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.

Cheap, Fast, and Healthy Breakfast: Chia Pudding

Morning classes can be hard, especially when it comes to having breakfast. If you aren’t up two hours before you leave for class, figuring out what you’re going to have to fuel your body for the day can be difficult. Most quick options tend to be expensive, unhealthy, or both. But I have a breakfast that is a go-to for mornings where I need to leave and forgot to make something the night before, or planned out the night before just to make things faster in the morning. That breakfast is chia pudding.

Chia is well known for being a super food, each serving containing 7 grams of protein, 14 grams (or 56% of your daily need) of fiber, and 25% of your daily need for iron and calcium. It also happens to be a great thickening agent to make healthy pudding with.

You might be thinking of the chia pod which has hit the market as a healthy snack or meal on the go, and of how expensive they are. And yes, at 3-5 dollars per pod, they are expensive. But, like so many other things, chia pudding can be made at home for a fraction of the cost. And you can use a reusable container rather than creating more garbage by buying a pod.

Vanilla Chia Pod 2 (1)

To make chia pudding, of course you need chia seeds. When I first found this (before I had ever heard of chia pods) I thought that they would be expensive. And I was wrong. For a 454g bag at Walmart, I paid less than $3.50. Now of course the price varies on where you buy it for a small bag, but if you don’t go somewhere like a health food store, it shouldn’t be very expensive. The important question here is how many servings of chia can you get out of a bag? For me, the 454g bag gets me about 10 servings of pudding. So just the chia seeds themselves cost me only about $0.35 per serving, and everything else involved in the base pudding are ingredients common to Canadian kitchens.

Now, on to the important part: the recipe. Now, this recipe is the altered version that I use because I prefer mine to be less sweet, but of course you can add more sweetness as you like.

 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup of preferred milk type

1 teaspoon -1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup (can sub for agave nectar, but I don’t think honey works)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients but chia seeds until well combined then mix chia seeds in well. Let set for 30 minutes to overnight (though if you let it sit for longer than 45 minutes, mix it so the seeds don’t clump at the bottom. You will be thankful later.) Top with anything you like, and enjoy.

 

Toppings and additions:

There are a near endless amount of additions you can make to the mix itself to add flavour from spices or cocoa powder, to other extracts and pureed fruits. I myself almost always add cinnamon to it. As for toppings, those are nearly endless too. For a quick on-the-go breakfast, cut up or frozen fruit is fast, smoothies, and banana ice cream are great ways to add fruit.

The puddings shown below are (left) the base pudding with cocoa powder mixed in first, and topped with banana ice cream and (right) the base pudding recipe topped with pureed cranberries, strawberries and ginger with a touch of honey. I myself only use about 1 teaspoon of sugar to the base since most of the sweetness comes from the toppings, and I like it better with less sugar.

chia pudding

Side note: banana ice cream is just bananas broken up into smaller pieces, frozen, then blended in a food processor until smooth. It also makes for a great dessert. This as well you can doctor up with flavourings.

I guess I should give my opinion on chia pudding, and what the experience is like. Obviously I like it, or else I would not have done this. But some advice I can give when making it is to taste the milk mixture before adding the seeds, and to start off with less sugar and flavourings and add more as you go. The very first time I made it, I added the original recipe’s (I cannot find the one I used, I think it was just a link I followed one time) 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and it was nearly inedible. Thankfully it was easily fixed by adding in more milk and seeds and letting that sit. As for the experience, it is very similar to rice pudding, but crunchier. So if you aren’t a fan of having bits in a creamy pudding, I probably wouldn’t recommend this.

Allergy-friendly vegetarian recipes

 

As a vegetarian, it can be hard to entertain guests with food. Now, one thing in particular makes this difficult for me: I have a lot of friends with food allergies.

As such, I have gotten to know and compile many recipes for different allergies.

Lactose-Free: Zucchini Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • teaspoon soup broth powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bread crumbs (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cut the onions into cubes and fry with the oil.
  2. Grate the zucchinis and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients except for the bread crumbs.
  4. Spread the bread crumbs evenly over the bottom of a casserole dish.
  5. Put the mixture over the breadcrumbs and level it out.

 

 

6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 355 degrees. Let it rest after taking it out. It will be hard to cut right away. Don’t worry – it’s meant to be that moist.

IMG_20160331_180606

This casserole is good both hot or cold. It’s reheatable if needed.

Gluten-Free: Spaghetti Squash Baked Ziti

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 jar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 container cottage cheese
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, carve out the middle gunk, and lay on a baking sheet.
  2. Put into the oven at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
  3. Let the halves cool, then scrape the insides out with a fork. If it’s too hard to scrape off, put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Mix the spaghetti squash strands with the marinara sauce, cottage cheese, and half the mozzarella cheese.
  5. Pour mixture into a greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese over the top.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees until the cheese melts and begins to brown around the edges.IMG_20160403_214440

Egg-Free: Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-3/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 medium)

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a pan and stir in the flour, salt and pepper until smooth; gradually adding milk.
  2. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until well blended.

     

  4. Place half of the potatoes in a 1-1/2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray, then layer with half of the cheese sauce.
  5. Repeat layers.
  6. Cover and bake at 350° for 50 minutes.IMG_20160405_183328
  7. Uncover; then continue baking another 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and potatoes are tender.

