fancy pants poutine

 

when i lived in toronto's queen west, my condo was directly across the street from an eatery called poutini's house of poutine. it was an independently owned take away restaurant that just sold poutine. from the traditional poutine to the smoked meat poutine it was the best place to go for a late night snack! i would even order just the fresh cut fries some nights because they were that good. now that i don't live across the street from poutini's anymore, i have perfected my poutine making skills at home. you would never know these french fries are baked not fried (come on how crispy do those look)! the trick is to use enough canola oil to heavily coat the pan & ensure they crisp up and brown on each side. this is not the time for extra virgin olive oil my friends. i also ensure to cut the fry shapes as uniform as possible so everything cooks evenly. for the gravy i included all my favourite herbs to make it a little fancier then a traditional poutine & give the gravy a fresher taste. i blended the gravy in my vitamix to make sure no chunks or garlic or herbs are visible. i think it is important for the gravy to appear as smooth & creamy as possible. lastly, i used store bought cheese curds to finish things off. BUT (call me crazy) i think i am going to try and make my own cheese curds next time too! how hard can it be, eh?!

ingredients

for the herb gravy

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh or dried
  • salt & cracked black pepper, to taste

for the fancy poutine

  • 4-5 large potatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh cheese curds
  • 1 cups herb gravy (see recipe above)

directions

for the herb gravy

  • in a sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. add the flour & stir constantly for 4-5 minutes.
  • pour in the beef stock & whisk until smooth.
  • add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper. remove from heat once gravy thickens.
  • pour into vitamix & blend for 60 seconds. this will ensure a smooth & creamy gravy.
  • set aside until ready to use. stores well in a sealed container for a week.

for the fancy pants poutine

  • preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • toss potatoes in oil, salt & pepper.
  • bake for an hour, rotating the potatoes every 25 minutes. this will ensure each side becomes golden brown.
  • divide potatoes in desired serving dish. layer with hot gravy & cheese curds. top with additional gravy if desired.

maple cupcake bites

 

happy weekend! let's kick it off with some cupcakes, eh? i call these a 'cupcake bite' because they are more like a cross between a cupcake and a two bite blondie. a little denser & more buttery then a traditional cupcake, but still loaded with buttercream! i topped it off with red & white (ok, as red as i could get the frosting without being too pink) frosting complete with a red polka dot flag. how celebratory is that for #canada150? i originally wanted to make the flags in the shape of maple leafs, but everytime i try to cut out or draw a maple leaf shape it never goes over well. lastly, i made these guys in a vitamix! that's right. it was so easy to whip (er blend) up! you basically just toss all the ingredients into the blender & voila a cupcake batter. stay cool this weekend friends! it is FINALLY supposed to be a hot one.

ingredients

(makes two dozen cupcake bites)

for the cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk

for the frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • red food colouring
  • red sprinkles

directions

for the cake

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • in the vitamix (or a stand mixer) add the butter & sugar. blend until mixture is light & fluffy.
  • add in the maple syrup, eggs & vanilla extract. blend until well incorporated.
  • sift in the flour, baking powder & salt. pulse mixture while slowly incorporating the milk.
  • once the mix is fully added, blend for an additional 60 seconds.
  • divide batter evenly between 24 greased cupcake tins.
  • bake for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back to touch.
  • let cupcakes cool while you prepare the frosting.

for the frosting

  • beat butter, icing sugar, maple syrup & vanilla extract until fluffy. about 5-8 minutes.
  • divide frosting between two bowls. leave one white & add the red food colouring to the other until desired red colour is reached.
  • add frosting to a piping bag one scoop at a time, alternating between each colour until full.
  • pipe cupcakes as desired. sprinkle with red sprinkles & top with a handmade flag!

avocado hummus

 

summer time entertaining calls for ALL the hummus! it is the perfect appetizer to serve at any gathering because you can dip just about anything you can think of in it. from fresh veggies to warm pitas to different flavoured harvest snaps, anything goes! while a classic roasted garlic hummus is always a hit, i like adding different flavours & twist to it. remember that gorgeous pink roasted beet hummus from january? today, for a more summery twist, i incorporated fresh avocado! it makes for the perfect cross between guacamole & hummus. i brought in the classic guacamole flavours like garlic & cilantro, but kept the seasoning to a minimal. the avocado makes for such a smooth & creamy dip. just make sure that avocado is perfectly ripe! i topped it off with an avocado rose because they add such a wow factor to any finished dish. lastly, i served it with both black bean habanero & black pepper harvest snaps. they are the perfect shape for dipping into hummus with!

ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt + pepper, to taste
  • 85 grams black bean habanero harvest snaps, for serving
  • 85 grams black pepper harvest snaps, for serving

directions

  • in a food processor add the chickpeas, avocado, tahini, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, water, lime, salt & pepper. puree until smooth.
  • transfer to serving dish & top with olive oil, fresh cilantro & sliced avocado.
  • serve with black bean habanero & black pepper harvest snaps!
  • stores for up to a week in a sealed glass jar or plastic tupperware.