A Fall Squash Soup Recipe

I have been making squash soup every fall for the past three years. It has become somewhat of a tradition of mine to make a large batch some time in fall, since to me it encompasses the Fall flavours and feelings. Sweet, earthy and spiced soup is a welcome warmth in the chilly Fall weather, and a great way to get into the Fall spirit and make enough meals for at least a few days. I find I typically make enough for 6-8 meals, depending on the amount of squash I use, and usually costs about fifteen dollars. Most of it for the squash. I typically just use whatever spices and seasonings I feel like using that I already have in my pantry. This recipe is how I made it this year, but I encourage you to use whatever herbs and spices you have and like.

Squash

You can use any kind of squash you like. Here are a few of my favourites:

Butternut Squash:

This is commonly made into a soup on it’s own. It’s sweet and has a slightly buttery flavour. If you only want to use butternut, I would recommend that you use only two for this recipe, as they are quite large.

Acorn Squash:

One of my favourites to add, since it’s more savoury and nutty in flavour. I find that it has a different taste than most other squash I have tried, so it adds a savoury note I enjoy. I used the outside of the acorn squash I used as the bowl in the picture.

Red Kuri Squash:

I tried this kind just this year and it’s great. Sweet and creamy, and has a slight nutty flavour.

Sweet Dumpling Squash:

It tastes almost identical to sweet potato! This one is also really pretty to hollow out and use as bowls.

Ingredients:

3-4 squash, any size. If using all small to medium squash, 4 is best

1 tbsp oil, plus some for brushing on squash

2 tsp salt

2 small onions, or one medium – any type – finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced

2 tsp minced sage

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp smoked paprika

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 tbsp maple syrup

¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

Instructions;

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F or 205° C.
  2. Wearing gloves, halve and de-seed the squash.
  3. Place squash on parchment paper or foil lined baking sheets.
  4. Brush squash with oil and sprinkle salt. You can also add other spices here, like cinnamon.
  5. Roast until you can pierce the flesh with a fork with little resistance – approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour (larger squash, like butternut).
  6. Meanwhile, finely chop onions, mince or grate garlic, and mince the sage.
  7. When they are roasted and cool enough to touch, scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  8. Heat in a large pot on low/medium.
  9. Add spices and toast, stirring constantly until fragrant – about 1-2 minutes.
  10. Add oil and onions, cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  11. Add the minced garlic, sage, and thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Move onions, 4 cups broth, squash, maple syrup, and yogurt into a blender, or into the pot if you have a hand blender.
  13. Blend with hand or traditional blender, adding more broth as needed to blend. Taste often, and add more broth and seasoning as desired. (NOTE: In traditional blender, blend in small batches.)
  14. Pour back into pot, or turn heat back on, and heat thoroughly.
  15. Serve and store the rest in a resealable container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to two months.

Additions and omissions:

This is your soup! You can change the seasonings however you like. Don’t have smoked paprika? Don’t use it. Don’t have any maple syrup? You don’t have to use it either. Many squash are sweet on their own. Want to add a spice or herb I didn’t mention? Go ahead and put it in. As for the amount of broth, this will make a very thick soup, which I prefer, but you can add as much broth or water as you please. Have fun with the recipe and enjoy it!

 

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Cheap & Deep Fried Sides

We’ve all been there: poor, hungry, and strapped for time.

Don’t you just wish your home was a fast food restaurant? Well, it could be. Or at least sort of.

One of the advantages your average fast food place has on you is a deep fryer. It’s fast, it makes the food for you, and it’s very expensive. But even without a deep fryer, you can deep fry stuff at home. These are recipes you can prepare in advance then freeze for a quick meal. The most time consuming thing is heating the oil.

If you don’t have a deep fryer at home, just heat up some veggie or canola oil in a pot (don’t do non-stick if possible. It isn’t the best for those pots.)

Fries:

Here’s the classic – fries.

All you have to do is chop up potatoes and throw them in the heated oil. Wait 15-ish minutes until they’re golden brown. Drain on a plate with a paper towel and use the paper towel to toss them around a bit after sprinkling some salt on them.

