Category Archives: The Back Burner

Muffin Monday: Chunky Monkey Banana Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

This week not only marks my long overdue return to Muffin Monday, but also the start of a whopping six weeks of extravagant holiday muffins. So buckle up ladies and gentlemen; things are gonna get festive!

To get the muffin merriment started, Baker Street tasked us with putting our own unique twist on a simple banana bread recipe. Our group used a Food Network recipe as a jumping off point, but you could easily use any other recipe so long as you reduce the cooking time accordingly (click here for my ultimate banana bread recipe).

Wanting to evoke my inner Ben & Jerry’s, I threw in a cup of coconut, a TBSP of cinnamon, and a trilogy of chocolate chips (white, dark and milk chocolate). I was planning on adding chopped walnuts as well, but got vetoed by the young-ins.

These muffins were decadent without being over the top. Perfect with your morning coffee (and again as a snack in the afternoon), these muffins are incredibly moist thanks to the mashed banana. I enjoyed the generous amount of cinnamon that ended up happening accidentally due to the helping hands of my four year-old, but it really balanced out all of the other flavours nicely.

Happy Muffin Monday!

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

 

Food & Wine Magazine: October Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Joining me along the way is my fellow blogger Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée, and our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three who provides us with fantastic wine pairings for each month’s cover.

Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send me an email at info@cookthatbook.com to let me know you made the cover recipe, and if you’re a blogger don’t forget to post a link to your post in the comments below.

Ricotta & Fontina Stuffed Shells with Fennel & Radicchio

Rating: 5 out of 5 (great vegetarian option for Thanksgiving)

Initial Thoughts: October’s cover recipe screams comfort food!

THE TEST: This month was extra special for me as it heralded the return of my culinary cohort Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée, plus I had the pleasure of cooking and sharing this meal with Kendall Harris of Wine2Three! Our resident wine expert is currently on sabbatical in France for the next several months, so I was thrilled to host her for a Food & Wine Magazine cover dinner before she flew across the Atlantic. It was so much fun being able to experience this month’s recipe and wine pairing together at the same table. Definitely something that we will have to do again in the future.

Now on to the food!

After what has felt like an endless stream of meat dishes, it was with enthused relief that I prepared to tackle this pasta dish. Stuffed with sautéed fennel and radicchio along with ricotta and fontina cheeses, this recipe is meant to suffice as a vegetarian main dish option for Thanksgiving. Baked in a homemade marinara sauce and layered with additional fontina, it was easy to see how seasonally appropriate this pasta bake would be to serve guests at this time of year.

The recipe itself is not difficult, but there are several steps involved. Feel free to use a good quality jarred marinara sauce if you are short on time, but believe me when I say this sauce is definitely worth the extra effort. Olive oil is infused with garlic before tomato paste, whole tomatoes and basil are added along with salt and pepper and some sugar for sweetness, and a dash of cream.

THE RESULTS: Initially after tasting the fennel/radicchio mixture I was concerned it would be too bitter, but once it had a chance to bake everything mellowed out nicely and even the flavour of fennel was not overpowering. The creaminess of the cheese mixture (fontina – where have you been all my life!) balanced the bite of the veggies and the acidicy of the tomato sauce. The results? Perfectly balanced pasta dish that was full of fantastic flavours and deeply satisfying. I was surprised at how hearty the fennel and radicchio filling turned out; it was ironically very meaty!

One piece of advice I would offer is to let the veggies cool completely before adding the rest of the ingredients for the filling. This display of patience will help prevent everything from melting together and allow each ingredient to stand out more independently from the others.

And as for the tomato sauce? No wonder it’s called Best-Ever Marinara! Hands down one of the best (and easiest) tomato sauces I’ve had the pleasure of making.

Well-done Grace Parisi…yet another successful cover recipe.

(Don’t forget to hop on over to Food, Je t’Aimée to see how our fair Aimée made out with this recipe!)

 

Cover Recipe: Ricotta-and-Fontina-Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com 


Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

I had such fun watching Jasmine cook this amazing meal and take the time to photograph the beautiful pictures you see above! For this particular meal I brought an Italian wine; Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I enjoyed sharing it with Jasmine and chatting with her about its flavour and how well it paired with this wonderful meal.

