Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chocolate Orange Cup-Pies!

Hello lovely people!

The winter holidays have started and I finally have time to myself to spend in the kitchen. The last recipe that I shared with you was a spiced olive oil cake with candied orange slices. Well, this recipe is going to use up the extra candied oranges from that recipe (or if you're like me, you'll need to make another batch because the extras didn't last the night...). This recipe is definitely perfect to serve an mini desserts or hors d'oeuvres at any holiday party. These remind me of those delicious Christmas chocolate oranges, but a little extra special. The crust is a deep unsweetened chocolate cinnamon all-butter crust, filled with decadent creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread and topped with bright and flavourful candied orange pieces. Sounds special, doesn't it?

I have a trip to New York planned for later this week, and between now and then my life will be filled with a flurry of shopping, wrapping, and getting together with friends, so this should be the last time you'll hear from me until after Christmas. So I wish you all happy holidays, whatever you may celebrate, and may all your joys be true joys, and all your pain... champagne!

Chocolate Orange Cup-Pies:

-One batch of this crust recipe, 1/4 cup of flour substituted with a 1/4 cup of cocoa, and cinnamon and nutmeg added
-One batch of these candied orange slices, tripled
-One tub of chocolate-hazelnut spread

Preheat oven to 400*F. Grease a muffin tin.
Take chilled pie dough and roll out to 1/8" thick. Cut out circles large enough to fit in your muffin tin. I generally use the mouth of a plastic cup.

Gently press pie dough into muffin cups. Fill with about 1 1/2 tbsp hazelnut spread. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven. Top with 2 pieces of prepared candied orange pieces.


You could also  cut these out in pop-tart shapes and fill with the spread and orange slices, then brush with an egg wash and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Merry Christmas!

Comment Questions:
1. What's your favourite fruit and chocolate combination?
2. What are you doing for the holidays?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candied Orange Olive Oil Cake

Merry Christmas everyone!
What is everyone doing for the holidays? Are you hosting? Are you bringing something to a family gathering? Either way, this dessert is sure to be a hit!

Coffee cake is definitely a holiday season staple. So effortless and festive this modern spin on an old classic will surely wow friends and family alike. The candied orange slices and syrup dress up the subtly sweet olive oil cake.

3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus a touch more for tossing with fruit
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cinnamon

Candied Oranges and Syrup:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tbsp cardamom (or nutmeg if you prefer)
1 small orange, thinly sliced

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. Bring sugar, honey, cardamom and 3 cups water to a boil in a deep, medium sauce pan. Stir until sugar dissolves then add orange slices.

Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, turning orange slices occasionally until tender and syrup is reduced to a little more than 3 cups, about 40 minutes. Arrange orange slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet to cool. Strain syrup.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch spring form pan.
In a large bowl using a spoon, thoroughly combine the olive oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and yogurt.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture in two batches, mixing until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with the back of your spoon.
Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Loosely tent the with aluminium foil and continue to bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 more minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a fork. Drizzle 3/4 cup of syrup over hot cake. Once it's absorbed, add another 3/4 cup. Reserve the remaining syrup for serving.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Once you're ready to serve, drizzle the last of the syrup over the cake, and arrange orange slices to cover. Serve with a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and if you're feeling decadent, whipped cream. This cake is best served warm, but can also be refridgerated with syrup for up to 2 days.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas

Being in school again I've realized how important it is to plan my meals ahead and always have some sort of snack on hand, or else I'm always buying food from the cafeteria. I'm not always perfect about it, but I do have a few snacks that I like to always have around the house. Roasted chickpeas are a delicious and healthier (not to mention cheaper) alternative to store bought, processed corn nuts. And they're easy to make!

-1 (15oz) can of chickpeas
-olive oil
-spices of your choosing (I like salt, pepper, dill and parmesan. Another good combo with some kick would be  chilli powder and garlic.) To taste

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Drain, rinse and dry chickpeas thoroughly. Let sit for a few minutes to air dry. Spread chickpeas across a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Toss gently with olive oil until all are fully coated. Sprinkle on spices.

Bake for 20 minutes, then give a little shake so they roast evenly. Bake for another 20 minutes.

Season with additional spices if needed. Let cool before eating.

These work well carried around in a plastic ziploc baggy- you'll never find yourself forking over $2.50 for a bag of corn nuts again!

And don't forget to leave a comment!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Best Friend Tart recipe!