Variations:

You can also make fries with sweet potatoes / yams, carrots, turnips, or virtually any root vegetable.

Cheese Wontons:

This one requires a bit of prep work. You need wonton wrappers and cream cheese.

Cut up the cream cheese into cubes.

Use your finger to rub water along the wraper’s inner outline. Fold your wrapper around it in half, diagonally, then fold the edges into ridges.

Throw them in the freezer and they’ll keep for a week or more.

To cook, throw them in heated oil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown (or darker if you’d like them really crunchy).

Tips:

  • One way to keep the oil clear as you’re frying is to throw a baby carrot or chopped up carrot piece in there.
  • One way to know if your oil is hot enough when using a pot is to look for crinkles in the oil. If you don’t understand what I mean, wait for it. You’ll see them.
  • Put in just enough oil to cover, but stay clear of the brim of your pot. You don’t want to get splashed with hot oil.
  • In case your oil does splash out of the pot, and you’re using an open element, and it starts a minor fire – don’t use water to put it out. Stay calm and move your pot to a cool element. close your element, cover the fire with a pot lid. Once it’s out, you can turn the element back on and continue cooking.
  • Deep frying uses a lot of oil, but you don’t have to lose the oil you use. You can save your oil for next time if you let it cool and then pour it into a container. So long as the oil is fairly clean, you can use it a couple more times.

Japanese Recipes Anyone Can Make

Every anime lover has had a moment of wanting to eat alongside their favourite characters.This compilation of Japanese recipes you can make at home makes it possible. These recipes are not my own and are not used for the sake of profit, just for the use of spreading the deliciousness. Have fun making these and enjoy them alongside your favourite characters.

Onigiri:

onigiri

  • Rice (Cooked)
  • Salt

Optional:

  • Nori – seaweed used to wrap up sushi
  • Furikake – Also known as rice seasoning (nori, sesame seeds, and flavoring)
  • Soy sauce

Fillings:

  • Any kind of pickled vegetable or fruits
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Anything
  • Plain – no filling
  1. Put a scoop of cooled cooked rice in the middle of a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it up.
  2. Hold the wrapped up rice in your hand, and cup your hand so it looks like a “U”, then cup your other hand, perpendicularly, on top of it tightly.
  3. Gently squeeze the rice into a triangle, then rotate the rice ball in your hands, so a different point is pointing downward and repeat.
  4. If you want to add a filling, sometime near the end of forming the onigiri, press a dent in the middle of rice with your thumb.  Add your filling, and cover the hole with more rice, and continue forming.
  5. Take the rice out of the plastic wrap and form it a few times with your bare hands.
  6. Place it on a plate and sprinkle some salt on them.
  7. Cut up the nori. It can be large enough to cover the entire onigiri, or a small little rectangle for just on the bottom, or some cute shapes, etc.
  8. In addition to the salt, you can sprinkle some sesame seeds or furikake on top, and press it into the rice.

Onigiri Variation: yaki onigiri, or grilled onigiri

  1. This can be made on a small grill or in the oven. Just heat your oven up to a low heat, brush some soy sauce onto one side of the onigiri, place it on a cookie sheet, and put it in the oven.
  2. In 10-20 minutes, flip the onigiri over, and brush some more soy sauce onto the other side, and cook it again. Just keep an eye on it, and cook it until it’s slightly crispy on both sides.

 

Omurice:

