Friday, September 28, 2012

baked yogurt

It's hard having my sister so far away with her husband in Afghanistan.  It is reassuring though that she is a short plane ride away from Dubai where my cousin lives and it's nice for her to have family close by.  A few weeks ago, my sister visited my cousin for a getaway and a little piece of home.  It was there that she tried baked yogurt at a brunch buffet in Dubai.

My sister found a recipe by The Purple Foodie and sent it along and I just had to try it.  It was on the sweet side, so a small serving will go a long way.  The yogurt was creamy and had the texture of panna cotta.  It paired really well with the berries and was a delicious easy dessert.
Baked Yogurt
Adapted from The Purple Foodie 

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla

Stir everything together and pour into ramekins.  Bake at 250 degrees until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve chilled.  Top with berries and serve.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

garlic mashed cauliflower

It is so easy to get lost on Pinterest and be inspired by all the recipes on there. Always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into our diets and making substitutions for the foods we should be avoiding, I was happy to see so many recipes for mashed cauliflower.

I was surprised by how much it resembled mashed potatoes without all those unnecessary carbs. Smooth and creamy, it went great with our barbecued kebabs and we didn't even miss the potatoes!

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

1 medium cauliflower, cut into pieces
1 TB olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reserved cauliflower liquid (or milk or buttermilk)

Boil the cauliflower in boiling water until cooked, about ten minutes.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid and drain the cauliflower.  Put in a food processor with garlic and olive oil.  With the processor running, add liquid until you get your desired consistency.  Top with green onions or chives.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

la boulangerie

When I think back to my trips to Europe, especially France, my most favourite part are the bakeries with their fresh breads and croissants and crepes.  I'm so happy to have discovered a little piece of Europe right here in Calgary at La Boulangerie.  I had passed by a few times but I finally made it there last weekend...and again this weekend.  I think it's my new favourite place!

Both times that we went to the bakery, it was busy! It didn't take long though to have our orders and bellies filled.  Our order was being filled and delivered by the owner himself, Navot, who was trained at the Cordon Bleu in France.  La Boulangerie aka La Creperie has another location at the Kingsland Farmer's Market.

La Boulangerie is a small place and is filled with the most amazing baked goods and crepes.  The smells are amazing!  Last weekend, we tried the smoked salmon crepe which was light and filling.  We also had to have the nutella and banana crepe which can fulfill anyone's need for chocolate. I'm sure they used half a bottle of nutella in there - yum!  Q had the chocolate croissant which he devoured.

This weekend, we met hubby's boss and family for breakfast back at the bakery.  We had the smoked salmon crepe again because it was just too delicious not to.  This time, we also tried the brie with roasted peppers which was really amazing too.  The cheese made the crepe really filling and the red peppers added a nice sweetness.
We also tried a couple of croissants between all of us, the almond and the pistachio. I think these may have even been better than the chocolate!  These were very rich but very tasty.

I am looking forward to taking my dad who loves bakeries as much as I do.  Any excuse to go back!

*Collages made with the Diptic app.

 La Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

calgary home and design show

We are gearing up for a busy weekend with lots of activities planned.  We are kicking it off by going to the Home and Design show which is taking place from Thursday, September 20th to Sunday, September 23rd.
We will be heading down with Q to enjoy Family Day on Friday with a special guest, his favourite, Bob the Builder! There are child friendly features at the Cooking Stage and the Main Stage and loads of activities to keep the young ones happy.

I'm definitely looking forward to all the cooking aspects from demos to competitions to food trucks.  It is going to be an amazing event!

I have a set of tickets to give away to readers in Calgary and surrounding areas. Just leave a comment saying that you want to go.  Get additional entries through facebook likes and follows on twitter.   Contest closes on Wednesday at 6pm. Hope to see you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 9, 2012

watermelon rose smoothie

A couple of months ago, the National Watermelon Promotion Board sent me this lovely basket for Q and I. With matching watermelon aprons, we set out to make a kid friendly snack.  We came up with this smoothie and have been making it all summer but forgot all about posting it!
This is a refreshing drink and allows your child to not only get some fruit but also some dairy.  The addition of rose syrup makes it extra special.

In a blender, add some watermelon, a few ice cubes, a small squeeze of agave syrup, some milk and a splash of rose syrup and blend it all up.  Q was a great help in dumping things in and pressing the buttons.  The result is a fun little drink for kids of all ages.

Another fave of mine is the watermelon, feta and mint salad.  You can check out the recipe here.

calypso taverna

We had a great evening tonight celebrating a few birthdays at Calypso Taverna.  Our friend had celebrated an anniversary there before and loved it, so we were excited to try something new.

From the outside, the restaurant is nothing special. It's probably a place that I would not notice and would just drive by.  The inside though is warm and cozy and a great place for a celebration. The place was also packed so we knew it was going to be good.  There was a belly dancer for a short time providing entertainment, especially when she got some of our table dancing with her. 

Our friends had ordered the trio of dips with pita for the table.  The dips included the Tzatziki, Hummus and the Tirokafteri.  I think I loved the third one the best.  It was a mixture of salty feta cheese and hot peppers.  It was great served with the warm pita.

Hubby and I weren't too hungry so we decided to share an appetizer and an entree.   For the appetizer, we decided on the stuffed calamari. This was a whole calamari stuffed with lean ground chicken and pine nuts.  It was served in a buttery cayenne champage sauce.  Although not the prettiest dish, it was delicious.  The combination of the squid with the seasoned chicken was really tasty.

For our main, we shared the Paidakia - lamb chops!

Our medium grilled lamb was cooked perfectly and the seasoned chops were the perfect greek dish. It didn't have that strong lamb smell that sometimes turns hubby off, always a good thing. This was served with rice, potatoes and a greek salad.

Everyone's dishes looked great, from the chicken souvlaki, the moussaka and the special of the day, the halibut.

We all shared 3 different desserts which were all delicious.  The baklava was nutty and sweet, and the bougatsa was great with a warm apple filling inside some phyllo.  My favourite though was a custard with a meringue topping. So good!

You can pay a little bit more and get the full plate throwing experience.  It was so fun (and a great stress reliever) just tossing a plate - OPA! It was a great night and I look forward to going there again.

Calypso's Taverna on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 3, 2012

chocolate zucchini bread

We were lucky to get some home grown zucchini from hubby's co-worker this year. The possibilities of things to make with them were endless - bread, fritters, pasta...What I really wanted though was chocolate zucchini bread.  I searched for a recipe but most called for canola oil, which we had totally run out of.  I was happy when I found a recipe from Tara from seven spoons.  I loved that the recipe called for so much zucchini - what a great vehicle for eating your veggies!  Q has become a little nut monster lately so he got to pick what we used.  His nut of choice for the bread - pecans.  This bread was so good, it didn't last long at all.  It was amazing with a tall glass of milk. Q loved it and I was happy for him to have seconds because of all the greens that were baked in. The last batch of the zucchini went into two more loaves today.  So good!  Thanks T for the zucchini and thanks Tara for the great recipe.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
adapted from seven spoons

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat an oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease two loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the nuts and chocolate. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and buttermilk. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the zucchini.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until combined, taking care not over mix. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake, rotating once, until a cake tester inserted into the loaf comes out almost clean, which should be around 50 minutes. Cool loaves in their pans on a rack for 20 minutes.

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