Monday, August 30, 2010

Sublime Coconut Birthday Cake

My dad had a birthday.
It was on the 19th of this month.
We ate Indian food.
People came over.
They gave him presents.
He opened said presents.
People drank wine.
Other people (me) drank tang and cream soda.
The little one's (and a big one) played in the bouncy house.
we ate cake.

This cake.
That I made.
I know.
I'm a great daughter :)

This cake batter was so good it almost didn't make it to the pan.
It's the kind of cake batter you find yourself doing the classic, 'one for me, one for the pan' bit.

I usually try not to eat anything with raw eggs but I really couldn't resist it's rich coconut and buttery allure.

The actual cooked cakes were good too (although not quite as good as the batter).
There were light and had a subtle coconut flavour with a melt in your mouth crumb from all that delicious butter.

But the icing. Oh Lord, the icing.
I must've eaten a cup of it before I iced the cakes.
I even had to go back and make a double batch.

Coconut cream, butter and sugar.
Need I say more?

When the cake and the icing finally made it together. I topped that goodness with some lightly (and some heavily) toasted coconut ribbons and angels began to sing.

No seriously, I think I heard them.
They were singing Happy Birthday.

This cake was sublime.
For a birthday or just because it's Monday, make it and you'll see what I mean.

Sublime Coconut Cake
Makes: 1 9" layered cake
Adapted from 'Too Many Cooks' by Emily Franklin

For the cakes:
1 cup butter
2 cups superfine sugar (I just used granulated)
3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:
2 cups icing sugar
½ cup soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup coconut cream
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp coconut milk (or more or less depending on consistency)
grated toasted coconut

1. Line 2 x 9" round baking pans with parchment paper and grease. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. For the cake, sift together the baking powder and flour. Cream together the butter and the sugar in an electric mixer.  When light and fluffy (about 2 mins) add the eggs, the egg yolk and the vanilla one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Continue to beat as you add the flour mixture in thirds alternating with the coconut milk. Beat until thoroughly combined.
4. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 - 45 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Allow cakes to cool for 5 mins and remove from pan onto a cooling rack.
6. Leave them to cool completely.

7. For the icing: in an electric stand mixer cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, coconut cream and flour. Mix well. Add coconut milk very slowly until desired consistency is reached.
8. Place one cake round on a cake stand. Spread a thick, even layer of icing on. Sprinkle half of the toasted coconut over top. Place the other cake round upside down on top of it. Spread a thin layer of icing on top and sides. Refridgerate. This will be the crumb layer.
9. After icing is firm ice top and sides with the rest of the icing. Top with remaining coconut.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rosemary Focaccia

I need to get in touch with my local BLA

Bread Lover's Anonymous

I think I have a bread addiction.

I'm salivating right now looking at this picture and it's not even a good photo.

I'm dreaming of dipping chunks of this aromatic bread in rich olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar.

Oh yummy yum yum!

Most people dream of world peace and I dream of bread.
Geez....... what is wrong with me?

Want to know why I dream of this delicious flat bread instead of world peace?

Because it's covered in pockets of olive oil.

I said pockets of oil.

I know it probably has 1000 calories per bite.

I don't care.

Somehow I justify the calories by thinking of the healing benefits of olive oil.
(My body is saying, "Yeah, right..... the healing benefits of 3/4 cup of olive oil.")

It's possible.

I use really good, really tasty olive oil and it's worth indulging in. 
Believe me.

I don't take the work 'indulging' lightly.

Mmmmm...... if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right :)

Rosemary Focaccia
Makes: Enough for me and my habit
Barely Adapted from: Susan Spungen's 'Recipes'

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
¼ tsp sugar
¾ cups extra virgin olive oil plus more for coating pan
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
3 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
coarse sea salt
chopped rosemary leaves

1. Fill the bowl of an electric stand mixer with hot water then pour it out and dry. This will warm the bowl.
2. In the warmed bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 1 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Let stand for 5 - 10mins until foamy.
3. Add ½ cup warm water, ¼ cup oil and the salt. Mix for a few seconds. Slowly add the flour. Continue to mix on medium speed for about 7 minutes. The dough will be fairly wet and not form a ball
4. Generously coat a 9'' x 13'' pan with oil. Turn the dough into the prepared pan and spread with your fingers. Don't worry about getting the dough all the way to the edges. As it rises it will spread and fill the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise until it has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Using well-oiled fingers, dimple the dough all over. Pour ½ cup oil over the dough and dimple again so the holes fill with oil. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and rosemary. Bake on the centre rack until deep golden brown, about 20 mins.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Grill Corn

Why do you need to know how to grill corn?
You probably don't.
But I do. 
So just indulge me.

