Beet-dyed devilled eggs

IMG_7997 (1)If you’re celebrating Easter this weekend, I hope it’s a good one!
As an easy appetizer that’s always a crowd-pleaser, I made some devilled eggs. I dyed them in beet juice to add some extra colour to the dish. I love the result!
There are many ways to do this, and I feel like they all work. I boiled a pot of beets the day before, removed the beets and saved the pink water.  Once my eggs were hard-boiled and peeled, I just put them in the pot of pink water (made sure they were covered) and added 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to it. About an hour later, the dye had sunk in. Perfect for Easter, but I think I’d make this at any point during the year for a potluck or a dinner.

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Galentine’s Day Jam and Nutella Straws

I’m so happy that we live in a time where we can take a holiday (that is normally exclusive and can be a bummer to many) and turn it into something fun, lady-positive, and delicious. Kudos to Leslie Knope and the writers of Parks and Rec for making it a thing.  For tomorrow’s Galentine’s Day Brunch, I made these puff pastry straws. Super easy to put together, yet decadent enough for a special occasion. Definitely go well with too much coffee and awesome friends. Original recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.
IMG_79381 package puff pastry (2 sheets)

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Flour for dusting

Powdered sugar for sprinkling

“Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.” Personal tip: use cooking spray on top of the parchment to avoid peeling jam-encrusted pastry bits later on.

Allow puff pastry to thaw as directed on the package.  Dust work surface with flour and lightly dust rolling pin with flour. Roll out puff pastry until about 2″ larger on each side.  Cut crosswise into two rectangles.

Heat 1/4 cup of jam in microwave for 15-20 seconds, just enough to loosen the consistency.

With a pastry brush, coat one piece of puff pastry with half the jam.  Cover jam-coated piece with the remaining plain piece of puff pastry and gently roll together with rolling pin – not too hard, or your jam will squish out.”

strawsSlice into long strips and twist, then place on parchment lined pan.   Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

IMG_7904“Repeat process with second sheet of puff pastry.”  For added variety, I used Nutella diluted with a bit of melted butter on the second batch. Thanks, Sprinkle Bakes!

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Potluck Planning

Do you have any go-to recipes or crowd pleasing dishes for big dinners? I often try something new at the last minute, which usually involves some unexpected little disasters along the way. Nevertheless, here is what I’m planning on making over the next few weeks:Perencake2Pear cardamom cake [via]

Caramel pecan tart [via] or [via]

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.24.56 PMLamb chops with garlic [via]

MTM0NTE3OTc2NTQ3MjM1MDkwRoasted sweet potato, beets, fennel and pear with cinnamon dressing [via]

Fall Cookbooks for Everyone

I love cookbooks. As much as I use the internet as my main resource for recipes, I love the feel of a solid good cookbook. I read them like bed time stories, pausing to look at beautiful photographs and fantasizing about recreating dishes in my own kitchen. Clearly I can’t be the only one, because there have been tons of new release in the last little while. Here’s a round-up of the ones that have caught my eye.

1. The Art of Eating Well: Hemsley and Hemsley: By now we all get that eating healthy is a lifestyle approach. What better way to encourage that than delicious, accessible meals?
2. Plenty More by Yottam Ottolenghi: I’m always looking for new interesting ways to make vegetables. Now I just wish I had a fresh herb garden year round.
3.  Cairo Kitchen by Suzanne Zeidi: My love for Middle Eastern food holds no bounds, and it’s about time I learn how to make some of my favorite meals.
4. Three Times a Day by Marilou and Alexandre Champagne: a.k.a “Trois Fois par Jour”, this local Montreal duo has created quite a buzz in the last year. With new recipes that are not featured on their blog, as well as some favorites like buttered chicken,
5. A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones: Packed with vegetarian recipes that can be made in under 30 minutes. Ideal for the real world where you just give in after a long day of work and throw a frozen pizza in the oven.
6. Audrey at Home: Memories from my Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti: Both a scrapbook of Audrey Hepburn’s life and a cookbook, nostalgia-lovers can fully indulge in the vintage photographs, anecdotes and foods from another time.
7. Baking from Food52: Because sometimes, after all that healthy eating, I just want to make something entirely out of sugar and flour. This go-to site compiled a book of classic baked recipes (like banana bread) to mind-blowing new desserts (like black sesame cupcakes with matcha icing!!!!!)
8. Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson: are you noticing a trend here? Cooks offering recipes that are less complex, more accessible? Well last but not least, Nigella is on board, offering meals that can easily be made during your workweek. Butternut and halloumi burgers? I’m totally down.

