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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

We had JTs family for Easter brunch again this year and I wanted to change it up a bit and serve some different sides. I recently started following John over at Kitchen Riffs and he posted a fantastic update to the traditional scalloped potato dish…he added celery root! Can you believe it? This change was very appealing to me because although scalloped potatoes are not considered healthy, this version is slightly healthier than the traditional version. While potatoes have almost 1 calorie per gram, and a glycemic load of 29, celery root has 0.4 calories per gram with a glycemic load of 6! While it may not make this a healthy dish, it does help mitigate some of the other not-quite-so-healthy ingredients in this dish.

EasterTable_2506

Our Easter Table

I was also inspired to add some thyme to this dish as I was preparing the béchamel sauce and it was fantastic; the thyme really played into the celeriac flavours beautifully. The celeriac also made this dish a lot less starchy than one made exclusively with potatoes. I’m definitely keeping this version for future family dinners.

A warm, bubbly crispy crust scalloped potato and celeriac

A warm, bubbly cheese crusted scalloped potato and celeriac

The original recipe came from my trusty Five Roses Cookbook which is now falling apart at the seams, but that’s OK, it looks well-loved!

ScallopedPotatoes_2504

The thyme flavour with the celeriac is a pleasant surprise.

Scalloped Potatoes with Cereriac

Serves 10-12 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized potatoes (Yukon Gold work very well), peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1 small celeriac (celery root), peeled and sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 Vialia onion, sliced very thinly
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus one sprig for garnish
  • 1/2 cup grated yellow cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare an oven-proof baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (I like to use one pretty enough to serve from and that way I’m not messing around plating the dish). Preheat the oven to 190°C (350°F).
  2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat, increase the heat a little and add the flour, mixing well to combine. Cook this mixture for a few minutes making sure not to burn it. Slowly add the milk into the cooked flour and whisk to combine and remove all lumps. Add the chopped thyme and salt and whisk well; cook the béchamel until thick (should still be pourable).
  3. Beginning with the potatoes, layer a single layer on the bottom of the prepared baking dish and cover the bottom fully. Next layer the onions over the potatoes and then the celery root. Cover these three layers with the thyme béchamel sauce. Repeat the layering process with the béchamel sauce until you have used up all of the vegetables, leaving a small amount of béchamel to pour over the very top of the layers.
  4. Place the baking dish onto a cookie sheet (you’ll thank me later) and sprinkle the cheddar over the béchamel. Bake uncovered for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a cake tester flows into the potato, celery root easily. Serve hot.

 Notes:

  • Béchamel thickens as it bakes so don’t worry if you feel your béchamel is runny, it will be fine made with the proportions in this recipe.
  • This dish may be made in advance, cooled and refrigerated. Reheat with additional cheese (broiling may be necessary).
  • When you reheat, make sure the béchamel bubbles up.
ScallopedPotatoes_2497

A traditional dish with a new angle!

This is using the celeriac.

This is using Potato and Celeriac.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 11.44.40 AM

Potato and Celeriac, yielded about 12 portions for the dish I used.

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Last week I needed a dessert for my pie loving in-law family and I was lucky enough to find Charles‘ beautiful Appelkaka, a Swedish apple cake. I knew JTs family would like it because they are pie people and apple is one of their fav’s. We’re all trying to cut down our carbs, so when I saw this cake is made without the traditional pastry, I decided to make it. Of course, things don’t always go as planned, so when I started out to make the cake, I gathered all my ingredients. Apples: check. Sugar substitute: check (I had one diabetic and one hypo-glycemic in the house). Bread crumbs: wait…does that package say Parmesan Bread Crumbs? Oh my. Change of plans. Nix the bread crumbs and get out the food processor and pulse 120 g of Oats a few times, I wanted some texture, so it wasn’t pulsed to a smooth powder, but almost. And there we had it. When I changed up the bread crumbs to oats, I thought I’d change up the method as bit as well. I hope you don’t mind Charles, it turned out quite successful and the plates were licked clean. Thanks again for a lovely Swedish dessert.

Purple Crocus_4413

A quick taste of spring, and then it snowed.

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I think they may have retreated back into the ground.

