Monthly Archives: July 2011

Meringuebows

Now what is a meringuebow you ask? Why a  hybrid between a meringue and a rainbow of course. Umm, duh…

These fluffy little creations were inspired by the cloud-like appearance of meringues. And every cloud deserves a rainbow, so I created these airy little treats that are almost too cute to eat. This recipe will make 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • red, yellow and blue gel food colouring

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

Depending on the size of your mixing bowl, you may have to divide the recipe into two batches. Trust me, I have had meringue overflow in the past and it is a sticky, sticky mess. Beat your egg whites on high with the cream of tartar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar as you continue to whisk the mixture. Keep beating until VERY stiff peaks form.

Divide the meringue into two bowls. Now divide one of those bowls into 3 smaller bowls. Add a small amount of gel food colouring (I suppose you could use whatever colours you like, but I think that red, blue and yellow are the cutest), to each bowl and fold it in with a spatula until the colour is evenly distributed. Be careful not to deflate your meringue with “aggressive” folding.

Fill 3 piping bags (or zipper seal bags) with your coloured meringue, and pipe out six rainbows onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You can use a tip if you like, or just go naked. Start by piping a 3-4 inch curve of pink, followed by blue, followed by yellow. Once you’ve piped your rainbows, add a meringue cloud to each by overlapping a large dollop of white meringue with the edge of your coloured meringue. Feel free to be messy with your clouds. Clouds are meant to look a little wild.

Bake your meringuebows for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The rainbow meringue will cook faster because it is not as thick, so wait until your clouds are nice and crisp before removing them from the oven. There will be a nice textural difference between the white and coloured meringue.

I was so impressed by how well the meringue held its colour! Can’t you picture yourself serving these at a fairy princess birthday party? Now I just have to kidnap a toddler so I have an excuse to make them again.

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Filed under a party, adorability, candy, cookies

Carrot Cake, To Go

 

Who doesn’t love carrot cake? It’s moist, and sweet, with thick creamy icing. And the best part is that you can trick yourself into thinking that it’s good for you, ’cause you’re eating VEGETABLES!

I’ve taken everything you love about carrot cake and packaged it up in a perfectly portable snack. My “carrot cake trail mix” can follow you to work, on a hike, just about anywhere. This recipe makes about 8 cups worth, and trust me, you’ll eat the whole batch. You’ll need:

  • parchment paper
  • 6 cups grated carrot
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups yogurt covered raisins

 Dried carrot: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, 225 if you have convection (preferable). Toss spices, sugar and carrot together, and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Slowly dry your carrot mixture in the oven for 2-2 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

 

Granola: If you wish, you can save time by purchasing 4 cups of store bought granola (without added fruit and nuts), or use this recipe. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with your oil, and set it in the oven to heat up. When the oil is hot (about 10 minute), toss in your oats until they are coated, and then spread them in a thin layer. Bake them for about 1/2 hour, then add your corn and maple syrups, coating the oats evenly. Place them back in the oven and continue to bake for another 45 minutes to an hour, tossing the mixture frequently. They will be ready when the oats are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Set aside to cool.

 

When your granola and carrots have cooled, toss them together in a large bowl with your yogurt covered raisins and walnuts. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week. If I were you, I would plan to take this on a very long, and very steep hike, because it’s deadly. Once you start eating, you won’t be able to stop. Enjoy! 

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Filed under new flavours

Tooting My Own Horn

On Wednesday morning, li’l ole me did a cooking segment on CH Morning Live in Hamilton. Their host, Brian, and I chatted about Real Women of Philadelphia and my cauliflower crème brûlée. The best part is when I call a spatula a whisk about half way through, hahahaha. I just wanted to share it with you, and give myself a pat on the back for managing to talk and cook simultaneously without chopping my fingers off. Here’s a link, for your viewing pleasure:

http://chch.com/index.php/morning-live-blog/item/4563-the-real-women-of-philadelphia

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Filed under pop culture, Real Women of Philadelphia, shameless self-promotion, useless information

How To: Coping With Harry Potter Withdrawal

Those of you that have been following the Harry Potter series since its release in 1997 may be in for some major withdrawal this week as the final installment of the on-screen version makes its North American debut. As a muggle who has personally experienced the lonesome feeling of closing the back cover of book 7, I sympathize with you and offer condolences in the form of a recipe.

“A recipe?” you ask. Well, not quite a recipe. Project is a more appropriate term, and though it may seem a strange way to fill the impending void in your heart, I firmly believe that candy is the best medicine. This is why I ask you to believe in magic one more time, as we make a chocolate frog together.  You’ll need:

  • A plastic frog candy mold (mine is from Bulk Barn)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 12 gold foil wrappers (Bulk Barn again)
  • Royal blue bristol board
  • 12 chocolate frog cards, printed on cardstock
  • 12 gold labels
  • Gold pen
  • Glue gun

Slowly melt your chocolate in a double boiler, and pour a little bit into each frog mold until the chocolate is level with the top of the mold. Set these aside to chill (you can put them in your refrigerator to speed up the process). Repeat if necessary, until you have 12 frogs.

To print your chocolate frog cards, search online until you find a template that is to your liking, and print 12. If you are the fan that you say you are, you will already know that chocolate frog cards are pentagonal. No exceptions. Make sure that your print-outs are large enough to fit behind your chocolate frogs. This website has links to a few choices, of varying quality.

Trace the pentagon shape from your card onto the blue bristol board. Then trace triangles around your pentagon, so you have a star shape. Cut out 12 star shapes, and decorate the backside with gold pen. Decorate each of your gold stickers with a Honeyduke’s logo.

