Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rose's Roundup - The Dish That Keeps On Giving

Breakfast Crepes - I love when a recipe keeps on giving. Those recipes that keep on giving remind me of the children's book Something From Nothing, where the cherished blanket of a young boy keeps being reconstructed into an assortment of different keepsakes by his mother, so that he could keep fragments of his beloved blanket throughout wear and tear. It was the blanket that kept on giving. My Butternut Squash Cannelloni that I developed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada Great Cream Challenge was the type of dish that kept on giving. After making it I was left with a fridge full of goodies like ricotta cheese, fresh sage, cream, and dry pressed cottage cheese. The leftover ingredient that stood out most for me was the dry pressed cottage cheese, as it was something I don't often have on hand in my fridge, and it always reminds me of making cheese blintzes with my dad. 

With just enough pressed cottage cheese for three little bundles of cheese blintzes, I had lots of leftover crepe batter to do with as I pleased. Yet again the dish kept on giving. For the following few days I had so much fun playing around with different ways to prepare my leftover crepe batter. The standout?  Hands down, my favourite crepe dish was my button-busting breakfast crepes, that allowed me to use up just about every breakfast appropriate item found in my fridge. Filled with scrambled eggs, basil, bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions, blistered cherry tomatoes, spinach, and a prosciutto crisp for garnish, these crepes were packed with so much flavour and substance, it could have kept me full all day! 
Homemade Pizza Party - When a friend needs help perfecting a recipe, they can always count on me to come to the rescue...or at least try! When my friend David got hold of an old family recipe for a pizza that his grandmothers friend would serve at every family event, he roped me into helping him recreate the untraditional pizza that he had loved so much growing up. With little experience making pizza myself, other than the purchased dough that I sometimes turn to for convenience, this was a bit of a crapshoot for me, but I felt I was ready to take on the challenge! 

It was in the very first step that our first issue arose. Once again I am confronted with an example of "trust your instincts, Danielle." As soon as I read the packet of the instant yeast we had purchased, I thought to myself that that didn't sound quite right. Unlike the yeast that I was familiar with that you add to warm water with a bit of sugar to let sit and develop, these instructions told me to mix the yeast into 1/3 of the flour and add the warm milk to that. Despite my instincts yelling at me to do as I had always done in the past, I followed the packets instructions and continued with the recipe, allowing the dough to rest for an hour to double in size. Nope. That didn't happen. After an hour of letting the dough rest while we prepared the toppings, our dough was the exact same size. Ah well, we thought, it'll still taste good. We pressed out the dough into a square baking sheet, as Davids grandmothers friend had always done, and topped it with all of the toppings we had prepared. 

Despite the fact that the dough didn't look exactly as we thought it should, the pizza looked so damn delicious by the time we pulled it out of the oven. Bubbling and hot, we eagerly dove into our slices. Despite our crust rising issues, the texture of the dough was great, but something was wrong. There was so much flavour in each bite that I had to keep reaching for my beer...too much flavour in fact. How can you have too much flavour in a pizza? When you add more than double the amount of salt you were supposed to add you do! With almost two tablespoons of salt in our dough, it came out inanely salty. Overwhelming saltiness couldn't keep me from finishing my piece, I still enjoyed every bite! Certainly not perfect as a first attempt, but not disastrous either! I still call it a success...with room for improvement!
Hot Honey Garlic Wings - My boyfriend Chris and I love each other very much, but we have both come to terms with the fact that there will always be another love in both of our lives. For me, my second love will always be cheese, and Chris will always have a large place in his heart for hockey. Despite my initial disinterest in hockey, Chris' enthusiasm for the sport can be infectious, and although I hate to admit it, I find myself getting sucked in every now and then. With the Leafs out of the playoffs I had to find a new team to cheer for, and with Chris' hockey team, The Heisenberg's, still going strong with a 17-game winning streak and securing the title of Facility Champions for 2014, I turned into their little puck bunny cheerleader. 

I watched them destroy their opposing team in game-16 in the midst of a division tournament, and jumped up and cheered when I got the message that they had once again killed it with game-17 the following day. They had two more games to win in order to be crowned with the title of division champions, and I was sure they had it in the bag. It was when I became surrounded by a huge group of loud Quebecers up in the stands that I started to get nervous for them. The opposing team drove all the way from Quebec to play in the tournament, along with a massive squad of cheerleaders composed of family and friends. I knew these guys had to be good. Sure enough those fiesty Frenchies did the unthinkable and beat my dear Heisenberg's. 

