Magnolia Cupcakes: Vanilla on Vanilla

When my friends Jodi and Ellie surprised me with a mother-load of magnolia cupcakes on my birthday, I couldn’t have been happier.

Then, Ellie gave me the Magnolia cookbook as a gift 🙂

So what did I do?

I made cupcakes.

After eating all the leftovers from my birthday, I made a new batch for my sister’s boyfriend’s sister’s wedding shower (a little confusing but you got it right?).

I decided to multiply the recipe ingredients by 1.5 to make 36 cupcakes.

It must have been my lucky day. Because I think my mini muffin trays are smaller than normal, I was able to make 48 mini cupcakes plus 5 regular cupcakes – woah.

The 5 big ones went to my boyfriend – it was his lucky day too. And all the rest, aside from a few that were eaten along the way, were sent to the shower.

Once again, these took me too long to make. I need to get more piping bags!

They were worth the wait though, and they were a huge hit – obviously.

One last picture.

By the way, these are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.

You can find the recipe here.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

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The Black Hoof

My friend Ellie and I visited the Black Hoof the other night…

The restaurant sort of feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, somewhere between The Junction and Chinatown. The place is also easy to miss because the restaurant name on the window is so tiny, so if you’re planning on going, just look out for the big striped awning that reads ‘charcuterie.’

When we walked into the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the chalkboard displaying the menu — lots of crazy stuff going on here, except don’t expect detailed descriptions of any of the dishes.

We were greeted by the young, cool, hipsters who work in the restaurant — the servers, chefs, bartenders — they all look like people you want to be friends with.

Ellie and I couldn’t decide what to order — everything sounded so good! We knew we had to try the house cured meats platter so we went with that first. We decided to order as we went along — we were in no rush, we got there just after 6pm to avoid waiting in any lines.

I was not expecting the charcuterie platter to be like this…

From the bottom up: bison and blueberry, larzo, salami and fennel, horse mortadella, and spicy summer sausage.

When our server told us what was on the platter first time around we were too excited to really listen. After we started eating we asked her again.

“Horse!? That smooth, velvety stuff was horse? Wow.”

We were very happy.

After eating horse, there was nothing we couldn’t try on the menu.

Next up, duck liver mousse.

If you’re coming to the restaurant with an unadventurous eater, you can easily fool them into thinking this dish is anything other than duck liver mousse.

When you had a bite with the strawberry jam, it sort of tasted like strawberry mousse. And when you spread it on a piece of bread and added some bison and blueberry – it sort of tasted like a piece of heaven.

At this point, we couldn’t contain our excitement.

“What’s next? What’s next?”

We found ourselves debating between the love letters (can’t really remember what this was – maybe ravioli stuffed with sweetbreads?) and tongue on brioche. We knew the place was somewhat known for their tongue, so we went with that.

Holy moley – we had never been happier at that point.

Again, for the unadventurous eaters — this dish could have easily passed as the most tender and incredible corned beef sandwich you’d ever tasted.

The sandwich, which we split down the middle and ate open-faced, was served with a deep purple grainy mustard, pickles, pickled celery, and tarragon mayo.

You have never had tongue like this — my tongue couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Starting to feel a bit full at this point, but no, we couldn’t stop, there was too much to try.

We asked our server which should we try next, the cauliflower and truffle crostini or the dessert. Once she told us what the dessert was – a dark chocolate torte, served with hazelnut and bacon bits, and smoked ice cream – Ellie shrieked.

“We’ll get both!”

I’ll never forget that moment 🙂

We kept talking about how full we were yet we ate this crostini in probably under 30 seconds. The cauliflower puree was infused with more truffle, and the farm-fresh organic egg just oozed all over the crostini – nothing could be better.

And then the dessert…

We were slightly disappointed with the dessert. The maldon sea salt was unnecessary as it gave the dish an overwhelmingly salty and bacon flavour, when we were just dying for something sweet at that point. That smoked ice cream though couldn’t have been anything less than perfect.

Brace yourselves for a meal unlike any you’ve had before.

I know now that dreams filled with tongue and duck liver will only be reoccurring for me.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Almond Macarons with Vanilla Buttercream

I wish I had known before making these macarons that they would take me four hours to complete. 4 HOURS!

My day was totally shot – but, I think they turned out pretty well. So I am happy 🙂

I started off these macarons by whisking egg whites with granulated sugar until the mixture formed stiff peaks.

