Calzones

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | Leave a comment

calzone0137Calzone… Stromboli… pizza pop…… I know this dish to go by many names. Though each are different the essence of them remains similar… pizza in hand held form and easy to move from freezer to oven to plate to mouth. I remember loving Pizza Pops as a kid… as an adult I’m prepared to make my own from scratch and want more meat, more cheese, more spice and actually more everything from these perfect make ahead meals.

calzone0151

I had wanted to make these for a while and I finally got around to it, making a few extra to stash in the freezer for those days when time is short and the comfort craving is hard to manage. I have to admit that it was a bit of a challenge to make these in a size that fits in the hand and they ended up being quite a bit larger than I had anticipated. One is more than enough to fulfill a meal and I suspect almost equivalent to a personal pizza.

calzone0149

I started these with a homemade sauce that came from combining some scratch tomato paste I had from leftover tomatoes this summer; adding a small jar of slow roasted tomatoes I also had canned in the fall and infusing it with more flavour by adding fresh garlic, salt, pepper and some fresh oregano I have growing under a lamp for the winter, mixing and heating it all together in a pan. You certainly do not have to go to these lengths and I probably wouldn’t have but I had these things handy in the cupboard…. and I didn’t have pizza sauce.

calzone0160

The dough recipe I used was the 2 ingredient pizza dough I posted previously. I found that 1 cup to 1cup ratio made 8 good sized calzones. Depending on how thick or thin you make the dough this amount could change but I would caution against making the dough too thin, which is the way we like it, though not the best plan for these to be able to hold everything together well.

calzone0167

Fill these with your favourite ingredients and bake for 20 minutes (until golden brown) and serve or vacuum seal and freeze for later use.

calzone0170

I made two kinds:

Bacon, pepperoni, caramelized onions and cheese for P’s and pepperoni, bison Italian sausage, caramelized onions, green peppers, mushroom and habanera cheese for mine…. There was a lot to fill these and I found the best way to distinguish which were which was to slit the tops twice for one variation and 3 times for the other. Also it helps that P’s have mozzarella which is white (and sprinkled some on top) and mine have cheddar which is orange.

These are a winner and so nice to have around when pressed for time. I say the next time the weather is crappy spend some time making these for when it’s nice out and you don’t want to spend time making dinner.

Calzones

1 Dough recipe

Home made Pizza Sauce

  • 1/4 tomato paste
  • 1/2 slow roasted tomatoes
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 – 3 sprigs of oregano
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and sauté for 5 minutes and allow to cool before placing on pizza dough.

Divide the dough recipe into 8 and roll each out into a 8 to 10 inch circle.  Fill have with all your favourite pizza toppings and fold over and seal.  Brush the top with egg white and place on parchment to bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Bake until lightly golden if you want to freeze and store so you can bake them again to bring them to a nice golden brown.  Or… bake until nicely browned and enjoy straight from the oven.

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Pasta

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | Leave a comment

Random0101
Yum

Sometimes there are recipes that are so simple and tasty that it’s ridiculous. This is one of those. I have been enjoying this every so often for over 25 years and I first found this in a cookbook that was put out by La Leche League.   Perhaps because it was put out by this group that supported nursing mothers that many of the recipes were so simple… I’m not sure. But one of my ‘go to’s’ since then has been this one, I believe it was called Bubble and Squeak. I may not even be replicating it exactly; it really doesn’t need to be written down because the concept is so simple. I’m also not sure why the name, I don’t remember that it said anything about that but it was and is yummy. To counter act the many things I seem to not know about this recipe I will say emphatically that I do know it is delicious!

Random0133

This recipe is essentially three ingredients and this time when I made it I had bison Italian sausage on hand, though it was good, using a regular Italian sausage is almost better just because the bison meat is quite dry and doesn’t give the recipe as much of those delicious juicy bits that regular Italian sausage does. Regardless, the combination of pasta, hot Italian sausage and cabbage works… and is fast…. for any night of the week.

Random0122

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Pasta

(Under 30 minutes and only 3 ingredient dinner option)

  • Pasta of choice for 4 people (I use linguine or fettuccini)
  • 4 – 6 Italian Sausages (I generally use hot but you can choose to use mild)
  • 2 Cups Chopped Cabbage
  • ¼ Cup Water

Put a pot of water on to boil to make the pasta. Cook enough pasta for 4 servings according to directions. I would suggest flat pasta like fettuccine but any kind will do.

