Showing posts with label Pastry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pastry. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Crumble Pie

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Mom made a bunch of different desserts with the golden delicious apples from our apple tree. We had the desserts for our Thanksgiving dinner.

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The apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and then tossed into a bowl with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of salt.

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The pie pastry was made with Tenderflake and some unsalted butter. Mom docked the pastry crusts with her long nails. Usually you dock the bottom of the crust to prevent the dough from rising too much.

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The seasoned apples were spread into the crust and then topped off with another sheet of pie dough. Then Mom crimped the pie crust, pierced the top of the pie dough to allow the steam to escape, brushed an egg wash on the top.

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There was apple crumble as well. The crumble was made with flour, oats, brown sugar, unsalted butter, and a little salt. We kept it simple.

Mom had set aside an apple pie without the pastry top. I don't know why she did it and neither did she. I'm sharing this with you because she had actually made an apple crumble (crumble on the bottom and on top). Then we had leftover crumble in the bowl. Now, I was planning to use the crumble for the sweet potato mash but why not top off the lone pie with the crumble topping?

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No problem!

There were four apple desserts made in total; two were frozen and the other two were baked for consumption after dinner.

The golden delicious held beautifully even after being baked. They were still firm which was nice. The apple crumble pie was devoured within the first two days.

And now to end with some more photos of the desserts.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Canadian Thanksgiving 2013

Happy belated Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers! And happy early Thanksgiving to our American readers!

Unlike past years, we just had a small family dinner with our immediate family earlier this week on Monday, October 14th. On the menu: smoked salmon cream cheese appetizers, prime rib roast, pan-dripping gravy, sweet potato mash, buttered carrots and corn, and dinner rolls. We were going to have three kinds of homemade desserts: apple pie, apple crumble, and cookies.

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The day started off slowly. I didn't end up going downstairs until 11:30am. It was nice to sleep in after a hectic week at work. My brief morning began with open-faced peanut butter banana sandwiches and a cup of coffee.

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We began our prep work by making pies and cookies once everyone had a bite to eat in the morning. The apples actually came from our Golden Delicious apple tree, which Dad planted about 10 years ago. Mom made the pie pastry out of Tenderflake and some butter. The apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and seasoned with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of salt. Then some oatmeal crumble was made for apple crumble. There was a little confusion in the kitchen and we ended up making apple pies, apple crumble, and even an apple crumble pie. I'll touch more on that in another post. (Update: Apple Crumble Pie post is up.)

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I also worked on these DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookie dough too. Once the cookie dough was done, I put the bowl into the fridge to firm up.

I've been thinking about making these beauties for a while now, well, since I stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton. They gave us warm cookies when we checked in. So amazing!

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Around that time, Lucy arrived and we began to snack some more. She put together a Ritz cracker with smoked salmon cream cheese, half an olive, and some dry dill. Looks good, doesn't it? Lucy even took this, and a few other, photos with my dSLR.

Costco had one of their smoked salmons on sale the during the week. Cream cheese was also on sale a week prior. So we stocked up on both of them. Dad chopped up some smoked salmon and mixed it with the cream cheese for a nice kitchen hack. The real smoked salmon pieces were so wonderful!

I was planning to make either a spinach dip or caramelized onion dip, but we loved the smoked salmon cream cheese so much that we didn't need anything else. True story.

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For the sweet potato mash, the sweet potatoes were peeled and boiled. They were mashed with half and half cream, cinnamon, powdered ginger, salt, butter, and freshly cracked black pepper. There was a carrot left behind.

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Once the mashed sweet potatoes were seasoned, they were spread into a baking pan and then topped off with marshmallows.

I'd use less ground ginger and add more black pepper next time. Maybe I'd bake the mashed sweet potatoes for a bit before topping with marshmallows next time. That way the mash would be hotter.

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This is the prime rib roast out of the oven. The burned parts is just the cap of fat. The prime rib was baked to rare and then we had to pop it in the oven for more time. By the time it was taken out, the prime rib was medium-well.

