Category Archives: Recipes

Lonely Chicago π

Today’s date can be marked as March 14 or 3.14, which is the official day for the mathematical symbol π (pi).  In light of this mathematically significant day, I decided I would honor it by baking (what else of course?) a pie.  Waitress, my favourite movie, just so happens to have a plethora of pie ideas to choose from, and I have seen it too many times not to try to bake one of them.

Jenna, the main character in the movie is (surprise, surprise) a waitress at a pie diner, and she is also the person who bakes and creates the pies.  Throughout the movie she mentally bakes pies with unique combinations of ingredients and gives them names to reflect her mood.  The pie that I chose to make was ‘Lonely Chicago Pie’, made up of blackberries and chocolate.  There is a DVD set that comes with recipes for some of the pies she creates, but I sadly do not have that set.  Instead, I put my thinking cap on and created this recipe:

Lonely Chicago Pie (Inspired by the movie Waitress)

Makes 1 Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Deep Dish pie shell (Recipe I used here)
  • 5 Tbsp Dutch Processed Cocoa
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 50g Dark Chocolate
  • 300 mL (1 can) Condensed Milk
  • 4 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 340g Blackberries, washed and thoroughly dried
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly mash berries in a small bowl with a pestle or the back of a spoon.  Mix thoroughly with 2 Tbsp flour and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix together cocoa, remaining flour, salt, and dark chocolate.  Add condensed milk, yolks, butter, and vanilla, then heat over medium low while stirring constantly.
  3. Once the butter has completely melted, pour chocolate mixture into pie shell followed by berri es.  With a spoon, carefully blend the berries and the chocolate together making sure not to scrape the raw pastry.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the chocolate has centre has set.  The mixture will still be slightly wobbly.  Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Before making ‘Lonely Chicago Pie’, I watched and studied what Jenna did and added to the her pie to try to emulate her as closely as possible.  Jenna may have been a pie genius, but her pie baking methodology would not hold up without the magic of movie making, unless there was something I missed.  In the movie, ‘Lonely Chicago Pie’ is made by sprinkling brown sugar into the base of an unbaked pastry shell and topped with melted chocolate and mashed blackberries.  I wasn’t about to make a pie that was filled with straight melted chocolate–it would just turn out to be one big chocolate puck!

Even though I don’t agree with some of Jenna’s methods, my mouth still waters every time I watch Waitress.  This pie was sweet and velvety with a juicy burst of berries in every few bites.  I never was a very good at it, but math sure can be delicious sometimes.

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An Ugly But a Goodie

On Friday, it was almost midnight and I had a slight itch for something sweet.  I thought about baking something rich and chocolatey, but it would’ve been a while before I would be able sink my teeth into it.  The ‘5-Minute Chocolate Cake’ recipe which is ever so popular in the blogosphere was one I had yet to try.  I was very skeptical about a cake “baked” in a microwave, and that was the main reason I hadn’t tried it.  But this time I couldn’t be bothered to bake a whole batch of something, and after looking at some recipes I really needed a dessert. Bad.

Okay, so not exactly a looker.   In fact, it looks like a creature from the black lagoon walked through the snow and showed up for dessert, but let’s get past all the superficial details.  I would say that the flavour of the cake was better than most cake mixes, even though it was a bit sweet.  I feared that it would’ve turned out very gluey and wet, but the cake was neither wet nor dry.  What it was lacking was in the structure.  It had rather large pockets of air (as it is clearly shown in the photo above) and was rather dense in some areas where a traditionally baked cake would have a fine and light texture throughout.  The centre of this cake was dry and hard, due to overcooking, but this was something that is likely to be solved by adjusting the cooking time.

Whoever invented this recipe was either very smart or very desperate.  Overall, I think this is a great recipe for anyone who is in a predicament such as I was, but I wouldn’t serve it to The Queen or The Pope if they show up at my house for an impromptu dinner.  It was good enough to say that I would make it again with a few minor adjustments.  But, a glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream is an absolute necessity to serve alongside this recipe.

5-Minute Chocolate Cake

Makes 1 Cake

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp Flour
  • 4 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Dutch Processed Cocoa)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Egg, Beaten
  • 3 Tbsp Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Oil (I used Butter)
  • 3 Tbsp Chocolate Chips
  • Splash of vanilla
  1. In a mug, combine dry ingredients followed by egg, milk, and oil/butter.
  2. Add chocolate chips, and vanilla and mix together.
  3. Microwave on high for two and a half to three minutes on high.
  4. Cool cake slightly before serving.

Jasmine Tea Infused Birthday Cake

Since my grandmother celebrates her birthday according to the Chinese calendar, the day we celebrate her birthday changes dates from year to year.  This year, her birthday fell within a week of my sister’s, so they both celebrated their birthday together.  I wanted to make a cake that was a little more Asian inspired, so I infused jasmine tea into an ATK recipe.

