I joined the local food coop, Karma Coop early last month. It is no behemoth like the last one I belonged to, but it certainly gets the job done.

Anyway, I saw these patty pan squashes at the coop, and I thought to myself, what the hell do you do with these?

patty pan squash

They looked so darned cute, so I had to try them. Chocolate and Zucchini happened to run a recipe that looked interesting, so I tested it out this weekend.

patty pan squashes cut up

chopping up herbs

Instead of breaking out the mini-chopper, I just coarsely chopped the herbs, thrashed it all around with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

Originally I wasn’t going to blog about this recipe, but the first forkful I put into my mouth was so delicious, I just had to post about it. The whole recipe is really outstanding and simple to make. Get those patty pans while they’re still in season!

kale pre chipping

Most weeknights, I throw together a quick and simple meal for myself. A great thing to have under the tool belt is a quick, easy, nutritious snack/side dish like kale chips. The kale chip comes from my friend L, so I cannot take any credit for it, except that I make everyone I know eat it.

These are incredibly easy to put together. Preheat oven to 350F. Get a bunch of kale, chop off the end bits and discard. Then chop up into pieces no bigger than 1 inch/3 cms. Put into a mixing bowl, and toss with olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper. Feel free to add in your own spices.

kale chip prep

Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until everything looks crispy.

kale chips on the baking sheet

Take out of the oven, and careful not to burn yourself while munching on them. They’re fun to eat!
kale chips finished!

I’m not much of a cookie baker. I usually make cakes and pies, but I love chocolate chip cookies. Every so often, the New York Times runs a story about the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was intrigued by Chocolate and Zucchini’s interpretation of a recipe that Jacques Torres had in the NYT a while back. I share Clotilde’s belief that chocolate chip cookies should not be the size of your face, but a more manageable size.

This recipe calls for chocolate disks or feves. I have never baked with them before so I searched around for a place that sells them. I found the most fantastic place in St. Lawrence Market called Domino’s which sells lots of yummy stuff in bulk. I grabbed some dark chocolate feves and some plantain chips and went on my way.

I doubled the recipe because I’m going to give away most of the cookies I make. The dough is pretty standard and easy to put together. I did hit a snag though and realized that I had accidentally used half the butter that I should have. I quickly added more butter and threw the dough in the fridge.

chocolate chip cookie dough

46 hours later, I baked all of the dough. I think the cookies look quite stunning:

chocolate chip cookies

Straight, warm out of the oven, they tasted good. I think i misjudged the salt, and didn’t use quite enough. I’m going to reserve full judgment until tomorrow. Clotilde says she thinks the cookies taste better the next day!

ETA (Aug 4): The cookies the day after are FANTASTIC! I brought them with me to a friend’s cottage for the long weekend, and they were more lovely the days after. The cookies stay light, soft and moist. I can’t wait to make them again.

prepping for coriander chutney

When I was still living in Brooklyn, our household became obsessed with Swad Coriander Chutney from Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights. We put it on everything. We would buy huge jars of the stuff and put it on salmon burgers, veggie burgers, all sandwiches, toast, eggs, rice, salad, beans, etc. It was our newest hot sauce.

To that end, having not yet found the equivalent of Patel Brothers in Toronto*, I decided to make my own coriander chutney. I always find that I buy a bunch of coriander use about half and then it goes bad in my fridge. Making coriander chutney seems like a good use of resources.

I used this recipe from indiasnacks.com and made a few adjustments.

Dhanya Chatni (Fresh Coriander Chutney) Recipe
Servings: 1

Ingredients

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 lb coriander stems & leaves; washed, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coconut; finely chopped
1/4 cup onion; finely chopped
2 tablespoon ginger root; finely chopped
2 teaspoon chile, red, hot; chopped
1 teaspoon sugar, granulated
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, black

Directions: How to Cook Dhanya Chatni (Fresh Coriander Chutney)

Combine lemon juice, water and 1/2 cup coriander in blender; blend at high for 30 seconds until pureed. Scrape sides, add 1/2 cup coriander. Repeat until all the coriander has been pureed. Add coconut, onions, ginger, chili, sugar, salt and pepper. Blend again. When perfectly smooth, taste and add more sugar or salt if desired. Serve immediately or keep tightly covered in refrigerator up to 1 week.

