February 21, 2010

Lemon Bars

I think I'm on a citrus kick. Last week, key lime pie. This week, lemon bars.

These were pretty simple to make and a nice light sweet after another delicious strata for a family brunch this morning.



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • rind of one lemon, grated
  • juice of one lemon, about 3 tbsp
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar for decoration

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and ensure you have a 9x9 pan (trust me)
  • cut butter into cubes and using a pastry kneader, cut it into the flour and sugar. You want this to be about the consistency of cornmeal

  • Press this into an ungreased pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes

  • While the crust is baking, prepare the custard by mixing all the ingredients together

  • Pour over crust and bake for another 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees now -- make sure it doesn't brown
  • Once fully cooled, sift icing sugar over 

I baked this in a 9x13 pan (I one-and-a-halfed the recipe) and it was so delicious that between six of us, we polished off the whole pan at lunch! So quick that I didn't even get a pic of it cut, but trust me, they were great!

DIY Flowers

I love having fresh flowers in my home. They always make me smile. I always gravitate towards the same flowers because I don't know how to make a great arrangement.

I got these beautiful tulips from my cousin today:

Have you ever seen such tall and beautiful tulips?? They are simple and elegant but I had to get my sister to arrange it in the vase because I'm just not very good at it. To help girls like me,  I saw this amazing idea for a DIY Bodega Flowers 101 over on 100 Layer Cake. What a great girls' afternoon -- making floral arrangements and eating delicious goodies. Anyone know of anything like this in Toronto?

February 15, 2010

Key Lime Pie

My family loves desserts and my mom makes the most impressive ones so it's always hard to top when I host dinner. I always look for something different and to balance out a heavy dinner of chicken parmesan, I wanted to make something lighter.

This key lime pie is an easy make ahead dessert and I make it in a springform pan which makes it look elegant and delicious. This one got rave reviews!


  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1 cup whipping cream

  • Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar to form pie crust
  • Press into pan (trust me, you do not need to grease it!) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

  • Mix together condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest
  • Pour on top of pie crust 

  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until tiny pinhole bubbles form on the surface. Be careful not to brown!
  • Chill well
  • Make whip cream and cover on top. 
  • Add lime garnish

Homemade Croutons

I love a good, toasty, chewy crouton. These are so simple to make and a really impressive addition to any dinner.


  • really good french stick, cubed
  • lots of butter
  • lots of garlic

  • Cut the bread into cubes and leave out for a few hours to dry out slightly (the longer you leave them, the less chewy they will be). I estimate about 3-4 croutons per person

  • For about 20 croutons, I use about 3 tbsp of butter. Melt it in a skillet

  • Add chopped garlic and mix well with butter. Keep on low-medium heat
  • Add bread, stir often and cook until browned on all sides

  • Pour into plate lined with paper towel and add to salad. You'll never go back to store-bought croutons again!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I hosted a dinner party last night and made my signature dish: chicken parmesan.

The first time I made it, I didn't read the recipe through (one of my noted key learns), and I threw a pot at my husband. I tend to get stressed in the kitchen. But last night, I felt much more confident with my cooking and was able to time everything in the kitchen so I could enjoy some time with my guests!

As always, read the whole recipe through because this chicken parm has a surprise white sauce -- which not only makes the dish extra delicious, it adds precious time.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each pepper, dried basil, dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

  • Read through the directions and get everything ready that you need to prepare the chicken -- in one bowl, mix the bread crumbs and parmesan, in another bowl, beat two eggs, and get your greased baking dish out. This should look like an assembly line which I assure you, will save you time and headaches

  • Now, beat those chicken breasts. This is maybe the most cathartic experience I have had cooking. It's awesome
  • Next, dip each piece of chicken in egg, then dip it in the breadcrumb mixture, then lay fat in the baking dish

  • Bake these uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (note: you will bake these a second time with the sauce and cheese on top)
  • While they are in the oven, get ready to make the white sauce. In a pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter and add 2 tbsp of flour. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes without browning
  • Mix in milk and spices (pepper, oregano and basil) and bring to a boil before reducing heat. Simmer for five minutes, stirring often

  • On each piece of chicken, drizzle some of the white sauce, some tomato sauce and top with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more until cheese is bubbling


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