Recipes – Storytelling – Delicious Photos

August 17, 2016
by sarah
Comments Off on Apple Blueberry Pie

Apple Blueberry Pie

I was born in a small town in rural southern British Columbia. We had 10 acres of land and to a small child, it was enormous; a wondrous, magical place full of nature and adventure. The property sported a small orchard of beautifully twisted and gnarled apple trees and if you have seen an apple tree you may understand how magical they appear. They have a particular grayish bark that makes them look ancient and wise and during the spring they burst with soft pink blossoms that later in the summer and fall become perfect fruit. Many a sunny summer day was spent amongst those ancient beauties, climbing, conversing with bees and picking apples, then watching my mother’s hands peel them, slice and spice them, and bake them into perfect pies in our farmhouse’s wood burning oven.

Now I live a long way away from that pastoral life, I’m decades beyond those hazy summer apple-picking days. I can easily stop by a grocery store or bakery and buy a pie, and it would be good, it might even be great. It might remind me vaguely that I once upon a time plucked sun-warmed apples in the shade of hundred year old trees. Or maybe not. Despite time and distance, nostalgia is a potent force and despite it being a seemingly insignificant goal to pick apples and make a pie from them, the action, for me, was soul satisfying. Sometimes simple things can transport us, take us back in time and place and let us re-live a moment, or re-connect with someplace or some one we have lost or moved on from.

recipe after the jump … Continue Reading →

August 6, 2016
by sarah
Comments Off on Best Steak Sandwich

Best Steak Sandwich

best steak sandwich

Sometimes I cook things with leftovers in mind and sometimes the left overs are better than the original meal. Each and every time I grill up a steak I consider the leftover potential: a meat pie for one, steak and perfectly orange-yolked, runny organic free range eggs or … the best steak sandwich (in the humble opinion of this blogger).

What makes “the best” really the best? Highly subjective territory, obviously, but with this sandwich, it’s all about balance: sourdough bread, thinly sliced cold steak, creamy mayo and even creamier avocado and a drizzling of zingy, fresh, herbaceous chimichurri sauce to cut through the richness. You know how to make a sandwich so I won’t belabor the method here but after the jump you can see our house chimichurri recipe and get going on this lip smacking sandwich. Continue Reading →

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.