I call this chocolate raspberry tart "Best Friend Tart" because whoever you serve it to will want to become your new best friend! The crust is crisp and tastes like buttery dark chocolate, and the jam filling is just sweet enough, and gives a great raspberry complement to the chocolate. Serve with lightly sweetened, soft whipped cream.

1/2 batch of this pie dough recipe, with half a cup of flour subbed for half a cup of unsweetened cocoa.
1- 500ml jar of the following homemade jam recipe (or an equal amount of your favourite jam)

For the jam:

3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
3cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tbsp powdered pectin with 1 tbsp water (optional)

Throw all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and let thicken slightly. May take up to half an hour. Remember that when it cools it will continue to thicken further. If it just won't thicken, possibly because your raspberries are slightly too ripe, and therefore the natural pectin has broke down, add the pectin slurry mentioned above and simmer 5 more minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars. Should last in the fridge about a week or so, but you can also self-can these so they last in your cupboard for about a year. (To do this, simply gently drop your jars, gently sealed with the special home canning mason jar lids, into boiling water. Boil for about 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove from water. Once cool, test carefully for sealed-ness.)

To assemble the tart:
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Prepare pie dough as stated in the recipe, with the substitution of cocoa added, including the chill time in the fridge. Once chilled, roll out until about a third of a centimetre thick. Press into tart pan. Spoon in cooled jam. Decorate top later with any leftover pie dough bits. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until crust is done. Serve at room temperature alone, or with a big dollop of sweetened cream to dress it up.

Sorry for the lack of pictures guys, I've been too busy to shoot!

And please leave a comment!

Comment Questions:
1. If you're Canadian, what did you do for Thanksgiving? 
2. What's your favourite way to use jam- outside on spreading it on toast?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup (A Guest Post by Laura D of The Soup Bowl)

*Hey guys! I'm relaxing on the beach in the Bahamas right now and have very limited internet access, so I got another very awesome blogger, Laura D of The Soup Bowl, to fill in for me. You should definitely check out her blog, especially if you like soup. See you guys soon!*

Laura D is a journalist living in Washington, DC. She runs her blog at The Soup Bowl has been around for nearly two years. Its recipes focus on having fun with eating healthy. Find Laura on Twitter @soupbowltweets. While she specializes in soup recipes, Laura's favorite foods are anything with tomatoes, basil and garlic

Like Jamie-Lee, I also recently made homemade chicken stock. My recipe yielded about 1 quart and this is how I used it. You can, of course, use store-bought and switch to vegetable broth if you prefer.
Originally, I made the stock because I was catching a cold. It knocked me down for a good four days. Who gets sick in the summer time? It seems odd to have "caught cold" when there was a heat wave going on where I live (which is DC, by the way.) Warnings of hyperthermia were going around and I wanted a spicy, hot soup. But if you think about it, many of the world's warmest regions have the spiciest cuisines. Apparently, the theory is that spicy foods actually cool you down. Can't really compare to a dip in the pool, or better yet, an ocean, if you ask me. But take from that what you will! One thing I can tell you for sure is, if the weather hasn't already got you sweating, this soup will.

Spicy Chicken and Mushroom Noodle Soup
Serves 2
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 dried chili pepper, seeded (I used half a dried aji amarillo)
  • 1 pre-cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms (I used a mix of shitake and maitake)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • About 4 oz. or 1/3 a package rice stick noodles (also called maifun)
  • Sriracha for dipping (optional)
Soak the mushrooms in the boiled water for about a half hour. Meanwhile, simmer the ginger, garlic and chili pepper in the broth in a medium sauce pan for 25 to 45 minutes. The longer it simmers, the spicier it gets. Strain the broth and return to the pan. Keep the heat on and add the chicken, simmering until heated through. Then turn off the heat and add the noodles. Let rest for about 20 minutes. While the noodles are softening in the soup, strain the mushrooms from the soaking liquid. Reserve the liquid. Slice the mushrooms. When the noodles are soft, add the mushrooms and soaking liquid to the soup. Stir to combine, and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Simple Homemade Chicken Stock/Soup!

Today has been a fun day so far! For the first time in a while I got to wake up and head straight into the kitchen, and not just to make breakfast.

But before we get to that, I want to talk about last night. Last night I made a simple homemade Alfredo sauce with chicken. We bought skin-on, boned chicken because it's significantly cheaper if we do the work ourselves, but, as I was de-boning the chicken, I wondered "What can I do with all these bones, skin and fat?" Instantly a vision of Anne Burrell from Food Network popped into my head. I  had just watched her show the day before and she had made chicken stock. She explained it was just three easy steps: Boil, Simmer, Strain. And she was right, it really is that simple.

