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Archive for December, 2011

Today is New Years Eve and I’m likely busy doing the laundry, changing bed linens, towels and cleaning because I have this crazy idea that the start sets the tone for the whole year (not that I change the linens and towels once a year only ;-)!) I hope you all have a wonderful evening with just the right amount of revelling that you prefer.
Henry the VIII is another pub that just opened last month. It too is occupying a space that has had many restaurants over the years; it is located in the far west side of BWV. We now have 7 pubs in Bloor West Village. S E V E N ? The irony of this figure is that BWV was completely dry until the early 1990’s! That meant that alcohol was not permitted to be served in any restaurants. In 1873, John G. Howard made an agreement with the city of Toronto to bequeath his land, High Park, to the city as long as it remains free to the public, that no alcohol be served in the Village, and that a Catholic cannot be Mayor of Toronto. Yup, they actually said that, believe it or not! Not sure why the alcohol laws changed in the early 90’s, we’re just grateful that it did.

Fortunately for us, we moved in a few years after the ban on booze was lifted and we now have 7 bustling pubs in the area some great restaurants and a very handy LCBO at the top of our street. We may have a problem here 😉

As I mentioned previously, this pub has opened in a space that many a restaurants have failed. It’s a bit off the beat-and-track for BWV and on a cold day such as today, I likely would not have chosen it had we not had a car. The interior is decorated in a very English style, burgundy velvet banquets, dark wood paneling and wainscoting, there is very little advertising décor on the walls which is a nice change. The bar is at one side and is well stocked with the usual suspects; they have several beers on tap. For me, the décor is missing something, although I cannot put my finger on it. It’s almost like it was temporary — not sure why I think that, everything seems to be full size and permanent. The pub is empty when we arrived at 2:15 on a Tuesday. When we chatted with the bar tender he mentioned that today was their slowest day yet, they’ve been open 4 weeks. We chose a booth at the front by the large windows (they can open fully in the summer-time). It’s a bit chilly, these types of windows are not great for winter weather and today is a cold, wintery day. The table is clean, although my banquet had crumbs left over from a previous patron. We order a Guinness each and it arrives promptly, although there is always a little wait with the Guinness because of the way they pour.

YUM! Creamy Guiness!

The menu reminds me of a typical English pub menu, but it’s taken up a notch or two by some unusual twists to the same old (for example, Duck Confit Grilled Cheese, Chicken Curry Wrap). I had the roasted vegetable and quinoa salad; it is a warm salad of quinoa with roasted vegetables and marinated feta cheese served on a bed of organic baby spinach with a honey and balsamic olive oil dressing. It was a healthy serving and quite reasonably priced for $9.75 (same thing at dinner will set you back $15). It was delicious the dressing, the feta and the roasted vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, artichoke and sun dried tomatoes) were fantastic together, and the nutty quinoa was a nice change to a typical pub salad. JT had the Pulled Chicken Tikka Marsala which was chicken stewed in a red curry sauce with sweet apple chutney, jalapeño havarti, cashews and saffron basmati in a warm flour tortilla for $9.95 — it came with either soup, salad or fries, JT took the salad (which was also quite lovely with curly grated beets as decoration). The chicken curry wrap was also delicious, although I had a hard time tasting the jalapeño havarti. We each commented that we would have the same thing again, in fact, JT mentioned he would also consider having my choice on another occasion. It is quite obvious that someone with knowledge is in the kitchen and it’s not a deep fried plethora. The execution and presentation are above average; this pub will give the other 6 pubs in our hood a run for their money! They change up the menu a bit for dinner, we will give it another go again.

Finally a good vegetarian option. Can I get some pork with this? 😉

Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 2.0/5, service 3.5/5, food 3.75/5, Value 3.75/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). The restaurant was pretty much empty, I would imagine it gets pretty loud at night.

