I have so much to be thankful for.
I was born in a time and place that allows me opportunities other women can only dream of. While giving me everything they can, my parents raised me to be independent and to believe that I am capable. I went to public schools yet still had teachers that taught me not just to recite facts and count figures, but to think critically.I live in a city with crumbling infrastructure and systemic corruption, but it’s citizens are vibrant and creative, and they are quick to speak out against intolerance.
My life is far from perfect, but I am grateful for every minute of it.
Carrot and Ginger Soup
Yields 4-6 servings
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb white potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 L chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 L water
- salt and pepper
- In a large pot on medium high heat, heat oil. Add onions. Cook stirring often until softened. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant.
- Add the carrots and potatoes, followed by the stock and water. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil then lower the temperature and simmer for 45 minutes. Once cooked use and immersion blender or food processor to puree until smooth.
Generally speaking I’m a level headed person. I’m not a fan of drama, I make reasonable decisions. But sometimes I go a little over board. For instance, my decision to go apple picking when I already had 15 pounds of apples in the fridge was not well thought out. I ended up with a total of 30 lbs. A lot of them are still in the fridge. The rest have been snacked on, pied, buttered, sauced, and jammed.
I think apple jam is my new fall favourite. I was inspired by this recipe which came from Preservation Societiy‘s new book, Les Conserves Selon Camilla. The book is currently only available in French, but should be out in English next Spring. I’m eagerly awaiting the English release. So eagerly that I think I might just buy it in French and struggle through it.
The original recipe calls for rum, raisins and walnuts. I opted for bourbon, sour cherries and almonds. To be honest I think I probably cooked the jam a little too long, but it still tastes amazing. It’s like a warm hug for your taste buds. The consistency is not like a typical jam. It’s basically chunks of fruit suspended in a thick syrup.
In terms of active time this recipe is pretty quick, but there is an overnight resting period that needs to be taken into consideration. Plan ahead.
Adapted from Les Conserves Selon Camilla
Makes 5 125 ml jars
- 12 medium sized apples, peeled cored and diced
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- seeds from one vanilla bean
- 1 cup dried sour cherrries
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, bring the apples, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla to boil. Once boiling pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with parchment to keep the apples submerged in their juices. Refrigerate overnight.
- In a small bowl, mix the sour cherries and bourbon together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.
- After allowing the apples and cherries to rest, sterilize your jars.
- Pour the apples into a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg then bring back to a boil over medium heat. Add the cherries and bourbon. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the almonds. Cook for 7 to 10 more minutes until the liquid forms a thick syrup.
- Let cool slightly then pour into sterilized jars. Seal the jars by submerging in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Cognitive dissonance: simultaneously holding two or more conflicting ideas, beliefs or values.
For example I’m upset that this cool cloudy weather is messing with my afternoon ice cream plans, but at the same time I’m super excited to wear my new sweaters.
Maybe that’s not the best psychological example, but it’s been over 10 years since I set foot in a psych class and this is how I understand the concept now.
The idea applies to more than just sweaters for me. I want to eat nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables from the Summer harvest, but at the same time I’m craving roast meets with warm comforting spices. Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling and people tend to find ways to resolve it. For example by roasting chicken flavoured with warm and comforting spices and topping it with fresh fruit salsa.
- 2 cups diced nectarines
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1/2 a small red chile, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
- pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Let the salsa sit for a while for the flavours to blend.
Spicy Roast Chicken Legs
- 3 or 4 chicken legs
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season all sides with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan.
- In a small bowl mix all the remaining ingredients together. Brush the spice mixture onto the chicken. Bake the chicken, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the juices run clear and it is no longer pink inside.
- Transfer cooked chicken to serving plate and top with nectarine salsa.
Ben Affleck is Batman now.
The internet is freaking out over this. People have actually tried to petition the White House to stop this. My problem isn’t so much with Ben Affleck, but with the fact that a new Batman is being created at all. The Christopher Nolan trilogy just ended a year ago, why are we already going back there? If the last Batman incarnation had been terrible I could understand a reboot, but it was practically perfect. And now Warner Brothers is going to go and put the Man Of Steel stink all over it.
But what do I know? My views super heroes were heavily influenced by a man I no longer speak to and who doesn’t even like cooked fruit.
I, on the other hand, think jam is probably the greatest food ever invented. With pie coming in at a close second. This recipe is a little on the sweet side, I think 1/2 a cup of sugar could be safely taken out, but I didn’t have enough blueberries to test is that way.
Blueberry & Honey Jam
- 4 cups blueberries
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, crush the blueberries with a potato masher. Add the sugar, honey, lemon juice and salt.