So this morning I went straight to work. I roughly chopped carrots, a green pepper, a red pepper, a tomato, an onion and some garlic. That, along with the chicken bones, skin, fat and whatever meat was attached all were thrown into a big pot, covered with water and let to boil.

Once at a rolling boil I added a couple bay leaves, some salt and pepper, a dash of basil and parsley and a pinch of saffron and rosemary and let to simmer, covered, for about three hours.

After that I set a colander over another pot and strained my stock from the chicken bones, veggies and everything else. If I wanted, I could have left it like that. Chicken stock is great for many things including making rice and bolognese. But I was definitely in the soup mood (I know, strange considering the weather), so after I strained the soup I picked apart the chicken pieces and threw them back into the stock along with the carrots and onion. It was delicious.

There's no real recipe to this guys, just do what Anne Burrell said: Boil, Simmer, Strain. Put whatever you want in it with your raw chicken scraps. Just make sure to cover it with water so that everything cooks well. Simple and delicious! 

And don't forget to leave a comment!

Comment Question:
1. Do you eat soup in summer?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happy Ice Cream Month!

In case you didn't already know, it's national ice cream month in America, and while I may not be in the U.S. of A., I am still definitely celebrating! Here is a taste of the ice cream I made Saturday night, by hand and without the use of an ice cream maker... The flavour is cinnamon-vanilla and it turned out SO deliciously. You want the recipe you say?

Well you're just going to have to wait until Christmas... I have something special planned for all of you! (By which I mean, I'm writing a cook book and hope to have it ready to be bought by Christmas).

Happy Ice Cream Month!

How are you celebrating National ice cream month?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Peach Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake as a back-up. If you've read my post for the Lemon Meringue Tart, you'll know that I made a couple mistakes and I was nervous on how it would turn out. Luckily, it turned out, but it doesn't hurt to have a little extra dessert!

This cake came out beautifully. It was the second time I've used my spring form pan, and I'm so glad I bought it- a regular cake pan wouldn't have worked. The cake is a little lemony, slightly sweet, definitely moist, pleasantly dense and is a perfect canvas to show off the delicious and summery fresh peaches. Oh, did I mention I FINALLY found fresh peaches in this country? It took forever! I wish I had found some sooner because I had plans to make a raspberry-peach pie. But now I'm out of raspberries. Oh well, c'est la vie! 

The recipe I used came from here, and I adapted it to my liking, and that recipe is an adapted version of a Martha Stewart recipe- so you know it's going to be good!

Peach Olive Oil Cake:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup plain yogurt 
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus a touch more for tossing with fruit
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 small-medium peaches cut into slices

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch spring form pan.
In a large bowl using a spoon, thoroughly combine the olive oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and yogurt.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture in two batches, mixing until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with the back of your spoon.
Toss the peach slices with a little flour. Arrange the fruit slices over the batter, then bake the cake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Loosely tent the with aluminum foil and continue to bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve, warm and with vanilla ice cream if you like.

This is the perfect cake to serve with after-dinner coffee. Or as breakfast... like I had this morning. I mean, if you ignore the cup of sugar, it's pretty healthy, right?

And Don't forget to leave a comment!

                          Lemon Meringue Tart

                          I'm not going to lie, I made a few mistakes with this... but it still turned out delicious! I made this tart for a dinner party I held last night, and everyone loved it. My mistakes? I accidentally doubled the amount of butter in the filling... adding 16 tablespoons and not 8... and I also over-browned my crust, causing it to crack. No matter, it still turned out pretty and delicious! This is definitely a recipe to come back to time and again. The original recipe if from The Baker Chick, but of course I tweaked it to make it my own. 

                          What do you think of this picture? Let me know in the comments below!

