Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Winter's Here In Canada!

Well - Winter's been here in Canada for a while now.  The snow at least.  Winter doesn't officially start until December 21st.

Here's what you may or may not know about the Great White North. 

It's darn cold.

Darn TOOTIN' it's cold!

The temperature as of 6:45am on November 28th, 2012 in my little world....

Was this.......

And we're not anticipating a warm-up of any kind over the next few days.

One of the guys I work with - we call him "Killer" (I have no idea why) - says that whatever the temperature/weather pattern is like on the day of the full moon, we can expect that type of weather for some time.

So according to Killer's theory, it's going to be cold and clear for a couple of weeks.

Does anyone in the world know if this is true, or if he's feeding me LIES. 

(I'm kind of gullible)

I look forward to your pity!  Cause I'm having a pity party of my very own!

The frozen Cane girl.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Mac & Cheese Mondays: Grown Up Mac & Cheese

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Aaaahh yes - FINALLY.  Mac and Cheese Mondays is back.

I can make all kinds of excuses for myself, but honestly - things have been TOTALLY nuts over the last couple of months.

And suddenly it's November.

Please forgive me!  *sniff*

When Michelle's recipe for Grown Up Mac & Cheese came into my rotation, I was so excited.

Cause something with the words "Grown Up" in the title has GOTTA make me sound all mature and crap. 

Also, it gave me an opportunity to delve into the realm of new cheeses.  Like blue cheese.  I've never been sure that I would like blue cheese - since I tend to prefer things a little more on the sweet side. 

Not that cheese is sweet.

Turns out - I don't like sharp cheese. 

But since I promised Victoria that she would read all about it on the blog - here it is!

First, cook your pasta of choice to al dente, drain, and set aside.

Then, fry up some bacon until it's crispy.

In a pot, melt some butter.

Add some flour and stir until smooth and combined.

In a separate pot, heat some milk.

Add the hot milk to the butter mixture and heat until thickened.

Then add in the Gruyere, sharp cheddar, and blue cheese.

Stir until melted.

Add the pasta and the bacon and stir until well combined.

Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs then bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden and the pasta is bubbling.

I actually pulled mine out at about 30 minutes.

So, this little girl that I adore completely - my niece Dannika - scarfed down her whole helping (and all her asparagus!) without having to be coaxed or bribed at all. 

Now, I'm not sure if she scarfed the whole thing down because she LIKED it - or simply because it was macaroni and cheese - which she loves.

Who knows.

As for me?  I'm going to stick with the medium flavoured cheeses.  Sharps are just not my thing.

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fall Maple Mania: Maple Stout Bread

I realised today that I have done only TWO posts for Fall Maple Mania.  And I'm not going to make any excuses except for the fact that I totally had the flu plague and spent my whole one week off laying on the couch trying not to die.

Well, that's a little extreme.  Although at one point I convinced myself that I had pneumonia.  And then later on I convinced myself I had meningitis.  I didn't Google my symptoms because I didn't want to freak myself out. 

I eventually got better just in time to go back to work.  Blech.

And even though it looks like THIS outside.....

The calendar still says it's "Fall" so I can still post Fall Maple Mania recipes!

On with the show....

My Aunty Linda and Edward came to visit me!

Well - not really to visit ME, they came for an anniversary party and I just happened to be the icing on the cake and they stayed with me for a couple of nights.

Free lodging and all that.

JUUUUST kidding!

For me, Guinness beer is synonymous with Aunty Linda and Edward.  Not only because Edward LIKES Guinness beer, but also because their crazy little dog's name is Guinness.

And when I stumbled across this Maple Stout Bread from Girl Versus Dough I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.

Here's what you'll need to make this.

Make sure you butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Start out by whisking together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Then beat together brown sugar and butter until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time.

Then add vanilla to the beaten mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix together the beer, sour cream, and maple syrup.

Add one third of the flour to the butter mixture.  Then half of the beer mixture.  Another third of the flour, the rest of the beer, and then the last bit of the flour.

Pour into the pan that was buttered and floured.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes.  Mine wasn't ready at 45 minutes and I think I left it in the oven for another 10....

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

While the loaf is cooling, make a glaze with maple syrup, icing sugar, and milk.

I thought this would be thick enough as written, but I actually ended up adding way more icing sugar to make it to the consistency I wanted.  Then I added TOO much and had to add a little maple syrup to thin it out.

Once it's the consistency I wanted I poured it over the loaf.  With a bit of parchment to catch the excess - which I went ahead and poured back on top of the loaf.

And then I left it to sit to firm up.

The flavour of this bread-cake was, what I could only describe as, deep and sultry.  It was completely decadent, moist and tender.  The taste of the beer was definitely there, and it had undertones of maple.

It was a completely divine, easy bread-cake that I would serve at morning coffee, afternoon tea, or as an after-dinner treat.

And, if you'll pardon me - I need to run off and add this to my personal files immediately.


This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fall Maple Mania: Maple Dijon Chicken

I keep telling you about how Pinterest is ruining my life in the best way...  This is yet another recipe that was splashed all over the main page of Pinterest really regularly.

After looking at it a little more closely, I found that people fell into two camps.  Those who loved it and those who hated it.

It seriously piqued my interest.

I decided to switch out the chicken thighs for chicken breasts - because of my own personal preference.

You know how I feel about chicken thighs.

In order to figure out how I would need to change the cooking temp and cooking time to accommodate the chicken breasts, I read through a ton of reviews and here's a little summary of what I would need to do.

Reduce the temperature by 50 degrees F.  Cook for less time.  Double the sauce.  Possibly reduce the amount of Dijon to make sure it's not too heavy.

Here's what I did.

To a bowl add the Dijon mustard.

Then add the maple syrup.

Then the rice wine vinegar.

And whisk until smooth and combined.

Line an appropriately-sized baking dish with aluminum foil.  PS - I'm so glad I did this because it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to clean after the fact.

You will also notice that I do NOT own a baking dish smaller than 9x13.  So I made my own with foil.

Salt and pepper the chicken and add to dish.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.

And bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Then up the temp to 450 degrees F for the last 5 minutes.

Let's start off by saying this.  I doubled the glaze/sauce and I'm glad I did.  When the chicken was done, the glaze/sauce was nearly completely boiled off.

Nextly, I personally didn't enjoy this - but my Aunty and Uncle said they did.  If they liked it I'm happy.  If they were stroking my ego (which I need to have done regularly) - well.  The truth shall set you FREE.  I found it to be far to tart & mustardy for my tastes.

My recommendations?  Reduce the amount of Dijon to 1/3 cup and the vinegar to 1/2 Tablespoon.  Double the glaze/sauce.  Bake at a lower temperature for longer to keep the glaze/sauce from boiling off.  Maybe 350 degrees for 40 minutes?

Another edition of Fall Maple Mania - in the bag.  This is the Cane girl - signing off.