Caterpillar Bread with Honey Dijon Chicken Filling

DSC_0493

 

DSC_0501

What would life be like without the occasion surrender to whimsy? There are certain foods, which, when you lay your eyes upon them, bring a smile to your face and a honey glow to your cheeks; the type of foods that elicit a little giggle, often punctuated with the expression “Awww!” so often used to describe ‘cute’ things. I have a reverence of sorts for foods that are as fun and artful to look at as they are delicious to eat. When it comes to creating foods that are fully of whimsy and visual interest, this is my wheelhouse. I found myself pottering around my kitchen today, bolstered by an enthusiasm to satiate my craving for some combination of bread and meat. I found myself where I find myself frequently: telling myself that a bread this cute was worth wasting a lot of carb calories on — the all too familiar refrain of the carb addict.

And so, I set out to make these cute little caterpillar breads. Don’t even try to tell me that they didn’t make you crack a smile. But I reckon I know what you’re thinking: they are tedious and time-consuming and not to be tampered with unless you have an afternoon off to do nothing but bake bread.  And to that, I say: O ye of little faith, would I dare to share a recipe with you that isn’t as simple as it is delicious? There is no food in this world that eager zealousness paired with visual acuity cannot create with ease and very little time.  

This cute bread is also a celebration of sorts. It’s my birthday today and though the last few years of my adult life have brought many changes to who I am today, I’ve retained the one trait that every woman my age should have in spades: reckless abandon in the kitchen. The sands of time have yet to rob me of my brimming and burgeoning desire to create unique foods. So follow my lead and give this daring recipe a try. This recipe is the cadillac of cute breads — right up there with ‘panda bread’ and ‘bears in tea cups’ (stayed turned for those recipes in coming weeks). An entirely unscientific poll taken in my kitchen at a dinner party some years ago, found that two-thirds of people thought cute foods are superior in taste than those foods that are made with little creativity, and so, to that end, I bring you this recipe. These cute little caterpillar breads are often filled with sweet fillings such as coconut, in local Chinese bakeries around Toronto, so the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can fill these breads with: sweet or savoury, the choice is yours to make. 

Continue reading

Frittata

DSC_0426

Brunch is more than just a portmanteau of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ – it is a dance between two meals. It is, no doubt, more social than a typical breakfast and far more enjoyable, in my opinion, because it is served at a socially acceptable hour and no one passes judgement against you for lulling around in bed for hours before having the first meal of the day.  Brunch forces you to slow down, enjoy your meal with friends and family and indulge to your heart’s content and who doesn’t love that…really. 

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me for a good brunch recipe, well, I’d have about enough money to host brunch for all of you and still have money left over for coffee! As enjoyable as eating brunch is, the task of creating delicious and creative brunch dishes for company can be daunting. In lieu of resorting to the usual suspects (fried eggs, sausage, bacon…fried eggs), why not offer your guests a completely unique take on an omelette. This Italian omelette is puffy and delicious and the perfect item to put on your brunch menu because it serves up easily and tastes as good at room temperature as it does warm. 

A frittata is an Italian egg-based dish similar to an open-faced omelette or quiche. It is often flavoured with herbs and ingredients such as meats, vegetables, and cheeses. The eggs are beaten to incorporate more air than a traditional omelette, which results in a fluffier omelette. The frittata is cooked either over very low heat on a stove or in an oven until the underside is set and the frittata is beautifully puffed up. Unlike an omelette, a frittata is never folded to enclose its contents and served whole, but rather, it is divided into slices and often accompanied by various types of bread. 

I love making frittatas because a frittata base is like a blank canvas of sorts, just waiting for you to add to it a dash of this and a pinch of that to create a perfectly delicious and creative omelette. 

DSC_0362

DSC_0356I used tomatoes, mushrooms and scallions as the vegetables in my frittata and rosemary as the herb, but you could easily use any type of herb (basil, for example, works wonderfully in frittatas as does thyme, parsley or cilantro).  I often add roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes to the mix to elevate the frittata’s flavour. 

Continue reading