Compiled Recipe – Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 10 egg whites
* 2 lbs. unsalted butter
* 1 tbsp. vanilla
* 1 pinch salt

1) Find a pot that your mixer bowl can rest on top of without touching the bottom.  Fill this with enough water that when the bowl in sitting on top of it, it’s not touching the bottom of the bowl.  Bring this to a simmer on the stove.  Meanwhile, put the sugar, egg whites, and salt into the mixer bowl. Don’t separate whole eggs for this recipe to get the egg whites.

2) Put the mixer bowl of egg whites and sugar over the simmering water (now a bain marie) and whisk lightly while heating until they reach 150◦F.  Use your candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test with your finger: the egg whites should feel hotter than warm but not painfully hot and if you rub it between your fingers, you wouldn’t be able to feel any sugar crystals.  Transfer the bowl to the mixer and with the whip attachment, start whipping!  You’ll likely find that you need to start slow (around 3 or 4 on my stand mixer) until they get frothy and then bring the speed up (to around 8).  Continue whipping 10 – 15 minutes until you have a meringue with stiff peaks that is cooled.

3) Now, switch to the beater attachment on your mixer and start adding the butter, a bit at a time, until it’s entirely incorporated.  If your buttercream starts to look soupy part way through, that’s normal.  Just keep beating.  If the buttercream starts to look curdled part way through, that’s also ok.  Just keep beating.  Does something feel strange about it and you’re certain you’ve made a mistake and you’ve been beating for a couple of minutes and nothings changing?  Also normal. Just keep beating.

4) Add the vanilla, or flavouring of your choice (sky’s the limit but we tend to make a lot of lemon around here) and continue to beat until well mixed.  The buttercream is now ready for your cake!  It can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.  It also stores well in the freezer for about 3 months.  Leftovers top cupcakes quite nicely, I find as well.  If your buttercream is cold, be certain to give it time to properly return to room temperature before you use it.  You can beat it again just prior to frosting if it’s been chilled.

5) Temperature is something you might want to think about when making buttercream.  I live in a house that’s cool in the winter (< 18C) and downright hot (> 30C) in the summer.  I sometimes have to fight these temperature swings when making buttercream.  If you also live in this kind of environment, keep reading for tips on how to get your ingredients and your meringue at a more typical room temperature.

6) For your butter, once it’s cut into pieces: if you poke the pieces and they completely mush, the butter is too warm.  If you poke the pieces and your finger makes no indent whatsoever, the butter is too cold.  If the butter is too warm, you can cool it for a few minutes in the fridge while you prepare the meringue.  If it’s too cold, you can wait a little longer and check again before starting the meringue, or if you’re brave, pop it in the microwave for short, < 20 second cycles, at 50% power until it’s softer.

7) For your meringue: Touch a bit of meringue onto your bottom lip. It should feel just slightly cool.  If that’s the case, you’re ready to go.  If the meringue is still a tad hot you can put it into the fridge for 5 minutes (no more!) or continue to whip for a minute or two while holding an ice pack along the sides of the bowl.  It’s over 30 degrees Celsius right now in my city and I don’t have air conditioning.  I had to use a bag of frozen peas to cool down this bowl of meringue – it’s that DAMN HOT (just as an aside).  If your kitchen is actually ‘temperate’, beating the meringue for 10 to 15 minutes should produce a meringue with perfect peaks and at just the right temperature.

8) For your buttercream:  If you added the butter and it was a bit too cold, it may take a lot of beating to get rid of the curdled look and move on to the smooth stage.  A pair of warm hands, or a wash cloth that’s been soaked in hot water placed around the sides of the bowl will bring everything back up to the right temperature reasonably quickly.





Compiled Recipe – Kit Kat Frozen Cocoa

Kit Kat Frozen Cocoa

* 3 cups ice
* 3 ½ cups cold milk
* 4 packets cocoa (Swiss Miss)
* dairy whipped topping
* 1 kit (8 count. Kit Kat snack bars, 4 of them chopped)

1) In blender combine cold milk, ice, milk, cocoa mix, and 4 mini KIt Kat bars. Beat on high until well blended; approximately 1-2 minutes.

2) Split in four short glasses and top with whipped topping and shopped Kit Kat Bars.





Compiled Recipe – Queso De Bola Dip With Toasted Ensaymada

Queso De Bola Dip With Toasted Ensaymada

* 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
* 1 ½ cup fresh milk
* 2 ½ cups queso de bola, grated, plus more to top
* 8 to 10 ensaymada, store-bought, cut into cubes

1) Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add milk and bring to a simmer.

2) Add queso de bola and stir continuously until completely melted.

3) Meanwhile, place ensaymada cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Toast in a toaster oven or in an oven pre-heated to 350◦F until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

4) Pour queso de bola dip into a serving bowl. Top with grated queso de bola. Serve with ensaymada cubes on the side.


Compiled Recipe – Peanut Butter Snickers Fudge

Peanut Butter Snickers Fudge

* 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
* ¾ cup white chocolate chips
* ½ cup peanut butter chips
* 14 snickers bars (fun sized unwrapped and roughly chopped)
* ½ cup peanut butter (creamy)

1) Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment, ensuring that about 2 inches of parchment are hanging from the edges. Grease it well.

2) In a large glass bowl, combine the condensed milk, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter. Mix well.

3) Microwave the mix for about 90 seconds, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.

4) Quickly stir in ¾ of the chopped Snickers.

5) Spread into the prepared pan. Tap to release any air bubbles and try to spread it as evenly as possible.

6) Top the mixture with the remaining amount of chopped Snickers.

