This was another attempt to feed LongJohn as well at home as he eats at daycare. He ended up not being a huge fan of these (despite, of course, him loving them at daycare), but I enjoyed them so much I’ve made them for myself and others since. It’s a great easy lunch when the thought of another boring sandwich just does not appeal. Not to mention that it’s one of those great flexible recipes that requires no measuring. The only ratio that is really important is one egg to every can of tuna you use. Other than that, play around!
When I’m doing stuff like this, I always start with my seasonings: what do I want the flavour to be? In this case I have some chives, garlic chives, tarragon, and sage growing out in my garden so that was an easy choice.
Other good options would be diced caramelized onions or green onions, shallots, fresh rosemary, basil … you get the picture. Chop those babies up.
Tip your handful of fresh herbs into a bowl with about half a cup panko bread crumbs (you can use regular bread crumbs but I like the crunch of panko). Season with salt and pepper, maybe a little bit of onion and garlic powder if you’ve got ’em.
Tip in as well some grated parmesan cheese, to your preference.
And an egg! One egg for every can of tuna ensures maximum patty cohesion.
Mix it into a gross paste.
Now, your can of tuna: this is a chunk white albacore.
Break that up and chuck it in the mix as well.
Now melt a gob of butter and a dash of vegetable oil (to keep the butter from burning) in a large frying pan and let that heat up.
Form the tuna paste into patties any size you like. These ones are about 2″ in diameter and I ended up with 8 in total.
Slide those patties carefully into the hot butter and let them fry!
Flip them after a few minutes, or when the bottoms are a nice golden brown.
When they are brown on both sides, slide them onto a piece of paper towel to drain and cool slightly before taking a HUGE BITE.
I found this recipe in the newspaper a little while back and thought it looked tempting enough to try. It’s easy peasy and totally delectable but it looks complicated and fancy when you serve it, and it is not a totally overpowering dessert, so you can always have seconds!
The impossible part of this pie is that you mix everything together all at once and pour the very liquidy batter into your pan for baking, and what comes out ends up having three layers: a sweet fudgy layer at the bottom, a custardy layer in the middle, and the chewy coconut layer on top. Full disclosure: I never achieved the fudgy bottom layer, but I suspect it’s because I used a huge heavy pie pan (because that was the only one I had that was deep enough). Perhaps if you use a thinner pie pan you might have better luck – if not, the pie is still pretty effing good.
Heat your oven to 325°F and spray a 10″ wide and 2″ deep pie pan.
Melt 1/2 cup butter, and let that come to room temperature. Pro tip: if you only melt the butter halfway, then give it a stir, the melted butter will melt the non-melted butter and the non-melted butter will bring the temperature of the melted butter down faster and you don’t have to wait as long for your super molten burn-y melted butter to cool down. It’s like MAGIC. Or thermodynamics. Either or.
Grab 4 large eggs out of the fridge and bring them to room temperature by plopping them in a bowl of warm water. While you’re at it, leave 2 cups whole milk (or a combo of milk and cream) out on the counter to warm up too. HEY PRESTO!
Take 1 lemon and zest it and then juice it. Nothing super magic about that. It’s a lemon for crying out loud.
Grab yourself a perfectly ordinary food processor (or is it?). Or a blender. Or do this by hand. I prefer the magic of electricity. Plop in your 4 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Then tip in (or do this first, the order doesn’t matter – this is just how I took the photos) 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
THEN tip in (or do this second, or whatever) your 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups whole milk, and lemon juice and zest.
Give that a good whaz, THEN tip in (and this time it DOES matter the order because this has to happen after the whazzing) 1 1/4 cups shredded sweetened dried coconut (I used unsweetened. It was fine.). Stir that around.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. There it is, all perfectly ordinary and homogeneous-ish.
Shove that in your prepared oven (I used my convection toaster oven) and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the top is a golden brown around the edges and you can shove a toothpick in the centre and it comes out clean (LIKE IT WAS NEVER DIRTY! AMAZING!).
Pop that on a wire rack to cool. You can serve this warm but it cuts best if it’s been chilled first, so I recommend that. Keep any leftovers (HA) in the fridge, covered up.
Even without that fudgy layer, this thing was still ballin’.
If you have checked me out recently on Instagram, you may have noticed that LongJohn and I just spent the last three weeks hanging out with my parents in Florida, where we both got a nice tan and the kid grew about four inches.