Misaki's omurice

  • 1 ½ cups of cooked white rice
  • 2 mushrooms
  • ½ onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  1. Chop up the mushrooms, onions, and garlic.
  2. Heat up some oil in the pan (Use a pan that’s just a little smaller than the size of your plate. This is important for the egg.) to medium low. Once the oil is hot, add the vegetables with 2 teaspoons of the ketchup and 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce.
  3. Once the onion becomes clear, add in the rice, and the rest of the ketchup and soy sauce.
  4. Mix everything together. Once the rice is hot and thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients, put it all in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Put a small amount of oil in the pan, and then pour the beaten eggs into the pan. Lift up the pan and tilt it around in a circle so that the egg covers all sides of the pan.
  6. Let the egg cook, occasionally lifting up the egg from the sides of the pan to make sure it doesn’t stick. If you can manage it, flip the egg sheet over to cook on the other side. If you can’t, then just turn the heat down to low and wait for the egg to cook all the way through.
  7. Once the egg sheet is cooked, place it onto your plate. Move it so it is only on one-half of the plate (it should be falling off the edge. Just fold it over or roll that part up for the time being).
  8. Place the rice in the middle of the plate, over a bit of the egg sheet. Then fold the egg sheet over the top of the rice, and tuck it under the other side of the rice.
  9. Put some ketchup on your finished omurice if you’d like.

Vegetarian Okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake):

okonomiyaki

  • Japanese mayonnaise (or a mix of 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar added for every 1/4 cup of normal mayo)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped (you can save some for garnish too)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (other oil can be used as well, but it won’t taste quite the same)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetarian dashi (or soy sauce) – recipe in on the bottom
  • 5 large eggs
  • Okonomiyaki sauce – recipe is on the bottom
  • For pescetarians: Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), for garnish (optional)
  1. Whisk together eggs, dashi, oil, and salt.
  2. Slowly add flour, whisking all the while to avoid clumps
  3. Add cabbage and scallion; gentle fold both into the batter using a mixing spoon or silicone spatula.
  4. Generously coat the bottom of a large frying pan with oil and set on medium-high.
  5. Once the oil is hot and glistening, ladle the batter into the pan as you would regular pancakes.
  6. Cook for about 3 minutes, until golden brown on one side; flip and repeat.
  7. Serve warm pancakes with okonomiyaki sauce slathered on and drizzled with Japanese mayo. Sprinkle with katsuobushi or scallions if you want.

Okayu (Rice Porridge):

Rice Porridge

  • ½ cup white rice (preferably short grain, but medium is fine)
  • Water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Optional ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Onion
  • Green onion
  • Kimchee
  • Umiboshi (sour plum)
  • Mushrooms
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy sauce
  • Just about anything else you might want!
  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly.
  2. Once the rice is clean, add in 3 cups of water and the salt and let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat, and then turn the down the heat to low and cook, covered by a lid, for 30 minutes.
  4. After that, turn off the heat, and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes.
  5. Pour/scoop into a bowl, and top with whatever you want! For eggs, I suggest poaching the egg in hot water first, but not for too long if you like the yolk runny.

Supplemental Recipes – 

Veggie Dashi:

  • Two 14-square inch pieces of kombu (seaweed)
  • Four dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 cups cold water
  1. Soak kombu and shiitakes in water for 20 minutes.
  2. Place on medium heat and bring to a rolling simmer.
  3. Reduce heat and keep at a low simmer for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and take out the seaweed and mushrooms.

Okonomiyaki Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 ½ tsp. ketchup
  • ½ tsp. grated ginger
  1. Mix together.

Perfect Sunny-Side-Up Egg Hack

Does this situation sound familiar to you?

Trying to cook a sunny side up egg

  1. Cracked an egg in the pan with some oil
  2. The bottom looks cooked but the top is raw *thinks to self “that egg should be flipped”
    1. Optional: be Me: a lazy Asian attempting to flip with a pair of wooden chopsticks (who needs a spatula?)
    2. Fail the flip, cracking the yolk in the pan
    3. F*ck it; I’ll make a makeshift scrambled egg…

I absolutely love sunny side up egg but even if I succeed with the flip, I would usually break the yolk, or over-cook it.
Unsatisfied, I would turn to making half-boiled egg. (7 minutes for a runny yolk!)

That was me before I learned of this hack.
Be prepared to get mind-blown by this one simple trick to make the perfect sunny-side-up egg 🙂
No mess, and most importantly, no flipping required!

I made breakfast today so I’ll share with you guys one of my favourite easy breakfast item.