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I grabbed my camera and went back to the table but Lucy blocked me off from taking the photo. She wanted the first shot. Alrighty then. After she took the picture, I swooped in to take one on my camera.

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That's most of our spread. The dinner rolls, ginger ale, and red wine are missing.

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Having prime rib was a nice change to turkey. Maybe we'll try making lamb next year.


Jimmy really enjoyed the prime rib. "How do you make something like this?"
"First, you need to buy a high quality of prime ribs -- high quality. Then you just season it however way you like it; like with steak spice or salt and pepper." Lucy chimed in.


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As for the desserts, I'll be writing about the apple crumble, apple pie, and apple crumble pie separately. Here are the DoubleTree chocolate walnut cookies. I based these cookies off Food Geek's recipe.

The cookies taste the best when enjoyed just like the hotel serves their cookies: warm. That way the chocolate chunks are still gooey. The proportions of walnuts and chocolate chunks to cookie dough was a bit off. I remember the cookie was chunkier. I'll have to try the recipe out again. Until then, I'll hold off on sharing it.

Cooking and baking with the family does get noisy, but that's because we all have our different ways of doing things. Things get done however elaborate the meal is. And that's because we all know how to cook and, to some extent, bake. The underlying lesson is to learn to cook and bake for yourself and others. It's a life lesson.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Toronto Weekend July 2013: Part 1

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We did a road trip to Toronto for our cousin's wedding last weekend. I'll break it up into two parts. Here's 1 of 2.

I tend to get car sick on road trips because three main reasons: empty stomach, being too warm, riding with a heavy-footed driver. Sometimes it's a combination of the three. The latter didn't apply during the trip. To prevent the first two, I made sure to have a snack before we hit the road and have a bottle of water to keep me cool during the trip.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Random Tidbits

All of the following photos were taken with my Motorola Razor HD phone. If you're following me on Twitter (@teafortwo_c) or on Instagram (@teafortwo_c), these will look familiar. If you aren't following me, then head over and follow me!

After working out and doing physio, I was craving something unhealthy for dinner. I needed to get all those calories back. What? That's not how it's supposed to be done? Oh. Well then. Moving on. Luckily -- or unluckily, depending on how you look at it -- Richard was happy to oblige. We bought some pizza and nuggets fer a #fatlikethat dinner.

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We got two pizzas; chipotle chicken, red onions, and bacon crumble on the first pizza, chipotle steak and pineapples on a garlic sauce base on the other. The first pizza tasted much better than the other one.

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Homemade fish and chips featuring basa fillets and sweet potatoes.

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We had leftover battered fish so I made some dill mayo (mayo, fresh dill, dried dill, lemon juice) and put together two homemade fillet-o-fish-like sandwiches.

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Here's a lazy dinner of dry noodles with a side of shrimp wonton soup. Having made the shrimp wontons ahead of time, all we had to do was take them out of the freezer and boil them. We had a pot of broth on the stove so we just had to tweak the seasoning a bit. As for the noodles, we just used the dried shrimp egg noodles. Who said lazy dinners have to be crappy?

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If you're a fan of pecan pie and maple, check out these pecan maple pies made by St. Donat. I've seen them in Farm Boy ($9.99) and Metro ($7.99). Get them before they're gone.

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Homemade chicken parm with fettucini in marinara sauce.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meat Pie, Pigs in a Blanket

Time was winding down on our visiting family from Aus (Australia). Aunty T mentioned that although there are meat pies everywhere in Aus, the pastry just didn't taste as good as the stuff here in Canada. That gave Mom the idea. She wanted to show off her pie pastry.

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The meat filling had to be made first. I sweated off a boatload of diced onions, browned the beef, seasoned it with a variety of spices, and then simmered with water that barely covered the mix.

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Mom made the pie crust and then the pies were baked off. Along with a few squirts of ketchup, dinner was served. The pastry shattered into tiny shards. Amazing.

