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I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I spent the first 20 years of my life on Vancouver Island, and also that I’ve never lived outside of British Columbia, but I love our weather (which is often criticized for including too much rain and not enough sunshine) and I especially love the Fall season. Sure, I wouldn’t mind if Summer lasted a few extra weeks (after all who doesn’t enjoy the sunshine?) but there’s something about cozying up with a warm sweater or blanket, a good book (or a favourite blog) and that perfect comfort food meal that rejuvenates me inside and out.

Fall

I recently had the opportunity to browse through a copy of Michael Smith’s The Best of Chef at Home: Essential Recipes for Today’s Kitchen sent to me and I must say that the general feel of the book, it’s recipes, and the photos fits my mood and our Fall season perfectly. To tie it into the general baking theme here at Bakergirl Creations, I’m going to focus on Chef Michael’s ‘Treats & Baked Goods’ chapter, and because when I first opened the book to thumb through it, the Old Fashioned Apple Pie on page 235 was where I started. Oh how I love home made apple pie!

©jackieconnelly_apples

Here is Michael’s recipe:

Pastry
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of frozen butter
12 tablespoons of ice water

Filling
6 or 8 large Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

Using a standard box or potato grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour and toss lightly with your fingers until it’s thoroughly combined. Sprinkle in the ice water and stir wit your fingers, mixing and firmly kneading until the dough comes together in a ball.

Divide dough into 2 pieces; making sure that the one half is slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight. Resting tenderizes the pastry, making it easier to roll.

Remove the pasty from the fridge and allow it to warm slight, just until it’s pliable. Lightly flour your hands, the rolling pin, your work surface and the dough.

Roll our the larger pastry piece into a circle large enough to slightly overlap the edges of a 9-inch glass deep-dish pie dish. As you roll, for ease of handling lightly flour the dough every time it’s diameter doubles, then flip it over and continue tolling. Transfer the dough to the pie dish by folding it into quarters, then unfolding it in the dish.

Preheat your over to 375degreed Fahrenheit (190degrees Celsius).

Toss the apple slices with the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the apple mixture to the bottom crust. Roll our the remaining smaller piece and carefully place it over the top of the piece.

Roll and crimp the edges of the dough together tightly sealing them. Poke a few vent holes into the top of the pie and place on the bottom rack of your over.

Bake for an hour or so, until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling.

Click here to buy Chef Michael’s book from Amazon.

~ Guest post for Bakergirl Creations by Jackie Connelly

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Check out my first guest food post on Jackie Connelly’s blog.  Be sure to check back tomorrow to read her her first post of three on Food Photography – you’re sure to learn something new!


I know I have been MIA.  The weather is gorgeous – the garden is blooming, and I don’t really want to be in my hot little kitchen, and truthfully, the computer hasn’t really drawn me in either…

The balcony has definately called my name.  Hot evenings enjoying a beverage of one’s choice just enjoying the ‘quiet’ (or as quiet as my downtown neighbourhood ever gets!). Or a good book in the afternoon, with the sun warming you through, life is good right now.

Regardless of how little I am doing in the kitchen, I still love all things to do with food, I read this article today and enjoyed it.  It captures a little of the culture in my fair city.  I had never really heard the term locavore before (and yes, I did Wikipedia it up, and yes, it does exist!) I imagine this trend has grown out of the success of books such as The 100 Mile Diet and the Omnivore’s Dilemma.

A recent report apparently says that Vancouver is a “mecca for so-called “locavores” who eat seasonal, locally-sourced fare rather than industrially-farmed meat and produce, which sometimes can be shipped from thousands of miles away.”

On Saturday at the Farmer’s Market (right beside my community garden plot) I was marvelling at the sighs: ‘Local!’, ‘Organic’, ‘Not even refrigerated yet!’  The irony of it all is that most people in most nations eat local.  They don’t relay on foriegn foods the same way we do.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not on a soap box here.  I love my oranges and citrus, and sugar, and COFFEE.  But, that being said, I love when I look at my plate and know everything on it is from close by.  Tonights dinner will be:  bbq’d spot prawns fresh off the boat (litterally, I was waiting there for the boat to dock), salad (everything from our garden) And some fresh baby potatoes from the market… yum!
Recipes (and my regular blogging) to commence again soon.



I love Banana Bread – always have.  It smells homey to me…and this recipe is a breeze.  Just a bowl and a wooden spoon.  While the oven is heating up, you make up the batter and is ready in just over an hour…love easy desserts like that!

I’m heading out for the weekend to go meet a friends newest addition, little Finnley!  So as I was straightening up I saw 4 ripe bananas that wouldn’t make it through to Monday, so I thought I would bake up a loaf and bring it with me for our weekend away.  Enjoy!

banana-bread1

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg beaten
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. In a bowl mash up the bananas.
  3. Mix in the melted butter.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and sugar.
  5. Sprinkle baking powder and salt over batter and combine.
  6. Add flour and walnuts.
  7. Butter a loaf pan, add batter and bake for one hour.   Check for doneness with the ol’ toothpick.
  8. Remove from pan after a few minutes and place on a rack. Allow to cool.
  9. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes


We are on a bit of a pork kick this week because I bought a pork loin that was far too big for two people, so four different pork meals I am sure are in the works

Tonight’s dinner was not only a breeze, but timing was cinch. I love when everything comes together at the right time, easily. Spicy green beans, wild rice and this pork loin. Simple and tasty. I was a little hesitant about BBQ’ing the pork. I was worried about drying it out. But just using the meat thermometer it was easy to pull once the pork reached the 180 degrees, and it was so moist!

pork-loin-2

Ingredients:

20 oz lean centre pork loin
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup honey
juice from one lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grated ginger root
4 garlic cloves, mined
1/2 can dry apple cider
1tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tbsp AP flour
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut pork into two 10 oz steaks.
  2. In a ziploc bag combine the honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, apple cider, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Massage together.
  3. Add pork to baggie. Massage marinade into pork. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Come back and massage again, and rotate. Leave fo another 20 minutes.
  4. Heat BBQ to about 250 degrees (low). Remove pork from baggie and place on grill. Reserve marinade.
  5. Grill meat for approximately 30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes or so.
  6. Allow to rest for 5-7 minutes.
  7. While meat is resting, heat up remaining marinade in a small saucepan. Let come to a low simmer, because the liquid is partially carbonated, you may want to whisk out the carbonation.
  8. Whisk together flour and water. Add to simmering marinade. Allow to thicken. Remove from heat and place aside.
  9. Slice rested meet, and serve with a scoop of the sauce atop.

3 slices per serving, serves 4-5