Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cranberry and Green Onion Cheese Pinwheels

Hey everyone! Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday! Mine was great, filled with food and wine - all the best holidays are.

Now I know I should have posted this BEFORE the holidays, but things got a little crazy and well... it didn't happen so I apologize! BUT that doesn't mean it is too late to make these - just call them something different. At the holiday party I went to, they were called "Red and Green Pinwheels".

Funny how the mind works eh?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Staying with my theme of cheap, easy, quick and food-related gifts, this one if my fave. I first heard of this when a friend bought it to our annual friend gift exchange and I was immediately hooked. First I had to make and try it for myself. This natural scrub works to exfoliate the skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth.

Now there seems to be hundreds of different variations of scents, ratios and ingredients, so I have decided not to post the recipes I used because... quite frankly after the first one, I stopped measuring. Depending on your ratio of oil to sugar, you will get different consistency and I think that is a personal preference that you will have to decide for yourself. But I will mention my favourite combos that I have tried so far as well as some things I have learned along the way.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gift Idea: Recipe in a Box

Pretty much what my desk looked like:

It is 5 days before Christmas. 

Just finished my exams, just finished marking my last assignment, just finished my last shift at my part time job...

And now it is time to buy Christmas gifts! OH SNAP.

No money, no time.. what do I do? Hop on over the Dollar Store and start making some homemade gifts.

Each year I do end up making many of my gifts for multiple reasons (being student poor is usually the #1 reason). I usually stick to a common theme, as in.. everyone gets a similar gift so I am not making a 100 different things. So this year I thought I would share some of gifts I made for this year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mango, Avocado Fresh Rolls with Soy Peanut Dipping Sauce

The name says it all. Fresh rolls. Fresssssshhhh. Ahhhh....

Traditionally found at Asian restaurants with shrimp or pork. Which are quite delicious. But yall know me and I like to switch things up a bit. I just think the colours are sooo perdy. Also I want to show you all how easy this can be! It is still a process, and may take a few tries... but it is not untouchable!

Makes a great little snackie for yourself, or awesome dish to bring to a potluck. Personally, with the amount of prep this takes, I make it worth my time and make a whole whack of them at a time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Red and Golden Beet Salad with Red Onions and Oranges

I found golden beets at the market today! How exciting! Well, it is exciting for me - shut up I know I am a foodie nerd. Listen, I watch the food network all the time and they always use beets with beautiful colour - red, golden, rainbow.. simply amazing. And I NEVER get to do that! One reason is because I am poor, but mainly it is because of where I live. There isn't a whole whack of variety in produce all the time. And that is okay with me, because that means they are not shipping food from all over the world only to rot in my fridge a day after I get it.

Anyways, I found these bad boys and I think they were super cool. So I wanted to show em off in a gorgeous salad. So I did. And I liked it.

It is super easy, light and refreshing. Makes me feel... summery.

Friday, November 30, 2012

How To: Segment an Orange

Like oranges? Don't like the skin? Nah no one eats that.

What about the pith? .. wait.. what the heck is pith?  Well I will tell you.

It is that white stuff inside the orange (or any citrus fruit). The stuff that keeps the oranges into little segments. The stuff you always eat anyways.

But today I decide to rebel and not eat the pith.

Stay tuned for the next post...where I actually put this skill to good use ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Butternut Squash, Red Onions and Goat Cheese Pizza with a Balsamic Drizzle

Hey fellow blog reading foodies! I know it has been quite some time since I have made a post here. School and work appeared to have taken over my life. No seriously. I haven't eaten anything since my last post. Ya .. NOTHING... obviously kids. But I realized that post-writing has turned into a form of artistic expression, and I need to... express myself. Also, Come Dine with me Canada is back on... so inspiration is nothing but lacking! HA.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blue Cheese, Fig and Caramalized Onion Crostini

Final recipe with figs here today. A few posts ago I introduced figs as my New Food Challenge #6. Since figs are a delicacy in the student world, I tried my best to stretch my dolla and make 3 different smple recipes. Now I know there are a hundred thousand other recipes that you can do with figs. I tried to pick some easy ones that showcase the true figgy flava. But this is all this poor student can afford for now.  I stuffed figs with goat cheese and drizzled them with honey and thyme THEN I wrapped them in prosciutto and blue cheese and topped with a little balsamic reduction. But I left the best for last. Well my fave anyways. AND they are so pretty. Don't you think? Bring these to your next party and I guarantee a show-stopper moment.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Baked Prosciutto Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Blue Cheese and a Balsamic Reduction

