Monday, September 26, 2011

Rachael Ray's Lemon Carbonara - "YUMMO"!

It is what is called "an Indian Summer" here in Montreal. This means that it is was in the 80's even though the leaves are changing yellow and red. The cold is to come once again at the end of the week. So to enjoy the moment I decided to make one of my last warm weather meals!

After watching Rachael Ray (one of my favourite cooks in the whole world who plays a huge role in my love for food and cooking) make her husband's favourite Carbonara pasta, I decided, I can do this! My husband has talked about it since we have been married (now over 6 years) and even attempted it. I was left in fear of the challenge, as he had worked so hard, and lets just say... the results were not what he was hoping for.  (OOPS!)

I have never touched it. Watching one of my idols Rachael Ray do it in front of me (on TV)  gave me this umph to do it fearlessly. She is amazing! Seriously it is from watching her on 30 min meals bak in the day on FoodNetwork that I learned how to allow my cook's logic to bloom. No really! She explained why she did things, was calm and collected while she made real food you would actually make for dinner. My VERY first recipe I cooked for my husband after we were married was from her! A 30 min chicken meal! HAH! She is a beautiful person on top of it all, inside and out.  Anyway, enough gushing… Today is my challenge to myself. I bought all of my ingredients yesterday and I will do this. YES I CAN! Let's do it! 

Please remember this recipe is Rachael Ray's Recipe not mine, I am just posting it as I dabble along in my food journey, today being carbonara


Parmesan is one of the best choices for cheese for high protein content! For every 100gr, you have 36gr of protein. This is much greater compared to Cheddar that has only 25gr or Feta with only 14 gr of protein for every 100 grams! 

Serves 4
Takes about 1 hour to make


Egg tagliatelle -1 pound
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) -  3 tablespoons 
Pancetta - 1/3 pound , chopped into fine dice
Coarse black pepper - about 1 teaspoon 
Garlic - 6 cloves , finely chopped
Fresno chili pepper - 1 small , seeded and finely chopped (optional)
Thin scallions - 1 bunch , finely chopped, white and green parts separated
Organic lemon - zest and juice of 1 large, ripe , divided
Fresh thyme - About 1 tablespoon 
White wine - 3/4-1 cup dry 
Flat leaf parsley - A handful of , very finely chopped
Organic egg yolks - 3 large 
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese - freshly grated  (a couple of handfuls)
Pecorino Romano cheese - freshly grated  (a couple of handfuls)
Shredded basil and diced yellow tomato, for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling rapidly, salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. 

Heads up: reserve 1/2-3/4 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the EVOO, three turns of the pan. Add the pancetta, season with black pepper and brown lightly. 

Stir in the garlic, chili pepper (if using), 

and the whites of the scallions

 then zest the lemon over the pan and stir in the thyme. Stir for 2-3 minutes, 

then add the wine, a couple turns of the pan, and reduce by half, 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. (this was the wine my local sommelier recommended)

When the pasta is about ready, beat the egg yolks with the reserved starchy water to temper them. 

Add the lemon juice, parsley and the greens of the onions to the pan.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. 

Turn off the heat, pour in the tempered eggs and sprinkle in a small handful of each of the cheeses. 

Toss vigorously for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce coats the pasta and it's thick and shiny. Serve in shallow bowls with a little extra cheese, shredded basil and diced yellow tomatoes on top.

I didn't add the chili (because I was feeding it to my almost 3 year old) And I didn't top with tomatoes or shredded basil, but rather some more greens of my onions and parsley. And a nice GRATE of fresh parm! "YMMO!" Serve with the remaining white wine and...


Friday, September 23, 2011

Zucchini Orange Soup

I thought this was quite interesting in flavor. Very fresh and actually not so "fall" in flavor. Really on a warmer fall day it would be perfect. 

Did you know you can eat the flower of the zucchini!? Yes you can! Let me know if you try it!


Zucchinis - about 4 - 3 cups coarsely chopped
Potatoes - 2 medium sized - about 1 1/2 cups chopped
Bouillon cube - 1
Onion - 1 medium chopped
Parsley - 2 tablespoon dried
Mint - 1 teaspoon fresh 
Water - 2 cups
Orange rind - grated 1 1/2 teaspoon
Salt and Pepper to taste


Bring your water to a boil and mix in your bouillon cube and dissolve.

Peel and chop your potatoes. Add to your water.

Add your chopped zucchini.

Add in your chopped onion.

Your fresh mint.

Grated orange peel (I used organic since we will eat the rind).

Let it boil, once your potatoes are fully cooked you can emulsify your mixture to get a creamy texture. I used a hand emulsifier. 

You can serve and garnish with some fresh mint leaves and bits of your orange peel grated to let the person enjoying your soup know what flavor to expect. :)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Noon Gerdooi/Baadoomi - Persian inspired Walnut and Almond Cookies

What to do with your egg yolks you might ask?... Make cookies! 

I love this recipe. We don't eat fish, so I try to give my daughter her omegas in other forms and nuts are a great source- especially walnuts. Traditionally this recipe only calls for one nut or the other, however I had made the 4th of July cake, and the white cake calls for egg whites so that left me with something like 15 egg yolks… One of my friends reminded me that we have these brilliant cookies in Iran, noon gerdooi, that are walnut cookies, "make those!" So I did! However I didn't have enough walnuts but I had some ground blanched almonds lying in my fridge… and yes the rest is yummy history!