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.

Bechamel Sauce: A Versatile All-Star!

Students often have a limited budget and limited time that can be allotted to cooking. Perhaps it’s because of this that we convince ourselves we have to make do. We buy nearly everything canned or in jars, including our pasta sauces. And while there’s nothing wrong with that jar of Alfredo sauce in the fridge, it’s possible to do much better while remaining on a budget, as well as using up our ingredients before they go bad. For example, milk goes fast and is cheaper to buy bagged, so why not make use of the leftover milk before you have to pour it all out? Got leftover cheese you need to use up? Or maybe just feel like going fancy and getting cheese for a nice dinner? This sauce is always there for you regardless of the occasion. It’s incredibly versatile.

Ingredients list:

Basic Bechamel sauce:

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

To make into Alfredo Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or asiago cheese

To make into Mac & Cheese cheese sauce:

  • 1 cup of a variety of hard cheeses. (Can be anything from no-name cheddar and mozzarella, to finely aged gouda or Havarti. It’s up to you and your budget.)

 

Instructions for Bechamel Sauce:

Melt the butter over medium-low heat.

*Tip: If you so wish, you can brown the butter to add a more robust flavour to the sauce. (This will make your sauce a bit darker in colour, as shown in the picture below.)

Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mix looks golden.

*Tip: Don’t leave any lumps of flour in the mixture. You can go darker in terms of colour, depending on preference. Just be careful not burn the butter and flour mixture.

Add in the milk and  stir with a whisk.

Keep cooking over the heat until the mixture boils, then cook for 10 more minutes. Whisk constantly.

If you’re just looking for Bechamel sauce, stop here.

 

For Alfredo Sauce:

Turn off the element and whisk in the Parmesan or Asiago in stages until well integrated.

 

For Cheese Sauce:

Turn off the element and whisk in a bit of all cheese types until well integrated into the sauce.

Cook any type of pasta you want according to package instruction, add the delicious sauce that you made, and enjoy!

 

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

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).

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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.”

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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?)

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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

Jalapeno Mint Hot Sauce

I know most food purists would object to jalapeños paired with a traditional kebab, but I felt inspired after recently trying sumac and aimed to make a hot sauce that would fit nicely with Mediterranean food. Normally, you’re served a Greek yogurt mixture or a more plain hot sauce, but I wanted something I could throw on that would give your food the minty, “spring” taste that’s typical of Mediterranean food. The sumac adds a lemony and earthy kind of taste and the smokiness of the jalapeños compliments the sumac. The balsamic vinegar allows for the sweetness to come through the hot sauce and is reminiscent of something you would put on a mint salad.

If you feel like experimenting, try using a different combination of cider, white or balsamic vinegar. You could also experiment by using a lime or lemon, or by adding a variety of sweeter peppers to give the sauce more body and create a broader pepper taste profile. This sauce leans on the sweeter side because it’s meant to be served with very savoury kebabs or a gamey lamb and is a great addition to a vinaigrette or yogurt sauce.

Update

After the hot sauce has been sitting for about two weeks and all the flavours had a chance to mellow, you end up with a sauce that has a light smokiness and a sweeter aftertaste that compliments savoury dishes that have things like berries, tomatoes, and “green”-tasting herbs like the mint from this recipe, coriander, or maybe even tarragon. If you put this on something, you will find that it only accents flavours and doesn’t change the flavour profile of your dish. This sauce ended up being a very all-purpose sauce which deviated from my intentions but was still delicious. The first time I used it after the two weeks was on jerk pork and I found the sauce went better than my peach ghost pepper sauce.

The taste you’ll get from right after you make it and two weeks later will be extremely different. So don’t feel alarmed if you’re hit with a burst of heat and a vary tart-sweet aftertaste.

Steps

1. First chop and seed 8 jalapenos, or less depending on your spice tolerance. Also chop a red bell pepper and remove the seeds.

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2. Fry jalapeños quickly until lightly browned (this step is optional).

3. Put 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar, a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and 3/4 cup of sugar in a pan and simmer until mixture is reduced by about half and sugar is dissolved entirely.

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4. Throw everything in a blender, add 3 tbsp of salt, 2 tbsp of sumac, and liquefy.

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5. Decide to either cook out the sauce, or skip to step 7.

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6. Cook sauce until colour has changed and taste. Season to taste. Return mixture to blender if some lumps remain.

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7. Add about a 1/2 cup or less of mint leaves and liquefy.

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8. Fill the sauce into as many jars as needed, making sure to leave about a 1/2 inch of room from the top.

Recipe

  • 8 Jalapenos, seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  1. Lightly brown jalapenos and bell pepper and set aside
  2. Combine white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and sugar into a pan, simmer until reduced by half and sugar is dissolved entirely
  3. Place jalapenos and vinegar mixture in blender and liquefy
  4. Add sumac, and season salt to taste
  5. Brown liquid until colour changes, or about 10 minutes
  6. Put mixture back into blender and add mint leaves
  7. Blend and season again to taste, remember the taste will change as the sauce is given time to sit.

By: Jay Estrella