Limoncello


I am on a lemon-bender. These fragrant yellow orbs are hobbling into grocery stores everywhere for the season.
I couldn’t be happier.

It’s no secret I love citrusy things. Biggest problem is usually that I can’t decide which of it is my most favourite.
Besides having to rip through half a dozen lemons for this treat, It’s super easy and it’ll leave your kitchen (not to mention your hands) smelling AMAZING.

Perfect in a snazzy bottle for gift giving and enjoying during the Holidays.

Adapted from Ilva at Lucillian, (love her blog!)I figured she, living in Tuscany, would get it perfectly right. Not being much of a liquors sipper myself, I have to admit the idea is a simple as it is tasty.

LIMONCELLO

7 Lemons, preferably organic, peeled
750ml Grain Alcohol (I used Vodka)
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Water

Scrub each lemon until the oils begin to release.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin in strips, leaving the bitter, white pith.
Submerge the zest in the alcohol an leave covered, for about a week in the fridge.
Strain the zest, leaving the lemony scently, yellow tinted alcohol, while you prepare the sugar syrup.
In a saucepan, heat the water then, pour over the sugar to dissolve.
Heat it over a medium heat until it just simmers.
Add about half to the waiting alcohol and taste to your liking, adding more of the sugar syrup as necessary.
Replace into a sealable bottle and store.
Best kept chilled in the refrigerator for quick and delicious use.

Best Vegan Visitor Recipes of 2008


ytd2008

JANUARY

The citrus obsessed that I am decided away with diets and and that pink grapefruits were way underused:
Red Grapefruit Curd Filled Donuts

Every winter likes the cold and every winter I battle it with something extra warm:
Creamless Potato Leek Soup


FEBRUARY

This Chili continued to warm + what would the Superbowl be without it’s tailgate chili?
Superbowl of Chili

And this was just goood:
Cape Gooseberry & Raspberry Clafouti


MARCH

Daring Baker’s sent me the perfect gift. Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for my own birthday cake:
Perfect Party Cake

A March break get-away might have almost gotten me trapped by a snowstorm, but it was Montréal. I was hardly complaining:
Maple Madeleines


APRIL

It’s my daughter’s birthday in April and it just wouldn’t be tradition if she didn’t get her “Favourite Things Dinner”.  She’s six, I’ll give you one guess what her favourite thing is to eat:
Cheeseless Macaroni n’ Cheese

Spring and weeds. If you can’t beat ’em, EAT them:
Warm New Potato & Dandelion Salad

After breaking out the BBQ for the first grill of the season, I discovered one of the best soups ever with the leftovers:
Cedar Smoked Asparagus Soup


MAY

A peanut butter cookie bomb became one of my favourite desserts:
Peanut Butter Caramel Tarts

Mother’s Day brunch wouldn’t be complete without cake. And what better one than this coffee cake developed from my Nana’s own recipe box:
Also Goes Great With Tea Coffee Cake

JUNE

Squeaking it in for the last of the school year. I couldn’t resist buying more snacks for lunches, so I replicated them instead (even though I was made fun of for it):
Chewy Nut-Free Granola Bars

Getting sick of watching countless sandwich crusts go to waste, I came up with a solution. I saved the crusts and made bread pudding. Waste Not:
Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding
JULY

Summer’s in full swing with heat beaters and last minute evening parties. I took full advantage of the garden’s offerings with these easy recipes:
Rose Infused Strawberry Sorbet
Scape Salsa Verde Potato Salad
AUGUST

This was time consuming, but boy it was good:
Summer Pea Ravioli

The cherries were awesome this year, sweet and almost never ending. When I *almost* became tired of spitting pits, I decided I could finally bake with cherries more instead:
Cherry Streusel Muffins
SEPTEMBER

One of my favourite times of year. You know it, when there are too many tomatoes to eat at once. Never a fan of it as a kid, still I tried my own swing at it and will forever be changing my tune about tomato soup:
Heirloom Tomato Soup