                          Lemon Meringue Tart
                          -8 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted cut into pieces
                          -3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (I needed 6 for this.)
                          -3/4 cups sugar
                          -zest of two lemons, (preferably unsprayed.)
                          -pinch of salt
                          -3 lg. egg yolks (save 3 whites for the meringue)
                          -3 lg. eggs


                          -3 lg. egg whites
                          -5 tablespoons sugar
                          -pinch of cream of tar tar
                          -a few drops vanilla extract


                          -1/3 of one batch of this crust recipe, chilled 

                          Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  
                          Roll out the dough evenly until it is large enough to line a 9-inch tart pan and is about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing it into the sides, and trim to remove the excess. It's okay if it falls apart a little, just press it back together with your hands. If it feels too warm, chill it in the fridge while you work on squeezing the lemons.
                          Cover the dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads or dried beans (like I used).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and baking beads and using a fork, gently poke holes in the bottom and sides of the crust.  Bake until the crust is golden, no more than 5 minutes. Take care to watch the crust as it can easily get too brown and crack (mine did a little, it taste just as good though it was harder to serve). Cool on wire rack until you're ready to fill it. 
                          Lower oven temp to 375*F.
                          In a medium-sized saucepan, warm the butter, lemon juice, sugar, zest and salt. When the butter has melted and the mixture is warm, gradually pour some of the warm lemon juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper. Whisk the egg mixture into the pan. 
                          Cook over low heat, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Whisk until filling thickens and it is jelly like. When you make designs in the mixture with the whisk, they should hold their shape. Do not let boil or it will curdle. Press through a fine mesh sieve to make silky smooth. Pour into tart shell and bake for 10 minutes. 
                          At this point, I let my tart cool and then chilled in the fridge overnight. You do not need to do this, you can skip straight to the meringue. I would just advise to not make the meringue until the day you are serving because if you put meringue in the fridge it will lose some of its volume and "weep" (cause a liquid layer between the meringue and the lemon filling). 
                          To make the meringue: whip the egg whites on high speed to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and cream of tar tar, while whipping on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and stiff. Beat in the vanilla and then spread over tart with a spoon. Put tart under broiler on high for 1 minute- watching constantly to prevent burning. Serve as is! 

                          A deliciously toasty pillow of meringue atop of tangy lemon filling in a sweet pie crust. Yum!
                          And don't forget to leave a comment!

                          Sunday, July 3, 2011

                          Canada Day/ 4th of July Cheesecake!

                          Happy (belated) Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks, and happy (early) 4th of July to all you American readers! Today's post is going to be pretty special. 

                          I bought myself a couple of things this week... firstly a Spring form Pan. It's my first spring form pan, as those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know. I'm as pleased as punch with the results. I also bought myself a fancy-ish camera. It's an Olympus SP-800UZ. It's really pretty... and it takes really pretty photos like the ones in this post. 

                          Though I'm in a faraway country, I still felt it necessary to celebrate Canada Day. So I made this cheesecake. It's lemony and a little chocolaty- delicious! And so pretty and patriotic with the beautiful swirls of pinkish-red. My food colouring is a little finicky- it takes quite a lot to turn something white into red. For you American folks, you can always swirl in a bit of blue as well. 

                          Oh and I had a genius idea for this cheesecake (albeit too late), instead of using red/blue food colouring, you can mix in some strawberry/blueberry sundae sauces to give it a more summery flavour, as well as making it look patriotic! 

                          This cheesecake has a delicious Oreo crumble base because who doesn't love Oreo cheesecake? I also served it with some Maple syrup- it goes perfectly with the lemon flavour and gives it a little more of a Canadian touch!

                          Do you like the plate I used? I bought it specifically for shooting. 

                          Jamie's Canada Day Cheesecake:
                          -3 cups cream cheese, softened
                          -1 cup granulated sugar
                          -3 eggs
                          -1 tbsp vanilla
                          -1 tbsp lemon juice
                          -zest of 1 lemon
                          -about 16 Oreos
                          -4 tbsp butter

                          Preheat oven to 325*F.

                          To make the crust:
                          Put the Oreos, 4 at a time, into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Add butter, a tbsp at a time, and pulse until mixture comes together. Press mixture into a prepared spring form pan (sprayed with non-stick spray and buckled correctly). 

                          The cheesecake:
                          Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar in 3 batches and beat well after each. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat very well after each. Add the vanilla, beat again. Add the lemon zest and juice, beat a final time. 

                          Pour onto prepared crust, reserving about a cup of the mixture. Add food colouring until you get the colour you want (if doing two colours, divide the batter into 2 separate bowls, then colour). Pour into pan, drop extra food colouring on top and swirl with a butter knife. 

                          Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, checking at 40. Your cheesecake is done when edges are set but a small dollar-sized dot in the middle is still jiggly. 

                          Cool on rack for 30 minutes. Chill in fridge for a few hours, until firm and fully set. (To speed it up: chill in freezer for about 2-3 hours.)