While the pasta is cooking chop and fry the sausage in a large frying pan on medium heat. As soon as the sausage is cooked through add the chopped cabbage, stir, add ¼ cup water and cover for a couple of minutes to allow the cabbage to start to wilt but remain firm. As soon as the pasta is cooked add it to the mixture. Stir and serve.

 

 

Healthy Home Made Dog Food

Posted by Pussycat in Doggie Treats - Recipes | Leave a comment

Food is many things to different people. For some it is simply a fuel for their body and serves a specific purpose and function. For me it is that but it is also a source of pleasure. It’s a pleasure to cook, to try different things and to cook for other people. I get some real satisfaction when I make something and feed someone and they love the dish; you can see when they eat it that the dish you served somehow satisfied a craving they didn’t even know they had. This makes me happy. So it isn’t a wonder that I’ve jumped on board to make dog food from scratch. I rarely fed my children processed or prepackaged food when they were growing up so it doesn’t make sense that I would feed my dog kibble that is processed, dried and lasts in a cupboard for months without going bad.

Brax Snow Dec 150358

I haven’t always been on this bandwagon and we had a cocker spaniel for many years who survived on kibble albeit with a supplement of leftover chicken or pork or whatever we had that week. Eating our scraps always made him extraordinarily happy and he was spoiled often. Oddly though that it hadn’t, at that time, even occurred to me that my pooch might be better off eating what we ate as his regular source of food. It was only when Brax, our handsome Shepherd came into our lives that the issue of food even came up.

It was my girlfriend who has a shepherd husky cross who first mentioned feeding her dog chicken carcasses, whole raw chicken carcasses bones and all that I began doing some research. Since then I dove into feeding Brax a much healthier diet than I had fed our previous dog. (More about raw chicken carcasses at the bottom of this post.)

I am certainly not professing that I have all the answers or that I’m doing things the RIGHT way. I’m not even saying that kibble is bad; I’m just saying that once I started doing some research I completely converted over. And there were several self serving bits of research that helped me to make that leap.

Brax and Sawyer Dec 150078

Firstly, the amount of shedding – in my research and, in the end, actual experience, once I changed Brax’s diet the amount of hair/fur I was sweeping up was drastically reduced – this makes me happy. Not only is there not as much of a mess in the house but I believe that the reduction in shedding is an indication of overall health. I know that they aren’t people but imagine if your hair was falling out all the time, to an excessive degree, it would definitely be an indication of a deficiency somewhere in your body, yet we accept this from our pets as natural without even thinking that maybe they don’t need to shed quite that much.

Brax and Sawyer Dec 150011

Secondly, the dreaded scooping — in my research and again, actual experience, the amount of poop that is produced by a miniature horse is astounding. However, this reduced greatly on a real whole food diet. Add to that, whatever gets left behind turns white, dries up and literally disappears in just a couple of days in the event you miss a pick-up. This is just one more thing to make me very happy.

These two reasons I discovered in my research were the ones that made me rethink giving my dog kibble, though since I’ve changed over I realized a few more things.

He doesn’t drink as much as most dogs. Trust me when I tell you that he is a slob when it comes to drinking water, often he would slop it all over the kitchen floor and it was a mess. Now without all that added salt and with all the hydration of real food he rarely drinks water at all… which reduces the amount of watery mess I have to clean up every day. All in all it has been a win win!

Dog food0075

Some of the other things I noticed include the ‘puppy craziness’ – make no mistake he is still a puppy (at 10 months) but he just doesn’t seem as hyperactive the way he was before I switched up his food. He also doesn’t give off that strong nasty big dog smell that some dogs can and his coat feels so nice… dare I say absolutely luxurious… it’s a joy to run my fingers through it. All reasons enough for me to feed him the way I fed my kids. Not to mention that making food is just the thing I love to do for my loved ones, two and four legged :)

I’m posting this information not to convert people but to put some context around the dog food recipes I post on my blog. (I’ll get back to people ones shortly I promise!) There are lots of resources online that will help lead one to put together a diet plan for their dog and I would encourage you to please do the research. Google terms like, “raw diet for dogs” or “BARK diet” or “homemade dog food” or any other combination of terms that will lead you to various resources. I only post this because I have a food blog… and a number of people I’ve spoken to ask me what exactly I feed my dog. I am not a hard and fast, stick to one strict plan kind of person. I go with what makes sense to me and these are the few simple things I believe in:

