Chocolate (Swiss Meringue) Buttercream

There are many versions of buttercream: American, Swiss, French and Italian. There are subtle differences in overall texture, but beyond that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. With similar ingredients like sugar and butter, it comes down to technique and execution. This recipe is for a Swiss (meringue) buttercream. Swiss meringue buttercream is one of the easier, stable buttercream to execute (compared to Italian and French). Compared to American, it is definitely less sweet and has more of a velvety texture. This recipe adds dark chocolate at the end and is used to top my version of a Deep N’ Delicious cake.

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Secret Butternut Mac & Cheese

This meal came about as the intersection of two lines of thought. We wanted to try out the old fashioned (original) macaroni and cheese recipe, as featured on the Netflix series High on the Hog (recommended, by the way!). And, I’d been wanting to try adding butternut squash to macaroni and cheese ever since we ended up with way too many (is there such a thing) squash last fall. Earlier this week we finally got around to trying a mix of the two…we cooked the macaroni in equal parts milk and water (4 cups and 4 cups), then used the leftover cooking liquid (about a litre) to make the sauce with a roux: melted 5 Tbsp (75g) butter and softened some diced garlic and onions in it; added 1/4 cup (34g) flour and cooked it for about a minute, seasoned with salt and paprika; slowly added the reserved cooking liquid (we were able to use all the liquid from cooking the pasta, so the water and milk didn’t have to go to waste) and brought everything to a boil; added about 2 cups (300g) cubed butternut squash and let simmer for about 45 minutes. After that we added some cheese (shredded, mixed cheddar, about 1 cup) and stirred to combine with the macaroni. We added hot dogs (obviously), divided it into 3 baking dishes (good portions for 2 people), and topped with breadcrumbs and extra cheese before baking (and freezing for later).

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No Knead (Personal Pan) Pizza

Every year, I try to develop new recipes for the kiddies that can be easily duplicated in class as well as at home with minimal tools and equipment. Who doesn’t like pizza right? With a no-knead approach, they don’t have to worry about a lack of equipment at home or even know the basic bread theory (gluten development, DDT, …). They can just enjoy a pizza that can easily be duplicated at home for friends and family. Fun fact: I often get stories about students’ parents asking them to take care of dinner multiple nights a week after gaining some experience in my class. It brings a smile to my face every single time.

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Basic Dark Chocolate Ganache

This is a basic dark chocolate ganache recipe that is a go-to recipe for me. I like the consistency and mouth feel with these specific proportions. Whenever I am starting new recipes, I often use this as a base ganache recipe and then tweak it based on the final flavouring I want. I use it in tarts, cakes, truffles, the list goes on…

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Duck 3 Ways

Duck 3 Ways

This week, I had every intention of trying to remake my failed duck dish (duck wellington) from last week’s supper club. While in the grocery store getting the ingredients to do it again, I found myself standing in front of the glass freezer door where the puff pastry is stored with my hand on the handle, and a question keeps coming to mind “Do I want to be disappointed again?” The answer was no! No, I didn’t give up, I’m not a quitter, I’m just putting the dish on hold until I can gather more information to make it properly. Instead, I did a duck 3 ways. The breast was sous vide at 58°C for roughly an hour to produce a nice pink center. In a really hot pan, I seared the foie gras, the duck breast, and a black duck leg confit that I had hidden in the freezer. The sauce was a reduction of maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, wild blueberries with a hint of salt. Everything worked well together: there was a little bit of saltiness from the confit, fattiness from the foie gras, sweet, sour and tangy flavours from the sauce and a little bit of crispiness from the duck skin on the breast. Even though it isn’t a good comparison, Megan and I both agreed it was better than last week’s dish, with the added flavours and textural components to enhance the experience.