Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blueberry Crumb Cake

I have been making this Blueberry Crumb Cake for years. It's one of those no-fail staple recipes that you can confidently pull out at any time. I have even adapted the recipe to create my Strawberry Crumble Muffins, so if you're a fan of those, pull out your Cuisinart because this is sure to be your new fave!

This little number is perfect for a casual after dinner dessert with family, although I'm sure dinner guests wouldn't turn down a second helping either. This Blueberry Crumb Cake is perfectly moist with bursts of fresh and juicy blueberries throughout, and a sweet crumble topping.
Note: For the freshest flavour, store cake in the fridge until serving. Serve at room temperature or warm.

2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream (full or low fat)
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1. Pour the flour, sugar, and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Using short and quick pulses, process ingredients until crumbs form. Remove 1 cup of mixture and set aside.

2. Place the sour cream in a small bowl. Stir in the baking soda until dissolved.

3. Add the sour cream and baking soda mixture to the processor bowl. Add in the baking powder and eggs. Process until just blended, about 8 seconds.

4. Gently stir in the blueberries by hand.

5. Pour the batter evenly into a lightly greased and floured 9" square baking pan. Top evenly with the 1 cup of reserved crumb mixture.

6. Bake at 375ยบ for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bake comes out clean.

Listening To:
Fuck You-Cee Lo Green

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Madison's Tone It Up Shake Dance!

My friend Madison is one of a kind. She has the most vibrant and unique personality that allows her to shine through any crowd. Over the past year, Madison has been brightening up my Facebook news feed with hilarious videos that she posts for her friends. These videps exemplify her meticulous comic timing, as well as her charm, beauty, and talent! So I couldn't help but show off my girls work when she made a video of her Tone It Up Shake Dance for the contest for a health and beauty blog Tone It Up. Although Madison didn't win (ummm, hello Tone It Up ladies! You dropped the ball on this one!), her video, dance, and super tasty Banana "Baby Blue" Cinnamon Smoothie are winners in my book...or blog, that is.

Start your weekend off right and try out Madison's Banana "Baby Blue" Cinnamon Smoothie today!

2-4 ice cubes
1 ripe banana
a handful of Ontario wild blueberries or wild strawberries (depending on whats in season)
2/3 cup Vanilla Chai Latte (Bolthouse Farms)
1-2 tbsp 0% fat plain greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tone it up shake dance, while blender is on!

1. Toss all ingredients into a blender. Turn blender on and dance your butt off! Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Thanks Madison! Love you! xo

Listening to:
Lykke Li - Dance Dance Dance

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dill and Lemon Balm Potato Salad

My backyard is my favourite part of my house. My parents put a lot of work into it to make it look as gorgeous as it does, so they decided to treat themselves and their friends to a fantastic backyard party. I think everyone had it in their minds that the party was just going to be hors d'oeuvres and drinks, but I don't think that just simple hors d'oeuvres and drinks exists in my family. With us we have to go ALL out! The simple hors d'oeuvres and drinks turned into a massive feast! I can't believe how much food my parents made, and every bit of it was fantastic! I'm a little embarrassed to say that I only contributed one dish to the party, my Dill and Lemon Balm Potato Salad. This potato salad combines the bright and fresh flavours of dill and lemon to create a simple, yet delicious side. Using sour cream in place of traditional mayonnaise in this recipe makes the salad lighter...allowing you to eat more!

1.5 Il. mini red potatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pureed
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon balm, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
about 3/4 cup sour cream
the juice from 1/2 a lemon
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

1. Place potatoes in water and allow to boil. Once water has boiled, reduce heat to low and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until tender when inserted with a fork. Let rest until able to handle with hands, and then cut into quarters.

2. Toss the potatoes with garlic, olive oil, dill, lemon balm, chives, and lemon juice.

3. Add the sour cream in small amounts at a time, making sure not to overdress. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Don't worry about being gentle. The potatoes are meant to break up slightly, it allows the flavour of the dressing to take hold of them. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Listening To:
Arcade Fire - Suburban War

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thank you!