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

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Yesterday was a busy day; to keep up with all the eating out JT and I decided to work out at our local gym each morning. That’s 30 minutes on the elliptical and 20 with free weights! I’m hoping it’s enough :).
We checked out two new grocery stores in Toronto: Maple Leaf Garden Loblaws and the Longo’s Maple Leaf Square. Yes, we are obsessed with hockey (OK, not me, really).
Maple Leaf Gardens was Toronto’s hockey arena where our beloved Maple Leafs played from 1931 to 1999. It then sat purposeless until 2004 when Loblaws purchased it. (American’s will know Loblaws by it’s Private Label Brand, President’s Choice). They were going to convert it to a Real Canadian Superstore but were met with heaps of criticism that the retailer will diminish the buildings historical value (see history). So it sat again for a number of years without much work within it other than some structural testing. In 2009 Loblaws announced that they were in discussion with Ryerson University regarding a future joint venture. Construction for the newly purposed building began in 2010 to be converted into a multi-purpose building: Ryerson University (fitness centre, studios, high-performance courts, and an NHL sized ice hockey rink seating 2,796 guests*), Loblaws, LCBO and Joe Fresh. We checked out the retail spaces.

To call this place a grocery store would be an enormous understatement — it’s absolutely incredible! From prepared gourmet selections to the on site bakery, butcher, fish monger, fresh market (with fruits and vegetables I have never heard of!) and the list goes on — it’s a feast for the eyes. We had no intention to buy anything, but somehow we came out with a $100 bill for things I just couldn’t pass up! It’s a beautifully merchandised store, with something to look at in every corner. Sadly this store is about a 20 minute drive through the city for us, so it’s not likely a place we will shop every day, but it certainly will be a destination from time to time!

The Wall of Cheese

Longo’s Maple Leaf Square was a bit of a let down after the “wall of cheese” but I suppose it was expected. None-the-less there were new products to admire (and I bought my very first Give-Away to be held in the new year!).

The elevator doors from the parking level at Longo's Maple Leaf Square. Yes, we are a little hockey nuts!

We ate lunch at Cochina Lucero a small family owned Mexican Restaurant about a 5 minute drive from Maple Leaf Gardens. The restaurant itself is very quaintly decorated in the Mexican style; brightly coloured tiles, thick wooden tables and chairs that weighed about 50lbs! 😉 It was not packed, but then again we arrived around 2:30. The service was friendly and quick; we received complimentary tortilla chips and a lovely spicy tomato salsa. I ordered Sopa Azteca which was $7.00. It was a generous portion made with pasilla chili, tomato and chicken soup topped with
tortilla strips, feta cheese, avocados & sour cream. It hit my taste buds perfectly; just the right spiciness, and enough chicken to make it a meal. It was likely the best Mexican soup I’ve ever had. JT had the El Burro Chicken Tortilla for $9; it was a 12 inch tortilla crammed with beans, rice, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole & sour cream; he said he has had better. I had a bit of a taste and would agree, it could have had a bit more flavour to it! All in all it was a great experience, and I would recommend this little hole-in-the-wall place.

iPhone photo! Hey, get your grubby fingers out of that dip

Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). The restaurant was not packed, I would imagine it gets pretty loud at night. Great lunch place.

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

*Historical data is from Wikipedia

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This Christmas holiday we were unable to book a quick get-away at a reasonable price so we decided to stay in the city and check out a bunch of restaurants we’ve been hoping to get to. Our first installment in this series is Wvrst (like wurst) on King West. Now Wvrst is in a location that has seen many restaurants and it surprises me somewhat when another replaces the last one, but this time, I do believe they have the right ingredients for the area. It’s what they call a “Sausage Hall”; but wait, there is beer too! 🙂

Is is weird that they put my age on the table? 😉

The menu consists of a variety of home designed sausages (they outsource the actual making to somewhere in Montréal), even vegetarian! There are fries too, and beer; over 15 on tap. The beers were carefully chosen to pair well with the sausages. The restaurant is family style with long wooden communal tables; it is well but not too brightly lit with those cool bulbs I mentioned in the Kennedy Public House Post, hundreds of them! We had lunch on Boxing Day, so it was a little quiet. You go to the sausage bar to order and pay for your food, but the servers bring it to you, reasonably quickly.

