Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mandarin & Orange Blossom Upside-Down Cakelets

On an otherwise cold and overcast March day, those of us with thick sweaters and thin pocketbooks can escape the gloominess and bake our way to a sunny afternoon on the Cote d'Azure

These little upside-down cakes, with their rounds of caramelized mandarin oranges and a soft hint of aromatic orange blossom water, will enchant you away from salty sidewalks and slushy streets. In four bites or so, you are strolling along the seashore, dressed in breezy linen, catching the flirtatious gaze of a sun-kissed local. They're that good. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Bean Shortbread & a Visit to Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionery Arts

When you get the chance to go on a culinary date with some rich, hot piece of French... chocolate, you can spend hours imagining where the two of you might go together: for a dip in a pool of ganache; for a spin in an ice cream maker; to an intimate gathering in the creamy middle of a flourless chocolate cake.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a chocolate class hosted by Cacao Barry at the new location of the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionery Arts. The class centred on the proper tempering techniques when working with couverture chocolate (the chocolate pieces used in baking and candy making). I discovered that chocolate, like any amorous relationship, requires specific temperatures, much patience, and careful tending to elicit the appropriate response (or a delightfully inappropriate response)

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Tres Leches Cake with Blackberries & Coconut - Happy Birthday Kitchen Boudoir!

The Kitchen Boudoir turns one this week, after a year of 'dishing, intimately.' With the recipes on this blog, neighbours have been won-over, friendships have been cemented, landlords have been bribed, and much fun has been had. As a result of what happened with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk and cream this year, buttons were often unbuttoned for reasons more amorous than overindulgent.

You can read all about how this blog came to be on my inspiration page here. Today, however, I want to celebrate what this blog has come to be over this past first year: a virtual space to make real connections, and a truly wonderful (not to mention delicious) creative outlet. To celebrate - creatively and calorically, I made a Tres Leches birthday cake: a threesome of milks mingling atop a bed of almond-flour sponge cake, filled out with billowy whipped cream, plump, juicy blackberries and fragrant toasted coconut.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Caramelized Leek, Mushroom, and Roasted Heirloom Tomato Quiche with an Oat Flour Crust

If you undressed this quiche - peeled back its layer of golden cheese; unburdened it of its heaps of garlicky mushrooms, caramelized leeks, and oven-kissed tomatoes - you would be met with a simple, buttery crust that defies expectations. It's a new year, and I'm keen to experiment with new things, eat more vegetables, and see for myself what the rewards are in cutting out gluten from my diet for a month or so. This is by no means a permanent venture - I am too intimately tied to my dear Croissant, Baguette, and Freshly Baked Scone (and a variety of other glutinous lovers, many of them French). My intent is to welcome a few new lovers into my kitchen boudoir rotation who are a little gentler on the waistline. A surprising amount of my favourite baked goods are adaptable to gluten-free options - starting with the classic quiche, which, as this recipe affirms, 'by any other crust would be as sweet.'

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Recipe Retrospective - 12 Recipes for 2012 & Sunshine Blogger Award

In this first week of 2013, I want to wish a sweet (and indulgently butter-filled) Happy New Year to all who came to visit The Kitchen Boudoir in its inaugural year. Save your appetites for more delicious recipes and intimate dishing in 2013! January 22nd marks the first anniversary of this blog, which will (obviously) be celebrated with multiple helpings of cake and a birthday blog post of its own. Below, you'll find a tasty selection of recipes from each month of this past year - Enjoy!

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Friday, 21 December 2012

Chestnut Crème Cakelets & Distillery District Christmas Market

"Please sir, do you know the Chestnut Man?" This was the question on my lips as I flitted from stall to stall at the Christmas Market in Toronto's rather Dickensian Distillery District. Some market vendors pointed me towards various cobblestoned laneways and courtyards, suggesting I follow my nose to his portable fire. Others talked about him mysteriously, as though he and his chestnuts only appeared when the wind was right. Despite my thorough combing of the entire market (with indulgent stops at the apple fritter hut and Balzac's coffee for 'sustenance'), the Chestnut Man proved elusive. I didn't mind so much, as I soaked up the festive atmosphere and happily clicked away with my camera. I was simply looking to confirm what I'd already discovered - that roasted chestnuts are delicious. This year, I decided that a roasted chestnut-inspired dessert would be my date to Christmas dinner: I wanted something naturally attractive, slightly nutty and subtly sensual. I invited some chestnuts into my kitchen boudoir and we experimented at length together. I had eyes for no other dessert until the chestnuts and I got everything just right. The result? Tender-crumbed cakelets my friends can't stop talking about - with a flavour the Chestnut Man would seek me out for.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

'French Laundry' Apple Cake & Vanilla Cream Sauce

The dining room was quiet except for the staccato duet of fork on plate. My friend T. held up his well-scraped plate and broke the silence: "This is what 'I want more' looks like."
~ ~ ~
That evening's plate-scraping was due to this simple-but-soulful apple cake; the recipe borrowed and improvised from my prized copy of Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook. The recipe originates from Sally Schmitt, who owned and ran the kitchen at The French Laundry restaurant before chef Thomas Keller bought it in 1994 and brought it to its current re-known. The recipe pays homage to their relationship, which still continues to this day: Chef Keller gets his apples for The French Laundry from The Philo Apple Farm, where Sally and her husband, Don, have retired.