Kate's Cuisine

Jan 06 2017

Pimento and Pineapple Cheese Spread

cheese-spread

I have been waiting and waiting to tell you all about this recipe. It’s something I served waaaay back on Christmas Day, as part of the spread I put out for people to munch on while they were waiting for dinner. The spread is divine, but the story behind it is even better.

It’s a recipe my mom sent me, with the exact intention of including it somewhere on my Christmas menu. Before I even read the recipe from 77 Recipes, I was in love. The title is “I Could Have Been A Cheese Ball, But The Pecans Let Me Down”. Don’t you feel bad for this spread that was almost a cheese ball, but never got the chance? The author goes on to say that the first time she made it, she included pecans that went all mushy and soft in the fridge, ruining the true wonderfulness of the cheese ball.

Now, I don’t really like cheese balls in the first place. They’re so hard it’s nearly impossible to get a cracker in without breaking it into a million pieces, and they just seem a little outdated. And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure how much I would love the combination of pineapples and cheese – never mind that I didn’t have a clue how pimentos would taste when they weren’t stuffed inside green olives. But, ever trusting of my mom, I made it and once again, she didn’t let me down. This is probably the best cheese spread I’ve ever had. And next time, I think I’ll even put extra pineapple and pimento in it – they’re the best parts!

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature $3.49
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, finely grated $2.49
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced $0.35
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely $0.34
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juices $1.75
  • 1/2 cup pimento, finely diced $2.24
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $10.67
Cost per serving $1.33

1.) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until it is completely softened.

2.) Add all other ingredients and mix again on low speed, just to fully incorporate all ingredients.

3.) Place in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 22 2016

Christmas Butter Coins

butter-coins

It’s that time of year again – time for Christmas cookies! It’s one of my favourite times of the year. I love filling up tins and boxes for everyone on my Christmas list; it’s such an easy way to show someone that you care. These Christmas butter coins are new to the repertoire this year; I like making new additions to keep those boxes interesting.

These are light and flaky and everything you’d expect out of a sugar cookie, but with just a fraction of the sweetness. If you want to sweeten things up a bit, make a glaze out of some icing sugar and a teaspoon or two of milk and just drizzle it over top. And then if you want to get really fancy, put some of those silver dragees on, although I understand some places have stopped selling them due to the low amounts of metal found in them. If you live in one such region, these little guys will be just as delightful without them!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.28
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened $2.14
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar $0.14
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
  • 1 egg $0.16

Total cost $2.95
Cost per cookie $0.06 (makes 48 cookies)

1.) Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

2.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add the vanilla and egg and stir again just until completely combined.

3.) With the stand mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Continue stirring until all dough is fully combined.

4.) Empty the bowl of dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring it all together to form a smooth ball. Divide the ball into two and shape into round flat discs. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour. This will allow the butter to firm up again.

5.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.) Place the oven racks in the middle position. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4″ (1/2 cm) thick. Cut the dough out with a small circle cookie cutter or a small shot glass. Place on baking sheets when cookies are entirely cut out.

7.) Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to brown (there shouldn’t be a lot of colour on the cookies).

8.) Remove cookies from the oven and set on wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies and sheets.

9.) Decorate (or don’t), serve and enjoy!

Dec 20 2016

Oreo Cheesecake Stuffed into a Chocolate Cake

chocolate-cake-oreo-cheesecake

It was hubby’s birthday this week! And while that’s enough excitement in itself, it also meant that it was time again for Oreo cheesecake, something that has become a bit of a tradition in our house. This year though, I wanted to do something a bit different; something more than just the expected Oreo cheesecake. Something with a bit of a wow factor. So, I combined Brent’s two favourites - Oreo cheesecake and chocolate cake.

I could see it in my mind immediately, with a layer of cheesecake in between two beautiful layers of rich and delicious chocolate cake. How I was going to actually layer them though, I had no clue. First there was the difference in size between my springform pan and my cake pans. And an Oreo crust running through the middle of the cake might make it a bit weird. Clearly I had to go crustless, which meant I would also have to go no-bake when it came to the cheesecake.

I’ll be honest with you. I hate no-bake cheesecake. But I was hoping that the chocolate cake would offset that, and I was right. After the birthday song has been sung, the presents have been unwrapped, and the cake has had a chance to sit altogether, the cheesecake portion is more reminiscent of decadent icing than it is cheesecake. And that suited me just fine.

For the chocolate cake:

  • 2 cups white sugar $0.38
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour $0.24
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder $3.00
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder $0.02
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda $0.04
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 2 eggs $0.32
  • 1 cup milk $0.28
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil $0.55
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract $0.44
  • 1 cup boiling water Free with your water bill!

For the Oreo cheesecake:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened $3.99
  • 1/4 cup white sugar $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla $0.22
  • 1 10-ounce container Cool Whip, plus more for garnish $2.99
  • 12 Oreos, roughly chopped $0.66

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream $0.76
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips $0.88

Total cost $14.83
Cost per serving $1.23

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line the bottom of two round 9″ cake pans with parchment paper.

