Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Crumble Pie


Mom made a bunch of different desserts with the golden delicious apples from our apple tree. We had the desserts for our Thanksgiving dinner.

The apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and then tossed into a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of salt.

The pie pastry was made with Tenderflake and some unsalted butter. Mom docked the pastry crusts with her long nails. Usually you dock the bottom of the crust to prevent the dough from rising too much.



The seasoned apples were spread into the crust and then topped off with another sheet of pie dough. Then Mom crimped the pie crust, pierced the top of the pie dough to allow the steam to escape, brushed an egg wash on the top.

There was apple crumble as well. The crumble was made with flour, oats, brown sugar, unsalted butter, and a little salt. We kept it simple.

Mom had set aside an apple pie without the pastry top. I don't know why she did it and neither did she. I'm sharing this with you because she had actually made an apple crumble (crumble on the bottom and on top). Then we had leftover crumble in the bowl. Now, I was planning to use the crumble for the sweet potato mash but why not top off the lone pie with the crumble topping?


No problem!

There were four apple desserts made in total; two were frozen and the other two were baked for consumption after dinner.

The golden delicious held beautifully even after being baked. They were still firm which was nice. The apple crumble pie was devoured within the first two days.

And now to end with some more photos of the desserts.




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Canadian Thanksgiving 2013

Happy belated Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers! And happy early Thanksgiving to our American readers!

Unlike past years, we just had a small family dinner with our immediate family earlier this week on Monday, October 14th. On the menu: smoked salmon cream cheese appetizers, prime rib roast, pan-dripping gravy, sweet potato mash, buttered carrots and corn, and dinner rolls. We were going to have three kinds of homemade desserts: apple pie, apple crumble, and cookies.

The day started off slowly. I didn't end up going downstairs until 11:30am. It was nice to sleep in after a hectic week at work. My brief morning began with open-faced peanut butter banana sandwiches and a cup of coffee.

We began our prep work by making pies and cookies once everyone had a bite to eat in the morning. The apples actually came from our Golden Delicious apple tree, which Dad planted about 10 years ago. Mom made the pie pastry out of Tenderflake and some butter. The apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and seasoned with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of salt. Then some oatmeal crumble was made for apple crumble. There was a little confusion in the kitchen and we ended up making apple pies, apple crumble, and even an apple crumble pie. I'll touch more on that in another post. (Update: Apple Crumble Pie post is up.)

I also worked on these DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookie dough too. Once the cookie dough was done, I put the bowl into the fridge to firm up.

I've been thinking about making these beauties for a while now, well, since I stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton. They gave us warm cookies when we checked in. So amazing!

Around that time, Lucy arrived and we began to snack some more. She put together a Ritz cracker with smoked salmon cream cheese, half an olive, and some dry dill. Looks good, doesn't it? Lucy even took this, and a few other, photos with my dSLR.

Costco had one of their smoked salmons on sale the during the week. Cream cheese was also on sale a week prior. So we stocked up on both of them. Dad chopped up some smoked salmon and mixed it with the cream cheese for a nice kitchen hack. The real smoked salmon pieces were so wonderful!

I was planning to make either a spinach dip or caramelized onion dip, but we loved the smoked salmon cream cheese so much that we didn't need anything else. True story.

For the sweet potato mash, the sweet potatoes were peeled and boiled. They were mashed with half and half cream, cinnamon, powdered ginger, salt, butter, and freshly cracked black pepper. There was a carrot left behind.


Once the mashed sweet potatoes were seasoned, they were spread into a baking pan and then topped off with marshmallows.

I'd use less ground ginger and add more black pepper next time. Maybe I'd bake the mashed sweet potatoes for a bit before topping with marshmallows next time. That way the mash would be hotter.

This is the prime rib roast out of the oven. The burned parts is just the cap of fat. The prime rib was baked to rare and then we had to pop it in the oven for more time. By the time it was taken out, the prime rib was medium-well.

I grabbed my camera and went back to the table but Lucy blocked me off from taking the photo. She wanted the first shot. Alrighty then. After she took the picture, I swooped in to take one on my camera.