You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil/spray or oil of your choice
  • Non-stick pan
  • Egg
  • A small dose of (tap) water
marvellous large-sized egg
marvellous large-sized egg
Have a bit of water ready next to the stove
Have a bit of water ready next to the stove

Step 1: Put oil on pan (no need for a grease pool) and turn on the heat to medium

olive oil to lightly grease the pan
olive oil to lightly grease the pan

Step 2: Crack egg into pan when it’s heated (should see the egg white turning white almost immediately)

IMG_0814

**Hacking Step 3**: PUT WATER AROUND THE RIM AND CLOSE WITH A LID

Pour water around the egg immediately
Pour water around the egg immediately
Just enough to make a layer. Make sure the heat isn't turned up too high or else it'll splash the oil!
Just enough to make a layer. Make sure the heat isn’t turned up too high or else it’ll splash the oil!
Let the steam from water complete the cooking process! No need for flipping
Let the steam from water complete the cooking process! No need for flipping

I let mine cook for about 2 minutes with the steam but basically you’re looking for this look:

End result :) The whites are perfectly cooked and the yolk is still runny and hot! Put salt/pepper to taste
End result 🙂 The whites are perfectly cooked and the yolk is still runny and hot!
Put salt/pepper to taste

Step 4: Get it off the pan (don’t be lazy and grab a spatula; good luck), serve it with whatever you like your eggs with, and ENJOY!

I enjoyed my sunny-side-up egg on top of veggie burger pattie and garlic butter toast. Yum!
I enjoyed my sunny-side-up egg on top of veggie burger pattie and garlic butter toast. Yum!
No toast/sandwich is complete without the diagonal cut and the running yolk down the middle :) mm.
No toast/sandwich is complete without the diagonal cut and the running yolk down the middle 🙂 mm.

There you have it guys!
What are you waiting for? Go make one right now!

 

By: Jenny Kim

Veggie Egg-Rolls + Effortless Dipping Sauce

Who said spring roll wrappers are the only option for an Asian, food loving, vegetarian cooking at home? To vegetarians the egg-rolls on the menu are to be avoided, all because they are likely to have meat inside, and yet the egg-roll wrappers are less expensive than their veggie counterparts. Here’s a way to turn the egg-roll wrappers you find in your local grocery stores to delicious vegetarian delights.

Ingredients:IMG_20160125_172847

Filling options (pick at least 3) –

  • 1 package of beansprouts
  • 4-5 carrots, shredded
  • 6-7 mini-bok choys, sliced
  • A handful of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded (thinly sliced) cabbage
  • 1 cup sliced onions

Sauce –

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • Salt & pepper by taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup honey garlic sauce (either store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

Wrapping & Frying –

  • Egg-roll wrappers
  • Water
  • Corn starch
  • Plenty of oil

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, then add the filling ingredients of your choice. Fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the dipping sauce ingredients and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until sauce caramelizes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, take a small pot and fill with enough oil to be able to cover your egg-rolls plus some. Make sure the pot is tall enough that if oil was to jump – which it likely will – it will not splash all over the place. Heat oil until you can see wrinkles forming inside.
  4. Turn off the heat from your veggies and grab a sieve, placing it over a big heat-safe bowl. Pour the sauce and veggies mixture into your sieve and pat down using a spoon to help separate the two.
  5. While the sauce drains, prepare a little bowl or container with a mixture of cornstarch and water.IMG_20160125_165910.jpg
  6. Get a single egg-roll wrapper and place it in a diamond orientation before you.IMG_20160125_165858.jpg
  7. Next, using your finger, wet the boarder of the wrapper with the cornstarch water all the way around.

     

  8. Now, place some of the filling into the wrapper and fold as shown below: first taking in the two side corners, then the top corner, and rolling down until fully closed. Do not over-fill or under-fill your egg-rolls. Use up all the filling if you can.
  9. Prepare a plate with a paper towel on it to soak up the oil from the cooked egg-rolls.
  10. Drop the egg-rolls into the heated oil one batch at a time. The batch size will depend on the size of your prepared pot. Wait until the egg-rolls floats up to the top of the oil and are nicely browned before removing from oil and placing on the prepared plate.

