This is it: welcome to Harvesting Dinner brand new website!!! Launching my new domain is quite exciting! So much so that I have had a few agonizing conversations with myself as to what I should write about to make www.harvestingdinner.com first appearance in its new cyberspace spot. I have been working on so many new (and old favourite) recipes these days, I just couldn’t decide which to use first… Since we are stepping into in the sweetest month of the calendar, the one filled with sugar and spice and yummy treats of all kinds, I have finally made a decision for this first post and have opted to share one of my many ooey gooey cheerful concoctions. But before I get into this, I would like to take a moment to thank the person who has given Harvesting Dinner its new look and new life. Lynn Jatania of Sweet Smart Design is the real brains behind the scenes and she was the one who got this project off the ground for me: all I had was a vision and a wish list. Lynn used her magic to build the site from scratch. Most of the work was done through e-mail, which was very easy to fit in both our schedules. Updates, changes, new versions, page layout, colour palette, fonts and the overall look and feel were all done virtually. We had a face to face meeting in the end, for knowledge transfer and going through the «how to» guide, but with Skype and Facetime, I would assume remote customers are not a big issue. Sooooo, if ever you want to create your website, then I highly recommend Lynn Jatania at Sweet Smart Design!
So what’s new and exciting here that couldn’t be done in the old site? Well… drum roll please… My favourite new feature is the Print Recipe section! Isn’t this fabulous? Not only do you have the option to print my recipes, but it will be clutter free. This option prints only the recipe, skipping any story and pictures, which makes it so much easier to follow when you are in the middle of cooking.
But that is not the only fun addition to Harvesting Dinner:
- You can sign up for my newsletter. And you can do so in complete confidence: I have no plans of sharing any of that information with anyone. The newsletter segment is not quite ready yet but once it is all set-up, you can expect exclusive content that is not available on the blog. You can sign-up now but keep in mind that newsletters are a future project.
- There is also a search engine to help you find everything and anything that has been published on the blog. So for instance, if you were looking for inspiration with asparagus, not only would it pull out the recipes that contain asparagus but also any post where these are mentioned. Same with appetizers: just plug the name in the search bar and all the appetizer recipes will pop up
Other than the obvious «Recipes» tab, I have added 3 more categories:
- The Local Forager: in this section, you will find my reviews of local eateries and food retailers.
- The International Forager: the success rate of any of my trips is largely influenced by local fare. I love nothing more than to share the insanely delicious meals we have the pleasure of stumbling upon while traveling. But not just the good stuff: sometimes, there are tourist traps we need to be warned about…
- Food Musings: don’t you love the title of this one? I’ve got Lynn to thank for this category’s creative name. You can find kitchen tips, techniques, tools, «how-to» and miscellaneous items that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.
I am beyond thrilled to have this website I can now call my own, where I can share everything I love about food: whether it is preparing a simple weeknight dinner or taking on something a bit more “gastronomically” challenging, my visits to some of my favourite independent grocers & local markets and of course, my culinary adventures while dining out in Ottawa or around the globe! When inspiration abounds, I enjoy writing stories abiut the origins of my recipes, rich in heritage and “feel good” moments.
My only hope is that you will not only love this new site but that you will sign-up for the newsletter AND share my site with all your friends: “sharing and liking” Harvesting Dinner is by far the sweetest compliment I can get. And it is the only way I can grow. How sweet is that! Now talking about sweet, here is a recipe that is bound to be loved by everyone who enjoys shortbread topped with caramel and chocolate. Hmmmm, does that exclude anyone?
Million Dollar Shortbread
I used to call them caramel and chocolate shortbread but someone once told me that Million Dollar Shortbread is what her family called these decadent little squares. I’ve also referred to them as homemade Twix™, although no one has ever declared war between the left side and the right side of the pan as they are equally as good*
Tip: do not make too long in advance as the caramel tends to harden over time (the cookie base will absorb a lot of the moisture). Although they are very easy to make and each pan yields a large number of squares, I do not recommend freezing these. They keep well (and taste much better) at room temperature but I do recommend refrigeration for longer storage.
*a bit of humour inspired by the very lame Twix™ television commercial
What you need:
¾ cup butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can sweet condensed milk (14 oz)
Chocolate Layer (ganache)
1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp corn syrup*
4 tbsp heavy cream such as whipping cream
*if you prefer to avoid corn syrup, you can substitute with a thick liquid sweetener such as Lyle’s golden syrup, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup or maple syrup
How to make it
Heat oven at 325°
- Grease 9X13 pan and line with parchment paper extending over long edges for handles. There are a few pitcures below that show an easy way to line a pan with parchement paper
- In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
- Stir in flour in 2 additions. Press evenly into prepared pan, but not too firmly. Bake for 30 minutes until barely golden at the edges and let cool in pan
- While the crust is cooling, melt the butter in a medium pot that has a heavy bottom, then add the brown sugar. Stir together a few minutes until well blended
- Add the sweet condensed milk, stir to mix well and keep on stirring until the mixtures starts to boil slightly. Stop the cooking process as soon as the mixture reaches the boiling point. Pour over crust immediately and spread evenly.
- Let cool for a bit
- Mix together chocolate, butter, corn syrup and cream in a heavy pan over medium low heat*.
- Stir until just melted to smooth (not hot).
- Pour and spread evenly over caramel.
- Using a toothpick, the tip of a knife or a bamboo skewer, score the chocolate layer in the number of pieces you would like to end up with. Scoring while the chocolate is still warm will help make nice, clean and even squares when the time comes to slice. Since these morsels are rich and sweet, I like to score into small bite sizes: 6 lines on the length and 8 lines on the width for a total of 48 pieces. Not bad for about 45 minutes worth of work!
- Refrigerate until the chocolate has set firmly, best is overnight or at least 6 hours. Tucking at the parchment paper, remove from pan and using a sharp warm knife (not wet), cut squares following the scored line.
*You can also melt the ganache in a microwave. Using a Pyrex dish, set at 60 seconds. Stir well to combine. If the chocolate is not completely melted, process in microwave in 30 second increments. Remember: the chocolate should be just melted, do not over heat.
They are hugely popular as Christmas gifts and at Bake Sales.
Scroll below to see how to easily line a pan with parchment paper.