Archives for March 2011

Perfecting Pasta (Recipe: Homemade Linguine with Whiskey Cream Sauce)

Written by Kristen Doyle

I recently marked a culinary goal of making homemade pasta noodles off of my list. I’ve heard raves about how delicious fresh, homemade pasta could be but I honestly didn’t believe it until I tried it for myself. Sure, it is more work than opening up a box of store bought pasta noodles and throwing a handful into some boiling water, but I’m here to tell you that the difference in flavor is well worth the extra effort.

I have the KitchenAid pasta attachment, which made my foray into pasta making a breeze. The good news is you don’t need a pasta attachment to make homemade pasta. Flat noodles such as lasagna or linguine can easily be made with a rolling pin and a little bit of patience. [Read more…]

Spring Crudité & Buttermilk-Pepper Dip: Finger Food for a Baby Shower

Happy first day of Spring! According to the calendar, today marks the end of winter, although if you stepped out of my patio doors you’d still be knee-deep in snow.

So alright, forget about the frozen Canadian climate, there are other signs that show spring has indeed arrived. Clues like new life. And babies.

Today’s post is a very special one. I’m delighted to be part of a warm and loving group of girls who are throwing a virtual baby shower for a friend who is due any minute.

Amanda, baker, mommy — Happy Baby Shower!

Dear readers, if you are not yet acquainted with the fabulously talented Amanda of I am Baker, then I suggest you fill a plate with party food (menu below!) and head on over to introduce yourself. Her elegant baking blog is full of handy tutorials and incredibly original creations that will leave you shaking your head in amazement.

Aside from baker extraordinaire, Amanda is mother to three-soon-to-be four little ones, who photographs expertly, homeschools orderly, cooks creatively and writes candidly about it all at I am Mommy. What a girl. We want to wish her the very best for the birth ahead and this new chapter in her life.

Now, who’s hungry?

[Read more…]

The Everything Beans e-Book (recipe: Black Bean Burgers)

Beans are a staple in our home and I’m fortunate that both Danny and the boys enjoy them any way I serve them. While they insist they don’t get tired of bean & cheese burritos or Frijoles rancheros, I sometimes feel like I want to mix things up in the bean department.

Enter a new e-book from Katie Kimball, The Everything Beans Book: 30 Frugal, Nutrient-Packed Recipes for Every Eater.

Perfect! Back in January, Katie of Kitchen Stewardship and I shared a drink at Blissdom where she told me about the exciting new project she was working on. If I wasn’t already convinced that a bean cookbook sounded right up my alley, a sample of Katie’s Black Bean Brownies was the clincher. They were moist, rich, and totally credible, – and yes, the recipe is in the book (as Grain-Free Fudgy Brownies).

The Everything Beans Book

Since my time with Katie, all the recipes have been tested, the writing completed, and The Everything Beans Book is now available. I have to tell you, I’m eating up my copy.

Hit the jump to read more about the bean cookbook, get a recipe for a healthy burger, and enter to win your very own copy of Katie’s e-book. (Sorry!  this giveaway has ended)

[Read more…]

St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Guinness Beef Stew

Written by Shaina Olmanson.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Tomorrow, in fact. I’ve been cooking up a few Irish-inspired meals for the family to celebrate with stews, corned beef and plenty of potatoes. You’ll find no green beer here, but a pint of Guinness may be consumed by the of-age participants.

With Chicago dyeing the river green, parades and people dressed as leprechauns, it’s hard not to get swept up in the magic of St. Patrick’s Day and embark on a treasure hunt for that pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. It all begs the question: What is St. Patrick’s Day really?

[Read more…]

Chocolate ganache for the feeble minded

Cupcakes have been on the agenda quite a few times over the past few months. An engagement party, a birthday celebration, a welcome home fête, and a few other special occasions have all required chocolate cupcakes.

Of course they have.

As circumstance would have it, I’m nearly always getting started on decorating the cupcakes at about ten in the evening. Sure I’ve managed to get them baked off in the afternoon with two eager boys as helpers, but dressing up the cupcakes sometimes requires all helping hands to be tucked into bed.

So there I find myself, bleary eyed, measuring cream and weighing chocolate in the kitchen when my mushy brain should probably be vegging out with a Netflix pick. (Side note: have really enjoyed Whip It, Date Night, and Starter for 10 recently)

Fortunately, I’ve got the perfect recipe for chocolate ganache that can be made with half a brain.

It hails from Gourmet Today (love it, love it, and oh look, it’s on a crazy sale right now) and it is sublime – and simple enough to be successfully executed under extreme fatigue.

I’ve got the recipe memorized by now; isn’t it about time I shared?

Rich Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate (cacao content no higher than 60%), chopped roughly
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  1. Whisk together cream, sugar and corn syrup in a medium, heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove pot from heat and whisk in chocolate, a handful at a time, until fully melted and incorporated.
  4. Add butter cubes, whisking until melted and ganache is smooth.
  5. With a soup spoon, drizzle over cupcakes and tap the bottom of the cupcake gently on the counter so the ganache spreads evenly. Garnish as desired.
  6. Let stand until ganache is set. Serve at room temperature or wrap and chill for up to three days.

Note: You can also let ganache cool until it stiffens, and then layer between cakes. Depending on type of chocolate used, it maybe necessary to chill frosting to reach a spreadable consistency.