We decided to share an Elk and Porchini sausage with sauerkraut and sautéed jalopeño peppers $9 and small Belgian-style fries (regular fries) $3.5 with Wvrst’s own spicey mayo $1. It was plenty of food for us. The sausage was DELICIOUS with my Dead Guy Ale just a slight nuttiness paired perfectly with the rich sausage. JT had the Dieu du Ciel which I found too bitter, but he liked it. The sausage casing had that perfect POP as you bit into each delicious bite! My only comment would be that the Porchini was a bit of a waste as neither of us could taste it in the sausage. The fries were gloriously crispy and fresh tasting; the dipping mayo was indeed spicy, but we both loved it, although it was a bit thick. We could have ordered the fries fried in duck fat, but thought better of it.

The manager was friendly and helpful (we had a bit of an issue which I won’t mention but he took care of it immediately and we were happy with the result). The experience was a bit quick but it was very nice and the food was great and not expensive.

Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 3.5/5, food 3.5/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). The restaurant was not packed, I would imagine it gets pretty loud at night. Great lunch place.

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

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A couple of days ago I posted some photos and a link to my friend Ann’s blog, Cooking Healthy for Me because I made her little cheese snacks. When I read her post I was dumb-founded — she made four, 4, read F O U R, DOUBLE batches. Now that’s a lot of cheese, and I hate to admit, I was thinking, WTF? Well, after carefully extracting my foot from my mouth, I hesitantly admit that I am now on batch 3, THREE of these golden cheesy nuggets (single batches!). Thanks Ann. No really. This recipe will definitely be making the rounds during the holidays.

YUM!

Last night I made batch two and three and although batch three is identical to Ann’s cheese sensations, batch two was shaken up a tad (you know me ;-)!). I’ve updated with metric measures in case anyone across the pond might wish to try it.

Little bundles of cheesy goodness

Eva’s Take on Cheez-itz

from Ann who borrowed the recipe from Katrina’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • a combination of 8 oz (227 g) Jarlsberg, Parmesan and Mozzarella, or sharp cheddar, grated
  • 3 tbsp (45 g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tbsp (14 g) vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (134 g) flour
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling (I omitted this as I found the cheese salty enough)
  • 1 tsp horseradish (not creamed)*

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the cheese with the softened butter, shortening and salt in a the bowl. Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until it is crumbly (mine was rather creamy with this type of cheese).
  2. Slowly add the flour and mix until crumbly; then add the ice-water. At first it looks like you might need more water, patience grasshopper, patience, the dough will come together in a moment.
  3. Cut in half and pat the dough down into a disc, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  5. Place disc on parchment paper and put the plastic wrap on top and roll each disc to 2mm or 1/8 inch thickness (this is the perfect thickness).
  6. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut into shapes. I found that my 2.5cm square cut the perfect size (the one’s pictured are a touch too big).
  7. Transfer to a baking sheet (I line mine with parchment).
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy! Be careful – there’s a fine line with these between golden brown and over done – and it only takes seconds to burn!
  9. Remove to cooling rack.

Oh no! Not him again!?!?!?!?

*I made these again to take to our friend’s place on New Years Day and I added the horseradish because there is a local dairy in Southern Ontario who pairs their cheddar with it and it’s outstanding!

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Yesterday was Boxing Day, a tradition we’ve inherited from the UK. Although the history is quite different to what it has become today, it’s still a national holiday in Canada where many businesses are still closed and people get a day off. Except for retail stores! It’s a kind of Black Friday; sale madness and shopping frenzy! We’re heading down town to see if any bargains were meant for us, and we’ll be sampling our first new restaurant for lunch. In the meantime I have the final installment of the Christmas Baking Frenzy 2011 to share with you.
I have to admit that I have not made our Yule Log in years (since 2007, to be exact!). Charles at Five Euro Foods has inspired me to dust off my Mom’s ancient Hungarian Cookbook, drag out my Hungarian English Dictionary and bake my Mom’s traditional Yule Log. Our log is a marriage of the Hungarian Piskota (pronounced Pishkoata) and the traditional Canadian Yule Log with butter cream and a little of my Mom’s creative addition, whipped cream. But this year I forgot to buy the whipping cream and I had a logistic issue with transporting the cake so, like Charles I had to stick with a butter cream for the log. And some cute little snowflake decorations.

