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I have a new favourite food blog. In fact you could say I am smitten…with smittenkitchen.com. The recipes are original and not complicated and the photography is absolutely beautiful. I will admit that it’s rather unlikely I’ll be making my own graham crackers one day but it’s good to know I can if I ever feel the urge. I will be serving these delish looking lemon-mint-granita’s at my next dinner party…for sure! They look gorgeous. I think I’ll add a little sprig of mint, and maybe some chocolate on the side. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! 

I encourage all you food enthusiasts to check it out for some divine inspiration…you’ll be pleased with what you find….

And on a side note the chef blogger is expecting her first child so it will be fun to watch her recipe selection evolve throughout her pregnancy and beyond!

Comments | Tagged under recipes, blogs, gourmet
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What temperature should you cook your meat at?
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Now that grilling season is officially upon us, it’s important to know how to cook our meats properly. Did you know that almost all barbecued meat is overcooked? It’s true, since people are more and more cautious about under-cooking their proteins these days.

To aid with cooking meat to the proper temperature, I like to recommend a meat thermometre for anyone who isn’t a trained chef. I keep one at the ready, and when in doubt use it to keep my meat from getting overcooked when it’s on the grill.

Good to Know: Remember that meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the grill; so pull it off a few degrees before your desired temperature.

Here are some tips to start:

  • For beef, medium rare meat is cooked to 140°C, medium to 155°C and medium-well to 155 to 165°C. If you happen to like well-done beef, keep it on the grill until it registers at least 165°C on your thermometre.
  • All poultry should be cooked to a minimum of 165°C and you always want to see the juices running clear. If that doesn’t happen, throw it back over the coals for a few extra minutes.
  • Pork cooking temperatures vary depending on the cut, but chops, ribs, shoulders and sausages are cooked to around 160°C with no pink in the centre.
  • Most fish is grilled for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until it is opaque and flaky. If you use a thermometre on your fish, it should be cooked to approximately 145°C.

When we grill meat we always cook at least double what we need. Leftovers can be fashioned into no-cook salads and sandwiches on the days that it’s too hot to turn on the stove or the barbeque.

Leftover ribs and chicken wings are always popular lunch options in my house.

How do you know when your meat is done? Do you use a thermometre, the touch technique or just hope for the best?

 

Comments | Tagged under food, recipes, blogs, beef
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Jan Scott
December 05, 2011
Jan Scott
Rainbow Doodle Cake
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For me, one of the very best things that has come from food blogging has nothing to do with food or writing. Instead, the most exciting aspect of this hobby (and job) has been meeting like-minded people who are doing similar things as me. Happily, there are many of us around, and in the coming months I will be introducing some of our great Canadian food blogging moms to you.

Since December is the baking month, I must turn your attention to Rosie Alyea, baking blogger extraordinaire. Residing in Newcastle, Ontario, Rosie is the epitome of style, class and beauty, and her collection of cakes and confections have been seen in many magazines and websites as well as her own blog, Sweetapolita where she shares a glimpse into her home life. Her girls can often be found in the kitchen beside her, doodling on their birthday cakes. Not all of her cakes are kid-inspired, though. She creates the most sophisticated of sweets, like her famous asparagus cake.

Rosie was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering some questions I had for her.

Q: Which ingredient are you currently in love with these days?

Rosie: I’m currently drawn to using dark chocolate in my baking these days, even more so than ever before. I’ve recently been experimenting with different variations of dark to very dark quality chocolate, and I suddenly want to incorporate it into everything I make. I love extra-dark cocoa powder, as well as solid baking chocolate, ranging from 66% cocoa to 76% cocoa. It seems that no matter what you bake with premium chocolate, it turns out beautifully—rich, dark and decadent.

Q: What is the last meal you cooked for your family?

Rosie: This question made me smile! The last meal I cooked for my family was homemade pizza for the kids and a traditional pot roast dinner for me and my husband (simply seasoned with fresh rosemary & thyme). Although I do tend to do much more baking than cooking, my family loves simple, more old-fashioned meals, which I love to make.

Q: What is your ideal baking soundtrack?

Rosie: Well, it seems I can’t bake without music, or if I do it feels something is missing. These days, I find myself listening to French cafe music quite a bit, which the kids love as well. I think my little girls and I feel like fancy French bakers when we hear this kind of music in the kitchen, so it just feels right!

Q: Which do you prefer: chocolate or vanilla?

Rosie: I used to be a vanilla-girl all the way, but once I started learning more, and tasting baked goods made with quality chocolate, I quickly became a chocolate lover. Chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, ganache glaze—I love it all. It’s almost a tie between chocolate and vanilla, but not quite…

Q: Name the one baking utensil you can’t live without?

Rosie: I simply can’t live without my cake and cookie lifter. I use for transferring baked cake layers, sliced layers, filled cakes, fully frosted cakes and more, from plates to pedestals, boards to plates and pretty much anywhere a cake may need to go during the frosting and decorating process. It’s pretty much always within arms’ reach, because I use it so often.

To learn more about Rosie, visit her inspiring website or follow her on Twitter, where she often tweets about her latest project, charming children or serious coffee addiction.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rosie. Who are some of your favourite food blogging Moms?

Rosie Alyea

Rosie Alyea's Cakes

Comments | Tagged under baking, blogs, cake
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Fall Apple Pie from Family Feedbag
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Situated in picturesque Victoria, B.C., Amy Bronee, is the chief cook and writer behind Family Feedbag, a blog dedicated to from-scratch cooking for a thoroughly modern family. As a mom of two boys, Amy hones her cooking skills in her little home, while simultaneously teaching her boys about having fun in the kitchen.