  1. Rounded nutrition I believe needs to be had ‘over time’ not necessarily exact all encompassing in every single meal. This is how humans eat and though we are not dogs, dogs pre domesticity as with all animals in the wild ate this way and managed quite well.
  2. If the food isn’t fresh enough or good enough that you would eat it then don’t give it to your dog.
  3. Though our dog eats a primarily raw diet I don’t hesitate to give him leftover cooked chicken, or most meats and vegetables that we won’t get to – BEFORE it goes bad – See point 2.
  4. My dog gets processed treats in about the same frequency my children would have gotten fast food. Very occasionally and in small doses. Also, as an aside, I’ve discovered while making the switch that best not to give kibble AND real food in any one sitting… seems to have not agreed with my pooch and the consequences, though not dangerous in small doses, were ugly and not good for any prolonged period of time. By processed I mean processed dog treats and any processed people food, no macaroni and cheese, no chips or left over French fries, none of the stuff I shouldn’t be eating but do sometimes anyway.  😉
  5. Lastly, I stick to the rules of the foods that dogs should NOT have which include, grapes and raisons, apple seeds, onions, raw white potatoes, chocolate, avocado, and cherries and give him the foods I would eat which include watermelon (not the rind) and any sweet fruit in moderation simply due to the high sugar content. I also do not give my dog bread, or pasta in any significant quantity only because his system doesn’t seem to tolerate it.

Dog food0092

What do I give our dog?  Well below is a list of ingredients that make up our dog food concoctions. I get together with a friend and every two weeks we make a batch of food, veggies and meat patties, we bag them in single servings and freeze them. This gives us an opportunity to get together and just makes the process more fun. We have it down to just over a couple of hours to get this done.

 

Dog food0073

Meat patties – makes about 30 10oz baggies

  • 1 large whole pork loin
  • 1 large package chicken breasts (about 12)
  • 1 large package chicken thighs (similar size as breasts)
  • 1 package of beef or pork liver
  • 1 package of tripe
  • 1 beef kidney
  • 1 cup of brewer’s yeast
  • ½ cup – 1 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup turmeric
  • 1-2 cups of oats

We run all the meat through a grinder and mix all ingredients together. Our serving size has changed over time since our boys are active puppies and still growing.   We’ve gone from 8 oz to 10 oz servings. All the patties go into the freezer and I bring generally 2-3 days worth in the fridge. This way they are thawed before I give them to our dog and they aren’t ever sitting in the fridge too long.

Veggie Mix makes approximately 40 8oz baggies

  • 1 bag (2-3 heads) romaine lettuce
  • 1 large bag fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh kale
  • 1 half large bag of frozen peas
  • 1 half bag of frozen beans
  • 1 half large bag of fresh broccoli
  • 1 head of fresh cauliflower
  • ½ of a large or 1 small cabbage
  • Half dozen carrots
  • Half dozen parsnips
  • 1-2 rutabagas
  • 1-2 turnip
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large fresh cucumber
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1-2 apples
  • 1 of each, red, yellow and orange peppers
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • Up to a dozen raw eggs (including shells)
  • Up to 2 cups fresh pumpkin
  • ½ cup kale or kelp powder
  • 1-2 cups of steel cut or rolled oats to help sop up the excess liquid.

Grind all vegetables and mix thoroughly. Scoop into freezer bags and allow thawing time before giving to your four-legged. As with the meat, I move from freezer to fridge so that the fridge has 2-3 days worth at any given time.

I also make a sweet potato and brown rice concoction that I make every few days and he gets 1-2 cups per meal. You can do one or the other but I find that the rice gets hard if it doesn’t have something to keep it moist and sweet potatoes are good for him and it’s an easy concoction to make every few days and keep in the fridge.

Dog food0072

Brax’s daily menu is generally…

Breakfast: meat patty, bag of veggie mix and ½ – 1 cup of sweet potato and brown rice.

Dinner: ½ – 1 cup of sweet potato and brown rice, 1 package of veggie mix and a raw chicken carcass. Depending on the size of the carcass I will sometimes also give him a duck neck or duck wing or a second carcass. (More about the carcasses below*)

I find the duck meat in the frozen food section of a local Asian ethnic market and often at a good price. I’ve also recently found pork necks in bulk for an amazing price through a butcher and have started to give him those as well.

About once a week I will add in a can of salmon or sardines, yes he loves the fish!