As I commented on Charles’ post that my Mom always decorated her Yule Log with little meringue mushrooms. When I was old enough, it was my job to pipe the mushroom shapes onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet and then when dried and cooled I would assemble them with the melted chocolate! What fond memories Charles’ blog brought back, thank you! Sadly, this year I tried three times to make my mushroom meringues and three times the meringue failed, so no mushroom meringues this year! Insert Sad face here.

Oh well, it seems that it’s usually me that eats them anyway, and I just don’t need it this year!

Gather 'round the table, y'all. It's time for dessert!

The Family Yule Log

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 120 g sugar
  • 120 g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9″ x 13″ cake pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper, carefully folding the corners. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Separate the eggs into two medium bowls. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, but not dry. Set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy and falls in a thick ribbon.
  4. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the pale egg yolk mixture.
  5. Sift about 1/3 of the flour into the egg yolk mixture, then alternate folding in with the egg whites being careful not to deflate the batter.
  6. Once all of the egg whites and flour have been folded in, the mixture will be thick. Pour carefully onto your prepared baking pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment edges and lay onto a clean white cheesecloth sprinkled with the 2 tbsp sugar. Taking the short end, begin to roll the cake up tightly. Twist the cheesecloth ends tightly and allow to cool completely.

Rich Chocolate Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled.
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar and beat until entirely incorporated and fluffy.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the melted chocolate and beat well.

Cake Assembly:

Directions:

  1. Carefully unroll the cooled cake.
  2. Brush the inside of the roll with the raspberry jam (if it is too thick, you may want to heat it up a bit but if you do, make sure it is cooled before you add the Butter Cream).
  3. Spread about 1/3 of the butter cream on the inside of the roll. Carefully roll up the cake tightly.
  4. Place the roll onto your serving platter, roll side down.
  5. Spread the remaining butter cream evenly over the cake, covering both ends.
  6. Decorate with meringue mushrooms and silly plastic decorations (sadly, I forgot where I put ours :-()

I wish to thank you all for joining me while I baked for the last couple of weeks.

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This is the second last installment of the Christmas Baking Frenzy of 2011. The cookies I am posting today are a Christmas tradition that I started for my father-in-law and my husband’s brother-in-law, neither of whom should eat sugar; I present to you the Peanut Butter Cookie. Coincidentally, these are also gluten free.

The cookies are a little dry, so you'll need a cup of tea or coffee with them.

I was having a little fun with Photoshop

Sugar Free and Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Original Recipe by Paula Deen, Food Network
21 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1 cup baking sugar replacement (recommended: Splenda)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and beat until entirely combined. Roll the dough into balls (I used a 1.25″ melon baller).
  3. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Press down each cookie with the palm of your hand. With a fork press once in the typical PB Cookie method
  4. Bake for 14 minutes remove from the oven and cool.

On another note I wanted to share with you something absolutely AWESOME! For many years now, our neighbour to the north of us has brought Christmas to his house during the years our weather was not cooperative. This year was no different and although we have had a few light sprinklings of snow there was not enough to ‘stick’ and subsequently we have yet another ‘green Christmas’! Not to be outdone by nature, neighbour John goes out to the local skating arena and scoops up their leftover snow (what the Zamboni clears off the ice) and shovels it onto his front lawn in time for Christmas morning. The kids are teenagers now, but still LOVE this tradition and neighbour John is more than happy to oblige. Enjoy the snow.

The only lawn in Toronto that has snow!

Just in case you didn't believe me, that's our house next door!

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Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends!
I wish you all the best, health and happiness. Thanks for joining me on this ride!
With love,
Eva

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My dear Mom used to make a cold soup for Christmas dinner. I really don’t know why because traditionally it’s more of a summer-time supper (Hungarians used to eat their main meal at lunch and supper was just something light). My brother’s wife, Wendy fell in love with this soup the first time she ever had it and every year she asked my Mom to make it. Since my Mom’s passing I’ve made it from time to time, whenever Wendy asks but not as regularly (maybe mine is not a good ;-)!) This year I decided to make it without being prompted because I know the kids love it too! The tip about sorting through the cherries for seeds is from me. My brother used to always get the lot of seeds if there were any to be found in the soup!

