Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gateau au Citron

On my Facebook group Bakealicious! I've implemented a monthly baking challenge to try to get everyone into their kitchens and trying new and yummy recipes. For March I chose a French-style yogurt cake from Orangette, which I made finally last night, and it turned out delicious! I'll definitely be making it again and again and with different citrus fruits.

It was super moist and tasty and had a tart lemon glaze, I highly recommend it. I made it all in the one bowl of my stand mixer, very little mess! I altered the original recipe slightly, adding a little more lemon zest than it called for because I LOVE lemon!

For the cake:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Grated lemon zest of two lemons
1/2 cup canola oil

For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 jar powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a parchment-lined 9-inch round cake pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Coffee In Vancouver

I know I should probably NOT be advertising another coffee company's brand, but whenever I'm close to an Artigiano's location I make a point to stop in for a great Americano or French Press. I can't help it - hope you do the same sometime! Quaint, great service, welcoming atmosphere, appropriate food offerings, and delicious coffee!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Olympics!

Something I loved to do almost daily during the Olympics was visit the Cauldron down on the waterfront. I was very depressed the day they put it out.

Gold rings means Canadian gold medal!

One afternoon a friend and I decided to go for a walk through Stanley Park to visit the Olympic rings out on their barge in the harbor. Needless to say, it didn't look as far as it was and we ended up walking about ten kilometers round trip! Totally worth it, however, despite the gray weather and the threat of rain. It made for some great photos...

Downtown on Robson Street was chaos once the games were on!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Urban Fare

When I was at the Olympics I did my shopping at this great market that I found in the new Shangri La building in Vancouver. It's the tallest building in the city now, home to celebrities, Burberry, and the Urban Fare Market.

It includes a full bakery/pastry department, deli, salad bar, and Thomas Haas Chocolaterie. It was just a really pretty store to shop in!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Mac Attack Entry!

Firstly, thank you again to Jamie and Deeba for facilitating this fun activity! The theme for Mac Tweets' Mac Attack 5 is "Spring Fling", and the inspiration is to be spring flowers. The first thing that always comes to mind for me when I think about spring/summer is lavender. I love everything about it. How something so simple can be so impactful is amazing to me.

I knew I wanted lavender macarons, but I got the idea to pair that flavor with fresh orange from Cannelle et Vanille.

Lavender Macarons
By Dulce Doll

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. confectioners sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. ground almonds
2 large egg whites, aged 24 hours
5 tbsp. granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Blue or lavender gel food coloring
Dried lavender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment, and have a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/4-inch tip ready.

In a food processor, pulse together the powdered sugar, almonds, and cocoa, until a fine powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about two minutes. Add orange zest and a very small amount of food coloring, only enough to very slightly tint the color. Whip again for a few seconds to incorporate zest and color.

Carefully fold in the dry ingredients, in two batches, with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).

Pipe the batter on the prepared baking sheets in 1-inch circles, evenly spaced one-inch apart. Sprinkle tops with dried lavender.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten, then bake 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool completely, then remove from baking sheet.

Fresh Orange Buttercream
By Dulce Doll

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Confectioners sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange

Cream butter until smooth. Add vanilla and continue beating to incorporate. Start mixing in confectioners sugar, 1/4-cup at a time until you have desired consistency. Beat in orange zest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My New Love

Okay, so I've always been terrified of making crepes. I'm not sure why, but up until now, I haven't even attempted making them. I thought you had to have a special pan - not entirely true.

I've always liked crepes, usually sweet ones with lots of fruit and whipped cream. One time in Calgary, my BFF and I went to an eclectic little restaurant only serving crepes. We were very excited, Sunday morning, and then the waitress called them creeps. Ugh. We felt a little less classy at the time, but the joke still keeps on giving...