Tree-fruit season YAY:
Gingered Peach Shortbread Bars
OCTOBER
Have I not yet mentioned how much I like autumn and the tree fruit? This was so easy, especially when tearing through a freshly picked bag of apples before our vacation:
Apple Upside-down Cake

Super good, super easy and quick autumn-y gnocchi with one of my most favourite flavour combinations:
Gnocchi with Butternut Squash & Spinach
NOVEMBER

Move over Charlie Brown, I’m the pumpkin patch junky. Never fails, ever November I find myself with, well, enough pumpkins to last me until next Halloween. This year I FINALLY made this:
Maple Pumpkin Butter

Everyone needs a quick go-to recipe to use up those browning bananas, and this one is it for us:
Ultra-Quick Banana Bread
DECEMBER

I took a scoop of that long over due pumpkin butter and added it to my favourite brownie batter. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?:
Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Honestly one of the best gingerbread men I’ve ever bitten the head off of:
Classic Gingerbread Cookies

Wow. What a year! Wishing you and yours the happiest 2009!

Homemade Nutella


The way this homemade stuff pops up and ends up in various pastries and the like, you’d think that  absolutely almost everyone loves Nutella. Almost.

I had hazelnuts on hand and I’ve been itching to use my cocoa nibs in everything, I just had to, I couldn’t resist. Combine the two and what do you get? You guessed it! Plus I figured, I was bound to get my self proclaimed vegetarian kid who won’t eat peanut butter to eat a nut, especially if it’s intertwined with chocolate and it tastes like Nutella.

Warm, buns, still steamy from the oven, homemade Nutella and some thinly sliced banana heaven…

Nope. “This taste-iss like peanut butter is in it. Are there nuts in this?”

Yes friends, I have the only known person who dislikes Nutella living under my roof and she’s a chocolate loving child.

At least they say that little tastebuds change. More for me, I guess.

COCOA NIB HAZELNUT SPREAD

1 cups Hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup Cocoa Nibs
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 250ºF.
Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Give the pan a good shake about half way through to toss.
Remove the nuts from the oven and cool slightly.
Tightly wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Twist and rub until most of the skins have come off.
Place the nuts and the cocoa nibs in a food processor, and pulse on high until they have broken down.
Add the coconut oil and continue to blend until they become smooth and buttery; about 5 minutes.
When the nuts are liquified, add in the sugar and cocoa powder, continuing to blend.
Transfer the spread to a jar and store in the refrigerator, leaving it to come closer to room temperature just before using.

Bicerin



Or should I aptly rename it: An Introduction to My New Best Friend Michelle.
Michelle hosts the blog Sugar and Spice and sent me the most wonderful package.

You see, there’s this lovely event that takes place amongst some bloggers, so nicely organized by Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness. “Blogging By Mail” matches bloggers from around the globe to send a little something about where they’re from, their common culinary ingredients and their most favourite things. As my package was en route to Amrita in Singapore, Michelle was busy travelling from home to home town to jam pack the parcel she was preparing for lucky, little ol’ me.

Inside there were stuffed olives, beautiful fabric for me use in pictures, gouda, fruit snacks, ginger chews, note cards, Jordan Almonds and the cutest Heinz ketchup bottle, that I’ve always wanted but never had the courage to steal while on vacation in the States.:)

…And the chocolate, chocolate chocolate! As I pulled the items from what seemed to be my bottomless box of complete generosity, I found bars, sauce, biscotti, chocolate pretzels and it perfect breakfast match, coffee!!

As I drank my freshly ground Joe, I flipped through The Chocolate Deck, which Michelle also included!
It’s a deck of chocolate recipes so fantastically photographed by William Meppem and written by a former editor of Gourmet, Lori Longbotham. I was truly inspired by some of the recipes. Some for their beauty, others for their simplicity. Like this one; Bicerin.

