Alberta Whisky Cake

It’s becoming increasingly prevalent to consider source (local) and company (niche) in our world. In a sense, our western culture has perhaps always leaned more towards a high standard of craftsmanship, than an overload of cheap trappings. We cherish one well-made bit crafted from a local artisan, over 10 made overseas. A pair of chaps so beautifully constructed they must be passed on from mother to daughter. And so on.

I’ve as much as possible refined and practiced the same criteria in my kitchen and lifestyle. I’d rather have less, and enjoy quality than stack up on bulk buys of ridiculously processed foods.

awckamlaAll part of why I never grow tired of this friend, and her consistently positive mind and joy of life.

It took baker Kamla McGonigal of Calgary, Alberta, four years to perfect her recipe. Determination, baby, that’s what it took. The fourth generation Calgary native wanted to use whisky, locally distilled at Highwood Distiller’s, from grain at nearby farms as one of the main ingredients in her delectable cakes. Finally after countless hours over an oven, McGonigal developed one of the best tasting and most unique baked-goods available to those with discerning palates – the Alberta Whisky Cake.

awcwhiskeycakeboxUsing only the finest locally-sourced ingredients, Alberta Whisky Cakes offer a seductive flavor. You will be able to smell it’s sweet, distinct goodness before you will ever taste it, but as whisky advocates know – this is a desirable trait.

awcradioSo, as I’m working through my Christmas list of gift-giving and thank-you’s – both personal and corporate, Alberta Whisky Cakes in their delightful western-styled packaging are a top pick. The beautiful bundts are simple to order, and because of the dense, whisky intinction, keep well through shipping and into the Christmas season.

Find Alberta Whisky Cake on Facebook or, here.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Ceasar Salad

I’m thinking BBQ season may be on its way out the door. I hope not, but just in case, I thought it was time to post about one of our favorite summer-time BBQ recipes. Caesar salad made on the grill!

When I first learned that romaine lettuce could be grilled, I did a double take. I thought, “Umm… Not totally sure how good that will be! How could lettuce possibly stand up to heat on a grill?”

Thankfully, I decided to give it a shot anyways (you’d be surprised at all the things that actually can be BBQ’ed!) Here’s the recipe and I hope your last days of summer are fun-filled and safe. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 half of a Romaine head for each person

– 1/4 cup mayonnaise

– 1/4 olive oil

– juice of one lemon

– 3/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

– 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic (depending on how much you like garlic!)

– 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (we prefer the shaved kind)

* We also like to sneak some cherry tomatoes halves, croutons and bacon into our Caesar salads. I would say the first two are optional – bacon, however, is not! <grin>

Pre-Make the Dressing:

Combine mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce and garlic into a small processor. Mix it up until it has a nice consistency. Set aside in the fridge until ready for use.

Grilling the Lettuce:

Carefully cut your romaine heads in half, vertically. Then I do my very best to wash the inside of the leaves of the halved head. It is tricky but the head can be washed and kept in tact. Once the halved-heads are dry, brush the lettuce with a light coating of olive oil. Place on your BBQ grill for about three minutes each (enough to get some grill marks on it). Although Romaine can handle BBQ’ing quite well, ensure not to leave the lettuce on too long.

Set each head on an individual plate and drizzle with your dressing. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and bacon over each halved-head. Add bacon, tomatoes and croutons if you desire. Enjoy!

 

Peach Schnapps Summertime Dessert

Peach Schnapps Dessert

I wish I could take full credit for this fantastic dessert, which has become an instant classic in our household. But alas, I can’t as it my mom’s creation! This is pretty much an adult dessert, but presented in Mason jars, it’s an easy take-along for horse shows or rodeos.

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Ingredients:

• Fresh peaches

• Peach Schnapps

• One Angel Food cake (homemade or store bought works fine)

• One large container of Cool Whip

• 1 large package instant Vanilla Pudding

• 2 cups milk

• Slivered or sliced almonds

Serve in half-pint mason jars or a trifle bowl

Peach schnapps dessert

Directions:

You can use a large trifle bowl or even a regular mixing bowl to start this delectable dessert, however, we chose to display our dessert in vintage Mason jars for a home-style, grass-roots, country cooking kind of finish to our dinner.