Most evenings he gets a small hard meaty bone (make friends with your local butcher) I found one that has organic beef, bison and pork bones cut for soup, frozen and at a good price. I stock up on those when I can and that’s how he brushes his teeth after dinner.

Also, while we’re munching and watching television late evening he will get a kong filled with peanut butter (no salt no sugar added) and I freeze it the day before (I have two on the go).

Brax is a healthy 90 lbs or so and as he grows out of his puppy stage his food intake will decrease for sure. For now he is active and growing and burns off tons of energy and so this food intake works.

snowshoeing

Couple of last things I feel are important to add are…

Make sure you speak to your vet, as I was transitioning our dog’s food I consulted with our vet because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to miss something. Oddly when I had this discussion I heard yet another story about a dog that switched to whole foods and was consequently brought back from significant sickness and allergic reactions. Seems when you start talking to people many of them have similar stories.

Also, the ingredients for the meat patties and veggie mix are approximations. We have a couple of very big bowls and when we do this one of us works on the meat and the other does the veggies. We don’t always have all or the exact same ingredients. Sometimes we forget to buy something or add something and we just go with the flow making sure to pick up on it the next time. Again…. complete nutrition over time, we will select from what’s on sale, what we have extra of and work it into the plan so the meals are generally the same but a little different each time.

*In Winnipeg we have a poultry processing plant and once they remove the breasts, wings and legs off chickens they are left with meaty carcasses.  We buy a case of fresh carcasses, about 25kgs and it costs about 45 dollars.  At home we bag each of the carcasses individually and freeze them.  One case gives us anywhere between 70-90 carcasses some bigger some smaller.  We can also get the same product ground from the plant for dogs that aren’t huge fans of chewing but ours are so this works for us. There are also raw dog foods sold on the market though we find they are quite expensive so we make our own.

Dog food0079

As for feeding your dog raw chicken.  It is safe and will not make a dog sick if you follow the rule of ‘if it’s not fresh enough for me to eat I won’t feed it to the dog’.  AND chicken bones are fine for dogs as long as they are not cooked, it’s the cooking process that makes them hard and brittle and potentially problematic for dogs. But again, don’t take my word for it…. please do your homework.

Lastly, if you’re going to go down this road you may want to consider getting a small chest freezer. :) Otherwise it can get a little annoying to have to rummage though bags of dog food and bones and carcasses for something you want to take out for the rest of the family.

Healthy Gluten Free Crunchy Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Posted by Pussycat in Doggie Treats - Recipes | Leave a comment

Yum

Since we’ve been feeding our German Shepherd raw and sometimes cooked home made scratch food I’ve been also motivated to make him treats that are in line with his diet.  The Liver, Kale Cheesy treats I posted  were almost a muffin / soft cookie consistency.  Though delicious they often crumbled a bit in my pocket. I wanted something more crunchy and easily transportable since I always seem to have a pocket full of treats.  Brax is only 7 months old and we need to ply him with treats to have him do or not do things.  Training is a daily practice and having some addictive, healthy and affordable treats is unbeatable.  Luckily for us he is very food motivated and that makes it easy to work on training. All I need is something that smells good and gets his attention.  These babies get everyone’s attention.  All dogs follow me at the dog park, most of them do their best to get their snouts into my pocket and it takes some convincing to get them to leave me alone!

Dried Liver and Hard PB Cookies0090

 

I’d been looking around for some good treats and wasn’t able to find exactly what I wanted.  So many of them include cornmeal (corn isn’t so great for dogs) or wheat and we’ve recently discovered that his system isn’t so fond of wheat. Note to self… Brax is NOT to have any leftover pizza!  So after some creative mixing in the kitchen I came up with these.  They are crunchy, healthy and they smell super delicious. Though I haven’t eaten them just the look in Brax’s eyes makes them worth making.  Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heal, Wait… all much easier with a pocket full of these.

Dried Liver and Hard PB Cookies0076

 

Crunchy Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oats
  • 1 Cup Chick Pea Flour
  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 Cup PB2* (see note below)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Water

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Blend the eggs and coconut oil in a food processor or bullet (eggs including the shells) and add the mixture into the dry ingredients.   Add enough water to make a sticky dough and let it sit for a few minutes. The dough should hold together but it won’t act like dough you’re used to if you bake regular cookies, it remains pretty sticky and pasty.