  11. Finally, take the dipping sauce and place it in a container that is easy to dip from. Place that container with your egg-rolls on a plate and serve immediately.

Now, for the last step: Enjoy!

By: Keren

7 Tips for the Perfect Gingerbread House

I still remember my excitement when I got my first gingerbread house kit. It was something that I had never seen before and it was never a part of Christmas celebrations in my family. As the years have gone by, I’ve experienced so many different gingerbread houses for many different occasions. For example, there’s the classic Christmas house, the Easter house, and of course, the haunted Halloween house.

IMG_20151030_180712This year, I really got into the Halloween spirit and in addition to dressing up and getting my family into handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, I decided to whip out a good ol’ fashioned gingerbread house kit. Of course, it wouldn’t be spooky enough if it wasn’t a chocolate gingerbread haunted village. (My mom works for a company that produces all these kits so I’m lucky enough to get them for free, but really you can find them at any grocery store, Walmart, Costco, etc.)

IMG_20151030_180924The kits come with the pre-baked cookie pieces, icing, and loads of candy. I always worry about the amount of candy that I get and not having enough to properly decorate the houses with. But I always have leftovers. Always. There are printed instructions on the back of the box and also videos online on how to assemble the cookie pieces. But from my many years of gingerbread house decorating, here are some tips if you ever decide to make your own for whatever occasion:

  1. Village kits come with smaller cookies that need to be broken apart. Be careful when doing this since they tend to crack in the wrong places. But don’t panic if your cookies do break; simply glue them together with some icing!
  2. The box will ask you to massage the icing packs. Do it. Your hands will thank you later when you won’t have to squeeze like death to get icing out of the bag. BUT, this is not to say that you should melt the icing, maintain a good temperature so that the icing is easy to work with.
  3. Speaking of icing, when you’re cutting the tip of the piping bag open, don’t cut too much. You can always cut more off the tip if you find that not enough icing is coming out. But you can’t un-cut the tip!
  4. I like to pour all my candy into little dishes just to keep my work area relatively clean and organized. This is optional, but I find it does stop things from rolling everywhere or spilling inadvertently from the little baggies.

5. The box will tell you to assemble your houses first and then decorate. Don’t listen to the box. Decorate your cookies first and then assemble when everything is dry and secure. You’ll thank me later for recommending that you DON’T defy gravity.

6.  Think of a plan before you start. Do you want to design your own? Follow the box? This will contribute to your gingerbread house looking truly wondrously festive rather than crumbly and dilapidated. Unless of course that’s the look you’re going for.

7. Lastly, be patient, this is not a project that you can do on the fly. It takes a lot of time, especially if you’re detail oriented and a control freak like me.

This is merely something that I wanted to share with you guys, perhaps as suggestion for a festive activity for Christmas or Halloween next year. What do you guys do to celebrate?

Baking Chinese Egg Tarts

Have you ever had a craving so strong that it was impossible to ignore? On one particular day, I found myself stuck at home with the biggest craving for Chinese egg tarts. The closest bakery was about a half-hour drive away and with no car in the driveway, I was determined to make myself a nice, fresh batch. I found the following recipe for 12 tarts and modified it to make 24 tarts by doubling everything:

DOUGH
Butter Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1¾ stick (which also equals ¾ cup + 2 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter
Water Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the filling)
¼ cup cold water
FILLING
Simple Syrup:
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup water
Egg Custard:
3 large eggs + reserved egg whites from earlier
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

If you would like to make these egg tarts yourself, I would recommend you give yourself sufficient time since there is a lot of waiting in between steps. This was quite a lengthy and strenuous endeavor. Here’s a brief walkthrough of the process with measurements from the original recipe. You can adjust accordingly depending on how many you want to make.

The first step is to make the “butter” dough portion of the puff pastry that your custard filling is going to sit in. Start by combining the flour and butter (cut into small cubes) together until you have smooth uniform dough. Make sure that the butter is cold. It should be coarse and flaky to begin with, but as you work more with the dough, the two will incorporate nicely. When you’re satisfied with the consistency, flatten the dough into a square about a ½” thick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator.

