October 01, 2009

Recipe: Blueberry Muffins

Recipezaar comes through again! This recipe for blueberry muffins turned out really really well and were yummy. Also important, they were very easy to make and used ingredients that are easy to have on hand. I'm reproducing the recipe here so that I won't lose track of it.

Awesome Blueberry Muffins

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
* 1 egg
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 cup fresh blueberries

* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup butter, cubed
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.
Mix this with flour mixture.
Fold in blueberries.
Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping:
Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Posted by JAY at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2009

Long Slow Stew

Quick recipes are nice, but when trying to make a really good meal out of very cheap meat, low and slow is the way to go. I cut the beef, tough shanks, ox tail and blade, into large chunks so that they wouldn't disappear over the 5 hour bake in the oven. I seared them off to add flavor and sauteed with a classic mirpoix (onions, celery and carrot). Smoked paprika with other herbs added some exotic flavor. Parsley, beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden rounded out the meal.

Posted by JAY at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2009

Apple Picking

We went apple picking at Pine Farms Orchard in King City. The trees were laden with many, many different kinds of apples and it was fun sampling them all (pesticides be damned!). It was a drizzly day, but we still had a good time. My favorite for eating were the Honey Crisp, but they were a bit more expensive than the others, which were only 89c/lb - not a bad price. Naomi had a good time but got tired pretty quickly.

Posted by JAY at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2009

Gaming and Google Earth

Dan, Jen and I went to Chris and Eva's place in Toronto to play board games. We played a variety of games, including Goldene Stadt (which I suck at) and Settlers of Cataan (which I'm OK at). There were other games, but I can't remember them anymore :)

Chris' condo is awesome, spacious and in the heart of the city on College and Yonge - steps from the universities, hospitals and biggest downtown shopping centre. And it was surprisingly inexpensive, making me entertain fantasies of living in the city...

In related news, Google Street View is making its way north - here's Chris' condo building Street View is pretty cool, but it's just a bit creepy. Sean's wife was parked in the street in front of his house and you can 'drive' right past it and look in the windows. Yeesh.

Posted by JAY at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2009

Garage Door Opener

Canadian Tire had a great deal on a garage door opener - a heavy duty one with 2 openers and a combo lock. At least I think it was a great deal, because it was about a hundred bucks off and the whole skid of them sold out.

Lisa and I installed it on Thanksgiving Monday, in between gorging ourselves on prime rib, yorkshire puddings and pumpkin pie. EVERYTHING went our way - the motor head landed squarely between the electrical outlet and the ceiling light, and underneath the ceiling joist. My neighbor's ladder was the perfect height to support the motor head in place. The rail just barely fit past the garage door spring. When we needed carriage bolts to attach to the door, my neighbour returned home and supplied them. (For some reason, the kit only supplied 2" lag bolts - who has a 2" thick garage door!?) Lots to be thankful for!

I also installed a lock in the garage door to disengage the opener from the outside, in case the power is out or the unit malfunctions. Unfortunately, I measured with the door closed and when open, the hole for the lock was too low and pulled the disengage hook as the door opened. So I had to move it higher, leaving a hole that needs patching.

Anyway, I'm glad to have it up before winter hits, so that I don't have to get out of the car unnecessarily.

Posted by JAY at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2009

Princess Cake

Princess cake is a Swedish dessert. It's layers of cake with pastry cream and whipped cream, topped with green marzipan. Melanie had made them in the past working in a bakery but never gotten to taste it. So we decided to make one, using a recipe from Martha Stewart. Ours ended up looking a bit more like the homemade attempts than the Martha Stewart version :) More pix and text after the jump.

First, I didn't mix the genoise for the cake base enough. Martha's recipe bakes the cakes in 2 sheet pans, meaning that they kind of get different levels of heat in the oven. Next time, I think I'll just use cake pans and make thicker cakes. Luckily, once drenched in simple syrup, any textural inconsistencies were undetectable. And the ground almonds in the batter were tasty and added some good texture.

Jen came over and we had a nice dessert session. I took some leftovers to the parents who liked it too. The problem with it is that the relatively tough marzipan coating over the ultra soft whipped cream makes it pretty impossible to not deform the cake when cutting it. That said, it tasted really good.

Posted by JAY at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)