Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar & Blue Cheese

IMG_4850It’s cold – why eat anything other than soup? October 12th soup was Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar and Blue Cheese. I really don’t think I need to tell you anything else to convince you to make this soup. There’s cheese which masks the fact that there is a vegetable in this soup. It’s basically like eating fondue.

But seriously. There is a delicious earthy flavour from the cauliflower and a hint of nutiness from the caraway seeds that beautifully freckle the soup. The cheddar cheese makes the soup creamy and thick and the blue cheese adds that hearty kick that instantly warms you up on a cold day.

Recipe is below the cut – you need to check it out! Happy munching!

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November – 30 Days Left of Fall

November is an awkward month:  there is no snow on the ground but no fall colours on the trees. It is cold, wet and miserable.  It is still technically fall but you are already planning for Christmas. In Canada there is no holiday (that you can celebrate with cheer and bright decorations) that falls between Halloween and Christmas making it hard to not cut fall short and start with winter cheer. America at least has Thanksgiving at the end of November to remind you that it is still fall in November. But come on, Thanksgiving should be celebrated during the harvest season and when the fall colours and abundant and gorgeous.

With just a month left in fall and trying to not let Christmas overshadow the last days of my favourite season, here is how the Fall 2013 is coming along:

1. Visit an apple orchard
2. Bake fall pies; apple and pumpkin specifically
3. Make apple cider
4. Try a new fall-inspired sangria
5. Make soups (especially lots of butternut squash!)
6. Visit a pumpkin patch
7. Make a Thanksgiving feast, even on a small scale
8. Try a new chili recipe
9. Make a spooky treat for Halloween
10. Go for a fall hike
11. Make homemade trail mix and granola
12. Finally (actually!) use my ice cream maker
13. Cozy up with a good book and a cup of tea
14. Sip on homemade hot chocolate
15. Use pumpkin in an unconventional way
16. Hop on the donut bandwagon and make homemade donuts with fall flavours
17. Snack on apples with homemade caramel dip
18. Celebrate Ocktoberfest with fall brews
19. And homemade pretzels and specialty mustards
20. Make caramel apples – sticks and all!
21. Visit a fall fair
22. Create a fall centerpiece – possibly as a test for the wedding!
23. Decorate or carve a pumpkin
24. Get lost in a corn maze
25. Toast pumpkin seeds

I’m not doing great with the list (and some I won’t be able to do anymore) but let’s see how far I can get in 30 days!

Cranberry Cherry Pie

IMG_4844I am addicted to making pies. I don’t bake anything else. And I think I am getting better. It has become a standing thing that whenever we get together with our friends Al and Jamie, I bake a pie. They never ask, and I never actually tell them, I just show up with a new flavour pie in my hands. Please, if you secretly hate it, I will stop.

Last time we got together with them I made a Cranberry Cherry pie (from Better Homes and Gardens). This was a new recipe that I was trying out and it came with its own pitfalls and challenges. I did my first lattice top which I think turned out pretty nicely and it was my first time using frozen fruit for a pie. When using frozen fruits for a pie I would suggest letting the fruit completely thaw and drain, to help limit the amount of liquid in your pie. Besides the excessive amount of liquid in the pie, the flavour of the filling was sweet with a slight tartness from both the cranberries and the cherries. There was a bit of citrus from the orange zest which complimented the zing of the ginger; but since I don’t love ginger, I would not use this next time. If you do want to use ginger, I would suggest not using candied ginger because it doesn’t melt or become part of the flavour. It stays whole and very distinct.

I liked the combination of cranberries and cherries but because the filling was so liquid I don’t know if I would attempt this again or just fault the recipe. Also, there are too many types of pie in the world to make the same recipes twice!

Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

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Potato Rosemary Soup

Another day, another soup.

IMG_4800The other day I made Potato Rosemary soup (November 10th in the Williams-Sonoma cookbook). This soup is simple and delicious. It is surprisingly thick from the potatoes and has a lot of deepth of flavour. It is the perfect side for a sandwich. And bonus, (if you care) it’s vegan!

Recipe is below the cut! Happy munching!

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Rose and Sons

I am very much against things that are popular and trendy. This isn’t an attempt to be too cool or to discover and set the next trend, health it has more to do with my distrust of other people’s taste and my general dislike for busyness and crowds. I refuse to line up for hours to eat at the latest restaurant, ampoule and I will not pay huge sums of money because something is in and cool right now. Our meal at Rose and Sons confirmed this for me.

I know I was biased from the start. Rose and Sons is where one of my favorite diners, sale People’s Foods used to be. People’s Food was a huge part of my early relationship with GC. It carried a lot of sentimental value for me, and I am a person who holds very little sentiment in places and things. But I knew I had to look past that and give it a try. I loved that they kept the old signage of the storefront and that it still had the classic retro diner feel to it.

We went for dinner instead of brunch because we figured we could try some brunch menus off the all-day menu and then we could avoid huge, ridiculous lineups. The restaurant is small and they have redone the seating to accommodate larger groups. What this means for a table of two, is that if you are seated at one of the larger tables, you will get squished to accommodate larger groups. Unfortunately, this happened to us. About halfway through our meal, a group of four was added to the other half of our table which was fine but they were probably the most obnoxious people of all time and insisted on taking up far more room than was necessary. We should have been seated at one of the many available booths for two but we were not for reasons unknown to us.

