Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simple Desserts Make the World go 'Round

I love desserts....there....I said it.   It is out there.... I love desserts!  Now of course I don't have desserts all too often.  I would if I could, but I can't....sigh....

One of my indulgences includes a subscription to Everyday Food Magazine.   I love the ideas, tips, and recipes in this magazine.  I found this recipe last summer in one of the editions and instantly knew I wanted to try it out. An instant hit I tell you.  I seem to only make this when we are at the cabin. Not sure why but that is just the way it happens.
Last summer's plum custard was a complete hit!!
This fruit custard type of dessert is so ridiculously easy...chop or slice up some soft fruit, whizz up the batter in the blender, bake....It is also so ridiculously yummy!!!

The original recipe is a Raspberry Custard but I have actually never used raspberries to make it. Raspberries never last long enough to cook with around here....we just eat them.  Yup....stand in the garden and eat them. It is a wonder they actually ever make it into the house!!
Ahh dessert at the cabin....relaxing no matter what!

Sorry, I was rambling there....Plums work so well, strawberries, any soft fruit or berry will work.

Fruit custard
Printable recipe
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups soft fruit or berry of  your choice (or a mixture!)
Pre heat oven to 400F

Melt butter in a pie plate (or cast iron skillet).

Place everything but the fruit and 1 tbsp of sugar  into the blender and give it a whir.

Oh....why yes....there IS duct tape holding the blender together.
A word about the cabin is a well loved plastic jar blender that used to be my sister's. It was once dropped....the poor thing cracked a little.
Thank goodness there is always duct tape around!  That duct tape has been holding this blender together for just keeps holding on!!
It still blends, even makes an amazing daiquiri!!

Swirl the melted butter around the pan and pour the rest of it into the blender and whir it all up again until the batter is smooth.

Spread the fruit out in the pan evenly.

A combo of strawberries, peach, plum, blueberries.....
Pour the batter on top.

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp sugar over the entire custard.

Pop it all into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  The custard will puff up a bit and be set in the middle.  Feel free to throw the broiler on for a couple of minutes to brown up the top....just watch it carefully!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Too Hot To Bake Bread??? Bah!

The weather has been hot and steamy here on the prairies! I am not going to complain about the heat because we spend all winter complaining about the cold. We deserve weather like this, really we do! We endure the deep dark depths of a prairie winter to get these glorious long, hot, sultry days of summer.  We spent the weekend at the Little Cabin on the dock.  We had our sun brellas out, our sunblock on, and our books in hand.  When we got too hot, we jumped into the water to cool off.  I mean, really cool off.  You do have to brace yourself for the cold but after the heat it is just so gloriously refreshing.

I so wanted to bake some fresh bread at the Little Cabin but I dare not turn the oven on for fear of heating the place up even more!  The heat and humidity make for perfect bread rising conditions....hmmmm.... What to do, what to do.....

Fresh BBQ Bread (you can do this with any bread recipe you want. I just had all purpose flour at the cabin)

Printable recipe
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 - 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Combine the honey and the water in a bowl, stirring to mix and dissolve the honey.  Add the yeast and give it about 10 minutes to get all foamy and ready to go. Then add the olive oil.

Add 1 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon.  Now add the salt and another cup off flour.

Keep adding the flour 1 cup at a time until you can mix no more.

Now knead the dough by hand for a few minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.

Place the ball of dough back in the bowl, cover with a clean towel to rise until double in size. (anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes, or sooner if hot and humid!)

Punch the dough down and form it into an oblong loaf.

Now you can either use a baking sheet or tin foil that has been doubled up.  Either way, dust the surface with flour to keep it from sticking to the baking surface.

Baking sheet
Double layer of foil - use a board to slide the foil on and off the grill
 Cover with a clean towel and allow it to rise until double.

Preheat the BBQ on high for about 10 minutes.  Depending on your BBQ you have a few options.  This BBQ has four burners so I turned off the middle 2, left the outside 2 on and placed the bread in the middle, on the burners that are off.  We are using indirect heat to bake the bread.

Bake for about 15 minutes, lift the lid to peek after 10 minutes but remember that when you lift the lid, you let ALL the heat out and it will take a couple of minutes for the heat to build back up again.

Until next time, stay cool and eat well.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Little Cabin in The Woods - Ribalicious

    Before the summer started, Hubby and I were pondering what we would do for meals while at the lake. The budget is tighter during the summer as I am not working, and that means no $$.  Our lovely friends at HMG Meats and Deli (For those in Winnipeg, HMG Meats and Deli is at 642 Leila Avenue, 339-8406)
    came out with some amazing deals on freezer packs of meat....and I mean amazing.  We bought one of these packs with the the cabin in mind.  The only thing we need to pick up at the store before heading out to the woods is our fruit and veggies! It really has been working out quite well.  One of our feasts at the lake was ribs.....done on the BBQ......drool.......

    You may remember the BBQ disaster on Christmas....turns out it actually was too cold for the propane. I have heard that next time we should keep the tank covered.  Apparently propane can actually get too cold to would think I would have known that, being a prairie dweller....

    I used the Alton Brown Dry rub which is essentially a ratio, the rub is basically 6:1:1:1. (All in tbsp)
    The day before you plan to cook your ribs, prepare the rub.  In a bowl combine:

    • 6 tbsp light brown sugar, firmly packed
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp chilli powder (sometimes I use paprika instead)
    • 1 tbsp of any mixture of spices (this is where you can really alter the mixture to suit your taste):
      • for example: 
      • ½ tsp cayenne
      • ½ tsp old bay
      • ½ tsp garlic powder
      • ½ tsp onion powder
      • ½ tsp ground black pepper
      • ½ tsp dried thyme      
      • (as long as you combine 3 tsp of spices, you will get the last 1 in your ratio)

    Prepare the rub by mixing everything together.

