Wedding Photos

Jonathan and I are home in Windsor.  We are getting everything organized and resting up after such a wonderful wedding.  It was beyond perfect – there was so much happiness, joy and love!  Thank you to all of our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and families for making everything perfect.

I will share a few highlights and some of the photos of the food.  We had the reception at the Kingbridge Centre in King City, Ontario.  The food was absolutely delicious.  I had the salmon and Jonathan had the beef.  The fresh seasonal veggies on each plate were flavourful and delicious.  The wedding cake was absolutely perfect.  It was carrot cake and made by Christina at Cocoa Cakery.  All of the flowers were so beautiful and with five layers I can only imagine how much work it took to create!

Getting Ready for the weddingMy BouquetFlowers from the ChurchNewly Weds1044297_10151752104642323_1008248124_nThe CakeSalmon with Asparagus, carrots, spinach and yellow zucchiniCHicken with AsparagusBeef with Seasonal VegetablesWedding Favours Blueberry Grand Marnier JamFather Daughter DanceDancing with JonathanWearing Wedding Sado

A day of pie! Chicken Pot Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb PieThere is a rhubarb plant at the Chapman house, so I decided to make a classic strawberry rhubarb pie.  So, I went out to pick some ruby red fresh rhubarb.  The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite blogs).  The pie turned out extremely well (super tasty) – but a little watery in the centre.  I am still working on perfecting the perfect strawberry rhubarb pie. My Mom who has been making pies forever would not have made a mistake like this, but like she always says, “practice makes perfect.” As I was preparing the pie filling I saw some blueberries in the freezer, so I added half a cup to add extra colour.  So, it wasn’t entirely ‘strawberry rhubarb.’  When I make this pie again, I will add only 1/2 cup of sugar or 2/3 cup – the berries had tremendous natural sweetness and it would have been nice to allow the slightly tart rhubarb flavour to shine.Strawberry Rhubarb PieLattice Pie Crust Top

The recipe for the crust however, was a success, it was flakey, buttery and crisp.  I even decided to get fancy and do a lattice top pattern.  I brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled it lightly with sugar.  It came out of the oven looking beautiful.  I enjoy the challenge that pie baking presents, getting the filling and crust perfect, as well as decorating, so the perfect pie challenge continues.

Chicken Pot PieThe next pie I made was a savoury dinner pie and is a classic!  The recipe is from the Canadian living website and it is one of my favourites.  The filling with fresh thyme and white wine is truly divine!  Fresh carrots, baby red skin potatoes, celery and peas come together to create a classic dinner.  Not to mention puff pastry (yum)!  When I make this for Jonathan it usually makes two pot pies – one of which can be frozen.  Served with a fresh salad it is a perfect dinner or lunch.  I read somewhere that chicken pot pie is a great dinner for entertaining because:  it looks like you have slaved away all day making it, divides up easily, usually good for picky eaters and by the time your guests arrive all the work is done. The pot pie comes out looking like a piece of perfection with flaky buttery crust – and you get to eat gourmet chicken pot pie with your friends and catch up.Chicken Pot Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Filling

3 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny

½ cup blueberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for brushing on the top)

Mix together sliced strawberries, sliced rhubarb, blueberries, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and flour.  Set aside.

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough (From Smitten Kitchen)

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.

2  ½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup cold cold water, use ice cubes if necessary

1.  Pulse together dry ingredients in food processor or use hand dough cutter.

2.  Add butter and pulse again.

3.  Slowly add cold water, pulse until it comes together in a nice dough.

4.  Divide the dough in two and refrigerate for 1 hour

Putting the Pie together:

1.  Roll our first dough for the bottom crust.  Lightly poke the dough at the bottom with a fork.

2.  Crimp the sides of the piecrust.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

3.  Pre – bake the crust at 400 for 10 minutes with aluminum foil and baking weights.

4.  Let crust cool then add fruit mixture.

5.  Roll out second pie dough.  Slice with pizza cutter into 1 inch to 1 ½ inch strips.

6.  Alternate length and width wise the lattice strips.

7.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

8.  Reduce oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie (from Canadian Living)

Ingredients

3 cups (500 mL) chicken stock

1 cup (250 mL) drywhite wine

2 cups (500 mL) chopped carrots

2 stalks  celery, chopped

2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled potatoes

bay leaf

1 Pinch each salt and 1 tsp pepper, 1-3 tablespoon rosemary

1 lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter

1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (75 mL milk

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

1/2 pkg (397 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preparation

In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, wine, carrots, celery, potato, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken; simmer, uncovered, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes. Skim off any foam. Strain; set aside chicken stock. Set aside chicken mixture; discard bay leaf.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock until smooth. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk; cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and vegetable mixture into your dish, add peas, add extra rosemary and pepper to taste; stir to coat.) Use large casserole dish or smaller ones if you are making two.

On floured surface, roll out pastry to fit top of dish plus 1-inch (2.5 cm) extra all around; trim edges. Brush edge of dish with water. Centre pastry over filling; gently press overhang to adhere to dish. Brush with egg; slash 4 steam vents. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, puffed and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Nut Free Kung Pao Chicken

Searching for a flavourful and delicious dinner last night, Jonathan and I decided to make Kung Pao Chicken.  As the LCBO recipe mentions, this dish is usually served with cashews or peanuts, however, due to my allergies, I made it without – and made a few additions instead!  The mushrooms and asparagus that I added complimented the flavours, and fragrant ginger, garlic and green onion pulled together to create a truly dynamic meal.  This meal is tastier than a traditional stirfry – and aside from the canola oil used for cooking the chicken and in the sauce, I would say this is a relatively healthy meal – as long as you serve it with brown rice and don’t eat it everyday! Ginger is becoming one of my new favourite ingredients – I’ve always loved gingerbread cookies and ginger ale, but only recently has it made its way into my savory cooking.

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mushrooms – enough for two people chopped into small pieces

Asparagus – enough for two people chopped into small pieces

Chicken Marinade:

1 egg white
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp  cornstarch
Salt to taste
1/4 cup  canola oil

Sauce:
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp dried crushed chilies
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped green onion

Finishing Touches:
2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:

1.  Dice chicken into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes and place in bowl. Combine egg white, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch in a bowl and season lightly with salt. Add chicken and stir to coat.

2.  Heat a wok over high heat. Add canola oil and swirl carefully to coat. When oil is very hot, remove chicken from marinade, add to wok in batches and fry in oil for 3 minutes or until lightly browned and almost cooked through. Remove from oil and place in a strainer over a bowl to drain.

3.  Combine chicken stock, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, Balsamic vinegar and sesame oil.

4.  Reheat oil (adding more if needed) in wok. Add crushed chilies, garlic, ginger, and green onion, and fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add in asparagus and mushrooms and sauté.  Then stir in sauce and bring to boil. Return chicken and simmer in sauce for 1 minute or until cooked through. Add cornstarch mixture slowly using only enough to thicken (I added about 2 tsp), and stir to boil.  Extra green onions can be added at the end for garnish.  Serve with brown rice.

Serves 3 as main course, 6 as part of a Chinese meal