to taste

Fresh Fruit Cobbler

4

With summer brings fruit a plenty. So, I decided to make something new. Not crisp or crumble but a fresh summer cobbler. And it is music to my ears when I hear “this is delicious Christina” and when I hear this more than once in one sitting I figure I should share the recipe with you.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups fresh fruit of choice (washed and dried)

Heat oven to 375. Place butter in ovenproof dish or pie plate and pop it into the oven until the butter is melted. Remove the dish from the oven and set it aside.

5

Stir the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl. Mix in the milk and vanilla. The batter will look similar to pancake batter and it may have a lump or two. Pour the batter into the melted butter. Do not stir! Just let the batter slide into place.

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently place the fruit on top of the batter, with most of the fruit gathering in the centre.

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put the dish in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.

 

6

 

Top each serving with your ice cream or gelato of choice and enjoy!

Cheesecake – need I say more?

two

I am convinced not everyone admits their love for cheesecake. There has to be a reason why we don’t see it on more menus …  but then again, let’s keep it to those of us who make a truly delicious cheesecake as it should be treasured and savoured.

The key to good cheesecake is texture. It should be soft and dense at the same time. And the creaminess should slide straight down wrapping a warm hug around your hips. Most importantly you should completely loose yourself in every bite …

If you’ve yet to have this kind of moment with cheesecake, here is the recipe that will forever alter your opinion of cheesecake.

Crust ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups graham crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp. melted butter

Turn over on to 325 F. Mix all of the crust ingredients together until you have a nice even consistency. Place the crumbs into a greased 8″-9″ springform pan. Use a spoon to press the base down firmly as well as part way up the edges. Bake crust for 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.

five

Cheesecake ingredients:

  • 2 x 8 ounce packages of cream cheese (one can be light cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs – gently whisked

Beat cream cheese  with electric mixer until the cream cheese is very smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add gently whisked eggs and mix until just blended. Pour the cheese mixture into cooled crust and place into oven, on middle shelf. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until only the centre wiggles slightly when the pan is jiggled.

Let cake cool for 10 minutes.

Topping:

  • 2 cups full fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

three

Whisk sour cream, agave and vanilla together until it is mixed well. Spread this onto cheesecake VERY gently working from the outside into the middle. Slide this bake into the oven and bake for 10 – 20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes. You will know it is done when the cake slightly jiggles – just like the previous jiggle test. Once you are happy with the SLIGHT jiggle, turn the oven off and prop the door open. Leave the cake inside and let the cake cool for about an hour. I’ll be the first to admit that this gradual cooling is supposed to ensure that the top does not crack … I have yet to create a crackles cheesecake. But I have NEVER heard a complaint about the lonely crack! Remove the cake from the oven, cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge.

four

Remove from the fridge right before serving, top with fresh, seasonal berries and savour every bite …

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bananas

When my sister and I were teenagers we constantly made crazy snacks. One of our favourites was chocolate peanut butter marshmallows. We would regularly take large marshmallows, roll them in peanut butter and then chocolate. I think we liked the messy factor! We would pop them into the freezer in between the peanut butter and chocolate stages and then ta da! We would enjoy frozen chocolate peanut butter marshmallow snacks!

Now that I don’t have the metabolism of a teenager and I prefer eating healthy I have adapted this little ditty. Frozen chocolate peanut butter bananas are a great treat to have on hand.

one

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favourite nut butter ( I prefer almond or peanut)
  • 1 cup of your favourite dark chocolate
  • 3 bananas
  • a healthy handful of chopped up roasted almonds or peanuts

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the bananas into bite size pieces and place them on the parchment paper. Chop up the roasted almonds and set aside. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and set aside.

NOTE: The key to successfully melting your chocolate is 1. low heat and 2. constant stirring while the chocolate is melting. When there are just a few chunks of chocolate left among the melted chocolate, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and continue to stir until it is perfectly smooth. If you over heat the chocolate it will seize and there’s nothing you can do to fix that!

two

Top each banana with a teaspoon or so of the nut butter. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the nut butter. Sprinkle nuts on top and place the tray into the freezer.

Once they are frozen place them in an airtight container and enjoy them at will! Happy snacking!

Pizza Night!

We all have our vices, and everyone in my family knows that I have a few! But hands down, pizza trumps them all. And this is obvious every Friday night at our house. It’s pretty hard to resist warm, oozing mozzarella atop homemade pizza dough …

It has taken a little time to find the perfect the dough, to find the perfect mozzarella, just the right sauce, and flavour combinations that satisfy. And who are we kidding; our topping combinations are constantly evolving!

pizza3

Here is my foolproof pizza dough recipe:

  • 2.5 tbsp active dry yeast (make sure it is fresh)
  • 1.25 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp honey or agave or your sweetener of choice
  • a couple good glugs of olive oil
  • 3 cups flour (double zero is THE best for pizza dough)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • extra flour and olive oil

pizza1

In your mixer stand bowl, combine the water and honey and stir to until the honey is dissolved. Once it’s dissolved, add the yeast. Let it stand until it foams which will take about 5 minutes. Once foamy, add the flour, salt and olive oil and mix, using the dough hook, until combined. Mix the dough until it is smooth and soft. You may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. At this point I like to turn the dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface to knead the dough a few times until it is a nice smooth ball of dough.

pizza5

Lightly oil a bowl that the dough can fit into and double in size. Put the dough in the bowl and cover it with a damp warm cloth. Place the bowl in a warn environment for about an hour. This is the perfect time to get all of your favorite toppings ready!

pizza2

Once your dough has risen, lightly flour the counter where you will roll out your dough. Take a healthy handful of dough and shape it into a round ball in your hands. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick – this thickness is really up to you. Grease your pizza stone, place the dough on the stone and spread the dough with your favourite pizza sauce. Now you can dress it up with your toppings of choice. Once it is dressed to your liking pop it into a 475F or 246C oven. Make sure you place it on the bottom rack.

