Monday, April 27, 2009

Plump pea dumplings

Plump pea dumplings on Flickr by beFOODled.

How much bump can a dumpling clump if a dumpling will be plump?

Plump pea dumplings. Can the name of this recipe be any more adorable? Peanut Butter and Jelly brought these little darlings to our tapas and Transformer party last weekend. Those little bumps contain clumps of a zesty bright green mixture of pea puree, ricotta and lemon zest — what more can a plump dumpling want?

The recipe comes from the 101 Cookbooks cooking blog and you can find it here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mango mousse with strawberries and lime zest

Mango mousse with strawberries and lime zest on Flickr by beFOODled.

This is the recipe for the rich and delicious mango mousse that Em brought to our party. She chilled the mousse in a bowl and then piped it into wanton soup spoons at our place. We then topped them with slivers of strawberry and mango and a sprinkling of lime zest. DV did all of the zesting, and exquisitely, too ;)

Mango Mousse

Half a can of mango pulp (10 oz)
1 small package of mango, lemon or orange Jello
1 1/2 package gelatin
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipped cream
1 cup milk or soy milk

Boil water. Put gelatin in a cup, add three tablespoons of hot water and stir to fully melt the gelatin. Stir in gelatin, Jello and sugar into the hot water. Add the remaining ingredients after the Jello has melted. Chill in a pan, wine glasses, etc. Serve when set.

You can cut back on the sugar by using less, or eliminate it completely and add more mango pulp.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Potato and onion tortillas

Potato and onion tortillas on Flickr by beFOODled.

The first time I tasted a potato and onion tortilla was in 2005 in Munich, Germany. I was visiting a pal from JSkool who is a true lover of all things Spanish. She cooked this for breakfast one day and fed five adults and a baby.

I thought it was delicious but never tried to cook it myself. All that layering seemed too complicated until I found a simple-looking recipe and made two tortillas for our Transformer tapas party. They turned out golden, crispy and full of potatoey goodness. You just need to use a non-stick pan otherwise the crust will stick to the bottom (an inside scoop I found out on Saturday).

One of my cooking magazines calls this dish a tapas classic. You can serve it hot or at room temperature, the way I did.

Tortilla de patatas (potato and onion tortilla)
Makes two tortillas that serve 20 at a tapas party

1 1/4 cup olive oil
12 potatoes
1 large Spanish onion
1 clove garlic
12 large eggs
salt and pepper

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Slice the onion into half moon slices and mince the garlic. Divide all ingredients in half and set aside. Divide the oil among two same-sized frying pans and heat on medium heat. Add the potato slices, the onion and the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes or until almost soft. Remove from heat.

At this point, cook one tortilla at a time.

Beat six eggs in a large bowl. Remove the potato mixture from one of the frying pans with a slotted spoon and add to the eggs. Remove all but one tablespoon of oil from the frying pan. Return the potato and egg mixture to the frying pan.

Fry for five to seven minutes or until crispy and brown on the bottom. Shake the frying pan or run a spatula down the sides periodically to prevent sticking. Cover the with a large plate and flip the pan upside down to turn out the omelette. Slide it back into the pan to crisp up the other side for five minutes or so.

Repeat with the second frying pan full of potatoes.

Let cool on a cooling rack or serve hot in wedges or squares.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chorizo slices with orange zest (Transformer tapas table awaits guests)

The Transformer tapas table awaits guests on Flickr by beFOODled.

Here's what my buffet table looked like at the beginning of our party. In the foreground are the potato and onion tortillas (recipe coming soon) and behind them, three kinds of olives from Parma Ravioli on Wellington Street. Arcee the Transformer presided over the food while Decepticon Rumble, hanging by a string off our front door, welcomed guests :)

The fourth larger dish next to the olives contains chorizo slices flavoured with orange zest. I am so flattered that two of our friends thought I made the chorizo by hand! Alas, I am no sausage maker, but I do know how to use a frying pan. Here's the recipe:

Chorizo slices with orange zest
adapted from President's Choice Magazine, May 1999

2 hot chorizo sausages
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 Tbsp white wine
zest of one orange

Freeze the chorizo for a couple of hours so that it remains firm while you slice it. Slice it on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Fry in a frying pan over medium heat until browned on both sides. Add the garlic when almost done and cook for one minute. Add the wine and orange zest. Reduce the wine for a few minutes. Drain the fat and put the slices into a bowl. Top with some fresh slivers of orange zest.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mango cheesecake with a basil lemon syrup

Mango cheesecake with lemon basil glaze on Flickr by beFOODled.