I have a special relationship with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Back in my ’20s, I tasted a wine I liked and noticed it said Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on the label. At the time I wasn’t sure if that was the name of the wine, the company who bottled it, or the name of a castle in Italy. But what I did know was that I loved the wine and had to seek it out again. The next time I was in a wine shop, I asked for a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and was subsequently handed a wine with a different label than I remembered. I was a bit confused, but when I tasted the wine it held the same delicious qualities. It has since become my go-to Italian wine! I now know that Montepulciano is the name of the grape, and Abruzzo is the region (essentially it means the Montepulciano grape of Abruzzo).

NOTE: To add to the confusion there happens to be a town in Italy called Montepulciano, which produces a wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This wine is not made with the Montepulciano grape, it is made with Sangiovese which is Italy’s most planted red grape variety. But I digress!

After Sangiovese, Montepulciano is Italy’s second most widely dispersed indigenous grape variety. It produces a wine that pairs perfectly with the Italian dish we enjoyed from this month’s cover. It is not a heavy wine and so is perfect to serve alongside pasta, plus it has that wonderful acidity (the quality that makes your mouth water) for which Italian wines are renowned. Jasmine noticed some nice spice in it, and we both loved how fruity and bright it tasted. I hope this is a wine you explore and enjoy with your next Italian meal (maybe this recipe?) – cheers!

Kendall Harris is a wine blogger who shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She has an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is passionate about sharing her wine knowledge with others. “Like” her page on Facebook for fun, informative wine posts!  

Thomas Keller – Bouchon Bakery

I have to admit that initially I was tickled pink when a blog comment from Thomas Keller appeared in my email. But after it was quickly followed by one from Katniss Everdeen I knew that it was only spam.

Needless to say I went from cloud nine visions of having finally ‘made’ it in the food-writing world to the reality of needing to get a better spam filter. Those crafty spammer folks knew just what to do in order to get my heart pumping.

Thomas Keller.

Most people associate Keller’s name with his famed list of restaurants that include The French Laundry, Per Se, Ad Hoc, and Bouchon. But what some of you may not realize is that he also owns five bakeries. And unlike the target audiences of his flagship restaurants, Keller’s bakeries speak the universal language of baked goods.

Keller, Thomas (cr. Deborah Jones)

Inspired by the boulangeries (bakeries) of Paris, Thomas Keller and his team launched the Bouchon Bakery in 2003 next to their Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, CA. The success of the bakery has since resulted in additional stores in Las Vegas, New York City and Beverly Hills. All of their delicacies are based on traditional French baking techniques, and include everything from lunchtime staples like quiche and salads, to simple baked goods such as cookies and muffins, to the delicate macron, traditional French Viennoiserie (croissants, milk-bread doughs, brioche), and even treats for your four legged friends (dog biscuits enriched with foie gras and chicken stock).

This past week saw the release of Keller’s much anticipated book; Bouchon Bakery. Written by Thomas Keller and his pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, this book has the anal attention to detail that readers have come to expect (and I happen to love) from a Keller cookbook. Details are meticulously laid out and accompanied by step-by-step photography to further illustrate techniques. I love baking recipes that have been scaled down from their original professional quantities with measurements given in weight. Honestly, if you plan to bake from this book buy a scale and embrace working with grams. You will be surprised by the favourable difference this has on your results. If you don’t have access to a scale, there are volume amounts offered as an alternative, but be prepared to face quantities such as “1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon”.

One recipe from the book I’d like to share with you is for the bakery’s famed Rum Cake. It is simple in terms of ingredients and overall taste, and yet it holds a plethora of layers that keep you coming back for more. I love the pureness embraced by this recipe. It is a classic cake that similar to the little black dress in your closet will never go out of style.

The batter itself is simple, consisting solely of a whack load of butter (we’re talking Paula Deen quantities here folks!), eggs, almond flour with a tad of all-purpose thrown in the mix, and of course rum.

Unfortunately my first attempt at this cake resulted in a crumbly disaster, my own fault as I couldn’t resist the pretty red Bundt pan that would look oh so lovely in the photos. Vanity won out over function. But the second time around I made sure to slather on an obscene amount of butter in my pan prior to adding the batter. I also found it helped to let the cake cool completely before attempting to remove it from the pan.

A rum simple syrup is brushed over the cake before it is drizzled with a rum icing.

The perfect rainy day indulgence with afternoon tea.

