March break, 2016

Technically speaking, we don’t get a March break as I don’t work in education. However, my Step-brother does and he and his family took off to warmer places. Meanwhile, up here in the Great White North, he asked Kat and I if we wanted to house/cat sit for them while they were away. Who are we to refuse an invitation to have running, hot water and electricity 24/7?

As some of you are aware, I took Kat to the Couples Resort last year as a surprise. I couldn’t afford to do that this year, so having a week off in Ottawa seemed like a reasonable substitute.

In addition to that, last June, during Kat’s birthday, I was stuck in the US doing work and I missed her birthday and was unable to make her a special dinner I had planned. Unfortunately, I didn’t have another chance after that due to being just too busy and not having access to a decent kitchen. Our staying in Ottawa allowed me to pay that debt.

Recently, Kat discovered a really interesting anime show called Shokugeki no Soma. This isn’t your run of the mill anime with magic powers and monsters and such. No, this one is all about cooking. If you watch this, make sure you don’t do it on an empty stomach because you will be so hungry afterwards you will want to eat furniture.

I mention this because Kat and I both had some inspiring ideas for things to make from this show. I used this inspiration for the appetizer I made. In this case, coconut crepes.

MarchBreak2016_01

Instead of using regular flour and milk, you use coconut flour and coconut milk. Unfortunately, it’s not a straight substitution as my first attempt failed miserably. I did get a reasonable result on my second attempt. I then cooked up some pork in an asian sauce, sliced it thin, added in some mango and lettuce and then rolled it. Here you can see Kat all dressed up, about to dig in.

MarchBreak2016_02

It turned out pretty well, but not mind blowing.

For the main dish, I made something she has had before and totally raved about. It’s a hollowed out pineapple half, filled with avocado, pineapple, red onion and such with spiced shrimp. I had to improvise a little bit on the spice as some supplies were short, but it did turn out nicely, but not quite as good as the previous time.

MarchBreak2016_03

Of course, then there is dessert. This was by far the biggest time sink of the day. I had always wanted to try making angel food cake from scratch, so this was my opportunity to give it a go.

A lot of people say that separating all of the eggs takes too long, but I found all of the sifting was the most time consuming part. Oh, I should also mention I made a chocolate angel food cake. After I finally had all of the batter put together and poured into the pan, I tried a bit and was like “WOW, this is amazing!”.

If you know anything about angel food cake, you know it uses a tonne of egg whites, but none of the yolks. So what do you do when you have a big pile of egg yolks lying around? You make pastry cream. 😀 After the cake was baked, fully cooled and removed from the pan, I cut the cake in half horizontally, dug out a trench from the bottom half and filled it with said pastry cream.

For the frosting, I made super vanilla whipped cream. I scrapped the seeds out of an entire vanilla been, used homemade vanilla extract and even vanilla sugar to sweeten it. I also stabilized it by adding a bit of cream cheese. That is great trick for making thicker whipped cream.

Anyway, here is the result.

MarchBreak2016_04

I have to say, it turned out awesome. Just like angel food cake should be, it was nice and light. You feel like you could eat half the cake in one sitting because it is so light. The other thing about angel food cake, is it doesn’t keep very long, so it’s good that you eat it quickly.

All in all, a very good dinner was had. It took me way longer to make it than to eat it, but it was sooooo worth it.

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