Appelkaka, A Swedish Apple Cake

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A delicious combination of apples, almonds, oats and cinnamon

Serves 8-10, depending on the slice size

Ingredients:

  • 6 or 7 large Apples
  • 4-6 tsp Stevia (I had organic stevia powder at home, so I just used that. I think it was this brand – no weird aftertaste)
  • 120 g Oats, pulsed a few times in a food processor (not quite 100% powdery but close)
  • 50 g almond meal or roughly chopped almonds
  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Sliced almonds for garnish
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 395°F. Line a 10″ spring form pan with a little parchment (my pan didn’t have tall enough sides, so I had to make my sides out of parchment).
  2. Peel and coarsely grate the apples and splash a bit of lemon juice into it so it stops them from discolouring.
  3. Mix the pulsed oats, cinnamon, almonds and butter until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Take about 1/3 of the oat mix and press firmly into the bottom of the spring form pan. Add about 1/2 of the grated apples on top and sprinkle with another third of the oats. Finish with the remainder of the apples and press firmly down. Sprinkle the final third of the oat mix on top, just like a crumble.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the apples are soft.
  6. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve with Greek yogurt, flavoured with a tsp of stevia, lemon zest and a small splash of pure vanilla.
A very tasty appelkaka

A very tasty appelkaka

Family1_4417

Laura, Brady and Brian

Our Easter Lunch, complete with the wonderful Beef Tenderloin.

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Dan, Joan, Dad and JT

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Beef Tenderloin with a port sauce.

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I just noticed that WordPress is adding advertising into my content in links which are not mine. How to tell the difference is that my links have a dotted underline and the ad links are solid and dotted together. Not cool at all.

Last week I was blown-away flattered by my Hungarian friend Zsuzsa (Zsuzsa is in the kitchen) when she invited me to participate in a blogging event to post your Easter Menu! You can read about Zsuzsa’s Easter here; she grew up very close to where my Mom grew up in Budapest. It’s really just a round up of past post recipes and a little bit about your Easter memories. How could I say no?  Thank you Zsuzsa, I would be honoured. Zsuzsa is taking part with the following Hungarian ladies: The author of this event, Éva from Takarekos Konyha (this blog is in Hungarian) and Elizabeth from Food and Thrift.

Growing up, Easter was always about bunnies for me. Yes, we went to church and all that but let’s be honest, it was about the bunnies! At eight years old, my very first pet bunny was an albino Dutch whom we called Boom Boom (he was called Boom Boom because he stomped his hind feet loudly). Sadly good old Boom Boom only lasted 3 years, but he made such an impression on me that I’ve only ever had bunnies as pets! I cried so much when he died that my Dad swore he would never let me have another pet because losing them made me too sad and he just couldn’t bear it. I was sixteen before I was permitted to have Boon, another albino Dutch but smaller than Boom Boom (no, we weren’t very imaginative with the names!). But I digress, back to Easter.

Mom and Dad in Edmonton with the Chrysler Tour in 1960

Mom and Dad in Edmonton with the Chrysler Tour in 1960

You already know that my Dad was a Puppeteer (and if you don’t, you can read about it here) and we had a family business with the puppet shows. Easter was a big time for us, these holidays meant that the malls, schools (note that this link is NOT mine) and some companies needed entertainment for their events and what’s not to like about a puppet show? So many of our Easters were on the road with the show. In fact, Boom Boom was first adopted because my Dad needed a live bunny for the show (he was the star, don’t worry, it was all very humane).

Believe it or not, the Show was about Bunnies.

Believe it or not, the Show was about Bunnies.

TheEasterShow_BLOG

And there were singing Eggs too

But Easter also had a serious side: FOOD! Chocolates, coloured eggs and of course, ham. I don’t have many of the recipes that we had at Easter but I’ve gathered a bunch I am going to have this weekend when we have JTs family for Easter Sunday lunch. I hope you enjoy them.

My Mom only used Canada Grade A Large size eggs

My Mom only used Canada Grade A Large size eggs

Hors D’œuvres were usually Deviled Eggs (here and here) and French Salad (Francia Saláta). I don’t have a post about Francia Saláta, but you can see Zsuzsa’s recipe here (my Mom never put potatoes in her version). I may do a new hors d’œuvres recipe I saw on my friend Lorraine’s blog of her recent trip to Amman, Jordan. It involves cheese and phyllo pastry, that’s all I can give you!

A wonderful addition to any Easter table

A wonderful addition to any Easter table

We usually had an Easter kalács (Zsuzsa made a gorgeous one here) but I’m making John’s Easter Cheese Bread instead.

The most succulent tenderloin ever

The most succulent tenderloin ever

We’ve decided to go nontraditional and have a beef tenderloin for lunch. This recipe is my favourite way to serve this special cut of meat.

The only place you'll miss the potatoes is on your waist-line!

The only place you’ll miss the potatoes is on your waist-line!

I’m going to serve it with my traditional Celeriac Cauliflower Mash. And a wonderful lemony Asparagus from my friend Greg’s Rufus’ Guide.

