Category Archives: Food

  1. Asparagus and Apple Stuffed Chicken

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    February 12, 2013 by Amie M

    We’ve had the same stalks of asparagus standing in a container of water in the fridge for over a week. Just staring at me. But meals haven’t really been coming together that are calling for asparagus as a side. Then I had an idea, what about stuffing a chicken with asparagus?

    So Sunday night, while Paul, Audrey, Charlie and I were struggling for warmth in our freezing apartment because our boiler broke, and the landlord couldn’t get the parts in until Monday, I decided that a roast chicken will warm us up. The oven at 375 for an hour and a half definitely added some heat to the back of the house. But the only way the rest of the place was tolerable was with Paul’s chin-up bar holding a blanket to stop the hot air from escaping our living room down the hall. The four of us were cuddled on the couch under spare blankets with a space heater aimed at us while we played Star Wars Lego and watched Pirates of the Caribbean, smelling the chicken roasting.

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    The stuffing started with a quick peruse of the fridge and freezer. I had freezer burnt hamburger buns, apples, asparagus and feta.

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    A quick pull apart of a bun, chop of an apple, snap of asparagus, crumble of feta and drizzle of olive oil had the stuffing ready to go.

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    As with all of my roast chickens, the secret is in the rub. Coarse sea salt, mixed with olive oil and my favourite blend of seasonings.

    Cut slits into the breast meat, the skin flaps by the legs, and back. Rub the rub all over, making sure to get under the skin.

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    Stuff the stuffing in any cavity. I filled the main chest first, then stuffed the neck, and still had leftover stuffing for under the skin at the legs. It could be all of the Pirates of the Caribbean we were watching this weekend, but the chicken kind of looks like an octopus, or a kraken.

    Shove into a medium sized roasting pan, set oven to 425 F. Fill the rest of the roaster with the other half of an apple. No water is needed as the apple and asparagus will keep everything moist. Once the oven is heated up, put it in to crisp for 15 minutes.

    Lower to 375 F for 45 minutes, or until it temps done.

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    Plate and serve.

    Stuffing:

    1 hamburger bun, or 3/4 c stale bread

    Half one apple, I used fiji, chopped

    7-10 asparagus stalks, snapped, then chopped

    1/4 cup crumbled feta

    1 tbsp olive oil

    Rip apart bun, add other ingredients. Toss with olive oil.

     

    Chicken rub:

    Secret

     

    Heating update:

    Still without heat yesterday, but hoping it is fixed today. If not, well, we are out curling with friends and will leave lots of blankets out for the furry ones to nest in.

  2. Watcher of the Seals

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    January 22, 2013 by Amie M

    *I had fun writing this post, as if I were Robert Jordan, author of The Wheel of Time. I wanted my cookies, and eating those cookies, to feel epic.

    SevenSealsThe Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long pass, a wind rose in the drumlin field surrounding Guelph. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

    The wind swept tempestuously through the streets of the sleepy, wintry city. It followed the course of the River Eramosa, gaining speed as it played with the surface waters. The wind blew past the ice skaters at City Hall, who gripped their jackets closer and muttered into the wind in awe at its force. Through the downtown of the winter wonderland it blew. It blew, and grew, as it forced its way to a humble house. It rammed its force against the brick walls, defiant and searching. A quick gust of cold air gained access through the unused chimney, stirring and kicking up dust of fires long past.

    Amie and Paul gripped their cosy wool blankets closer as they sat on their chesterfield. They refused to break their concentration away from the voice in the room. The voice was regaling a wonderful, fantastic story. The story wasn’t being told in High Chant. No, no one in this Age knows the art of storytelling that way. The story was told in Low Chant, but with careful inflection, and interesting pronunciation of words they always thought were said differently.

    The couple was listening to the last book of an Age, A Memory of Light. They’ve been entranced by this story for two weeks now. Little acknowledgement of the world outside their house was made. Aside, of course, from their days toiling away at their respective places of work. The story was so enthralling that any attempt to otherwise occupy their hands or minds during the telling was quickly put aside. What if they missed something because they had to slip slip knit pass two slipped stitches over and Egwene, the Amrylin Seat, the Watcher of the Seals decided to break the Seals.