2.) Start by making the chocolate cake. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low for 1 minute just to combine. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Turn speed to medium and mix for two minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Turn to lowest speed and slowly pour in boiling water. Continue mixing for 1 more minute, just until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, scraping sides if necessary.

3.) Pour the batter into the two round cake pans, dividing it as evenly as possible. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

4.) Let cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them onto a wire rack and letting them cool completely.

5.) While chocolate cakes are cooling, make the Oreo cheesecake. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low just until it’s completely softened. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat on low speed, just until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies, then fold in the Cool Whip.

6.) To make the ganache, fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water. Place a heat-proof bowl over top (I have a Pyrex glass bowl that works very well) and add chocolate chips. Bring water to a simmer and stir the chocolate chips, allowing the gentle heat to gradually melt them together. When all the chips have been melted, remove from the heat and slowly add the heavy whipping cream, whisking continuously. The chocolate may appear to seize at first, but keep adding the cream and whisking – it will all come together!

7.) When the chocolate cakes have completely cooled, you can begin assembling the cake. On one of the chocolate cake rounds, spread the Oreo cheesecake mixture completely on top in a thick even layer. Place the other chocolate cake round on top, gently pressing so the cake comes together at each layer.

8.) Holding the bowl with the chocolate ganache about 4 inches above the cake, pour it right onto the centre of the top layer of the cake. It will pool and spread out, dripping down the sides of the cake.

9.) Place the entire cake into the fridge. This will allow the Oreo cheesecake to further set, and it will cool the ganache and allow it to set. After about an hour in the fridge, you can remove the cake and do any further decorating you want. I went with basic swirls of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate chips I had leftover from the ganache.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 12 2016

Potato, Pepper and Bacon Frittata

potato-bacon-and-bell-pepper-frittata

The girls and I love frittatas, me especially. If I don’t have anything for breakfast (or on weekends, for lunch), a frittata is the easiest thing to whip up. And they’re a great way to use up leftovers. For this one I used some home fries I had in the freezer from our last family breakfast, some bacon (most likely from the same breakfast) and a bell pepper. Add some parsley and a whole mess of eggs, and you’ve got yourself a delicious frittata. At least we did.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.11
  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour, mine was yellow), diced $0.51
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.01
  • 1 cup cooked frozen home fries $0.30
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped $0.90
  • 6 eggs $0.96
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream $0.38
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated    $1.25
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped $0.33
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $5.24
Cost per serving $1.31

1.) Preheat the broiler.

2.) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add onion and bell pepper and toss to coat in oil. Saute for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.

3.) Add the garlic, the potatoes, and the bacon to the skillet. Cook until potatoes are completely thawed. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

4.) Beat the eggs, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and parsley together. Pour into the pan, lower heat slightly (to about medium-low) and let cook for about 5 minutes. This will cook the bottom of the frittata.

5.) Place the skillet under the broiler and broil for 2 – 3 minutes, just until the top is set and slightly browned.

6.) You can serve the frittata as it is, or remove it from the skillet first. To do this, run a rubber spatula around the edges and tuck underneath the bottom as far as you can. Jiggle slightly to loosen from pan and then slide onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 10 2016

Twisty Roasted Garlic Breadsticks

twisty-roasted-garlic-breadsticks

We make pizza a lot over here and last time, I had a whole other batch of pizza dough left over. Feeling ambitious, I decided to whip up some breadsticks to serve alongside the pizza.

As I was rolling them out, I had a vision. I’ve made “twisty breadsticks” before, but found that the dough didn’t quite stick together at the ends, and I ended up with some weird bread that was kind of wrapped around more bread. Yeah, it was weird. But as I was preparing these breadsticks, I thought, what if I left them a bit wider and just sliced them up the middle, stopping just before I cut all the way through the ends? The dough would hold together because it never would have been separated, and I could end up with beautiful twisty breadsticks. And, I did.

For the roasted garlic:

  • 1 head of garlic $0.33
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.11
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted $0.54
  • Salt $0.01

For the pizza dough:

  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) Free with your water bill!
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope dry active yeast $0.33
  • 1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided $0.22
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour $0.42
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01

Total cost $1.98
Cost per serving $0.49

1.) In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in the warm water and add yeast and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine all ingredients, then let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy at the top.

2.) In another bowl, combine the flour and the salt.

3.) Add half of the flour mixture to the water and yeast mixture and mix by hand to fully combine. Stir until the dough comes together and is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. (You may not need to use all of the flour.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

4.) Oil a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the dough around in it so that it is covered, then cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Place in a warm place away from drafts, about 1 1/2 hours.