Some of you may or may not remember the amazing birthday dinner my foodie friend made for me a few months ago. Well if you can recall, one of the appetizers she made me consisted of Prosciutto Wraped Figs Stuffed with Blue Cheese and they were absolutely friggan fantastic. At the time she couldn't find fresh figs, only dried, but they were still SOOOOOO good. So now that I had my hands on fresh figs, how fitting would it be to try and replicate what she did and add a little spin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Honey

Last post I introduced the New Food Challenge #6: Figs. So here is the first thing I tried with them. Super super simple and easy. Except it didn't turn out....perfect. The figs weren't ripe enough, I cut them too far down so they starred out, and I think I over cooked them because they were a bit mushy....*sigh* 

But like I mentioned last post, these babies are not uber cheap, therefore I wasn't about to throw them out and start over. I was gunna eat them anyways. And guess what? I liked them. A lot. I thought it tasted delicious. So I am going to write about it and correct the mistakes. Because in my opinion... this will impress the PANTS off of anyone you serve this too! SO THERE.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Food Challenge #6: Fresh Figs!

Comment: these are green still because they are not fully ripe yet!

It is fig season! Yay! Well fresh fig season. You can find dried figs everywhere and anywhere. We are talking about the fresh, plump, juicy fruit (not the gum).

Did you know that a fig has multiple flowers growing inside of it? And SOME please believe that the fig was actually the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden - not the apple. WHO KNEW?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beet, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad

It's April. Which is the end of the semester. Which means papers, assignments and final exams. Which means a lot of late nights and even more coffee.

Since it is just the beginning, I am trying to make sure I start the month off right by actually eating some veggies. Not sure how long it will last... but hey... at least I am trying right?

Well I am mac and cheese yesterday. But no one has to know about that really.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bacon and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower is... well kinda boring. Sorry but it is.
How do you make something not boring? You bacon-fy it.

Baconfy you ask? Yes, baconfy - the art of adding bacon to something to make it exponentially better.

Not only did bacon make this soup taste better, it changed the a less desirable colour. But don't think about that! Think about the fact that there is bacon in it! Problem solved.
And really, when you consider how much bacon per seving is used in this recipe, it is actually extremely healthy. I mean it is literally just pureed veggies. So eat, guilt free (my fave way to eat)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hoisin and Garlic Baked Salmon

When I visit the parentals, I usually get a care package to take back with me made by my dad. It usually contains chicken, cheese and butter (as if I can't find that stuff where I live ahah). But this time, I got a real treat.

Salmon. 2 pieces to be exact.

Which used to be even better, but now I live with my bf and have to share the other piece with him. Dam... so many compromises.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quinoa with Corn and Edamame

Last post we learned how super awesome quinoa is.

But, I also learned that on its own... is pretty plain Jane. Nothing against Jane or anything, but that is just not how we roll over here at the Gourmet Student.

We put the extra in extraordinary.

Plus I was bored and needed to use the edamame in my freezer because they were starting to look a little .. blah.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Food Challenge #5: Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keenwa). What a funky looking word eh? I know you have heard of it... it all trendy and shit nowadays. But it should be! Its a superfood!

It is a grain (well it is actually a seed) that is high in protein, rich in fiber and iron, it has a low glycemic index and contains a whole whack of amino acids. You can use it to replace any rice or grain dish you have. I have seen crazy stuff like quinoa muffins and quinoa pizza dough (soooo trying that in the future). It also keeps you fuller, longer.. which is pure awesomeness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baked Tomato with Egg, Bacon and Cheese

Breakfast can be fun no? Especially when you do fancy things on a dime. Like bake an egg in a tomato. Madness I know!!!
I saw this recipe on one of my favourite blogs Poor Girl Eats Well. I like her philosophy. It says it all in the title.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How To: Take the BITE out of Raw Red Onions

Find yourself eating a lot of raw red onions? I know I sure do - mostly in salads. They are sweeter than white and yellow onions and in my opinion... prettier. Thats riiiiight.

But what I don't like about them is that they are called red onions, but in fact they are PURPLE. Make up your mind foo!!!

No seriously what I don't like about them is sometimes they are uber strong and have quite the bite to them. Then they overpower any salad I put them in and I have the unfortunate onion breath for the rest of the day.

So here is my little trick on how to take them down a notch:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Butternut squash soup was one of the very first things I started making while in school that actually tasted good. I can't remember exactly when I started, or for what reason I chose this soup in particular, but it sure does have a lot of memories attached to it!