How did the Transformer tapas party go? It was so fun, let me tell you the story starting with dessert. Pictured above is S's birthday cake, which Em and I made the night before the party. As you can see, we decorated it with transformers Arcee and Decepticon Rumble, meant to represent S and I as we battle through life for the fate of the universe.

The cake was so delicious. It's a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that you can find here. I cut it into 16 pieces and drizzled the lemon basil syrup over each slice. Em found mango puree that already had sugar in it, so we only used 1/4 cup of sugar instead of the 3/4 cup in the original recipe. I also found some nice orange and pistachio biscotti for the crust.

It turned out really well considering this was my first time making cheesecake. I just have to figure out how to wrap the foil more tightly around the base. The crust got a little soggy and I wasn't able to pick it up very well. Of course, by that time I had had a lot of wine and so had everyone else, so I don't think anyone noticed ;)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tapas transformer party prep

Tapas party reading on Flickr by beFOODled.

This month is S's birthday and this weekend I am throwing him a big tapas party to welcome him to the dirty thirties. He picked the transformer theme on the Evite, prompting some friends to inform me they expect alien robots disguised as everyday machinery in addition to tapas. I am going to have to be hostess extraordinaire to manage all of these expectations.

In the meantime, let me share with you what I have read about tapas. There seem to be several schools of thought on the origin of this custom. One theory surmises that early Anadalusian taverns served dodgy sherry wine but distracted patrons with a complimentary wedge of strong cheese or cured ham over the glass. Another theory states that tapas originated as a way to promote more drinking by producing a thirst. And yet a third states that the tapas over the glass kept out dust and flies attracted to the sweetness of the sherry. So intriguing! I had no idea Spain was so dusty.

Anyways, last night I consulted my cookbooks and have come up with the following tapas menu:

* goat cheese and herb dip (homemade)
* hummus (store-bought)
* salted almonds (homemade)
* marinated olives (store-bought)
* garlic shrimp (homemade)
* chorizo slices (homemade)
* potato and onion omelette (homemade)
* veggie tray (homemade)
* cheese tray (homemade)
* spanakopita (store-bought)

And mounds of breads (pita, baguette, crackers), cake and drinks to fill the cracks! Cooking starts tomorrow.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Barbecued rack of lamb

Barbecued rack of lamb on Flickr by beFOODled.

Last weekend, friends invited us and another couple over to their house for a barbecue, and S and I were once more in the company of wonderful friends and food alike. This is a picture of the luscious rack of lamb that R and A made for us. R also made this great potato salad with some tasty ingredients that all boogied together quite well. I had seconds of that, yum. It was quite nice for us and the other couple because we both live in apartments and can't barbecue at home due to a prohibitive bylaw. That said, S and I are now the proud owners of an indoor grill, and I can't wait to test that out. Stay tuned for future posts on that this summer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CupCakeCamp Ottawa

CupCakeCamp Ottawa's red velvet purse was best in show on Flickr by beFOODled.

Last week I was a taster for CupCakeCamp Ottawa. About 500 people came to taste the wares of the many bakers who participated.

CupCakeCamp Ottawa platter on Flickr by beFOODled.

There were over 3,000 delicious cupcakes to be tasted, so I was glad I didn't have to taste alone.

Random cupcake closeup on Flickr by beFOODled.

The cupcakes came in all shapes and sizes, and were made even more charming with names like stud muffin, nacho libre, and dulce de leche with rum and butter cream.

Dulce de leche cupcake with rum and butter cream on Flickr by beFOODled.

Despite my good intentions to love them all, it only took four cupcakes before my stomach was full.

CupCakeCamp Ottawa bakers on Flickr by beFOODled.

The bakers brought out trays every fifteen minutes and placed them on long tables before the crowd. Then it became a feeding frenzy. For 25 cents, you could wash everything down with a shot of milk or coffee. And if things really took a turn for the worst, you could recover in the aptly-named Sugar Coma Lounge.

CupCakeCamp Ottawa judges on Flickr by beFOODled.

The judges had to taste all of the cupcakes and were definitely showing signs of sugar overload after only the first hour. Luckily they persevered, and these are the results of their deliberations:

* Best in Show: Red Velvet Purse by Michelle Morrison
* Best Chocolate: Before 9 Minipops by L’Oven
* Best Decorated: Oreo Sunrise by Kristen LaFrance
* Most Unique: Irish Car Bomb by Anne Patenaude
* Honourable Mention for Tastiness: Lemony Lemon by Colleen Forer

The organizers raised $2,000 for Ottawa’s Woman Alive/Femme Active Program.

Related Posts with Thumbnails