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Craggy Chocolate Cake

Good golly, this is a crazy cake. The Food Network Canada cooking club challenge this month was Laura Calder's Craggy Chocolate Cake and I was so looking forward to making it. We are not big on cake cake but a good flourless chocolate cake is a different animal all together - it's more like a fudgy, gooey brownie than a chocolate cake. This is my first time making this sexy beast and I assure you, it will NOT be my last. I followed the video directions to a T and it turned out beautifully. I was planning to get all fancy pants but once I tasted the finished cake, I decided it needed nothing more than some maple whipped cream and a couple of berries.
Now, I just have to find a bunch of people to come and eat this thing before I go off the rails and eat the whole thing myself!

Craggy Chocolate Cake

200g 70% dark chocolate
200g butter, cut into chunks
200g ( 1 cup) sugar
4 eggs, separated

whipped cream

Heat the oven to 375F
Prep an 8" spring form pan by buttering and flouring and put a circle of parchment on the bottom (if you want to make it totally gluten free you can butter and instead of flouring, use cocoa)

Put a stainless bowl over a pot of simmering water and gently melt the chocolate and the butter together. When it's all melted give it a good stir with a spatula.

Divide the eggs into two steel bowls -whites in one, yolks in the other. Whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar with the yolks until they are pale and ribbony. In the other bowl, beat the whites into soft peaks. Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of sugar over the whites and beat until stiff peaks.

Slowly melt your melted chocolate/butter into the yolks, whisking the whole time so that it doesn't cook the egg. When the chocolate/butter is totally mixed into the  yolks, stir in a spoonful of egg white. When that is mixed in, gently fold in the rest of the whites with your spatula until it's totally incorporated. Pour this mixture into your prepared spring form pan and put in your hot oven. Bake for 50 minutes.

Take the cooked cake out of the oven, run a clean knife around the outside edge and let cool completely in the spring form pan.

Serve with whatever you like - plain whipped cream, flavoured whipped cream, ice cream would be nice, berries, powdered sugar. This stuff is so good you can't go wrong.

Snack Day - Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

It's almost the last month of school so I won't have to do this many more times until it starts up again in September. Maybe I will just arbitrarily designate one or two days a month snack day during the summer to keep me in the groove. I was too tired to make muffins last night and so I had planned to go pick up something and take it into school this morning but the dog woke me up at 6:45. Clearly she thought I was a being a lazy no good lay about mother and wanted to help me be better. What a nice dog.

I will be honest. I typed in blueberry oatmeal muffin and this was the first one to pop up, it looked okay so this is the muffin I made. At 6:45 am of snack day I don't have time to dilly dally. Little Shack said they are bit a dry and I think he is right so if I make them again, I won't cut back so much on the oil and still add the apple sauce. It could also be a matter of over mixing as well because I wasn't expecting the batter to be as dry as it was. This one is worth tinkering with I think.
Bottom line is that it's a nice tasting little muffin, low on sugar and a nice snack for the kids.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
makes 12 muffins
adapted from Sarah's Blueberry Recipes

1/2 cup quick cook oats
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F

In a small bowl, mix the oats with the orange juice and buttermilk and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Mix in the oil, egg, apple sauce and vanilla. Then add in the oat mixture and mix well. It will be quick thick, so don't panic like I did. Fold in the blueberries

Mix the topping together in a small bowl.

Line muffin tins with paper liners and fill them about 3/4 full and sprinkle some sugar cinnamon topping on each one.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer  insert in the middle comes out clean

Buttermilk Coleslaw

Last weekend, we had a major kitchen disaster when we managed to turn a nice looking tri tip beef roast into a grey mass of flavourless shredded meat. It was a mustard rubbed roast that I thought would be okay if we threw it in the slow cooker all day and then I planned to make a sauce and eat it on mashed potatoes. NOT!
I drained all the liquid off and put the offending roast in the fridge and gave myself a day or two to think of a clever way of making this thing edible. It was either going to be some sort of taco or make BBQ and because it was already covered in a grainy mustard rub, I decided that BBQ made more sense. If we are going to have BBQ fake brisket sandwiches out of my beef rescue, I was going to need to make some coleslaw.

Pork, Shrimp and Enoki Pot Stickers

I woke up yesterday morning craving for potstickers so you know what I did?
I made them.
Just like that.
That Honey Badger has got nothing on me.