I didn’t do too much cooking while I was there, but I did make one or two things, and here’s one of them. My dad was trying to clear out the pantry in preparation for their trip back to the True North, so in my efforts to help him get rid of a few things, I came up with this puppy. It’s a good cake for the winter or the summer (I think).
Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray or butter an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish. Might as well polish off some of the brownies-from-a-box you made the day before. Gotta keep cleaning out that cupboard, right?
Grab some butter (oh, the land where butter is always at a spreadable temperature!) and melt 3 tablespoons of it.
Grab a small bowl and tip in 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Then assemble the rest of your stuff: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch ground cloves, 1/3 cup molasses, 1 egg, and of course your 3 tablespoons melted butter. You’ll see here as well about 1-ish cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries. If you use frozen blueberries the juice from the broken blueberries will get all through the batter and alter the molasses taste. It might also take longer to cook.
Take all the stuff that isn’t in a bowl with oats or is blueberries and beat that together.
Take the blueberries and tip them in the bowl with the oats and flour and stir that a bit. Coating the blueberries in flour prevents them all from sinking to the bottom of the baking dish.
Plop the oats, flour, and blueberries into the molasses mix and stir until smooth(ish).
Spoon that into your prepared dish and bake for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. This timing will really depend on how thick the glass on your dish is. I cooked this in a convection toaster oven which I think is slightly hotter than it says it is, and so it was done in 25 minutes. Put the cake, still in the dish, on a wire rack to cool completely.
Now if you want to make it fancy, grab yourself a nice ripe whole pineapple. The pineapple trivet is optional.
Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple up and then slice off the skin.
Cut the pineapple into quarters along its core, and slice off the core from the quarters.
Cut each quarter lengthwise into three pieces. Too complicated? Just cut it up any way you would like. I’m not your mother.
Coat each one of the pineapple pieces in granulated sugar.
Set those aside for a minute.
In a large skillet or frying pan (or saucepan, whichever is your biggest), melt another 3 tablespoons butter.
Cook all the slices of pineapple in the skillet on medium heat until they’re cooked through and kind of shrunken, about 8-10 minutes. If you don’t have room to cook them all in the pan at once, wait until some of them shrink before adding a few more slices.
Remove from pan and set on serving plate. They will start to ooze thick sugary juice.
Add 3 tablespoons water to the butter and sugar in pan and let it thicken, stirring, JUST until it starts to brown then remove immediately from the heat. It will continue to brown as you stir, off the heat.
Drizzle that over the pineapple.
You can serve them hot but if you leave the caramel on the pineapple as it cools it will slowly dissolve back into the juice, leaving a nice sauce you can spoon over the pineapple and the square when you serve it.
As a follow-up to the angel food cake we made in the last post, I made this devil’s food cake the same day to use up the 12 yolks I had on hand. The only problem was that there wasn’t actually a recipe out there that used 12 yolks in a chocolate cake. We had long since grown out of doing that, using whole eggs instead. All the 12-yolk recipes on the internet were for yellow cakes, not chocolate. So I had to make it up. And here it is. I’m quite pleased with the results.
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and grab yourself a bundt pan. You can do this in any pan you like, or make it into a layer cake, but because I was serving this alongside the gluten-free angel-food cake, I wanted them both to be round with holes in the middle. Butter or spray your pan and then flour it to be on the safe side.
If you can bear to part with it (and as a parent of a nearly one-year-old, that’s a big sacrifice), save 1 3/4 cup coffee from your morning brew and allow it to cool. To up the coffee insanity (unless you made espresso earlier), tip in 2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder and stir to combine.
Chop up about 1 cup chocolate into wee pieces and toss it in the top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and let that sucker melt. Let it cool a little bit so it’s not molten lava.
In another container, whisk together 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 2 1/4 cups flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda.
In the bowl of your mixer, cube up 1 cup butter (softened) and beat the crap out of it together with 1 1/2 cups sugar until it’s soft and fluffy.
Then grab your 12 egg yolks and slide them into the mixer one at a time until they’re fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in 2 teaspoons vanilla as well.
Look at that yellow loveliness.
Now beat in your melted chocolate until your batter resembles a tar pit.
Then grab your flour/cocoa mixture and your coffee.
Alternate adding the two ingredient groups, flour-coffee-flour-coffee-flour and mix until the batter is smooth.
Even with a spatter shield in place I still had a bit of a mess.
Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if it’s 35 minutes or not. I didn’t write down that part of my recipe and after having dropped one angel food cake and had to make up another it kind of slipped my mind. But I’m guessing 35 minutes. If it’s not, then it’s a little longer, maybe 45 minutes. But certainly not less than 35 minutes. So keep an eye on it. And tell me what you come up with.
When the cake has somewhat cooled you can tip it out onto a rack to cool completely. You can see the light coloured stuff on the surface: that’s the flour/butter from the pan. If you don’t want that to show up – like if you’re not planning to ice the cake – then don’t flour it (maybe use cocoa?).
While the cake is cooling, you can make up a ganache. Chop up another 8 oz chocolate and set it in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup whipping cream until it’s just simmering, then pour it over the chocolate and stir it occasionally until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform.
Let that cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Then jam it all over your cake.
I decided seeing as I suck as icing things in an artistic fashion to kind of make it look like stucco by smacking my icing spatula against it and pulling it away.
Then I added some chips of white chocolate that I had on hand for contrast. I could have applied them better but again, not so good with the artistic part of cake-making. I’m more into the cake-eating.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday. Ours was pretty quiet, which was good because all three of us got sick, one after the other – always a great way to spend one’s vacation. We have this week left to try to get as many things crossed off our to-do list as possible. We’re not holding our breath that they’ll all get done, but we’ll do our best.
In the meantime, here’s a quick little toffee recipe to help you combat those mid-winter blahs. I doubled the recipe, which I would not recommend, because the toffee sets so quickly it’s hard to get both batches flattened out on the pans fast enough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it aside for a bit.
In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water.
Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat that over medium until it reads 300°F. Try to avoid stirring as much as possible, and if you do, don’t use a metal spoon – wood or silicone will prevent premature crystallization.
Next to the pot, place a little container of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and another of 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. You’ll need to have those handy at short notice later on.
While you’re keeping an eye on the sugar, crush up about 1 1/2 cups pretzel twists.I also had some salted peanuts on hand so I crushed and dumped those in as well – probably about 3/4 cup salted peanuts.
And gather up 1 cup chocolate chips. I mixed mine with some dark chocolate for flavour.
When your sugar has caramelized and gotten to the hard crack stage (that’s 300°F), remove it from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Try to resist screaming as it fizzes up and gets all terrifying. I promise that will pass.
Toss in the pretzels and peanuts and stir the toffee quickly.
Then tip it out onto your parchment sheet and flatten it down as much as you can before it starts to set.
Sprinkle the chocolate evenly over the top of the toffee and let it stand for a few minutes while the chocolate melts.
Then smooth out the melted chocolate with a spatula.
Sprinkle the top of the chocolate with fleur de sel and let harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Once it’s hardened, break it up into chunks and eat it all by yourself! share it with your friends and family.
I made this (from Recipe Tin Eats) for Nana Nice’s birthday a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately I had the plague and couldn’t partake but I can assure you that it’s equally good the next day …
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and butter a 9″ springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter that too. You can never have enough butter.
In a smallish pot on the stove, combine 8.5 ounces dark chocolate with 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 sticks unsalted butter, and 1/2 cup milk. Stir on medium low until the butter and chocolate have melted. Don’t let it come to a simmer.
Tip in into a bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 3/4 cup milk.
Then mix in 2 eggs – WAIT, I ONLY HAVE ONE EGG!
Not to worry. You can substitute an egg with 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 tablespoons milk, cream, butter, or yogurt.
Whisk in those “eggs.”
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 3/4 cups plain flour, and 2 tablespoons instant coffee.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 70 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean (a little residue means your cake will be extra fudgey!).
Remove the sides of the pan and let it cool completely on a rack.
You can frost this with whatever you want but a nice ganache is never a bad thing. Heat 1 cup whipping cream on the stove until it’s about to start simmering, then pour it over 8 ounces dark chocolate of your choosing.
Stir until smooth and all the chocolate has melted, and then leave it to cool until it spreads like peanut butter.
Frost your cake, and have fun with whatever swirls and squiggles you’d like!
This post has been sitting in my brain since Thanksgiving (the Canadian one, that is), so I figured for the American one I could accent your Black Friday with a chewy cookie.
These cookies inspired by Gimme Some Oven came out way flatter than I normally like and tasted a little greasy. I still prefer my Starbucks knockoff cookies, but I’m always on the lookout for another recipe, and someday when I no longer have a tiny boy with a short attention span on my hands, I may come up with my own.
