Recipes – Storytelling – Delicious Photos

June 24, 2016
by sarah
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Blueberry Pancakes

Some foods are classics for a reason, because everytime you reach for them you get just what you’re needing and expecting from the experience. Blueberry pancakes on a slow weekend morning are pretty much my definition of the perfect indulgent breakfast. Through the week it’s spinach and frozen fruit wazzed up into smoothies that get the day started but sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday I like to slow things down, get a bit more nostalgic and bring some smiles to the table with these old school treats. And if it happens to be blueberry season, like it is right now, then all the better! Unless I have to pick them myself, you know how I feel about picking fruit! 

Blueberry Pancakes

makes 8-10 medium sized (4 inch) pancakes 

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the following dry ingredients:

2 Cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl mix until well combined:

2 Cups milk

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry using a whisk until just combined and still lumpy. Let the batter rest while you bring a heavy bottomed frying pan (or griddle) to medium heat. Wipe lightly with a paper towel dampened with vegetable oil or spray lightly with cooking spray.

Ladle 1/4 cup portions of batter into the pan, adding a small handful of blueberries to each, about 6-8 berries per pancake. When the edges of the pancake are dry and the surface has bubbled (about 2 mins), flip the pancakes gently and cook for another minute until browned.

Keep finished pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve. Butter and maple syrup make the perfect condiments for these pancakes. Serves 4.

June 21, 2016
by sarah
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Quick and Easy Banana Bread

I’ll be honest, with the exception of one recipe  I haven’t had great success with banana bread over the years. It’s always stodgy and damp, not enough lift, and often not banana-y enough in flavor. Recently, there were 3 brown bananas on the counter and I debated tossing them into the freezer to keep browning for a banana bread or smoothie in the future but then I thought, screw it! And I made this recipe up as I went along. The result? The best damn banana bread I’ve ever made! Fast! No mixer! Easy to do with minimal ingredients! Honestly, it’s a winner.

Quick and Easy Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp hazelnut extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing just until combined with each addition. Scrape the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then cool completely, out of the pan, on a wire rack.

June 17, 2016
by sarah
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Vanilla Bean Thumbprint Cookies

When I was in my teens I worked the counter at a small bakery. They made some amazingly delicious things, one of which were birdnest cookies: a sturdy yet crumbly shortbread cookie covered in toasted coconut and a deep red jewel of raspberry jam in the center. As much as I am a fan of coconut in all sorts of dishes and sweets I always felt like those “nests” were too rich. This version is less sweet, more petite and still jam-jewel studded with raspberry and for a different twist: marmalade. The vanilla bean freckles add to the flavor and charm and they disappear as quickly as you can make them ie: FAST!

Vanilla Bean Thumbprint Cookies

makes 6 dozen 1″ cookies

1 lb salted butter at room temperature

1 Cup (packed) light brown sugar

1Tbsp vanilla bean paste

4-5 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup jam(s) of your choosing (I used raspberry and marmalade)

Note before you begin: you can mix this dough by hand or with a stand mixer but I would not recommend hand mixers. This dough is very sturdy and requires kneading that handheld mixers can’t manage.

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Combine the butter and sugar and cream together. If you’re using a stand mixer, use the lower settings – the objective here is to specifically NOT incorporate air. Once the sugar is dissolved into the butter, add the flour one cup at a time. You will need slightly more than 4 cups and possibly as much as 5 of its a humid day. The dough should crack slightly when you press your finger into it but still be soft and pliable, not chalky. Once the flour is mixed in, knead the dough on a lightly floured board until it’s cohesive and smooth (about 3 mins with the dough hook on a stand mixer).

Scoop the dough with a 1Tbsp scoop and place flat side down on ungreased cookie sheets. I find I can get 2 dozen little scoops on each sheet. Using the end of a wooden spoon, press a divet into each lump of dough.

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Load up a pastry bag with jam (or a zip top bag with a snipped off corner) and squirt jam to fill each divet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes or until the  bottoms are tinged gold and the surface of the cookie looks matte.