 F U N D A B B L E R   F A C T 

Walnuts, especially when eaten raw, are a great source of omega 3 and antioxidants

Makes about  32, 1 inch diameter cookies
Takes between 50 min to 1 hour to make (15 min prep time, 15 min chill time, 20 min cook time) 

 I N G R E D I E N T S 

Walnuts - 2 cups whole
Almonds blanched (with no skin) ground) - 1 cup
Vanilla - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Sugar - 1/2 cup (you can add up to about 1 cup if you like them sweeter)
9 egg yolks

 I N S T R U C T  I ON S 

Add your 2 cups of walnuts

1 cup ground blanched almonds

1/2 cup sugar to your food processor 

And mix until they are all about the same fine consistency

Add your egg yolks

your 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ideally you will let your mixture chill a bit, for about 15 min here so it is easier for you to roll, if not, and you were in a rush like me because your little one was asking for some attention, well then just get rolling and be ready for gross sticky hands. Roll into 1 inch balls

Score with a fork (just push them a bit flat with a fork) and pop in the oven for about 20 min. They don't really brown so you will know they are done when the bottoms are a bit darker than the rest.


You can freeze these when they are done and they are still yummy defrosted. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Strawberry Cardamom Cake- Thank you Joy the Baker!

This beautiful absolutely fantastic recipe is not of my own invention, but from a great blogger/baker/writer Joy the Baker .

I love the dense cake texture, as well as fantastic flavour with a happy strawberry surprise waiting for you. The only thing I did differently is sprinkle my dollop of whipping cream that I topped my cake off with some extra ground cardamom. I served this as one of the 3 desserts I served at my wine tasting party. I think only a few guys got to this point. Next time I'll have only 3 courses instead of 8 - oops! :P

ENJOY! I know you will if you make this! Let me know how happy your taste buds get! Mine party just at the thought of this blessed cake!

PS I also doubled the recipe and it turned out great! THANKS AGAIN JOY!

 F U N D A B B L E R   F A C T 

Strawberries are one of the fruits that absorbs the most pesticides it is sprayed with. There are laws to help minimize our intake of the pesticides, however we still end up eating the pesticides in the fruit. Best thing to do, buy Organic Strawberries!
  -The lady farmer at Marché Jean Talon (A very kind and helpful lady who most likely hides every time she sees me coming to the market because I ask so many questions).

Takes about 1 hour
Makes one 8-inch cake

 I N G R E D I E N T S 

Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons
Brown Sugar - 1/4 cup
Strawberries - 1 cup, sliced

All-purpose flour - 1 1/3 cups
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Baking soda - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Ground Cardamon - 1/4 teaspoon (plus more to add to the whipped cream for presentation and flavour if you wish)
Brown sugar - 2/3 cup
Large egg - 1
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup, softened
Pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Sour Cream - 2/3 cup

 I N S T R U C T I O N S 

See her pictures and narration as it is worth it and much better than mine could ever be! The following instructions are cut and pasted from her site.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
I used an 8-inch round with 3-inch tall sides.  You can also use a 9-inch round with 2-inch sides.
Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Using two pot holders, tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter.  Once sides are coated, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg and vanilla extract.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream.  Beat until the batter just comes together.  Batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan.  Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer.  Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate.  Serve warm with sweetened sour or whipped cream.

I topped it off with some more ground cardamom, pretty and yummy! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Zucchini Carrot and Raisin Bread

So zucchini season has arrived and I am so excited to bake again as the weather is cooling. This is one of my favourite snacks because it is quite healthy, and breakfast worthy. Veggies complete and very low in oil and sugar. This tastes quite healthy so if your taste buds are not use to "health-nut" food, not for you. If you are, FANTASTIC recipe. Let me know what you think. 

PS   I have made these with paper lines in my muffin pans before and because there is so little oil in it, the paper sticks to the muffin. Not a good idea. So grease your pan generously and hang in there when washing your tin pans! YOU CAN DO IT! They're worth it. 

PPS  The recipe doubles well! Freezes fantastically so enjoy!


Zucchini is a good veggie to help control cholesterol! 

Takes about 1.5 hours to make from start to finish
serves about a dozen generously portioned muffins and 1 mini tin pan
for the regular muffins bakes 20-30 min for the mini bakes 15-20 min


Teff Flour (or wheat flour) - 1/2 cup 
All-purpose flour - 2 cups 
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon 
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon 
Ground cinnamon - 1 tablespoon
Ground nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
Ground cloves - 1/2 teaspoon
Brown sugar - 1  cup

Eggs - 3 large
Oil of choice (I use coconut or grape seed or butter) - 1/2 cup, and then some to grease pans
Finely grated unpeeled zucchini - 1.5 cups 
Finely grated carrot - 1.5 cups 
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons 
Raisins - 1/2 cu
Chia soaked with water about 10 teaspoons water - 2 teaspoons 

Walnuts: optional about 1/2- 1 cup
Chocolate chips : optional about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup


Preheat your oven to 325F (165C)
Soak your Chia and set aside to become gelatinous. 
NOTE: Chia is a good substitute for your oil/butter. It keeps your baked goods nice and moist without the calories!

Add your flour, both.

Add your spices and powdered ingredients

Add your raisins

add your brown sugar. mix.

Grate your zucchini and carrots, I used yellow and green zucchini and add to mix. (this photo makes me happy :D )

Add your eggs mix.

Add your oil. mix

Add your vanilla and chia. Mix. I had some great help. It was our rainy day activity.  :)

Grease your pan of choice. Again I was lucky enough to have some great help!

Bake and check with a toothpick at around 20 min. If it comes out clean your muffins/cake/bread is ready!

Serve and...