Wednesday, August 31, 2011

recipe: kerry joy's pumpkin loaf

I can’t believe that my little boy is about to start pre-school!  Time really does fly when you’re having fun.  I’m sure that John will love his new school.  He’s excited to learn to speak French, and is also looking forward to the upcoming baking classes and science experiments.

Another first for John (and for me) will be a packed lunch, as his wonderful current daycare provides hot lunches.  I’m racking my brain to come up with delicious and healthy meals, snacks and treats that travel well and don’t require heating.

Fortunately, John is a really good eater.  He likes a wide variety of foods – but prefers to eat them separately, as opposed to being blended together in something like a casserole or stew.  I’m guessing that his lunches will consist of some chopped cold meat or cheese, crackers or bread, a few options of fresh fruit and vegetables and of course, some sort of treat.

John loves this moist pumpkin loaf, which is a recipe that was given to me by David’s cousin Kerry from Thunder Bay.  She made a couple loaves this summer when we were over for a play date, and they quickly vanished!

Kerry Joy’s Pumpkin Loaf
makes three loaves


§         5 (five) cups all-purpose flour
§         4½ (four-and-a-half) cups sugar
§         1 (one) tablespoon baking soda
§         1½ (one-and-a-half) teaspoons nutmeg
§         1 (one) tablespoon cinnamon
§         2¼ (two-and-a-quarter) teaspoons salt
§         6 (six) eggs
§         1½ (one-and-a-half) cups Crisco shortening
§         3 (three) cups of pumpkin


1.      Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.      In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt).
3.      In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer or hand-held beaters, blend eggs, shortening, and pumpkin together.
4.      Gently add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir to combine (do not over-mix).
5.      Pour batter into 3 (three) greased (or parchment-lined) loaf pans and bake for 1 (one) to 1½ (one-and-a-half) hours (note:  time will vary depending on your oven).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recipe: Tina Robert's Green Beans

I was recently interviewed on 570 AM radio’s “The Food Show” hosted by local food correspondent Andrew Coppolino.  Andrew remarked that we are now into the height of summer – and the height of the harvest – which is always exciting for food aficionados.   I couldn’t agree more.

So much is in season these days:  tomatoes, peaches, green beans, blueberries, corn, eggplant, peppers… the list goes on and on.  Speaking of which, I’m lucky enough to live about two minutes away from Herrle’s Farm Market– a summer institution, if you ask me.  

I remember driving out there with my Dad when I was little, when they still sold the corn from their garage.  Those trips seemed to take forever – partially due to my age, and also because for the most part, residential Waterloo hadn’t yet expanded as far as Ira Needles Blvd.

My good friend and fellow “foodie” Tina Roberts recently shared her amazing bean salad recipe with me.  In June, I added an extra virgin olive oil, specialty oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar to the shop and Tina has been “playing around” with some of these new oils, including our delicious roasted-almond oil.  If you don’t have almond oil, you can substitute a different nut oil, such as walnut, or use sesame oil instead.

Keep having fun in the kitchen, Tina!

Tina Robert’s Green bean salad with toasted almond vinaigrette & soy-glazed almonds

ingredients for almonds
§         1/4 (one-quarter) cup slivered almonds
§         1 (one) tablespoon soy sauce

method for almonds
1.      Heat almonds in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until lightly toasted; about 5 minutes.
2.      Turn heat to medium high, add soy sauce and stir continually until almonds are coated and soy has evaporated; remove from heat and let cool.

ingredients for green beans
§         1 (one) pound green beans, trimmed, cut in half, and steamed until tender but still crisp (about 5 minutes)
§         2 (two) green onions, minced
§         1/4 (one-quarter) cup minced fresh cilantro

method for green beans
1.  Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

ingredients for vinaigrette
§         2 (two) tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
§         1 (one) teaspoon soy sauce
§         1/4 (one-quarter) teaspoon Dijon mustard
§         1 (one) clove garlic, pressed
§         fresh ground black pepper & kosher salt to taste
§         1 (one) tablespoon roasted almond oil

method for vinaigrette
1.  Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper until combined; whisk in oil.
2.  Toss vinaigrette with bean mixture and stir in almonds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

a dessert fit for a prime minister recipe: death by chocolate pate with raspberry splash

Sure, working in the food industry can be challenging (I’m asked this all the time) but let me assure you that there are also some advantages. One perk is called the “Fancy Food Show” – North America’s largest specialty food & beverage convention which showcases over 180,000 food products sampled by over 2,000 vendors.
Instead of NYC where this show usually takes place, this July it was held in Washington, D.C. To get there, my husband and I made the 9+ drive down on our own. So, no “Bob the Builder”, “Little People” or “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” dvds were viewed en route. The show is great opportunity for brokers, buyers and retailers like me to sample new and interesting food products to sell in our stores.
In addition to hundreds of delicious samples and a few amazing dinners out, I had the opportunity to meet several food “celebrities”. Iron Chef Cat Cora was at the show, introducing her new line of private label products. I had the opportunity to meet David of “David’s Chocolate Signatures”, Dufflet Rosenburg of Dufflets, a.k.a the “Queen of Cake” as well as Lesley Stowe, owner of Lesley Stowe Fine Foods in Vancouver.
Many of my customers will recognize the name Lesley Stowe, because we sell a ton of her signature raincoast crisp crackers at the store. Lesley had a catering business and much-loved gourmet food shop in Vancouver for many years.
In 2006 she decided to close the doors to the retail store and focus solely on the raincoast crisps. She wrote a cookbook a few years back, filled with tried and true recipes from her shop and catering business. One of my favourites is the “death by chocolate pate with raspberry splash”. I phoned Lesley after the food show and asked if she would allow me to share the recipe with my readers, and she graciously agreed.
I learned that this recipe was a LSFF signature dessert for years – they even sold it to high end restaurants that didn’t have their own pastry chef’s, such as Bishop’s. Death by Chocolate even had the honour of being Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s favourite dessert, as he often ordered more than one piece when he was at Bishop’s!
Death by Chocolate Pate with Raspberry Splash (serves 16)
ingredients for pate
  • 15 (fifteen) ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate
    (Valrhona or Callebaut work well)
  • 1 (one) cup heavy cream
  • 4 (four) tablespoons butter
  • 4 (four) egg yolks
  • ½ (one-half) cup icing sugar
  • 6 (six) tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • cocoa powder for dusting, as required
ingredients for raspberry splash
  • 10 (ten) ounces frozen raspberries
  • 3 (three) tablespoons berry sugar
  • 1 (one) teaspoon fresh lemon juice
directions for raspberry splash
  • In a food processor, purée the raspberries, berry sugar and lemon juice. Pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds.
directions for pate
  • Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double boiler; add the cream and butter. Melt over medium heat, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute, continuing to stir.
  • Whisk in the eggs yolks. Sift the icing sugar into the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in the Cointreau until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours to set or overnight.
  • Unmould the cake, removing paper. Dust the top with cocoa powder. Drizzle a large spoonful of Raspberry Splash on each plate. Using a hot, wet knife, slice cake and place on plates.

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