Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 12

Remember when I made that lovely rigatoni casserole and I forgot the ricotta?  Well I still have it, and so I’m trying to figure out what to do with it, other than slap together the regular ol’ lasagna or cannelloni.  How about something sweeter?  How about breakfast?  Sold!  This recipe is adapted from Canadian Living.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 2

So.  In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 1

Melt 1/4 cup butter, and chuck that in a smaller bowl together with 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3/4 cup extra smooth ricotta cheese.  The recipe also called for lemon rind, but we don’t have such fancy things here in Newfoundland. Well, we do — I just don’t have any at the moment.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 3

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir it up.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 4

Stir in 1 cup fresh blueberries.  If you use frozen ones (I did), just keep in mind that the the ice is going to make your pancakes a little runnier.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 5

Heat a frying pan on medium and dollop in some pancake batter.  Because the pan is still heating our first pancakes never come out as well as we planned so we always make them a bit on the small side.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 6

Cook your pancake until the bubbles that form on the top pop but don’t disappear, leaving little craters in your batter.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 7

Then flip and cook for another minute or so.  Not long.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 8

And that’s it, really.  Serve with whatever you like.  We kept it simple with butter and maple syrup, and that was good.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes 11

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

I got this recipe from Canadian Living, but I would say it’s more of a cross between an enchilada and a burrito than it is a full-on burrito, especially after my modifications.  You tend not to bake burritos and there are lots of refried beans involved.  In any case, it’s easy, it’s quick, and it’s hella tasty.  It makes about 10 6″ wraps.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Start with 3 large chicken breasts, still on the bone, and poach them in gently simmering water until cooked, about 15-25 minutes.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Then shred the meat with forks, in good southern style.  Set that aside.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Dice a large onion and plop that in a wide frying pan with some olive oil and minced garlic and sauté those suckers until they are tender and translucent.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Chop up as well a red pepper and a jalapeño pepper.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Drain and rinse a can of black beans.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Wrangle yourself 1 cup salsa.  I say “wrangle” because that’s what I did with this — it was in three different jars as I was cleaning out the fridge.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Toss the peppers, beans, and salsa into the pan with the onions, and add the chicken as well.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Stir everything around to coat with salsa — I found I needed to add a little bit extra to get it all covered.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grate up about 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese and set that aside for a bit.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

In a greased dish or on a sheet of aluminum foil, lay out a flour tortilla.  You can use any kind you want, but I used the small whole wheat ones, just to make this a bit healthier.  Spoon in a generous amount of filling (you will likely have a bit left over so don’t be afraid to go overboard).

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Sprinkle the filling with a bit of cheddar cheese.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Roll the wrap into a cylinder and place it in your dish or on the foil with the open side down.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Repeat with the other wraps until you run out.  Sprinkle the remainder of the cheddar across the tops of the burritos.

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the wraps turn golden brown.  Or wrap tightly in foil and freeze.  You can bake these from frozen, just increase the cooking time to 25 minutes.

Serve them with sour cream and chopped green onions.

Carrot Cake for Interviews

Carrot Cake

While the Pie and I were back in Ottawa, I took advantage of our time there to finish off a few more interviews for my work with the local hockey team.  For my very final interview, the person I was interviewing wasn’t a huge sweet fan, so I decided to go with a nice, fresh carrot cake that I pulled off the Canadian Living website.  Plus it was easy peasy and I didn’t have a lot of free time.

Carrot Cake

Preheat your oven to 350°F and then butter and flour a 13 x 9″ metal cake pan (or, as I did in this case, two 9″ square disposable aluminum pans).

Carrot Cake

In a large bowl, whisk together the following:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

I didn’t take a picture of it because it was boring, so you can have a picture of my dog instead.
Gren Learns to Swim

In another bowl, beat together the following until smooth:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla
Carrot Cake

Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and mix until just moistened.

Carrot Cake

Stir in 2 cups grated carrots, 1 cup drained crushed canned pineapple (basically one 340mL can), and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Carrot Cake

Spread into your prepared pan(s) and bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Carrot Cake

Set the cakes on a rack to cool completely.

Carrot Cake

For the glorious cream cheese icing, beat together the following:
1 8oz (250g) package plain cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup icing sugar

Carrot Cake

I needed a little extra icing and I wanted it to be a bit creamier, so I added in a further 1 cup icing sugar and 1/2 cup whipping cream.

Carrot Cake

So very smooth.

Carrot Cake

Spread the icing over your cooled cake.  Spread it with love.  You can tell that I love it.

Carrot Cake

Either inside the pan or without.

Carrot Cake

And then eat it all.  Because the one I made is totally gone now.