Here are some of our family favourites …

A hui hou (a – who – e – who)

My daughter and I love fresh pineapple, shaved roasted ham and fresh rosemary. Once it is complete, I like to top it off with a little fresh ground salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before sliding into the piping hot oven.

The Hungry Man

My husband loves a hearty pizza pepperoni that has a little kick, sliced red or yellow peppers, sliced mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Once it is complete, I like to top it off with a little fresh ground salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before sliding into the piping hot oven.

Teenage Dream

Meat, meat and more meat. Lots of pepperoni and fresh bacon with some mushrooms is a hit with my son. The more bacon the better! Once it is complete, I like to top it off with a little fresh ground salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before sliding into the piping hot oven.

Second Place Finish

I have a few favorites when it comes to pizza. Fresh, in season cherry tomatoes, organic samarelli olives and fresh basil. Once it is complete, I like to top it off with a little fresh ground salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before sliding into the piping hot oven.

pizza4

After it’s all said and done another family dinner has been accomplished and the weekend has begun!

For a deeper look at why pizza night is so meaningful to me read my entry what makes a family.

The Chicken Salad

chickensalad2

There is something comforting about a chicken salad sandwich. The fact that I find this sandwich comforting is quite funny as it was often over mayonnaised and served on white wonder bread. But that was commonplace in the late 70’s. The creation of kitchen convenience was the result of processed food; TV dinners, pop tarts and chef Boyardee were exciting new easy ways to feed families. The TV dinner was a staple in our house as my father learned to cook.

I boycott processed food as much as I can so I had no choice but to listen to my inner child and make a healthy, fresh chicken salad sandwich. Once every couple weeks I make this for lunch. I have lightened it up and use fresh ingredients – and let me tell you this is THE chicken sandwich. In this case I enjoyed it on fresh @sidewalkcitizen bread but typically I enjoy it wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves.

chickensalad
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cooked, chopped chicken breast
  • 1/2 chopped apple
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp of eggless, canola mayonaise
  • salt & pepper

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl together. Place on bread with lettuce or in a lettuce leaf and enjoy!

Wonder bread be gone!

Flourless Chocloate Cake

flourlesschocolatecake
There are many memories attached to this beautiful creation. And how can there not be with simple ingredients like chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar. Don’t let the flourless part fool you. This cake is gorgeously rich and has the power to silence a room.

for the CAKE

  • 2 ¼ c. 65 – 75% dark chocolate
  • ¾ c. unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • butter & cocoa powder for preparing the pan

for the GLAZE

  • ¾ c. bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. butter

Heat oven to 300 degrees and have racks in the centre. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a round 9″ x 2″ cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper as well. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with cocoa powder.

flourlesschocolatecake3

Melt the chocolate and butter together in bowl and let cool slightly. Use beaters and whisk in eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt and 2 tbsp. water. Beat until foamy, pale in colour and doubled in volume, 2 minutes. Reduce speed and gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Increase the speed and beat until well blended, 30 seconds. 

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick comes out of centre with small gooey clumps, 40-45 minutes. Don’t over bake. Let cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Run a knife along edges to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto the rack so it can cool. Transfer cake to plate, cover with wrap and place in fridge for 6 hours.

Melt and stir together 3/4 cup of bittersweet chocolate and 3 tbsp of butter. Pour warm glaze over cold cake letting it gently and randomly run over the edges. Refrigerate until cold, 45 minutes.

Top with fresh strawberries, raspberry coulis or anything that tickles your fancy. All it really needs is a fresh strawberry to compliment and soften the richness.

Hail Caesar!

kalecollard

Is there anyone else out there that sees the poor spelling phenomenon that is bubbling up everywhere? Caesar is constantly spelt wrong. Never mind that Julius Caesar has a significant role in history, it has been a successful restaurant in Calgary for 43 years, and it is an everyday menu item, across the globe.

This fresh, crunchy, garlicky salad is a favourite for many. There was a time in my life where Sunday dinner at mom’s always consisted of her homemade caesar salad. This is where my journey began to replicate mom’s dressing … with a twist. It took many tries and a few busts, but I finally created the perfectly balanced, delicious Caesar salad recipe. And it’s a healthier take as it doesn’t have mayonnaise or egg yolks in the dressing. This is a go-to in our house and if I serve it or take it to a dinner party I am almost always asked for the recipe.

caesar2

Christina’s Caesar Salad Dressing:
– 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
– 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
– 4 tbsp worcestershire sauce
– 1 small squeeze anchovy paste
– 1 tsp dry mustard
– 2 cloves fresh, minced garlic
– salt & pepper to taste
Put all of the above in a glass jar and shake vigorously. Set aside.
Croutons:
– 3 slices of fresh Sidewalk Citizen bread
– olive oil
– 1 tbsp dried oregano
– pepper to taste
Cut bread into crouton cubes. Warm up frying pan, pour olive oil in warm pan, gently place cubed bread in pan, sprinkle oregano on bread. Stir and toast until the bread cubes have a nice crunch to them.
– Good quality bacon/pancetta – Cook bacon to your liking and set aside.
– Grated parmesan cheese
To assemble:
Pour 1/4 – 1/2 of the dressing onto lettuce, add croutons, bacon and parm. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.

I am a sucker for fresh, organic romaine lettuce or kale. It’s as if I can feel the purity of the greens cleansing as I eat this bowl of immune boosting salad. Healthy greens, fresh lemon juice and fresh garlic.

Make sure that your kissing partner has some too!