                          Don't forget to subscribe!
                          Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

                          Comment Questions:
                          1. What's your favourite Canada day/4th of July dessert? 
                          2. What do you think of the photography in this post compared to my other posts?

                          PS- my giveaway is still going on- don't forget to enter!

                          Monday, June 20, 2011

                          Quick and Easy Lasagna!

                          You guys know how much I love to cook and bake... but sometimes, after a long day of work, I'm in the mood to do anything but. Sometimes we go out to dinner on nights like those, but on nights like tonight where we're craving real food, I cheat a little. I must confess... sometimes I use pre-made things to make a homemade meal. I know, you gasped, but sometimes pre-made foods can actually be really good! 

                          Have you ever wanted to make a lasagna and serve it in an hour? That would be impossible if you had to make your own sauce and let it simmer for 2 hours as well as shred pounds and pounds of cheese... So if you or your family is craving lasagna and you don't feel much like cooking, and you don't feel like serving dinner at 10pm either, this is the recipe for you. 

                          First a note about buy pre-made foods:
                          They are certainly not created equally. That jar of Ragu on the shelf that says "contains real meat!" will not do your body good. Don't buy a jar that has meat already in it, that's a sure sign of a crazy amount of preservatives, including salt. Instead look for a plain and simple canned version. Try and find one with fewer ingredients as you have fingers on one hand. Really, it should just be tomato puree (paste), water, diced tomatoes, spices. That's it. Anything else and it's not going to be as healthy, or as tasty. The same goes for pre-shredded cheeses, there should only be cheese in the ingredient list. If there's a word you can't pronounce, you probably shouldn't eat it. Sometimes, especially in the case of shredded cheeses, buying a quality one may mean spending an extra couple of dollars. You're paying for the time you would have spent doing it yourself... isn't that worth the extra $2.50?

                          Now to the actual recipe. 

                          Quick and Easy Lasagna:
                          -3 packages of shredded cheese, any assortment of your choosing, though I went with mexican and mozzarella. 
                          -1- 28oz can tomato sauce
                          -1- 28oz can italian style diced tomatoes (diced tomatoes and spices)
                          -2 lbs ground beef
                          -2 red bell peppers
                          -1 egg
                          -2 small cartons of cottage or ricotta cheese
                          -1 box +3 extra lasagna noodles (the three extra are for the edge, if you're not too picky about how it looks or if you're using a smaller dish, 1 regular sized box is fine)
                          -spices of your choosing

                          Preheat your oven to 350*F.

                          Fill a pot of water and bring to a boil. Gently drop in your lasagna noodles and cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente. (Usually you only soak noodles before baking, but this will cut your bake time down by half!) While you are waiting for the water to boil, and while they're cooking, wash and chop your red bell pepper. 

                          Mix together both the pasta sauce and the diced tomatoes. Taste and correct with whatever spices you choose. I used garlic, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and basil. Browning your ground beef and season as you wish. 

                          Carefully drain your noodles, they will be quite soft and prone to breaking if you're not cautious. By now it's been about 20 minutes and already you have your veggie chopped, your noodles cooked, your sauce made and you meat browned. Crazy, no?

                          Not much left to do anymore, just mix your ricotta/cottage cheese with your egg (I also added a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne and a sprinkle of parsley). Now all you have to do is assemble and bake!

                          Layer sauce (to prevent your noodles from sticking to the dish) then noodles, sauce again, veggies, ricotta/cottage, then shredded cheese, then another layer of noodles. Continue on until you're out of noodles. 

                          Bake in your preheated oven for 25 minutes, just until heated through and cheese has melted. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes to set. 

                          All in all, including baking and resting time, this took me an hour and 5 minutes! And the last 35 minutes are pretty much just wait time- enough time to wash the dishes... or put your feet up and relax while your family does the dishes!

                          And don't forget to follow!

                          Comment Questions:
                          1. What's your favourite week night dish?
                          2. What do you think about pre-made packaged foods?

                          Sunday, June 19, 2011

                          Strawberry-Raspberry Pie!

                          Hello again! Today you are all in for a real treat. Two, in fact. The first being this beautiful pie, 

                          Beautiful, right? I'm really proud of this pie. I got the idea firstly from Bon Appetit- the same issue my Pasta Al Pomodoro came from, actually. (I'm really loving this magazine!) I put it on my to-bake list to make eventually, but after seeing it on Lottie + Doof I knew I had to get in the kitchen right away. 

