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A Chocolately, Pumpkiny TWO Ingredient HUG

Who doesn’t like two ingredients recipes? Seriously, I’m always curious about these ideas. I read the “recipe” and ask myself………. “really?”

Like, “Could it BE just that easy??”

Ok, I didn’t actually ask myself that. I just thought “Hey, seems like a cool idea that I need to try”.

I’ve tried other minimal recipe desserts before like THIS one. Oh, and  remember the CHEATER COBBLER? That one as was a two ingredient recipe as well. Both of those recipes turned out pretty damn well, I have to say. ESPECIALLY the Cherry Chocolate Cake. Oh lawdy, was it good!

So in the spirit everything pumpkin this season, I bring you another two ingredient, Thanksgiving/fall/pumpkin themed type recipe that seriously makes you want break out the sweat pants and fuzzy slippers, and get ready for the coming hibernation.

Alright! First up, here’s your ingredients!

One Chocolate Brownie Mix (any brand you prefer)
One 15 ounce can of Canned Pumpkin (or Pumpkin Pie Filling)

That’s it! I know, it’s easy isn’t it? I love easy!
(don’t go there.)

Moving on, here’s the photo of the ingredients:

pumpkin brownies 3

*NOTE: In the photo above, you’ll see that I bought the 540ml (18 ounce) can because that’s all they had. I weighed 15 ounces and it came to roughly 3/4 of the can.  Please keep this in mind when making your own, and adjust according to the can you buy.

Here’s how you do it!!

1. Preheat your oven to 350!

2. Empty the box of brownie mix and about 15 ounces of the pumpkin pie filling into the cake mix and mix together.

I know, pretty difficult so far, right?

pumpkin brownies 4

3. Now, you don’t need it, but I happen to seriously love anything pumpkin spice.

So you can add up to a teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the mix to “make it sing”

( I DESPISE that term, but it’s really the only word I thought appropriate to explain what I”m trying get across).

So I added 1/2 a teaspoon.

Twice. :)

pumpkin brownies 5

4. Next, pour the mixture into a parchment lined 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 pan. No parchment?

No problem!

Grease the hell outta the pan, and you’ll be fine.

pumpkin brownies 6

So the recipe that I followed which is here, calls for baking the brownies for 25-30 minutes until set. I found that I had to double that time to make it work, so you might wanna keep an eyeball  on the pan just to make sure it’s baked thoroughly. No one likes raw brownie dough…… I think anyway. Maybe it’s like a raw cookie dough concept?  Meh, not for this chick – I like my baked desserts… BAKED.

When a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean, you’re good to go.

Let cool COMPLETELY before you decide to frost or sugar these babies.

pumpkin brownies 7

Ok. So let me tell you, this isn’t your typical brownie. It’s more dense, and has a soft pumpkin flavor mixed with the chocolately goodness of the brownie. Be warned though, my gorgeous reader. If you like the flavor of chocolate, this chocolate brownie with the chocolate frosting can quell any chocolate craving you might have. HOWEVER, the denseness of these brownies from the pumpkin seem to almost intensify the chocolatey taste to the point that well,… it’s teetering on craziness.

I ADORE chocolate, and ONE small brownie with the frosting was enough to lull me into sweet, dreamy chocolate land, where one might be tucked into their chocolate bed and given chocolate kisses and yummy chocolate hugs sprinkled with warm pumpkin spices.

Yes. It’s like that.

JUST like that.

Yeaaahhhh.

Welcome to the PUFFIN.

I successfully married Pork and Stove Top Stuffing into a cute little … muffin.

I know, right?

Pork – meaty, savory, porky, protein rich.
Muffin – bready, sweet, moist, and good with strong coffee.

Separate, they are wonderful. Together? Initially, a conceptually difficult union to wrap your sweet pretty head around. OK.. I’ll speak for myself. It took me a bit to wrap MY sweet head around it. I mean, come on’ – What do you call it?

A Pork Muffin?

A Porkfin?

A Puffin?

Regardless of what one might call it, – it’s strange. But hey, how can you go wrong? Pork, and stuffing. Who doesn’t like that combination, and besides, we ALLL know what strange means to me.

