Seafood Bonanza

Due to our lack of a sandy beach, for our version of the bake, we used this bad boy. It won’t give you the traditional smoke flavour that you can get from hot coals, but it is clean and convenient. 194dbdba-770f-47e5-a2c2-6796731c0d5a_1.1e5ca0ecf8c00367cbb9ed6c34880fb8


  • 1.25 cups White Wine
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots (omit if you have a guest with allergies  like we did – thanks, Derek!)
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 6 cups of baby potatoes
  • 2 cobs of corn cut into wheels
  • 3 cups chorizo sausage (precooked)
  • SEAFOOD we got carried away and used lobster tails, crab legs, mussels, prawns and shrimp
  1. Pour white wine and water into the bottom of the roaster and add pepper flakes, garlic, shallots, peppercorns, seasoning salt, thyme and a bay leaf to taste. Heat to 400-425F.
  2. Here is where you start to add your ingredients in the order of how long they take to cook. We did potatoes (cook 20 minutes), lobster tails, sausage, lemons, crab legs (cook for 10 minutes), corn, shrimp and mussels (cook an additional 3-4 minutes).  Roughly. Now. This is the best tip you will ever read. DO NOT. I repeat, do NOT listen to the recipes that say to cook your potatoes for 8-10 minutes before adding your corn and seafood. These are obviously people who like their potatoes as hard as rocks and their seafood like rubber.  If you have cooked any seafood in your lifetime, you know that some of that shit takes a total of 3 minutes before it’s overdone. We cooked our potatoes for about 20 minutes before adding our next layer. You are also walking a fine line between giving your guests the best meal of their life, or the shits. So you do want to make sure that everything is cooked properly.  If you’re super anal, you can take the internal temperature of your lobster (135 F), but generally, we just cook our seafood to colour or opaqueness. 

We couldn’t dump it onto a table covered in newspaper and ‘dig in’ as suggested, because I refuse to eat newspaper ink. I can hardly stand to read the crap that passes for news now a days much less eat it. We chose to serve it from trays at each end of the table so we could bypass the dreaded dinner party ‘reach across’

Seafood is never complete without some butter to dip it in. You could be basic and use nothing more than melted butter, which is fine, but we are not basic. We had two different flavours of butter for our dinner. One was garlic lemon and the other was Sriracha. You can clarify your own butter or use Ghee. Melt and flavour to taste. –R.Dolly





Best Cherry Pie


I came across this amazing recipe while searching for a way to use some of the fresh BC Cherries that I couldn’t resist buying at the local farmer’s market. I love fresh cherries but I always buy way more than my family can possibly eat fresh. Pie crusts have also been the bane of my existence. My usual recipe can have totally random outcomes for me so I tried the recipe Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough Recipe, also by Stella Parks

I chilled it for the least recommended time and it turned out flaky and delicious. However, I also made another batch and left the dough sealed tightly in the fridge for a few days. Letting it sit in the fridge for the extra time made the layers on the bottom rise even higher and still kept the bottom crust crispy and brown. It made a fantabulous Banana Cream Pie.

I can’t wait to try out more recipes from the editors of Serious Eats


The Best Cherry Pie (With Fresh or Frozen Fruit)

Stella Parks

“This recipe changed everything I knew about pie. Before I sorted out a truly scientific ratio of ingredients, fruit pies seemed to be a hit-or-miss proposition: some days soup, some days gloop. But, after cracking open the mechanics of starch, I can count on a flawless cherry pie every time, regardless of whether I’m using fresh or frozen fruit! It’s always crispy on the bottom, flaky on the top, and nothing but sweet-tart perfection inside.