Pork, Shrimp and Enoki Mushroom Potstickers

500g  ground pork
250g  shrimp
2 green onions, minced
200g enoki mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp minced or grated ginger
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbls cornstarch
1/2 tsp kosher salt

round wonton wrappers (i got about 50-60 dumplings out of this filling)

for cooking: 1 tbls vegetable oil, 1/4 cup water

dipping sauce:
6 tbls soy sauce
3 tbls rice vinegar
1 tsp chili oil
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced or grated ginger

mix all together and let sit for at least an hour

I can't do a better job than La Fuji Mama when it comes to showing you the steps involved in making these dumplings so you should just go look at her gyoza pictorial on her blog and while you are there, poke around and read because it's a fabulous blog.

So, peel and de vein your shrimp and then chop them up as finely as you can. Some people put them in a food processor but I don't like that pastey texture, much preferring small chunks of shrimp but that is a personal thing.
Mix all of your filling ingredients together in a bowl. Have a small bowl of water standing by.

Put a heaping teaspoonful of filling on your wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and run your damp finger around one half of the circle. Bring both sides together to form a half circle and pinch the edges together to seal. Then bring each corner together and pinch - kind of like a little tortellini. I like this method because the dumplings stand up nicely but if it seems too much bother, just leave them in their half circle shape and fry them on one side.

I put them all on a large cookie sheet as they are assembled, making sure that they aren't touching. Cover them with a tea towel as you work so they don't dry out.

If you want to freeze some, put the on a cookie sheet, again not touching, and put the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours before you put them in freezer bags.

If you are cooking the same day, cover them with some plastic wrap and you can leave them in the fridge until it's time to cook them.

You need to use a frying pan that has a snug fitting lid. Heat the pan over med-high heat and add the tbls of vegetable oil, swirling the pan to make sure the surface is evenly coated. Add your dumplings and fill up the pan with as many as you can fit in without them touching. Cook them for 2-3 minutes to let the bottom get nice and brown. Then pour in 1/4 cup of water (it might splatter like crazy but that is normal), put on the lid and turn the heat down to med low. Let them cook for about 6 minutes like this. After the 6 minutes, remove the lid and if there is still water in the pan, turn the heat back up to med-high and cook until all of the water has evaporated.

Remove to a plate and serve with dipping sauce and just try not to eat the whole thing.
I dare you.

Cinco de Mayo

I like any excuse to make a mexican meal so every fifth of May, we have mexican food. Just like every St Patrick's Day, we have colcannan and Irish beer, although we are all at least half Irish. None of us are Mexican but we really, really like the food. I only celebrate holidays that involve tasty things to eat to be honest.

This year, I tried a new method for making pork carnitas but that recipe is going on no reEATS on Monday so I won't share that here but I will show you the other stuff we ate. To go with our carnitas, I made a simple chipotle crema but I used greek yogurt and mayo, a smooth, blended salsa, guacamole and pickled red onions (which I have shared on this blog before), and some baked corn tortilla chips.

Snack Day - Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread

Yes people, it's snack day again but I am tired of muffins. I really wanted to make scones and send in a jar of vanilla strawberry jam that I bought at the Toronto Bakes for Japan sale but Little Shack doesn't really like scones. It's ME who really likes scones so since it's his snack day, not mine, I switched gears and began searching for some sort of loaf to bake. With absolutely no intention of going out of my way to make something low fat,  stumbled across this recipe and it looked perfect. I have been craving oatmeal something or other, it was not overly sweet and I was intrigued by the whole whipping the egg whites thing.

I sliced the heel off of the still warm loaf before sending it off with the kid to take to school just to make sure it was going to taste as good as it looks and it certainly does. I would think this would be delicious with whole wheat flour and with the addition of nuts, some chocolate chips or even a bit of orange juice and zest. I will definitely make this again.

Low Fat Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup instant rolled oats
1 tbls canola oil
2 tbls greek  yogurt
1 large egg, beaten
2 medium egg whites, beaten
3 large ripe bananas
4 tsp apple sauce
extra oats for sprinkling on top of the loaf

Preheat the oven to 350F
Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients right through to the oats.

In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher. Add the oil, the apple sauce, the yogurt and the whole egg and mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well - batter is really thick and still partially dry at this point so don't panic.

In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites to medium stiff peaks with a hand mixer and fold them into the batter.

Pour the batter into  your prepared loaf pan, sprinkle a few tbls of oats over the top and bake until the top is firm to the touch, 45 - 50 minutes (mine baked for 50 minutes).Take it out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping it out onto a rack for another 10 minutes.

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