It mean’s I gotta try it.

Plus, they said it was easy, and I like easy.

So… without further adieu, I give you………. a porffin?

Whatever.

Here’s what you need to make this wildly creative, culinary masterpiece:

muffin2
That’s right. A muffin tin, two eggs (three, actually. I’ll explain later), ground pork, and a box of good ole’ Stove Top Stuffin’. Try and match the flavors people, k? I mean, if you get ground pork.. use Stove Top Stuffing for pork. If you get ground turkey, (which is perfectly acceptable protein choice in this situation for all you skinny-minnies), use the Stove Top for turkey.

Yessssssssssssssssss, you don’t have to point out the obvious fact that I combined ground pork and turkey Stove Top Stuffing – but ground pork was what my freezer had, and turkey Stove Top was what the store had. No big deal. I’m comfortable flying that kind of flag out there for everyone to see.

You know, the REBEL flag.

So, because I can’t just be normal and go along with direction, I like to “doctor” things up. That would the Stove Top Stuffing that I’m talking about. If you have extra “aromatics” in your fridge folks, doctor that crap up. I started sauteing celery (and lots of it because celery and I have had an intense love / love relationship for many years), and onion with a touch of garlic.

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That particular day, I decided to live on the edge and add some hot chili flakes to the party. I added about a tablespoon and half.

It turns out I’m not as edgy as I thought.

Dial down the chili flakes folks.

Learn by my mistakes. Especially if you’re not too adventurous on the whole spicy thing. Start with half a teaspoon.. you can always add more (One of Mom’s favorite expressions)

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So at this point, when the aromatics are soft, make the Stove Top Stuffing according to the box instructions. Easy Peasy right? Once that’s finished, and slightly cooled, add your pound of ground pork (or chicken, or turkey) and THREE eggs. I realize I had previously said two, and I actually did only use two, but I found the finished product SLIGHTLY crumbly, so an extra egg would hug up all those ingredients and make them stick together much better.

muffin1

When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, spoon it into your greased muffin pans. My muffin pan has muffin cups for giants so I got six from the whole lot. However, if you are of the regular human race, I can say that normal muffin pans are acceptable, if not desired over the bigger ones.

Spoon them into the tins at the fullness that you want, as they don’t puff up, obviously, like a cake muffin would.

muffin5

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. (All depending on what size of muffin tin you used. I used a longer cook time because of the muffins for Giants that I was making.) Use your logic okay? We are dealing with ground pork (or any ground meat), so it’s imperative that it’s thoroughly cooked. If in doubt, use a thermometer and cook them till you have an internal temperature of 160 degrees for pork and 165 for turkey or chicken.

FYI – At the very end of cooking time, turn on your blast broiler for a  minute or two. It creates this mildly crunchy top that is FANFRICKENSTASTIC!

I highly suggest you try that.

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These bubba’s are awesome with a side salad for a lunch, or even for a quick breakfast heated up in the microwave. Ok, listen, you can have them for ANY meal because they’re just that good. The batch I made are at the TOP of my spice tolerance so next time, I’ll go a bit kinder on the chilies. Lastly, these freeze like champions!!

muffin7
Give them a try and tell me what you think! What changes did you make to “doctor” them up?

If you thought this recipe was incredibly cool and made of awesomeness, please press the subscribe/follow button to always know what’s happening in the Forkin’ Foodie World!

Is Common Ground Cafe……. common?

Common Ground Cafe
50 Brentwood Blvd Sherwood Park, Ab

My friend and I decided to try out Common Ground Cafe on a recent friday for lunch. She had already eaten, so it was just me who would try out the tasties.

The decor is SUPER cute.  A cute little “foyer” of sorts greets you when you arrive and they have on locally made crafts for sale.  QUALITY stuff, folks.  Btw, the purses/bags they have on display there are KICKASS BEAUTIFUL! I wish I would have got the name of who makes them, but I didn’t. You’ll have to just get your ass in there to check them out yourself.

Tables are topped with re-claimed barn wood, all rustic and warm feeling, and even the chairs have little crocheted socks on them!