- Bring to a boil. Keep the berries at a rapid boil and stir continuously for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour into sterilized jars (I used 3 250 ml jars). If sealed properly the jars don’t need to be refrigerated.
They say that people who swear a lot are more honest. I wonder if that’s true. I, personally, rarely swear. My impression is that if you’re constantly dropping f-bombs, the words lose their meaning. When someone who swears all the time says it’s fucking hot out, well, that doesn’t mean anything. But when I say it’s fucking hot, then it’s really fucking hot. And last week it was really fucking hot out.
The last thing anyone wants to do in a heat wave is cook. Just the idea of turning on the oven had me running for ice water. I’ve developed a collection of go to recipes for the summer that use minimal or even no heat to get through these situations. Gazpacho is probably one of my favourites. It tastes great, and, as this recipe from Bon Appetit shows, it is infinitely variable.
I loved the colour of the soup in BA so I felt like I had to try it. I’m really glad I did, even if mine was decidedly more purple than theirs. Maybe I didn’t put as much tomato as they did. I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter. I basically followed the ingredient list without really paying attention to quantities or method. I swapped the jalapeno for sriracha because that’s what I had. And I added basil because I like basil.
The fruit adds a sweet dimension to the soup that I really enjoyed. To make the meal a little more substantial I added a scallop and zucchini salad and some rosemary croutons.
Because this is really easy to make and there is no precision required here I’m going to give you a list of ingredients and a simple method rather than a detailed recipe. I think you folks can handle it.
Stone Fruit Gazpacho
- A couple of beefsteak tomatoes
- A peach
- Some cherries
- A cucumber
- Some red onion
- A couple of squirts of sriracha
- Red wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
Chop up the fruits and veggies so that they fit into a blender, along with all the other ingredients. Blend. Chill.
Sea Scallop Salad
- Sea Scallops
- Finely diced zucchini
- Finely diced red onion
- Olive Oil
- Lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
Sear the scallops on high heat in a non stick pan with a little olive oil. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Serve with gazpacho and some croutons.
It’s been almost a year since my last post.
I think I just needed some space. The food blogging world can become very overwhelming. All of the rules make it very hard to be “successful.”
Post on regular basis
Never post a bad picture
Have the same opinion as everyone else on important issues like the deliciousness of ramps
Promote Promote Promote
It all became too much. This blog was supposed to be fun, but really it was just wearing me down.
I thought about writing often. I tried to figure what I want this blog to be. What I realized was that “successful” is what I decide it is. I really enjoy learning about food photography and trying to be better at it. I like baking and sharing the results, but mostly I eat real food, not cake, and I want to share that too.
My blog is not a competition. So I will write what I feel like writing, when I feel like writing. I will post pictures for me, not for foodgawker. Success will be writing a blog that I am proud of. There will be no stress in blogging.
I made the raspberry curd in the photo above for Mother’s Day. Curd plus whipped cream became the filling to a lemon layer cake. The whole thing was topped with a mascarpone/whipped cream icing. Very tasty.
- 4 cups raspberries
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- In a food processor, puree the raspberries. Strain out the seeds in a fine mesh sieve. Mix the strained puree with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Heat one or two minutes.
- While the raspberry mixture is heating, whisk the eggs and yolks together. Temper the eggs by adding 1/4 cup of the heated raspberry puree , then pour the eggs into the saucepan. Whisk constantly and heat until the curd reaches 170 degrees F. Strain out any lumps then add the vanilla and salt.
- Let cool to room temperature, then beat in the butter using an immersion blender. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
I am a coffee addict.
I’ve tried to quit. I’ve suffered through the withdrawal headaches and general fooginess. I’ve gone months without. But the aroma of a fresh pot brewing always pulls me back in. I’m sure all the other coffee addicts out there will understand.
Although I need my coffee, it’s a little tougher to drink a hot cup in the summer, especially on those days where the humidity makes it feel like I’m walking through water. I’ve tried different ways of making a cold coffee, but this is the one that works best for me. Depending on how strong I feel like having my latte I’ll add one or two shots of espresso. If you want to sweeten the drink, I suggest adding sugar to the espresso before adding it to the cold milk so that it dissolves.
- 1 – 2 shots espresso
- cold milk
- Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour milk to till the glass is 2/3 full then add the espresso. Stir.
I wasn’t planning on posting these mini loaves. I made them on a whim last weekend, thinking they’d make a good snack to take to work. It turns out this is the greatest banana bread ever. Seriously.
