My mother moved to Canada from Poland when she was 16 years old, leaving most of her family behind. Her brother, who had already been here for a few years, adopted her so that she could stay. He provided for her while she went to school, making it possible for her to have the life she has.
At my uncle’s funeral yesterday my mind wandered to this story. He had a wife and three children of his own, but he still took my mom in. I looked around at my family and thought about how incredibly lucky I am to be part of it. They are kind, loving people. The kind of people who will put family before everything else.
The last few years were very difficult for my uncle, and I had been taking solace in the fact that he was no longer suffering. That moment of gratitude is what truly got me through the day, though.
I wish I had a Polish recipe to share today, but this Strawberry Rhubarb Cake will have to do. It’s adapted from an Anna Olson recipe that’s one of my go to’s. The cake is moist and the tart strawberry rhubarb topping balances out the sweetness.
Strawberry Rhubarb Cake
(Adapted from Anna Olson)
- 1 cup strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup rhubarb, chopped
- 30 g sugar
- 2-3 dashes Old Fashioned bitters (optional)
- 120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 250 g all purpose flour
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk
- 60 g sugar
- 40 g flour
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Prepare the fruit: In a small bowl, stir the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and bitters together. Let the fruit macerate for 20 minutes. Pour the released juices into a small saucepan and cook over low-medium heat until reduced by half. Return the juices to the fruit.
- Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
- Make the cake batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the flour to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk.
- Make the streusel topping: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the flour and sugar into the butter until crumbly.
- Spread the batter in the prepared springform pan. Top with strawberry and rhubarb then streusel topping. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
It’s been so long since I had a tan that when I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror I thought my face was dirty. I think this is what they call a “healthy glow.”
Unfortunately my torso does not look so healthy. I am currently suffering from a fairly uncomfortable burn. I’m usually pretty good at protecting my skin, but yesterdays cool breeze and the fact that it’s September seem to have lulled me into false sense of security. So today I am hiding from the sun.
It’s not all bad. I have time now to write this blog post, which is a very rare thing.
This is only the second galette I’ve made in my life. This first I made a little earlier the same day (you can see it in my instagram feed if you’re so inclined). I made them both as part of a pie dough experiment. I wanted to know if a higher percentage fat in butter would make a difference in the texture of a pie crust. I guess I was inspired by all the experimenting Janice does. I used the same recipe for two single crust pies, varying only the type of butter (80% fat and 84% fat). My scientific method might not have been perfect, but I found a few subtle differences that led me to prefer the 84% fat. First, the 84% seemed to roll out more easily. Second, it browned much more evenly than the 80%. And third, I found it flakier than the 80% crust.
As I said, the differences were subtle. I wouldn’t hesitate to make a pie crust with 80% butter in the future, but if the 84% is available that would be my choice.
The filling in this galette is inspired by Pastry Affair. I used the basic idea of almond and plum, but changed the flavouring and sweetened with honey instead of sugar. If you can get your hands on some local honey I highly recommend it. The flavour comes through after baking, which is not something I’ve found with mass produced honey.
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (84% fat), cut into small cubes
- 3 or 4 tbs ice water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the butter. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the flour until it’s slightly yellow in colour with pea sized pieces.
- Mix the lemon juice with the ice water, then pour three tbs over the flour. Mix the dough just until it comes together, adding more water if necessary. Shape the dough into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 2 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs all purpose flour (divided)
- 12-15 small Italian Plums
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers Plum Bitters (optional)
- juice of 1 lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 tsp sugar
- a handful chopped almonds (optional)
- Make the rosemary steeped honey. Over a double boiler, heat the honey with the rosemary until the honey is quite liquidy (5 minutes). Take the honey off the heat and let cool, leaving the rosemary to infuse.
- Make the almond paste. In a food processor, blend the almonds, sugar, and one tbs of flour until the texture resembles course flour. Set aside
- Pit and chop the plums into halves or quarters. In a large bowl toss the plums with the bitters, lemon juice, and salt. Remove the rosemary from the honey, then add the honey to the plums. Stir in the remaining tbs of flour.
- Roll out the dough into a circle approximately 14 inches in diameter. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spread the almond mixture over the center of the circle, leaving about 2 inches uncovered.
- Spread the plum mixture over the almond.
- Fold the pastry over the filling. Using a pastry brush cover the pastry with the eggwash, then sprinkle the pastry with the tsp of sugar. Top the galette with sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Let rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Bake on a lower rack at 425 for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes.
- Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.
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.