December 13, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

I recently traveled from Kingston to Hamilton to spend Christmas with my family, leaving Anders behind, at our apartment, where he is studying for exams until next week. Before I left, I wanted to make sure he wouldn't have to resort to eating cookies and granola bars until he gets home. This is not to say he can't cook. He can! It's one of many reaons he's a great man. But cooking (and cooking well) takes time, time that could be better used studying and preparing for exams! So before I left, I set to work making some chicken pot pies!

Naturally enough, I started with some chicken breasts!

I drizzled the chicken with olive oil, and seasoned it with salt, pepper and rosemary and baked it.

While the chicken was roasting, I prepared some potatoes, carrots, celery and an onion.

And then the chicken came out of the oven, smelling super delicious. Even though I don't eat meat.

I set the chicken aside to cool and started on the pie filling. The recipe called for oil and butter in the pan, but elected to use the remaining oil and chicken drippings from the pan and some butter.

In that, I sauteed the onion and celery.

Next, I added a bit of flour...

And blanched the potatoes and carrots in some chicken stock.

After blanching in the stock for three minutes, I removed the potatoes and carrots and set them aside.

And then added both the chicken broth and some cream to the onion and celery and whisked until smooth.

Once it had thickened a bit, I added the potatoes, carrots, and some frozen peas and corn.

And I mixed it all together again, and then cut the chicken up into chunks (which I added later and didn't snap a photo of, apparently).

I turned to my trust olive oil pie dough for these little pies, and rolled the dough out to fit into little pot pie tins.

Next, I stuffed shell full of the chicken filling. Let's face it, if I made it any smaller, it wouldn't be filling enough for Anders!

Then, I put on a simple top.

I put four pies on a tray (two of these are actually beef!) and put them in the oven to brown up.

Anders heated up a pie the next day for dinner.

And enjoyed it!

I was personally just happy they turned out so well! I'd seen so many photos of chicken pot pies with completely liquid fillings, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this nice, thick filling. I can't say anything about the flavour, but it all looked really good!


Olive Oil Pie Crust

2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup ice water
1 tablespoon of vinegar


Place olive oil in the freezer until it solidifies, approximately 3 or 4 hours.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix. Add remaining ingredients and blend with a pastry blender. Place dough in an air tight container or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
Roll ball out to 1/8 inch thickness and fit into a pie plate(s). Use as you would a regular pie crust.

Chicken Pot Pie

3 cups cooked chicken (three to four breasts)
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or the chicken drippings)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth made with one extra boullion cube
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas


Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and rosemary. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
In a large, deep pan, sautee onion and celery in chicken drippings and butter for about 5-10 minutes. Be sure to stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of your pot.
Heat up the *chicken stock in a medium sized pot, adding one extra cube of bullion. Blanch the carrots and potatoes in the stock for 3 minutes, remove and set aside.
Add the garlic to the onion and celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the flour and cook out the starch for about 2 minutes. Stir constantly, to avoid burning. Add the hot chicken stock and allow to come to a low simmer as you stir to thicken. Once the mixture has begun to thicken add the salt, pepper, and cream, and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, corn, peas and chicken and stir until combined. Allow to simmer for a few minutes before removing from the eat.


Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. To assemble the pie (or pies), roll out the dough and fill the pie dish, leaving a little extra dough around the edges. Fill the pie with the desired amount of filling, and place a vented top over the filling. Pinch the edges to seal. Bake for up to 45 minutes, or until the filling bubbles and the crust browns. After removing the pie(s) from the oven, allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

*For the stock, I used OXO broth boullion powder.

Guten Appetit!
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December 08, 2008

Germany Cupcakes!

Germany cupcakes... what could that possibly mean?! German doesn't have a word for "cupcake." From what I gather, muffins and cupcakes are called the same thing: der Muffin. I also looked "cupcake" up on the Leo translator. It came up with this: kleiner, muffinähnlicher Kuchen. It means "small cake, similar to a muffin." That's a mouthful. But so are cupcakes... which bring me back to the real point of this post...
I made these cupcakes for one of my German classes. As you may (or may not) know, Germans are not terribly, outwardly patriotic, and they haven't been for some time. But shortly before and after (the first) German unification, there was a tremendous amount of national pride and patriotism. We were discussing this period in one of my classes, and to get a better idea of what we were talking about, we did a pretend, "in-character" Rollenspiel (role play), in a Berlin salon. And what do you do in salons other than talk politics and literature, etc.? Why, you eat small sweets! Now, I'm sure they wouldn't have eaten cupcakes in the salons of Berlin back in the day, but I like cupcakes.
This still doesn't explain why the cupcakes are called Germany cupcakes, but if you continue reading, you will find out soon!

