Category: Food

Pie Time!

Those who have been following my blog since the beginning are probably aware that I LOVE pumpkin desserts. My favourite? My mom’s pumpkin pie, of course! I asked her what I should call it, because “Pumpkin Pie by Janis” just doesn’t seem snazzy enough. She told me to call it “Crow’s Nest Bakery’s Famous Pumpkin Pie”, which is kind of an inside joke. Long story short — her nickname is Crow/Crowsie; therefore, Crow’s Nest. Now, without further ado, I give you…

Crow’s Nest Bakery’s Famous Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/3 Cup Pumpkin Puree, canned or fresh
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Ginger
1/4 Tsp. Cloves
1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
1 2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk

You will also need: 1 Deep 9″ Pie Shell, unbaked

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Whisk all ingredients together in order, pour into pie shell. Bake on centre rack for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking for 45 minutes. Let cool and top with whipped cream (my mom covers the entire pie) and a sprinkle of cinnamon and icing sugar.

Tip:
-Check if pie is done by inserting a butter knife in the centre, if it comes out clean, your pie is done!
-Add a bit of icing sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla to your whipping cream as you mix it ^-^

P.S.- Sorry for the lack of photos! I took a few, but was not satisfied with them at all. I’ll try again once the pie is topped and cut.

Curry Rice – Revised

The number one search term used to find my blog is “glico curry instructions” with “glico curry” coming in a close second. I don’t think a day has gone by since I posted the Glico recipe that someone hasn’t looked it up and wound up here. I didn’t take pictures back then, so I’ve always felt sorry for those who are looking for a good recipe and find my half-baked version. I’ve also made a few more adjustments since then, so I have finally decided to update my recipe… this time with pictures! (Sorry, food photography is not my forté…)

(Japanese style curry adapted from the Glico Curry box)

2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 Medium onion, minced -or- chopped
1 Large Potato
1 Large carrot -or- a small bowl full of baby carrots, chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, minced  (I actually use 4 cloves, because it’s better that way)
Broccoli (small bowl full) -or- your favourite vegetables and/or fruits
1 Cup water
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Pkg. Glico Curry Sauce

*If you are using meat, seafood or tofu (1/2 lb.); omit the chicken broth and use 2 cups of water.*

1. Cut all ingredients into bite sized pieces.
2. In a large skillet, stir fry onions with oil. Add potatoes, carrots and garlic and stir for a few minutes
(and meat, if you are using it).
3. Add water and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Add broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes or until tender.
5. Remove from heat and add Glico Curry sauce (break into several pieces). Stir until completely melted.
6. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
7. Serve hot with rice.

🙂

Fake Baked Rotini

When I was in high school our cafeteria had daily specials, which were usually not-so-special, except the baked rotini. Now that was delicious and really easy to figure out myself. It’s been a few years and my version has evolved to suit me even better — meaning it is much quicker to make and slightly healthier. I have dubbed it “Fake-Baked Rotini”, as it is actually broiled. Perfect for lazy cooks like myself! I apologize for my lack of measurements, but really this is so easy that measurements are unnecessary.

Ingredients:

Catelli Healthy Harvest Rotini (or rotini of your choice)
Your favourite pasta sauce
Parmesan cheese powder
Kraft 4 Cheese Italiano shredded cheese (or plain old mozzarella)

Directions:

1.To find how much you will need, line the bottom of your casserole dish with two layers of dry rotini.

2. Fill a pot with water (amount depends on how much pasta you are making) and bring to a boil. Pour rotini in and cook to desired tenderness (Healthy Harvest rotini takes 13 minutes). Drain and put back into pot.

3. Pour pasta sauce and parmesan cheese powder over cooked rotini, stir until evenly coated.

4. Scoop into casserole dish and top with more sauce.

5. Cover with desired amount of cheese.

6. Place in centre of oven and broil at 400°F (205°C) until cheese is slightly browned. (Watch closely, it’s easy to burn… as you can see below…)

7. Serve and enjoy!

Tip:
If you are cooking this for just yourself and possibly one other, personal sized bakeware (like CorningWare French White pop-ins) are a great idea. Just make sure to use a baking sheet underneath while broiling!
If you use a glass pot to cook your pasta, you can use it to broil it as well. As long as it is oven friendly, there’s no need to dirty another dish 🙂

Curry Rice

View the updated version here (complete with pictures)!

Last night my sister, Shea, and I attempted to make Japanese style curry rice for the second time and it turned out awesome so I thought I’d share the recipe! You can also find it on the Glico Curry box, but I made a few adjustments.

Glico Curry (if I were smart, I would have taken a picture…)

Ingredients:
1/2 Lb. Meat, seafood or tofu  (we omitted this last night)
2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 Medium onion  (I prefer it minced, but chop it if you like chunks)
1 Medium Potato  (I used 2, because 1 just isn’t enough)
1 Medium carrot  (I wish I used a large carrot)
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
Your favourite vegetables and/or fruits  (we used broccoli)
2 Cups (500mL) water  (Our first attempt was a bit too thick in my opinion, so this time we added about 1/4 cup more water)
1 Pkg. Glico Curry Sauce

Directions:
1. Cut all ingredients into bite sized pieces.
2. In a large skillet, stir fry onions with oil. Add meat, vegetables and garlic and stir for a few minutes.
3. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until tender.
4. Remove from heat and add Glico Curry sauce (break into several pieces). Stir until completely melted.
5. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
6. Serve hot with rice

Tip: Eat it with a spoon!!