    Oh, the Seals. They were what was holding everything back. The Dark One was still able to touch the world, but only just. Imagine what was possible if he was able to break through his prison and touch the world fully, free! No, breaking the last seals on the prison was out of the question.

    Their breaths caught as Egwene, once the almost betrothed to the Dragon Reborn, agreed with him to break them. But she would only do that when she thought the timing was right. But was Rand, the Dragon, right? In order to create a new prison for the Dark One, you had to first clear away the rubble and build it anew. Was this the right way to go about it? Letting the most foul of all of creation, but not of creation for he was outside of the Pattern, free in order to capture and seal him away again? The original Dragon knew the Seals and the prison was flawed at the time he created it three thousand years ago. Four of the seven Seals had been broken in the past two years, leaving only three to hold the Dark One’s touch away. Those Seals were brittle, far too fragile. Made of the unbreakable substance cuendillar, yet they had been flaking and peeling as of late. Not good.

    Amie and Paul gasped when the countries of the world met at the Field of Merrilor and signed a treaty. They listened as they feasted on the Seals. One half of the cookies they ate was a white flame, representing the pure, flowing, illuminating female half of the True Source. The other half was black, and called the Dragon’s Fang. A superstition that until recently meant the bearer of the mark was touched by the Dark One. The Fang represented the male half of the power. Channeling this power was said to be like wrestling with fire, lava, and a tornado at once. Until recently this part of the power was tainted, evil, and prone to making the men who used it grow mad. This was a punishment to the male channelers for sealing the Dark One away the first time.

    The cookies were made from a wonderful recipe, from Joy the Baker, and were black and white cookies. The cookies were a sidebar, a delectable but minor distraction from the main event. Amie couldn’t resist making them to commemorate the final fourteenth book.

  3. Lots and Lots of Gingerbread Bears, Oh My

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    November 27, 2012 by Amie M

    Last Monday, Sarah and I got up to no good. Well, the night before was good. We were out for Kate’s Birthday, Sarah crashed in the spare room, got mauled by Charlie and Audrey. Then she was woken up to start baking! I warned her I wanted to get all my Christmas prep done by December 5. I warned her I wanted to make a lot of cookies. But I don’t think either of were expecting the cookie explosion that occurred.

    Over 100 gingerbread bears came to life. Seventy-seven of them were iced. Sarah took just over a dozen home. The rest stayed out for a couple days. But only two dozen made it into the freezer. Hmm, how many did we eat?

    More importantly, how did we make them?

    First, there was an attempt to make a double batch of gingerbread. My keen spidey-senses tingled after the batter was done, and noticed it was just a bit too batter-y and not enough dough-y. We made a double batch of ginger BREAD, not gingerbread cookies. Whoops. Said bread took over 2 hours to bake, because I forgot that we doubled it, and didn’t pour it into two loaf pans. Double Whoops. I just kept piling on the whoopses on after the sugar mishap from the night before.

    The gingerbread cookies we made were adapted from Canadian Living.

    Beat 3/4 cup brown sugar with softened 3/4 cup butter.

    Beat in 1 egg and 3/4 cup molasses.

    In another bowl, sift with a whisk 4 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 3/4 baking soda, 1/2 cloves, I used nutmeg, 1/4 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt.

    Stir into the molasses mixture. Then get in there and mix with your hands.

    Audrey assumed her usual supervisory role. She was on quality control to make sure we didn’t forget ingredients.

    Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm, after you divide the dough into thirds. We didn’t do this.

    Roll out between parchment paper.

    Again with Audrey checking on us.

    Cut out with floured cookie cutter.

    Bake at 325 F for 15 minutes, until firm. We had a grand system going. With two baking sheets, and five things to bake the cookies on. Parchment paper, silicone mats. We had it covered. But baking 100+ cookies takes a few hours. It wasn’t until almost dark that we got set up to decorate.

    And decorate we did. We went nutters.