Bouchon Bakery is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit Thomas Allen & Son.

For a copy of the recipe for Rum Cake, please click here

Food & Wine Magazine: September Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Joining me along the way is my fellow blogger Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée, and our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three who provides us with fantastic wine pairings for each month’s cover.

Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send me an email at info@cookthatbook.com to let me know you made the cover recipe, and if you’re a blogger don’t forget to post a link to your post in the comments below.

 

Grilled Skirt Steak with Poblano-Corn Sauce & Salsa

Rating: 4 out of 5 (great flavours, quick & easy entertaining)

Initial Thoughts: Am I having deja-vu? Didn’t we just have a steak cover?! Not that anyone in my family would ever dream of complaining about steak, but so far this year’s covers have been pretty meaty. A crazy dessert. That’s what I’m holding out for…

THE TEST: This month I was once again alone in the kitchen as Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée was busy putting the finishing touches on her new site, which I am happy to announce is now live! You can check it out here. Luckily Kendall Harris of Wine2Three was able to keep me company with yet another excellent wine pairing! Don’t forget to check out her article at the bottom of this post…her choice of Carmenere went perfectly with the buttery skirt steak.

Mouthwatering would have to be the way I’d describe the photo on this month’s cover. But it wasn’t until I read through the recipe that I realized this particular dish had been developed as part of a 3-ingredient recipe challenge. I immediately became intrigued!

Grilled fresh corn and poblano chile are the star flavours alongside the steak. Half of the vegetable mixture is pureed into a smooth sauce, while the remainder becomes a chunky salsa to spoon over top of the meat. This dish came together quickly and easily…especially with Mr. Spock manning the grill. In terms of entertainment food, this would be a perfect recipe to serve guests as the sauce/salsa can be made beforehand and the steak only needs a quick sear on the grill before dinner is on the table. Serve this up with a couple of quick sides and BAM! (Sorry – couldn’t resist channeling me some Emeril).

THE RESULTS: I must admit that I was skeptical as to how much flavour impact this dish was going to have with only three ingredients, two of which (poblanos and corn) I find to be quite mild in taste. But low and behold, this recipe turned out to be a hit at our house! The corn and pepper held a nice sweetness from the grill that was full flavoured and roasted. Combined with the buttery taste of the skirt steak, this dish was balanced, fresh and exciting. The pureed sauce combined with the chunky salsa gave everything an interesting textural difference.

Yes – I would have liked some cilantro, maybe some lime juice and red pepper flakes – but as far as a 3-ingredient challenge goes this was inspired. I will definitely be playing around with this recipe in the future.

Cover Recipe:
Grilled Skirt Steak with Poblano-Corn Sauce & Salsa 

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Carmenere is one of my favorite red wines for grilled meat! Carmenere is famous for being the signature grape of Chile and also famous for its cool life story. It was first grown hundreds of years ago in the famous French region of Bordeaux, and was pretty much wiped out during the late 1800’s when the Phylloxera epidemic hit Europe and destroyed most of its vineyards. Luckily, it had been exported to Chile where it was thriving but the Chileans assumed it was the Merlot grape. Until…in 1994 a French Professor of Oenology corrected everyone: this Chilean grape was not Merlot, but long lost Carmenere! So in a sense, Carmenere is a relatively NEW discovery and the pride and joy of Chile.

Carmenere is a red wine that is characterized by its deep crimson color and its aromas and flavours of red fruits and berries. It often holds a pleasing spiciness which makes it pair wonderfully with grilled meats. The best Carmenere comes from Chilean producers like Concha y Toro, who not only vinify it on its own but also blend it with other grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to make some interesting blends. This is a wine varietal to get to know, and one that can be enjoyed at some very excellent prices as well! Enjoy your taste of Chile!

Kendall Harris is a wine blogger who shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She has an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is passionate about sharing her wine knowledge with others. “Like” her page on Facebook for fun, informative wine posts!

 

Fifty Shades of Gray Poupon


Written & photographed by contributing writer Jacqueline Twa

I spent most of my formative years out here on the beautiful west coast, and grew up sheltered from many things…including condiments.

Well, ketchup and mayonnaise have always been a part of my life but mustard was something rare and really bright yellow – sun shiny yellow. In our home it was only to be used sparingly. A little swipe on a ham sandwich on white bread, or sometimes on a hot dog. This brilliantly coloured condiment was definitely not something that you encountered every day. At least in my family.

