Thursday, December 5, 2013
To mis-quote The Graduate, "President's Choice, you're trying to seduce me. With chocolate!" Oh yes, I think they are. So many chocolate holiday treats for foodies. Twist my foodie arm. OK, be strong Suzie. Be strong. Speak the truth! The whole foodie truth...
PC Praline Pecan Caramel Cheesecake Lollipops
President's Choice seems to have gone lollipop crazy. From meats to treats but you know? I love having individual treats like this as a sweet little something after dinner. Their latest creation? PC Praline Pecan Caramel Cheesecake Lollipops.
You buy them frozen, 10 lollipops for $6.99 (+1000 pts) and thaw in the fridge for 25 minutes. We have also tried the Salted Toffee and the Triple Chocolate and are big fans and have brought them to parties and they were hugely popular, especially with kids.
I am just not as much a fan of the praline cheesecake lollipops though. When they thaw they are very marshmallowy and fall apart. They are also super sweet and they do not taste like cheesecake to me at all.
I opted for the profiteroles when I was at the PC Points Holiday Party and am glad I did. I liked them so much more! The PC Praline Pecan Caramel Cheesecake Lollipops are not bad, they just are not my favourite. I give them three out of five wooden spoons and if you do buy them, eat them frozen. Taste much better that way!
PC Sea Salt & Toffee Chocolate Squares
I was so excited to try the PC Sea Salt & Toffee Chocolate Squares! Now this should be an easy product to review. No baking, cooking... just eating. Yum!
But as soon as I took a bite, I thought to myself, I have had something so similar to this before! It reminded me of their Milk Chocolate with Toffee Pieces & Fleur de Sel. A product I gave four and a half out of five wooden spoons.
You got a huge chocolate bar for only $5! In the PC Sea Salt & Toffee Chocolate Squares box you get 200 grams for $4.99 (+500 pts). Now you also get dark chocolate and milk chocolate with toffee pieces and sea salt but you sure get a lot less for the same price.
This chocolate is more presentable. More for a snack for guests at a get-together. It tastes wonderfully elegant and is fun to eat. You eat the chocolate and are left with the salty toffee bits in your teeth which oddly cleans the palette. The frugal foodie in me says go for the big chocolate bar but who knows if it is still available? The hostess in me says, buy this box and let your guests have a delicious treat at your holiday party. I give this product four out of five wooden spoons.
PC The Decadent Chocolate Flavoured Soda
The most controversial product is saved until the end! For just 99 cents (+100 pts) you can get PC The Decadent Chocolate Flavoured Soda (remember, not pop) to make floats and cocktails this December.
I got to try it at the PC Points Holiday Party where most people turned their noses up at it but I actually liked it. The best part? It is made with natural flavour and appears to be caffeine free! I was super impressed. I knew I had to pick some up so my cho-a-holic husband could try it.
It is ironic because I have done everything to get Reg off pop! Hence smoothies every single night. So, bringing a fizzy chocolate drink home was probably not a good idea. Yup, he loved it. He really enjoyed just drinking it as is. It is not something he would have all the time but quality wise? He agreed with me, it was quite good.
I used it in a mini float that I made over the weekend. I added it to my homemade Baileys ice cream (recipe to come) and it was divine!!! So delicious, it was ridiculous. As a soda, you do not notice the effervescence very much but as soon as you add ice cream to it, it ignites and froths and is quite wonderful. I personally think this product for the holidays is genius. I love that it is only $1 for a 1 litre bottle, you do not have to get a giant 2 litre bottle to try it. We had it with my Frangelico Nutella ice cream last night (that recipe also to come) and it was still quite fizzy a few days after I had opened the bottle. Impressive.
I give this product five out of five wooden spoons. They gave exactly what they promised for a great price. I know people will disagree with me on this one but I stick my tongue out at you. Embrace your childish spirit and go make a damn ice cream float with it! Then tell me it isn't delicious.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Yesterday I shared the recipe for my Italian Beef Sausage. After discovery the fabulous deliciousness of making my own spiced meat, I had to try making my own REAL sausages!