Table Table2

Yeah, ok, who cares that the little socks are so the feet of the chairs don’t scratch the floor, it’s a cute touch!  The art on the walls showcase local artists that incidentally, like the purses and jewelry, are also for sale. Trust me when I say (cheap ass that I am) they are selling them TOO CHEAP! The art is really, really reasonably priced people. I was impressed with both the quality and the price.

Art

The menu is somewhat limited, (they don’t offer everything under the sun), but that being said, there are plenty of things to choose from. You can have everything from healthy rolled oats or a bagel with cream cheese, biscotti (regular and gluten-free), muffins, cookies, brownies, etc. They usually feature 3 or so soups for lunch and offer a nice selection of coffees and teas, along with locally made specialty drinks (Honey Spice brand) and sodas.

So I ordered a London Fog tea. This is a newly re-discovered beverage for me.  I remember drinking them back in my twenties when I thought I was more awesome than I’d EVER be when I was my …. 40’sh… age now.

Turns out, I’m crazy awesome now. (Take THAT, 20-year-old me!)

Anyway, this drink is Earl grey tea made with steamed milk, and a dash of vanilla syrup. Simple, but ohhh SO good! I’ve seen recipes where they recommend steeping the tea with a few lavender buds, but I have yet to try that. The tea that was made for me had a perfect sweetness to it, a nice vanilla hint that didn’t overtake the taste of the tea, and a nice thick, milky foam on top.

Comforting like a blankie hug.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you.

So comforting in fact, I had two.

I ordered their Lazy Perogy Casserole soup. Yeah.. I know… casserole or soup?? Hey… I’m always up for a mystery, so I tried it.

Here are the photos, take a peek:

Perogy2 perogy1

Doesn’t look that appetizing does it? Looks thick and heavy.  Well let me tell you, I’m half Ukrainian people, and a self-professed Perogy Snob, so that automatically extends to a Lazy-Perogy snob. That being said, this ……. soup?, was INCREDIBLE.  The rich flavor of a super cheesy casserole with pasta was dilectable! There was a slight crunch from onions that were cooked, but not strong tasting that added a nice textural component.  I was really surprised at just how much flavor this little bundle of happiness possessed. (AND FILLING – Don’t let the portion size fool you!)

If it were me making it, the only changes that I would do to make it out of this world, insanely good, would be to loosen the mixture a tiny bit more with cream… (listen, calories/shmalories, go big or go home), a dash or two of dill, and upon serving, a nice little sprinkle of bacon. But that’s just me and my snobby ways.

I WILL order this dish again.

I have to add, everything on their menu is REASONABLY priced, ($4.50 for the soups WITH a biscuit!). It’s almost bordering on stealing.

Ok… NOW to the best part.

The special part about this little sweet gem of a cafe people, is that they are a not-for profit establishment.

I KNOW RIGHT????

The whole concept is to build a stronger sense of community within Sherwood Park and it’s run by volunteers.  This is a whole new idea that Sherwood Park hasn’t seen before, and really goes against the grain of what most businesses are all about. However, not only are they providing Sherwood park with a greater sense of a community connection, I think unknowingly, they are also selling an experience within the cafe. When you normally spend your money in any other establishment, you really don’t think anything  about it. But with Common Ground, the prices are so reasonable, it’s not for profit, so you actually FEEL GOOD spending your money there. The food and goods they sell are quality products, the volunteers are charming and sweet, there are lots of opportunity to share community ideas and events at the front foyer. The chairs and tables are comfortable with some sofa chair type seating as well that’s perfect for that catch up convo with your friends, they have a stand of game boards and children’s books if your interested, AND they have a free wi-fi.

What more can you want?

So how common is Common Ground Cafe?  Turns out, not common at all.

And it’s a very good thing.

Get out there, meet your neighbors, and at the very least, support this truly wonderful cafe.

It’s worth it!

CTV news came out and did a feature on them. Click the link to check it out!
http://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=307720

Million Dollar Thighs. Oh Yeah!

Yep….. I got’em.

Million Dollar Thighs!

Creamy white and juicy.

Meaty with that nice caramelized crust on top.

Huh?… What?…. Sigh.

Get your head out of the gutter, you perverted puppies! I”m not talking about MY thighs…..

…although I kinda wish I was.