I used the Olive & Gourmando recipe from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. I’ve had the book since Christmas and have been eyeing this recipe ever since. I hesitated to make it because it seemed a little too involved for banana bread. I mean, it’s supposed to be a “quick” bread, right? Turns out the extra steps were totally worth it. Unlike a typical banana bread, where baking powder is added to dry ingredients, this recipe calls for adding baking soda to sour cream before mixing it into the batter. On top of this unusual step, the recipe also called for microwaving the bananas to extract the juices and then reduce the juice by half. I don’t have a microwave so I heated the bananas over a double boiler, which worked very well.
The flavour was rich, the texture light and moist at the same time. Even days later these mini loaves tasted incredible. So I snapped a quick to prove to you that although this banana bread must be tried.
O & G’s Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup sour cream (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 8 mini loaf molds, set aside.
- Mix the sour cream and the baking soda together, set aside.
- Over a double boiler, gently heat the banana for 5 minutes. Place the bananas in a fine mesh sieve and strain out the juices, you should get 1/4 to 1/2 cup of juice. In a small sauce pan over medium reduce the juice by half, then return the juice to the banana and mash the bananas (don’t puree).
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Stir in the bananas with a spatula, then the sour cream mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, spices and salt together. Fold the flour into the banana/butter mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf molds. Bake for 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the molds for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
I know many of you have moved on to other summer fruits, but I’m still stuck on strawberries. I was away for a week and felt that I needed to eat an extra weeks worth in order to “catch up”. I went out and bought a ton of Quebec strawberries all at once. Unfortunately, eating them all before they went bad turned out to be impossible. That’s ok though, I was planning on preserving some anyway.
Every year I make a few bottles of strawberry jam. Although I like to dream of giving up my job and selling jam, anyone who has seen that episode of Friends where Monica attempts this knows that’s it’s almost impossible to make a living selling jam. My reasons for making it are more ethereal; in the dead of winter, when the ice and cold have me feeling like I couldn’t possibly go on, the smell of homemade strawberry jam revitalizes me. It’s like sunshine in jar.
I still had a few strawberries left after making my jam, so I decided to have a little fun with them. We were kids, Mom would often make strawberry juice. It’s just strawberries pureed with sugar, but the taste is incredibly fresh and rich. Sometimes we’d freeze the strawberry juice and save it for the winter too. It’s a lot of work, but once you scrape up a bowl full you get the fresh summer flavour in the middle of winter. But on this day I didn’t feel like waiting for my frozen treat, so I decided to make myself some ice pops. I added a little lime juice to give them a little extra kick. They’re perfectly refreshing on a hot summers day.
Strawberry Lime Ice Pops
- 4 cups strawberries, hulled and cleaned
- 1/2 cup sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- Place all ingredients into a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds and freeze completely.
I have a confession to make. Although I am well known as a lover of all things pie, up until this May I had never actually tasted a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Shocking, I know.
My first taste of this classic was at the Old Ebbit Grill in Washington. They had a selection of desserts featuring local strawberries that could not be resisted.
After one bite I knew I had found a new love. The tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries combined to make a perfect almost jam like filling. I wanted more. So as soon as the first local strawberries appeared, I went out and bought a basket. I paid top dollar for these berries ($7 for a litre) but it was totally worth it.
Using Anna Olson’s recipe, I baked my first Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. The crust was crisp and flaky on the edges, but the base got a little soggy. Next time I think I’ll blind bake the crust for a few minutes before adding the filling. The filling was delicious, sweet and tart, just like the slice I had in Washington. Be sure the pie is completely cooled before slicing to ensure that the filling has set.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Adapted slightly from here.
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter, grated
- 1/4 cup cold shortening, grated
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 to 5 tbsp ice cold water
- 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- pinch of salt
- Make the pie crust. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together. Using a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until pea sized pieces of butter and shortening are formed. Add the lime juice and 3 tablespoons of ice water. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together, adding more ice water if necessary. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll out the dough till 1/4 inch thick and large enough to fill a 9 inch pie plate. Place the dough in the pie plate, trim the edges and chill for another 30 minutes.
- Make the filling. While the dough is chilling, mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes then pour into to prepared pie crust.
- Make the crumb topping. In a small saucepan, brown the butter. In a small bowl mix the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt together. Pour the browned butter over the flour mixture and stir together. Pour the crumb topping over the pie filling.
- Bake the pie at 400F for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and continue baking for another 40 minutes, until the bubbles. The pie may leak, so place a baking sheet underneath the pie plate to avoid a messy oven.
- Let the pie chill completely before serving (at least 3 hours)