Anything I missed? What are your favorite cookbooks?

3 Spooky Cocktails for Halloween

halloween cocktails littlekokomo.comI tend to believe there are 2 types of people in the world: Christmas* people and Halloween people (* read: Holiday). I’m definitely one of the latter, so I like to go all out for this time of year. I like to cram in as many horror movie nights, costume parties, Rocky Horror Picture Show outings as I can.  Last year I found two great Halloween-themed drinks on the web, so I decided to share them, as well as an easy classic option. Apologies for the low-quality instagram pictures! please check the original recipes so they get full credit!

halloween cocktails littlekokomo.comEyeball Punch
A clear punch bowl is great for showing off the eyeballs, but putting them into individual glasses works well too.
Spooky factor: 5/5
Effort level: Moderate, depending on how available canned lychees are
Tastes like: a light, fruity and refreshing summer drink.
See full recipe here

halloween cocktails littlekokomo.comDark and Stormy
When you’re short on time/lazy/want to get straight to the point, the trusty Dark and Stormy is always a crowd pleaser. Make sure to get ginger beer, and not ginger ale to get that extra bite (they sell this brand at walmart, but the artisanal ones are great if you can find them). Don’t skip the lime juice! substituting it with lemon just doesn’t do it, in my opinion.
Spooky factor: 0 but add a gummy worm and it becomes a 2/5!
Effort level: Easy. Easy like Sunday morning
Taste like: a good ginger candy, nice and spicy
See full recipe herehalloween cocktails littlekokomo.comShrunken Heads in Cider
Find a nice big pot to serve it in. The more it looks like a cauldron, the better.  I found it worked best by placing it somewhere convenient with a ladle and having guests serve themselves, so that they get to see the “shrunken heads” you spent so much time prepping and carving.
Spooky factor: 4/5
Effort level: Very High. Takes about 2 hours with baking time, so not something you can do last-minute.
Tastes like: Apple pie. It’s so damn good! Anyone who loves fresh apple cider will really enjoy this.
See full recipe here 

Potato chips dipped in chocolate + toffee bits

chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

I swear I’ll post something healthy soon, but for now let’s just indulge ok? Besides, these guys are meant to be shared and savoured, so portion size is very much under control here. I saw this a while ago on Joy the Baker, and decided to take it to the next level by adding bits of Skor toffee on top. Toffee bits are pretty much crack for someone with a sweet tooth, by the way.
IMG_6923Here’s what i used: 
-1/2 a bar of dark chocolate broken into small chunks. Chocolate chips could work too.
-about 2 handfuls of Ruffles regular potato chips (try to get a bag that hasn’t been crushed)
-Skor Toffee bits
-a drop of vanilla (optional)
-a tsp of coconut oil (optional)
-parchment paper
-a small pot and bowl to fit in it
chups1chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.comPour some water into the pot, about 1/4 full. Add the bowl (metal or glass) on top, creating a bain-marie (a.k.a. double boiler). Add the chocolate pieces, turn the heat on low and stir frequently. This method is key for melting the chocolate without burning the bottom. Once melted, add the vanilla and coconut oil, stir. Carefully dip chips and place them on parchment paper, adding the toffee bits while the chocolate sets. You can put them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so, just not too long or the chips will start to get soggy. Enjoy (in moderation!), xo.
chocolate dipped chips littlekokomo.com