Allow to cool on the pan.

Then, drizzle a glaze of 4 heaped Tbsp and 2 tsp lemon juice over top.

June 6, 2016
by sarah
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Dreamy Frozen Avocado Lime Tart

I make no secret of disliking the heat of summer. And that’s coming from an almost lifetime resident of Vancouver, a city with one of the mildest climates out there. It was 34C here today and it made me a bit kicky and punchy. When the heat hits I tend to like my dinners al fresco, my drinks extra icy and my desserts chilled. Honestly, you couldn’t pay me to turn on the oven today.

This is the return of my ultra coconutty, extra zesty, avocado lime pie, originally posted in 2013. I call it dreamy frozen avocado lime tart because it is just that: dreamy. It’s luscious and creamy with a sweet tart avocado mousse filling. It’s simple to make with a raw coconut and oat crust that comes together in about 5 pulses of a food processor. Painless to make, and really delicious. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s nothing like guacamole. I promise!
You’ll need to give it a deep chill, so make it in the morning for dessert. Don’t tell your guests what it’s made from and have them guess. They will be pleasantly surprised by the results. Enjoy!


Dreamy Frozen Avocado Lime Tart
makes 1 – 9″ no bake pie
for the crust, pulse the following ingredients in a food processor until well mixed:
1½ C unsweetened shredded coconut
½ C raw oats
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Press the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. It will be damp and soft and easy to press up the sides and bottom of the pan. Place crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Wipe out the food processor and add to it:
the flesh of 4 ripe avocados
zest and juice of 2 limes
¼ C honey
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Blend the above ingredients until very smooth. Scrape into the chilled crust and spread until smooth.
Garnish with ½ C coconut that has been toasted in a dry frying pan over medium heat until golden brown. (optional)
Chill 2 hours until very firm. Serve cold.
Makes 8 servings.

June 6, 2016
by sarah
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Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas

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We recently moved and one of my favorite highlights of our new place is that it has a gas range. Nothing beats the responsiveness of gas. Not only is it instant heat, there’s something so right about cooking with fire. The stove is not the only thing giving off heat right now, summer has definitely arrived and when the heat sets in, as it has, I like to turn yo recipes with either blissfully cooling elements or to fiery-hot ones that will get me sweating with chili and other warming ingredients like ginger and garlic.

The marinade for this Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas is simple and comes together quickly. I know I’ve said up to four hours in the recipe but I’m not convinced that an overnight marinade would be bad here since there isn’t anything too acidic in it to cook the chicken. I quite like the idea of doing this the night before or in the morning and coming home to a ready to go dinner. Likewise, you could prep the chicken in a zip top bag with the marinade before freezing, simply defrost, et voila!

Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas

makes dinner for four (with rice)

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – cut into 1 inch/bitesized pieces

1Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 C ponzu, tamari or light soy sauce

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1 Tbsp grated ginger

1 Tbsp grated garlic

1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to marinate for up to 4 hours but at least 1 hour.

Prepare the vegetables; thinly slice and set aside:

2 portobello mushrooms

1 bunch of scallions (green parts only)

as well as

4 cups sugar snap peas

In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, quickly cook the chicken in 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Add the mushrooms, scallions and peas, tossing to cook until the mushrooms are hot and the peas are cooked but still crunchy.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with pea shoots.

June 4, 2016
by sarah
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Tropical Green Smoothie

Summer is by far my favorite season to cook in. Everything is fresh and vibrant and in turn it makes us feel fresh and vibrant too. We just moved house to a beautiful riverside condo and it’s making it easy to get up in the morning and hit the day running. Our views are blue and green and there’s lots to explore and discover. In the early mornings I’ve been watching herons cruising above the river and wading at its edges in the reeds. They are magnificently prehistoric and look almost out of place in these northern climes as if they should be living a lush, tropical lifestyle like an ancient pterodactyl. Don’t we all want a lush tropical lifestyle? Well, the sun is shining and this Tropical Green Smoothie will help get your tastebuds a bit closer to the equator. Happy sipping!