Dried Liver and Hard PB Cookies0023

The dough will be a little challenging to work with but roll it out onto a counter until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and cut out into shapes.  Place on a non-stick baking pan.  (Even though it’s non-stick I generally spray it) Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Longer for  larger cookies, less for small cookies. The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be.  Take them out of the oven and let them cool before you feed them to you dog.

Dried Liver and Hard PB Cookies0064

(Some of these are fire hydrants… yes… I’m one of those crazy people…. I was a little disappointed they aren’t obvious)

I happened to have several packages of PB2 in the freezer that we haven’t been eating so I used this in the peanut butter powdered form.  I’ve purchased my PB2 here.  If you don’t have or don’t want to buy PB2 you can certainly use regular peanut butter but cut out the coconut oil and adjust the water accordingly so that you have a sticky dough.

Dried Liver and Hard PB Cookies0083

Enjoy the puppy love!

Healthy Liver Doggie Cookies

Posted by Pussycat in Doggie Treats - Recipes | Leave a comment

Yum

I have been neglecting my blog for a while as I have been smitten…. smitten by a furry toddler who invaded our home and our lives.  I didn’t think I was going to get another mutt but it’s been over a year since we put our dog Jessie down and I’ve been missing a furry little guy.  RIP Jessie :(

I cruised the shelter sites and when I saw this little guy I just couldn’t help myself. Meet Brax… :)

Brax

This Pound Puppy is a far cry from the little pooch we used to have and strange things happen when you have a dog who will turn into a horse.  Everyone seems to want to talk about dog food.  Jessie lived very well.  We or rather P used to buy roasted chickens — we would eat the dark meat and Jessie would get the rest, left over bbq’d burgers… Jessie got a snack… extra steak, chicken, actually just about anything, Jessie had what we had after we were done. He lived well though this homemade food was in addition to store bought kibble.



Liver Kale Cheesy Treats0011

My venture into feeding my dog raw and homemade food started when a friend told me about feeding her shepherd husky cross raw chicken carcasses.  I wasn’t sure about this but after some research and reflection it just seemed to make sense.  I was hooked and now I have transitioned our very happy dog to raw food and speciality treats… 😉  I’m not trying to convert anyone here but I have to say that he no longer sheds and has calmed down a bit and is just generally happy… As am I since what needs to be picked up in the yard is drastically minimal to what it was when he was eating kibble.

Liver Kale Cheesy Treats0005

I certainly didn’t feed my human children processed food, why then would I feed my furry baby processed food?  It didn’t make sense.  So after a few weeks making his meals from scratch my cooking just naturally progressed to some kick ass treats that he (and all the other dogs at the dog park) salivate over. For more information on feeding your pooch raw or homemade food… please don’t take my word for it…google and discuss with your vet.

Liver Kale Cheesy Treats0009

My first venture into gourmet doggie treats, Liver, Kale Cheesy Treats. Super healthy, super easy and Brax never ventured far from the oven while they were baking.

Liver Kale Cheesy Treats0016

While I was taking pictures… Brax is so not impressed… he just wants the darn treats!  LOL

Liver Kale Cheesy Treats0030

Liver Kale Cheese Dog Cookies

  • 1 lb Fresh Beef Liver
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1 Cup Oat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Oat Bran
  • 1 Cup Spelt Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Chopped Fresh Kale
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheese

Mix the liver and water in a blender or food processor unit liquified and then pour into a mixing bowl.  Blend eggs, including the shell and add to the liver mixture with all the rest of the ingredients except the cheese.  Grease a cookie sheet and pour the mixture the batter into the cookie sheet, spreading evenly with a spatula.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

When baked cut into bit sized pieces with a knife or pizza cutter while still quite warm… or cut out some fun shapes like doggie bones.  These will stay well in the fridge for a few days or freezer for longer if you’re going to make in larger batches.  Trust me when you make these once you’ll make them again.  They are a tremendous hit!  But be warned when you walk outside as all dogs will follow you.  :)

 

Jessie

Jessie :(

 

Czech Kolache (koláče)

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | Leave a comment

Yum
 

Kolace0033

I have been dreaming of some sweet buns with delicious tart fillings and my mind wanders off the koláče my mother used to make.  They were so good it was difficult to eat just one.  And they were so light it was easy to eat 2 or 3 in a sitting which justifiable given that there were often more than one kind of filling…. so you had to make sure they were each good.  😉

Kolace0001

It was about time I made them, and enjoyed them on days when the weather is getting cooler and I’m out in the yard tidying up the flower beds… deserving of something sweet and tart and comforting.  I called my mom and asked for the recipe… she scoured her old cookbooks and gave me a combination of recipes…. giving me options of ingredients though they are mostly basically the same.  This makes life easy, often you have what you need and you don’t have to run out for anything special….. flexibility and adjustments are the cornerstones of our cooking.