It's a symphony of colours

It’s a symphony of colours

And a little tangy German Purple Cabbage Slaw.

Now if you had any room for dessert, I’m going to make Charle’s Sweedish Apple Cake (from Five Euro Food), which totally looks like the perfect ending to a rich and heavy meal. It’s really just all apples and then there’s more apples. The only flour in this is the use of the breadcrumbs as the base, thickener and likely adds a little texture. I love that I can make it sugar free too, since I have a diabetic and a hypo-glycemic in the house — I like to make only one dessert that everyone can enjoy and not make the person feel odd that they have something else.

I may not be able to comment on your blogs for the next few days but I’ll definitely read up when I get back into civilization with internet. Thank you for reading my blog and leaving comments, you really, really make my day. Thank you to every one of the blogs I read, you provide me with the inspiration for my blog and it really wouldn’t be the same without you!

Happy Easter to All!

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My friend Kim’s kid LOVES Peeps, and we were going over to see them on Sunday for a casual dinner. So I wanted to make Easter Peep cupcakes. Only I could not find Peeps! 3 Walmarts, several Shoppers Drug Marts (like Walgreens), Zellers (like Target) and on and on! No luck. I WILL NOT be defeated by Peeps!

And then I saw Charlie’s post. My dear blogging friend Charlie of Hotly Spiced made these INCREDIBLE Easter Marshmallow eggs. Really? Home made marshmallows? I thought it was an urban legend! So after a few questions I gave it a try! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pretend my little deformed chicks are anything like Charlie’s gorgeous, elegant Chocolate Covered Easter Eggs, but they are indeed a reasonable facsimile of the ever famed Easter Peeps. And they are marshmallow. And the kid said they taste like them too!
I used a Martha Stewart recipe because it claimed to make less Marshmallows; I still had tonnes left! But thanks to Charlie, I won’t ever be buying marshmallows ever again, that’s for sure!
I actually added about 20 drops yellow food colouring, but it obviously had no effect, so if you want yellow peeps, add more!

Cute and Tasty too. What a combo!

Now be careful. I was warned and now you will be too. I had EVERYTHING at hand and it still happened! Marshmallow cream EVERYWHERE! Too bad it wasn’t Valentine’s Day. I’m just sayin’!

Easter Peeps

Marshmallow recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and place a candy thermometer into sugar water; wipe sides of pan with a wet brush if sugar crystals have splattered up. Boil sugar until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees).
  3. Remove syrup from heat and add to softened gelatin. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stir the mixture a few minutes to cool. Place bowl on the mixer stand; beat on medium high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large (14-inch) pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch (No. 11 Ateco) tip, and use immediately or wrap with plastic wrap tightly.

    Click here to get instructions on how to pipe the peeps!
    From Martha Stewart Living, April 2001

Today is the Centennial Anniversary of the maiden voyage (and sadly the demise) of the luxury vessel RMS Titanic. There will be only one more blog about the party today, and I am soooo excited about it. We put together a little memorial booklet and it turned out AMAZING. JT and I will be popping over to Angela’s this morning to drop things off so it’s not as hectic when everyone arrives this evening. It may take a couple of days for me to get the photos together but I’ll post pictures and commentary as soon as I can! Thank you for your support and excitement, I really had not expected it and because of it you’ve absolutely made it for me.

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Reposted from last year.
Make mine chocolate
Please don’t buy a real bunny as a gift at Easter. A bunny will live to about 12 years; this is a real commitment. A bunny needs as much attention as a dog; they have delicate digestive systems that upset easily and not every vet knows how to deal with them (I know of 1 in Toronto) $$$. This is not a decision to be made lightly while you are caught up in the Easter festivities.

This post is dedicated to all the bunnies that end up at the humane society after Easter is over.

Just a few links to demonstrate how ridiculously rampant this idiotic tradition is:
http://www.rabbit.org/easter/2012release.html
http://animalrights.about.com/od/companionanimalspets/a/EasterBunny.htm
http://www.annarbor.com/pets/local-animal-welfare-agencies-urge-people-to-forgo-buying-live-bunnies-for-easter-with-the-make-mine/

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Please don’t buy a real bunny as a gift at Easter. A bunny will live to about 12 years; this is a real commitment. A bunny needs as much attention as a dog; they have delicate digestive systems that upset easily and not every vet knows how to deal with them (I know of 1 in Toronto) $$$. This is not a decision to be made lightly while you are caught up in the Easter festivities.

This post is dedicated to all the bunnies that end up at the humane society after Easter is over.

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