Friday, March 29, 2013

food mamma is 3! we are celebrating with a few giveaways!

Food Mamma is 3! Can't believe it's already been three years since the inception of my blog. It's been a great outlet to share my love of food and all the pictures I seem to take of everything I eat. This blog has also helped in connecting me to some fabulous food loving people. Thanks to everyone who follow my blog and for all your support!

In honour of Food Mamma's 3rd blogiversary, we are celebrating with 3 awesome giveaways from 3 great sponsors! Chocolate, cheese and kitchen gadgets...just a few of my favourite things!

Win a baking basket from Chocolaterie Bernard valued at $100. All the best baking products for you to make some amazing stuff. This prize is for those in Calgary and surrounding areas as it will have to be picked up at one of their stores.

Win a Castello cheese board and $20 in grocery vouchers. Use these vouchers to pick up some cheese to eat by itself or incorporate it into something delicious.

Win a Real Cream whisk and spatula set. These useful kitchen gadgets are perfect for baking or cooking!
Entering is easy! Just leave a comment below. Also, please let me know if you are local to Calgary, so I know which draws I can enter you for. Earn extra entries by liking on Facebook and following on Twitter.  Contest closes on April 3rd.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

playing with spices: pink peppercorn

This month, we are playing with pink peppercorns.

Unlike how the name suggests, these are not related to actual peppercorns. They are the dried berries of Baies rose plant. They taste peppery but are not spicy in flavour.  The pink peppercorns are sweet and mild.

These delicate little spices are rosy in colour and are brittle compared to the black peppercorn.  They are soft with papery skins and can easily be ground by hand.  I love how the colour accents the dishes that they are added to. They are very eye-catching and I'm so happy I stocked up the last time I was in France.

Although great with chicken and fish, I was hoping to find a sweet way to showcase these pink berries. I was intrigued when I found Martha Stewart's Peppercorn Shortbread. Instead of using a variety of peppercorns, I stuck with the ones I wanted to showcase.

The combination of the buttery shortbread with the peppery berries sounds strange but it really works!

Peppercorn Shortbread
Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely ground
3/4 cup icing sugar

3/4 tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 TB granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, with rack in center. Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan, and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, and peppercorns; set aside. Put butter and icing sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Using a small offset spatula, spread dough evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top. Bake until shortbread is golden brown, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack. Immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar and remaining peppercorns. Remove springform; let shortbread cool completely. Cut into wedges.

Monday, March 25, 2013

chocolate mousse cake

It's been a lovely month of birthdays and we've had a great time celebrating with family, and lots of cake! This past Friday was my dad's birthday and I wanted to make something awesome for this special man. Chocolate and mousse came to mind.

I made a chocolate cake but baked it in a sheet pan to make a thin layer. I cut this one layer into three to make a nice tall cake, kind of like the tuxedo cake at Costco.  I made a simple mousse by combining melted chocolate and whipping cream and spread it between the chocolatey layers.  It was also the crown of the cake topped with shaved chocolate.  It was kind of a mess of a cake but everyone loved it.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Your favourite chocolate cake recipe, like this one
1 cup chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Beat the whipping cream until peaks are formed.  Fold slowly into the melted chocolate until both are incorporated. Let chill for half an hour.  Cut the cake into layers and spread the mousse between the layers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

tasting menu at teatro

Today is my birthday! As long as I don't think about the fact that I'm a year older, I love birthdays. That may be due to the fact that in our house, we celebrate all week long! Our celebration began on Friday and since then, we've been to the hockey game, had dinner with my fabulous cousins and had a celebration with my awesome family. My birthday present this year from hubby was an evening at Teatro for the chef's tasting menu.  We had been wanting to do this for a while, ever since we observed another table enjoying the food when we were last there and I was happy to finally experience it on Sunday.

Good food is always better when enjoyed with friends so we were happy that some of our food-loving friends were able to join us. The food came out at a great pace. We savoured the meal and enjoyed the company and I was surprised that three and a half hours had passed by. Every time I thought I had tasted my favourite, they would bring out something even more delicious. It was an incredible experience and definitely worth the time and money.  Teatro is great at making people feel special and their extra touches, like the stools for your purse, are well received. I also love the open kitchen so you can watch the chefs in action as they prepare the delicious food.

Here's a recap of our fabulous meal:

Venison tartare

Apple consommé with butternut squash

Root vegetables with goat cheese and ouzu encapsulation

Brussel sprouts caesar salad with lemon air, toasted parmesan, shaved parmesan

Duck prosciutto with focaccia, garlic aioli and raspberry spaghetti

Passion fruit marshmallows and dehydrated passion fruit

Kale filled tortellini with red pepper and saffron sauce with a citrus buerre blanc

Parsley crusted scallop with spaetzle and morels and lemon foam
(they also, using liquid nitrogen, created the ambience of the ocean)

Dry aged sous vide beef tenderloin with parisian carrots, fried mashed
potato, brussel sprouts with a fermented garlic beef jus

Goat cheese snowman with a sage cream puddle and dehydrated blueberries for the eyes and buttons

Parsnip creme brûlée

Caramel ice cream made with liquid nitrogen and topped black Cyprus sea salt

Birthday Tiramisu

Teatro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 14, 2013

salted caramel chocolate pie for pi day

Today is Pi Day (3.14 = 3/14 = March 14). What better excuse than to celebrate with a pie! I've been wanting to try out a salted caramel chocolate pie for some time, just needed an occasion to do so.