Pumpkin Fever

I have mentioned before that I love making cream puffs and experimenting with recipes to make them better suited to my taste. The batter is always the same, but there are so many possibilities when it comes to the filling. So last night I found myself pondering whether I should make pumpkin spice or peanut butter cream puffs. I chose pumpkin, of course, and they turned out to be just as delicious as I imagined. I suppose it is safe to say that I am extremely proud of myself for making up this recipe as I went and actually pulling it off. I hope you like it too!

Pumpkin Spice Filling (click here for cream puff batter)

Ingredients:
1/2 L Whipping Cream
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
4 Tbsp. Icing Sugar
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Cloves

Directions:
Using a hand mixer, whip together whipping cream, vanilla and icing sugar until thick and fluffy, set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add pumpkin mixture to whipped cream and fold in gently until evenly blended. Now fill your cream puffs!

Tip: Sprinkle cinnamon and icing sugar on top for a lovely garnished look.

Don’t forget to let me know what you think!

Hello Autumn

Although it feels as if autumn has been here for weeks, the first day is actually tomorrow. Call me strange, but I am excited that this season is finally here! I like summer, but it gets too hot for me and I don’t enjoy being sweaty and uncomfortable. I love when new catalogues and flyers full of fall fashion gems arrive at my door. The child in me likes to crunch fallen leaves as I stroll down the street in my light brown trench coat and pashmina scarf. I am also a fan of holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween and all the pumpkin that goes with. Speaking of which, the other night my mother made a pumpkin carrot cake with cream cheese icing and I must say it made a splendid autumn dessert (next to my favourite, pumpkin pie). There’s something about a bundt pan that screams autumn to me, so maybe that had something to do with it. Here is the recipe for this delicious fall cake 🙂


Ingredients:
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Baking Soda
3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Nutmeg
2 Cups Grated Carrots
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat together granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; pour over egg mixture and stir until moistened. Stir in carrots and pumpkin. Spread in greased bundt pan or 13×9 inch cake pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) in the centre of the oven 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool and then top with icing of your choice.

Tip: Add 1 Tsp Ginger, 1/2 Tsp Cloves (or 2 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice) to your cake mix to give it more flavour.
Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar or graham crumbs on top for a picturesque cake.

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:
1/2 Block Light Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
3 Cups Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla

Directions:
Using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla together. Gradually add icing sugar until mixture has a soft and smooth consistency.

Tip: Add the icing to your cake while its still a little warm. This way, the icing will melt and drape over your bundt cake majestically.

P.S.- I told you I would let you know how I liked The Pillars of the Earth the book and I enjoyed it very much! I did like the mini series better, but that’s probably because I saw it first. The characters seemed a little deeper in the show somehow. I also liked that Mistress Kate was given a more significant role in the show, adding depth to her character and also to Cuthbert. I could probably go on for hours about it, but I won’t for now.

Spaghetti Sauce

A while back my dad bought Ragu, because he couldn’t remember “what people eat around here” and it was awful (the first ingredient is water… um what?). So the last time I had a craving for spaghetti and remembered that all we had for sauce was the dreaded Ragu, I decided to spruce it up a bit. I poured some sauce into a small pot and turned the burner on medium-low. Then I opened the fridge, grabbed the parmesan cheese and sprinkled some in the pot. And by some, I actually mean a lot. Next, I opened up a cabinet I thought might have basil in it and found oregano and thyme instead. Of course I had to use them. I sprinkled in a hefty (that’s right) dose of oregano and a little bit of thyme. If anyone ever tells you these two don’t go together, they are either lying or ignorant of its awesomeness. I stirred it around for a second or two and let it simmer. By this time I was really wishing I had some spinach handy, but I didn’t so my sauce would have to go without. Finally, I turned the burner off and scooped the sauce onto my plate of spaghetti. It tasted infinitely better, but it was still concocted from Ragu, so the water ran all over my plate and ruined my garlic toast.

The moral of the story is this; if you have bland sauce sitting in your fridge, follow your gut, be a little crazy, add a little spinach. Just throw in whatever you like and you just might enjoy it!

Scandinavian Cooking Show?

Yesterday I stumbled upon a show on PBS called New Scandinavian Cooking and I instantly fell in love. How is it that I have never heard of this fantastic show before? Watching people cook in the middle of marsh lands and medieval towns was simply mesmerizing! Even though I am a vegetarian and didn’t enjoy the close up shots of some sort of roast made in the ground, I was basically drooling as Claus Meyer showed me how to put together a salad fit for a viking! If you like to cook, eat, and you love amazing scenery, you should check out this show rett bort! (I was told that means ‘right away!’ in Norwegian) www.newscancook.com or www.scandcook.com

Dinner vs. Dessert

Do you prefer cooking dinner or baking dessert? My sweet-tooth and I prefer baking. Particularly cream puffs and anything with peanut butter in the title. I like that I can experiment with a recipe and turn something mediocre into something awesome. These are my favourite variations of cream puffs:

Batter:
1 Cup water
1/2 Cup butter or margarine
1 Tsp. sugar
1 Cup flour
4 large eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.  In a medium saucepan , combine water and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and add sugar. Reduce heat to low and gradually add flour, stirring constantly until mixture cleans the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it appears no fat is melting out of the puffs. Cool completely and fill with filling.

Chocolate Filling:
1/2 L whipping cream
2 Tbsp. cocoa
4 Tbsp. sugar

Lemon Filling:
1/2 L whipping cream
1/2 Tsp. lemon extract
4 Tbsp. icing sugar
3 or 4 Drops yellow food colouring

Tip:
-Use an icing bag and tip to fill the puffs by poking a hole in the side. Squeeze the bag until puff feels full.

-Try sprinkling icing sugar on your chocolate puffs or making a glaze with lemon juice and sugar and brush it over your lemon puffs.