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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pain au Chocolat

Pain au Chocolat
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1/2 batch sweet dinner roll dough
2 chocolate bars*

Make up 1/2 batch of sweet dinner roll dough, following the directions right up until when you’d put the round balls of dough in the pans. Instead, flatten each one into an oval.

Place chocolate on dough and fold over
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Place one or two (depending on size) squares of chocolate to one-half of the middle. Fold the dough over so chocolate is covered and pinch the edges. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet with a silicon liner. Let rise 20 minutes. Turn on oven to 350°F. Once oven reaches temperature, pop your bread in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Makes eight.

These aren’t as flaky as what you’d find in a French bakery, but they’re still good, and you don’t need to be a pastry chef to make them. I’m betting they also contain less fat and sugar than the real thing.

*Your choice. I used Lindt 70% cocoa for mine, but I may try Caramilk the next time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sweet Dinner Rolls

Sweet Dinner Rolls
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 ½ cups warm water*
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant yeast
¼ cup butter, melted
5 cups or more flour, divided
2 eggs

Pour water into large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and salt. Sprinkle yeast over top of water and let rest five minutes. Stir in the melted butter and two cups of the flour. Continue stirring until fairly smooth. Beat the eggs with a fork in a cup and add to the flour mixture.

Continue adding the rest of the flour in. When it gets too stiff to stir, knead it in by hand until the dough is no longer sticky. You’ll need to turn it over periodically to make sure the entire surface is floured. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest until double in ow long that will be will depend on how fresh your yeast is and how warm your kitchen is.

Punch dough down and divide into 12 or 16 pieces. Shape into balls and place in two 8-inch round cake pans. Let rise another 20 minutes, then turn your oven on to 350°F. Once it reaches temperature, put the rolls in and bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 12 large or 16 medium.

These make a good basic dinner roll and brown nicely because of the sugar content. The dough can also be used for other rolls—more recipes to follow. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the first rising and go directly to the shaping into rolls, but the texture won’t be as nice.

*I just use hot water from the tap. You want it warm enough to get the yeast started, but not hot enough to kill it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

B52 Milkshake

1 ounce Kahlua
1 ounce Baileys
1 ounce Grand Marnier
2 cups vanilla ice cream

Combine first three ingredients in blender. Add ice cream and hit the frappé button. Pour into glasses and serve with straws.

Makes two.

We once ended a multi-day hiking trip at a resort, after several hours spent jogging through woods while fending off mosquitoes. While our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, we were able to shower and change at their fitness centre and then headed to the lounge chairs by the pool. The waiter recommended the B52 milkshakes and he wasn’t wrong. This is my recreation of the recipe.

Looking for more cool summer drinks? Check out my ice cream floats for adults.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irish Soda Bread

Just 3 ingredients, what could be easier?
Photo by Kate Tompkins
 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
14 ounces buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and combine with a fork. Then grease your hands with butter and knead a few strokes. Press into an 8 inch round cake pan (greased and floured if it isn’t non-stick). Slash the top in the shape of a cross.

Bake for 30 minutes covered (an upside down pie plate works well) and another 15 minutes uncovered. Cut into slices or wedges and serve warm with butter. This bread stales quickly, so should be eaten within 24 hours.

Please don’t substitute reconstituted powdered buttermilk or milk soured with vinegar for the buttermilk. The flavour won’t be right.

Irish Soda Bread
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mom’s Meatloaf

What you need
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 pound lean ground beef
2 hash brown patties, thawed and crumbled
1 10 ounce can vegetable soup
dash Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a loaf pan. In a bowl, combine all ingredients until mixed well, then spoon into pan and smooth top. Bake for one hour.

Combine ingredients
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Serving suggestion: Place a couple of slices of melted cheese on top once you remove meatloaf from oven and let them melt before serving. You can add 1/2 cup diced onion to the other ingredients before cooking if you like.

With the exception of the hash browns, which are my addition, this is how my mom taught me to cook meatloaf. It takes very little processing time and uses ingredients I generally have on hand.
Mom's Meatloaf, ready to serve
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Philly Steak Light

Philly Steak Light with a side salad
Photo by Kate Tompkins
4 10-inch baguettes or other rolls
spreadable light cream cheese
HP or other “brown” sauce

Spread cream cheese on bottom of rolls, cover with beef slices. Add brown sauce to taste. Cut rolls in half and serve. These have less fat than the Philly steak sandwiches served in most restaurants but are still delicious.

They’re even more delicious with mushrooms fried in butter on top, but I’m not going to pretend that’s healthy.

Makes 8 but you’ll probably eat 2 apiece—at least we always do!

*If you don’t want to make this, you can substitute fried minute steaks, but that will up the fat content.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sodium Nitrate-Free Beef for Sandwiches

Sodium Nitrate-Free Beef
Photo by Kate Tompkins
1 350 gm (approximately 12 ounce) package frozen sliced beef for Chinese fondue, thawed

Seasonings to taste (flavoured olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, herbs…)

Heat oven to 250°F. Place a silicon liner on a cookie sheet. Place a single layer of beef slices on top of the liner and sprinkle seasonings, if desired, over top. Bake for 11 minutes. Cool enough to handle and remove from sheet. Repeat until all the beef has been cooked.

Makes enough for four 10-inch baguettes or other rolls.

No sodium of any kind except what occurs naturally in the beef, so a good choice if you’re watching your salt intake.