Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Keeping Garden Chickens - Selecting Your Chickens

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Hot Cross Buns (a little late but I am going to make them this week!)

Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Hot Cross Buns: I broke the tradition a few days early and made my Hot Cross Buns in the beginning of the week. My Mom made them every Easter  and we a...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

We celebrate Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem today as we begin the week of Easter.
It also happens to be April Fools Day. Did you play a trick? Have a little fun? Hope so. My sister had her husband peeking behind bushes looking for a deer that wasn't there. I was all set to drop a spider from the ceiling but woke up to snow, a joke on it's own. The weather went from worse to bad to good, ending with a lovely clear and mainly sunny day. Cool enough to have shepherd's pie for dinner and munch on a deluxe peanut butter, chocolate chip, pb cup cookie for dessert.
Had my favorite cutie girls here for a day and we made up a few batches of Easter bark. Oh my, so pretty and so many possibilities. We kept it simple with lovely Spring colors and pastel m&m's, but you could add pretzels, vanilla or chocolate oreos and drizzle white chocolate overall. For that matter, you could use dark chocolate as well, but I love the paleness of this one. Tomorrow I will break it up, put it in little clear bags and wrap it with Easter ribbon I picked up at Michael's. Then I'll try and save it until next weekend....
Easter Bark
3 or 4 bags of melting chocolate (I used white,pink, yellow, lilac and turquoise)
2 bags of Spring colored m&m's (I also plan to use the speckled egg m&m's)
-Melt each color separately about 40 sec in the microwave (being careful to not quite melt them and then stir like crazy while they finish melting)
-Pour random blobs on a wax paper lined large cookie sheet making sure to have some of each color on all areas
-Sprinkle with m&m's (add cookies and pretzel sticks, if using)
-Swirl with a toothpick to make all those lovely paisley patterns
-Cool in the fridge about 10 minutes
-Break into chunks

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Neufchatel Day

You didn't know? Just kidding, of course but I was whipping out appetizers and desserts and it seemed I went through about 6 kilo of Neufchatel. Lucky girl, I am. The Neufchatel being made at Golden Ears CheeseWorks is superb for baking.
I was also asked to use and review a product made by C-Dubs Get Naked Rubs. I loved the freshness and flavor of the BBQ Rub I chose for the appetizer. I was perplexed with what to make as I have seen the grape/basil leaf/gouda mix on a toothpick but I knew that children would accompany their parents to the open house at Fuller Watson this evening so decided to make something more 'kid-friendly'. At the same time I needed it to fit the venue of the gorgeously re-modeled store.
Pretzaco Cheese Balls

 Aren't they cute?
I rolled mini Neufchatel Cheese balls flavored generously with C-Dubs BBQ Rub ( in crushed Spicy Nacho Doritos and stuck them with a pretzel. So simple, so delicious. No mess, no fuss and certainly "kid-friendly". Moms not worried about choking hazards is a good thing. I think they would be wonderful with a glass of wine or a cold beer for the adults.

Since there would be over 100 people milling about at the open house, I needed a simple dessert that would showcase the cheese. Neufchatel to the rescue. For those of you used to putting cheesecake together with regular creme cheese, please take note. Neuchatel is luscious, creamy and rich and once you try it you will be hooked. Normally I make cheesecake in 6inch tall springform pans or a standard 10 inch but for samplers I used 2 9x13 inch pans lined with parchment.
Cheesecake for 1 9x13 pan
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
1 kilo Neufchatel
1 c sugar
3 T all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 c heavy whipping cream (I use creme fraiche)
1 T lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
For the crust mix all together and spread over bottom of 9x13 pan lined with parchment paper. (If using a springform pan, grease sides and bottom and bring the crumbs up about an inch on the sides)
Refrigerate while you make the filling.
For the filling place Neufchatel, sugar, flour in mixing bowl and beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Scrape the sides of the bowl well, add the creme, lemon zest, vanilla and beat until incorporated. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour in the filling. Place cheesecake in the 350 degree oven.
Bake 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 250 degrees. Cook approximately 60 minutes more (60-90 minutes for a 6inch tall springform or 10 inch round) until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Let cool completely and then put in fridge overnight. If possible cool at least several hours before cutting.
For the samples I kept it plain but normally would have used a blueberry sauce which compliments the lemon so beautifully. We have a 'lime peppa chocolate sauce' at work that swirls on cheesecake and is such a unique flavor burst! Of course you can eat this 'plain' ( an understatement) or with your favorite topping (strawberry, caramel, crushed belgian chocolate bars, toasted nuts...)

Neufchatel Cheesecake Samplers ready to party

To go along with the theme I also made 150 mini quiche and 2 litre containers of Feta Dip. Recipes to follow....I need a little break. I'm all mini'd out! :)
Be sure to visit for some of the finest cheeses made locally and a whole host of interesting products.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ShowFood Chef: Olive & Smoked Gouda Gougere - Perfect Party Pal

ShowFood Chef: Olive & Smoked Gouda Gougere - Perfect Party Pal: Have you made Gougere lately (or at all)? I think they're the perfect little appetizer for a party, a family movie night, a tea, a bridal
Really love these little guys, I have been making Gouda gougere for several months now and can't keep them around more than a day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Will You Marry Me? Cheesecake

Honestly, I never thought I could feel the pressure of another persons request. Until. The call came in to make a cheesecake for someone whose fiancee had tried cheesecake everywhere, yes, around the globe, and had never been able to recreate 'the' taste she had experienced from one particular cheesecake. Armed and ready with the very best neufchatel cheese, creme fraiche and eggs, I whipped and beat and stirred and poured the filling in my wonderful aluminum 8 inch cheesecake pans (yes, I made more than 1, what if one cracked or fell or was uneven!?). The results were....well...great. I whipped up a little blueberry lemon sauce on the side not knowing what she might like. Keep it plain. real. simple.
A call came in to ask if we could write on the cake...they said no. I waited for our customer to arrive because I had a feeling. He came in, his face a little swollen on one side, shy but expectant. I asked what he might have liked on the cake..her name..Happy Birthday? He answered, actually I was hoping it would say....pause...breath intake....Will You Marry Me? How could I say no to that. Could I be responsible for breaking his dream? No. period.
I put Will You Marry Me in raspberry coulis and as I spelled out Marry the 'y' turned into a heart. awwwwww.
We packed the cake in it's clear shell, stuffed it in a box lined with blues and purple tissue and sent him on his way. Did he get a YES? Don't know yet. Did I explain the swollen jaw? He had an abcess. Ouch!
Will You Marry Me? A Cheesecake Story needs a happy ending....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Golden Ears Cheeseworks by day

Busy Baking
I've had a busy 6 months baking 3 days a week at Golden Ears Cheeseworks / The wonderful thing is I have been fortunate enough to use the most wonderful(they should win an award!!) neufchatel, gouda, cheddar, feta, creme fraiche, milk, unsalted butter and the list goes on. How could my cheese buns, cakes, cookies, dips, soups not turn out? I have been blessed.
I was able to formulate my recipes using their products. We have been serving up poutine the past month and it has been well received. Festival Du Bois was this past weekend and we provided over 250 pounds of curds to be used with their poutine. Should that bring a few new customers out our way....I think so.

I will be leaving my big demo kitchen to be back home baking very soon and honestly, I will miss everyone and everything about Cheeseworks. It is not everyday that you find work that is satisfying. But I know my baking will continue, my blogging will become less erratic, spring is in the air and gardening is on the horizon again. Stay tuned.