Jun 30, 2009

Michael Roux's French Pastry Books

The book that taught me the French Pastry making secrets. Contains recipes and pictures and step by step instruction. Amazingly easy to follow even if you never attempted french pastry baking . Great for beginners.

Finest Desserts. The star recipes of Michael Roux. Some of them are very easy like crêpes and lady fingers, others require some knowledge a level 3 and 4 in French pastry baking. I recommend it to people that are really interested in the art of French Pastry baking.

Jun 29, 2009


I grew up eating crêpes, my mom would make them very often. I never given to much thought of where they originated from or how many recipes or how different they were. But time passed and years letter I found myself in the middle of an ... well, I could call it an obsession: French pastry. I have read many books that unfortunately made me believe that I would never be able to actually learn the amazing art of french pastry. Until one day in a bookstore on the clearance table I found a book, a french pastry book I couldn't help myself and I picked it up. I have found the most amazing book. Pastry by Michel Roux. Michel Roux is a french pastry chef, born and raised in France and who lives now in England. This crêpes recipe is published in his book called "Finest Deserts" ( published in 1995). And without a doubt is the best crêpes recipe I ever tried. And if you like crêpes this is the recipe to try.


1 3/4 cups flour (250 g)
2 tbsp of sugar (30 g)
A pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
4 eggs
2 2/3 cups milk (650 ml)
7/8 cup heavy cream (200 ml)
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp of clarified butter

Combine the flour with the sugar and salt in a large bowl. Then add the eggs two at the time mixing well with a whisk .

Add 7/8 cup (200 ml) from the total of 2 2/3 cups (650 ml) milk , whisk to make a smooth batter. Add the cream and the rest of the milk, then let the batter rest for about 1 hour in a cool place.

Stir the batter and add the vanilla. Brush the frying pan ( I used a 9 inches pan) with clarified butter,( you will need to do this after every 3 or 4 crêpes cooked). Let the pan heat over medium heat.

Ladle in the pan a little batter and and cook the crêpe for about 1 minute on each side, turning it with a metal spatula or tossing it ( if you are brave enough).

You can fold the crêpes or roll them. Sprinkle with sugar or fill them with your favorite jam.

My two older boys Brandon and Cass love them rolled and filled with strawberry jam.


Home Made Strawberry Jam

Strawberry jam is Cass and Brandon's favorite jam (Alex loves apricot jam). So because strawberries are in season we went to "Farmer's Market" and bought a big box. They ate some of them and from the rest I decided to make some jam. This recipe that I love, doesn't belong to me I have seen it on a Barefoot Contessa episode about a year ago. I tried it and my boys loved it, so... since then this is the recipe we use.


3 pints fresh strawberries ( about 6 cups)
3 cups superfine sugar
2 tbsp orange-flavored liqueur ( like Grand Marnier)
1/2 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and cut in small pieces
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 tbsp lemon juice ( optional)

Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut the strawberries into quarters. Place them in a heavy deep pot such as a Dutch oven and toss them with the sugar and liqueur.

Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring often. When is boiling add the blueberries and the apple and keep the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.

Let it boiling for about 35 to 40 minutes. Skim and discard of any foam that rises to the top.

After about 40 minutes take the pot of the stove and taste the jam ( careful it's hot) if you decided that it is to sweet add the 2 tbsp of lemon juice.

Let the jam cool to room temperature. The jam can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or
can be packed and sealed in canning jars. My boys don't like the strawberry jam with strawberries pieces in it, so, I use the hand blender to achieve a smooth texture, but this is a personal choice.


Jun 27, 2009

Russian Tea Cakes

Those melt in your mouth cookies can be found under many names. Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, Austrian Kipferin. They have two things in common, they are eggless
and buttery. My boys love them because somehow they associate them with timbits (canadiens know what I'm talking about).


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (pure)
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts or ground almonds.
1/2 cup icing sugar (for rolling the cookies)

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
In a medium mixing bowl sift the flour and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the sugar, butter and vanilla for about 1 minute until smooth. Add the ground hazelnuts or ground almonds.

Beat on low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until the dough comes together in large clumps.

To make the cookies. Roll a full tablespoon of dough to form a ball of 1 inch round. Place the balls on the prepare baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bottom is lightly colored.
Let the cookies to cool in the baking pan for 5 minutes and after that transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cool roll them thru the icing sugar.

Enjoy with a cup of your favorite tea.

Jun 26, 2009

Cherry cake

My childhood's dessert. This recipe comes courtesy of my mom. My mom the greatest cook I know. A cook that cooks without a recipe or quantities and everything comes out amazing.
I tried many recipes over the years, but always come back to this one. Maybe it's just the taste of my childhood or maybe, it's just that GOOD.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (8 oz)
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups of pitted and halved cherries ( approximately)
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a 13x9x2 inches baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder,baking soda and salt, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for about 40 seconds, add the sugar and mix until very well combined. Beat in eggs 1 by 1 mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla mix well.

Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Mix just until combined do not over mix .

Pour the batter in the prepared pan and arrange the halved pitted cherries cut side down on top of the batter pressing just a little to fix them well in the spot.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on the rack for 15 minutes, take out using the parchment paper, cut into squares when completely cold. Dust with icing sugar if desired .


Jun 24, 2009


I know the perogies are inexpensive and could be found in any supermarket. But they are very easy and fun to make. I always make some extra ( double the recipe ) and freeze them for a future use. My boys love them with a little butter parmesan and fresh chopped herbs.


All purpose flour 2 1/3 cups
Cooking oil 2 tbsp
Water ( or more if needed) 3/4 cups
Salt 1/2 tsp


Warm mashed potatoes 1 1/2 cups
Grated medium cheddar cheese 1 cup
Butter 2 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/8 tsp
Fresh herbs 2 tsp (optional)

In a large mixing bowl. Combine and mix well all four ingredients. And the dough comes together turn on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth(about 4 minutes). Return to the bowl let rest for 20 minutes.

For the filling.

In a separate mixing bowl mix together all the ingredients for the filling.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll out about 1.5 mm thin. Cut into 2 1/2 inch (6.4 cm ) circle with a biscuit cutter. Knead the scrapes together and roll out again and cut until all the dough is used.

Place filling in the center of each circle fold and seal. Transfer on a lightly floured baking sheet and keep cover ( so won't dry ) until all are made.

Drop by batches into a large pot of boiling water. Stir with wooden spoon to keep from sticking to bottom. Boil 3 or 4 minutes. They will float to the top and puffed up when cooked.
Remove with slotted spoon to large bowl. Add melted butter toss gently so they won't stick together.
Serve with your favorite sauce.


Jun 19, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

After almost a week of being sick, not able to cook my boys realy missed "mom's food"
And because I'm still recuperating and I don't have my strength back I decided to make something that doesn't require to much work. Meatloaf. Great tasting, easy to make, can be served cold or hot, works as an appetizer or main dish. Very versatile.

Ingredients for two small meat-loafs.

1 kg of chicken ground meat (or turkey)
2 cups of bread crumbs
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp of dry herbs (I used italian herbs)
1 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
1 extra large ( or 2 small) egg lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste.
2 X 370 g chicken or turkey bacon ( 2 packages)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients, until very well combined. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

In a rectangular oven save dish (12 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches) arrange the bacon slices slightly overlapping across the length of the dish ending with two slices sitting perpendicular at each end. ( see the picture). Keep in mind there will be 2 loafs so try to divide the space in the baking dish equally.

Divide the mixture in two equal parts.

Transfer one of the mixture over the bacon slices and shape into a loaf. Cover the length of the loaf with the slices position at the end's. If the slices are not long enough, just complete with a new bacon slice.

Then start wrapping the bacon around the loaf alternating the sides.

Repeat for the second loaf.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the internal temperature of 180˚F.

Serve with mashed potatoes, and salad or your choice of side dish.


Jun 15, 2009

Blueberry Blast Smoothie

Blueberries! The one and only AWSOME fruit their is! It works well with everything Blueberry muffins, Blueberry pie, and Blueberries it self but the best thing it works in, is smoothies especially when you use frozen blueberries then its cold. Be careful cause its going to be a Blast!


1 cup of skimmed milk
1 cup of blueberry yogurt
2 cups of frozen blueberries


Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth

Makes 2 servings one I enjoyed while taking the pictures.

Stay Cool!

Mango Salsa

This is a perfect combination for a easy and light summer dish. Served with grilled chicken or any other combination you prefer. I like it wit grilled polenta and tofu.


Mangos peeled and diced 2
Chopped sweet onion (like viddalia ) 1/4 cup
Chopped red pepper 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves minced 2
Finely chopped parsley 1 tbsp
Lime juice 2 tbsp
Rice vinegar 1 tbsp

In a medium bowl put the diced mango, diced onion and diced red pepper.

In a small bowl combine the rice vinegar, minced garlic, lime juice and finely chopped parsley.

Pour over the mango mixture and stir to blend well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until needed.


Green Tofu Smoothie

This smoothie is great for people who like tofu, mainly vegetarians (like my mom). I usually use silken tofu for this smoothie, it gives it a better texture then firm tofu ( my mom says so). You can use flavored tofu, like mango, blueberry or you can use plain silken tofu. I used mango tofu (because thats what we had in the fridge).


4 peeled and diced kiwi fruits
1/2 cup of diced honeydew melon
1/2 cup of silken tofu
1/2 cup soy milk or water(your choice)
1 cup of green grapes
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)


Put the kiwi, honeydew melon, soy milk and silken tofu in a blender, next add the grapes then blend until smooth. Taste then add the lemon juice if you like.

Serves 2. If you only use one serving, the second one could be freezed just make sure you leave some space in the container because when it freezes it will expand a little.

Stay Cool!

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