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! (more…)
Tag: summer recipe
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
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.
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.
Aren’t summer evenings beautiful? I was clicking through the archives looking for a good recipe to re-post and I came across this one. Not only is it delicious, but the picture grabbed my attention. I love, love, love the long shadows and warmth of the light on a summer evening. This is a fresh, easy salad and goes particularly well with grilled chicken. The concord grapes give it some sweet tang and the sundried tomatoes add textural interest. A sprinkling of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or toasted almonds would not be unwelcome either.
Summer Time Salad
makes enough for 4-6 people
2 medium zucchini (courgettes), juliened
2 C fresh corn kernels
1 C concord grapes
2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
6 sundried/ovendried tomatoes, rehydrated in some warm water and juliened
a large handful of mixed fresh basil and parsley, torn or chopped.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add coarse salt and pepper to taste.
As far west as we could see, beyond the end of our valley, and perhaps the valley beyond that, the sky was filled with rain. Deep grey and lavender clouds hung heavy at the horizon, misty sheets of silver falling on the hills and fields. On our land the ground was hard and cracked, parched from more than a month of baking in the sun. The lines in the broken soil of the garden paths mimicked the patterns and the lines in our palms as we raised our hands to our foreheads, shielding our eyes from the sun. We squinted at the dark impending clouds knowing that it was a matter very little time before they arrived. The wind was still dry and hot, but we could feel the rain coming. The electricity was building in the air and all around us was the eerie calm that settles in when the dry breath of a bleached blue sky meets the dusky cool of an August storm.
When you live and die by the land you work it’s a fool who wagers on which is more important, the sun or the rain. Green things flourish in sunshine. The bees hum, the birds sing, the whole natural world celebrates when the sun shines, but without it’s measure of rain, the green earth crumbles, withers, and the birds’ songs catch in their throats, fields brown and shrivel. Even the bees get thirsty.
We watched the clouds a moment or two more. They rolled closer quickly, rumbling with thunder and the first strike of lightening, many miles off still, seemed to pull us back to action. The promise of rain was bittersweet knowing that the soil so badly needed quenching, but that nearly anything ripened, hanging on its branch or vine, would split and spoil as the first cool raindrops fell. My eyes crossed the yard from the porch to the garden. Rows of tomato bushes proudly stood, heavy with fruit that had gone from green and hard to succulent and red almost overnight. Such is the power of the sun.
A second clap of thunder, a third. What had been a hot blue sky was now a cooling swirl of high clouds carrying in the parade of grey. Twenty quick strides and we were crouched between rows of tomato plants, our arms and feet crushing their fragrant stems as we clamored to pluck the warm fruit. We filled buckets and baskets at break neck speed, not looking up each time the sky roared, ever closer, focused only on saving a small crop of red and gold gems before they were ruined by the very element they craved. Rivulets of sweat glistened at our temples, our hands moved deftly, lifting leaves, grasping firmly and with a quick twist-tug, prying the ruby fruits from the dark green bushes. We worked silently, methodically, not stopping until the sky above us finally opened and our backs were battered with fat raindrops, our shins splattered with mud. Soaked, we picked furiously.
It was not until the paths between the rows of bare plants were running with rain and mud that we stopped. Buckets filled, backs hunched and achy, we ran for the house, hauling our pails of tomatoes to the safety and cover of the porch. Looking down we saw our bounty, our prize: dozens upon dozens of perfectly ripe, unblemished tomatoes in every shade and variety from pale green and tiny to clustered like yellow grapes, to pendulous scarlet orbs as big as my two fists combined. We laughed, relieved and overwhelmed, our voices dulled by the thudding rain. Waiting, we stood, filthy but triumphant, knee deep in tomatoes as the rain poured down. We watched as the storm worked its magic and the land, almost audibly sighed, then finally drank. Watching the curtains of rain falling on the tired land I realized that August does not belong to the storms, but to the tomatoes.
Summer Garden Pasta
This recipe is very flexible – make it for one, or make it for a crowd. The amounts below are based on dinner sized portions for 4 people.
1 medium zucchini, sliced into long strips – about 2 cups (Use the julienne slicing setting on your mandolin if you have one. The coarse side of a box grater will work too)
2 C assorted cherry tomatoes, halved or sliced
200 g whole wheat spaghetti (or your favorite long pasta/noodle)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest and juice of a lemon
1 Tbsp thyme leaves, chopped, some left whole for garnish
½ C finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the zucchini finely to resemble the pasta. Slice or halve the cherry tomatoes. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook based on package directions. For whole wheat spaghetti this will take about 7-8 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, add the butter, oil, minced garlic and thyme to a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat so that the butter melts and the thyme and garlic become fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 4 minutes, increasing the heat to medium.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and add it to the saucepan with the zucchini. Cook together for anther 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and warm them through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Garnish with any remaining thyme and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.