I started with two bowls with ingredients for vanilla cake in one and chocolate in the other.

The cake ingredients at this point are flour, sugar and baking soda, and cocoa for the chocolate cake.

I made the chocolate batter first: to the above mentioned ingredients I added some oil, water (it's supposed to be coffee, but we don't drink it!) and vanilla.

And I whisked it all up!

To the dry vanilla ingredients, I added oil, milk and vanilla.

And whisked it all up!

Next, I split the vanilla batter in two bowls and got out my trusty gel colouring...

Does anyone see where this is going yet?

I dyed one bowl yellow, and one bowl red (well, neon pink...:\)!

I layered the batters in my muffin tin, starting with chocolate.

And ending with yellow.

I realised afterward I should have done it the other way, since the black is actually on top and yellow on the bottom. Whoops!

After baking, they came out with cute little domes!

While they had been baking, I worked on some buttercream, which I also dyed schwarzrotgold (black red gold). I had never piped with more than one colour in the bag, so three was quite an ordeal! I also have a very small piping bag, so for many of the cupcakes, two colours came out fabulously, but the third was kind of lost.

In any event, I thought they looked pretty cute in the end! Which is why I took 23409834 photos...

Of course it rained the day I had to take them to class, and when it rains in Kingston, it rains horizontally. So this is how I ended up getting my hard work to class. In a Rubbermaid dishpan, which I then put in a garbage bag.

The cupcakes were enjoyed by one and all in my class! And what did I think? Well, something happened to my tried and true chocolate cupcakes. I must have messed something up in the ingredients, because they stuck like crazy to the paper. The vanilla turned out very well, considering it's an adaptation of the chocolate recipe (total current number of variations of that recipe: 3)!
But they were tasty and really cute. I just wish I had gotten some extra credit for it! ;]

I really want to post a recipe for this, but unfortunately, I typed it up in Notepad, and printed it to use while baking. Now it's attached to my fridge with a magnet... in Kingston. And I'm in Hamilton. So what I'll do is post the vanilla recipe when I get my hands on it, and if you're looking for the chocolate recipe, you can find it here!

Up next: chicken pot pie and blueberry cheesecake squares. And after that, stay tuned for some Christmas baking, as well as a ridiculously decadent cake which I'm planning to make for my mum's 60th birthday (on the 26th)!

Guten Appetit!

PS - apparently I have three make that FOUR followers! Rock on! Your patronage is much appreciated! :]
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December 01, 2008

Marble Cupcakes

It has certainly been a while. I have been baking a little, and the semester ended on Friday, so I actually have time make some updates. The first one is marble cupcakes.
This is a recipe my sister used a couple of times a few years ago. The recipe is actually for a loaf cake, but... well I don't know, I like cupcakes.

It all started with the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Next I creamed together the butter and sugar...

until it was smooth.

And then added eggs and vanilla (not pictured).

This cake is interesting because it has sour cream in it.

But it's added in alternately with the flour mixture, which comes first.

When it was all smooth, I separated it into two bowls.

And added some cocoa to one bowl.

Then I scooped it in layers into my prepared tin.

Right out of the oven, the cupcakes had cute little domes.

But as they cooled it shrunk. Probably due to too little time in the oven.

But damn, they were still delicious.

These cupcakes were moist and the flavour was great. The chooclate was super chocolatey, but the vanilla was strong enough to not be overpowered by it! I didn't frost them; I think it would have masked the nice flavours in the cake. They stayed fresh for days, as well. I was very very pleased with the way they turned out. So if you're looking for a moist flavourful marble cake, this is it! I think it could also be fantastic to flavour the vanilla portion, perhaps with orange or mint. Mmm.

The recipe below is for the original loaf cake, but to make cupcakes is simple enough. I must have been distracted while I was making these, because I didn't note the baking time for the cupcakes. However, I think it would be safe to give them 15 minutes before checking on them (since they are so moist) and going from there. This could also be made into a round or square cake quite easily.


Marble Loaf Cake


1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter/margarine
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9" by 5" glass or metal loaf pan. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl. Transfer half of batter to medium bowl. Add cocoa to batter remaining in large bowl and beat until blended. Alternately spoon vanilla and chocolate batters into pan. With a knife, cut and swirl through batters to create marbled effect. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife around cake to loosen from sides of pan. Remove from pan to cool completely on rack.

Guten Appetit!
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