That's most of our spread. The dinner rolls, ginger ale, and red wine are missing.

Having prime rib was a nice change to turkey. Maybe we'll try making lamb next year.

Jimmy really enjoyed the prime rib. "How do you make something like this?"
"First, you need to buy a high quality of prime ribs -- high quality. Then you just season it however way you like it; like with steak spice or salt and pepper." Lucy chimed in.

As for the desserts, I'll be writing about the apple crumble, apple pie, and apple crumble pie separately. Here are the DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookies. I based these cookies off Food Geek's recipe.

The cookies taste the best when enjoyed just like the hotel serves their cookies: warm. That way the chocolate chunks are still gooey. The proportions of walnuts and chocolate chunks to cookie dough was a bit off. I remember the cookie was chunkier. I'll have to try the recipe out again. Until then, I'll hold off on sharing it.

Cooking and baking with the family does get noisy, but that's because we all have our different ways of doing things. Things get done however elaborate the meal is. And that's because we all know how to cook and, to some extent, bake. The underlying lesson is to learn to cook and bake for yourself and others. It's a life lesson.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tonkatsu Kare Raisu


We didn't have a few ingredients to make kare raisu aka Japanese curry with rice. We didn't have any Japanese curry cubes, nor did we have enough of the right ingredients to make the Japanese curry roux. But we've made it before (here and here).

Andrew ended up grabbing some of the ingredients the next day and then made the curry. Then Andrew used the rest of the pork chops to make pork cutlets (tonkatsu) with panko bread crumbs.

Once I got home from work, he was just frying the last two breaded cutlets. The rice and curry was ready too. I have to admit, it was quite an impressive effort by our youngest brother.

He got high marks. The tonkatsu wasn't over-fried and was still juicy.

Despite not being that hungry, we both devoured a bowl of tonkatsu kare raisu. And because we didn't eat very much that day, we had plenty of leftovers for the next day. Win!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Remarkable Tacos at El Camino


When tacos were all the craze in the States over five years ago, it seemed as though many food blogs I read were really into them. I was very jealous. Very. Jealous.

I've heard about a few decent taco joints in Ottawa. But the one that intrigued me the most was El Camino. Not only was it the newest craze in Ottawa this summer, but a friend also highly recommended it.

We had originally planned to go to El Camino on Saturday night but our family had other plans. We ended up going out to dinner with our large extended family. And of course when I checked Twitter that evening, I saw that Ottawa Senators' stud defenseman, Erik Karlsson, had been there for dinner. Bah!

My stomach still felt very heavy after brunch with my friends. We ended up leaving the apartment around 6pm. It wasn't tough to find the restaurant. We walked up Elgin Street and then saw a line up. Bingo.


We ordered our tacos and waited off to the side. You can watch the kitchen work their magic if you order from the taco window.

Once we got our tacos, we added some Cholula hot sauce to our food and began to walk back to Lucy's place. Lucy already devoured two out of her three tacos by the time we got about two blocks away from the restaurant.



My food was still warm when we arrived. I got an order of betal leaf shrimps and one crispy fish taco. The fish taco was remarkable! The warm pliable flour tortilla held the red cabbage and cilantro topped crispy fish. I believe there was also a slice of avocado too. I could've eaten four more of these if I had space in my stomach. The little wedge of lime helped.

The betal leaf shrimps reminded me of eating Vietnamese spring rolls with fresh thai basil. The flavour of the betal leaf help cut through the heaviness of the savoury shrimp filling. The filling surprised me. It was soft and slightly mushy instead of plump seasoned shrimps, as I had expected.

Lucy ordered two fish tacos and a pork taco. She was starving when we went, which was why she downed the tacos so quickly.

Andrew ordered one each of pork, lamb and ox tongue. The pork and lamb were both slow cooked and pulled apart. His favourite was the lamb. After trying a small bite of his lamb taco, I'd have to agree. I'd definitely get the lamb and crispy fish tacos next time.

He found the ox tongue to be a bit on the bland side compared to the other two tacos. It wasn't gamey though.

Andrew: "My tacos are dripping!"
Lucy: "Mine didn't drip."
Me: "That's because you inhaled your tacos so quickly!"

