Pacman Cake!

Merissa here!

Last week a friend of ours had a birthday party for which I volunteered to bake a gloriously awesome birthday cake- which I did. While I didn’t have enough time to bake from scratch (shameful, I know!) I did do some excellent decorating which I thought was blog-worthy!

Nomnomnom. Stay tuned for my caramel popcorn twist recipe!

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Hello again. Today my dinner was awesome.

I hope yours was too. But just in case it wasn’t and you’d rather have some of mine, here is the recipe for my dinner you can use! Now unfortunately I couldn’t get a decent picture, and I’m not quite dedicated enough to blogging to let my food go cold. But you can still have the recipe.🙂

This is a necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention type dish. I had a red pepper that needed eating up (which is a phrase I think I read in a book somewhere, and I love it).

The red pepper became the star of the show. I bought it a while ago, so it wasn’t exactly fresh, although (obviously) not bad, but I wanted to do something to disguise its age. I’ve been meaning to try roasting sweet peppers in the oven for a little while now, so I figured this would make a great opportunity.

To roast the pepper(s), line an oven safe dish big enough for the peppers you have with aluminum foil. This makes clean up so much better.

Now, I think you’re supposed to leave the peppers whole, but I forgot and chopped mine in half. I put them in my dish skin side up and it turned out okay. But if you’d like to leave yours whole, you’ll have to turn them around once and a while to make sure they roast evenly.

Put your oven on broil, stick the peppers in and leave them there for about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to turn them if you leave them whole. If you cut them in half just leave them be. Don’t worry if the skin goes black, it’s supposed to. After they come out of the oven, let them sit until you can peel the skin off. Then peel them and slice them.

Now, while those were in the oven, I was doing recipe type things. Like this!:

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, and cut up

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

about a cup of water

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste

Saute the onions in a frying pan until caramelized. Add the garlic and the red peppers. Saute for another two or three minutes, then add the water, salt and spices. If you want you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth.  Bubble for a few more minutes. Then put it in a blender and bsht it until smooth.

Serve over the pasta shape of your choice.

This was delicious… spicy from the cayenne, sweet from the peppers and onions… mmm. Now, when I make it again I’ll may cut the cayenne a little. It was a bit more spicy than I thought it would be. But if spicy food is what you want, this is great. If I make it for my boyfriend I’ll probably leave this recipe as is, because he likes spicy foods.

Bon Appetit!

Fall = Pumpkins + Soup = Pumpkin Soup! (Aren’t I spectacular at Math?)

Well, fall is upon us again. And I still haven’t gotten around to making those pumpkin muffins. Pumpkins are pretty much dirt cheap this time of year. I bought 3 (about 4 ½ kgs of pumpkin!) for about 4 dollars a couple weeks ago. The first two I turned into puree and stuck in the freezer. The last, and the biggest, sat on my counter and waited. And then waited some more. And some more. Then finally I decided just to turn it into puree too. Then I had a better idea, and this idea was soup.

PS: I had no idea how many varieties of pumpkin there are! I just used what ever Loblaws was selling. Your soup will probably be delicious no matter what pumpkin variety you use.

So good. Also, my best food photo so far! And done without Merissa's fancy camera, too!

Pumpkin soup

1kg pumpkin, roasted

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. celery seed

2 c. coconut milk

3 c. chicken stock

1 c. water

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. ginger

¼ tsp red pepper

Roasted Pumpkin

I was intending to turn this pumpkin into puree, so I had originally cooked it until tender in my crock pot. To use this method, cut the pumpkin into wedges and fit as many of them as you can into your crock pot. Pour about a cup of water in the bottom of the pot to stop the pumpkin from burning and to get some steam action going. Then stick a lid on it, turn it on high and forget about it for 3-4 hours. Crock pots are super forgiving though, so if you forget for more hours (like I did!) it won’t matter too much. If you want to actually roast your pumpkin in the oven (which will take more attentiveness but also may taste better), there are lots of recipes on the web. Here is one from Kitchen Wench (which is also attached to her own soup recipe)!