Tropical Green Smoothie 

1/4 C frozen pineapple
1/4 C frozen mango
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk (I use Silk Coconut)
3 dates

Blend well in blender until smooth. Serves 2

*tip – leftover smoothie freezes well in an ice cube tray for next time. Just add a few cubes to the blender, top with cold liquid of your choosing and blend.

 

February 3, 2016
by sarah
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Pork and Potato Hash

It can be hard to find balance, can’t it? Between work and a social life and “me” time and “we” time with the ones we love most, it can be so easy to let things slide, get off track and find yourself blinking into the mirror, over tired, underwhelmed and just plain blah. I know for me, protein is key to success. If my morning is full of protein (and caffeine) I am good to go. This hash is hearty and flavorful and will keep you cruising well into the afternoon. A good dose of greens doesn’t hurt either!

 

Pork and Potato Hash

serves 4  hungry people

olive oil

1 lb ground pork

2 Tbsp cumin

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large white onion, halved and sliced thinly

3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated

2 cups potato cut in 1 inch cubes (about 12 baby potatoes, quartered)

1 Tbsp of flour

1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or one large tomato, diced)

4 (packed) Cups chopped spinach or kale leaves

green onion for garnish

poached egg(s) – optional

 

In a heavy bottomed pan, brown the ground pork well  in a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Depending on the width of your pan you may want to brown it in two batches to ensure you do not crowd the pan and steam the meat as it cooks – your aim here is deep, dark browning with lots of crispy bits. Once the pork is browned, add the cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper, onions and garlic and stir frequently until they are fragrant and softened. Sprinkle on flour as you stir. This will make the mixture dry and somewhat sandy, add a 1/2 C of water, add potatoes and cover. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and add the tomatoes and spinach, toss until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes are heated through and oozing their juice. Top with a poached  egg and thinly sliced green onions.

January 24, 2016
by sarah
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Coffee and Cream Cake

Welcome to 2016 on Feasts for All Seasons! January 25th marks our 6th birthday, so naturally there must be cake. We’re looking forward to lots of delicious posts and useful information this year, so whether you’re a long time reader or it’s your first time stopping by, hello and welcome! Stick around, it’s going to be a crazy-good year!

Around here, the day just hasn’t begun without coffee. The inspiration for this cake was chocolate donuts with coffee, both in terms of aesthetics and flavors. It boasts moist, tender, cake and then the bittersweet tang of coffee with cream. The cake packs a punch with a whopping ¼ cup of ground espresso and ¾ of a cup of rich chocolatey cocoa, topped with a sweet milky glaze that’s beautifully rich and thick thanks to a faithful pantry staple: sweetened condensed milk. Consider yourself warned: it’s every bit as addictive as it’s muses. Want to whip one up? Scroll down for the full recipe.

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Coffee and Cream Cake

This cake mixes up quickly and baked in under an hour in a Bundt or other center-tunnel cake pan. If you find yourself with only regular cake pans, two greased and floured 8″ pans will do the trick – just reduce the bake time to 25 minutes. Serves 16. 

3 C flour

2 C light brown sugar

¼ finely ground espresso beans

¾ cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 cups whole milk

1 C vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp vanilla

Grease and flour a Bundt pan or two 8″ round pans, Preheat your oven to 350°. Sift all of the dry ingredients, minus the brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, crushing any serious lumps.

In another larger bowl combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three stages, mixing well before you add the next portion. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake at  350° for 45 mins or until a tester/tooth pick comes out clean. Allow the cake to sit in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make sure the cake is completely cool before you top it with the glaze.

Condensed Milk Glaze

1 can (396g/14oz)

2-½ C confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the vanilla with the sweetened condensed milk and sift in the sugar. Mix until it is a smooth, thick but pourable, consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles while the glaze is wet (the surface will dry).

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