In my world breakfast doesn’t begin until coffee is present and accounted for. More often than not it’s thick, black espresso, lovingly nicknamed “jet fuel” made on the stove top in an old fashioned percolator. If I’m not at home, it’s a coffee shop Americano, but either way I want it to be strong, dark and bold. I don’t add cream or sugar to my coffee, but I do enjoy coffee in sweets like my Coffee and Cream Cake or warm coffee over vanilla bean ice cream for a classic affogato. Bittersweet is a flavor profile I really love. Coffee and cinnamon both fall into this category and I find them quite remarkable together, so these Cinnamon Espresso Oats were a somewhat obvious breakfast hybrid for me. They are simple to prepare – this is barely a recipe – but they make up for it in the complexity of their nuanced flavor. I’ve dressed them up here with some creamy slices of banana and crunchy green pumpkin seeds because I find oats to be at their best when they are part of a textural landscape with a variety of things going on. All alone they can be a bit, well, stodgy, but add a crunchy crisp something or a soft fruit and they get infinitely more exciting.
There are few joys in life as pure as a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed blackberry, plucked from its bramble and eaten whilst squinting in the August sun. I have waxed poetic about blackberries before and praised their versatility and I just can’t get enough of them. These cute little Blackberry Cheesecake Pots combine my beloved blackberries with peppery ginger snap crumbs and a mascarpone cheesecake mousse that is light as air and freckled with vanilla beans. If this doesn’t taste like summer to you then you haven’t had enough rosé.
A local restaurant that I love does a strawberry cheesecake pot and this is a bit of a riff on that. Fruit on the bottom, lots of cookie crumbs and light, light, light cheesecake-ish mousse that, to my palate, eclipses the sturdy silken curd of a baked cheesecake. And honestly, it’s late August, who wants to put on the oven? Not me.
I started these little Blackberry Cheesecake Pots with homemade wild blackberry jam but you could just mash up and sweeten fresh berries if you didn’t have the convenience of jam, either one will be great, just don’t go too heavy with the sugar, you want to taste the summer-fresh flavor of the fruit, not cloying sweetness. But let me clarify, it’s also just fine to buy blackberry jam for these. I won’t tell.
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.
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. (more…)
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…)