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We also made some pigs in a blanket. We used breakfast sausages and puff pastry. The puff pastry was picked up from the Rideau Bakery.

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Lookin' gooooood! The puff pastry was on the greasy side. Whoever made this batch didn't add enough flour. They still tasted great though.

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Since there was a bit of leftover pie dough, we tried wrapping the breakfast sausages with them to see how they compared to the puff pastry-wrapped ones. Which one would you prefer?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast

I'll have to apologize right now. There aren't any recipes in this post. But if you like food porn, do carry on.

~    *    ~


Our main menu for our Thanksgiving feast:
Turkey, ham, turkey gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, buttered corn and carrots, garlic bread, and bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew).

Dessert:
Apple pie, pumpkin pie, krop knao, glutinous mochi balls, and two kinds of banh xoi nuoc.

~    *    ~

Learning from past holiday feasts, we began preparing more things ahead of time. Mom actually made krop knao (sweet coconut mung bean nuggets) the night before Thanksgiving dinner and then left the plateful in the fridge. I actually wrote about it years ago.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Seafood Chowder

We've been lucky to have summer weather so early in the year. It looked like we bypassed spring all together for a few days. But alas, the weather in Ottawa likes to change up week to week. We'd get gorgeous 27°C (that's 81°F for our American friends) sunny weather one week and then a few days of gloomy skies and temperatures hovering around 0°C the following week.

When the cold weather blankets the city, a great way to wait it out is a bowl (or two) of seafood chowder is perfect comfort food to keep the soul warm.

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Frozen shrimp, scallops and basa fish fillets were taken out of the freezer and cut up into bite sized pieces. Onions and leftover ham was diced up too.

Over medium-high heat, the onions and herbs (we used thyme, bay leaves, and oregano) were heated up in a pot with some vegetable oil and butter. A few sprinkles of flour made a loose roux. Once the roux cooked out to a blonde colour, cream and milk were added to the pot.

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The contents were seasoned with salt and black pepper and slowly thickened on gentle simmer. There were also cubes of potatoes that we threw in to cook. We had some croissants-in-a-can in the fridge. Since our family loves to eat cheese, we added some cheddar to some of the croissants before they went into the oven.

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Just before we were ready to eat, the defrosted seafood was added into the pot to cook and imbue the chowder with a soft seafood perfume and flavour. When we all tucked into our bowls, the only sounds from the kitchen were the spoons clinking against the bowls, eager slurps of the chowder, and crisps sounds coming from taking bites from the baked croissants. Most of the seafood was cooked just right. I found the scallops over cooked but other than that, the fish and shrimp were tender and juicy. The chowder was so good that everyone mopped their bowls with the croissant.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taiwanese Beef Patties, Breaded Shrimp Balls, Stuffed Tofu Puffs and Pot Stickers

I need to explain something before I begin. The amount of Mandarin I can understand and communicate is less than a two-year old child. And Jimmy’s mom (who I’ll refer to ask JM for the rest of the article) doesn’t speak much English either.

Sometime back around mid-October...

JM came over for a visit during the month. We were sitting at my grandma's dining table after dinner, having a chat over some hot tea. I could only understand because there were translators (parents) at the table. The conversation switched to my trip to Taiwan in 2010.

While flipping through my pictures (the link will redirect you to my Flickr set of the trip) from my trip to Asia, JM noticed that I had more photos of food than everything else. She said that she was actually formally trained and certified as a cook/chef (I’m not totally sure because the translations were confusing) back in Taiwan. JM, like Mom, said that she knew how to make dumplings and a few other snacks from scratch. She had asked me what I liked to eat, so I was telling her my love for dumplings, noodles, soup and dim sum. She spoke at a quicker pace and kept firing questions my way. Apparently she had said that she wanted to cook for us and she had asked me what I wanted to eat.  What did I just do?