Bicerin is described to have been a cafe favourite in Turin, Italy during the nineteenth century. Still enjoyed, it looked good and sounded better, plus with the help of Michelle, I had pretty much all the best ingredients to give my inspiration a go.

BICERIN
(as Adapted From Lori Longbotham)

2 Cups Plain Soy Milk
2 Cups Strongly Brewed, Hot Coffee
3 Ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons Sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Orange Flower Water, optional
or
2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional

Over a medium heat, warm the soy milk to a low simmer and remove just before it begins to boil.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof pitcher, pour the hot coffee over the chopped chocolate and sugar, whisking until smooth.
Whisk the milk and Grand Marnier or orange blossom water, if using.
Taste and adjust sweetness, adding more if necessary.

Serves 4 – 6

Roasted Garlic Paperadelle


1/2 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Semolina Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Head Roasted Garlic*, squeezed to remove the skins
1/3 Cup HOT Water

* To roast garlic, preheat the oven to 350ºF and cut off the top of the bulb to reveal the attached cloves.
Placed in aluminum foil, drizzle the top of the garlic with olive oil to cover but not saturate.
Wrap the foil tightly and place into the oven.
Roast the garlic for about 30 minutes or until soft, caramelized and fragrant.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours and salt; mix to combine.
With the motor running at a medium to low speed, add the olive oil then the roasted garlic through the feeder tube.
Drizzle 1/4 Cup of the water to begin. As the dough begins to form and appear crumbly, slowly add small amounts of the remaining water, as you may not need it all.
When the dough comes together in a full ball, turn off the food processor and remove the dough to a slightly floured board to knead.
Knead the dough until it is stretchy but not sticky, about 2 minutes.
Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or while you prepare your sauce.
Cut the dough into 3 – 4 workable pieces, which ever size you are most comfortable handling, and set all but one aside in a covered bowl.
Either using a pasta maker or by hand, with a rolling pin, roll the dough to about a 1/8″ thickness, then cut into 1 1/2″ wide strips.
Lightly dust with semolina to separate and loosen the noodles, if necessary, as you finish rolling and cutting the remainder of the dough.Fresh pasta takes only a fraction of the time dried pasta needs. Drop the freshly cut pasta into a large pot of rapidly boiling water and cook for 3 – 4 minutes for al denté.

HHDH: It’s Cheeseless Pizza


Who doesn’t like pizza? I am yet to meet a single soul who would turn down a slice….
Except when it was going to be me with the notion of no cheese.

I was always of the mindset that pizza had but one basic construction – a crust (perfect blend of thin and chewy ), sauce (very important) and cheese. – Everything on top of that is really up to an individuals discretion and craving.

That was until I had a bite of my first “real European” pizza experience. Being 15 and at the height of my pizza connesseur training, I was in the south of France on exchange. My host mother would pack my lunches complete with a little Mom note, a chocolate and something often mysterious to try; there was infrequent PB&J in Provence. While out in the countryside, our group was left to remark on the construction of Romanesque Aqueducts. Removed from any civilization able to spare me of my brown bag filled with cold and cheeseless pizza with peppers and black olives (with pits!) Starving and only armed with my Orangina, I dug in and discovered a new, old, delicious world of pizza. From that moment, my eyes were opened, my pallet was cleansed and my nose had been lifted to new a pizza snob height never known before; and I was yet to arrive in Italy!

Flashing forward 15 some odd years, when trying to capture the best vegan version, I knew that one of those important and very expected elements – cheese, would be missing. Making up for the lack of gooey dairy was actually easy and created a more flavourful pizza than I’d usually eat. The secret of a good crust is always important and the hint for vegan pizza is just to pre-bake the crust a little longer to insure the crispness and then you’re free to go to town on virtually any topping you could imagine.

Pizza for breakfast? Check out 80 Breakfasts, who is hosting HHDH. I’m sure it will be quite the round-up.
Continue reading HHDH: It’s Cheeseless Pizza