Just use your favourite crust recipe, fill with caramel and top with chocolate ganache. This recipe is incredibly rich but so delicious. Hubby, who is not much into the sweet stuff, loved this pie. I even saw him go back for seconds! I couldn't trust myself around this pie. To ensure that the two of us didn't inhale it ourselves, I gave most of it away.

Q wanted to get in on the pie making action too.  He really wanted an apple pie and made up these little pies.  He rolled the dough, mixed the apples and even cut the stars for the top.  He was very proud of his creation.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie
From Sprinkle Bakes

1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream at room temperature
¼ tsp. sea salt

Melt the sugar over medium-high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts, and cook until it becomes a deep amber color.

Add the butter and stir it in until melted.

Pour in the heavy cream (the mixture will foam) and whisk until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. Note: If lumps form, keep stirring over gentle heat until they have melted.

Remove from heat, stir in salt and let cool slightly.

Pour the caramel into the tart shell.  Tilt to cover the bottom evenly.  Let cool in the refrigerator until caramel is firm.

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-high heat until just boiling.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Allow to cool slightly before using.

Very gently pour the ganache over the caramel layer.  The caramel may want to move around a little, so pour a little at a time.  Place in refrigerator until firm.

Sprinkle with coarse sea salt before serving. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

sour cream cake

My father-in-law celebrated his birthday on the weekend, and we definitely needed a cake to cut and enjoy. My FIL has two favourites - the tres leches and just plain cake. Since we had the tres leches last month for my MIL's birthday, I opted for the plain cake.

This plain and simple cake is one of my favourites as well. It is moist and buttery and is so comforting dipped in a cup of tea. Since we were celebrating a birthday, I added some icing to make it more festive.  With or without icing, it's always well received.

Sour Cream Cake

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine the butter and sugar and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs until incorporated.  Add the sour cream.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add to the butter and margarine mixture.  Put batter in a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Friday, March 8, 2013

cauliflower "bread" sticks

The recipe for cauliflower "bread" sticks were making the rounds on Pinterest a while ago and I finally had a chance to make them this week.  They were so good, I had to make a second batch the same day.

Looking at them, you would never guess that these sticks were made out of cauliflower! Combined with eggs and cheese, they were irresistible.  I think they are hubby's new favourite thing.

This also makes a fantastic crust for a pizza!  This is an amazing recipe that is so full of flavour. With a sometimes picky four year old, I love that it incorporates veggies in a very sneaky way.

Cauliflower "Bread" Sticks(From An Edible Mosaic)
1/4 of a large head of cauliflower or 1 1/2 cups grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 oz mozzarella cheese, freshly grated and divided (low-fat cheese is fine)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning, divided

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a tray with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray.
Grate the cauliflower, using a cheese grater or a food processor. Put the grated cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave (uncovered) until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally (don’t add water or anything else); cool slightly. 

To the bowl with the softened cauliflower, add the garlic, egg, 3/4 of the cheese (reserving 1/4 for topping later), 1/4 teaspoon of the dried Italian herb seasoning (reserving 1/4 teaspoon for topping later), and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and then spread on a sheet pan forming it into a pizza crust.

Bake until set and starting to turn golden, about 30 minutes. 

Preheat the broiler.  Cut the crust into sticks.  Slightly separate the pieces and sprinkle the cheese on top along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning.  Broil a couple minutes until the cheese is melted and golden in spots.  Serve hot or warm.  (If you let it cool for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven, the crust will harden a bit so it’s easy to hold like a thin-crust pizza.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

coconut tres leches

I can't believe it's already March! Despite the crazy storm we had yesterday and the foot of snow we have outside, March is one of my favourite months.  It's full of birthdays! Mine, my dad's, my father-in-law's, nephews, nieces, many friends...meaning lots of cake!

Last month, we had a delicious cake to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. She requested Tres Leches but I decided to change it up a bit and make Coconut Tres Leches. The addition of the coconut just upped the flavour factor and made for an even tastier cake. Topped with toasted coconut, it was definitely a winner!

Coconut Tres Leches
From Chow

1 cup flour
6 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 can condensed milk
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 TB icing sugar

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Reserve the whites in a separate, very clean, medium bowl. Add the sugar to the yolks and, using the paddle attachment, beat on high speed until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; set aside. Thoroughly clean and dry the stand mixer bowl. Place the egg whites in the clean bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, stir about a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold it in, just until there are no more white flour streaks. (Do not overmix.)

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the cake is puffed and golden and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the three milks in a large bowl and whisk until combined; set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake and continue cooling, about 45 minutes more. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

When the cake is ready to serve, spread the coconut in an even layer in a large frying pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Place the whipping cream and icing sugar in large bowl and whisk until medium peaks form. Top the cake with the whipping cream and toasted coconut.

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