ROAD TRIP: PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY

With summer quickly coming to an end, we decided to take a road trip to savour the last of it. Prince Edward County is about a 3.5 hour drive west from Montreal and is known for some of my favorite things: beaches, vineyards, and good food. Here’s a round-up of what to check out in PEC:
PEC littlekokomo.com

prince edward county littlekokomo.com

Sandbanks beach: Ok so Canada is a fairly beach-deprived country. But the Sandbanks beach does not disappoint; it really feels like you’re at the ocean! Lake Ontario is so massive, you can’t see anything in the distance, and the sand is so soft… not like those sharp rock “beaches” in other parts of the country.

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Angeline’s Inn & The Hubb: We stayed at Angeline’s Inn, a super cute hotel in Bloomfield that reminded me of the Inn Lorelai opens in Gilmore Girls (the entire town of Picton actually reminded me of Stars’ Hollow, for any GG fans out there). Angeline’s is also renown for its restaurant, The Hubb, which has great ambiance both indoors and on the terrace. We had tuna popcorn tartare, roasted lamb, and summer gnocci with pesto, all very flavorful. Bonus: take a glass of wine to your room at the end of the night!
prince edward county littlekokomo.comprince edward county littlekokomo.comprince edward county littlekokomo.comThe Drake Devonshire Inn: We originally wanted to stay here, especially after a friend described it as “the hotel from Dirty Dancing”. There were no vacancies left, so we settled for having a nice dinner at the Devonshire. This is a must, in my opinion. The view and the vibe are perfect, with a fire pit by the lake, perfect cocktails (try the Gin Gin Mule and the Brown Butter Maple Old Fashioned, thank me later), good music and a general laid-back atmosphere. This place is definitely a splurge but quite worth it. Take some time to explore the grounds a little: you will find a game room, outdoor ping pong table, photobooth, and bikes you can rent out. Do reserve weeks ahead if you want to stay here!
prince edward county littlekokomo.comprince edward county littlekokomo.comprince edward county littlekokomo.comThe Grange: This vineyard is probably the most beautiful location we had seen in all of PEC. With weeping willows on the grounds, and a beautiful 180 year old barn to taste the wines, it’s nothing short of picturesque. Go around lunch, and ask them for a picnic basket (complete with sandwiches, salads, blueberry panacotta), which you can take on the grounds with you to enjoy the scenery.
IMG_6895 normNorman Hardie: This winery is bumpin’! With a wood-oven pizza stove, local cheeses and tomatoes, it makes for a perfect lunch or dinner spot. The wines are quite unique and have a nice mineral flavor to them, I really recommend the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir.
IMG_6825Antiques: PEC is great for antique lovers like myself, and I found most of the items to be decently priced as well. There are many places that sell second-hand/vintage items, but one of my faves was Dead People’s Stuff in Bloomfield.

More places to check out on Main Street, Picton and nearby:
IMG_6866 (1)County Canteen: While PEC doesn’t have much of a nightlife, the Canteen is pretty happening since it opened up in June. Dozens of beers to try with a great atmosphere to boot. Everything on the menu sounds good if you’re hungry, too.
Scooperman for ice cream!
Miss Lily’s Cafe: for good coffee and wi-fi
PEC littlekokomo.comRegent Theatre: Rainy day? See what’s showing at the Regent theatre. Be warned: the last showing usually starts at 7:30pm.
Giant Tiger: this department store was just how I remembered it: unironic, entertaining, and well-priced.
Mustang Drive-In: On the weekends, check out an outdoor move at the drive-in! so oldschool, I love it.
Lavender farm: make sure you go in July to get the full sensory experience! They harvest late August, depending on the weather.
Hayloft Dancehall: A great place to get a drink, see a show if you’re there for the weekend (closed during the week).

Have you been to Prince Edward County? Any places you recommend checking out?