    I had seventy-seven gingerbears, but now I have twenty-one.

    My faves were the ones all suited up with their bow-ties and suspenders. Then the little ladies with their pearls and dresses.

  4. Happy Birthday, Kate!

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    November 13, 2012 by Amie M

    Kate’s Birthday was Sunday. Kate has a picky sweet-tooth, so it is always a welcome challenge to bake for her. So this year I went with a classic light and lovely angel food cake. It was no-chocolate, easy on the whip, and served with berries dusted in icing sugar. Just a little bit of sweet to go with the soft. I think she liked it!

    There are a few substitutions going on in this recipe. I didn’t have cake flour, and thought I didn’t have cream of tartar. I did have cream of tartar, I just didn’t find it until yesterday. I think a pantry reorganize is on the list of things to do!

    Start by sifting one cup cake flour with 1/4 tsp of salt. If you don’t have cake flour, measure the amount of white flour you need, take out two tbsp of flour and replace with two tbsp of cornstarch. Sift, and sift and sift like you are a sift lord. (That one was for you, hunny)

    Then separate a dozen egg whites at room temperature. This is really important! Your meringue will be softer and lighter if things are at room temperature. Cold eggs take longer to whip and don’t make as nice peaks. Perfect peaks are what we want. Also plan to make a lot of scrambled eggs or omelettes with the yolk leavings.

    Beat until frothy. Add one tsp of cream of tartar. No tartar? No bother! If it’s being used as an egg white stabilizer, simply replace cream of tartar with the equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice, also at room temperature.

    Then beat until soft peaks form. Then continue on with the recipe until you fold in the cake flour, and pour into the cake pan, not really clueing in why it tastes a little salty until you are about to put it in the oven. Then swear, a lot, and toss the whole bloody thing out because you forgot to add sugar. Yep. Should have smacked my forehead and said d’oh when the meringue wasn’t glossy and yummy. Good thing I had bought two dozen eggs.

    Restart and remember to gradually add the sugar after the soft peaks from cream of tartar form. Beat until firm peaks are pitching. Pour into a wide mouth bowl, or just your biggest mixing bowl.

    Sift the flour overtop, and grab your favourite spatula, because you will be folding forever. Fold until it is combined, being very careful not to disturb it too much.

    Pour into an angel food pan. I don’t have one, so I took a risk and used a bundt pan. It turned out alright.

    Decorate it until it looks like it came straight from the pages of 1960’s Good Housekeeping.

    Photos stolen from Kate.

    Happy Birthday, Kate! I hope you had a great day, and night, Sunday! It was great to see you all aflutter as so many of your friends came to dinner. I don’t think you stopped smiling once.

    The recipe, from Martha Stewart:

    1 cup cake flour (or 1 cup white flour, less 2 tbsp, add 2 tbsp cornstarch and sifted)

    1/4 tsp salt

    12 egg whites at room temperature

    1 tsp cream of tartar (or 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice, room temperature)

    1 1/4 cups sugar (DO NOT FORGET!)

    2 tsp vanilla

    Oven to 350 F.

    Sift cake flour with salt twice, set aside.

    Beat egg whites until frothy, about 1 minute.

    Add cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.

    Gradually add sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

    Add vanilla, beat to combine.

    Gently slide into large bowl.

    Sift cake flour on top.

    Fold until combine.

    Pour into ungreased angel food pan.

    Run a fine knife through the batter to release any bubbles.

    Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top springs back.

    Let cool in pan for an hour, inverted.

    Using a knife, inch the cake away from the pan sides.

    Serve with whipped cream and berries.

  5. Halloween Cookies

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    October 25, 2012 by Amie M

    I’ve been trying to up the awesome of some of my baked goods lately. I want to challenge myself and learn some new skills. So following some great tutorials from Bake at 350, I tackled a little more involved cookie decorating.

    Paul was awed by them. The ghosts look wonderfully ethereal. And the spiderwebs were so simple to do!

    My next batch, I will work on my piping with a fine tip to get a cleaner edge. I also need to get my border and flooding consistencies down. But, darnit, I am proud!

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