5.) While dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop off the top of the head of garlic, place in a small casserole dish, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt. When oven is hot, place garlic in and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, just until the garlic is soft and beginning to brown. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

6.) When dough is finished rising, gently punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into strips about 1″ wide. Cut each of those strips lengthwise up the centre, stopping just short of the top end so you don’t cut all the way through it. Using the two strips you just created, twist the strips around each other (like you’re braiding it using only two pieces.) Pinch the bottom ends together to seal the dough together. Sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining strips of dough.

7.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

8.) Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the head of garlic into the melted butter. Stir to fully incorporate. Brush the roasted garlic butter generously over each breadstick and place in the oven.

9.) Bake breadsticks for 10 – 12 minutes, until breadsticks are starting to turn golden brown and are cooked through.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 29 2016

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

prosciutto-wrapped-asparagus

I love wrapping things in prosciutto, and when it comes to asparagus, there’s more than one way to do it.

Well actually, there’s only one way to wrap prosciutto around asparagus. It’s your basic “drop it on and roll it up” technique, but there’s more than one way to enjoy prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. You can leave both the asparagus and prosciutto raw, you can cook only the asparagus and leave the prosciutto raw, or you can even gather the asparagus into bundles and wrap a piece of prosciutto around the lot.The choice is yours. And in my kitchen, the choice is mine and I prefer both my asparagus and prosciutto to at least be kissed by heat before serving. But don’t worry about keeping them hot until everyone’s ready. These are meant to be served at room temperature.

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed $5.99
  • 10 slices prosciutto, cut in half horizontally $7.99
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil $0.22
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.22
Cost per serving $3.55

1.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.) Place one asparagus onto half of a prosciutto slice. I found it easiest to place the asparagus diagonally onto one corner of the prosciutto (so really just the middle of the asparagus is on the prosciutto). Hold the prosciutto tightly against the asparagus and then slowly roll the asparagus, holding the prosciutto tightly against the stalk as you do. As each asparagus is wrapped, place onto a baking sheet.

3.) After all of the asparagus has been wrapped, drizzle a bit of olive oil over everything. (I like to focus on the asparagus, as the prosciutto has enough fat in it to crisp up a little on its own). Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over everything. Again, I like to salt the asparagus a bit more, as the prosciutto is already a little salty.

4.) Place the asparagus into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or just until the asparagus is browned and the tops are slightly melted.

5.) Remove from oven and serve immediately, or allow to sit at room temperature.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Nov 21 2016

Julia’s Coq Au Vin

coq-au-vin

It’s Monday. It’s a snow day after a very long weekend with my children, and those same children have been in 4 fights so far this morning – and it’s not yet 11:00. The only thing I can think that could possibly comfort me are the leftovers of Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin that are sitting in the fridge. However, I am far too tired to describe to you just how perfectly delicious this dish is, so I leave you with the words of Julia Child herself, as she wrote the description to her Coq Au Vin recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I.

“This popular dish may be called coq au Chambertin, coq au riesling, or coq au whatever wine you use for its cooking. It is made with either white or red wine, but the red is more characteristic. In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable. Serve with it a young, full-bodied red Burgundy, Beaujolais, or Cotes du Rhone.”

For the chicken:

  • 3 to 4 ounces (1/2 cup) lean bacon $1.20
  • 3 pounds of frying chicken, cut into pieces $8.99
  • 1/4 cup cognac $3.75
  • 3 cups young, full-bodied red wine (Burgundy, Beaujolais, Chianti) $7.70
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock $1.50
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste $0.40
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic $0.02
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme $0.08
  • 1 bay leaf $0.20
  • 3 tablespoons flour $0.03
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened $0.12
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

For the brown-braised onions:

  • 18 to 24 peeled pearl onions $2.99
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter $0.09
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil $0.04
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef stock $1.00
  • 4 parsley sprigs $0.50
  • 1 bay leaf $0.20
  • 1 sprig thyme $0.25
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

For the sauteed mushrooms:

  • 2 tablespoons butter $0.12
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, left whole if small, quartered if large $1.50

Total cost $30.75
Cost per serving $4.39

1.) Cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4 inch across and 1 inch long). Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water and pat dry.

2.) Saute the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.

3.) Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat in a deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven.

4.) Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Return to the bacon to the pot, along with the chicken and lower heat to medium. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

5.) Uncover and pour in the cognac. Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol.

6.) Add the wine to the pot. Add just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to the simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.

7.) Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the pot for a minute or two, skimming off fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

8.) While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. For the onions, start by melting the butter and oil together in a skillet. When bubbling, add the onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly. Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herbs and set onions aside.

9.) After onions have begun to cook, make the sauteed mushrooms. Place a skillet over high heat and add the butter and oil. As soon as the foam from the butter begins to subside, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their saute the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove them from the heat.

10.) Blend the butter and flour for the chicken together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot chicken cooking liquid with a wire whisk. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

11.) Arrange the chicken back in the pot, place the mushrooms and onions around it, and baste with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is hot throughout.

12.) Serve and enjoy!

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