One of my almost daily staples in Vancouver is Cafe Crepe - they're all over the city, a walk-up crepe kiosk, if you will, with every yummy flavor you could want, savory or sweet.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when one of my favorite bloggers, Christine, of Fresh Local and Best posted a very simple crepe recipe from her recent trip to France. I took it as a sign and what happened next is very dangerous. I now know how to make crepes. This recipe does not call for vanilla, but I will add it next time.

Basic Crepes

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp. melted butter

To make batter, whisk eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in flour until blended. Pour in milk, a quarter cup at a time, so that the batter is smooth. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Whisk until smooth.

Place a frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, brush melted butter onto the entire surface of the pan. When you are ready to ladle the batter onto the pan, pick up the pan, have it tilted at about a 30 degree angle. Ladle about a quarter of a cup of batter onto the tilted pan. Continue to tilt the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter evenly.

Allow the crepe to cook for roughly two minutes. Use a plastic spatula to loosen the edges of the crepe. When the crepe looks ready, peel it off the skillet and flip it over. Brown the second side for roughly a minute.

My very first crepe!!

I brushed melted butter and sprinkled with sweetened coconut flakes.

Strawberry jam - yum!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I always love trying new chocolate chip cookie recipes because you never know if one might be just a little bit more perfect than the one you already think is perfect. I don't know, I can't take that chance. This recipe comes from my new cook book (the one pictured in my last post).

This recipe is great, the cookies baked really nice and evenly, were extremely easy to put together quickly, and tasted just right. Still, my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie is still this one, but this one may have moved into second place, just based on the fact that they are chewy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
From The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or food processor, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add flour mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a spoon, scoop out a ball of dough, roll in your hands to shape and then drop on parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing plenty of room for cookies to expand. Slightly flatten the tops.

For a soft, chewy cookie, bake for exactly 12 minutes. For a crispier cookie, bake for exactly 15 minutes.

* I made some cookies regular size, but I made some also that were giant, flattened them quite a bit before baking, and added some baking time. They were awesome!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Book

I bought this new book this week and I LOVE it! Lots of fabulous, tasty recipes by a chef who takes a fairly laid back approach to cooking. He's a Canadian chef, from Prince Edward Island with a background in fine dining. He's all about flavor and ease and that personal touch making the dish your own.

I made his chocolate chip cookies last night, huge hit at work this morning! Will post them tomorrow!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Hour and Twenty Minutes for a Hot Dog!

I don't know if you've heard about Japadog, but it's kind of a big deal in Vancouver! After a mention on the NBC Today Show during the Olympics they became an even bigger deal, and after promising my friend visiting Vancouver his first trip to Japadog, I stood in line for well over an hour for my dog.

Fortunately, these dogs are fantastic, unique because they're topped with traditional Japanese fixings, and suggested accompaniments that include edamame. I ordered one of my favorites, the Beef Terimayo, which is a beef smokie, Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, grilled onions, and nori.

I wish I had one now!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Opening Ceremonies!

Today I will share my photographs of my night at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic games! Wow, what an incredible energy! Just walking up to BC Place was so exciting!

Please excuse the photo quality, some photos are from my iphone, some from my camera, but it was very dark inside, with constant movement and it was difficult to capture everything. I'm posting some of my favorite memories from the evening, including several photos of athletes, but really, it's all about them! I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did.

Waiting to get through security (in the rain!).

My Dad waited for the clock to count down at the Art Gallery.

Mounties raising the Canadian flag to start the ceremonies.

The start of the athletes' arrival.



Great Britain

United States

Canada! The audience exploded with their arrival!

Northern Lights

Totem Poles


Rocky Mountains

K.D. Lang's breathtaking performance.

Finally the torch! Paralympic medalist Rick Hansen arrives.

The final hand-off to Wayne Greztky!

Ready to light the now famous malfunctioning cauldron.


Time to relax! Athletes starting to leave the building.

One of my favorites! US athletes making snow angels in the artificial snow!

This Canadian athlete (center) "flagged" down these two fans for a photo!