Friday, March 4, 2011

banana butterscotch sticky buns

Dear Diary...
what is a girl to do when she is missing home but bake?

this week i had to make the hard decision this week to postpone my trip to meet my parents in NYC in the spring, and only today did it hit me that by doing so, it will be Christmas before i will see them, or anyone in my family, next.

so, i pulled out my recipe book, a ripe banana, some Bisquick, brown sugar and butter, and made my ultimate comfort food, banana butterscotch sticky buns.

normally, one might be reticent to tell others that they baked using Bisquick, but these babies are so ridiculously yummy, i wouldn't care if they were made with Kleenex! {okay, maybe i would care if it was the ones with lotion...}

while i don't dislike cake in any way, these sticky buns have been my birthday treat of choice for years. my dad even made me some while i was in alberta at christmas, since i didn't get any for my last birthday.

dad's, however, are much more exciting than the ones i made last night. his come with actual fire, smoke so thick you cannot see across the room, and really, really loud fire detectors going off all over the place. i will admit, usually i am the more dramatic of the two of us, but dad definitely outdid me this time.

seriously, these are a mess to make. from rolling out the dough, to having to turn the pan over immediately after you take it out of the oven, to the fact that they all don't just fall out of the pan the way you hope they will. but all the messiness is forgotten once you take one bite of their perfection.

not a bad coping mechanism, hun?

Friday, January 28, 2011

carmelized pineapple

dear diary...
it's been a while since i last wrote. i won't get into it all, but suffice it to say that i haven't done a great deal of adventurous {or otherwise} cooking in the last little while. but now that i'm home, i am trying to get back into the swing of things. what better way to start than with dessert?

when i made this last night, though, it wasn't the first time. when i was in Calgary, one of the things that i needed to do was to make a cheesecake for Derek. every year, when our rival football teams {University of Michigan vs. Michigan State} play, my brother and i call it the Cheesecake Bowl, and whosoever team loses, has to make the other a cheesecake.

i've made too many cheesecakes in the last few years.

this year, i wanted to make one that mom could eat too, so i chose a no-bake, and therefore no-egg cheesecake. but i didn't want to limit us to cherry topping. not that i have anything against cherries, i just thought that there had to be a way to mix it up.

so, i made the cheesecake, and while it was in the refrigerator, i made some other toppings. and here's where it gets good. i toasted coconut {yum}, but the best idea was to take some pineapple, and bake it for a while with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter until it was perfectly carmelized. so, so good! all the toppings were laid out, including cherries, and everyone could pick what they wanted.

we ended up eating more of the cheesecake than we would have normally, however, trying the different combinations of toppings! i suppose that it was a necessary evil to do justice to the experiment.

last night, i thought i would try it again, to see if it was just a fluke.

it wasn't.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

instant classic

it's been a while since i last wrote. partly because one needs to not be too busy to cook, but mostly because it was such a crazy hot summer, the last thing on the planet i wanted to do was turn another heat-maker on!

but here we are, well into fall. and what would fall be without a new classic, comfort dish to take us through the cold, gray days?

this is one that i found in a book i read this year, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. in it, the author talks about her love of food, and the different dishes she has cooked for the men in her life over the years.

the one the stood out to me, however, was so simple, it almost seemed like a 'why bother?' basically you take a cup of water, let it boil, then put in some small pasta {i've used both little tubes and little stars}, and let it cook until the water is gone. before the pasta burns, i turned down the burner, and added an egg, which cooks itself on the hot pasta, some butter and a bit of parmesan cheese, and... voila! a simple dish, lovely in its simplicity and deliciousness.

would it be wrong to say that this has become my standard go-to dish, replacing toast, for the most part? well, if it's wrong, i really don't care. it's simply too yummy.

i'll write again soon. with Christmas around the corner, there are some recipes that i need to check out before the big party.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

dear santa...

i've got their first cookbook, Baked. after seeing this, i think the second one is on my christmas list...

Friday, July 9, 2010

blueberry scones

there's a bakery here in Streetsville, that sells the most delightful scones. up until recently, my favorite have been the apple cinnamon ones. but the last few times i have been, they haven't had them, so i had to 'settle' for blueberry.

about a million years ago, when visiting Ang, she made blueberry scones from Foster's Market. they were amazing. she told me where i could find the recipe online, and i tried them out for myself.

at the time, my oven was a bit insane, and refused to actually stay at any one temperature for any period of time, so needless to say, my scones were disappointing.

but, i figured it was worth another try, this time using my trusty convection toaster oven. sure it's smaller, but i know that it actually works.

i had everything i needed except buttermilk, which a trip to Longo's with Silvia made possible, so i set out somewhat fearlessly to bake them. the first ones turned out better than i could have dreamed. they were so good, i thought that perhaps i was in a sort of butter/buttermilk related coma, so i took some to the family upstairs, and have heard serious raving about them. Saundra even told me that i should quit my job and open a bakery. i'm not sure i'm ready to take that career advice, but i do think that opening a bakery would be an adventure one day. maybe in NYC or Paris... but let's not get ahead of myself.

the scones are wonderful. there are a couple other variations of them as well, i think i'm going to try the apple cinnamon ones next, as i have a pretty good idea that i will love them!

if you want, you can find the recipe here.

i wonder what i will create this weekend...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


i've been back from NYC for 62 days now, and all i can say is that i want to go back! there are still so many things that i want to do and see {can you believe that we went all the way to NYC and didn't go to Central Park!?}. if at all possible, i would love to go again this year, perhaps once this ridiculous weather subsides.

fall would be nice.

anyway, all this thinking of New York had me wanting to recreate this breakfast that i had with Dad, Mom & Ang at out hotel's restaurant. so, i got a croissant, scrambled an egg, added sauteed onions, sprinkled some cheddar, then toasted the whole thing. instead of salad, i sliced up a peach, as to me, fruit is more of a breakfast thing than salad. i'll save the lettuce for lunch.

while i couldn't feel the subway shake the floor as i ate, it was almost as enjoyable as the original.

dreaming of NYC...

Monday, July 5, 2010

smothered chicken

when i was visiting Ang in Michigan, i picked up a little cookbook in a store in South Haven, and the very first recipe was for smothered chicken.

for the most part, it sounded great. my only substitution was switching sauteed onions for mushrooms {did i ever mention that mushrooms grow in pooh?}. and to actually make it, it was far easier than i would have thought, had i ordered this in a restaurant.

the first step is to pound the chicken breasts down to 1/2 inch thickness. there is something very cathartic about pounding food into submission, i must say. after that, brown the chicken on both sides, then the fun. you pile on everything else: sauteed onions, green onions, bacon crumbles, and a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. then cover that baby and let it cook.

the roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes made for a most enjoyable meal.

being on vacation made trying new things easy, but i need to be more adventurous even during the week when i'm working.

note to self: toast is NOT a good dinner...