Kolace0004

Kolace

  • 250 ml of milk
  • 80 grams of powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 20 grams vanilla sugar (1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • 30 grams fresh yeast or 2 ½ teaspoons of dry yeast
  • 500 grams flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams melted butter (or lard)
  • 100 grams oil
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons rum

Microwave the milk in a heat proof bowl for about 30 seconds on high. Test to make sure it’s hot to the touch but doesn’t burn (essentially hot enough to stand) add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and fresh yeast and stir. Set aside and wait for the yeast to grow.

Kolace0012

In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, salt, melted butter, oil, whole egg and yolks, lemon zest and rum. Once the milk mixture has bloomed add it to the stand mixer with all the other ingredients. Mix, first slowly then bring it up to medium speed. The dough should come together and once it is in a cohesive mixture turn the mixer up a little higher and allow the mixer to knead it for at least 10 minutes.

Set the dough aside in a greased bowl, in a warm place for about an hour or until it doubles. I often turn the oven on for a literally a half minute then turn it off and place the bowl in there to allow the dough to rise.

Kolace0028

Then divide the pieces of the dough (I used about 50 to 50 grams each) into 22 pieces, give or take one depending on how big or little you’d like them to be. Knead each piece into a ball and set on either a greased baking pan or on a silpat (on a pan) pressing each one down a little to flatten it out a bit and allow to rise again to double the size. Once these have risen then using a greased spoon or the bottom or a smaller glass (again greased) indent the centers of each koláč so that you have enough room to add a fruit preserve.

 

Fill the centers with your filling of choice, traditionally this is plum preserves* or apple butter or poppy seeds.  I used cherry and cheese filling**.  Brush the edges with a beaten egg. Bake at 350 until golden brown along the edges (8 minutes for smaller buns; 12 minutes for larger ones like I made)

 

I used some plum preserves I had on hand and made cream cheese filling and sour cherry filling from items I happened to have handy. Cream cheese is not the traditional type of cheese used but I didn’t happen to have ricotta which is the closest to the kind of soft cheese that is used back home.

 

*plum preserves – I used plum preserves I had on hand from a couple of years ago, having cooked down fresh plums, initially adding water to help break them down then cooking them until they were a thick paste and canning them. I added just a splash of lemon juice and a very small amount of sugar so that they would remain tart.  These can also be purchased in many speciality stores that carry German or Slavic foods.

 

**For the cheese filling (non-traditional)

  • 250 grams of cream cheese
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup icing sugar

Mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. You can adjust the sugar to taste. I like things less sweet.

**Sour Cherry filling

  • 2 cups sour cherries with juice (I had frozen ones)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ – ½ cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a bubble then let cool slightly before adding to the buns.

I have to say that this recipe is best for buns served the same day, that’s of course assuming that you can even keep them around the whole day… if you’re going to keep them any longer then freeze them as soon as they cool and thaw and warm a little in the oven before serving.  They do not keep well on the counter and will dry out if you let them.   I’ve since seen recipes that include sour cream in the buns… maybe I’ll try that next time, maybe they stay softer longer?  If anyone has a secret recipe they’d like to share I’d love to hear from you.  Not that these hang around for long but almost 2 dozen are not so good to eat with just the two of us… all in the same day.  Not that we didn’t try!

Lemon Buttermilk Pudding

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | Leave a comment

Yum

Lemon Pudding0009

Sometimes you don’t want a dessert that’s showy or over the top like my previous dessert Banana Split Pie.  Sometimes you want something more demure yet still delicious.  That’s when you want to make a scratch pudding that will wow your guests and this is the pudding to do just that.  This recipe comes from Food and Wine, often when I get the magazine… yes I still get magazines… I like to hold them in  my hands and leaf through them and carry them around old school… I digress, often when I get the magazines I fine at least one thing that I want to make and this was the dish I opted for this time.

Lemon Pudding0011

 

Most of us know that buttermilk is low in fat and super healthy but don’t let the addition of buttermilk in this dessert fool you into thinking it’s low calorie and ‘light’.  It is decadent and rich, creamy and luscious dessert that will have people thinking you’ve slaved for hours and hours when really it isn’t that difficult.

