August 2010

      O Canada!
      Our home and native land!
      True patriot love in all thy sons command.

      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
      The True North strong and free!

      From far and wide,
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      God keep our land glorious and free!
      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, The Merry Cooks of My Kitchen My World gastronomically visited Canada this month. And it wasn’t any easier than visiting the USA. Over 100s of years Canada, like the rest of the North American as well as the South American continent was settled by refugees. Individuals who for one reason or another were another were ‘forced’ out of their own country and sought refuge in a new world. Mostly it was due to religious persecution, but some were adventurers who wanted to see new places. And the New World was NEW!!

French and English made up the majority of the immigrant population (AFTER the Native Americans) so there is much French and Engllish/Scottish/Irish influence in the foods of this land. It was not easy to choose. But I did…

    Salmon and Potato Pie

is a French-Canadian dish. Call it Canadian Comfort Food. Passed down for many generations, it is a mix of potatoes, salmon, onions/garlic, and spices baked as a two crust pie. Thanks Mackensie and Daryll for this one. Absolutely delicious!

I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was just enough for a 7″ pie plate (that I bought this summer and have been dying to use….).

Filling as it was there was still a need for DESSERT

    Butter Tarts

According to Nick Malgieri in A Baker’s Tour

    “…these probably came from Scontland and became popular in Canada early in the 20th century when corn syrup was first marketed in Canada.”

They are similar to a pecan pie, but with no pecans. And SWEET!!!!

      Butter Tarts

    4 Tbl (1/2 Stick) unsalted butter softened to mayonaise consistancy
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
    1 cup light corn syrup
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp Vanilla extract
    I recipe pastry dough. (Use your favorite.)

Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into three pieces. {I am assuming you have already made your dough and it is in the chill chest}
Place one of the pieces on a floured surface and flour the dough.
Roll into an 8″ square.
Using a 4″ round cutter, cut 4 rounds from the dough.
Press the small rounds into buttered muffin tin cavities as they are cut. They will not come all the way to the top.
Chill tartlet shells while preparing filling.
Place butter in a medium bowl and whist until smooth.
Whisk in brown sugar.
Whisk in corn syrup about 1/3 at a time. Whisk until mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
Whisk in vanilla.
Pour the filling into a measuring cup (you don’t have to but easier) and fill tartlet shells leaving abut 1/4 inch empty at the top of each tartlet.
Bake until crusts are baked through and fillin is set – about 25 minutes.
Cool tartlets in the pans on racks for about 5 minutes. Run aparing knife around each cavity and lift the tartlets from the muffin pans.
Cool completely on a rack.

I don’t know why, but mine shrank some. The tartlets are supposed to be full and puffy. So I filled them with a little whipped cream.

But it must not have mattered because they were gone – fast.

You can find the other Merry Bakers at

And if you are looking for TWD, it’s just below.



We haven’t baked cookies for TWD for awhile. And simple cookies at that. It was a welcome change.

    Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Seven simple ingredients mixed to bring you a delightfully buttery little cookie. There was supposed to be expresso in the cookie, but I am not an expresso fan. And even though I now have a large outlet for my baked goodies I chose to just leave the espresso out and make just 1/2 of the recipe. That gave me 21 delightful little 2″ round cookies. I used chocolate chips because that is what I had and they came out just fine. The chocolate chips did make the cookies a little harder to cut with the round cutter, but not too much.

Some of the bakers expressed some difficulty lifting the ziploc off the dough to remove the wrinkles. I found it easier to just press the wrinkles out.

I wonder how these would have been if I had added a touch of cocoa to the mix. One of the variations was spiced oatmeal and that sounds tasty. Maybe made with Masala Chai replaicing the espresso. But they were also good without anything. Just buttery goodness. And they stack up nicely….. {sorry, couldn’t resist!!!} to any butter cookie I have ever tasted.

Thanks, Donna (of Life’s too short not to eat dessert first )for choosing the cookies. They were awfully tasty. These are going to be made often.

I know how creative the othr TWD Bakers can be, so go visit their posts and see what they did with this delicious little cookie.

Braiding bread is relaxing. It is also fun. And it can be a challenge. Expecially if you are dealing with a soft dough. The doughs found in Nick Malgieri’s Modern Baker are softer than I am used to dealing with so a little harder to work with. And braid… Malgieri believes that doughs that are worked less tend to give bread that is more flavorful.

      ” It was recently discovered by bread technologists that mixing a dough vigorously or for a long time can deprive it of the natural sweet flavor of wheat, a flavor found in the best breads.”

So we work the dough less.

The dough is soft.

And the bread has great taste.

The semolina bread has a crunchy, chewy, rustic crust and a little tang in the flavor. It reminds me of good breads found in the best bakeries.

The chewy is due to the semolina which is high in proteins. Just enough to add to the gluten but not too much which would make the bread tough.

The sesame seeds add a little nutty flavor. Perfect Bread – for anything. Toasted. Dipped. Buttered. Plain. Good Bread.

Next time I will shape the bread into a batards or boules. I see melted cheese and Prosciutto in this bread’s future.

If you don’t have Nick’s book you need it if you are a bread fan. And find out about the Modern Baker Challenge by visiting the WebSite. And to see the other baker’s braids ….. because their links will be there.