I've made this at my house, at friends house, for myself to freeze, for study parties. I've made this with many people together and I have made this on my own. I have taught people how to make this and I have made 100,000 versions of it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spiced Carrot Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

Are you that annoying person in class munching on carrots? Crunch, crunching away while the prof is lecturing.Chopping your jaw down on those orange nubbins? Crunch crunch crunch.... crunch... Please just stop, I can't hear what the prof is saying...I can hear inbetween crunches.... I can't hear my friend next to me.... I can't even hear my own thoughts!!!!!!! CRUNCH CRUNCH.

Not you? Okay... that is totally me. I admit I am a carrot munch cruncher. BUT I know I am not alone.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Butterless Butter Chicken

Do you love Indian food? Do you know what restaurants in your area serve the real stuff? The authentic dishes? Do you know how much butter is actually in butter chicken? Do you consider yourself a connoisseur when it comes to butter chicken? Really? You do??

Well good for you.

Because I don't.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Egg and Sausage Breakfast Pizza

Whoa nelly! It is pizza for breakfast again.

You know what the best part of this pizza was? The fact that when I made this I am pretty sure I was drinking a ceasar as a hangover cure... and then I spilt it on the pizza (post picture of course - or probably while I was drinking to juggle a camera and a drink is one hand). And I ate it anyways (clearly I did... I was hungover)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Balsamic and Honey Glazed Ginger Roasted Carrots

Okay, so now that the birthday month is over, and the chocolate holiday has passed, I suppose it is time to start eating some vegetables again. I suppose so.
Now I know I am a little late posting about these heirloom carrots (a.k.a purple and white carrots) because they are typically found in the late fall. But you can do ths recipe with any type of carrots. Even the genetically modified baby carrots that come in a bag.

The purple ones are my favourite! Even though there really isn't that much difference between the colors, I think there is a subtle sweetness to them. And the orange ones are more - carroty... ya you heard me. Whatever, eating purple food is cool and you know it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beet and Goat Cheese Risotto

It's the big V-day tomorrow and I have the perfect dish. Why? Because it pleases both the coupled and singles out there. Hear me out...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snack Tip: Chocolate Popcorn

Have a sweet craving? What about a salty craving? Oh crap you have both...

It is one of the greatest dilemmas of life. Sweet or salty.

Along with soft or strong Charmin toliet paper, regular fries or sweet potato fries...or most importantly ... shower before bed and sleep in but risk bed head... or get up early and guarantee gorgeousness.

So tough.

But luckily you can once again have both. This is a little trick a friend of mine taught me and I've been hooked ever since. Super easy, super duper delicious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Mmmm... crème brûlée.... mmmm....

Crème brûlée is like the Kim Kardashian of desserts. Sexy, smooth, a little intimidating and appears out of reach to most... but when you look closely at it, just a hard shell on top but really easy to get into .. WHAMMY.

Haha ... creme brulee can be a birthday cake too!
I get it, it crème brûlée looks challenging. It is custard-like-thing... I was intimidated. I never thought I could even attempt it. And vanilla beans? Ya friggan right! Not in this girl's budget.
But..BUT... it was my foodie friend's birthday. And for her, cupcakes just wouldn't do. I needed to take it up a notch. I needed to go where no student ever thought they could go. And I knew her dad had a mini torch so I thought it was a perfect opportunity.

Now I know there are 100,000,000 different crème brûlée recipes out there. So mine isn't anything remotely special. I just wanted to share with you the one that worked for me. Because yes I tried it TWICE before success. Turned out the least complex recipe was the one that worked the best.

So here it is, my most successful therefore favourite crème brûlée recipe, adapted from The Sweet Pea Chef.  No tempering of eggs, no double boilers, no mess and fess.

Friday, February 3, 2012

How To: Make Modeling Chocolate

Birthday cake I made for a beautiful lady. I actually did make this whole thing from scratch!
Following up on my post on Chocolate Buttercream Icing that focuses on turning ordinary box-cake into your own masterpiece. What is a cake/cupcake without some decorations?

Now if you have ever ventured into the world of cake decorating, you would know what I am talking about when I say fondant, gumpaste, marzipan, etc.... if not... don't worry about it, you are not missing much, all you need to know is that this stuff is quite difficult to make at home but extremely expensive to buy. Am I right? Or am I right.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Okay. A personal confession, I think cake from a box... is amazing. I hate to admit that anything from a box is amazing. Except for mac and cheese of course. But honestly, it's hard to compete with. Box cake is usually super moist and delicious and it is super duper easy to make not to mention cheap as hell.

So yes, I sometimes make cake from a box. But that isn't gourmet! But what is gourmet is sprucing it up with some homemade icing. That's right, you can do something fancy and call it your own.