From “The Cooking of India” posted by DonW1948@aol.com

coriander chutney ingredients in the bowl

I left out the coconut, and added some tamarind. As usual I added a little too much chili so it’s a bit on the spicy side.

coriander chutney!

Going to make a coriander chutney, avocado and cheese sandwich after this post goes up.

* To be fair, I haven’t yet been to Little India on Gerrard, so it’s really my own fault.

A few weeks ago, my friend L was telling me about throwing a birthday party for herself. She was going to cook all the food and invite everyone over for a summer feast in her backyard. L also mentioned that she’d like a cake. A not so subtle hint to break out the bakeware.

Let me just say that yesterday afternoon when I was thinking about baking in this heat wave, I was not excited to be sweating over some cake batter. Then I remembered that the Bitten blog had put out a recipe a few weeks ago on cupcakes that I had been meaning to try. I do not agree at all with the author’s stance on cupcakes. I love cupcakes. In fact, I had a cupcake last week at a new vegan restaurant near my house that totally knocked my socks off. (I’ll save my rant about vegan baking for another time) I will hopefully be able to reproduce those little coconut lemon cupcakes in my kitchen, soon. Big, small, lots of frosting, buttercream, red velvet, pistachio, etc, I love a beautiful little cupcake.

The batter was a snap to make, and I should have reduced the baking time 5 minutes, but I got a bit distracted. The cupcakes came out nicely:

chocolate cupcakes

The ganache was easy peasy, and looked superb on the cupcake:

decorated cupcake

I love decorating cupcakes. You get into a zone that’s almost zen-like. It’s also so satisfying to see them all lined up nicely:

cupcakes all lined up and ready to go!

The cupcakes were a hit, especially the ganache frosting. It was a great backyard party. I’m going to have to make them again this week, and the only thing I’d change is that I would reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes. I think my new oven runs a bit hot.

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently moved to Toronto. It’s been hard finding my footing here, but the food in my neighbourhood is great. Not only do I live next to Koreatown, but I live a stone’s throw away from the best snack ever.

Walnut cakes, if you’ve never seen them are made with a crazy contraption that looks like injection molding for baked goods.

walnut cake machine in action

There’s a person who sits at the machine, s/he puts a walnut into the bottom of the pan, the machine moves the mold forward, injects batter into both sides of the mold, then injects red bean paste and presses them together. The whole thing heats/bakes for like 30-60 seconds. The top lifts off, and the machine pushes out the “walnuts” when it’s done. It’s quite a sight to see.

The walnut cake is like the Korean equivalent to the Timbit or Munchkin/Doughnut Hole I think it’s way tastier though.

The best thing about these walnut cakes is that they’re in the shape of a walnut!
walnut cakes

These beautiful things will run you $1.50 for 6. Way better than any stale Timbit.

hodo kwaja

I’m currently having a preoccupation with making milk by-products. Since I’ve started making my own yogurt I’ve been left with an excess of whey on my hands. I looked around the internet to see what was the best way to use the leftover whey. I found a few ways to use the way:

1. Drink it.
2. Feed it to someone’s dog or cat.
3. Make your own whey powder.
4. Use it in curry, or soup.
5. Bake bread.
6. Make ricotta.
7. Make paneer!

I chose #5, especially since I'm not exactly a huge fan of ricotta. Paneer, I had heard was pretty easy to make. Again my first batch went a bit awry, but my second batch went off without a hitch!

First you start with some whey (about 1/4-1/2 cup) and about a liter of milk (preferably full fat).

step 1, paneer making

Bring the milk up to boil and turn off the heat, immediately add your whey (or other curdling agent like lemon juice). The curds should separate from the whey. If not, stir in more whey.

curds separating from whey

It looks totally funky, but don’t worry! Strain out the curds from the whey by lining a colander with cheesecloth and squeezing out as much water as possible. Quickly run the curds under cold water, and it’s now time to press the paneer.

pressing paneer

I used my cast iron pan with a brick wrapped in newspaper to press my paneer. I let it stand for about an hour and a half. Soak the paneer in cold water in the fridge overnight.

paneer!

I made saag paneer the next day. I would say double the recipe for the amount of paneer that you get from the liter of milk. I found that I had way more paneer than saag.