Looking back now, I realize that I was a mustard innocent. But all of that sweet naiveté was stripped away in junior high school when I met and befriended Yvette, a girl who had just moved to our city. She came from France, and as a result seemed incredibly unique, very sophisticated, and oh so worldly.

I shall always remember the day I was first asked to come over to her house for dinner.

I had never seen anything like the food that was put in front of me. They even had hor’derves – and on a Tuesday night no less! Yvette’s Mom came over to us with a tray of tiny round crackers with what I thought was going to be mayonnaise and a sweet pickle, but in actuality was a tiny cornichon with a healthy slathering of Dijon mustard as its sexy pillow.

I took one, thanked her politely, and popped it into my mouth.

My scalp tingled and my eyes widened at this first taste. My virgin tastebuds were assaulted, slowly heating my mouth and shocking my senses into total oblivion. I abruptly feelt a stiffening in my mouth, my lips throbbing from the tangy assault. I spat out this unfamiliar experience into a million little pieces, watching helplessly as they fell into the depths of my napkin.

My mouth spent and exhausted, my chest heaving from the heady experience.  A strange and somehow savory, sexy taste lingering on my lips from the mustard. It was at this point that I knew deep inside that I would forever be bound to mustard – my new dark, savoury obsession.

When I mentioned this experience to my Mom after returning home later that night, she just rolled her eyes at the thought of serving 14 year olds hor’derves!

Thus began my fetish with mustard.  I dared not tell anyone about my obsession for fear they wouldn’t understand. When I left home and moved out on my own, I immediately went to the grocery store and bought several types of contraband mustard and brought them home to explore and embrace my new mustard-centric lifestyle.

Eventually I did come out of hiding and openly admit that I like mustard. I even began serving it at dinner parties. Today it is unusual for me to make any kind of savory sauce, vinaigrette, wet rub or barbeque sauce without adding at least some mustard. My family enjoys mustard and the things I make with it, with the exception of my middle son who has a morbid fear of mustard in any form.

Perhaps like me, he just needs to experience a mustard awakening.

Laters, baby!

For a copy of Jax’s Mustard Chicken please click here


Food & Wine Magazine: August Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Joining me along the way is my fellow blogger Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée, and our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three who provides us with fantastic wine pairings for each month’s cover.

Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send me an email at info@cookthatbook.com to let me know you made the cover recipe, and if you’re a blogger don’t forget to post a link to your post in the comments below.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Rating: 5 out of 5 (fresh & full of flavours that highlight the tomato perfectly)

Initial Thoughts: Looking at the cover picture I could practically taste the fresh, juicy tomatoes…bring on summer’s bounty!

THE TEST: This month I found myself cooking alone, as Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée is in the middle of launching her new site and is currently stuck in cyber limbo for the time being. Glad I had Kendall Harris of Wine2Three to keep me hydrated while preparing this tasty summer salad! Don’t forget to check out her fantastic wine pairing at the bottom of this post…she opted for a pinot gris from one of my favourite vineyards.

This recipe has several layers of flavour that are each made separately and then assembled just before serving. Bright, jewel toned heirloom tomatoes are sliced and diced and showcased on a platter over which shallots pickled in red wine vinegar are sprinkled, a warmed olive oil, anchovy (I used anchovy paste), garlic and lemon zest dressing is poured overtop the tomatoes with sliced hardboiled eggs placed on top. This recipe is perfect to make ahead when entertaining as you can quickly assemble it at the last minute, and your guests will be impressed with this tasty twist on the usual tomato salad.

THE RESULTS: Despite all of the different layers of flavour in this salad the taste of tomatoes is never overshadowed. The taste explosion of the juicy, sweet fruit paired with the salty anchovy vinaigrette and tang from the pickled shallots is fantastic. I love how each ingredient works so hard to help the others shine. Talk about good culinary teamwork!

I was a bit anxious serving this to the kids as I had no idea what they would think, but my unease was for nothing as they gobbled it up and asked for seconds. Needless to say I walked away from the dinner table that night feeling triumphant. Another Food & Wine success!

Cover Recipe:
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette 

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Nothing more summery than an heirloom tomato salad, and with so many wonderful flavours going on in this recipe you will need a wonderful summery white wine to stand alongside. This Pinot Gris, from British Columbia’s Poplar Grove winery, hits all the right notes!