And comeon.. anything with the word "butter" in the title has to be friggan fantastic.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Birthday Dinner!!!

The absolute best part about having a birthday, is having other people spoil the crap out of you.

And that is EXACTLY what happened on my birthday this year =)

My foodie friend out-did herself by cooking me an amazing multi-course birthday dinner. Best part about it... THE THEME WAS CHEESE!!!!!! Does she know me? Or does she know me?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lemon, Asparagus, Pea and Goat Cheese Risotto

Date night again and this time, we are taking things up a notch with the infamous risotto. "Oh no not risotto! Leave it to the chefs in the restaurants!" HA - no way, we ARE professionals, especially if you wear a hat in the kitchen. At least that is what I like to think.....*awkward silence*

 Anyhoo....You know my general rule that anytime I am cooking with wine, it ends up being a special meal because I am not about to use up my weekend fuel on a weekday dinner. But the main reason why this dish is for date night is because it does take quite a bit of time and attention and if I am putting THAT much effort into something, I may as well share it with someone.

Last post I introduced the concept that anyone can make risotto.... which is true...mainly because you can put anything in it and it will taste great. So feel free to experiement, thats what I did and it actually turned out wonderful.

Lemon, Asparagus, Pea and Goat Cheese Risotto
Time: 1 hr.         CPS: 4 servings ($2.61) without wine ($1.86)    L of D: Graduate

  •  About 5 Asparagus Spears
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas
  • Zest of 1/2-1 lemon
  • 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of goat cheese
  • 1/2 small onion or 1 shallot
  • 1 1/2 cups of Aborio rice
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Begin by setting up your basic risotto recipe. For detailed instruction, read here for my step-by-step instructions on how to make risotto.

Short form: Heat chicken stop in a pot on the stove. Chop onion or shallot and drop in a pan with olive oil (or butter) over medium high heat. Saute until translucent. Add aborio rice and toast until slightly golden brown. Add wine and all rice to soak up the liquid stirring occasionally. Slowly begin to add chicken stock to rice, one ladle at a time. Add a ladle, allow rice to soak up liquid stirring occasionally, add another ladle. Approx. 30 minutes total so far.

When you are nearing your last few ladles, you can start working on your other ingredients. Chop tough ends off asparagus and cut the rest into bite size pieces. In a frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and toss in asparagus. Toss around in frying pan for only a few minutes, until the asparagus turns a bright green. Remove from heat.

Once you have added the last of your chicken stock, and your rice is nearing al dente (slight crunch) add your peas. They take 1 minute to cook. Add lemon zest and asparagus. Add goat cheese and remove from heat. Give a few final stirs, add salt and pepper to taste and allow the residual heat to melt the goat cheese. No butter needed, goat cheese is creamy enough.

Garnish with asparagus tips and lemon curl so you look all fancy and shit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

How To: Make Risotto

Risotto - are you scared?

Well I'm not so snap out of it!

 Risotto is nothing to be scared of. In fact it is something to love. And a great recipe to have in your back pocket. Why is that? Because it is like a blank canvas on the road to flava town. Add anything you want to it and I guarantee it will taste great. The worst part about it though is that it takes a long time (in a student's world 45-1 hr means 3 chapters read or 2 tv episodes watched online). And you can't set it and forget it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Balsamic Pear and Goat Cheese Dip

What better way to show up to a party, then with a bottle of wine? Or perhaps a 26er of Jack Daniels? Maybe some Tequila? Or perhaps one BAD ASS dip. 

Although some may prefer some alcohol ... ... hmm... I say I prefer the dip. Well this dip at least. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted, and I apologize, but life just got in the way and I lost a bit of my inspiration. But not to fret my pet, motivation is back and posts are on their way!

What better way to start off the year then with a month full of birthdays (including my own!). I think I can count...14 birthdays this month?? Holy crap. Our parents were certainly busy in April.

So stay tuned because you are going to see a TON of birthday treats! Cakes, cupcakes, fancy desserts ... all on a budget with easy access ingredients. When you are poor (like myself) the best gift to give is one that you make yourself. And one that you can enjoy yourself as well :P haha.

Another thing that January brings is back to school for a new semester. And boy is this one a doozy. I am going to have to make a lot of extra effort to keep away from they easy fast foods and have my lunch bag on hand. Thank goodness for new year resolutions.

Here's to a good 2012!
One of my first birthday gift creations! Cupcakes with blue and pink sprinkles...the birthday girls were impressed, that's all I ask for.  =)
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