Why It Works

  • Tapioca starch forms a light, clear gel that’s never cloudy, slimy, or gloppy.
  • A 4:1 ratio of fruit to sugar raises tapioca’s gelatinization point so the filling and crust will cook at the same rate, meaning you never have to trade a thick filling for a soggy crust!
  • Tempered-glass pie plates conduct heat quickly and evenly to the dough, producing a far crispier crust than heavy ceramic or stoneware.
  • Yield:One double-crusted 9-inch pie
  • Active time:Between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on complexity of design
  • Total time:About 5 hours
  • Rated:


  • For the Filling:
  • 28 ounces pitted cherries (5 heaping cups; 790g), from about 2 pounds whole fruit (6 heaping cups; 910g) (see note)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice (2 tablespoons; 30g) from 1 small lemon
  • 7 ounces sugar (1 cup; 195g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • 1 1/2 ounces tapioca starch, such as Bob’s Red Mill (1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon; 40g)
  • Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough, rolled and chilled as per the directions for a double crust
  • For the Egg Wash (optional):
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 ounce heavy cream (1 tablespoon; 15g)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (1/2g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • To Serve (optional):
  • Cherry Pit Whipped Cream


  1. For the Filling: Combine pitted cherries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and tapioca starch in a large bowl, folding with a flexible spatula until well combined. Scrape into prepared pie shell and top with remaining dough, using a solid sheet, cutouts, or a lattice-top design. (Check out my tutorials here.) Trim away excess dough and refrigerate pie to ensure top crust is completely chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F.
  2. For the Egg Wash (if using): Whisk egg, egg yolk, cream, and salt in a small bowl. Brush over chilled top crust in a thin, even layer. This will give the crust a glossy, golden sheen, but it is not necessary in any way.
  3. Place chilled pie on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden, about 1 hour, then loosely cover with tented foil. (Alternatively, an empty baking sheet can be placed on the topmost rack of the oven to serve as a shield.) Continue baking until filling is bubbling even in the very center of the pie, about 15 minutes more. If crust completely covers filling, bake until pie reaches an internal temperature of 213°F on a digital thermometer. The time can vary considerably depending on the thickness and type of pie plate, the amount of top crust, how long the pie was refrigerated, et cetera.
  4. To Serve: Cool pie until no warmer than 85°F on a digital thermometer, about 3 hours depending on the type of pie plate (at higher temperatures, filling will be runny and thin). Slice into wedges with a sharp knife, pressing firmly against bottom and sides of pie plate to ensure the under-crust is completely cut. If you like, serve with Cherry Pit Whipped Cream. Wrapped in foil, leftovers will keep up to 3 days at room temperature; warm 10 minutes in a 350°F oven to revive crust before serving.
Special Equipment

9-inch pie plate (preferably tempered-glass), pastry brush (if using egg wash), rimmed baking sheet, digital thermometer


Update: Due to disparate sourcing practices, tapioca starch manufactured in Asia may be derived from plants other than cassava, which have different gelling properties. Look for products that mention cassava by name on the packaging, such as Bob’s Red Mill. For the most flavorful pie, reach for a mix of sweet and sour cherries—a blend of fresh and frozen works just fine. Fresh cherries can be pitted (I love my OXO cherry pitter) and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Or, use an equal weight of frozen cherries, thawed until softened. If you like, reserve cherry pits for a batch of Cherry Pit Whipped Cream, the ultimate garnish for cherry pie.

Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough

Stella Parks

This is the sort of recipe pastry chefs tend to favor, but it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients, equipment, or training. Just smash some cold butter in a bowl of flour, stir in a bit of water, roll it out, and fold it over a few times. It’s essentially a streamlined blitz, making an easy layered dough that’s supple but strong. That means it won’t slump out of shape in the oven, so it can support all types of complicated decorative techniques, but it’s wonderfully buttery, so it always turns out flaky and tender, too.

In summer months, warm pantry staples and equipment will raise the temperature of pie dough, causing the butter to melt. If it’s warmer than 73°F (23°C) in your kitchen, a few simple precautions will keep your dough happy and cool; more here.