Jasmine Tea Cake

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Portland Food Carts Part 1 – Cooking on the Fly

The day after Thanksgiving, four of us Canadians made our way down to Oregon State for some food and tax free shopping.  Black Friday midnight madness shopping gets me about excited as having to use a porta potty when I think about the pushing and shoving that goes on.  One year, we drove out to the big box stores at around midnight, just to giggle at the lineups that wrapped around stores waiting for them to open.  This year, I spent most of Black Friday making my way down to Woodburn, Oregon from my sisters’ eluding shopping until later in the evening.

One area we made sure to stop for was in downtown Portland for a late lunch (or as I’d like to call it, “Food Cart City”).  I had done a bit of research on which places I’d like to go to (http://www.foodcartsportland.com), but once I was actually there, I was overwhelmed by the choices available to me, even though many of the carts were closed. Continue reading

Recycle, Reheat, Restock (Chocolate Nuttella Button Cookies)

If someone were to look in my pantry closet, they might think that I’m trying to store food for winter or a nuclear disaster.  In actuality, I am a hoarder.  Only, I hoard food.  For example, the apple butter I used to make my Remembrance Day Cake was in the fridge for over a year before I cracked it open.  I only opened it because I knew it was about to expire.  I still haven’t used all of it.

Chocolate Nutella Button Cookies

I buy, buy, buy; and then I hardly ever actually eat, eat, eat.  Continue reading

Remembrance Day Cake

This past week I graduated from my Wilton Fondant and Gumpaste course.  Our final project (surprise, surprise) was to make a fondant cake adorned with gumpaste and use any other cake decorating skills we might possess.  Since my final project was after Halloween, I couldn’t think of any appropriate theme to decorate the cake with.

Flander's Cake?

The Continue reading

Cure for Turkey Leftovers

Growing up in a first generation Chinese Canadian family, unusual dishes have made their way to our Thanksgiving dinner table.  Snake soup, sushi, sea cucumber, and abalone have all made regular appearances during the holidays.  Thanksgiving never had much meaning to me other than a reason to get together with my family and have a sensational meal.  Even though we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving as it was intended, the turkey was still the guest of honour.

Playing refrigerator tetris with containers like this after the holidays.

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Maximum Capacity

I managed to get a skein of salmon roe from a friend who knew someone who had fished for salmon in the Vedder River.  I had never cooked with roe before, not even cured roe.  But, I was eager to give it a try because salmon roe has been one of my favorite foods since I was a child (yes, even as a child I have had sophisticated tastes! lol).

Salmon Roe - Cured it myself!

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Fire Fighting

A few weeks ago, when I visited the Korean Presbyterian Church for their garage sale, I picked up a few things which were meant to be prepared at home. A few days after the garage sale, I decided to prepare a Korean themed dinner at home.
Barbequed Korean Style Short Ribs

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Betcha He Can’t Eat Just One!

Like many Chinese people, my dad chooses to celebrate his birthday according to the traditional Chinese calendar.  Thus, making it a bit hard for me to keep track of from year to year.  But, in light of his birthday I decided to try my hand at making one of his favorite types of cookies.  He always had a certain enthusiasm for Chinese cookies because they seemed to bring him back to his childhood home.

Chinese Almond (Thumbprint) Cookies

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Going Off the Deep End

Chez Ashton Poutine in Quebec

I remember my trip to Quebec where cheese curds were as common as Honda Civics are here in Vancouver.  Cheese curds would be sitting unrefrigerated near the cash registers at just about every grocery store and gas station, and I thought it was very strange.  It was equally strange to eat my first authentic plate of poutine and hear the delightful squeak of the curds rubbing against my teeth.  So, when I founds fresh curds at the Edible Vancouver Garlic Festival I thought I would try to recreate my francophone experience. Continue reading

Forks on the Farm

Nothing Beats Charcoal Grilling

Living here in B.C. means that I have access to an abundant supply of locally produced food.  Recently, I have been trying harder to take advantage of my location so that I can eat foods when they are in season.  Reading ‘The 100 Mile Diet’ will probably give me a lot of good ideas and creative ways to take advantage of foods produced here.  I don’t think that I could do a 100 mile diet like some people have, but I didn’t let that stop me from exploring the food filled outback of B.C..  My recent excursion to the Fraser Valley on the self-guided Circle Farm Tour, took me and a friend as far as Agassiz, which is about 80 miles (130 kilometres) from Richmond.

The only places I wanted to make sure we stopped at were the ‘Edible Vancouver Garlic Festival‘ and ‘The Abbotsford Farmers Market’.  In addition to these two events, we were on a quest for salmon roe, corn, and honey for no reason other than those items being produced and harvested that region.

Crispy Salmon Skin Snack

The first part of the trip was longer than I expected and I started to get hungry, Continue reading

Lunch on the Terrace (Roadside Dining Part 2)

Dining on the Terrace

I invited people over to watch the sixth and seventh installments of the Harry Potter movies, before we headed out to the theatre to watch The Deathly Hallows Part 2.  It gave me an opportunity to use the wild blackberries I harvested from bushes on the side of a road.  I wanted to prepare a simple lunch because we were on a tight schedule.

I looked at the run times for each movie and calculated that The Half Blood Prince DVD needed to be set to play by nine o’clock a.m..  It was a Saturday, so I had to tear myself away from bed and get ready before guests arrived.  I knew it was impossible Continue reading