 

Lemon Pudding1123

Want to make it with other ingredients?  I feel like this dessert can easily be a blank canvas and easily be made your own.

 

Lemon Pudding0004

Lemon Buttermilk Pudding (from Food and Wine)

  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup lightly sweetened whipped cream

 

In a heatproof bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  In a saucepan combine the buttermilk and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Keep whisking it and once simmering slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, continue whisking while you do this.  Once you have all the hot mixture incorporated into the egg mixture pour it all back into the saucepan over medium heat cook until it’s thick while constantly whisking to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Once done allow to cool slightly and then press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding and bring to room temperature. Placing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding keeps it from forming a thick skin as it cools. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.

To serve swirl the whipped cream into the mixture and top with your favourite berries and serve.

Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Roasted Apples

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | 9 Comments

Yum

Fall Pork Tenderloin0004

The leaves are starting to fall… they are not all brown, some are red and some are yellow and though I don’t look forward to the snow I love fall weather I love the fall, jeans and sweaters, flannel shirts, cozying up to the fire pit in the yard on a nice evening, no mosquitoes!  It’s such a nice time of year.

Fall Pork Tenderloin0001

 

I’ve been going through photos and trying to catch up on my blog and came across this pork tenderloin with pan fried apples.  I made this a while back and posted it to Instagram but never put it up on the blog.  It was seriously delicious, and so now as the cooler weather is coming and you may have bushels of apples kicking around it seems a good time to get this recipe up here… Seriously good…. and back on my menu for fall.

Fall Pork Tenderloin0002

Tenderloin

  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • a few spoons of rosemary based seasoning (enough to coat the meat)
  • 1 spoon of butter (You don’t really need it but why not?!)

Pan Roasted Apples

  • 2 chopped apples
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • balsamic reduction (drizzle)*

Cook the pork tenderloin using the water immersion method… or sous vide until ready then pan fry briefly to brown.

Melt the butter in a fry pan and add apples, cinnamon and sugar then fry until golden and slightly soft.

Slice the tenderloin, cover with the fried apples and drizzle with a balsamic reduction and serve.

*I cheated and bought the balsamic reduction at our local Costco and it’s called Blaze.  This makes it easy to have on hand though you can certainly make your own.

Banana (Cheesecake) Split Pie

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | 1 Comment

Yum

Banana Split Pie0016

You know when you have a craving and you can eat everything out of your fridge and freezer and pantry and if you don’t have that ONE thing that you’re craving you still don’t feel satisfied?  That’s how I’ve been feeling lately and it was a banana split that I was after.

 

Banana Split Pie0031

I had a few things including a friend’s wonderful apple crumble with fresh apples straight off an apple tree… I enjoyed my snacking but just couldn’t seem to get a banana split off my mind….

 

Banana Split Pie0017

We were having a family dinner and I decided it was about time I attempted a banana split type of dessert.  Sure it would have been a little easier to just go somewhere to get a damn banana split but I was avoiding it…. so now it was beyond a craving and more of an obsession.  Consequently this dessert was born.  I have to say that I feel like it was the best dessert I’d ever made though that could have just been my craving talking.  But the kids even gave me an enthusiastic nod and said this was definitely a keeper!

 

Banana Split Pie0002

I used the basis of the cheesecake recipe found here but had to alter it given that I didn’t really have enough cream cheese. Then I improvised the rest…. and it was AHMAZING!!!!!  Angels singing kind of AMAZING….

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter

Mix melted butter and crumbs in a deep pie dish and press evenly along the bottom and sides.  Don’t worry about it being perfect you’re going to cover the edges with whipping cream later. Set aside.

Cheesecake

  • 500 grams full fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 (small to medium sized) previously frozen bananas thawed *
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature and then put into a stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low speed.  Add in sugar and cornstarch and mix throughly.  Add eggs one at a time to make sure they are well incorporated and then mix in the bananas and whipping cream.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 250 and bake for another 75 minutes.  Once a toothpick comes out clean remove from oven and let it cool until just a little warm.  This can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight to finish off the next day.

Chocolate Ganache Layer

  • 4 oz bakers semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then mix in the cream mixing until incorporated.  Let it cool and then cover the cooled cheesecake with a layer of chocolate.   You can put the whole amount on the cheesecake or reserve a little to decorate the top when you’re done.