We'll definitely be back to El Camino. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.

It was fun celebrating my birthday with great food and better company! Thanks everyone!


El Camino on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Birthday Brunch at Art Is In


We were going to head over to Benny's Bistro for brunch last Sunday. There were six of us though. KG suggested that we head over to Art Is In as a Plan B. At first, I thought we might be able to wait to get a table together and if we weren't able to get one, then we'd just walk to Le Moulin de Provence or something. But after a couple of busy days at work, I just wanted to keep things simple so I changed the plans the night before. Sorry guys!

We arrived around quarter after ten. The outdoor tables were full and there weren't many tables available inside. I was unfamiliar with how it worked. It looked like people at their tables had numbers, so I assumed we had to order and pay up at the front and then find a table. There was quite a bit of a line but the line kept moving. We didn't have much time to look at the brunch menu.


I was thinking of either the french toast stack or the benny.

Luckily, the people at the table by the open garage door looked like they were just finishing. They were very friendly and had a random conversation. Apparently it was national coffee day. Good thing I had ordered a cappuccino.

While waiting, I scanned the tables to see what everyone else was eating. I had actually forgot what I had ordered once I sat down. A small table, off in the two o'clock direction, had ordered the french toast stack and I thought to myself, "Oh that looks good. Why didn't I order that?"

The egg wobbled when the plate was placed on the table. Awesome. So I had ordered the french toast stack after all! It was gorgeous to look at and was very tasty. In hindsight, I could've just opened up my wallet and checked my receipt.

VN asked for their Crispy Winniped Style Cinnamon Apple Jack. It was described to her, by the cashier, that it was a crêpe with apples. That's one hefty crêpe. 

I didn't get a decent photo of KG's pancakes or J's sandwich. VN and KG both had maple butter and loved it. They were surprised how good it tasted. It definitely was not healthy. Maybe that's why it was so addictive.

G and JL both ordered the eggs benny with bacon.

Silly me. I got an almond croissant to share with VN. We didn't have any space in our stomachs to eat this during brunch.

We learned a very important lesson during our brunch. Maple butter is godly!


Art Is in Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Leftover Lunch - Korean food

Korean-ish leftover lunch

In the last part of summer and early fall, we were on something of a Korean food phase, and it seemed like every other meal we made had some Korean ingredients incorporated into it. We bought a very large container of kimchi from Arum Korean Market on Bank Street, so this encouraged us to make other Korean dishes. The lunch above comprised of leftover soondubu jjigae (soft tofu stew) from the previous night's dinner.

  Soft tofu stew with noodles

As you can see, there is a fair bit of kimchi in it, so I'm not sure if it actually qualifies as a soondubu jjigae or if it is more of a kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew). Regardless, it turned out to be one of the best Korean stews I've ever made, since I finally made the effort to buy dried anchovies to make a proper broth. For this lunch, I heated up the leftover soup and added some Shin Ramyun instant noodles -- without the seasoning packets -- to bulk it up a little.

  Kimchi pancake with extra kimchi on top

As a side dish, since I was apparently feeling quite fancy that day, I also made a kimchi omelette. I was a little overzealous and added too much chopped kimchi, so the omelette fell apart somewhat in the pan. It was still pretty delicious for a quick leftover lunch.

 Now that I am taking the time to come home for lunch, I have even more incentive to cook dinner. Great dinners typically turn out to be the best lunches on the next day. Now the challenge is to keep this habit up and continue posting about homemade food!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Quick Quesadilla Dinner


We had cheese. We had defrosted pork chops in the fridge. And leftover chicken. It just made sense to make quesadillas.

Since it was just the two of us, we set aside some pork chops to make pork cutlets later. We used the rest with a bit of some Cool Runnings seasoning.

Onions and mushrooms were sautéed, separately, of course. We topped half of our tortilla and then folded them over in half. The quesadillas were cooked with a little butter in a pan over medium heat.

We enjoyed our quesadillas with salsa and iced tea. The only thing that was missing was a nice side salad. It was a deliciously quick dinner nonetheless.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...