On Sunday evening I did it! My friends and I jumped out of a plane at 10,500 feet to raise awareness and help raise money for CanLyme, a foundation working to build Canada's first Lyme Disease research and testing centre. The jump was a huge success. Together we raised over $4000, a feat that couldn't have happened without the incredible support from all of our friends, family, and friends of friends who donated. Thank you to everyone who showed their support!

If you would like to still like to make a donation, click HERE to donate securely online, and check out some photos from our jump!

Listening To:
Arcade Fire - We Used to Wait

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Carrot and Mango Salad with Honey Roasted Peanuts

Boy oh boy is it ever hard to stay healthy working at a pastry shop. This is especially true when you, being your economical self, try and bring in homemade lunches to work. Let me tell u a simple homemade turkey sandwich looks pretty sad next to a freshly baked ham and cheese croissant. So I've been looking for tasty and healthy dishes that will allow me to feel satisfied throughout my shift at work, are quick to prepare, and can transport easily. So when my mum brought home the recipe for Carrot and Mango Salad with Honey Lime Dressing from Food Network Canada's Just One Bite, I knew I had found my solution! This salad tasted amazing! I couldn't get enough of the incredible combination of the coarse textured carrots, the sweet and juicy mango, and crunchy sweet and salty peanuts, all topped off with a mouth-puckering honey and lime dressing! This is one salad that will be coming with me to work often! Sorry salad, I appreciate you coming to work with me, but I'm keeping the pay check!
Note: Just One Bite's recipe calls for raisins....but I just wasn't into that. But if you're a raisin fan, go on and add 'em! I also used honey roasted peanuts instead of dry roasted to tie in the honey in the dressing.

3 large carrots
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp grated lime zest
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp liquid honey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Using a cheese grater or a food processor fitted with the grater attachment, coarsely grate carrots into large bowl.
2. Add the mango, green onion, peanuts and cilantro to carrots.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, and honey. While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

4. Pour dressing over salad, toss, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Listening To:
The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go

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(Going to the concert tomorrow!!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's time to Pic Your Plate Toronto!

Well hello there friends, fans, and followers! I am very excited to announce the launch of Pic Your Plate T.O. a website that allows YOU, the foodies of Toronto, to upload, share, and comment on your favourite foodie pics from around Toronto. Everything from the pic of your meal at a favourite restaurant, to the killer dinner you whipped up, we wanna see them! What are you eating Toronto? Start sending your pics to picyourplate@hotmail.com

Listening To:
Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rosemary Crackers with Figs and Aged Cheddar

Last minute guests? There's an app for that! This appetizers/hors d'oeuvres is insanely easy and fast to prepare while not skimping on the taste! Just a quick assembly and you've got the perfect appetizer for hungry guests. Crunchy Rosemary and Olive Olive Triscuits act as the base for this appetizer, which is topped with smooth and creamy cream cheese, a chunk of salty and distinctive aged white cheddar, and a slice of a sweet and exotic fig. Bet your dying to be a last-minute guest at my house huh?

Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuit crackers
cream cheese
aged white cheddar
figs, quartered
rosemary sprigs (optional)

1. Spread about 1 tsp of cream cheese on each cracker.

2. Top with a tiny chunk of cheddar and a fig slice.

3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig (optional).

Listening To:
Broken Bells - The High Road

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Looking for Pledges!

This isn't a food related post, but it is something that means a great deal to me. On August 15th I will be jumping out of a plane with nine friends to raise money and awareness for Lyme Disease in Canada. My friend Tracy's sister Jamie was diagnosed with Lyme Disease four years ago, a disease which has left her bedridden, and a disease that doctors in Canada often deny patients even having. My friends and I are going skydiving, in hopes that people will sponsor us and our efforts so that we can help to raise money for CanLyme, a foundation that is aiming to build Canada's first Lyme Disease research and testing centre.

