Recipe Review: David Lebovitz’s H

That David Lebovitz. He’s gotta be his own man. Most others call these molten chocolate cakes. But to Lebovitz, they are “Individual Hot Chocolate Cakes”. Well, a cake by any other name tastes as sweet, and I had only to glance at the instructions to know that we were talking about the same thing. I love David Lebovitz’s blog. I discovered it a year ago when we were in Paris on a family vacation. I was trying to find somewhere in that beloved city to buy kouign amann, or Breton butter cake, a flakey, caramelized butter and sugar concoction we...

Recipe Review: Canadian Living’s

At last! Time to pit my old standard cod au gratin recipe against the others and see how it holds up. The recipe I usually use is from The Canadian Living Cookbook. I find the Canadian Living cookbooks to be very reliable–they are go-tos in my kitchen, kitchen encyclopedias, as it were, much like The Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook is for many people. The Canadian Living recipe for cod au gratin differs from others I have seen. The cod is oven-poached in milk until it is flakey. The milk is poured off the fish and used to make the béchamel sauce. ...

Spring is Sprouting All Over!

Spring has sprouted! From the soil and tips of branches, buds are bursting, welcome colour after a winter barren even of snow. Brash dandelions populate our lawn, shouting testimonials to the season, proclaiming our rejection of beautifying chemicals (to the dismay of our neighbours, no doubt). As asparagus, carrots, rhubarb and spinach grow toward crispy, freshness, Ontario farmers prepare for the opening of the markets in May. And I get ready for another round of recipe quests. Hmm. What dishes to test next? Last summer, I watched the 100 Mile Challenge on...

Simply Recipes’ Apple Crisp

Simply Recipes is a food blog run by Elise Bauer. It’s a well known blog and Bauer is also the founder of the Food Blog Alliance. So although she may not be as well known as Anna Olson and Martha Stewart, whose recipes I’m also testing, Bauer’s got some creds. I was a bit surprised to see that Simply Recipes’ apple crisp calls for a 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Most crisps tend to be made in a 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 dish. If the ratio of the ingredients is increased accordingly, it shouldn’t be a problem. But that’s not the case here. The...

Mario Batali’s Pure Italian Spaghe

Mario Batali, the well known Italian-American chef, is a purist when it comes to his spaghetti alla carbonara. He uses eggs only–no cream–and offers instructions on how to cure your own hog jowls, should you want to go more authentic than bacon or pancetta. I opted for bacon, even though I used pancetta when testing Giada De Laurentiis’ version, because it’s the sauce I’m really interested in figuring out. How do I replicate the mouth-warming heartiness of the best carbonaras I’ve eaten? Batali’s recipe uses four separated...

Michael Smith’s Molten Chocolate C

Double boiler for melting chocolate. If you’ve ever seen Michael Smith’s show Chef at Home, then you probably know how he encourages home cooks to enjoy cooking, and not be afraid to wing it a bit. He often foregoes the measuring cup, favouring the eyeball method. I can’t help but love his approach for how it supports the whole idea of recipe experimentation. But for this recipe quest, especially since it is a baking one, I’m sticking with the exact measurements. Michael Smith’s molten cake recipe includes egg whites, sans yolks, whipped...

Cod au Gratin Goes Cosmopolitan: Review

The second of the cod au gratin recipes I’m testing is from Rock Recipes. I have to admit that I’m rooting for this recipe because the creator, Barry Parsons, is a food blogger from St. John’s, Newfoundland, the home of cod au gratin. Parsons has changed things up with the addition of several ingredients that are anything but traditional. Parsons’ twists include savoury, which is a very traditional herb in Newfoundland. However, he also suggests the not-so-common-on-the-rock substitutes of dill or tarragon. I used tarragon, as I still...

The Crispiest Crisp of Them All

Sugar, by Anna Olson, is one of my favourite cookbooks. I love me my desserts. Although I have tried many of the book’s recipes, I had never tried the one for fruit crisp. Olson’s is a blueberry/pear crisp, but she says the topping works with any fruit. Taking her at her word, I tried it with apples. The unusual thing about this recipe (for which the ingredients are listed here) is that the crisp includes pecans and cornflake crumbs. Pecans just happen to be my favourite nut, so no sales pitch needed. The cornflakes are a harder sell. But as Olson...

Penne alla Carbonara alla Giada De Laure

I’ve always used bacon for carbonara, but for the kick-off of this quest, I decided to go all out and try the pancetta. I got it at the deli counter of a local grocery store (which is what, I believe, the Americans refer to as a supermarket). Lesson #1: Don’t say, “Whatever,” when they aske you how you want it sliced, or you’ll take the chance of winding up with something like this: It’s kind of hard to chop that into the one-inch cubes De Laurentiis calls for in her ingredient list. Well, mistakes at the deli counter or the cutting...

Recipe Review–Trish Magwood’

Mmm chocolate. It’s without a doubt my favourite flavour. So it is certainly no trial to be testing out molten chocolate cake recipes. I started with Trish Magwood’s recipe from Dish Entertains. You can find the ingredient list here. There are a lot of variations of molten cake recipes. Some use flour, some do not, and some use cocoa powder to work both as flavour and a stand-in for flour. They all use eggs, whether whole, just the whites or more yolks than whites. Magwood’s recipe uses a couple tablespoons of flour, and more yolks than whites. Where...

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