Anyway, once you have your pumpkin you can start on the soup.

Soup

Saute onions, garlic and celery seed in a soup pot with the olive oil until onions are tender.

Saute!

Add the peeled, cubed (or at least roughly chopped) pumpkin, which should be tender and easy to cut.

Look how pretty!

Pour in coconut milk, stock, and water. You should have 4 cups total of stock and water, but use them in whatever combination you want… I just happened to have 3 c. stock left from another soup. If I had less I would have used more water instead. 2 c. of coconut milk makes this soup really rich… if you want it to be lighter you could maybe use 1 c. coconut milk and 1 c. milk, or 1 c. of extra water. I used coconut milk because my monkey brain thinks coconut is exotic. If you don’t like it or have allergies, use cream or whole milk instead. The important bit is 6 cups of liquid. That seemed to be the standard for other recipes using a pumpkin of this size, and I like to get at least 3 cups of finished soup out of the deal if I’m going to spend an hour simmering something.

After adding the coconut milk. At this stage it looks gross, but it will be delicious!

Add ginger, cumin, and red pepper flakes. The cumin, ginger and red pepper flake amounts can change. I didn’t want my soup to be too spicy, so I only used a ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes to give it just a little heat. When I make this again I will probably up that amount slightly, but I’m happy with it this way too if you’re not a big spice fan. 1 tsp. of cumin isn’t really enough to contribute heat, just a nice earthiness. Again, depending on your taste you can add more. I really wouldn’t add less though; you won’t taste it at all if you do.

Let the soup simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

Remove from heat, and ladle it into a blender or use a stick blender to bbbssht it (you know, the sound the blender makes!) until it’s smooth.

Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of sour cream or plain yoghurt (I used sour cream), a couple extra red pepper flakes, and some roasted pumpkin seeds. MMMMMM delicious. Enjoy!

Delicious.

This recipe was cobbled together from all of these recipes:

Spicy Pumpkin Soup from Kitchen Wench

Pumpkin and Coconut Soup from Kali Orexi

 Spicy Coconut Pumpkin Soup from Budget Bytes

Lazy Dinner: Pancakes and Simple Fruit Syrup

Holla! So Mer posted the first entry, a delicious Parmesan Mushroom Puffs recipe. But she’s only one half of this adventure… and the other half is ME!

I was going to post the recipe for the delicious rice pudding I ate last night, but Merissa has all the photos on her camera. (Spoilers: it’s really hard to make rice pudding look as pretty as it tastes). But ah well. We’ll just have to wait for Merissa to upload the photos before posting that recipe.

I can hear you all sighing in disappointment.

I got lazy tonight and made pancakes. From the box. (I’m sorry, world). It was only after I started mixing up the batter that I realized I had no maple syrup… but never fear. In a truly dazzling display of brilliance, I proceeded to make this super cheap, dead simple and delicious fruit syrup that only uses three ingredients.

First, the ingredients:

That’s right. Only sugar, water and some frozen fruit. You can use real fruit, too, and it doesn’t matter which kind. The mix I have now has strawberries, peaches and pineapple.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 c. of sugar. Usually, simple syrup calls for a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water, but I thought that my mixture was plenty sweet. I also wanted to account for the sweetness of the fruit.

I mixed the sugar and water together and added the fruit. I don’t think it really matters how much you use… I just shook some out of the bag. I think it was about a 3/4 of a cup. (If you read Our Story page, you’ll know I’m notorious for not measuring. I’m trying my best for you guys though. And don’t worry… this recipe is pretty much impossible to screw up.)

Boil the fruit-water-sugar mixture until it reduces by at least half. You can continue boiling it for longer if you want it to be thicker and sweeter. Give it a stir every once and a while to make sure none of the fruit are sticking to the bottom of the pot.

This is what it looked like while it was boiling.

I blended mine because the fruit start to go all mushy looking when you boil it. Plus I wanted it to be more syrupy and smooth. You can leave the fruit as little chunks if you prefer.

Then I made my pancakes, spread a little plain yoghurt on them, and drizzled them with the syrup. YUM!!