Why It Works

  • All-purpose flour gives the dough strength to hold its shape in the oven, preserving any sort of decorative design.
  • A blitz-style ratio of flour to butter creates a dough that’s pliable but strong, making cracks and tears a thing of the past.
  • One round of folding provides eight major layers with minimal fuss.
  • Refrigerating the dough after shaping ensures it’s fully chilled and relaxed, preserving its flakes in the oven.
  • Yield:Makes 2 single- or 1 double-crusted 9-inch pie (regular or deep-dish)
  • Active time:25 minutes
  • Total time:2 1/2 hours
  • Rated:


  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour (1 2/3 cups; 225g), plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 ounce sugar (1 tablespoon; 15g)
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), cold
  • 4 ounces cold tap water (1/2 cup; 115g)


  1. For the Dough: Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes (this size is important, as smaller pieces will melt too fast) and toss with flour mixture to break up the pieces. With your fingertips, smash each cube flat—that’s it! No rubbing or cutting. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball. Dough temperature should register between 65 and 70°F (18 and 21°C); if not, refrigerate briefly before rolling and folding (see note above).
  2. Make the Layers: On a generously floured work surface, roll dough into a roughly 10- by 15-inch rectangle. Fold the 10-inch sides to the center, then close the newly formed packet like a book. Fold in half once more, bringing the short sides together to create a thick block. Divide in half with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Dough temperature should still be somewhere between 65 and 70°F (18 and 21°C); if not, refrigerate briefly before proceeding (see note above).
  3. For Single-Crusted Pies: Using as much flour as needed, roll one piece into a 14-inch circle and drape across a 9-inch pie plate; it will be super easy to lift by hand. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush, using it to nestle dough into the very corners of the pan. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the edge so that it overhangs by 1 1/4 inches all around. Fold overhang over itself to create a thick border that sits atop the rim of the pan. Crimp or shape crust as desired. Repeat with remaining dough. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Use as directed in your favorite recipe.
  4. For a Double-Crusted Pie: Using as much flour as needed, roll one piece into a 14-inch circle and drape across a 9-inch pie plate; it will be super easy to lift by hand. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush, using it to nestle dough into the very corners of the pan. With scissors or kitchen shears, trim the edge so that it overhangs by 1 inch all around. For a solid top crust, roll remaining dough as before, or roll into a 9- by 15-inch rectangle for a lattice-top pie. Transfer the entire sheet, uncut, to a baking sheet or parchment-lined cutting board. (The parchment will prevent dough from absorbing any savory odors from the board.) Wrap both portions in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Use as directed in your favorite recipe.
  5. For a Blind-Baked Pie: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F (177°C). Line chilled pie shell with a large sheet of aluminum foil, pressing so it conforms to the curves of the plate (a second sheet of aluminum may be needed for full coverage). Fill to the brim with sugar, transfer to a half sheet pan, and bake until fully set and golden around the edges, 60 to 75 minutes. Fold long sides of foil toward the middle, gather short sides, and use both hands to carefully transfer sugar to a heat-safe bowl. Let sugar cool to room temperature. If needed, continue baking crust a few minutes more to brown along the bottom. A full explanation of this process can be found here.
Special Equipment

Rolling pin, 9-inch pie plate (preferably tempered glass; see note below), pastry brush


Compared to stoneware or heavy enameled ceramic, tempered-glass pie plates conduct heat quickly and evenly, so the crust bakes up light and crisp, never greasy or soft.

Update: When “room temperature” exceeds 73°F, you’ll need to take proactive steps to keep the dough temperature below 70°F; otherwise, the butter will turn sticky and soft (more information here).”

~C. Dolly~


Homemade Potato Chips

I have been making “healthy” potato chips for awhile now.



Why the airquotes you ask? Well, maybe you didn’t, but nonetheless, I will explain. My “healthy” potato chips are microwaved *gasp! I know. They do however, have much less oil and preservatives.


Whenever I feel like a snack, but haven’t gone to the store in awhile, I will run a potato over a mandoline, dab the slices dry with a paper towel, sprinkle them with salt and microwave them. I am the queen of useless/cool kitchen gadgets, and happen to own one of these handy contraptions (pictured on the left). You can find many versions on Amazon. If you’re smarter than me, you will find one that makes more than 20 chips at a time. Especially when you decide that this will be one of your contributions to a dinner party. doh!