Start, as you do with most cookies, with your powdery bits. Whisk together 4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking soda, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (put it together from here).
Set that aside and cream together 1 1/2 cups salted softened butter, and 2 cups granulated sugar.
Then pour yourself a lovely gob of 1/2 cup molasses.
Tip that into the butter mix, together with 2 eggs, and beat that up until combined.
Slowly add the flour mix and beat until well combined. Chill that dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll your dough into golf ball-sized balls and roll them in granulated sugar (with a dash of cinnamon mixed in). Plop them on the baking sheet and leave a lot of space as they flatten quite a bit.
Bake those puppies for 8-10 minutes, until they start to crack, then let them cool on the sheet before removing them to a rack (or just eating them).
Again, not my favourite adaptation but good nonetheless.
Do you have Hallowe’en candy left? We did. But then we had houseguests. But while we didhave leftover candy, I made these sweet somethings. I forgot to photograph the middle part but I’m trusting you to know what I’m talking about.
Start with some hardshelled chocolate candy. You want the stuff with shells otherwise the chocolate will just melt out of your cookie and ruin the structure. Here I have M&Ms, regular and peanut, Reese’s Pieces, and Smarties. For you Americans reading this, these are more like M&Ms – not the chalky discs we call Rockets.
Gather up about 1 1/2 cups of candy. Try to avoid eating it all as you empty the little tiny packets.
Grab 2 1/2 cups flour, and whisk it together with 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set that aside.
With a mixer, cream together 1 cup softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I only had white in the photo but brown makes it excellent).
Tip in 3 egg yolks and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix away.
Add in your flour mixer and mix on low until just combined. You want this still to be a little crumbly.
Dump in all your happy candy and stir it in.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop a golf ball-sized lump of dough and form it into a ball. Roll the ball in granulated sugar and flatten slightly onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the tops of the cookies start to crack. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet a little bit before you move them to a wire rack to cool – that way they’ll stay together better.
Then all you need to do is eat them – easy enough!
I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix since LongJohn was born – it helps to pass the time while being forced to stay perfectly stationary for long periods of time. I figured going into this that I’d try to stick with documentaries – that way I could educate myself and if I was interrupted (which I often am) then I wouldn’t miss too much plot if they played in the background while I did something else. And so I’ve been watching a ton of cooking documentaries, and I just finished plowing through The Mind of a Chef. In the first season, the focus is largely on David Chang, owner of Momofuku in New York. One of the segments features his pastry chef, who whips up a banana cream pie like it was nothing.
It looked so easy I figured I could do it even with LongJohn around. And then I had to think about that for a minute. This recipe involves making a custard, and uses four different kitchen appliances, some of them more than once. It really isn’t THAT easy, but it’s easy for me NOW to do. Talk to me five years ago and I would never have attempted this, or I would have addressed it as a challenge. It’s weird how much this blog has made me grow as someone who cooks things. But on to the pie, which is semi-easy if you’ve made things in the kitchen before. I set up a mis en place because I knew LongJohn could interrupt me at any time.
I also took my butter and, because my microwave is all the way in the basement, I set it outside on my back porch in the sun to melt. I’m that lazy.
Plus it was like 33°C, which is more than warm enough to melt butter.
And so it did.
The recipe I used printed everything in weights (ounces and grams) so I’m going to use ounces here – my apologies. Get your kitchen scale ready. Start with 8 oz very ripe bananas (this is like two). These are the black ones that you chuck in your freezer. Pitch those into a blender together with 2 3/4 oz whipping cream, and 2 1/4 oz milk and blend the crap out of them until they’re lovely and smooth.
Next, tip in 3 1/2 oz sugar, 1 oz cornflour (I’ve come to realize that this is a Britishism for cornstarch, not masa harina, which I used – butchery #1), a pinch of salt, and 3 large egg yolks. Blend that again, scraping down the sides of the blender, until the colour is uniform.
Pour that stuff into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking often, until the mixture thickens. Clean your blender while this is going on.
The recipe says to bring it to a boil but mine never did. Eventually it will be a very heavy paste that holds its shape. Pour the thick stuff back into the blender.
Grab 2 leaves gelatin or 1 pouch gelatin (I thought a leaf equaled a pouch and used two pouches – butchery #2) and follow the instructions to make it “bloom”. When it’s ready, chuck it in the blender along with 1 1/2 oz butter and blend until smooth (again).