7) Pull out the set fudge from the pan by the hanging parchment paper. Cut evenly into 5 rows. Cut each row into 5 or 6 squares of fudge.

8) Serve the fudge immediately or store in a sealed container in the fridge until you’re ready to eat or serve.




Compiled Recipe – Hot Chocolate Martini

Hot Chocolate Martini

* 3 oz. hot cocoa mix
* ¾ oz. crème de cacao (dark)
* ¾ oz. vanilla vodka
* 6 ounce Kahlua
* 6 mini marshmallows

1) Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add cooled hot chocolate and liquors; shake for about 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled martini glass.

2) Drop mini marshmallows onto the top. Roast marshmallows with a kitchen torch if you have one.

Makes 1 martini

NOTE:  You can also simply mix all ingredients together and chill in the refrigerator before serving rather than using a cocktail shaker.



Compiled Recipe – Strawberry Toast

Strawberry Toast

* 1 loaf brioche, sliced thickly
* ½ cup cream cheese
* ¼ cup all-purpose cream, chilled
* 8 pieces fresh strawberries, sliced
* 4 tbsp. maple syrup
* 1 tbsp. walnuts, toasted and chopped

1) Toast brioche slices in the oven for 3 minutes.

2) In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip together cream cheese and all-purpose cream for 3 minutes or until well-combined.

3) Place toasted brioche on a serving plate. Spread whipped cream cheese on brioche and top with strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.


Compiled Recipe – Salisbury Steak

Salisbury Steak

* 500 grams beef, use lean ground beef
* ½ cup breadcrumbs
* 1 tbsp. catsup
* 2 tsps. mustard
* 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
* 1 beef bouillon cube
* salt
* 1 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 tbsp. butter
* 1 white onion, thinly sliced
* 2 cups beef stock
* 1 tbsp. catsup
* 1 tsp. liquid seasoning
* 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
* 3 tsps. cornstarch, or as needed
* pepper

1) Make the meat mixture: Combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. Form into 4-6 patties.

2) Heat oil and melt the butter in a frying pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Fry the patties in batches until the beef changes color and is no longer pink in the center. Transfer beef to a platter and pour off excess grease from the frying pan.

3) Make the gravy: using the same frying pan, saute onions over medium heat. Stir and cook until golden brown and soft. Add beef stock, ketchup, liquid seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce. Dissolve cornstarch in a little beef stock and add to the sauce. Stir and cook to reduce. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add more stock if the sauce is too thick.

4) Add the cooked beef patties to the gravy. Spoon gravy on top of the patties and simmer for a minute. Serve with fried potato wedges and buttered mixed vegetables, if desired.


Compiled Recipe – Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

* 24 Oreo cookies (regular variety)
* 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
* 12 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 3 eggs
* 1/3 cup sour cream
* 1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
* 15 Oreo cookies (Triple Double, coarsely chopped)

1) Preheat oven to 325°F;. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing it to hang over two sides of the pan to create “handles”.

2) Prepare the Crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 24 Oreos until they are turned into fine crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over top and continue to pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and all of the crumbs are moist. Add the cookies crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer (I usually use the bottom of a measuring cup for this process). Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes (leave the oven on).

3) While the crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.

4) Slowly add the eggs, beating well after each addition, and mix until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream and vanilla, beating until fully incorporated.

5) Gently fold in the chopped Triple Double Oreos. Pour the batter over the prepared crust, smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly, about 40 to 50 minutes.

6) Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (or up to 24 hours) before serving.

7) To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the foil handles. Slice into bars and serve.

*If you’re feeling fancy, top the cheesecake with a layer of ganache or your favorite chocolate frosting.

*Store covered Oreo Cheesecake in refrigerator for up to 4 days.



Compiled Recipe – Creamy Spaghetti Squash

Creamy Spaghetti Squash

* 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
* 1 tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
* pinch of salt
* 1 small onion, finely diced
* 1 clove of garlic, minced
* 1 tsp (5 mL) oregano
* 1 tsp (5 mL) basil
* 1 cup (250 mL) 10% cream
* 1 tbsp. (15 mL) flour
* salt

1) To start, pre-heat your oven to 375°F.

2) Prepare the squash by cutting it in half, lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush with olive oil, and season with salt. Then, bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet, rind side up, for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and using a fork separate the strands of spaghetti. Now scoop out spaghetti strands, and set aside both the strands and hulled out squash for later.

3) In a large skillet, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic for 4 minutes, until translucent. Then, add spaghetti squash, herbs, seasoning, and cream. Stir in flour, and cook for an additional 4 minutes until creamy, constantly stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4) Finally, return spaghetti mixture to the hulled out squash, sprinkle with cheese, and bake at 450°F for 5 minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven and serve!


Compiled Recipe – Mushroom Ragu Spaghetti

Mushroom Ragu Spaghetti

* 3 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, 100 grams
* 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* 1 cup red onions, diced
* 1 cup carrots, diced
* 1 cup celery, diced
* 1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
* 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
* 2 bay leaves
* salt (to taste)
* ground black pepper (to taste)
* sugar (to taste)
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 tbsp. tomato paste
* 1 (800 gram) can diced tomatoes
* ½ cup fresh basil, tightly packed, plus more to garnish
* 750 grams whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions.

1) Place mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over and let sit for 1 ½ hours to rehydrate; reserve the liquid. Slice mushrooms thinly.

2) Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, dried herbs, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute.

3) Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup reserved mushroom liquid and cook until thick. Add mushrooms, canned tomatoes and remaining mushroom liquid. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

4) Stir in basil and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve sauce over spaghetti noodles and garnish with basil leaves.