The next step is to make the “water” dough. Separate your two eggs but set aside the egg whites for the filling and add the yolks to the flour. The cold water should be added gradually to the mix since too much would make your dough too sticky. When you feel that everything is evenly combined, it’s time to roll out the dough. Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface to avoid sticking and roll out the dough to about a ¼” thickness. It should be laid out in a diamond formation and be big enough to encase the butter dough from before. After this, take the butter dough out of the fridge and wrap it up in the rolled out dough.

At this point you’ll begin the rolling and folding process three times. Firstly, roll out the dough to a ¼” long rectangle and fold it into thirds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for fifteen minutes. Then roll it out again, fold it into quarters and refrigerate for another fifteen minutes. Repeat the previous step one last time and your dough should be ready for cutting. In summary, roll and fold in a 3-4-4 sequence.

In between rolling and waiting for the dough to chill, you can prepare the custard filling. Create a simple syrup by melting the sugar in the water using a microwave and stir well to combine. Set this aside to cool since it will cook your eggs if you add this in right away. Next, mix together three eggs, the egg whites that were reserved from the dough, milk, and some vanilla extract. Feel free to adjust the amount of vanilla extract that you add. Since I baked my egg tarts in batches, I noticed that they were not as sweet as I would have liked and added a little more to my unused custard to supplement. Add your syrup to the rest of the custard after it has cooled and run everything through a strainer to remove any unincorporated egg whites and undissolved sugar.

At this point, your dough should be nicely chilled so roll it out one last time to a ¼” thickness and use a circular cutter that has a similar diameter as your baking molds (I used a cupcake tray) and cut out circles of your dough. Grease your molds with a bit of melted butter. Lay the dough over the mold, press into the middle and using your thumbs, slowly work your way around the mold pressing the dough up along the sides of the mold. Using a fork, gently prick the bottom of the tart to prevent the dough from puffing up during cooking. When the tarts are ready, pour the custard filling into the cups and they’re ready to bake! The oven needs to be preheated to 400°F and the tarts will bake for about 25 to 35 minutes. Keep an eye out for the custard browning at the top; they should be a light golden colour, not dark. My adjusted recipe made around 60 tarts even though I intended to make only 24. The recipe is suited to making larger egg tarts so keep that in mind when playing around the ratios and adjusting the recipe.

These tarts were most definitely worth all the work and the process of rolling out the chilled dough was quite the workout. The hard work assuaged the guilt from eating way too many of these after they were done. Good luck, and happy baking!

‘Egg’cellent Cooking Class at Sobeys!

On the afternoon of March 1st, Noelle Kan and Angelo Gabriel de Asis of the UW Cooking Club held a cooking class at the Sobeys on Columbia/Fischer-Hallman. The cost of this event was a mere $10, to cover the use of the room, ingredients, equipment, and of course, the end result (which was delicious).

8528441 (2)

The featured ingredient was — you guessed it — eggs! There were around eight of us who showed up to the event, so we were split into two groups of four to concoct our masterpieces: devilled eggs, eggs Benedict, and meringue cookies.

Here’s a little tidbit about my inspiration to come to this class. In my first year in residence at Waterloo (UWP), I was watching my roommate cook an omelette. But she added another crazy ingredient to the mix: mashed banana! It sounded bizarre to me, but I eventually tried it. The omelette had this amazing sweet flavour when cooked. Ever since then, I have loved experimenting with eggs. When I saw the Facebook post about this particular cooking class, I jumped at the chance to learn more ways to use eggs in a variety of dishes.

The first dish our group focused on was the meringue cookie, as the mixture was the easiest to prepare. I had no idea that there were only three main ingredients in this recipe: egg whites, cream of tartar, and finely-ground granulated sugar (almost looks like icing sugar). Noelle and Angelo then taught us how to hand mix the egg whites until they formed a really light but firm mixture that, when touched with the beaters, made a “stiff peak.”

20150301_123751

When we turned the bowl upside down, nothing started sliding out of the bowl — that’s how firm the mixture was. This process took about 10 minutes.