I visit Amy’s space on the Internet quite frequently, and was recently bowled over when she shared a recipe for the most beautiful apple pie I’ve seen. Not only can this gal cook, but she’s incredibly creative as well.

Amy was gracious enough to answer some burning questions I had for her, and I have no doubt you will like her, and her blog, as much as I do.

Q: Which ingredient are you currently loving these days?

Amy: Leeks! They add so much flavour to comfort foods like stews and soups. Anywhere I would normally use an onion, substituting leeks adds an interesting flavour. Don’t get me started on bacon and leeks covered and cooked, until they practically melt in your mouth. J’adore! Any dish that starts there will take you good places.

Q: What is the last meal you cooked for your family?

Amy: Sesame chicken with bok choy on rice. I love the flavour of toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce with the silky texture of wilted greens. Healthy and yummy!

Q: What is your ideal cooking soundtrack?

Amy: Jazz, baby! I’m talking the classic stuff. Sassy ladies like Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Billie Holiday are often my companions in the kitchen. Lots of brass, and lots of raspy and heady sounds swirling above me while I chop and stir at the kitchen counter. That’s my idea of pure me-time bliss.

Q: Which do you prefer: chocolate or cheese?

Amy: Seriously?! That’s a tough one. Okay, if I had to choose one I suppose cheese slightly edges out chocolate for me. I mean, is there anything more deliriously naughty than ooey gooey melted cheese stringing from your plate to your fork? Knock me over, I’m in love.

Q: Name the one cooking utensil you can’t live without?

Amy: My chef’s knives. I’m not a big fan of gadgets because I don’t have the storage. Most of my prep is done with a cutting board and chef’s knife. It’s quick and cuts down on clean-up. Plus, chopping up some veggies is actually a great stress-reliever!

Comments | Tagged under recipes, blogs, dessert
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Jan Scott
February 17, 2012
Jan Scott
Doughnut Muffins
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While reading the new SavvyStories feature on our website last week, I was introduced to Kristine Fretwell, a food blogging mama from beautiful British Colombia. Kristine’s blog, Busy But Healthy, is a collection of family-friendly recipes peppered with a touch of personal anecdotes about her life as a mom.

One of my favourite things about this blog is that every single recipe Kristine shares is geared towards being as healthy as possible. Which makes her doughnut muffins a must-try for me, seeing as they’re totally good for you, not to mention gluten-free.

I asked Kristine if she would take some time to answer a few questions I had for her. Thanks for participating, Kristine!

Q: Which ingredient do you love these days?

Kristine: Oat flour. If you’ve seen any of my baking recipes, it’s definitely a staple. It’s so easy to make at home for cheap (just grind regular oats in your blender). I love that it’s a whole-grain flour, but doesn’t taste ‘bran-like’ unlike with other flours. The texture comes out great, and it still surprises me how versatile it is.

Q: What is the last meal you cooked for your family?

Kristine: One of the last things I cooked was my foolproof recipe for Peanut Butter Chicken. So easy and quick to throw together, the sauce is amazingly good, and the chicken comes out so tender. I served it with squash. I had some kabocha squash that night (sort of like Butternut squash), and the combo was great!

Q: What is your ideal cooking soundtrack?

Kristine: My ideal cooking music would be something calming like Adele, or spa music or some relaxing jazz-type music. The reality is the Treehouse channel is the typical soundtrack in my house, since I have a 3 year-old.

Q: Which do you prefer: chocolate or cheese?

Kristine: That’s a tough one. I could not live without goat cheese and feta, but on the other hand, I couldn’t imagine baking without chocolate chips or using cocoa powder. I think I’ll have to go with chocolate.

Q: Name the one cooking utensil you can’t live without?

Kristine: It’s got to be a spatula. How else would you get every last bit out of the bowl? I hate wasting even a little bit of a great batter. I’ve got four, so I would be quite panicked if they were all gone all of a sudden!

Comments | Tagged under food, mom, blogs
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Food Blogging Mom of the Month
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Meet Liz! I spotted her adorable blog, EmmaEats, on our very own SavvyStories last month, and immediately knew that she was someone I wanted to profile here.

Writing about ‘good food for busy families,’ Liz chronicles the culinary adventures that are the result of feeding her two daughters, Emma and Katie. Packed with pretty pictures and unique recipes (I loved her Spelt Parmesan Gougeres and Mini Pizza Buns), her blog is a wonderful source of inspiration for moms who are looking for something a little different to feed their family.

I recently caught up with Liz and asked her a few questions so we could all get to know her a little better. Here’s what she had to say:

1. Tell us, what does your typical breakfast look like?
A latte, and either a scone or some vanilla yogurt.

2. Name 10 things you currently have stocked in your fridge.

  • Caramel syrup – for my morning latte
  • Milk – for that morning latte
  • Sparkling water
  • Sparkling wine
  • Whole beef tenderloin – supporting my husband’s Big Green Egg habit
  • 4 kinds of cheese
  • A bunch of fruit (some berries, mandarin oranges, apples and grapes)
  • Pancetta – because what doesn’t taste better with a little pancetta
  • Cauliflower – for recipe testing
  • Sweet Chili Sauce – my favourite condiment

3. Which ingredient are you currently loving or using in a new way?
Coconut oil. Although I’m still trying to decipher whether it’s the miracle product that some people are saying or if it just makes everything taste better.

4. If you’re listening to music while you’re cooking, what would be your ideal soundtrack?
A little Pink Martini, Rodrigo Y Gabriela or something French cafe-ish.

5. Chocolate or cheese?
Both. And sometimes, even together (cheesecake brownies)!

 

Comments | Tagged under food, recipes, blogs, meals
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