Monday, 30 April 2012

Featured Blogger

Just a wee post today to let you know (in case you hadn't seen my beaming-with-pride tweets or Facebook posts) that last week I was the Featured Blogger over at Food Bloggers of Canada. I think what pleased me more than just being the chosen blog of the week, were the wonderful and kind words of Mardi Michels, FBC Co-Founder, and the way she dug through my blog to find content reflective of Aimee the-real-life-person. She couldn't have chosen a better post to start with - Wine Country - as it's one of my very favourites. 

It makes a girl feel pretty proud, ya know? It's great motivation to keep moving forward in the kitchen, with blog-writing, and with... no, I don't need any further encouragement to eat.

You can find the full article here.

I am also the Atlantic Food & Drink Event-Collector for FBC's Events Page. Do pass any news and events on to me and I'll be sure to have it posted!

Friday, 27 April 2012

#MonthlyMiettes - April Round-Up - Tarts


Welcome to month two of Monthly Miettes! Rather than choosing a specific recipe for April, I decided to open it up with a theme, where everyone was free to choose the Miette tart of their heart.

Our choices were between the Chocolate Truffle Tart, Lime Meringue Tart, Lemon Tart, Pastry Cream & Fresh Fruit Tart, Banana Cream Tart, and Pecan Tart. All of the recipes use a Pâte Sucrée tart shell, with the exception of the Lime Meringue Tart, which features a homemade graham cracker crust. So many beautiful tarts, so little time. Maybe we'll have a 'Tarts - Take 2' later this year, so we can showcase some of the others?

Once again, I couldn't ask to be in finer company, and am thrilled to showcase 5 wonderful submissions for April.

1. Athena (Athena Plichta Photography) chose the recipe for Tartlets with Pastry Cream and Fresh Fruit, and once again, dazzled us with her beautiful photography.

2. Deb (East of Eden Cooking) chose to make what she calls Luscious Lemon Tarts and had high praise for the recipe. Luscious, indeed! I love how sunny that lemon curd is.

3. Jasmine (Cook That Book), like me, couldn't resist the allure of the Lime Meringue Tart. Jasmine ran into some issues with the recipe for the graham cracker crust, so if you're considering making it, be sure to read about her experience! Her tarts turned out beautifully, nonetheless.

I'm excited to report that we have two NEW participants, as well!

4. Jing, who has actually been working her way through Miette by herself for about 5 months now, and documenting her experiences in her adorable blog Me-ette. I know who I'll be going to for advice! Jing decided to join us and re-make the Banana Cream Tart.

5. Lyle, one of the chefs I work with most at the day job, participated belatedly last month, as well. As he says, he 'planted the seed' to get his wife on board for this project and to start a blog with him, looking for a creative outlet outside of the every day rush of life and work. He was successful in his seed planting (high-five!), so they created Creative Gourmet Inc., which carries the namesake of their catering company. Lyle and and Laura made both the Lemon Tart and the Chocolate Truffle Tart for this challenge. Ambitious! Be sure to scroll down to see their submission for the Tomboy Cake, too!

Lime Meringue Tarts

Despite my undying love for all things lemon, I just could't resist the thought of all that lime juice and lime zest in this recipe (one of the world's most wonderful smells!). I've had plenty a lemon meringue pie in my day, but I've never tried a lime-flavoured one, so I opted to try something new. I decided to switch things up a little, however, and rather than making the graham cracker crust that Miette uses for this tart, I thought I'd make the Pâte Sucrée for the base, instead. 

The recipe for the tart shell yielded enough dough for two tarts; as did the recipe for the boiled icing, which was destined to top them. The curd only yielded enough for one tart, however, so I decided to double the batch. That's a lot of lime squeezing, let me tell you! While the notes say the recipes work for 7-inch tart pans (or tartlet pans), I used two, 8-inch pans and there was more than enough to fill them. 

I was able to offload the second tart onto a cousin who lives nearby us. After her recent and so very happy 'announcement', I figured she could use a few extra calories! And at the terrifying rate that F. and I went through the first tart, it was probably for the best.

It's always amazing to me that a shaggy mess of flour and butter (among a few other things) can actually come together into a dough. Every time I make a tart/pie/quiche dough of any kind, I'm convinced it's flopped. Every single time. And then, it melts together, becoming this cohesive and wonderful ball of pastry magic.

And then there were two.

Tart + Curd

Tart + Curd + Boiled Icing

I could have rolled the crust a little thinner, and baked it another minute longer, but I was still pleased as punch with it.

Now, I should mention something rather odd: Aside from the fact that I squeezed and grated the limes myself, and aside from the fact that you could see the pleasant, green flecks in the curd, it was actually a little hard to tell that this was supposed to be lime-flavoured. My suspicions were confirmed when my first taste-tester, F. (naturally!), expressed his utter surprise to learn that it was lime. It actually tasted more like lemon. Why? It's honestly a complete mystery to me. The lime was really quite subtle.

