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pie! first ever lattice top was a success

Holiday huzzah! The boy and I had planned on hosting a dinner party last Sunday before the mass exodus from London (ours included). With our love of wining and dining guests/friends, we naturally started the cooking craze mid afternoon and guestimated (teehee) for 5. Honey-wasabi roast chicken! Roasted potatoes with onions and green peppers! Green salad! Apple pie!

Sadly, our friends failed to show (they had valid explainations, and we’re no longer too upset at them). Pick-me-ups that evening included homebrewed porter and wheat beers, a few episodes of House and Family Guy, and a bath.

Not all was lost – leftovers made fantastic lunches.
And I managed a mostly decent looking pie for my first ever lattice top.

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no knead breadThe boy, dorkusmagnus, was quite excited to try his professor’s bread recipe.

At McGill, there are a handful of courses offered by the chemistry department that cover tidbits of everyday trivia-type stuff. This semester, these ‘world of chem’ lectures included one on food (incidentally, it’s available for the public online). Having been stuck on a baking phase for the past while, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when the boy excitedly directed my attention to a bread recipe passed down from Prof. Harpp’s mother.

One caveat: we don’t own enamelled cast iron cookware. And this recipe calls for the baking to occur in such a device. And, as much as these things are beautiful and durable through decades and are certainly heavy enough to implement in knocking-out-home-invaders, it was going to be a little bit of an investment. A purchase that had to be planned in advance, anyway, since we’re living on budgets fit for student living. (A Cruset, along with a good quality espresso maker, are among many kitchen toys we’re considering for September.)

Time to get creative: He reached for the wok. Bread in a wok? Well, the wok is rather large, and cast iron, so it implies that the final temperature of the cooking vessel will be a little higher, no? And it has a lid (which was necessary, since the first part of the baking is done with a lid on). I confess I was a little skeptical since I’m sure the expansion/contraction rates of the glass lid differed from the metal trimming. But we’ve had several loaves of this stuff since the first baking, and the lid is still (quite) intact. And the bread’s been getting tastier. Nothing beats fresh bread for breakfast, especially when the boy decides to wake up an hour before me to bake a loaf that was left to rise overnight. I do believe my ancestors would be proud of this clever wok usage, resulting in yummy, crusty bread without fail.

Here’s the recipe (all measurements are approximations – the best way is to fiddle with it for a loaf or two, and tweak until complete satisfaction!):

4 cup flour
1/2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
2 cup water

comes out perfectly every time.Mix the ingredients in a large bowl: since this recipe doesn’t require the dough to be kneaded, it’s a good idea to mix everything thoroughly enough so you don’t end up with extremely salty bits here and there. Cover the mixed dough with a damp towel, and let it sit for anywhere between 9 to 15 hours – the boy plops it in the oven (off, of course) overnight, as the oven stays at a relatively stable temperature despite open windows and such. Once you’ve exerted all of that patience, the dough is put into the cooking vessel – (insert enamelled cast iron pot here) in our case, the wok. Preheat the oven to 450F, or 500 if your oven lets you do so. The cooking times are about 30 minutes with the lid, then the lid is removed for the remaining 20 minutes (though for our oven, the last 20 have been shaved down to about 15).

three times the cookie goodness. omnomnom!

Procrastination left me in the kitchen, again. This time, it was in avoiding a short 4 page essay for my class on personality. Seeing that 1) our cupboard recently acquired a new bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2) the no name PB has been sitting untouched because of its below average tendencies on bread, and 3) we still had about 1 cup of oats, I made a small batch of yummy yummy PB-oat-chocolate chip cookies. I used approximately:

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup br sugar
1 egg
1/2 – 3/4 cup PB
a (large) splash of milk
splash of vanilla
3/4 cup all purp flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup large oats
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugar until homogeny, then add egg. Combine the remaining wet ingredients, and add the dollops of PB. Stir in dry ingredients, then the oats and chocolate. Bake the (10 goodly sized) cookies for about 15 minutes at 350F (until golden). Enjoy with tall glass of milk.

[repost from chanlindsay.blogspot.com]

I was commissioned to whip up a dessert for a dinner party of sorts on the 26th – so after much deliberation and clicking through recipes at epicurious.com, I’ve settled on making a double chocolate torte to impress family friends I haven’t seen since last December. It’s supposed to turn out something like this (operative words here = “supposed to”):


Of course, it being Christmas and all, everything’s closed tomorrow (well, today, technically), and of course, me being a talented procrastinator, I make a mad dash for Loblaws earlier this afternoon before their early 6pm close, only to find that they had no bitter- or semi- sweet baker’s chocolate. So off to Price Chopper, where I left in glee – not only did they have the stuff I needed, everything was ridiculously cheap. (250g philly cream cheese = 1.50$!! There’s definitely going to be some sort of cheesecake concoction next week, and I think I’m going to expand beyond the tried and true lime almond cheesecake and look for something more festive…) Anyway, I don’t end up on the kitchen floor until 10:30(ish), and I realised I needed butter. And that everything was closed. (Where’s a dep when you need one?) I finally find a 24hr Rabba that was still open. Which, of course, was fabulous. After all of that effort, this better be the best damn chocolate cake! Tomorrow, it’ll be cheesy Christmas songs (I’m still not feeling festive, and we’re almost 3 hours into xmas day already, so maybe that’ll do the trick?), and me versus the cake, part II: chocolate mouse.