I didn’t love the menu. There wasn’t too much that stood out to me and this was because everything was overburdened with too many different, conflicting flavours. I like simple dishes that allow the tastes and depths of each ingredient to shine through. This comes from doing too much – you can’t combine greasy, diner food with too many ingredients with strong, traditional Jewish flavours. It just ends up too salty.

GC ordered the Patty Melt.

Patty MeltPatty Melt Burger-Grilled Cheese with fried onions, French fries, and chili mayo.
Photo Credit: Rose and Sons

If you can tell me why this sandwich is $16, it would be greatly appreciated.  The burger pictured above is not how GC’s burger came to the table. The burger was almost a florescent pink it was so undercooked. Obviously this is what they are going for but when you are serving something this rare you need to A) tell your customers this burger comes mooing to the table and B) use the highest quality beef. This obviously did not happen as GC felt destroyed after eating this.

I ordered the Mac ‘N Cheese.

Rose and SonsMacaroni and cheese with 4 cheeses, griddled chili Brussels sprouts and breadcrumbs.
Photo Credit: Rose and Sons

And again: if you can tell me why this macaroni and cheese is $15, it would be greatly appreciated. I understand cheese is expensive, it is an unfortunate truth I live with every day of my life with cheese being my favourite food. But don’t charge me $15 for mac and cheese and not even tell me what kind of cheeses I am getting. The cheese sauce wasn’t thick and creamy, it was watery and a thin; not very cheesy at all.

I actually really enjoy Brussels sprouts normally, and I think they were cooked nicely but stood in too much contrast to the rest of this dish. The breadcrumbs added a nice bit of crunch to the dish, which made up for the soupiness of the pasta.

Overall, we were not impressed. We were squished, ignored and given less than great food for a bill close to $50.00. I think Rose and Sons has fallen victim to its own hype: The food was ok, not fantastic; the ambiance and décor were cozy but not warm and inviting; the service was bored and disinterested at best. If you need to scratch this hipster locale off your list, go ahead but you’ve been warned. Luckily, since we ordered foods that can be ordered all day, I can honestly scratch this off the BlogTO Top 50 Brunch restaurants.

Happy munching!



Carrot Ginger Soup

Soup, soup, soup! ‘Tis the season for soup and I have been making tons of different types of soups using the Williams-Sonoma Soup of The Day cookbook. My only issue with this cookbook is the fact that there are very few pictures. I understand that a soup, is a soup, and they look very similar but I still like to see what I am going to eat.

Get ready to be inundated with soup recipes all season long. The first soup I made was the soup for October 1: Carrot Ginger soup.

photo1.  I don’t love ginger. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of ginger and it is definitely an acquired flavour. It is a mixture of spice and sweetness which can nicely round out a dish or completely overpower. Unfortunately, in this dish, it completely overwhelmed all other flavours in the dish.

2. I would suggest using less broth to make this soup because in my opinion, all homemade soup should be thick and slightly chunky. This soup was too thin for my liking.

3. The orange zest was a nice bit of zing in the soup but when working in tandem with the ginger, it created an overwhelming citrus, fruity note to the soup.

We finished off the soup but I will not be making this soup again. If you love ginger, this soup is for you!

Recipe is below the cut, and happy munching!

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White Chocolate and Nutmeg Bars

Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

As the days get shorter, and the weather gets cooler, it’s starting to feel a little more like Christmas. I know, I know: it’s the start of November, there is no snow, and it’s over a month away. BUT as a crafter and a baker, you need to start thinking about Christmas. Christmas is a month long event. Between parties, decorating, baking and shopping you need to start thinking about these things!

I made these white chocolate and nutmeg bars for Thanksgiving but the flavours are perfect for the holiday season too! The bars have a beautiful colour to them – the warmth of the brown, dotted with fresh, plump, red cranberries and drizzled with white chocolate, it looks like a winter landscape.

I love the combination of cranberries and nutmeg. The fruity, tartness from the cranberries, softened by the warmth and spice of the nutmeg make these the perfect treat to enjoy with a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate.

I will definitely be making these again for Christmas and I think you should too! Recipe below the cut and happy munching!

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Cream Cheese Swirl Pumpkin Bars

Another way to use pumpkin – make cream cheese swirl pumpkin bars!

Photo Credit: Kitchen Meets Girls

But don’t actually because I didn’t love these. They were extremely moist, like when you spill milk on your dessert plate. There was too much pumpkin in these bars. The cream cheese swirls added to the extreme moisture of the bars and made it that you had to put the bars in the fridge. I don’t like putting desserts in the fridge – it makes me forget about them and they inevitably end up with a “fridge” taste to them.

There was a nice blend of spices that made you feel warm and cosy, a little bite of fall. These spices highlighted the fruity, harvest taste of the pumpkin. Because of the sweetness from the pumpkin I don’t think the chocolate chips were necessary to make these bars complete. There is already a heavy, sweetness from the pumpkin; the chocolate puts that sweetness over the top.

Recipe is below the cut. Happy munching!

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