NO no, my lovely readers. I’m talking about a recipe that I found on YOUTUBE, called Million Dollar Chicken, done by Chef John on his Food Wishes channel. (link below). I LOVE this man’s recipes, but his sing-song-happity-hap voice makes me want to drive rusty nails into my ears with a ball peen hammer for relief.

ANYWAYYY… he uses a whole chicken, but I had only thighs on hand, and you know how cool I am, I just subbed thighs instead. I’m sure you could use whatever chicken pieces struck your fancy, but be sure to adjust cooking time.

What makes it worth the Million Dollar name? Chicken, cream, lemon, fried bread… need I say more?

Trust me beauties, this little dish will literally blow your whole daily caloric/fat allowance to cholesterol hell in one little sitting… but it will be sooooo worth it.

Here we go!

bread

Use an old bagette or any other stale, day old bread. It MUST be day old, and kinda hard and crusty, or you will cry at the mushy, gross pablum-ness of it all. Oil your dish before placing a few pieces down. According the recipe, it asked to oil the top of the bread as well, but really, don’t. I did, but found you don’t need it.

Save the calories, honey.

rawchicken

The recipe asked to stuff the bird with thyme, garlic and lemon and then season with salt and pepper. I sprinkled a few pinches of thyme  and the zest from one lemon, garlic and S&P on top of the thighs to achieve the same taste. My way is soo much easier I think.

He puts the bird in a super hot oven (450) for an hour. I put my thighs in at 350 with an idea to roast them for 45 minutes or so.

While your waiting, make your sauce to smother those little cute thighs.

sauce

I used 1/2 cup of creme fraiche, lemon zest, the juice of one lemon, one GRATED shallot (that’s what the weird thing is that you see floating around in the cream), salt and pepper. The recipe called for one teaspoon of Aleppo pepper, that I COMPLETELY FORGOT to add in. And.. truth be told, I didn’t have any fancy shmancy Aleppo pepper anyway. But, assuming you won’t be a moron like myself, you’ll want to add the Aleppo pepper into the cream mixture at this point. If you don’t have Aleppo pepper on hand (who does, really?), an alternative to use is 3 parts sweet paprika to one part cayenne. Thanks Friend Kim and Chef Simon for the alternative pepper recipe!

At the 20 minute mark, move the chicken out of the way, and tong those little pieces of toasty love over to brown on the other side, and replace the chicken on top the bread……..

toasted bread

…..and then baste the living crap out of your chicken. Go overboard on the basting. If, while you’re basting, you think ‘oh that’s enough’, no, it’s not. Baste some more. Throw it back in the oven for ten minutes.

firstbaste

Ten minutes later, baste again and return for another 10 minutes.

At the last five-minute mark, throw on your flame thrower. If you are not skilled at using a flame thrower on your food – your broiler will do as well. Watch it like a hawk people, burnt bird is just so wrong.  When it gets all crusty and caramelized on top, take it out, and let it sit for a few minutes.

finished

Plate it up!!!

If there is extra sauce left over, slice the thighs a bit and arrange them on the bread, and pour the remaining sauce over the thighs.

plated
Sweet Mother of baby Jesus. The way this tastes is nothing short of beautiful, if it can be described that way. The thighs are super nice and juicy with a crunchy skin, and it loves up it’s best friend, the crunchy toasted bread. Salty tings from the seasoning and lemony twangs from the zest-infused sauce on a crunchy, but soft toasted bread that’s saturated with a chickeny-cream goodness, is delectable. It might even make your inner fattie, or I mean foodie, scream with glee.

So, if after eating this little bundle of everything right in the world,  you haven’t passed out in a creamy caloric induced snooze,
be sure to comment below or click the button to follow my blog! You’ll get a fan’freakin’tastic email ever single time I post something new!

Come on now,.. don’t be chicken! (haha……………….ha.)

Youtube link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHw67wim0Vk

Phood at The Phork

The Phork
9710 110 Street Capital Place Building
Edmonton, Alberta

Phunny how things are spelled sometimes.

I owed my incredibly handsome nephew a meal and I had recently came across a Groupon deal for a new restaurant called “The Phork”. Usually, restaurants with spellings like this, or with kitchy names like The Crazy Giraffe or The Pink Zebra, usually make me roll my eyes. I just don’t understand that type of restaurant naming.