JM really wanted to flex her cooking skills and teach me how to make Chinese hamburgers (niu rou xian bing), they're more like flaky beef patty snacks than the hamburgers, and pot stickers (guotie). I thought she asked me what I wanted to eat when I visited Taiwan... Time to roll up the sleeves.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mont Tremblant, Montreal, and Blueberry Lake Resort

When Aunty and my cousin from Hong Kong visited us back in October, my other aunt had booked a few days at a cabin at the Blueberry Lake Resort. We had a plan to go up with the family, visit Mont Tremblant, have a steak dinner at the cabin, do a day trip to Montreal, and then rest up at the cabin. The weather could not have been any nicer. The leaves already began to change and the sunny warm weather was out during the weekend of our trip.

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On our way to Mont Tremblant we dropped by McD’s for a quick bite. Bic Macs, McChickens, and Quarter Pounder meals were shared.

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Pâté, brie, another kind of cheese, and crackers were brought out of the car for those who didn’t want to eat McD’s. The sun and heat melted the fat in the pork pâté. Sad.

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We walked around the busy Mont Tremblant village. Someone was nice enough to give the guys a couple of free passes to the second gondola. I got this shot on the way down.

Later that night, the steak dinner was made to feed the large family. I’m missing the photos from that night.


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The following day, we drove to Montreal and found lunch at the Kei Phat Restaurant (inside the Marché Kei Phat). I noticed that the menu was smaller than usual, and then I saw the words “Menu du Mardi” which translates to “Tuesday’s Menu.” We were told that the main chefs had Tuesdays off.

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That didn’t bother me. I went with the Phnom Penh noodle soup.

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MT’s usual dish, rice noodles with beef, was not on Tuesday’s menu. She lost her appetite. Someone ordered some shrimp spring rolls for her to snack on instead.

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Fast forward to dinner. We went to a restaurant in Chinatown located somewhere at the end of the pedestrian street. The last time we ate at the restaurant, I remembered that the fish was really fresh, really moist and tender. The stir-fried rice noodles were great too. I lost their business card so I can’t tell you which place we visited. Woops. It’s past the AYCE place and it’s across the bakery (which is located at the corner of the pedestrian street).

Cousin E and Aunty chose the dishes that night. We started off with some fish maw soup. A plate of dried scallops with greens came soon afterwards.

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Steamed oysters with black bean sauce. I really liked the sauce that went with the oysters. The steamed oysters, themselves, were alright.

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Double cooked oysters (battered and deep fried, then stir-fried).

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Stir-fried vermicelli.

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Steamed fish with soy sauce. This fish was great! It was super fresh and cooked perfectly. The meat was tender and sweet with no hints of fishiness or muddiness. You should definitely order a steamed fish at this restaurant (whatever it’s called). I’d probably ask the server which fish is the freshest or in season.

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Finally, a plate of rice noodles with beef and Chinese broccoli (aka my noodles) with extra sauce. This was really disappointing. Some of the noodles were undercooked and the sauce was flavourless. Grandpa assumed that it was the “second chef” who cooked the dish. Whatever the case may be, I was disappointed that the noodles weren’t even decent. We ended up packing up the dish.

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After dinner, we visited the bakery across the street and picked up a few things before driving back to the cabin for the night.

We had a little snack of some coconut buns and tea before or after soaking in the hot tub and playing a few rounds of pool and ping pong. I can’t remember.


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This was the view in the morning. The weather was looking great and the cabin smelled like a bakery.

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Check out this spread for breakfast. Nice, huh? These were all warmed up in the oven. Croissant, hot dog buns, coconut spiral sticks, and cookie-topped custard buns were pretty damn tasty. The cabin was filled with the perfume of buttery pastries.

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I picked up a few of these for Dad, but it turns out that everyone enjoyed these because the cookie-topped custard buns were made so well.

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MT absolutely loved these. I asked her to show it off between bites.

We slowly packed things into the cars and headed back home. It was a very nice couple of days up at the cabin.

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