Pinot Gris is also called Pinot Grigio in Italy or if the wine has been vinified in the more zippy Italian style (zippy = more acidic), whereas Pinot Gris is the term winemaker’s use when the grape is vinified in the more French style, as is this the case with this particular wine.

Pinot Gris is the signature white wine of Poplar Grove winery, and they’ve won many accolades for this and past vintages of Pinot Gris. You’ll notice aromas of lemongrass, apple and peaches, and on the palate (as you sip it), you’ll get refreshing lemon and apple flavours with a hint of apricot. Pinot Gris also has a characteristic “minerality,” which some describe as a wet stone flavour, so look for that. I like to think you taste B.C.’s wonderful terroir when you detect that minerality! Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio in general, is a great wine to have on hand and is a widely appealing white wine – not as lemony as Sauvignon Blanc, not as buttery and oaky as some Chardonnays, not as lime-ey or sweet as Rieslings can be – really, the perfect “house wine”. And if you happen to be in B.C., be sure to look for Poplar Grove’s version…it’s one of the best!

Kendall Harris is a wine blogger who shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She has an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is passionate about sharing her wine knowledge with others. “Like” her page on Facebook for fun, informative wine posts!

Muffin Monday: Cinnamon Blueberry Amaretto Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

I’m back baby! Due to the typical busyness of summer I’ve unfortunately had to take a few weeks off from Muffin Mondays. But thank you to all of the readers who sent me concerned emails worried I was retiring from the world of muffins. Glad to see you are as addicted to this monthly venture as I am!

This week’s recipe is for a no frills blueberry muffin. Hailing from Gourmet, it showcases the beauty of a simple muffin. The batter itself is straightforward, and in terms of flavour the berries are paired purely with cinnamon.

I dusted the blueberries with the flour mix in order to prevent discolouration of the muffins during the baking process, which also helps keep them suspended in the batter rather than sinking to the bottom. The only change I made to this recipe was in terms of the sweetener, substituting amaretto flavoured agave nectar for the brown sugar.

These muffins disappeared at the speed of light! In fact, I must apologize for the lack of well-styled final glamour shots of these muffins, but what you see is what I got to take before the hands of my hubby and kids made a grab for them. And I couldn’t blame them. They were completely addictive! A muffin that is simple in flavour and texture should never be underestimated. And the subtle sweet almond flavour from the amaretto went perfectly with the blueberries and cinnamon.

Bring on a second batch!

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Monthly Miettes: Strawberry Charlotte


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Dear readers, I must apologize for the lateness of July’s Monthly Miettes challenge. First of all, when I read in Meg Ray’s Miette that the Strawberry Charlotte is considered to be a “challenging” cake I kinda freaked out. I mean if the professionals think it’s hard to do am I even gonna stand a chance?! Then between the kids’ summer camps and family vacations I suddenly found myself at the end of the month with one heck of an intimidating cake still to make. Trust me when I say I was crossing all of my fingers and toes!

The Strawberry Charlotte truly showcases the beauty of strawberries and is best made when these berries are at their peak. It is a light, cool dessert that is perfect to serve when you find yourself craving something sweet but you’d rather die than turn on your oven and add to the shimmery heat wave in your kitchen. In the Miette version of this dessert, sponge cake is brushed with raspberry simple syrup and then layered with a fruit purée mousse, the exterior surrounded by a band of ladyfingers, and a final crown of fresh strawberries decorates the top. Needless to say this cake will make a stunning entrance onto your dinning room table, one that is sure to elicit “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from your guests.

The results of my Strawberry Charlotte were magnificent both in appearance and taste. The journey to get to the finished product? Not so pretty! Because of the numerous steps involved in making this dessert, I decided to tackle one element each day.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Food & Wine Magazine: July Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs

Rating: 5 out of 5 (full of fresh fun flavours for summer!)

Initial Thoughts: This pasta dish looks like the embodiment of summer! Bright fresh ingredients.

THE TEST: This month Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée and I had quite the giggle, as we both eneded up with different covers for July’s issue of Food & Wine Magazine!