The Phork is a new restaurant that’s been open for 3 weeks or so, and had a Groupon “coupon” for $50.00 value if you spent $25.00.  If you’ve been reading my incredibly interesting blog at all, you’d be getting to know that my cheap ass can’t pass up a good deal, regardless of the name of the joint.

They’re located on the main floor of the Capital Place Building and parking is available underground. HOWEVER. Be warned.  If you have a somewhat tallish SUV, the clearance is only 6’1 and unless you want to cause by-standards to run to your vehicle door, flailing arms, mouthing STOP, STOP, and generally making a scene so you don’t slowly and painfully scrape the roof racks off the top of your ride,…. you’ll want to park on the street. Just thought,.. you know.. that I’d mention that.

Ahem.

Moving on, let’s chat briefly about the decor. Let’s just say, I loved it. They seated us by the window  with a nice view that sort of overlooks the river valley and the high level bridge with peeks of the skyline. Rich dark woods, a contemporary decor that’s comfortable and impressive at the same time.

thephork2 phork2

We were seated to the table, and our drink order was taken immediately. Our server came and gave us the info on the specials and what dishes have been popular, which is a nice tip for those who aren’t sure what to order.

phork1

We decided to share a half order of their Crisp Ambrosia Apple and Red Anjou Pear Slaw Salad (gathered greens, Canadian oka, orange and grapefruit & maple citrus vinaigrette) to start, and for our main lunch, I ordered the The Boar Belly Chicken Club (crisp greens, tomato, aged cheddar, bacon mayo) and my nephew ordered The Hand Formed Alberta Bison Burger (Caramelized red onion jam, chiffonade romaine, oven dried tomato, wild mushroom and truffle aioli, water chiabatta bun).

The salad:

phork3

It was crispy and sweet from the apples and pears, and the tartness was nice from the citrus fruit segments. The way they cut the apple and pear in match sticks made it a bit awkward to eat as there’s no way to eat them and still look pretty. Thank God I wasn’t on a date and my nephew thinks I’m awesome regardless of how stupid I look when I eat.

Every bite was different – sweet, tart, and at times you’d get a hit of the Oka cheese, or a salty bite from what I think was finishing salt. All over, the salad was quite nice, but it was BEGGING for some sort of nut. Almonds or walnuts, whatever… please, hear it’s cry and add some nuts!

The Boar Bacon Chicken Club:

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Ok, so first, the crappy news. My sandwich was…….. ho-hum. You know, kinda like when u kiss someone you’re not sure if you’re into. It was nice… but no “wow” factor. The boar bacon was thick and tasty, but when everything was all combined between the bun, it was all one note. Nothing really stood out, the flavors just kinda huddled together and kept to themselves. I’m not saying it was bad, don’t get me wrong. It was nice, juicy, and a popular pick on the menu apparently, but it was kind of the under-achiever of the meal. It should be noted that the fries were damn good, though. Hand cut and not overcooked, sharp, cut-your-mouth-open, little spears – like some places make them.

Ugh.

The Side Ceasar:

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Garrett’s burger came with a side of caesar salad. The romaine was grilled in wedge style and had everything that should be in a caesar salad piled on top of the romaine. He loved it. He said that grilling the romaine added a great flavor and the dressing was rich and flavorful. At one point, he had a larger bite of an anchovy, but it didn’t deter him.

The Bison Burger:

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The burger itself was SUPER moist and juicy, which is impressive being bison – so easy to overcook into a puck. The red onion jam stood up with a nice tarty sweetness against the meatyness of the bison and the bun was soft and chewy. Almost too soft, as both my sandwich and his burger were falling apart as you ate them. No biggie tho. Being as cool as we both are, we rolled with it, and they were thoughtful to toast the bun which ALWAYS makes bread a bit more kick-ass. So honestly saying, with the exception of the fall apart bun, the bison burger was the BEST burger I’ve had in a VERY long time. It’s what burger dreams are made of,  know what I’m sayin’?