I had a professor over for dinner when I was at University and I made this as a first course; he was ecstatic that we were having dessert FIRST!

Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle sour pitted cherries in light syrup 540 mL/19 oz
  • 3 cups water
  • 40-50g granulated sugar (depending on how sour the cherries actually are)
  • 5-10 cm lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-4 whole cloves (I use a tea infuser so I don’t have to sort through the soup to fish them out)
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (the Hungarians use sour cream)
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Strain the liquid from the cherries and put it into a medium sauce pan. Sort through the cherries making sure they really don’t have pits in them (I pulled out 5 out of my bottle) set aside.
  2. Heat the cherry liquid, sugar and the water with the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves until softly boiling.
  3. Mix the flour with the yogurt well. Add about a cup of the hot liquid to temper the yogurt, then pour the entire yogurt into the softly boiling liquid. Stir well until it slightly thickens. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel. Add the cherries and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It actually thickens as it cools.
  4. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, if desired (we always forget!).

It

As you may have gleaned from the title of this post, I have again been bestowed with the honour of The Versatile Blogger award by my new friend Sharyn at Kale Chronicles. I’ve been intrigued with Sharyn’s blog as she doesn’t photograph her food, but paints a lovely little water colour about it or the inspiration she has garnered from the experience around it. Check out her blog, her recipes are off the beaten track and a nice change!

Thank you Sharyn for this honour!

The conditions of this lovely award are as below.

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post – check, see above.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself – seeing as I really like talking about myself…just kidding, since I’ve done this before and many of my readers are from places far away, I’m going to tell you 7 things about Canada that you may not know 😉 ). You can read the first set here.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 blogs you enjoy reading – I shall do my best to find bloggers who have not been given this honour previously, and I’ve come up with 7!
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. – check

Seven Things about Canada you may not know:

  1. Canada’s Prime Ministers do not have a fixed maximum term length, like the US Presidents. Our Prime Ministers can literally go on forever, or at least feel like they do 😉
  2. Our legal driving age is 16, but we now have graduated licensing. Way back when I got my license, I was able to get in the car and drive when and where ever I wanted, but that was a billion years ago! Ironically, our legal drinking age is 19! (Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec is 18).
  3. Canada’s population is about 1/10th of the US and the majority of our residents live within 100 miles of the US boarder.
  4. Although Canada’s Constitution was repatriated by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, we are still connected to the Queen of England through our Governor General. David Johnston is the 28th Governor General of Canada.
  5. We spell words just like the British: colour, not color; neighbour, not neighbor; flavour, not flavor; favourite, not favorite — you get where I am going with this…my comments do not contain typo’s, we just spell that way!
  6. In the 1970’s Canada began her conversion from the Imperial system of measures to Metric; by the late 1970’s all our roadsigns were converted and schools were teaching both. Although legally Metric is our form of measure, you will always find food sold in Pounds and Kilos, and fabric sold by the Yard or Metre (that’s another Canadian spelling, really).
  7. We call electricity Hydro in Ontario, I suspect mainly because some of our power comes from Niagara Falls!

Blogs I humbly nominate for said award:

  1. Profiteroles and Ponytales: I’ve known Barb for about 20 years; she is now a Wife and a Mummy and a “Big Wig” in a fancy firm downtown Toronto. I am happy that she is finally enjoying the benefits of blogging. Hope you pop by her blog and drop her a note.
  2. Flavour Fiesta: I recently met Divya and am amazed and slightly jealous of her determination, dedication and perseverance with the launch of her extensive magazine. We’ve done magazines before at work and I know what an enormous project it is. She is also a fellow Torontonian! (and she spells like I do ;-))
  3. Grazing in the City: Bill is a southern transplant to Chicago and I really enjoy reading about discovering Chicago, one of my favourite cities of all time!
  4. Bits and Breadcrumbs: Betsy is a fellow designer and she blogs about cooking and traveling (Canadian spelling!) and her lovely artsy-fartsy friends (sorry, that’s what we call ourselves up here ;-)!)
  5. Back Road Journal: I just met Karen today and love her kitchen. I am looking forward to peaking into her life in the future.
  6. A_Boleyn: Maria doesn’t have a blog, but she does document her food on live journal. She’s a substitute teacher, so watch your spelling and grammar 😉
  7. Eat Tori: I just met Tori and love the way she writes. She gets to go places I can only dream of.