Here’s what I got:

And here’s Aimée’s copy:

To add to the confusion, I gave her the page number for the recipe on my cover and it matched to what she had in her magazine. No wonder the poor girl was confused! She kept wondering how on earth I knew what to make, and it wasn’t until we emailed photos of our covers that the mystery was solved. July must have multiple covers because it’s a special issue that highlights the magazine’s annual Best New Chefs segment.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

As for the recipe itself, there are basically four components to the dish. First you roast plum tomatoes with olive oil and red wine vinegar before peeling and grating them back into the pan. Next comes the breadcrumb mixture, which involves crisping fresh breadcrumbs (I used sourdough) in a pan with olive oil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. The smell was incredible! Boil the pasta, sauté prawns with olive oil and salt and pepper, and mix everything together along with fresh basil and halved cherry tomatoes.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Now it may sound like a lot of steps are involved in the preparation and I’ll be honest and say I did get overwhelmed, but that was simply because I had the genius idea of testing this recipe at the same time as undertaking three cookbook reviews. But on its own, this pasta dish is not difficult nor is it really time consuming. Plus you can make the breadcrumb mixture and tomato sauce ahead of time (up to two days).

© 2012 CookThatBook

THE RESULTS: We all loved this dish and I will definitely be making it again in the future! The spaghettini was the perfect pasta choice as it really emphasized the lightness of the meal, while the burst of citrus from the lemon zest and heat from the red pepper flakes brought depth and well-rounded flavour to the dish. I’m a fan of seafood in my pasta, and the shrimp paired perfectly with the other ingredients and provided a slight salty element that was nice.

But by far my favourite part of this recipe is the breadcrumb mixture. Wow. I am already imagining how good it would taste on top of grilled fish, or macaroni and cheese, even as a topper for savoury muffins!

© 2012 CookThatBook

Now I know that Aimée was slightly disappointed with this dish in terms of the overall flavour, so be sure to head over to Food, Je t’Aimée and read about her experience with this recipe. I think she may be right about the quality of tomatoes being a determining factor in the success of this dish, so make sure if you attempt this recipe to have top notch veg. And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris of Wine2Three’s wine pairing. I was so happy when she opted to pair this pasta with Chianti, as I’ve been wanting to experiment more with this particular type of wine.

If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.

Cover Recipe:
Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs 

© 2012 CookThatBook

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

One of the cardinal rules of food and wine pairing is “what grows together, goes together.” Food from a certain region is best paired with wine from that same region. Because this dish is an Italian inspired tomato-based pasta, I immediately thought of pairing it with an Italian wine. Such a laidback, light summer meal needs a Chianti.

Chianti is a wine region in Italy, located around the cities of Florence and Siena. But Chianti is also a variety of red wine made with the grape known as Sangiovese. A minimum of 80% Sangiovese is needed in order for a wine to be Chianti, and sometimes you’ll even find 100% Sangiovese. It was traditionally bottled in round fat bottles enclosed in a straw basket casing, the kinds of bottles you may have seen used as candle holders in casual Italian restaurants. Nowadays Chianti mostly comes bottled in a traditional glass bottle, as is this wonderful 2010 Chianti by Castiglioni. Chianti is not meant to be aged but rather to be consumed as a “young” wine, and ideally paired with Italian food like this month’s cover recipe. The fresh, bright fruit flavours in Chianti give the wine nice acidity, a quality that makes your mouth water making it an excellent food wine and one that pairs very well with the acidity in tomato-based pastas.

Chianti is a great wine to have on hand for impromptu, casual Italian meals at home. Especially in this wonderful summer season of al fresco dining!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

© 2012 CookThatBook

 

Muffin Monday: Chunky Apple Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

This week’s recipe for Chunky Apple Muffins comes from none other than Ms. Martha Stewart, and to me this is the quintessential muffin.


© 2012 CookThatBook

Uncomplicated.

Perfect texture.

© 2012 CookThatBook

The flavours are all balanced beautifully, the muffins gently spiced, tender and oh so moist. I must admit to doubling the amount of diced apple added to the batter – one granny smith just didn’t cut it for me. In the end I think the extra apple really dialed up the flavour of the fruit nicely, and in no way did it overpower the muffin.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Before topping the muffins with a thinly sliced sliver of apple (genius decorative detail Martha!) I dusted them lightly with a mixture of cinnamon sugar to give them a little extra sparkle.

Enjoy!

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday, please click here 

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.