Once the egg whites and sugar were thoroughly mixed, Angelo had us use a piping bag (plastic bag with the corner tip cut off) to make the cookies look like little Hershey kisses on a baking sheet. Once all of the mixture was used up, we placed the cookies in the oven for about 1 hour at 200 degrees F. The cookie itself was crispy on the outside, but once broken, its center had a soft texture.

The thing I find funny about the meringue cookies… they look awfully similar to this intriguing specimen on the right (look familiar anyone?)

20150301_134841 (2)  

For the devilled eggs, our group filled a saucepan with cold water, completely submerged four eggs into the water, and waited for the water to come to a rolling boil. Afterwards, we turned the heat back down to let it simmer for one minute. We then took the saucepan off the heat and allowed the eggs to cool for 14 minutes.

As you can probably tell, a lot of this recipe involved waiting! Finally, we took the eggs out of the saucepan, cracked them against a hard surface, and carefully peeled them under running cold water. Unfortunately, my egg was beginning to break as I was peeling off the shell, but it managed to hold its form! Once peeled, we cut our eggs in half lengthwise, scooped out the yolk, and mashed it with several ingredients: mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. We then put the mixture back into the egg whites. Note: sprinkling a bit of paprika on top also gives the egg an extra kick of flavour!

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The final dish we made was eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce. This dish took the least amount of waiting, which was a bonus for all of us. Our group filled a saucepan with water, brought it to a boil for a minute or so, then reduced it to a simmer and added vinegar, which helps the egg cook faster. We then cracked an egg into a separate glass bowl. Here’s the tricky part: we used a slotted spoon and had to create a swirling ‘vortex’ motion with the water, and then carefully slip the egg into the saucepan. While the egg was being ‘poached’, we used a small pan to fry up the ham and toast the English muffins. After only 4 minutes, the egg was ready to be taken out of the water.

The Hollandaise Sauce was definitely a highlight of this dish: all you need are four egg yolks, 1/2 a cup of unsalted butter, melted, lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. In a small mixing bowl, we combined all of these ingredients together and placed the bowl on top of the heated saucepan (you can also use an actual double boiler). The trick here is to keep working the mixture, placing it on-and-off the heat multiple times. The mixture should have a thick, creamy consistency, but not enough that it will look like scrambled eggs.

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Rating: 8 ‘eggs’ out of 10

Thank you UW Cooking Club for organizing this. I look forward to some more surprises throughout the term!

By: Megan

The Magic of the Aeropress

Similar to a French press, an AeroPress is a push-coffee-grounds-against-a-filter system. The difference between the two is that the AeroPress takes under a minute to make a cup of coffee. The process also allows for lower-temperature water while brewing, which leads to a less acidic cup of coffee. The main goal is to make an espresso, but by mixing in milk, you can make cappuccinos and other drinks too.

The process is fairly straightforward and not too different from a French press. You grind up your coffee beans about as much as you would for drip brewing. Then, you stick it in the AeroPress, push down for about 45 seconds, and out comes the coffee.

Everything that comes in the AeroPress starter set

One of the biggest hassles of using a French press is having the hard-to-clean coffee grounds stuck on your filter and sometimes some remains left behind. When you push the coffee grounds through the AeroPress, they are compacted and can just be scraped right off — there’s no filter that needs to be cleaned each time. However, the AeroPress does require reusable filters, but they don’t cost very much and you get plenty when you buy the kit.

The Process
Filter

Place one of the filters inside of the filter holder.

AeroPress base with filter

Attach the filter holder onto the base of the AeroPress.

Place the coffee grounds inside the base.

Place the base over your vessel of choice.

Using 80-85°C water

Pour the hot water into the base and stir it for about 10 seconds, then take the other presser, slowly push down for about 30 seconds, and out comes the coffee.

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After the grounds cool for about 15 minutes, they will stays tightly packed together and can be disposed . The rest of the cleanup is just rinsing off the base and the pusher which takes about 30 seconds.

If you’re looking to upgrade your coffee experience without the hassle of having to clean a lot, grind your own beans, or waiting for your coffee then the AeroPress is what you need!