I gathered my nerve and asked KitchenAid if they would send me their KitchenAid Sausage Stuffer and they said yes! I so ADORE KitchenAid! See, I already had bought their food grinder. When I received their Sausage Stuffer by mail I thought I was all set to go.
Oh wait! I realized. Um... I need sausage casings, don't I?!
Pete's Frootique to the rescue! I wanted to get the synthetic casings but they proved to be ridiculously expensive so I got the pork casings (only a couple of bucks) and they also gave me some great advice on how to make sausages which I share in my video.
Now I was set! I had my KitchenAid mixer, food grinder, sausage stuffer, Italian beef sausage meat and the casings. I was ready to go! You can see me using my meat grinder for the first time here BTW.
So what was next? Making the sausages!!! Oh I had such tech troubles while making this video but I think it covers the technique on how to do so pretty darn well.
They are not perfect and do not look factory-made. At all. So I will dub them "artisan sausages," LOL. The twisting into the shape was easier to do than I thought it would be. Those casing are also pretty darn tough! I did not bust any of them, I am proud to say.
I sautéd and browned them in some olive oil.
I added red wine and tomato sauce to braise them in, covering the pot.
Wow, they looks so REAL! Real sausages by yours truly!
So dry! OMG, so dry. As my Mom would say, "Blech!" LOL. OK, so a spiced meat recipe does not necessarily translate into delicious sausages damn it. Still, I ate them all. I was not letting all that work go to waste.
Thank you KitchenAid!
I hope I did not let you down KitchenAid! As I was working on the video yesterday I checked my mail and your holiday card was there in my mailbox! You totally made my day and I promise, I will make better sausages in the future. Now that I know it is not hard to do, nothing can stop me.
For those of you who know about sausage-making, please check out my wishlist. There are a couple of books there and I would love to know if you have read them or could recommend any for me.
I am not giving up! There will be fabulous sausages made in my kitchen in 2014!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
If you have been wondering why I have not been sharing as many recipes as I usually do, there are a few reasons why this is the case:
- Recipe testing and creating cost money
- Our budget is getting tighter and tighter
- So many recipes suck
You end up with a HUGE pot of food you do not want to eat. This is a vegetarian stew with quinoa I tried that had lots of herbs and spices. I really thought it was going to be a winner but Reg said it best, "How can a dish with so much texture and stuff have no flavour?"
Determined to not throw out all that food, I asked myself, "What would Mom do?"
I heard her quite clearly, "ADD MEAT!"
You got it Mom!
I decided to make my own beef Italian sausages. Well, OK, meatballs at this point. I normally just cut up the sausages anyway so why not? It had all the flavours of the sausage and that is what counts.
I toasted 1 tsp fennel seeds in a shallow pan over low heat until fragrant. I let them cool.
I used my spice grinder which is a coffee grinder to grind down the seeds as much as it could.
To a pound of lean ground beef I added 1 tbsp of hot smoked paprika. This made a very HOT sausage so if you want to go milder, use 3/4 tsp regular smoked paprica.
I added some chopped parsley, 1 clove of crushed garlic and seasoned with 1 1/2 tsp salt and some freshly ground pepper. I mixed together with my hands but handled gently. You should let meat sit covered in the fridge for a while to let flavours meld but I was in a hurry.
I made a few small meatballs and sautéd in a hot pan with some olive oil.
I browned them on all sides and then finished them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.
As I said, these were HOT! Too hot for me but they definitely added more flavour to the veggie stew to make it more edible. Thank goodness!
The next day I just cooked up some of the meat and used it as a topping for a pizza with my super fast, easy & tasty pizza sauce.
Made one of the best pizzas I have ever had! So good!!! Mom was right, as usual. Meat really adds flavour and spiced meat takes food to a whole new level.
Sausage Odyssey Continues
Thanks to KitchenAid, I am now able to make REAL sausages! I already had the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment (watch unboxing and product testing video here) but they sent me their Sausage Stuffer Kit Attachment. I am so excited! To make my owns sausages from scratch? What could be better.
Tomorrow I will share the technique, the story, the challenges of making your own sausage. I had tech issues attack my kitchen but I did it. I used this recipe and made my own sausages from scratch. One of the coolest foodie days for me ever. Thank you KitchenAid!