Wrap each of your chocolate frogs in a gold foil wrapper, and place it into a star package with a chocolate frog card underneath. Fold each of the first 4 triangles into the centre of the package, and squirt a dollop of hot glue on top, and squish down the 5th triangle. I realize that my terminology is quite complex, feel free to ask for clarification.

Stick a label onto each chocolate frog package to cover up the messy glue. Now, crawl into bed, and eat all 12 frogs as you watch Youtube montages of Ron and Hermione on your laptop.

If you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms after this exercise, experiment with Cockroach Clusters tomorrow.

Side note: my use of terms coined by J.K. Rowling is in no way intended to violate copyright, and is meant solely as an expression of my admiration for her creativity. A chocolate frog by any other name simply would not smell as sweet.

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Filed under adorability, candy, pop culture

The Hosts With the Most

Just swimming in a sea of Philadelphia gift bags

As you may have heard by now, the hosts of Kraft’s Real Women of Philadelphia Canada have been announced, and I am one of the lucky four. Along with appetizer host, Angela Amati, entrée host, Lyndsay Wells, and dessert host, Laurie Pearson, I will be leading Real Women’s Canadian online community as side dish host. There is a bitter-sweetness to this transition as we leave behind our time in Toronto, but I’m looking forward to what’s in store. The four of us will be introducing the community’s next contest on July 25th, so keep your eye on www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca.

I can’t express how honoured I feel to have participated in the cook-off with such an incredible and diverse group of women. Each of you inspires me to be a better person and a better cook. Candice, Miriam, Sue, Elisa, Mandy, Danielle, Lisa, Kristen, JoHanna, Andrea, Leanne, and Althea, getting to know you has been a privilege.

Here are a few snap shots of the gala. The evening was absolutely spectacular, and everyone was dressed to impress. The winning dishes were announced as they were served to guests in the ballroom of the Thompson hotel. It was incredible to see 180 portions of my winning dish come out of the kitchen. Needless to say, the dessert finalists didn’t have much appetite, as they had to wait until the end of the meal to find out who had won.

I wish I had documented the experience more thoroughly, but my euphoria kept me from my camera. The lovely people at Eqal have uploaded photos here http://www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca/post/awards-dinner-snapshots so you can get a better picture of the evening.

After getting the news on Wednesday night, we were in store for an early morning. We headed off to the Kraft kitchens at 6:30am on Thursday for a long day of filming. Luckily, there were plenty of snacks on hand to keep us going. I have no idea how everyone at Kraft stays so slim with all of those tempting treats calling to them.

The entire filming process was unbelievable. Everyone on set was incredibly talented and made me feel so special. I learned so much from the experience, and it was amazing to see the amount of thought and planning that went into creating our cooking videos. I can’t wait for all of you to see them. Thanks so much to everyone involved!

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Filed under a party, pop culture, Real Women of Philadelphia

Ladies Who Lunch…with Anna Olson!

Here are a few more updates on the happenings at the RWoP gathering in Toronto. I spent the morning catching up on the forums at www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca before heading off to a lovely lunch at Scarpetta. We were accompanied to a private dining room by Anna Olson herself, and sat down to a beautiful table lined with copies of Anna’s cookbook “Fresh” which she later signed for us to take home.

The Thompson hotel’s head chef,Robert Mills, prepared a sumptuous meal of seared tuna, tender lamb, and chocolate tarte. The tables were turned when he came into the dining room to introduce himself and his dishes, as he had judged our creations at the cook-off yesterday. Everything was delectable, and in true “foodie” style, we were all snapping away trying to capture each course on camera.

Lyndsay was in full form channeling Lurleen by popular demand.

Anna moved down to our end of the table half way through lunch, and we chatted about food, travel, and of course, RWoP. She is even lovelier in person than on camera, and she personally signed each of our beautiful new cookbooks. I can’t wait to try her Blueberry Corn Toss, one of her favourite recipes from “Fresh”.

Other highlights of the afternoon included a trip to the St. Lawrence market, and a walk through the distillery district. Anna suggested we visit Soma, a chocolate shop that transforms their product from bean to bar on site. It was well worth the trip.

We finished off an incredible day by treating ourselves to the epitome of Toronto dining at Canoe restaurant. Each course was spectacular, and Chef John Horne surprised us with a tour of the kitchen. To say that the day was memorable is a major understatement. Gourmet overload!

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Filed under new flavours, pop culture, Real Women of Philadelphia

RWoP Hit Toronto!

The Real Women of Philadelphia have landed in Toronto, and we are having a blast. Last night we had a lovely dinner at The Counter at The Thompson hotel. Today we headed off to the infamous Kraft kitchens to prepare our recipes and present them to the judges. So far everything has been unreal. The Kraft kitchens are beautiful, and all of the staff involved with RWoP have made the experience so comfortable and welcoming. It has been surreal meeting all of the women that I have come to know and love at www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca. Here are some photos of our time here so far.

I brought homemade sugar cookie oven mitts, and Lisa made lavender bath salts for everyone.

Miriam brought adorable whisks for us!

Here I am prepping my workspace

Take a look at the kitchen where Miriam and I worked our magic!

 

Here’s the judging room:

Lisa getting her cook on

Candice and Laurie are getting accquainted with their surroundings.

And finally happy birthday to Mandy, celebrating her 24th at the Kraft kitchen!

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Filed under Real Women of Philadelphia