I usually prefer to light the barbecue mid December when the air is crisp and the oven's full of Christmas cookies but I thought I'd mix it up.

I do that sometimes. Mix things up. It keeps me on my toes. 
Next time I'll try my christmas cookies on the grill and my corn in the oven. 

I know. 

I live dangerously.

John doesn't like his corn charred so this is how we do it. Grill corn that is.

1. Soak corn in water for 15 mins. This helps soften the husks and prevents the corn from drying out while cooking.

2. Gently pull down husks and remove as much of the silk as you can.  (ie: that annoying stringy stuff that gets all over the place.)

3.  Remove 2 of the longest husks and pull the rest up. Use these long pieces to tie around the corn to keep the husks up.

4. Grill on medium high heat for approx 15 minutes.

5. Shuck that corn (that sounds naughty) and enjoy succulent corn drenched in butter and salt.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Raw Vegan Power Bars

I try to eat healthy.
 Or at least healthyish .
 I try to get in my 5 - 10 of fruits and veggies and my 30g of fiber.

And my 10g daily dosage of chocolate. 


That's a real thing. I swear I've seen it in the Canadian Food Guide.
I'm sure most women have seen it too.

Or maybe that was just the food guide that I made up for myself.

It's called the Jesse Food Guide and the motto is, "Eat what you want when you want but don't be surprised when you feel like crap."

Tragedy, I know.
(The feeling like crap part, not the eating whatever you want part - that part is golden.)

Let me introduce you to something else that's golden:

"Power Bars meet my readers, made up primarily of my mom and anyone she's told about my blog."
"Readers meet these divine Power Bars."

Packed with fruit, protein, fibre and chocolate, they satisfy my 'food guide' requirements and some of the real food guide requirements. These bars are anything but tragic.

Make them today and let delicious meet nutritious.

Raw Vegan Power Bars
Makes 24
Adapted from: Poems About Food

1 ½ - 2 ripe sliced bananas
½ cup whole almonds
½ cup dried cherries (or any combination of dried fruits)
¼ cup dates
2 tbsp pure dairy free cocoa 
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 ¼ cups spelt flakes (or rolled oats)

1. Put bananas, almonds, cherries, date, cocoa and cinnamon in food processor and blend until fairly smooth.
2. Add peanut butter and mix until uniformly combined.
3. In a large bowl, add the seeds and flakes (or oats) to the peanut butter mixture and mix until oats and seeds are thoroughly coated. (I had to use my hands for this)
4. Press into an 8 x 8 square baking pan and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blended Ice Coffee

Good things are about to happen in my kitchen.
good things.

It's going to involve this coffee.

And these espresso cubes.

And this Jersey Milk. (If John doesn't eat it first.)

And this french press. And probably some whip cream. 
Because whip cream makes the world go 'round. It also keeps cardiologists employed. 

But don't worry too much about that today. It's Friday, you deserve a big, fat, delicious treat to end your week and start your weekend.

Especially if it comes in the form of coffee and chocolate.

Coffee and Chocolate: God's very special creations put on this earth just for my enjoyment.

I love special creations.

This is my bender with espresso cubes floating about- just thought I'd make that clear.

Let something good happen in your kitchen.

Blended Ice Coffee
Serves 2
(An Original Recipe)

4 oz espresso (Jus Juiced in Revelstoke makes the best espresso!)
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, warm
1/4 cup whip cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 Jersey Milk squares or chocolate syrup to taste - about 2 tbsp
4 ice cubes

1. Make your espresso cubes. Add 4oz of water to the espresso and pour into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
2. Pour coffee into blender. Add Jersey Milk squares or chocolate syrup. The heat from the coffee should melt the chocolate.
3. Add whip cream, brown sugar, espresso cubes and ice cubes.
4. Blend until smooth.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blueberry Spelt Muffins

Today, I'm going to talk to you about ancient grains.


What do I know about ancient grains?... besides that there are seven, they are ancient and they are grains.
(They are right? Ancient and grains..... I mean logically it would make sense.)

I do know one more thing about them; there has been a resurgence in ancient grains as a replacement for wheat, because of modern cultivation methods which have led to an increase in wheat intolerances and wheat allergies in people.

Wow! I don't know where that came from. 

I just let my fingers go faster than my brain and hidden information appeared. Let me try that again:

I know..... I know something about some stuff that sometime, somewhere, someone made somebody study.

Huh, that didn't work... back to ancient grains.