Although we had good fun sipping beers and watching the rest of the Raptors game on a cell phone in the sun after the game, Chris was mighty bummed at his teams loss. This called for chicken wings! Lots and lots of chicken wings to drown Chris' sorrows in. Not having tried my Hot Honey Garlic Wings yet, I let my sad guy have a nap on the couch while I prepared him a huge bowl of sweet and spicy wings topped with lots of fresh cilantro and lime wedges. No, tasty wings couldn't bring the Heisenberg's back into the running, but it sure could sooth the sting of their loss. Next year the cup is yours, boys! You're gonna kill it!
Sweet Pepper Potato Salad - A few months ago my sister Justine and her boyfriend moved into a lovely little apartment on the main floor of a house that features big rooms, high ceilings, a large shared backyard, and their very own porch. There were so many positive changes to them swapping digs in their favourite neighborhood, but the place was definitely a "fixer upper." After myself, my family, and Justine and her boyfriends friends and family had spent many hours helping them out with sanding, painting, packing, moving, and so on and so forth, their place is finally the beautiful, livable apartment that we promised Justine it would be (she was definitely skeptical for a while there). The one downfall to their apartment? They have a stove, which the safety inspector feels is more appropriately called "a firetrap". From the moment I set eyes on the decrepit gas stove, I knew it was going to be trouble, something that their landlord has failed to agree with, in defiance of the warning that was issued by the inspector. So my poor sister and her boyfriend have had to indulge in restaurants and takeout for months now, which has certainly taken a tole on their wallets. 

Justine's 24th bithday at the end of April produced a bit of a savior for their current predicament. Finally being able to have outdoor space to themselves, my mom and I knew that Justine would love nothing more than a BBQ for her birthday. Thank goodness for that BBQ! Now Justine and her hubby have been able to prepare all of their meals on the grill until their stove issue gets sorted out. To celebrate the warmer weather and BBQ addition, my family and I got together at Justine's place for a good ol' fashioned BBQ of hamburgers and sausages with all the fixings. It was requested that my contribution to the BBQ be a potato salad, and with lots of potato salads in the Ginger Rose archive, I knew I would be set. I found a recipe for one of my favourite potato salads that I have posted, a Sweet Pepper Potato Salad, that is bright, colourful, and has great flavours and a texture that keeps you coming back for more! Crispy, sweet, tangy, and creamy this potato salad could win over anyone! 
Poached Egg On Toast With Asparagus - The dish that kept on giving, kept on giving to help to create this lip smacking good take on breakfast for dinner. The leftover ricotta from my Butternut Squash Cannelloni was utilized to add a punch of creaminess to this kicked-up egg and toast dish, complimenting the crispy multigrain toast and crunchy roasted asparagus. Buttered multigrain toast is topped with a poached egg, roasted prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, blistered cherry tomatoes, and fresh ricotta for a quick, easy, and satisfying breakfast for dinner...that still leaves a bit of room for dessert!
Arugula Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Crostini - There's not a whole lot that I miss after leaving the gross bar I was working at a few months ago, but the one thing that I do painfully miss are the friends who still work there that I left behind. So when I was invited by my friend Krysten, who I had the pleasure of working at the bar with, to come up to her cottage for the weekend with my best friend Robin (who I also worked at the bar with) and a number of other girls, (including two more who had also worked at the bar for a period of time) I jumped at the chance to spend the whole weekend with the ladies that I miss so dearly. 

It was so nice to spend one of the first warm weekends up north relaxing, drinking, playing games, and eating everything in sight with such a great group of women. So much of our fun was thanks to the two hostesses with the mostesses Krysten and her sister Cass, who took care of all us with delicious meals and snacks all weekend. One of my favourite tastes of the weekend was the lunchtime snack that Krysten so beautifully prepared: Garlic Crostini Topped with Arugula, Prosciutto, & Goat Cheese. Although this dish is very simple to prepare, it is so deliciously flavourful and full of pleasant textural contrasts that you could literally eat an entire plate to yourself! Thanks for giving me a spectacular weekend, ladies! Let's do it again soon!

On My Mind:
I've found myself a new summer band and they're located right in in Toronto! Listen to the Joonbugs to be transported into their dreamy, nostalgic, folk music world.

This made me laugh out loud! Support the artist with a very small fee to watch the whole short film, it's worth it!

Momofuku Milk Bar in Toronto is now serving cereal milk flavoured soft serve! I repeat, CEREAL MILK FLAVOURED SOFT SERVE! I must try this!

Poor lil' squirrel. Can I take you home?

I hope this can live up the un-freaking-believable experience at had at London's Punchdrunk production of The Drowned Man.

Love it or hate it? Make your vote count for the Toronto Architecture Awards, The Pug Awards!

Only about 20ish years late, but I'm not complaining! Skin-a-marink-e-dink-e-dink-skin-a-marink-e-do! I love you!

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Listening To:
The Joonbugs - Red And Blue

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