Monday, February 13, 2012

Pecan Rolo Pretzels (and French 75)

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February is a wonderful month.

Not only is is the month of love, but it's the month of my birthday.

I'm usually not one to attract attention to myself, and I don't see birthdays as an opportunity for presents or gifts (they're the same thing aren't they...) but I see it as an opportunity to get my friends out of their hectic schedules and celebrate some good times together. Because truthfully, birthdays would not be as fun if there was no one to celebrate with.

So for my birthday celebration last week I decided to host my party with a special drink.

The French 75 cocktail. A silent, but deadly drink.

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A great veteran of the ski industry told me about this drink. He said they used to make it when they went on house boating trips and described it as a panty flyer (hehe panties). Now having worked at a ski resort, I can only imagined what that meant. A good time. It truly evolved my party into "a panty flyin' " themed party.

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The way he explained the drink sold me on the idea, "2 bottles of champagne, a 40 oz of gin, lots of ice, splash of lime cordial, a bunch of mint, stand back and watch the show".

So since my last recipe was a long and somewhat labour intensive process I thought it would only be fair if I made my Valentine's recipe a short and simple one (the pecan rolo pretzels), and of course, one that is sure to get you some lovin' (French 75).

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Enjoy!

Pecan Rolo Pretzels
Makes however many you want
  • pecans
  • Rolo Chocolates
  • mini pretzels
  1. Roast the pecans in the oven at 350 F for 2.5 minutes, not long at all as they continue to toast even when you take them out of the oven (roasting is optional).
  2. With your oven still at 350 F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place pretzels onto the paper. Center a rolo piece on top of the pretzel. Stick this in the oven for 2-3 minutes, again not long at all, you don't want to necessarily melt the Rolos but make them soft. IMG_0720.JPG
  3. As soon as you take them squish the Rolo down with a toasted pecan, let it cool before you take the pretzel off the parchment paper. Place them in the fridge to cool if you can't wait... or even let it sit outside if it's cold enough.
Recipe from Grandma Stevely


French 75
Makes a big punch bowl
  • 40 oz of gin
  • 2 bottles of champagne
  • lots of ice
  • 3 or 4 oz of lime cordial (free pour it)
  • handful of fresh mint
  • cut up strawberries (to make it innocent and pretty)
  1. Combine all these ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Stand back and watch the show.
Recipe from Chevy

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Doukhobor Borscht

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I am sorry little ogre. I have been neglecting you.

Life has been my excuse. A lot of thinking about life and a lot of trying to live life without thinking too much about life.

Wow. Okay. This isn't a philosophy blog. Although sometimes I wish it were.

So how about we analyze how dangerously delicious this soup is. I would like to tell you how healthy it is because there's a ton of vegetables in it, but there is also a cup of cream and almost a cup of butter. Yes, now you understand why it's delicious.

But this isn't your typical beet borscht, it's borscht by the Doukhobors. A group of Russians who immigrated to Canada, settling in southern BC where you can still find them in Grand Forks serving up this flavourful soup. I suppose all the cream and butter was meant to keep them warm during the winters. I'm totally guessing, but it's an educated guess, so I like to think it counts.

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I will warn you though, if you plan on making this soup, dedicate a whole Sunday to it. It took me a whole 2.5 hours to make the soup, maybe even 3, and it's 3 hours of constantly doing stuff, prepping the vegetables and cooking them, but it is well worth it. This recipes makes a huge batch, so you might want to half the recipe, but if you're going to spend this long making something, you might as well make enough to last. You will also need a very big pot to make this soup. I like to freeze portion sizes so I can heat up a single serving of borscht whenever I like.

I'll try and make this process as easy as possible by breaking down the steps into "pot" segments. This will make it easer when you are prepping the vegetables as well. You are going to have three pots going on. The main big pot that all the ingredients will eventually go into, and as my roommates says "collaborate with each other", and two other pots to cook up the vegetables, before you put them into the main pot. I will call the main big pot, MAIN and then other ones RED and WHITE.

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RED POT: 1/2 cup of butter, onion...

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... then add canned tomatoes, grated carrot, half the beat (grated), half the green pepper.

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WHITE POT: 2 tbsp of butter, half the cabbage.

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MAIN POT: salted water, 2 potatoes cut in half, diced carrots and celery, half the beat.

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...then take out tender potatoes and mash with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of cream, 1/4 cup green onions and 1 tbsp of dill.

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MAIN POT:Add the remaining cream, chopped potatoes and the other half of the uncooked cabbage. Bring this to a boil and then add in the tomato stew from the RED POT...

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...and the cabbage from the WHITE POT and the mashed potatoes. Then add the rest of the green peppers, green onion and dill.

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And voila! You have an intensely flavourful and delicious borscht.

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Enjoy!

Doukhobor Borscht
Makes a big pot of soup or serves 10 hungry people
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 can of 796 ml whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 small beat, half grated
  • 3 medium peeled potatoes, 2 cut in half, 1 chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup of green onions, diced
  • 6-8 cups of thinly sliced cabbage (if you want a heartier soup put 8 cups)
  • 2 tbsp of fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • pepper
  1. RED POT: In a medium pot melt 1/2 cup of butter into the pot and fry the onions until you have let them sweat for a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, grated carrot, grated beat and half the diced green pepper. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer until you get a thick stew. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher and crush the tomatoes as the stew simmers
  2. WHITE POT: In a frying pan place 2 tbsp of butter with half the cabbage and saute until tender, do not let brown.
  3. MAIN POT: Into a large pot boil 3 quartz of water. To the water add the salt, 2 potatoes cut in half, chopped carrot and celery, half the beat. Boil the ingredients until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Once the potatoes are tender remove them and mash with 2 tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of cream, 1/4 cup green onions and 1 tbsp of dill, set aside.
  5. MAIN POT: To the large pot, add the remaining cream, chopped potatoes and the other half of the uncooked cabbage. Bring this to a boil and then add in the tomato stew from the RED POT, the cabbage from the WHITE POT and the mashed potatoes. Bring this to a boil, then add the rest of the green peppers, green onion and dill. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, then discard the beet before serving. This soup is always better the next day.
**Normally you add a dollop of sour cream to borscht when you serve it, but I find it very creamy and don't feel the need to add more cream.

**If you find the soup too hearty add a few more cups of water while it simmers.
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