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We’re winding down at work, but just getting started for the holidays. Our plans to spend a few days away in New York fell through; but we’ve decided to do something we’ve not done before, we will be sampling a different restaurant every day, and I’ll be blogging about it. We will alternate with Lunch and Dinner each day — I’m actually very excited about it. Plus one day I’m going to treck out to Gilda’s a huge kitchen store in Mississauga (like a kid in a candy store).

My blogging buddy Ann at Cooking Healthy for me posted this recipe the other day and as soon as I read it, I knew it was for me! I could not resist the cheesiness that she expounded. It was like cheese on steroids, super cheese, super duper cheese…well, you get the gist!

Since I wasn’t familiar with the brand that I’m sure she was duplicating, I decided to make my crackers out of scalloped rounds and squares. They shrunk quite a bit but it didn’t bother me because they sure are cheesy (started out about 1.25″ and ended about the size of a gold fish, yes that other cheesy goodness). Although they have no egg or any kind of leavening, they puff up quite a bit, and they don’t fall back down! Other than making sure you don’t overbake them, you really need not worry about them … well, with the exception of  “evaporation” (you know, the same “evaporation” that affected my block chocolate?)

I can only say, THANK YOU Ann. I am definitely adding this recipe to my appetizer/snack repertoire. They are sure to be a family favourite for years to come. Cheez-itz Recipe.

Crispy and cheesy

If you get a chance, check out Katherine’s recipe at Rufus’ Food and Spirit, she whipped up an amazing peppercorn martini that would be divine with these little bites.

OMG! Who invited him? Not me that's for sure.

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I know I’ve posted this fine recipe before, but this time I changed it up a tiny bit and had to re-post. Being right smack in the throws of the big entertaining season, these are great because you can easily freeze them, and then pop them in the oven at the sign of a visitor and heat at 325°F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. They are also amazing stuffed with Stilton and honey, goats cheese, cream cheese, escargots, etc. I hope you try these because they are just too easy and look so ‘fancy’.

Tasty Cheese Puffs, would you like a martini or glass of wine with that?

Re heat so that the outside is a bit crispy and the inside warm and yummy

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (in this recipe I reversed the quantity of the cheeses because that’s what I had!)
  • 1/4 cup Jarlsberg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Remove from heat and add flour, and stir until combined.
  4. Return to heat and stir cooking the flour mixture until it comes away from the sides of the pan and is a shiny ball. I find the heat of the pan is enough, I generally don’t put the flame back on.
  5. Place in a food processor with plastic blades and process for 15 seconds (give or take).
  6. Add eggs and process for 40 seconds (err on the longer side of give or take).
  7. Add both cheeses and process for another 5-10 seconds until smooth.
  8. Using a wet spoon, place thumbnail-sized spoonfuls on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 3-5 cm apart. I find lightly splashing the pan with cold water helps the puffs puff up.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Serve warm or room temperature.

They puff up about 12 minutes into baking but be patient, they need to bake on the inside too. They are ideal for stuffing with a pipping funnel (I bought a really cheap one from a dollar store and it works very well).

Warning: you WILL WANT one of these. Gentlemen and children, you may wish to shield your eyes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Air Swimmer. If you haven’t seen them, check out this video, they are SO COOL! Thanks to Katherine and Greg for the help on how to embed a Youtube…I was so blind I completely missed how incredibly easy it is. Hope you don’t think I’m an idiot! 😉

Because we are going to my brother’s place for Christmas Eve celebrations, I wanted this totally cool present ready to excite and enjoy (OK, truth be told, we wanted to play with it!) so we put it together yesterday and LOVE it. We have the shark! It does take a bit of practice to fly it, so if you do get one, you may want to play practice some! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
So, dear reader, can you resist the Air Swimmer?

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