I don’t think there is anything better than cobbler for a quick and tasty dessert. I love making cobbler with fresh fruits – apple, peaches, pears from our trees, strawberries, etc. But if you cannot get fresh then for many cobblers frozen peaches or berries. And this is what Ellie had in store for us this week with Pamela’s pick of

    Mixed Berry Cobbler

which was made will all frozen fruit. I had my reservations. I don’t often use frozen for desserts but I need to remember to trust Ellie. It came out deliciously.

Made even better with just a little of Dorie’s

Home Made Vanilla Ice Cream. Topped with a little of the juicy goodies in the cobbler.

While this is healthy with the Whole Wheat Crust on top, I made it just a little better by using Splenda in the berries instead of the sugar (even though it was only 1/4 cup) and in the topping. Actually, I forgot to put the sweetener in the topping, so just sprinkled it over the entire top of the cobbler. It was good!!

I have to admit, I almost forgot the zest too, but Kayte reminded me when she said (we, along with Marthe)were Twitterbaking) she was zesting. So, thanks Kayte, the zest really added to the flavor.

Pam this was a great pick. I will make it often. You can find Ellie’s recipe on FOODTV and it will be on Pam’s site.

Early August is the beginning of Peach season in Louisiana. About two hours away is Ruston which is famous for their peaches. There is a peach orchard just down the road. So making this tart for TWD was not hard.

This week we, the Bakers of TWD, made Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart which was Rachel of Sweet Tart‘s Pick.

There were so many sweets in the house the weekend I made this that I only made one itty bitty mini tart. But that itty bitty mini tart was very tasty!

I found one frozen shell, made 1/3 of the custard, used one perfect peach, and ended up with one perfect itty bitty tart.

We enjoyed the play of the almond and peach flavor. The crunchy nutty streusel topping was a nice match with the soft filling. We each had 1/2 of the itty bitty tart with a little whipped cream and extra peaches. (I did notice that the peach/custard layer was a little thin.)

As soon as the other sweets are gone I may just have to make this one again.

I know lots of the other TWD bakers liked this one. So go visit them. The recipe is on Rachel’s website. It is also in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours. You really SHOULD have this book on your kitchen book shelf. You won’t regret it.

Instant Sandwich Bread. Sounds like something that would include instructions like, “Just add water!” Folks, it IS almost that easy. Really!!

    Instant Sandwich Bread

Using Malgieri’s idea of working the bread as little as possible you can have a sheet of sandwich breads in less than 2 hours. Honest!! The bread has one real good rise on the jelly roll pan.


Fill with your favorite sandwich toppings and you are good to go.

Recipe says to cut into 12 4″ squares for sandwiches, but you could make them bigger or smaller. And if you like grilled sandwiches, just turn the slices upside down. And TOASTED!! Perfect!!!

The dough for this bread is VERY wet. I figured that one out when Nick said to scrape the dough onto a floured surface from the processor (extra easy!!). Usually scrape is not attached to bread dough. But once on the pan it is simple to complete.

This is definitely my alternative when we are tired of the sandwich rolls I usually make.

If you want to try this bread you can visit ACCRO for the recipe.

I see so many varieties with this one – adding cheese, adding Italian seasoning, adding –well, I don’t want to give away ALL my idea…..!!!!

If you want to join in baking through Nick Malgiere’s The Modern Bakerjust go talk to Phyl. He is Divine (ahem!!) about adding new bakers.

When am I going to learn to trust Ellie? I have yet to be disappointed in her food (even tho’ sometimes the Guys aren’t impressed!). As I was putting part of this week’s dish together I was thinking there is no way this is going to taste good. But!! I was wrong. So very wrong!! What were we cooking?? Salmon!!

Specifically – Salmon Cakes with Ginger-Sesame Sauce!!

Salmon Patties make an appearance often in this Louisiana household. They are so easy and I have been using the same recipe for years. It was time for a new one. And here came Ellie with just what I needed. The recipe I have used just uses eggs, cooked potato, onion, and canned salmon. Ellie’s is completely different. Instead of potatoes she uses Whole Wheat Bread as a binder. (I made my own because I just could not bring my self to buy brown sponge at the store.) Most of the other items in the patties is standard except for one – chopped water chestnuts which Ellie says adds some Asian Flair. I think this is the reason it was not a big hit with the family. Ah, well. I liked it. And it was even better with the Ginger-Sesame Sauce. That was the reason I just knew this would not be any good. Boy, was I wrong.

This simple sauce made with mayo, yogurt, sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce and it was tart and refreshing with these patties. Usually the patties come with tarter sauce, but this is So. Much. Better. So much!!! In other words I really enjoyed the Salmon Cakes. So, thanks, Sarah, for this pick. Delicious!! 1/2 recipe gave me six nice sized patties. You can find the recipe on Sarah’s Site and also on The Food Network Site. It is also, of course, in Ellie’s The Food You Crave. You won’t be sorry when you make these. (Even though they are really hard to make pretty in the pictures.)

I needed a side dish so I turned to Ellie (it is all about her food here, anyway…) and made her Ratatouille.

It is full of fresh eggplant, zucchini, garlic, basil, and onions as well as canned diced tomatoes. It all comes to gether really quickly. And deliciously. In So Easy Ellie pairs this with Snapper. It worked just as well with Salmon.

I made my own Whole Wheat Bread (medium size loaf) for this one.

    1 cup water
    1/4 cup butter
    1 egg
    2 Tbl sugar
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups bread flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
    1 1/2 tsp yeast

    Place all ingredients into bread machine. Just that easy. And it is really good bread. Soft crumb perfect for toasting.

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