For this reason, the aforementioned wheat cultivation methods, I occasionally like to mix up my grain intake. A little rye, a little quinoa, a little spelt ...... I like to go pretty crazy. 

Like today, when I decided wheat flour just wasn't going to make the cut for my blueberry muffins.
No, ma'am. Not for me. Not today!
I'm going to have a bit of freshly milled spelt flour.

And let me just say, that was the right decision.

Whole ancient grainy goodness, lemony freshness, and blueberry moistness: You Are Divine.

I also thought I'd try my muffin grilled. 

Yea, I thought it was a good idea too.

These were good.

But these were butter, I meant better :) 

Blueberry Spelt Muffins
Makes 12
Adapted from: My Green Diet

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups spelt flour (you can use whole wheat in place of spelt)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen do not thaw)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper cup liners. 
2. In a medium size bowl whisk together oil, applesauce, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla.
3. In a second bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and salt.
4. Stir flour mixture into the egg mixture into just combined. (Do not overmix)
5. Gently stir in blueberries.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blackberry Chocolate Chip Scones

My baby brother has a girlfriend. I'm in denial so please don't tell him I just said that.

The only good thing that has come out of this relationship for me are these beauties..... (oh, and some alpaca stuff but that's another story for another time).

Ten pounds of luscious blackberries from Krause Berry Farms in Langley, B.C. that they didn't even bother to pick themselves! 
The nerve! 
The audacity!
 I'm sure the girlfriend woulda picked me some berries, it's the baby brother that stood in her way.

Yes, that is a snowflake you are seeing in the middle of August on my mixing bowl.
I guess berries are berries. Picked or purchased they all come from a blackberry bush.

 It's just the time.
 And the thought.
 I would have liked to know they were thinking about me as they spent time together picking berries for me. Is that too much to ask? Is it? That my 20 year old brother and his girlfriend would spend their time together thinking about me?

$2.78, that's how much they were if you were wondering
I think about them. 
I think about them a lot.
 Like, for example when I was purchasing these lovely Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips at MTF in Kelowna, I thought to myself, "I wonder what J and D are up to right now".

 that's not so much a true story.
 I bought these last year before there was even a girlfriend to think of. My life was a lot simpler then..... 

I miss those days.

Hmmm....I'm just remembering that I made some scones. 

I was going to talk about how good they were. 

I was going to say that an old coffee shop from our town inspired them.

I was going to say how easy they were to mix up and plop on the pan..... 

........but now I'm feeling dispirited.

Maybe I'll make some more of these.

They'll make me feel better.

Blackberry Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes 12
Adapted from: Annie's Eats originally from Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour (all white or half whole wheat is nice)
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup blackberries
1 cup heavy cream
coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle half of the sugar over the berries, stir and set aside.
2. Prepare a baking pan with either a silicone mat or line with parchment. Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt, in a medium bowl; stir to combine.
3. Toss in the chocolate chips and the cream. Blend until just barely incorporated. 
4. Add the blackberries and gently mix a couple more times.
5. Drop spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
6. Bake 15-20 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Cool and enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mango Chicken Curry Quinoa Salad

This was insanely good. Looking at this photo, I probably wouldn't be too eager to make what looks like a bowl of orangey mush but please, please ignore the photo. It is really, really good. And easy. And healthy. And, if you are using leftover chicken and quinoa, quick.

Lately, I've been eating a lot of chicken salad. (I blame Slice of Feist for her yummy looking chicken curry salad back in June.) It's so refreshing on a hot day and an easy meal to prepare when you're cooking for one. I like this recipe in particular because there's no mayo (like more traditional recipes) and the vinegar and mango work together to create a really great sweet and sour taste.

I threw some pumpkin seeds in just for kicks and giggles (and because it's what I had) but I think some cashews or peanuts would taste pretty darn delicious in there. If you're making the chicken from scratch, use the leftover poaching liquid to cook the quinoa for some extra yummyness!

Chicken Curry Quinoa Salad (w/ mango)
Serves 2 (large portions)
(An Original Recipe)

For the dressing:
1 shallot, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tsp turmeric
1½ tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt

For the salad:
2 cold cooked chicken breasts (poached or grilled)
1 cup cold cooked quinoa 
1 ripe mango
4 tbsp cashews (or whatever you want) optional
cilantro for garnish

1. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste and correct seasoning.
2. Cut up chicken into small chunks. Cut up mango into small chunks.
3. Combine chicken, mango, quinoa, seeds (if using) and dressing. Stir together until everything is evenly coated. 
4. Garnish with cilantro and serve or cover and refrigerate.

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