Video for a friend

A few weeks ago our friend came up with the brilliant idea of a group of us creating short videos to A) convince our friend to come back to Canada and B) wish him a happy birthday.

After getting the logistics of my video under control, a challenge given that I’m an on-the-fly-it’ll-work-out kind of person, it went pretty smoothly. Kevin James filmed and edited it and I made the brownies.

Check it out! It was super fun to make! Also, I love Gram Parsons!

Homemade gnocchi

Gnocchi_rolled

I’m so excited to share this recipe! I’ve come across lots of gnocchi recipes, but hadn’t ever made them before. Ever. Not sure why, because I’ve been eating gnocchi for years. Not only that, I’ve been missing experimenting with cooking lately. A switch to a new recipe, a successful recipe, always feels great.

When I came across this recipe by A Couple Cooks, I was determined to try it, or at least a variation of it. There are only five ingredients

2 lbs potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt

While the original recipe uses sweet potatoes, I used yellow and the substitution worked just fine. The directions are quite straightforward…

Bake the potatoes
Poke the potatoes with a fork and bake at 450F for ~40 minutes, until cooked. Let them cool on a rack until they’re cool enough to touch. Scoop out the potato from the skins and put it in a bowl for mashing. Mash until it’s smooth.

Make the dough
Add the egg, parmesan, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour to the potato mash. I would recommend adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mixing in between additions. Add up to 1/2 cup of additional flour, enough to reduce the stickiness of the dough.

Make the gnocchi
On a lightly floured surface, roll out portions of the dough with your hands. Cut into 1/2 inch, or smaller, chunks. Roll the chunk of dough in your hands to get a round shape. To get the grooved-on-one-side/dimple-on-the-other-side effect, roll the dough down the prongs of a fork with your thumb, pushing lightly. As you reach the bottom the dough will roll over and make the indent.

The finished gnocchi can either be directly frozen or cooked. I stored mine in the fridge until I was ready to cook supper. To cook, add the gnocchi to boiling water and cook until the gnocchi floats to and stays on the surface. This only takes a few minutes. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce. I’m really very happy with how these turned out and it was quite fun to make, too. They tasted great and I have 3 portions in the freezer for later! This recipe has definitely made it into my regular menu.

Dark chocolate brownies

Brownies are undoubtedly a childhood classic. I remember making these with my mom and bringing them when I went to birthday parties or friends’ houses. My favourite part of making them was sprinkling candy, be it M&Ms, chocolate chips, or sprinkles, on top before baking. This recipe is simple and straightforward. It’s also relatively quick to make, but the brownies taste best if refrigerated first. Here’s how its done…

Ingredients:

2 oz dark baker’s chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Directions:

Break up the chocolate and put it in a dish with the butter. Place the dish in a pan that has 1/2 inch of water. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Add vanilla.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. Beat in sugar. Add chocolate/butter mixture and all the dry ingredients. Mix.

Pour batter into parchment-lined 8in baking pan. Bake at 350F for ~20-25 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then cut and store in the fridge. They’re best after refrigerated.

My preference is for slightly fudge-y brownies, so I usually undercook them by a few minutes. For the brownies I made in the photos, I also added 1 tbs of coco powder for a bit of extra chocolate-y-ness. As mentioned, I also love adding mini M&Ms or chocolate chips to the top of the batter right before cooking. How do you change up your basic brownie recipe?

Banana roundup

Since I always have bananas around the house, they’re bound to get too ripe every once and awhile, making the perfect excuse to bake. I usually stick to my classic banana bread recipe – it’s moist, delicious, always turns out well – but I’ve been wanting more and more to switch it up. Here are some of my favourite banana-focused recipes, some of which are on the top of my to try list. 

Streusel-Topped Banana Berry Muffins
Tart to Heart

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread with Cayenne
Baker Bettie

Baked Banana French Toast
Bakerella

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Honey Frosting 
Honey & Jam 

 

 

Oatmeal raisin cookies

For some reason I had it in my head that oatmeal raisin cookies were on the slightly more healthy side, at least compared to chocolate chip cookies. That’s not so much the case, but these cookies are still one of my favourites. I haven’t made them in probably two years, and when I realized that I found the opportunity pretty quickly to make them again.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Lots of raisins

Directions:

Mix softened butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients, then add them to the wet. Add raisins.

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

These cookies are absolutely delicious and chewy. The best cookies are chewy, I think.

Enjoy!

Lemon squares

Those of you who know me well, will know how much I love all things lemon, especially lemon squares. Growing up, these were always my favourite dessert. I had made them recently, taken pictures, but never done the actual post on them. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as I do!

Crust

1 cup of butter, softened
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups of flour

Blend the butter, salt, sugar, flour together and put it evenly into a non-greased, 9×13 inch pan. Preheat oven 325F and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile…

Lemon goo

4 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups white sugar

Beat together well. Then add the ingredients below and mix again. 

1tbs of grated lemon peel
5 tbs of lemon juice
1/4 cup of flour

After the crust has baked, pour lemon goo over the baked crust, reduce heat to 300F, and bake for 25 minutes. Cool. Put in fridge, covered. Dust with powdered sugar before cutting.

Seaport market favourites

photo 2

With the end of the bus strike and some sunny days we have finally been able to get to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on a semi-regular basis. Regardless of what kind of day I’m having, all is well when we go down to the boardwalk area. Smelling the ocean, a nice breeze, and the abundance of good food and beer make it a great place to be.

There are two things I always get when I go to the market: a pretzel from German Bakery and Garden Cafe and a (or many) pepperette(s) from Rose Lane Farm. We always top it off with some Garrison samplers, too. There are lots of things at the market that look fantastic, but these are by far my favourite. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll diversify once summer rolls around and more fruits and veggies are in season. What are your market favourites?

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