And why did he get to taste the tart before I could tell him what it was? The bugger had a piece while it was still chilling in the fridge, and before I could get home from an event I was attending that evening. Suppose I can't blame the guy; it was just sitting there, looking all pretty and delicious!

This tart - while still challenging and requiring much of the day devoted to its assembly - was so much more approachable than that Tomboy Cake. I know Athena felt the same way, saying that the tarts were a cakewalk in comparison. Punny!

I will definitely, absolutely, without a doubt be making these tarts again.

Want to bake along with us? 

May's challenge is Buttermilk Panna Cotta on page 181. I thought this could be slightly on the lighter side and perfect for spring! Feel free to test this recipe as it is, or switch things up with new flavours or twists to make it your own. 

Because it makes 12-14 servings, it's a fine excuse to invite some friends over, like Jasmine did for her Tomboy Cake.

The rules are simple!

1) Buy Miette. It will be the prettiest, daintiest addition to your kitchen/bookshelf.
2) Bake the challenge of the month and post about it on your blog/website by the 25th. Our challenge for May is Buttermilk Panna Cotta - as it is, or switch it up! Due May 25th, 2012.
3) Dip in to your panna cotta for breakfast (as often or as seldom as you wish, but at least once!), photograph it, and enjoy this little morning ritual to the fullest.
4) Link back to the original post please and thanks! (And if you're tweeting about it, use #monthlymiettes.)

Leave me a comment below if you would like to participate and/or if your post is up!

Happy baking! 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Food & Wine Magazine: April Cover Recipe

Asian Beef with Basil
Rating: 5 out of 5 - Incredible flavour in a straight-forward recipe.

Thank goodness for challenges and blogging events like these. With so many things on my plate (the plate that seems to be on auto-refill - I'm sure everyone knows the feeling!), it's these challenges that keep me motivated and focused on creating in my kitchen, in order to create on this space.

This month's Food & Wine cover challenge, conceived by Jasmine of Cook That Book, features a succulent Asian Beef with Basil recipe. I find the name a little misleading, actually, but only due to the incredible array of flavours going on in this dish. The name seems a little too simple - despite my love of basil!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Muffin Monday: Ricotta, Basil & Sun-dried Tomato

I was definitely excited to try this week's muffin because I've rarely gotten to participate when it's been a savoury recipe! The instant I saw the words 'ricotta' and 'basil' in my in-box, I knew this muffin and I were going to have a lovely breakfast date over the weekend.

Though likely just perfect on its own, this savoury blend was just begging for an addition, and in a time crunch, sun-dried tomatoes seemed to me like the obvious choice. I omitted the extra tablespoon of oil due to the oil in the tomatoes, and replaced half the dried basil called for with torn, fresh leaves. I'm glad I didn't replace all of it, however, because the dried basil made the most pleasantly speckled muffins in the end. They were quite pleasing to the eye! I should have probably omitted the salt in the recipe to account for the saltiness of the tomatoes, too, but it was nothing a morning cup of coffee couldn't balance out!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

NYC Eats, In Photos

Yours truly- Supreme Food Nerd.

Huevos Rancheros Crepe at the Chelsea Market

Ninth Street Espresso - loved their creamy, milky espresso. 

Eleni's fabulous cupcake display.

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes for dessert. After breakfast. 

Trio of Tarts at L'Entrecote.


The best street meat in the history of street meat. Of the street meats I've eaten.

Milk Hot Chocolate from Lily O'Brien's.

Key Lime Cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery

Banana Pudding

Love me some good diner coffee!

Pastrami on Rye


More Halal Guys on the morning we left. For breakfast.

Final stop at Magnolia Bakery - F.'s Icebox Cake. Dessert after breakfast x 2.

My Cinnamon Sugar Muffin en route to JFK.

This is about 1/4 of what I actually ate in NYC and, miraculously, I did not return home 25 pounds heavier!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Muffin Monday: Rice Pudding Muffins

There is nothing quite as soothing as a warm (or cold!) bowl of rice pudding. It's fine comfort food, and it's why I've always liked "Kozy Shack," at least for the aptness of the brand name. But, as usual, nothing beats homemade.

This past Saturday night, F. and I hosted my father's 60th birthday celebration. It was a fabulous evening with family and friends and - as always - tons of amazing food. It was the kind of night where the food is so good and we are all so uncomfortably full, that ideas get tossed around for a family cookbook full of all those wonderful recipes. I had to work quite a bit in the lead up to the party, so while I wasn't able to contribute a great deal to the spread, I was able to add these comforting muffins to the table.