    If the skin type film on the back of the ribs hasn't been removed, remove it by slipping a knife under the skin, do your darnedest to get a grip and pull it off.
    There it is....gently and firmly pull that off!
    Keep pulling...

    Sprinkle on the rub and well, rub it all in.....

    Wrap each rack (tee hee) in foil and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

    Open one end of the foil and add some liquid. You can use beer, juice, wine, broth or stock or even water.

    Slow cook in the oven for a few hours (at 250F) or on a low, indirect heat on the BBQ.

    Once cooked, slather on the BBQ sauce of  your choice and slap 'em on the grill to crisp up the ribs.....
    Meat and carbs.......


    Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Nacho Lunch: Busy Summer Days

    Even though the Boy and I are officially on holidays, it seems as though we have been busier than ever!  Between catching up on medical appointments and baseball playoffs it seems like we haven't been home much!  City playoffs are going on so we didn't get to the cabin  but that's okay we got to watch the team blow 2 games, 2 players and 1 coach get ejected, one big win and one oh so tense come from behind was a busy weekend.  Not to much to report food wise....well okay that's a complete lie I have oodles of pictures of tasty food ready but I just have to find the time to write the posts.

    Today for lunch the boy and I used some left over grocery store rotisserie chicken to make some super duper chicken nachos! Yeah! That's right, we had nachos for lunch and it was delish!!

    Line a baking sheet with parchment, pour on some multi grain chips, top with chopped peppers, onion, tomatoes, chicken, cheese, and anything else you feel like having (hot peppers, olives......)

    Here's to making more time for writing!

    Until next time, stay warm and eat well!

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    A Canada Day Weekend With Canadian Beef!

    Remember to stop to smell the flowers!!
     OK, so life gets busy sometimes and I didn't actually get to grill this fabulous steak until Canada Day, which unfortunately was after the end of the Who Rules the Grill contest. I even wrote the post last week and got all ready to grill, take photos and post... Oh well, I wound up popping this steak into the freezer.  The great part was that as the steak thawed in the fridge, it continued to soak up some tasty, tasty marinade!!

    So without further ado, I give to my a little too late grilled steak sammies:

    Pop quiz, what do you do when the package of Canadian beef you bought comes with 2 flank steaks? What do you do? What do you do? I will tell you what you do, you enter the Who Rules the Grill contest being hosted by the wonderful people at Canadian Beef.   The other day I made a tasty chipotle lime steak salads, they were so yummy and hit the spot after a couple of ball games.  Last night I tossed together a soya sauce based marinade and stored the flank steak in the fridge overnight.

    Gingered Flank Steak

    1 flank steak
    1 tbsp hoisin sauce
    1/4 cup low sodium soya sauce
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 1/2 tsp ginger powder (you can also use fresh grated ginger)
    3 green onions, roughly chopped
    1 large zip top baggie

    See?  Canadian beef!!!!
    And a nice looking piece of Canadian beef too!!!
    Place all your ingredients but the flank steak into the zip top baggie and mash it all up with your hands.

    Add in the flank steak, squeeze out all the air and seal it.  Mash/mix it all up with your hands to ensure the entire steak is coated in tasty goodness.

    Store it in the fridge until you get home from work.

    Take the bag o'steak out of the fridge and set it aside to come to room temperature while you prep other items such as salad fixin's, onions and mushrooms! (You gotta have sauteed mushrooms and onions on your sammie!)

    One neat time saving item I found at the store was this package of Texas style garlic toast....all ready to toast or grill!  SCORE!!

    It came with 2 loaves of 8 slices...perfect for grilled steak sammies!!

    Pre heat the BBQ and get it smokin' hot.

    Also get the mushrooms and onions working in the saute pan! (A little butter, a little time, some stirring every now and then......and voila!!)

    Slap your steak on the grill, reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for 5 minutes before giving it a quarter turn to the side (gets you some great grill marks!)  Cook for another 2 minutes before flipping.

    Flip your steak over (using tongs) and let it cook once again for 5 minutes before giving it another quarter turn.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

    Take the Flank off the grill and place on a clean platter or plate and cover with foil.  Let it rest until the garlic toast is done.

    Now place  your garlic toast on the hot grill.  Make sure you watch the bread closely as it will burn quickly.

    Slice the steak thinly across the grain, stack on a slice of garlic toast with mushrooms and onions.....devour.  (a slice of melty cheese also goes well....)

    That's right, the boy had 2 steak sammies and beans.....
    Of course I should share some of my other photos from the long weekend.  I mean whats a long weekend without going to the cabin, relaxing, and playing around with the camera??

    Every Canada Day long weekend,  they release a bird that has been at the the wildlife rehabilitation centre.  In the past they have released bald eagles, golden eagles, horned owls...the list goes on.  This year they released a broad winged hawk.  The pictures of the hawk taking off didn't turn out because it flew so fast.

    Hubby reading in the hammock....this really is the sweet life!

    The daisy solo shot

     Pretty flowers
     Those spiders spin webs on the dock so darn quickly!!

    I was so excited to find ripe strawberries in my garden when I got home!

    Until next time, stay warm and eat well!