Prepare a large package of vanilla instant pudding with 2 cups milk and set aside to thicken. Set the Cool Whip out to soften. Tear up the angel food cake in bite sized pieces and place them about two – three inches deep in the mason jars. Drizzle with Peach Schnapps to taste – about 3 – 4 tablespoons per angel food layer.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of vanilla pudding over the cake. Slice and layer 1/3 to half a peach over the vanilla pudding. (Drizzle another 1 – 2 tablespoons of Peach Schnapps over the peaches, if desired.) Then layer Cool Whip over the peaches and add one tablespoon slivered or sliced almonds on the top. If you have room in your Mason jars, repeat the layers, finishing with the Cool Whip and the slivered Almonds.

If you have the opportunity to use fresh Okanagan peaches, the end result is divinity in a Jar. Cheers!

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Summer Spur

DSC_0526Want a frozen drink like no other for this long weekend of summer? Well, you simply must give this frozen coffee and Baileys drink a try! This is a party drink that will have your friends and neighbours begging for more – and will see you going through an entire bucket of ice cream in no time flat.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

• Frozen coffee cubes. (Make coffee 24 hours in advance and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze)

• Baileys

• Vanilla ice cream

• 1/2 cup Milk (more if you prefer the drink to be more liquid-y)

* Banana (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Throw, one banana (if you choose), a few scoops of ice cream and the milk together into a blender. Blend.

Place approximately 4-5 frozen coffee cubes into each tall glass.

Add 1 ounce of Baileys into each glass.

Pour the blended mixture into each glass and give it a stir. Serve with a straw.

This is a drink that should be made in bulk and enjoyed on a hot patio!

 

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

rhubarbcakeA couple of years ago, I purchased a rhubarb plant. I set it temporarily by the compost pile, while I deliberated where to plant it. It was spring. It rained for a long time. Spring turned into summer. Horses, shows and other priorities prevailed. When autumn rolled around, I guiltily pushed the dried up stalk, still in its pot, to the back of the compost pile, out of sight. Finally, sometime before winter I threw the entire plant into the compost pile, on its side, still in its pot. I was fairly certain I’d missed the successful transplanting window by a month, or season, or two.

There may be some truth to the theory that you really can’t kill rhubarb. The following spring, as I was tidying up the compost pile, there it was, on its side, bright green leaves and red stalks pushing out from the dried plant.

This time I didn’t miss the window, and since then we’ve re-discovered rhubarb as one of our favourite springtime treats.

So, good, I decided to make a rhubarb upside-down cake for Wee’s birthday. So simple. The streusel ends up on the bottom of the cake in this case, but it’s still a beautiful thing. I have trouble with upside-down cakes flipping out intact. In this case, it’s appropriate to cool the cake about 10 minutes and then flip it. Too long, and the rhubarb will get sticky.

Streusel 

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

bit of salt

Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups (or more if desired) of cut up rhubarb, tossed in enough sugar to coat it.

1 cup sugar (in addition to the sugar used for coating the rhubarb)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1-2 tablespoons orange juice

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

a bit of orange zest, optional

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter a 9 or 10 inch round cake or pie pan (2-3 inches deep)

3. Spread the rhubarb and sugar mixture into the pan.

4. Make the streusel by crumbling together the ingredients.

5. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in zest and juice. Add eggs one at a time. Add flour in three batches and equal halves of the sour cream in between, beating until smooth. Your batter should be spreadable, add the second tablespoon of orange juice here if necessary.

Note: if you find yourself short of sour cream, you can substitute plain yogurt. Just let it sit in a strainer for 15 minutes mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda. This will give it the same consistency as the thicker sour cream.

6. Spread the batter over the rhubarb and top it off with the crumbled streusel.

7. Bake about 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge, and invert onto a pretty cake plate.

rhubarbsliced

 

 

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

Fruit-Salsa-on-cinnamon-chips

If you want to fix a special summer snack that is as healthy as it is fresh, this fruit salsa on cinnamon chips is to die for! A seriously easy recipe that works great at home or from the living quarters of your trailer at a show.

And the best part? Not counting the fruit, there are only 140 calories per every 7 chips!

Ingredients:

1 mango

6-8 strawberries

10 cherries

1/8 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp lemon juice

1 Bag of Stacy’s Cinnamon Chips

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Instructions
Wash all produce. Pit the cherries. Prepare your mango and cut into small pieces. Chop the tops off your strawberries and cut in half. Chop the cilantro up slightly. Throw the cherries, strawberries, mango and cilantro in a food processor and add in the lemon juice. Not a lot of processing is necessary because you want the salsa to be somewhat chunky. Once you have a blend you’re happy with, put the salsa into the fridge and allow it to marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Serve the salsa with Stacy’s Cinnamon Chips.