It also should be noted that The Phork is open early for us morning lovers (7:30 a.m.) who want breakfast out, and for those who are still awake after 10, they have a late night tapas menu that runs till 2am. Impressive right? Weekends have live music as well.

All in all, I can forgive the kitchy spelling because I REALLY like this place so far. I will definitely be back to check out their dinner menu, see that view at night with all the lights and soft music, and if I drink enough coffee, I might make it to the tapas menu for after ten.

Lastly, this place is perfect for a date night, people. Reasonably priced, great service, good food, and super sexy ambiance. SURELY the recipe to possibly pay off later…. wink wink :)

blueforkinfoodiestamp

The Phork on Urbanspoon

My Christmas Love Affair

I’m in love.

Yes.. that’s right. LOVE.

And it happens every damn year around this time.

I’m in love for about a month.. month and half… and then we breakup. It’s the same old thing every year. You’d think I’d get tired of those messy shenanigans right?

Nope.

Around the middle of November, my mind starts to flash intermittently on images of years past with the great times we had. The smiles I smiled, the happiness I expressed, (sometimes even with a little dance), the loving looks that always linger longer than they should.

I get weak. I forget the previous year’s ugliness with the breakup. By December, I’m full into it.

I long.. I pine. I cannot stand it any longer.

I fall in love, all over again for another year. With who you ask? Not so much with who, but more with what.

Yes my dear readers, with the simple

BUTTERSCOTCH CONFETTI SQUARE.

Obviously you know I’m over exaggerating.

(ok.. KINDA over exaggerating.)

Anyway – Truth is,  is that the lowly confetti square treat is probably my most favorite Christmas “baking” to eat. Easy as hell to make and when you take your first bite.. peanut buttery, butterscotchy devine-ness… sweet,… smooth, …it melts in your mouth with the sweet whisper of “hello again, Lover”.

Add the pillowy texture of fruity mini marshmallows and you pretty much have the reason why love was invented.

I LOVE this dessert. But we always have to breakup after Christmas because well, with any good relationship, you don’t want to burn out on each other, and well… the unhealthyness of it all. OMG, the calories!

If I didn’t stop eating it, I’d be like some 800lb strung out dessert addict shoving a bag of mini marshmallows in my pants at Safeway so I could go home and make my next hit.

So, we have our little love affair for the season, and in the new year, we say goodbye.

I just don’t want to think about that part right now.

Butterscotch Confetti Squares

Ok. Here we go:

1. In a super cute pot like mine, melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 stick butter
2. Add 1 cup of Peanut Butter, and 1 bag of butterscotch chips

consquares2

3. Mix till melted and let cool a bit. DO NOT DRINK. It is NOT a beverage!

consquares3

4. Add 1 bag mini marshmallows. Do you like the action shot?

consquares4
5. Mix together till well coated and put into greased dish

consquares5

consquares6
Chill dessert for at least an hour to set up.

Take heed. Your love affair will begin after the first bite,
but don’t come crying to me when you can’t stop. I warned you.

Enjoy!

confetti squares

KickYourAss Gingerbread Cookies

Short and sweet today. I have found THE very best Gingerbread Cookie recipe. EVER. This was probably handed down, mother to daughter for centuries, who originally got it from the gingerbread inventor themselves. They are THAT good.

Trust me on this all my proper gingerbread challenged friends –  Make this.

You can shower me with your thank you’s later.

KickYourAss Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup        Butter, softened
1 cup        Brown sugar
1 cup        White Sugar
1/2 cup     Molasses
1               Egg
3 cups      All Purpose Flour
2 tsp        Baking soda
1 tsp        Cinnamon
2 TBS      Powdered Ginger
1/2 tsp     Allspice
1 tsp        Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream together sugars, butter, molasses, egg, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, spices and soda
Add dry to wet ingredients, and combine thoroughly.
Scoop onto baking sheet in nice sized rounds

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on your baking sheets. Just keep an eye on them. They will be thick and soft when you taken them out, but on cooling, will flatten, firm up and become crunchy on the outside.

These cookies are so good. Sweet, crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. The two tablespoons of ginger is AMAZING in them, makes them nice and spicy with gingery goodness!

gingercookie
Sorry about the quality of the photo… it was a phone pic!