Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beer Cheese Soup

Yeah.  I don't really even know what to say.

On the plus side - for most of the days the high is over -20 degrees C!

OMG that's so pathetic.  *Insert crying face here*

More soup - it's all that will get us through.  Soup.
In a large pot, melt some butter.

Add onions and chopped carrots and cook until tender.

And garlic.

Then add flour.

Then the milk.

Then the chicken broth goes in.

This is the part where you should add the beer.  Do that now.  I did - I swear.
Let that cook until thickened stirring constantly while you add some cornstarch to a large bowl.

Shred the cheddar and the American cheese (also known as Kraft Singles - we covered that in a previous post) and toss with the cornstarch.

Add by the handful to the milk mixture.
Once melted and combined, blend the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.  You could also use an immersion blender if you happen to have one.

Serve.  Topped with a little popcorn.

I know you think it's weird - but trust me - it's good.  And pretty traditional for this kind of soup.

And trust me - you're going to LOVE it.  It's rich, and hearty, and stick to your ribs delicious, delicious, delicious.

I used a Molson Canadian, but you could really use any kind of beer that you want - it'll most likely change the flavor somewhat - so that is totally up to you.

It's the perfect comfort for the never-ending Winter we're stuck in.  Add a super-duper soft bun to soak up any bits of soup you haven't licked from the bowl and you have an amazing meal.

Be forewarned, this soup is not healthy or low-fat by any means.

But I LOVED it and will make it over and over.  It's worth every decadent bite.

Once again, the ever amazing Tracey at Tracey's Culinary Adventures hits one out of the park.  Tracey has been on a hiatus since January and we miss her like crazy.

With lows this weekend forecast to be -30 degrees C - just do this soup.  Just do it.

xoxo - Heather

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Flapper Pie

Unless you've been living under a rock - you've been watching the Olympics.  And if you've been paying even the SLIGHTEST attention, you'll know that the Canadians have been doing incredible things!
To say that I'm proud of our Olympians is pretty much an understatement.
Look at the advice that rolled out for our Men's hockey team after our Women won gold!
And this morning - they did.
So - in honor of our Olympians - I thought I would make something Canadian. 
But what is Flapper Pie you ask?
Well - it's a custard pie with a meringue topping that came from the Manitoba Prairies, and people have been making it for generations.
The recipe I'm using today is from my Grandmother - who grew up in the Prairies, raised her children in the Prairies, and continues to live there today.
Hi Grandma!  *mwah*
Let's start with the base.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon,

brown sugar,

and the butter.

Then press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate.  And bake at 325F for 10 minutes.

Then, make the filling.
In a double boiler, combine the milk,

Then add the egg yolks.

And the cornstarch.

Then the vanilla.

Cook the mixture until thickened.  I would say that you'll know when it's ready if you drop a spoonful on the surface and it doesn't disappear into the rest of the mixture. 
Pretty much it'll look like pudding - because it kind of is - but it's kind of not.  Because it's custard.
Anyway - once it's that consistency, add a pat of butter about the size of a walnut.  About a Tablespoon?  Grandma's recipe says "size of a walnut". 
Well - add it and stir until melted and combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust while it's still hot.

Then make the meringue topping.
Whip egg whites until stiff and add the icing sugar.  Then whip until stiff peaks form.

Top the custard with the meringue and bake in the oven at 250F for 10 minutes.

The pie was so light and creamy I was completely surprised - it's the perfect follow up to a heavy meal!
I was a little light-handed with the meringue - but it could be browned a little further if you wanted it to be.
Also - and don't hang me out to dry on this one - I'm not the hugest fan of meringue.....  I would love this pie with a little bit of sweetened whipped cream - please don't judge.
 So - while I'm here in Canada doing Canadian things like shovelling snow and eating flapper pie, my heart and pride is with my Olympians in Sochi, on this the last day of the Games, where they have broken records, won medals, and stolen hearts.
I hope you enjoy this old-fashioned Canadian pie as much as I did!
And one more thing before I go.....
xoxo - Heather

Friday, 7 February 2014

Shrimp and Champagne Cream Pasta

Let's say that you're planning a divine Valentine's Day dinner for your sweetheart.
And you're stuck.  You have no clue what you should make. 
It happens sometimes. (to be honest, it even happens to me)
Have I ever got a treat for you!
It's got booze, it's loads of carbs and cream and happiness.  And shrimp,  There's also shrimp.
And happiness.
Also - not to worry - the recipe itself is fairly easy.  So you can focus more on your sweetheart.

First, heat oil over medium-high heat and add the shrimp to the pan.

Then pour in the champagne.

Add the salt.

Bring the champagne to JUST a boil, then remove the shrimp from the champagne and set aside.
Add the shallots to the champagne.

Then add the plum tomatoes.  When I was dicing the tomatoes, I scooped out the seeds and discarded them.

Bring the champagne to a boil and reduce the liquid to half.

This is where I deviated from the original recipe.  The first time I made this I was unhappy with how runny the sauce itself was.  So I added 2 tablespoons of flour and whisked it in.

Add the cream and cook until thick and coats a spoon.  Not a wooden spoon, not a plastic spatula, a soup spoon.  It's going to be the best indication of how the sauce will stick to the pasta.
Also - I would take this time to start cooking the pasta.

Once thickened, return the shrimp to the pan, stir into the sauce and cook for an additional couple of minutes just to heat the shrimp through.

Ensure the pasta is drained very well and add to the sauce.

Add the additional cream and freshly chopped parsley.

Stir it all together and serve.

Oh this is SO good.  And not overly rich - so when you have dessert you'll be ready for it.
I absolutely recommend it - I absolutely LOVED it.
And if you happen to have some leftover (it could happen), the leftovers are just as wonderful.
I DO however, recommend having some soft, fluffy buns to sop up any leftover sauce from your plate.  Buns would not go amiss.
Oh - and if you happen to remember, a little bit of Parmesan cheese would be lovely too.  I forgot - but I honestly didn't mind.
Happy Valentine's Day from me to you!  xoxo - Heather

Monday, 3 February 2014

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

My sister-in-law does NOT like jalapeno peppers.

So when she and my niece went away for the weekend, I KNEW this was what I wanted to make for my brother for Sunday Supper.

Although I wasn't sure about how he would feel about the cream cheese "base".

To begin, start by roasting the jalapenos in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

Using your choice of dough, spread really REALLY soft cream cheese over the top of the dough.

Then top with Mozzarella cheese.

And some cheddar.

 Then top with the roasted, peeled, and sliced jalapenos.  I pulled as many of the seeds out as possible - because I'm a wimp when it comes to heat.

Then bake according to the crust instructions.

And eat.


I'm pleased to say that it was a hit with my brother - and with me as well!

This pizza is perfect for those of you who love jalapeno poppers, it's perfect for game day, it's perfect for Saturday afternoon.

I would definitely add this to my rotation!

Enjoy! - xoxo - Heather