After the first 40 chips, half of which I ate as soon as they came out of the microwave, I decided I better get my shit together and find a way to make this go a little bit faster. People were on their way and time was of the essence. I had already pre-sliced and rinsed the potatoes since that was super easy so I had an abundance of supply and very little time. Google to the rescue. I threw my version of “health” out the window, tossed them in olive oil and threw them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and cooked them in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Still wasn’t as easy as buying a bag of chips, but they were impressive and tasted fantastic.  – R.Dolly



Pizza Toppings


Crust, sauce and a quick hot cook are a few things that will ensure a great tasting pizza. When pressed for time, I actually use… Pause for dramatic effect…. Naan bread. I can almost hear the blood curdling screams of horror from all over the world as I type. The rule is though, if you’re going to cheat with one thing, that everything else has to absolutely be on point. No pizza sauce from a jar and make sure you’re using the best toppings available. Usually, my pizza topping of choice is determined by nothing more than a great local meat or some seasonal vegetables that are calling my name. When people are dropping by, I like to have an assortment for the vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Here are a few of my family’s favourites:

  • The Cuban – brush crust with olive oil and season lightly with pepper. Top with ham, pickles, cheese and a drizzle of chipotle mayo.  This one is a constant crowd pleaser. Thanks to my son who wanted desperately to have a pizza with pickles on it. 
  • Olive You – And olive anyone else who loves olives as much as I do. lightly spread olive tapenade on your crust. Top with vegetables that complement the flavour of the olives like fresh tomatoes, zucchini spirals, artichoke hearts and mozzarella cheese. 
  • Pepperoni, mushrooms fried in butter and pepper, drizzle of pesto and mozzarella cheese
  • Margherita – Roasted marinara sauce, fresh tomatoes, basil and sliced fresh mozzarella. 
  • Hot banana peppers, pineapple and feta

– R. Dolly









Roasted Marinara Sauce

Tis the season to wander aimlessly through farmer’s markets, buying more than you can possibly use within a week, because let’s face it, all of the fresh summer produce looks so good after a winter full of potatoes and carrots that tasted like cardboard. Then, come Friday, you clean out the fridge when no one is looking because you hardly made a dent in all that fresh spinach that you swore you would use. Saturday rolls around again and you pick up your basket promising yourself that this week will be different. This week you will get your act together and start eating healthy. This week I may even take advantage of the sunny weather and *gasp, exercise!

This scenario usually repeated itself thoughout the summer until winter rolled around and I was left with nothing more than my tasteless winter vegetables again. That is, until I was introduced to oven roasted marinara sauce. I was never fond of canning as a way to preserve my produce. I felt like I spent way too much time in the kitchen for way too few mason jars full of whatever I was making at the end. And it was messy. My mother-in-law actually was the one who introduced me to this method, and it’s the best piece of infomation I have ever received from her. The key to this recipe though is to always use produce that is in peak season. There is nothing quite like vine ripened tomatoes.



  • 20 Roma Tomatoes cored and halved
  • 1 small onion quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Basil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

*seasonings are entirely arbitrary and I usually use whatever is looking good and I have on hand at the time. 

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF
  2. Line 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment if desired (I usually skip this as I like to blend right in the dish and have never had a problem with sticking due to the oil)
  3. Add all ingredients to the baking dish and bake for 2 hours. 
  4. Increase heat to 400 and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes to caramelize and increase flavour
  5. Use a hand held immersion blender to blend it all together. 

Keeps in fridge for a few days. Freeze extras for later use.

-R. Dolly




Strawberry Margarita, Part II


A few months ago, I had posted a frozen margarita recipe which had a strawberry adaptation. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I happen to love tequila. This was a revelation that took about 20 years, which was precisely the amount of time that it took to get over the worst hangover I have ever had in my entire life. This version, which I am calling part II, came about after a visit to the farmer’s market where the June strawberries were sitting in all of their glory. I was not feeling like an icy concoction for our party, so I decided to keep the blender unplugged and mix it all up the night before our party so the strawberry and basil could infuse into the mixture.

