Friday, 30 September 2011

Food & Wine Magazine: September Cover Recipe

Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad
Rating: 5 out of 5

Despite being out of university and an academic environment for several years now, I still tend to run my life on an academic calendar. September, for me, is the time for turning over new leaves, for taking on extra projects, and for feeling rejuvenated and re-energized to tackle some personal goals. It's when fitness routines and devoting myself to personal betterment take precedence, forsaking more social activities in order to prepare of my all-time favourite winter activity: hibernation! By April, I've given it all up and am ready to embrace summer and all its terrible habits again.

Along these new, September lines, I'm once again teaming up with Jasmine of CookThatBook to create and rate the cover recipes from Food & Wine magazine every month. Jasmine has been doing this all year, but I'm joining in now anyway. Better late than never, right?

For now, here is my experience making the Food & Wine cover recipe for September 2011: Thai Chicken & Watermelon Salad.  Make sure you head on over to CookThatBook, as well, to see what Jasmine did with this recipe, as well as some great wine pairing advice from Kendall Harris.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

High Tea, In Photos

It was a chilly, rainy day last Saturday and my mom was in town helping me with my first batch of canning. It was late afternoon once all the jars were filled and the lids had popped, so we headed over to Dartmouth for High Tea at Ma Belle's Cafe.  Interesting mix of French and English, non?

Being so close to Two if by Sea, I couldn't resist popping in there, too, for one of their signature croissants to go. I would have photographed it had it actually survived the car ride home. Provolone and prosciutto? You can't hang on to something that delicious.

An indulgent afternoon!

A sandwich board caught in the downpour.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Muffin Monday VI: Carrot Spice Muffins

When Anuradha circulated this 'healthy' muffin recipe last week, I, for once, didn't tremble with fear. I had ducked out of town for the last healthy muffin two weeks ago, and have been hearing rave reviews about it ever since. As a result, I figure An knows what she's doing in the healthy muffin department, and believe it or not, I didn't do anything to make this muffin unhealthy. I didn't even add cream cheese! (Though, trust me, that was a challenge.)

This healthy (or, perhaps, 'healthier') muffin had perfect timing, too, considering I just had one of those weeks where I decided that enough is enough: If I want to cover everything in cream cheese, I need to be hitting the treadmill a few more times a week.

I liked how this recipe left lots of room for interpretation with its variety of choices. (You can see my choices below in the recipe.) If you give this girl the option, however, I will probably choose what I consider to be the tastier (at times unhealthier) ingredient. Admittedly, it also helped me ease into the idea of a muffin that's not ridiculously fattening. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Spilling Beans

Not to beat a dead birthday horse, but something very fun transpired the day of my birthday that I didn't want to blog about until it was official. I got an email that day from my fellow Muffin Monday blogger Jasmine, at Cook That Book, asking me if I'd be interested in contributing to her website as a cookbook reviewer.

Are you kidding me? Needless to say, I was thrilled.

Life got a little busy around my birthday, for obvious reasons, but it was also partly because I was testing the heck out of Foodista's Best of Food Blogs Cookbook: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices, for my first review. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Muffin Monday & the Hunt for Jam

Life is finally calming down again after a very busy start to September. I was crushed to have missed last week's Granola Muffin, which got rave reviews from the Muffin Monday bakers, so I'm very happy to be back on the muffin-making horse this week with this simple, Jam-Filled Muffin.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Classic Blueberry Pie & Kitchen Notes on Feminism

Don't you love it when a friend goes berry picking and ends up with too many? And then when she invites you over to help her 'get rid' of them?

More importantly, don't you love it when you're supposed to go for a walk with said friend, only to have her invite you over to bake pies, instead?

Well worn and well used: Kate Aitken's Canadian Cook Book - first printed in the 1960s, but this copy was reprinted in 1971.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My 30th Birthday (Mostly) In Photos

Ah, birthdays. It's no secret that I love them, but it has to be said that this one was pretty special. I'm going to try and stick to the food elements of my birthday, only a fraction of which I actually documented!

As I mentioned in my post on Cheesecake Muffins, my week of early-birthday celebrations began with breakfast with my big brother. I made my go-to Bacon Cups, which I've posted plenty about before, because I knew he'd love them. I can't quite put into words how pretty I think these little cups of glory are! I used rye bread this time, and they provided a nice, sturdy base and molded together well with the bacon.

Bacon Cups. My absolute favourite breakfast.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Lemon Bundt Cake & A Late Summer's Eve

I was feeling inspired after reading this beautifully nostalgic post from Jamie (Life's A Feast) a little while ago, about American versus French barbecues. Knowing I was going to spend a lovely weekend in the Annapolis Valley last week, at two separate barbecues, I really wanted to try making her Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake, which she wrote about in that post. 

I wound up making two of these beauties: one for the Saturday barbecue with my family and some friends from Halifax, and one for the Sunday soirée with our Valley-residing friends. For the first barbecue, I stayed true to the recipe, simply topping the cake with the lemon juice and sugar and letting it soak in. Both my mother and I agreed with Jamie's prognosis that this cake is deceptive: while seemingly plain, that sugary, lemony goodness is more than enough to complement the moist, delicate cake. However, having received some requests from both F. and my father for a 'topping' of some sort, I decided to appease the men in my life for round two. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Random Bake of Kindness

A what?

Just yesterday I stumbled upon an event making ripples across the blogosphere, which had been live for a couple of weeks, but under my personal radar. Random Bakes of Kindness, spearheaded by Vanessa Kimbell, is an event whereby you surprise someone in your life with baked goods just to show how much you appreciate them. I have done this sort of thing before, but how fun to intentionally go about making peoples days brighter with a random gift of baked goodness? Who wouldn't want this kind of surprise?

My target? Lifelong friend Angie.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

On Cream Cheese & Birthdays

At the risk of romanticizing this ever-so-slightly, this week's Muffin Monday assignment was like a date with destiny! It's no secret that for the past two Muffin Mondays, I have either thought about, or have gone ahead and added, cream cheese to my muffins. How happy was I, then, with the discovery that this week's muffins needed no excuse? These Cheesecake Muffins were the perfect way to kick off not only the Labour Day weekend, but a weekend of my early birthday celebrations, too. There's just something about that velvety texture that really knocks my socks off.

On the topic of birthdays, I have always loved them. My love for birthdays has nothing to do with presents or attention, I just have always felt that I've earned my new age, and nine times out of ten, I feel fiercely proud of the things I've seen, done, and accomplished over the previous year. Birthdays are a time for reflection, a time to celebrate a year well spent, and to give an optimistic nod to the future and to all that the upcoming year holds.