                          Being here in Panama has at the same time been both amazing and difficult. The weather is always a sunny 30*C. and the only time you ever need a sweater is to go to the movies as they always crank the A/C too high. The air is thick and in the breeze you can feel the ocean mist on your face. It really is an incredible feeling.

                          But, I miss the cool breezes of Canada, and the fresh smell of the earth after a good rain. Oh and variety. I miss being able to go to a store and find 2 different brands of fresh raspberries and being able to choose which basket looks freshest. Man do I ever miss fresh berries... 

                          This pie cured a little bit of my homesickness. 

                          The original recipe called for rhubarb and raspberries, but since there was no way I'd ever find rhubarb in this country I subbed in for strawberries. Strawberries were always the first sign of summer for me anyway. Of course though, I couldn't find fresh raspberries here either, and fresh strawberries are unbearably expensive here so I had to use frozen. It still turned out perfectly. The original recipe was also for a crostata, but I have a pretty pie dish and pies are more convenient to make anyway since you can store them in the same dish they're baked in... plus aren't pies cuter in the end?

                          Imagine the best butter cookie you've ever had, slathered in a perfectly sweetened strawberry and raspberry jam. That is this pie. 

                          I used my usual pie dough recipe for this pie instead of the one they suggested in the original recipe since there was no way I could find whole wheat flour in this country- and besides, why fix what isn't broken? 

                          If you haven't noticed so far, this pie is way different than the original recipe that was featured in Bon Appetit. If you'd like to see the original recipe, you can read it here. 

                          Jamie's Strawberry-Raspberry Pie:

                          -1/2 tsp vanilla
                          -8 tbsp buttermilk
                          -2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                          -2 tbsp white sugar
                          -1/2 tsp salt
                          -2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
                          -1 cup very cold butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
                          -powdered sugar for dusting
                          -2 large eggs, gently beat, for brushing
                          -white sugar for sprinkling

                          -1/4 cup cornstarch (if you're using frozen berries, add another heaping tablespoon)
                          -4 cups strawberries, thawed and drained if frozen
                          -6oz. raspberries, thawed and drained is frozen
                          -2/3 cup granulated sugar
                          -1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

                          In a small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest, if using. Mix to combine.

                          Add in butter by the piece, and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles a course meal and pieces are less than pea-sized.

                          Add buttermilk mixture and stir until dough comes together. Transfer dough to a powdered-sugar covered surface and shape into two flat disks. Two thirds of the dough ball should go in one disk, and the other third into another disk. You won't need the smaller disk, however you will have both leftover dough and filling- enough to make handpies! Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours. 

                          Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp water (add an extra teaspoon if adding an extra tablespoon) in a small bowl; set aside. Combine strawberries, raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and juices are released, about 4 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Transfer to a boil and cool for about 30 mins (or chill in the freezer just while you do the next step).

                          Preheat oven to 400*F.

                          Transfer dough to a powdered sugar surface and roll out the bigger dough ball until half a centimeter thick (5 millimeters). Transfer to a prepared pie dish and shape as you wish. Use a fork and poke tiny holes all over the crust. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar- make sure to get the edges of the crust too! Pour filling into crust; depending on the size of your pie dish, you should have about a cup of filling leftover. The left over filling will freeze very well, as will your leftover dough. Keep frozen for up to 3 months. 

                          Bake pie until crust is golden brown and filling is slightly bubbly- about 40-45 minutes. Check halfway through baking time, if the crust is looking too dark on the edges, cover lightly with tin foil and continue until all crust is cooked fully. Let pie cool on a rack until it is no longer hot to the touch and the filling has set. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

                          Definitely the perfect summer treat for any BBQ, family dinner, or really any day of the week!

                          The second treat I said I had for you is... well I bought you all a little something. A hand made Panamanian pot holder. I bought one for myself yesterday and I thought you guys might like one too. So now you're wondering how you can get your hands on it... it's easy really. All you have to do is click the follow button on the top of the page. You have to be registered with Blogger. Once I get 50 Blogger registered followers, I will have an official giveaway post that you all can comment on to win. If you're already following- good job! Go ahead and tell your friends! Don't have a blogger account? If you're following already in some other fashion, leave that in the comments below and tell your friends! Not following and also don't have a blogger account? They're easy and free to sign up for... now might be the perfect time! Also, please tell your friends! 

                          Well that's all for today. Hope that makes up for my lack of posting this month. My life has been utterly crazy, and I've also been quite sick this week- this is the first time I've gotten into the kitchen in over a week! 

                          And don't forget to follow!