Merissa is the food photographer... I am not.😦 Also my camera seems to turn things greenish...

For my second helping I left out the yoghurt and just drowned the pancakes with the remainder of the syrup. And it was DELICIOUS.

Super Simple Syrup Recipe

1 1/2 c. water

1/2 c. sugar or to taste

3/4 c. frozen fruit

Boil the ingredients on high, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reduced by half. For a thicker and sweeter mixture, reduce further. Blend mixture and pour on pancakes. Or ice cream!

Now, because I feel slightly guilty about only posting this dead simple recipe, here’s a round up of other syrup recipes from Foodgawker:

Buttermilk Pancakes with Apple Cinnamon Syrup from Penguin in the Kitchen

Coffee Shop Pumpkin Syrup from Savvy Eats

Strawberry Black Pepper Soda from Healthy Green Kitchen

Ginger Simple Syrup from Bless Her Heart

That’s it for now, I’ll be back soon with the rice pudding recipe!

Hello internet! + parmesan mushroom puffs

Hello internet! Merissa and Michelle here. Welcome to our new food blog. We know the internet box lives on the table in our living room, but it’s just not satisfying showing the  internet box what we made in our kitchen today, so we figured we would use its magical connection to the outside world to create a journal that’s as eccentric as we are. So come, fellow internetters, and bask in the glory that is the Commie Kitchen. A kitchen of two communications students, that is.

AS WITH ALL GOOD THINGS, there is definitely a learning curve to be had when it comes to food blogging. For me (Merissa) it just happens to be remembering to take actual pictures of food, and possibly the process of preparing that food. Which, I think, is the whole purpose of food blogging. So bear with me! Perhaps Michelle is better at this than I am. We’ll see!

Last night, I discovered a poor neglected box of mushrooms in my fridge that called to me. They said, “make me delicious!” and I was so overtaken by their adorable cries to be consumed that I decided to make parmesan mushroom puffs. They’re actually a bit more subtantial than puffs, but this recipe is incredibly versatile.

Pamesan Mushroom Puffs

Mushroom mix:
12 ounces white mushrooms, diced
1 regular yellow onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
splash of olive oil
splash of 10% cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper to taste

For the puff pastry, I generally use storebought pastry sheets. However, I can recommend Phaylock’s excellent puff pastry recipe. If you’re in even more of a hurry (or feeling kind of lazy) like me, you can also use Pillsbury crescent rolls and simply roll them with the mushroom mix inside.

Directions:

Dice your mushrooms and onion. Add the onion and garlic to a medium frying pan with a splash of olive oil, and let it cook on medium-high for several minutes until the onions start to caramelize. Keep an eye on the pan and stir often to keep the garlic from burning.

Once the onions are caramelized, add in the mushrooms. After 3-5 minutes, cover the pan to let some moisture build and the mushrooms cook down. After another 4-5 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking on a medium temperature. Once your mushrooms have reduced in size and become much softer, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash of cream to the mix and stir. Add in the parmesan, and stir well. Once everything has been incorporated, take the mushroom mixture off the heat and set aside. You can transfer the mixture to a bowl to make filling the pastry a bit easier.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, or whatever temperature specific to the type of puff pastry you’re using.

Cut your puff pastry into triangles about six inches long with a base of about three and a half inches. Spoon some mushroom mixture near the base and partially enclose the mushroom mix by rolling the pastry into a crescent shape. You can change this into anything you’d like, such as cutting your pastry into squares and folding them diagonally with mushroom mix inside to create triangle puffs, etc.

Depending on how many sheets of puff pastry I use, I find that I always end up with extra mushroom mix. While this could easily be fixed by getting out another sheet, I tend to use the method of “Oops! Made too much. I suppose I will just nom this with a spoon.” which has always been an effective way of getting rid of extra mushroom mix.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes of until your mushroom puffs are golden brown. Proceed to gobble them up in one sitting and then feel slightly ashamed. Or not.

P.S. More pictures of things in progress will come with later recipes. D:

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