Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

"Robin! Make me something delicious!" This was the order which sparked one of the best late night snacks that I've had in a long time, not to mention a guilt free one!

Snacking is an absolute staple for any hangout with my friends, but unfortunately that often means eating terribly unhealthy right before bed...not the best idea during swimsuit season. So last night when the inevitable hunger struck, I immediately was overcome with feelings of regret...jumping the gun a bit, as I was already regretting what I thought would be another unhealthy late night snack. As my friend Robin walked into the kitchen to find something to satisfy our snack craving, I called out "Robin! Make me something delicious!", and boy did she ever! Robin, as lovely as she is, is admittedly not very well acquainted with the kitchen. Robin often eats out, and when she does have the opportunity to cook for herself, she is limited in time, which means cutting corners, resulting in cutting flavour! But last night, despite her wanting to get back to the hangout, Robin whipped up a fast, easy, and flavourful snack that left me craving it all over again for lunch today!

Robin came out with a vibrant platter full of sliced tomatoes sauteed in olive oil, with a light drizzling of balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of creamy goat cheese. Woah baby! That right there exceeded any expectations I had for my snack! It was comforting, fresh, and delicious! Robin's snack shows how easy it is to prepare a delicious dish when short on time and ingredients.

Because I woke up craving her snack this morning, I had to make a variation on it for my lunch. My Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad features the main elements of Robin's snack; tomatoes, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar; but is made more substantial with the addition of mixed greens and roasted red peppers, making this the perfect summer lunch!
Note: You can adjust the amounts of the ingredients depending on how many people you are serving and which ingredients you like best. Play around!

tomato slices
cherry tomatoes
leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme
garlic clove, roughly chopped
drizzle of olive oil
mixed greens
crumbled goat cheese
roasted red peppers, sliced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 part balsamic vinegar
2 parts olive oil,
sprinkle of brown sugar
salt and pepper

1. Scatter the tomato slices, cherry tomatoes, and garlic pieces on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and sprigs, and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Bake tomatoes in oven or toaster oven at 300º until skins on cherry tomatoes have burst., about 10 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar with the brown sugar, salt and pepper using a fork or whisk. While continuing to mix, slowly pour in the olive oil. Set aside.

4. Place your mixed greens in a bowl and top with roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese.

5. Pour the vinaigrette over the greens, toss, and season with salt and pepper.

Check out Robin's sister Jamie's fantastic blog Martha In Training!!

Listening To:
Hysteric - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Carrot Cake

Last week was my Opa's (Grandfather in German) 85th birthday. Opa didn't want to do anything too big for his birthday, he just wanted to be with his family. So for the occasion, we gathered up the whole family to take Opa out for his favourite delicacy, lobster! Lobster has got to be one of Opa's all-time favourite foods, and let's face it, who could blame him! For dessert we wanted to do something a little bit more special than just ordering dessert at the restaurant, so I decided to make Opa one of his favourite desserts, carrot cake.

This carrot cake is super simple to make, not to mention relatively healthy, and perfectly sweet and moist! It was definitely a hit! Even after the whole family was reclining in their chairs from being so stuffed from lobster, steak, and ribs, no one could turn down a slice of Opa's carrot cake!

Opa I love you so much and I hope you never forget it! I couldn't ask for a more caring, loving, and fun grandfather. Thank you for always being there for me, and especially for all of your hugs, smiles and dancing! Happy 85th birthday!

Carrot Cake
3 carrots, scraped, trimmed, and cut into chunks
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/2 lb. (125 g) softened cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Carrot Cake
1. Fit your food processor with the grater attachment, turn on and feed carrots through the feed tube to grate. Do the same with the apple chunks.

2. Measure carrots and apple to equal 2 cups, lightly packed.

3. Remove the grater attachment and fit the food processor with the steel knife. Process eggs with sugar for about 1 minute.

4. While machine is running, add oil through the feed tube, and continue processing until well combined.

5. add the carrot and apple mixture and process until combined.

6. Add the dry ingredients and process with 3 or 4 quick pulses, just until the flour has disappeared.

7. Pour batter into a greased 9" x 13" baking pan, and bake at 350º for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Icing:
1. Process the butter, cream cheese, icing sugar, and salt until smooth.

2. Lightly toast the shredded coconut in the toasted oven until lightly golden.

3. Spread icing evenly over cooled carrot cake, and sprinkle the edges with the toasted coconut.

Listening T0:
Phoenix - Armistice

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

La Bamboche: New Cake!

We have a new cake at Patisserie La Bamboche, where I work. It looks so beautiful and delicious I just had to share a photo of it with you!

Raspberry Mousse Cake
A Layer of Raspberry Mousse
on top of
A Layer of White Chocolate and Vanilla Mousse
A Lavender Madeleine Base
Mini Lavender Macaron Shells

Listening To:
Feel It In My Bones - Tiesto feat Tegan and Sara

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