Next, drop in 1/2 teaspoon yellow food colouring (otherwise your pie will be brown not yellow) and blend again until the pie is artificially crazy yellow (it will get lighter later, I promise).
Pour the yellow goo into a container and chill it for 30-60 minutes.
While that’s happening, make the chocolate crumb for your crust (I actually did this first, because it made more sense to me). Preheat your oven to 300°F and stir together 3 1/2 oz plain flour, 1 teaspoon cornflour (again, cornstarch), 3 1/2 oz sugar, 2 oz cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Tip in 3 oz melted butter (yay, the sun!) and beat until small clusters form.
Spread the clusters on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. The clusters should be still moist but will dry out as they cool. In order for this to happen they have to be a bit bigger than what you see in the picture, because these will burn (so either cook them for less time or make them bigger – butchery #3). Apparently this makes more than you need for a 10″ pie so you will only use 3/4 of it but I didn’t want to waste it or store it so I used it all in my 9″ pie plate and it was totally fine.
Once the clusters have cooled, chuck them into a food processor and pulse until they turn sandy and there are no chunks left.
Tip these granules into a bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Work that with your hands until the stuff is moist enough to knead into a ball (I did not do this because my poor carpal tunnel hands are killing me). Press that into the pan. I did it with just the crumbs and it was fine (butchery #4).
Don’t forget to press it firmly into all the corners of the pan – you don’t want it to be too thick there.
Now for the rest of the banana cream. Whisk 6 1/2 oz whipping cream and 5 3/4 oz icing sugar together until stiff peaks form (remember that it helps to chill your beater and the bowl beforehand).
Tip in your cooled yellow goo and mix, mix, mix.
See? I told you it would get paler.
Tip half the goo into your pie shell. Cut up another, less ripe banana (I used two because they were kind of weenie) and spread that around on the surface. You can get fancy with the layout but nobody’s going to see it.
Add the rest of the goo and smooth it out. Make sure none of the banana pieces are sticking out because they will oxidize and turn brown.
Chill the pie for a little while then serve and eat within a day or two. Enjoy!
If you’ve been following our shenanigans for a while then you’ll be familiar with my recipe for Key Lim Pie, which I have slowly perfected over time. It’s the Pie’s favourite pie that I make, so when his birthday rolled around this year I decided to do my best to make it again. The thing is, it’s been really hot, and I didn’t want to do much heavy baking. Also, LongJohn decided to go through the growth spurt from hell that week as well, so I had to make something easy that I could do while pretty much wearing him constantly.
I found a few recipes online for no-bake versions but one of them required the use of a frozen can of limeade, and the other was bottled lime juice and Cool Whip. While I DID still have leftover Cool Whip in the freezer from the pre-labour cheesecake, I was reluctant to cut TOO many corners. That meant that I was at least going to use real key limes in my recipe.
And as Fussellette was staying with us at the time, we went with gluten-free Oreo-like cookies for the crust. This recipe makes two 9″ pies. Easy peasy.
So start by chucking two packs of Oreos or Oreo-like cookies into your food processor with about 1/2 cup shredded coconut.
Buzz, buzz, buzz. Then tip in about 1/3 cup softened butter and give that a whaz until you get crumbs that stick together when you press on them.
Press the crumbs into two 9″ pie dishes and bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes. Let those cool completely. I did this pie over the course of three days, so the pie crusts were done on day one. If you really don’t want to bake at all you can buy a pre-made graham crust, but I like my key lime to have a chocolate crust and they really don’t have gluten-free versions of that at the grocery store near my house.
Next, we deal with the limes. For two pies you’ll need 2lbs key limes. Grate the zest from each one. It takes for-freaking-ever.
Next, you’ll need to juice them. This many limes should yield between 1 and 1 1/3 cups of juice.
I did the grating and juicing while wearing a grumpy newborn. Pro tip: roll the limes between your palm and the cutting board before cutting them open to juice them. It bruises the little globule things that hold the juice and makes it easier for you to extract the liquid.
When you’re ready to assemble (day three in my case), grab as well 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups Cool Whip (frozen), and 1 cup whipping cream.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and stir to combine.
Additional pro tip: frozen Cool Whip acts like a shovel and literally scoops all your liquids out of the bowl when mixing, so I would recommend breaking it into chunks first.
Then you can taste your filling. I may have spilled some on the baby, but he was asleep and didn’t mind.
Your batter will be whitish with green flecks. Totally not authentic, but nice and tart.