Friday, 10 August 2012

Pink Lemonade Bars

I found these on Tastespotting and thought they would be a wonderful summer dessert.

Puja's pictures made them look so delicious and pretty - I could hardly wait!

I thought they would be the perfect match with the Chicken Caesar Sandwiches I made.  With lemon zest in the crust and a mix of strawberry and lemon in the custard - they would be lovely and fresh.

I was actually very excited to make these because it meant that I got to finally use the dough blade that came with my food processor!  (Something I don't get to do very often)

In the bowl of the food processor, combine the flour, salt, and icing sugar.

Then cut the butter into little pieces.

Add the lemon zest to the food processor bowl.

Then add the butter a little bit at a time and process until well mixed and a dough starts to come together.

Press the dough into a 9 inch square pan lined with parchment paper.  I had to use an 8 inch square pan because I don't have a 9 inch square pan! 

Oops.  I guess I know what pan I'm buying next!

Refrigerate the base for 20 minutes.

In a 350 degree F oven, bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

As for the filling - I had a question about the strawberries in the ingredient list....  I left it for too long to ask Puja and she didn't get a chance to get back to me soon enough so I had to guess.

This was TOTALLY my fault! 

I had no idea what to do, so I pulled the reddest strawberries out of the package, cut off the tops and hulled them using a vegetable peeler.

The recipe says to measure 3 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, packed, chopped.  I had some sort of brain fart and couldn't figure out if I should measure them whole or chop them up and measure them.....

I'm a dork.

So I measured them whole and then gave them a rough chop. 

Just so you know - Puja says to measure them after they've been chopped.

Anyway, put the strawberries into the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and blend until mixed.

Add the flour and mix again.

Add the egg and lemon juice and mix again.  Make sure there are no lumps.

I decided just to add in the lemon zest at this point to avoid getting another bowl dirty.

Pour over the golden brown base and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 - 30 minutes.

Here's where I ran into trouble.  At 30 minutes, it totally didn't look done.  The center was REALLY liquidy and I had no idea if I should pull it out at that point or not... 

So I continued to bake.  And bake.  and bake.

For a whole hour.

I was seriously running behind.  The recipe says to cool to room temperature - I didn't have time to cool completely.

Then the recipe says to chill for 4 to 6 hours - I think it was in there for 2 or 3....


The results were VERY pleasing! 

Although they didn't come out looking like Puja's - they tasted just like I imagined they would.

Bright and fresh and tart - we were very impressed!

Here's what I would definitely do next time.  Bake the bars in a 9 inch square pan - not an 8 inch....  Bake for 30 minutes and remove - I'm guessing the bars will set.  Chill completely and refrigerate for Puja's recommended chill time.

They were definitely a delightful treat.

Thank you Puja!

PS - they were a pain to photograph!

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Carrot & Parsley Salad

When I made the Chicken Caesar Sandwiches for dinner the other night, I knew that I'd need a side that was light and not over powering - since the sandwiches were such a bold flavor. 

I remembered seeing this while I was scouring the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. 

I figured it would be perfect.

It's pretty simple really.  Carrots, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.

Quick and easy to put together, loaded with all the goodness that carrots have to offer!

And the best part - you can make it in the morning (or the night before) and it'll be ready to go anytime you're ready!

Sheesh - those Girls are awesome!

I pulled out my food processor and got to work shredding the carrots.

Oh. My. Goodness.

It was so fast that when I was done I had no idea what to do next! 

Oh food processor - how I lived without you before, I have no idea.

Now - I'm not sure, but I SWEAR that my food processor makes little sticks and my hand-held grater makes thinner shreds (which might be better for carrot cake - I'll have to remember that).  Or maybe I'm just having crazy-time. 

I'm totally testing out the theory.

The SHRED SIZE theory!  Not my level of craziness!


Anyway - shred/grate up 3 1/2 cups carrots.

Isn't that PRETTY?!

Chop up a bunch of fresh parsley and add that to the carrots.

Add one minced garlic clove.

Add three tablespoons of lemon juice - I just happened to have some lemons around so I used fresh juice.

Then 1/4 cup of olive oil.  (Trish suggests that you could use vegetable oil too.  Actually, the recipe says to use vegetable oil and that olive oil would be a fine substitute.)

And 1/2 teaspoon of salt then stir together.

Trish says you could serve this right away, or cover and refrigerate until time to serve.  It will keep in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.  Mine was made mid-morning and served for dinner.

This is a GREAT alternative to other salads.  Light and refreshing with a tanginess from the lemon juice.  Perfect for summer time!

And carrots help you see in the dark.

So that's cool.

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Pizza on the Cue

Oh help me. 

You know that I'm a pizza addict.  More than anything else I think.

And even when it's warm, I'll turn on the oven to get my fix.

But after 10 days of non-stop 30 degree C weather - and 30+ degrees inside the house with no air flow and no break - I can't imagine turning on my oven.

Last summer - I saw this floating around the blogosphere and couldn't imagine something more awesome.

Although I'm not great about cooking on the barbecue - it confounds me for whatever reason.

That's weird right?

So when the city fell into a heat wave, I finally did it.

I barbecued a PIZZA.

I started out by making the sauce.  I made mine from scratch, but you can use any kind of sauce you'd like.

Then I made the dough.  Mine was from scratch using my favorite recipe - but you could use the frozen dough, or buy it from a bakery or whatever your heart desires.

When you roll out the dough, don't leave it too thick - less than 1/2 an inch or more than 1/4 inch. 

Also, make sure all your toppings are ready - and no-one suggests putting anything raw on the pizza, because it cooks really fast.

I just made a plain cheese.

Everything I've read is that the dough shouldn't be too thick.  And that the grill should be 2 steamboats hot.

1 steamboat, 2 steamboat - too hot for your hand.

Lightly grill the grate with oil.  You can also do this on a pizza stone - but I opted to go straight on the grill.

Put the rolled out dough onto the grate and close the lid.

The first side should only take 3 minutes or so.  Depending on if you like charred or golden brown - just keep an eye on it.

When it's ready to flip, flip it over on the uncooked side and put your toppings on.

Reduce the heat, just a little, and close the lid.

Cook for a couple more minutes until the cheese is melted.

Pull off the grill and EAT.

Trust me - you're gonna drop dead from the yum.

And the best part - you can have pizza even when it's a million degrees.

This is the Cane girl - signing off.