Not quite there yet…

That’s better.

Next, I folded the almond flour and icing sugar in with the mixture.

And then I had the batter – so easy!

You’re probably wondering why it took me so long to make these now that you realize there are only four ingredients in the batter.

Well it is mainly because of this next step…

The piping!

And the baking part. Due to some oven technicalities, I could only bake one tray at a time and I had three trays.

So after I finished all these macarons, I started making the vanilla butter cream – also pretty easy, just got sort of complicated when I decided to use four different coloured buttercreams with one piping bag.

Blue was my second favourite colour. Yellow was my third.

Green was my least fave because the buttercream curdled and I didn’t save it in time.

If you look closely you can tell the green buttercream curdled…

Hopefully everyone at my Passover seder will be too drunk to notice.

Pink was my fave colour. It also curdled but I saved it! Poor green, I just didn’t make it in time.

By the way, I made these lovely burgers for my Passover seder.

I will be serving them as an entrée.

My fave!

Things that went wrong:

  • Green and pink buttercream curdled – I saved the pink buttercream by heating it over a double boiler and whisking rapidly until it smoothed out – it turned out better than before!
  • I dropped my metal piping tip into the garburator – it’s okay, I fished it out.
  • I got buttercream on my camera – don’t know how.

Here is the recipe I used.

Try these out for Passover and let me know how they turn out.

Yours edibly,

Banana

Toronto Bakes for Japan: Nutella Brownie Bites

Toronto Bakes for Japan started today! If you haven’t already bought some goodies, you have plenty of time and plenty of locations to do so tomorrow. You can also make a donation online 🙂

I decided to make brownie bites (again) for the event. It wasn’t too difficult to make a large quantity and I know they will surely please tomorrow’s crowd at Cafe Amaranto.

Here are some lovely pictures of the brownie-making process, starting with the brownie bits.

Nutella!

Rolled into balls – this took forever… I made 96!

I refrigerated these for a little while. Then, I melted some chocolate (obviously) and coated the balls.

Covered them up..

and done. yum.

Make sure to let these cool for a while before packaging them.

I had to package these for the bake sale, otherwise who would want to buy them!

They’re a little snug in the package, but it’ll have to do.

Ready for tomorrow’s sale :

Would you like to buy one?

If yes, I’ll see you tomorrow!

If no, you can still make a donation online.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Toronto Bakes for Japan

I always say that homemade goodies are the best goodies.

Come show your support for Japan at any of these locations this weekend by buying a homemade goodie from the bake sale.

You can also come visit me at Cafe Amaranto on Sunday where I will be helping out and selling my homemade goodies!

Pictures of what I’m preparing for the bake sale will be up shortly.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta

I had a jolly ol’ time at the Mexican Fiesta.

Here are some pictures (as promised).

Please excuse the quality of these pics as lighting was poor and stomachs were growling.

Once again…chicken enchiladas!

Mexican salad: black beans, pepper, tomatoes, and corn.

7-Layer Dip: Refried Beans, Salsa, Sour Cream, Taco Seasoned Mayo, Green Onions, Tomatoes, and Cheese

Make your own Nachos: Sour Cream, Guacamole, Cheese, Salsa, Hot Peppers, and Olives

Cheese Quesadillas

Clockwise from the top: Chicken Taquitos, Jalapeno and Cheese Popovers, and Mini Beef Tacos

Stuff I forgot to photograph: Spanish Rice & Margaritas.

Life is just so much better when you eat like a Mexican.

Adios,

Elana

Chicken Enchiladas

I know what you’re thinking — yum, yum, yum. My mouth is watering.

My cutie friend Ali and I made these enchiladas for Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta! They were super easy to make and super tasty.

The best part is putting the filling into the tortillas.

We used PC Blue Menu Chipotle  & Red Pepper Whole Grain Tortillas.

It made the enchiladas healthier and tastier.

We almost used canned enchilada sauce but then we realized it tasted nasty and cheap. So we made the sauce from scratch instead!

Much better idea.

Ali poured the sauce and I took some pictures…

Then Ali added lots of cheddar cheese (light) while I took more pictures.

Serve the enchiladas with sour cream – it helps reduce the face sweats!

You can find the recipe here.

Thanks for the good times Ali 🙂

Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta pictures will be up shortly – stay tuned.

Yours edibly,

Elana