Once again I’ve been inspired by the “Mrs.” and I’m going to get our downstairs pantry under control. It looks like I have a mini grocery store down there right now so buying more goods (other than freshies) doesn’t seem to make much sense.

In the pantry I need to address;
1) Around 15 different containers of dried beans. I think we’ll have a few of these but come on…and they don’t go off.
2) Approx. 30 packages of jello. These are all from my father-in-law’s house and I don’t actually like jello enough to have 30 servings of it. Apparently there is more waiting to come. Want some jello? Maybe this can be my first give away on my blog:) I did find a recipe for homemade marshmallows in the Kraft magazine and that might be the ticket! Below also find a great recipe for trifle.
3) 2 cans of pineapple (Morning Glory muffins-recipe below)
4) 3 cans of coconut water?
5) 2 cans of tuna (Why do I keep buying this when I don’t like tuna in a can? See recipe for tuna bouchon below)
6) Six milk crates full of a variety of liquor (no problem there 🙂

We had some great eating this weekend from; fish and chips to fabulous steaks to beef bourginon to…

Homemade Donuts (recipe previously given). We were lucky enough to be invited to great friends for dinner the other night and I offered to make dessert. What to make for a crowd of 15 with a whole bunch of little ones? Donuts. Who doesn’t like fried dough? One day I will even have enough bacon fat saved-up to fry them old school in that tasty goodness. This time I just used canola oil.

This seemed to be the weekend to catch up with people as last night we were able to hangout with some of my work peeps. I wanted something that would feed a crowd but still allow me to actually talk to my guests and not have a tonne of clean-up.

This is what we had:
1) Appetizers; homemade pickles, homemade bread, crackers, goat cheese with rhubarb chutney and chorizo heated in the oven and served with honey mustard.
2) Main: Arugula and blood orange salad, more homemade bread and a big pot of beef bourgignon. This is dead easy. In a heavy pot (if you have a big Le Creuset this is perfect) simply brown five pieces of bacon that have been cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Take bacon out-leave fat. Add 2 lbs. of beef that has been cut into chunks and then dregged in a bit of flour (salt and pepper the flour). When brown add; the reserved bacon, 3 cups of beef stock, 3 cups of button mushrooms, 1 cup of red wine, 1 tsp of dried thyme (or fresh if you have it), baby onions that have been peeled (2 cups), 1 tsp. juniper berries (don’t worry if you don’t have them) and 2 bay leaves. Let bubble away for a minimum of 3 hours.
3) Dessert: I snuck in some of challenge items to make the dessert and whipped together a trifle. This is a weird recipe that I am not sure where I got it but people (ie my husband) will eat it until they are ill.

Have a white cake baked OR get a grocery store pound cake. Cut-up and douse in a bit of sherry. Layer into a bowl and up the sides. Take 2 cups of frozen raspberries and mush them (highly technical cooking term alert!). Add to the cake in the bowl. In another bowl prepare a package of raspberry jello with 1 cup of hot water and 1/2 cup of cold water. Top the raspberries. In a pot, heat 2 cups of milk, add 2 T. of custard powder and 1 T. of sugar (these mix best if you take a bit of the milk out, mix with the custard powder and then add to the rest of the milk). Top the raspberry and jello with custard and add another layer of cake. Chill for a minimum of 1 hour. Top with berries or chocolate shavings or toasted nuts and whipped cream.

This recipe sounds like a disaster but it is fabulous.

Tonight, we’ll be having a big salad and tuna bouchon. I found this recipe while reading Molly’s book (see previous post about inappropriate usage of people’s names after reading their blogs) and it made me want to use canned tuna (bleh-sorry, we always had cats and they ate canned food and that is what is in my head when I open a can of tuna) oh-and visit France again, like right now. How is it that the dreaded canned tuna takes on a more favourable tone when given the French moniker “Bouchon au Thon”?


Bouchons au Thon
Adapted from Demarle, Inc., and my host mother

These bouchons—a crustless tuna quiche of sorts, I suppose—are delicious warm or at room temperature, with a green salad and a good baguette.

180 grams canned tuna in water (preferably chunk light), drained
3 Tbs tomato paste
5 Tbs crème fraîche
3 large eggs
1 cup finely grated gruyère cheese
2 Tbs finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
¼ cup minced onion

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and spray 8 wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray (unless, of course, you have a silicone muffin mold, in which case no greasing is necessary). [I’ve also baked the batter in a single 7-inch silicone cake mold, which essentially negates the name “bouchon” but makes for a nice variation.]

In a medium bowl, break up the tuna with a fork, smashing it to a rough paste. Add the tomato paste, crème fraîche, eggs, gruyère, a good pinch of salt, Italian parsley, and onion, and mix well. The batter should be relatively smooth.

Spoon the batter evenly into 8 wells of the muffin tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and golden around the edges. [If you choose to use a 7-inch mold as mentioned above, the baking time will be longer; bake until the batter looks set and does not jiggle.]

Serves 4 as a light meal with side dishes.

Lastly, tonight will be the night to make the weekly muffins. I didn’t quite get to those yesterday so tonight I’ll do up one of my favourites and even use a can of pineapple from the pantry 🙂 I’m excited about this recipe because my former Morning Glory recipe had an obscene amount of oil in it (tasty but more cake than healthy muffin).

CookingNook.com’s Morning Glory Muffins (I’ll double the batch because 12 muffins WILL NOT LAST US LONG)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 14 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup carrots, finely grated
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly oil or spray 12 muffin cups or line with paper cups.

Stir flour together with baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg in a medium sized bowl with buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir in pineapple.

Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in carrots and raisins. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Yield: 12 muffins

I’ll post some of my other ideas later this week as I come-up with them.