

5. Stir in the almonds, dried cranberries, and orange zest.

6. Separate the dough in half and, on a floured surface, form each half into a log of desired size (about 12 inches long).

7. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Remove from oven and transfer logs to a wire rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

9. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into slices about 3/4 of an inch thick. Lay cookies on their side on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool and serve with coffee! Store in an airtight container.

Listening to:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coconut Lime Squares

Ohhhhh my goodness! I made these so long ago and I have no idea why oh why I waited till now to post them because, boy were they good! As you may know, I went to Cuba this past December, and if any of you have been you know that the one thing you have to take advantage of (besides the sun, sand, and ocean) is the Cuban rum! My friends and I certainly took advantage of it, bringing home as many bottles as our luggage would allow! So clearly our drink of choice for our New Years celebration was rum and coke. I got a little over-excited when buying limes for our drinks, and ended up with a ton leftover, and we all know that when life hands you limes, make margaritas!....I mean....Coconut Lime Squares!

After searching around for the best lime recipe I could find, I came across this amazing sounding recipe from Epicurious. These squares have a great sweet, light and flaky crust with a tart curd filling. Some of my favourite desserts are citrus based, that have that great tart flavour complimenting the sweet, which is seriously like a match made in heaven! A hint of coconut takes these squares to a whole new level, adding a great nutty flavour as well as texture. Not only are these squares light and delicious, they are also adorable! With their soft yellow colour and a sprinkling of shredded coconut, they would look amazing served at any party!
Tip: Easter is coming up! These squares would be the perfect accompaniment to any easter spread!
Tip: Make sure you use the freshest limes as possible! Limes no longer in their prime will make this tart bitter.

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp salt

4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
1 tbsp freshly grated lime zest
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 325º. Butter and lightly flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, butter, coconut, confectioners sugar, and salt using clean fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse meal.

3. Using your hands, press mixture into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

1. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined and stir in flour, lime juice, and zest.

2. Pour mixture over crust and bake for 20 minutes. Top the curd with coconut and bake 5-10 minutes more until set. Let cool, cut into squares and serve.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Creamy Cheesy Halibut

This is one of those easy, go-to dinners that is satisfying and fast, making it a perfect weeknight dish! Light halibut is taken to a whole new level with a creamy cheesy topping, adding tons of flavour and a fantastic smooth texture. I took the recipe for Heavenly Halibut from allrecipes.com, and switched it up slightly to cater to what I had on hand. Experiment and try your own version of this tasty dinner!

2 pounds skinless halibut fillets
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 dash tabasco sauce

1. Preheat the oven to broil.

2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and tabasco sauce. Set aside.

3. In a greased baking dish, lay out the chopped onion evenly and set the halibut fillets on top.

4. Broil the halibut and onions for about 8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

5. Remove from oven and spread creamy mixture evenly over fish. Place back in oven and broil for another 2 minutes, or until slightly browned on top.