To learn more and sponsor a skydiver visit http://www.canlyme.com/freefall.html.

Thank you,

xo Danielle

Listening To:
Welcome To Wherever You Are - Bon Jovi

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Black Camel Brisket Sandwich

Woah baby! Think I was a little late jumping on this bandwagon, but for any of you out there who haven't yet experienced the wonder that is Black Camel's Brisket Sandwich, get your butt there RIGHT now! No joke! You will not regret it!

Served on a large, fresh bun, Black Camel's Brisket Sandwich is chockfull of tender, saucy and flavourful pulled beef brisket. This sandwich was so good that, I kid you not, I saved my final bite as a midnight snack because I wanted that to be the last flavour I had before bed (so I could continue to dream about it). My parents loved the sandwich so much, that they proceeded to attempt to replicate it 2 days later...which led to me eating 4 brisket sandwiches in less than 2 weeks! Oh yeah! Now what are you waiting for? GO!

Listening To:
Gyptian - Hold Yuh (Remix ft. Nicki Minaj)

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Cheaters Handbook: Chicken Vindaloo

I remember in grade 2 doing a special unit in school about Indian culture. We learned all about Indian music, dance, clothing and food. Although I loved the bright colours and gorgeous embroidery in Indian dress, as well as their interesting music and lyrical dances, I have to admit, I wasn't too fond of Indian cuisine. Being only a child, I found the spices to be a little overwhelming for my young palate. It wasn't until last summer when I visited my friend Lee-Anne from out of town, and was cooked a spectacular Indian Chicken Vindaloo, that I learned how much I love the exotic and spicy flavours of Indian Cuisine.

Since that fantastic dinner with Lee-Anne, I haven't stopped dreaming about her Chicken Vindaloo. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have messaged her more than a few times requesting her to please oh please come back to Toronto and make it for me again! This has become a little tricky, seeing as how shortly after the summer ended, Lee-Anne moved to British Columbia.

When I got word that Lee-Anne had plans of coming back to Toronto for a visit, my mind was immediately filled with thoughts of all of our incredible memories together, her infectious laugh, warm heart, and beautiful soul...oh...and of course Chicken Vindaloo. Once again I was stuck with this Indian dish on my mind. Although the thought of trying to make this dish scared me, I couldn't stand the thought of waiting another day before tasting it again!

Because I'm not yet familiar with many Indian dishes, spices, and cooking methods, I decided to take a shortcut on my first attempt at making Chicken Vindaloo. So here we have it, my Cheaters Handbook Chicken Vindaloo. The trick here is to pay attention to little details, because when it comes down to it, its all in the details!

I started off with a jar of Chicken Vindaloo sauce. Oh yes, my friends, this is certainly a cheater, but a delicious and beautiful one at that! Because the sauce is going to be the base of your dish, I would highly recommend doing some research on the best store-bought Indian sauces. Find one that has flavours that you like or you know are authentic. Follow the directions on the bottle and from there the fun begins! Look up different Chicken Vindaloo recipes as well as Indian takeout menus to get ideas on what else can be added to the dish. For example, my store-bought bottle only required chicken, canned crushed tomatoes and rice. To make it my own, I first added more tomatoes because I like more of a tomato sauce in my Vindaloo. I also read the list of ingredients, and added more of some of the spices that I know I like, so that the tomatoes would not overwhelm the spice. I also boiled some potatoes to stir in with my chicken, as well as some fresh cilantro to add a bit of brightness to the dish. I finished the dish with a drizzling of tangy yogurt to act as a cool and refreshing saviour to all that heat. The Chicken Vindaloo ended up incredible, and it was all thanks to my little personal touches!

Suggested Additions:
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Coconut milk
  • Plain yogurt
  • Spices such as: garam masala, turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, bay leaves
  • Onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Tamarind
  • Coconut vinegar
  • Curry powder or paste