Rebecca Locks Down

Happy Canada Day!
July 1, 2007, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Chef-ing

I hope everyone has a great Canada Day! I made cupcakes (Magnolia Bakery recipe) just for today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Lemon Fruit Tarts
June 28, 2007, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Chef-ing

Not much to this blog post, I just wanted to show the fruit tarts that I made about two weeks ago on a whim. There’s really only a recipe fo the pastry cream that I used to fill the tarts with because I bought the tart shells and the topping is fruit. They are really simple but really good. I used the pastry cream recipe from Cream Puffs I, but I cut the recipe in half and altered it a bit to make it lemony. The pictures are pretty bad, the lighting was weird on that day… and I only got to eat one tart… so I might make them again in the near future and take some better pics.

Lemony Fruit Tarts

12 tart shells, baked according to package directions
1/4 cup white sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup milk (approximately)
1 egg yolk, beaten
Fruit for decorating

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Just before adding to the pan, add enough milk to the lemon juice and zest to yield one cup. Stir in the lemon-milk mixture a bit at a time into the saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When thickened, stir in a bit of the hot mixture into the egg yolk and stir well. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat until boiling. Turn off the heat and let the mixture thicken (while stirring) until it is a bit thicker than pudding. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Fill the tart shells with the cooled pastry cream and chill for half an hour before decorating with fruit (so the fruit doesn’t sink into the cream).

Long Time
June 21, 2007, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Chef-ing, Personal

When I first started this blog I was going to post an entry for every recipe that I try… this isn’t to say that I haven’t been cooking these last two months, just that I have gotten lazy. In the last little bit, lots of things have happened (good things!). I turned the big two-oh on April 29 and on the very same day I move out to Toronto for my summer job, which I started on the 30th. I’m working at an civil engineering consulting company doing some low level project management for a very big international retailer. Due to confidentiality I am not able to say what retailer but believe me, you’ve been in one of their stores.

Not waking up in residence and going to class everyday is definitely a bit weird. I miss all my friends in Waterloo and seeing them everyday; we were like a big family of bickering brothers and sisters (more brothers than sisters though… engineering). Work is totally different. Everyone is nice enough, but it’s still work and that means acting professionally. Plus, the whole nine-to-five thing is so monotonous… I much rather be in school. Also, no sweats at work! Dress pants, ironed shirts and the occasional pair of jeans are all that I wear… It’s like I get up every day to play dress up.

Food-wise, I’m still baking, though I kind of want to move away from it and try something new. I made a lemon meringue pie (terrible looking, tasted okay), foccacia (yum) and pizza (yum yum). No pictures though. I did take pictures of some cream puffs that I made a couple of weeks ago. The choux pastry wasn’t great but the pastry cream was awesome. Are these eclairs or cream puffs? Who cares, they were GOOD. Recipe from Allrecipes: Cream Puffs I

Carrot Bread, With Pictures
April 24, 2007, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Chef-ing

One thing that I love about being home is that my mom’s pantry is stocked. You can find almost every asian and western ingredient. However, today I was planning on making cinnamon buns and raisin bread when I found that we were out of milk. Too lazy to head out to the store, I changed my plans and decided to make a quick bread.

I’ve made zucchini bread way too many times to count. One winter, I made it so many times for family that I had nightmares about making it. I always use the Zucchini Bread III recipe from since it ALWAYS turns out well.

I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First of all, I didn’t have any zucchini, so I substituted carrot. Also, I cut down on the oil by using homemade applesauce and took out some of the sugar because the raisins and applesauce sweeten the bread enough. I took a couple of pictures; they don’t really help to explain the recipe, but I wanted to play around with photography. Here’s the adapted recipe:

Carrot Bread, adapted from Zucchini Bread III

2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients together. In another bowl combine the rest of the ingredients (except the raisins). Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and blend in the raisins. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake for 1.5 hours (I would check after 1 hour and every 15 minutes afterwards).

The grated carrots, notice how they are in a bowl decorated with carrot and vegetable motifs. The recipe calls for two cups of carrots, but I didn’t bother measuring how much a grated. This is 3 carrots worth, probably way more than two cups.

The homemade applesauce. I made it in a Magic Bullet, which is really, really noisy and inefficient (the infomercials had us fooled though).

The eggs. Yes, everyone already knows what eggs look like. They are just really pretty to photograph.

The vegetable oil. If you look closely you can see they sailboat print on the glass.

The brown sugar. Measuring brown sugar always reminds me of making sandcastles at the beach.

Mixing all the wet ingredients together.

The dry ingredients in a pretty plastic blue bowl.

Mixing the dry ingredients with the wet and the raisins. You can also add some walnuts at this step. My brother is allergic to nuts so I leave them out.

The greased and floured loaf pan. Another useless picture, but this is a really cool photo where you can really see a contrast of textures. Definitely one of my favourite pictures.

The batter in the pan. THIS is my favourite photo to date. Please take a look at this picture in full size. I love how you can see the flecks of cinnamon in the batter and the light reflection from the foil pan.

The finished product. It smells awesome.

Sugar & Down Time
April 15, 2007, 2:40 am
Filed under: Chef-ing

I went home for a few days to relax and hang out with my family in between exams. I actually miss being home! Everyone was either at work or at school during most of my visit so I had to entertain myself. I slept, drove around and baked some things. Did you know that given the choice between being an engineer or a pastry chef I would choose the latter? That’s crucial Rebecca trivia. 

This is a cupcake (duh) that I made on Thursday. The recipe is apparently the exact recipe that Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan, New York uses. I got the recipe off the Food Network and other than halving the recipe I followed it exactly. I made it at the request of my sister and even though I’m not a big cupcake fan this was really good! The orange/pink icing and the chocolate heart was my idea.

I didn’t like this bread too much. It was too dense, almost like a bagel. It got devoured pretty fast though. I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, maybe that made it dense, I don’t know.

This bread I kind of put together on my own. I was looking for something Asian-ish but I had trouble with metric measurements because I don’t have a good kitchen scale at home. This red bean bread is made from a recipe for red bean paste and cinnamon bread (without the cinnamon). This was REALLY good. Almost like the stuff that you get from T&T Supermarket. It needed more sugar though and the red bean paste was so-so. I’m gonna make it again with taro maybe. It looks really pro too.

Damn, that cupcake is beautiful.