Friday, July 27, 2012

Artichoke Pate

Artichoke Pate with Toasted Walnuts on Olive Oil Toasted Crostini
2 cups of marinated artichokes (from a jar), drained well
2 tbsp of the marinated artichoke liquid
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup walnuts, freshly toasted
chives, finely chopped (optional) 
one baguette
olive oil 

Combine all the pate ingredients in a food processor. 

Preheat oven to 350°.
Slice the baguette into 1/4 slices. Brush with olive oil and taost in the oven for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 5 minutes until good and toasty.

Put the pate in a bowl, sprinkle with chives and lay out crostini and toasted walnuts and serve!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

a birthday cake

Our little Hannah turned two in June. We had a family party at my parent's home and then the next week a friend party at our place. Two parties, same cake recipe. It's a gooder, it's easyish, and I cheat while making it. This is not a healthy or low fat recipe, but a kid only turns two once in their little lives and it should be tasty and delicious!

Here's the recipe.

Coconut Milk and Vanilla Cake with Raspberries and Old Fashioned Frosting
makes a 2 layer cake

Here's the cheat part :
1 box of organic vanilla cake mix (I use this one from PC)
Make the cake mix according to package instructions, but, and here's the way to make it taste homemade and special. Sub the oil for melted butter and coconut milk for milk. This creates a richer and more delicious cake. Follow the instructions for 2 x 9" round cake pans.

1/8 of a cup seedless raspberry jam

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
food colouring if wanted

Sprinkles for decoration

Frosting Directions
In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and stir constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

In a large bowl, on medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well. 

Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. I added a few drops of red food colouring to get a pretty blush pink. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, don't let it sit longer or it's hard to spread). Use immediately. (ps - omg, this frosting is SO good, healthy - hell no, delicious - yup)

Now for the fun part:
Slice a little off the top of the cakes, giving them a more flat surface. You shouldn't have to cut more off.
Place two pieces of parchment paper on a cake plate. You will be pulling these out from under the cake after frosting it, these just keep the cake plate clean.
Place one cake round on the parchment paper, bottom side up. Spread with raspberry jam and about a half cup of frosting, completely cover the top of the cake, right to the edges without going over.
Place the other cake round on top, with the bottom facing up. Place a crumb coat on the cake (thin layer of icing all over the cake, it will look messy and you'll be able to see the cake through the icing).
Put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from fridge and completely frost the cake. Decorate with sprinkles. Can be left out of the fridge for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight and then let it come to room temperature before serving.

* I had quite a bit of frosting left over, so you could half it if you want, or do what I did and pop it in the freezer and use it on a second cake the next weekend. 


Monday, July 9, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto

It's garlic scape season, my most favourite of summer vegetables. The delicious curling flower shoot of the garlic plant are at their peak right now. We have garlic growing in our community garden plot and this afternoon I harvested eighteen scapes. I had completely forgotten to get them from our own garden and have bought them the past two weekends at farmer's markets.
We've been having them steamed in salads, but tonight I wanted to try something new.

Garlic Scape Pesto with Walnuts and Grilled Lemon
makes approx 2 cups of pesto
2 cups chopped garlic scapes, the top flower portion removed and any tough stalky bit at the bottom cut off
1 cup fresh arugula (optional)
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup grated hard cheese (I used asiago, but parmesan would be great too)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 water
1 tsp salt 
juice of a grilled lemon (you can use a plain lemon, but if you use a grilled one the flavour is sweeter and you'll get twice as much juice)

Steam the garlic scapes for a minute and a half and then rinse well with cold water. You can use raw scapes but the garlic flavour will be very strong.
Put everything into a food processor and blend well, you may need a little extra olive oil or water to thin it out a bit.

I froze half in a ziplock bag to save for later and will still have heaps for the next week or so.

We had ours with a mixed plate of grilled chicken, carrots (I LOVE grilled carrots!), peppers and lemon.
Also delicious on steamed potatoes, pasta, halloumi, on a sandwich . . . 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

summer love.

We've had a perfect summer weekend. Strawberry picking out at Westham Island, farmer's market, wine with friends, back to the strawberry farms and then the Richmond Night Market. My nose is freckly and I'm happy!

Someone at our community garden gave me some rhubarb the other night and I whipped up a quick batch of compote to serve on greek yogurt. Here's the tasty recipe.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Summer Thyme
4 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup homemade vanilla sugar (if you don't have vanilla sugar, use regular sugar and a tsp of pure vanilla extract)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Put everything in a heavy bottom pot, bring to the boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes, stirring every few minutes or until rhubarb is nice and soft. Remove the thyme sprig and let cool a bit. Serve on greek yogurt or even better on ice cream (or so I've been told!).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Earnest Ice Cream

Earnest Ice Cream - hands down, the tastiest ice cream I've ever had. We went to the Canada Day Block Party at the Waldorf on East Hastings. Hannah had her first ever ice cream cone - maple walnut from Earnest Ice Cream. Chock full of toasted walnuts and maple syrup. It was dreamy.
Seeing people do something that they love doing is so inspiring, I'm still kind of wondering what I'm going to do when I grow up. I know it will be something with food, I just have to figure out what.

Go get some Earnest Ice Cream, you won't regret it (well, unless you're like me and your tummy aches after having dairy, but I swear, it was totally worth it for the 4 bites I had)!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad

After coming off the cleanse I've been really struggling with food. All I want are steamed veggies and juice, but I keep straying from that and ending up with a sore tummy. I'm going to go back to having juice for one meal a day. Kohlrabi is in season and this is a salad I've been eating all week!

Kohlrabi and Carrot Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
1 kohlrabi, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces (about 4 cups)
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil 
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 shallot minced
juice from 2 lemons
zest from one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the kohlrabi and carrots until they are fork tender (about 4-5 minutes). Immerse in cold water and drain well.
In a blender combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and blend well.
Toss the kohlrabi, carrots, parsley and enough vinaigrette to coat.