Banana Split Pie0007

Caramelized Bananas and Strawberries

  • 3 fresh bananas
  • 3-4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cut the bananas in half, split and coat with sugar and set aside.  In a frying pan melt the butter and turn to medium heat, once hot add the sugar coated bananas and fry until they brown slightly then remove and add most of the strawberries and pan fry until slightly softened and set aside.  Allow the caramelized fruit to cool.

Top the chocolate ganache layer with the caramelized fruit and place back in refrigerator to cool.

Whipped Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup fine powdered or icing sugar
  • fresh strawberries
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (drained and squeezed of juice)
  • leftover chocolate ganache or shaved chocolate

Place chilled whipping cream in the stand mixer and increase mixing speed slowly to allow the bubbles to form in the whipped cream.  Add powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated.

Decorate the pie with shipping cream, topped with crushed pineapple and strawberries and drizzle or shave chocolate.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I know this dish sounds or reads like a lot of work but really it’s pretty simple… it’s just a simple cheesecake with some great layers of toppings…  The whole taste is very much like a banana split.  You’ll notice that I don’t sweeten any of the layers much and so the whole concoction was not too rich or heavy.  The fruit gives sweetness and also makes it taste so fresh it’s a crazy good dessert to have.

I’ll be making this again for sure!!!  Let’s just look at that one more time…  :)

Banana Split Pie0022

*I generally have a few bananas in the freezer because when I have bananas that start to get soft I just throw them in the freezer and then thaw them quickly in the microwave for dishes like this one.

Bacon Wrapped Potato Pie

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | Leave a comment

Yum

Bacon Pie0032
It has been a while since my last post and I’m embarrassed to say that it’s with no good reason.  I have been cooking so I will be posting a little more here… I’ve made a few different things like this bacon wrapped amazing version of scalloped potatoes, more like a potato and cheese pie wrapped in crispy amazing bacon.

 

Bacon Pie0037

I saw this on Facebook and who could resist…. it looked so delicious and decadent and it was…. the first AND the second time I made it.  This comes from Michael Smith’s site. He makes it look really easy and it is though it does not… I repeat… DOES NOT come out of the pan as easily as he says it will regardless of how much spray I put on the parchment paper.  I sprayed both sides and it still stuck to the paper.  I also baked it a little longer the first time to make sure the potatoes were cooked through and almost ripped all the bacon off with the paper but once flipped over it was still good and well worth it.

Bacon Pie0035

The second time I made it the potatoes were not cooked quite as tender and I wished I had left it in a little longer but it still disappeared quickly from the table.  It was most certainly a winner.

Bacon Wrapped Pie0026

You can watch the video, just don’t forget the add the garlic, Michael Smith mentions it in the ingredient list but doesn’t seem to put in on the potatoes or you can get the list of ingredients as I have them listed below.  I made it with mozzarella both times because that was what I had and I really don’t think it matters what kind of cheese you use… cheese and potatoes and bacon just work….

Bacon Wrapped Potato Pie

  • 2 lbs of bacon
  • 5 – 6 potatoes (baker potatoes are best here)
  • 3-4 cups of shredded cheese
  • 6 – 8 cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Line a frying pan with parchment paper and spray both sides, the inside of the pan to have the paper stick and then the paper as well before you start layering the bacon.  Layer the bacon from the centre of the pan and fan it outwards, it can overlap and that’s fine.

Now layer evenly sliced potatoes on the bottom then salt and pepper and mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Then spread a layer of cheese and repeat.  Go over the height of the pan as the potatoes will shrink down… taper towards the middle as you get to the top.  Fold the bacon over, place a small pot lid on the top to keep the bacon from curling away from the potatoes while baking and then place on a baking pan.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.  Once it’s baked drain the sizzling fat onto the baking pan when done you don’t want it splattering all over the place when you flip this baby.  Also, it gives the sense of shedding some of the fat from the dish…. once you’ve done that it’s really a lean dish…  😉  really…  😉

Remove the pot lid, then place a plate over the frying pan.  Flip it over carefully and this is where you may likely have to scrape the parchment and bacon from the bottom of the frying pan… No worries though because when you get it all out of the frying pan and take the paper off you will then place another plate over the ‘bottom’ of the pie and then flip it again so that you have a nice browned bacon layer to serve.

Cut into fair sized pieces and serve.  You may want to have this when you have people over so you can share… If eaten alone it I can not be responsible for any cholesterol issues that arise!  :)