Carrot Cake

Toffee Bundt Cake

I got tired of making cookies and squares for my research participants, so one weekend I pulled out this toffee cake, also from January’s Canadian Living magazine.

It’s moist and rich and sweet and satisfying, and for all that is pretty easy to concoct. It’s really good warm, but keeps up to three days.

So let’s begin, shall we?

Take yourself a 12oz/375g package of dried, pitted dates and plop them in a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water

Bring the water to a boil and stir it around a bit, then let it cool.

Mash up the dates until smooth.  I found this was easiest in a food processor.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Grease a 10″ or 3L Bundt pan (you know, the one with the fluted sides and a hole in the middle).

In a large bowl, beat together 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind until light and fluffy. 

One at a time, beat in 4 eggs, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 2 teaspoons baking soda.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture.

Stir in the dates as well. It’s funny how it’s the dates that give it that lovely toffee taste.

Scrape the batter into your greased Bundt pan.

Bake in the bottom third of your oven for about 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then tip it out onto a plate.

While the cake is cooking and cooling, you can work on your toffee sauce.  Mine didn’t turn out toffee coloured, but still tasted fantastic. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup butter.  Whisk in 1 cup granulated sugar until dissolved, and cook, whisking the whole time, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is caramel-coloured.  Whisk in 3/4 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons lemon juice (be careful to avert your face, as adding cream can make it explosive — I’m serious).

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac.

Pour about 3/4 cup of the toffee sauce over your cake and let it stand to absorb. 

When you are ready to serve, drizzle it with the reserved warm sauce, slice and serve.

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

This recipe comes from January’s Canadian Living magazine and it was so fabulous that my parents had to take their share to be redistributed at my mother’s physiotherapist.  They are too delectable.

The amounts below give you about 12 cupcakes but of course I multiplied the recipe, and ended up with a variety of mini, medium, and large cupcakes.  Perfect for sharing.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake cups.

Melt about 2oz chocolate (I ain’t gonna try to tell you what kind, you use your judgment) in a double boiler with 1/4 cup strong coffee until melted and smooth.

In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk with 1/3 cup cocoa powder and stir into your melted chocolate/coffee.

In another bowl (this time make it a big one), beat 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 3/4 cups icing sugar until light and fluffy — this will take you about two minutes.  If you do this by hand, well, then it will take you a spell longer.  Be lazy: use a mixer.

Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, as well as 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

In ANOTHER freaking bowl, whisk together 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon EACH baking soda and baking powder.  Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the chocolate mixture, making three additions of flour and two of chocolate.  Stir that sucker up good until the colour and texture are even.

Divide the batter amongst your cupcake cups.

Bake for about 12-18 minutes, or until a tester/toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for about five minutes before removing them to a rack to cool completely.

To make your lovely double chocolate fudgy icing, beat together in a bowl 1/2 cup softened butter and 1 3/4 cups icing sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Melt together about 2oz each of unsweetened and milk chocolates (or use dark and light, I don’t care), and beat the chocolate into the fluffy stuff along with about a teaspoon of milk. You can add more milk if you like until the texture is lovely and smooth.

Spread that brown goo all over your cupcakes.

Be prepared to see them magically disappear!

Rectangular Chocolate Cake

This is a great cake to whip up for a potluck or casual dinner.  Baking it in a 9″ x 13″ glass casserole dish makes it easy to carry and means you can even freeze the cake if you need it later.

The fudgy icing adds the element of delectability to what is otherwise a regular cake recipe.  Cake recipe from Canadian Living, fudge icing from Chocablog.

Spray the sides of a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper (you can use metal baking pans as well, but I prefer the even cooking of the glass) and set that aside.  Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat together 1 1/2 cups softened butter with 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar.  I ran out of white so I added in some brown.

Add in, one at a time, 3 eggs, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

In a separate container, mix together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and the same again of baking soda.

Stir your flour mixture alternately with 2 1/4 cups buttermilk (or milk soured with lemon juice or vinegar), making three additions of the dry stuff and two of the buttermilk.

At this point I was slightly concerned because the mixture was the consistency and colour of wet cement.  I figured I might as well forge ahead in any case.

Scrape that cement into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for about ten minutes, then turn out onto the rack and peel off the paper and allow to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling you can start on your icing.

In a medium saucepan, melt 10 oz butter at low heat.

Holy crap that’s a lot of buttery goodness.

Stir in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and raise the heat a bit before adding 10 oz icing sugar.

Gradually add in 6 tablespoons milk and allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Remove from heat when you have a glossy, smooth paste, and allow to cool completely.

Slather that goodness all over your cake.  Just give ‘er.

Then you get to eat it.  I made this for Cait and iPM and Cait informed me that she had it for breakfast.  So it’s a multipurpose cake.