Sooooo good!

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Stuffed Turkey Buns

TurkeyBunPlate

BY GUEST BLOGGER – Memories of Home

After days and days of hedonistic holiday feasting, the fridge is full.
The kids are taking a running start to fit the milk back in.

Time to come up with an idea for leftovers…

hmmm…

Turkey Salad stuffed inside two-tone buns, shaped liked little turkeys.  Obviously.

Here’s the recipe for the Turkey Salad part.  (I’ll show you the bun part after.)
TURKEY SALAD (makes 8 luncheon sized servings)
4 cups of finely diced leftover roasted turkey
1 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds
1 1/2 cups of salted cashews
2 red apples, cored, unpeeled, and finely diced
1 1/2 cups celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 TBSP milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all that together gently, in a big bowl.  Cover, refrigerate, and use within 24 hours.

TURKEY SHAPED BUNS
I enjoy making my own bread, and have made two batches of dough for these turkeys, a 100% whole wheat, and a farmhouse white recipe, however you may use bread or bun dough from the freezer section at the grocery store, following the package directions for thawing.  One pound of each colour dough (brown and white) makes eight little turkeys.

Firstly, cut your whole wheat dough into eight pieces.  Next, cut your white dough into eight pieces.  Each piece will be about the size of a golf ball.  Keep them covered while you are working, with a damp towel.

Now, cut each piece of whole wheat dough into two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other.  Like this:

DoughCut

The smaller whole wheat piece will become the “wings” of the turkey, and the larger piece, the “legs”.  Once you have prepared all of the pieces, shape them like this:

DoughRolled

… and assemble them like this:

DoughTurkey

The white dough represents the “breast meat” of the turkey, and is a heart shape.  The whole wheat pieces roll nicely on a wooden board, begun as a rope shape about 3” long, and then thinned in the centre and at the tips by rolling under your fingertips.

Place the “turkeys” on a baking mat on a cookie sheet, and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

BakingTurkeyBun

Because of the rising properties of the yeasted buns, it is possible for the detailed elements of your artistic creation to become mutated during rising, however small adjustments before you bake them will help to recover their fowl shape.  Gently brush each bun with an egg white wash (egg white + 1 TBSP water).  Sprinkle lightly with lemon pepper or any desired seasoning.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Cool completely before attempting to stuff these turkeys.  They may be prepared ahead, and frozen.

Use a strawberry huller, or a small serrated knife to core out a “cavity” in your “turkey”.  Carefully stuff the Turkey Salad filling inside each bun, and serve.

TurkeyBunStuffed

Gobble up!

Day 12 – Christmas Butter Tarts

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Day 12 – Christmas Butter Tarts

We wrap up our 12 days of Christmas cookies with butter tarts – a Canadian tradition. Butter tarts were common in pioneer Canadian cooking and they remain a characteristic pastry of our country, considered one of only a few recipes of genuinely Canadian origin. So what would the Christmas holidays be without this quintessential dessert?

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 egg beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
Scald raisins and drain. Add sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Pour scalded ingredients into tiny tart pastry cups. Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees, until the filling is a semi-solid with a crunchy top. (Double the recipe makes 3 dozen tarts.)

Easy peasy!

 

Day 11 – Peppermint Bark

WEBPeppermint-Bark

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups chocolate chips (or dark chocolate shavings)
2 cups white chocolate chips (or white chocolate
3/4 cup crushed candy canes
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

WEB-crushed-peppermint-candy
Preparation:
1. To crush the candy canes, unwrap and place in a food processor or blender. Pulse on/off several times for 5-10 seconds each, until the canes have been crushed into small pieces. Alternately, place the candy canes in a large Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll/smash the candy canes until they are the size you desire.

2. Cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave at low heat, or place in a double-boiler over boiling water. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet and use an offset spatula or knife to spread it to an even thickness, a little more than 1/8″ thick. The chocolate does not have to reach all sides of the sheet, as it will be broken up later anyhow. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up while you prepare the white chocolate.

4. While the dark chocolate hardens, melt the white chocolate using the same process. Stir in 1/2 cup of the crushed peppermint, reserving 1/4 cup for the top.

5. Remove the dark chocolate from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.

6. While the white chocolate is still soft, quickly sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down very slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up for one hour.

7. Once the peppermint bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.