It was awesome, and eating the strawberries after the drink was gone was a nice finish to a fantastic margarita with just the perfect hint of strawberry and basil.


  • can of frozen limeade concentrate
  • 2 cups tequila (personally prefer El Jimador gold for everyday use)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 8-12 fresh strawberries depending on size (June strawberries are typically bigger than everbearing so usually 8 will do it.)
  • small handful of basil leaves. Around 8-10
  • 1 can of club soda to add right before serving.

Prepare ahead of time to let strawberries and basil flavour the drink. At least 5 hours. The strawberries will also give the margarita a pretty pink colour. You can take out the basil before serving if you wish, but save the strawberries. Like I said, they were delicious!







Strawberry Shortcake With Amaretto Whipped Cream


I usually spend a lot of time searching for recipes when I’m looking to make something special. My cookbooks, Allrecipes, Pinterest and some websites that pops up with Google are scoured through . I lucked out and found a vanilla cake recipe that was way more work than I normally put into baking a cake but it was A-MAZ-ING. It was the perfect consistency for a strawberry shortcake. It was a little bit spongy and yet it held together wonderfully after it was topped by the strawberries and whipped cream.

The recipe was originally created for cupcakes and was tested as a cake. I’ll put the cupcake recipe first with the changes that were made to convert it to a cake underneath. My cakes needed a little bit longer than the 19 minute baking time and I didn’t worry about the dome because it was going to be a delicious strawberry shortcake.


Strawberry Shortcake With Amaretto Whipped Cream

Amaretto Whipped Cream

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • ¼ cup of sugar (or to taste)
  • Amaretto
  • Sliced almonds – set aside to garnish the cake

Whip the cream and add the sugar after it begins to stiffen up. When it’s almost the consistency that you want, add the amaretto to taste and finish whipping the cream.


I sliced half of the berries and set aside. I cut the other half of the berries into small chunks in a Pyrex square baking dish and then mashed them until juicy but still chunky. It’s easier to mash them to the same consistency if it’s in a flat dish.

Strawberry Shortcake


  • Place one of the layers of cake on your serving dish with the dome side down
  • Spread half of the mashed berries, sliced strawberries and whipped cream on the layer
  • Place the last cake layer on top with the dome side up
  • Spread the rest of the mashed berries only and whipped cream on top of the cake
  • Spread the last half of the sliced strawberries on top
  • Garnish with sliced almonds

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

Recipe by Stef @ The Cupcake Project

Yield: 16 cupcakes


  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be that way.)
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don’t own a cooling rack) to cool.

Converting the Cupcakes to a Vanilla Cake

Click here for the original link  by Amanda @ I Am Baker

I do have some tips to use when converting the cupcakes to a vanilla cake:

  • Right after step number 8 in the instructions (beating the eggs into the flour mixture), I recommend scraping the stand mixer bowl. I didn’t the first time I made this and had a significant amount of unmixed flour and lumpy butter.
  • The recipe yields about 3 1/4 cups of cake batter. So, I divided the batter into two 8-inch round cake pans, using just over 1 1/2 cups per pan. While a perfect dome is essential in a cupcake recipe, it’s not always the best result for a cake maker. I adore this recipe so much that I didn’t want to waste one single crumb, so I used a number of tricks to help create a level cake. Every trick, that is, except leveling the cake with a knife. Did I mention that I didn’t want to waste a single crumb? In the end there was still a slight dome, but that is easy enough to work with.
  • I baked the cake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes in my convection oven. I recommend checking the cake at 18 minutes; simply insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is done. Make sure the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan as well.
  • Allow cakes to cool to room temperature in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack.
  • Since this cake has such a beautiful fine crumb, I chilled my layers prior to frosting. If the cake is too soft when applying frosting, it can tear and crumble. I wanted to avoid that at all costs with this masterpiece!