Berry Clafoutis

We’re on round two with the strawberry patch this summer. Each year it’s been slightly different timing but we generally get at least two harvests. I’ve been trying to get some nice photos of them outside, but the lighting is never quite right, it’s either too bright or too dark. Maybe one of these days I’ll find the perfect moment. But for now I brought them inside to shoot. The blueberries are nearing the end but just enough for this dessert. The nice thing about a clafoutis is that you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, milk, sugar, eggs, and it comes together pretty quick. Well that’s all for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Berry Clafoutis

  • 2 cups berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Heat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 10” cast-iron pan (or 4 small baking dishes) with butter then arrange the berries in a single layer and set aside.
Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, extract in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Add the flour and whisk until just combined (it might be a little lumpy like pancake batter). Pour the batter over the berries in the prepared pan. Bake until set, puffed, and light golden brown around the edges, about 30-35 minutes.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes (the clafoutis will deflate). Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Black Currant Jam

Last year we planted two currant bushes in our yard, red currant and black currant. The red currant didn’t take off so well, it had just a few very tiny berries (get out the magnifying glass), I’m hoping it will produce more next year, but the black currant bush has been producing reasonably well. I’ve been picking and storing them in the fridge over the past couple of weeks and wasn’t sure if it would amount to much at all. But as it turns our you can make a quick jam with just a couple handfuls of berries. I always think of making jam as a big ordeal, with pounds of fruit and jelly jars lined up, ready to be plunged into a hot bath. But really you can quickly make one small jar of jam. And it turned out delicious. Well that was after it didn’t turn out right and I had to reheat it. The recipe called for 10 minutes of cooking the berries, which wasn’t quite enough time, I’ll note in the recipe 10-30 minutes of cook time. And the recipe recommended cooking the berries with sugar until the jam reaches 220°F for the jelling point, but in my case it was cooked far too long, so what I initially ended up with was tough berries in a solid mass of jam. So I put the whole business back on the stove and added more lemon juice and water, and let it cook for 20 minutes. And this did it. It tastes amazing. I think more lemon juice helped it as well. 

Oh, and Saveur magazine is hosting a food blog awards, I would love to be nominated for the “Best Photography” category, you can nominate me here if you like, it’s open until July 18th, so just 3 days left. Thanks :)

Black Currant Jam

  • 2 cups (250g) fresh black currants (stemmed)
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water (you might want to add more water for longer cook time)
  • 1 ¼ (250g) cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I would use 1/2 squeezed lemon)

In a nonreactive pot, bring the black currants and the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10-30 minutes, until the black currants are softened.

Add the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches the jelling point.

If using a thermometer, it should read about 220ºF (104ºC). (I cooked until 220° and it was way over cooked as I mentioned above)

David Lebovitz recommends:

– Or if you want to do the freezer test, put a small plate in the freezer. When the jam looks thickened, turn off the heat and put a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and stick it back in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When you take it out, it’s done if you nudge your finger into it and it holds its shape. If not, continue cooking it, and retesting the jam, until it’s the right consistency.

When ready, scrape into clean jars, cover and cool. The jam will stay fresh refrigerated for a couple months.

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

There is something about growing your own food that is so satisfying. Maybe because it’s new to me, but it’s nice knowing exactly where it came from and no worries of pesticides or any of that. Our blueberry bushes are producing quite a bit this year. We’re flash freezing a lot of them which is pretty simple, just wash and dry the berries, put them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, then freeze them for 30 minutes or so. Then you can take them out and bag them, doing this step helps prevent them from all sticking together. We’ve been using them in our Kefir smoothies (we are totally hooked on Kefir!), and of course these blueberry muffins. I recommend eating the muffin while it’s still warm. You just can’t beat warm blueberries. I’ll probably have more berry photos and recipes coming soon, our strawberry patch seems to be fruiting again, the timing of the strawberries has been different each year that we’ve been here, and later in the summer seems to produce better berries, so we’ll see what we get in the next few weeks. Oh, and I used milk kefir in this recipe rather than milk and yogurt, it worked just fine, I’ll add a note at the bottom if you prefer to go with the original recipe. I was debating the streusel top then decided to go with it, it’s really nice and I added a few berries to the streusel as well. Enjoy!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon powder (optional; you can add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest in its place, if you'd like)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Milk Kefir (can be replaced with 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and lemon powder (if using). In a separate large bowl, mix together the egg, brown sugar, kefir, and vegetable oil. Add the dry ingredientsmixing small amounts at a time to combine. Fold in the blueberries with a gentle hand. Make the streusel: Combine the cinnamon, flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and mix to form clumps. Spoon the batter into muffin cups or a greased muffin pan. Top with the streusel. Bake for about 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) and remove when muffins are golden brown and the berries are bubbling with juice. Let cool.

Adapted from Food52

Berry + Cherry Galette

It’s that time of year here in Portland where our yard becomes a (humble) bounty of berries. When we moved here two years ago we were lucky enough to discover raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes and a strawberry patch. Last winter we pruned the raspberry and blueberry bushes and it seems to be paying off. They’re producing more and better berries. The blueberries are just starting to ripen and it looks like we’ll have a sizable harvest soon. And even though its been two years now in a house with a yard, the novelty has not worn off, it still feels very special to this former city apartment dweller. 

Galettes are a great way to put together a quick dessert, I love the rustic casual way they’re designed, not very fussy but pretty all the same. Oh, and the dough was a whole new experience for me. A few months ago we bought a food processor, I had been doing most of my mixing by hand or with the kitchen-aid, but that doesn’t work so well for cutting butter into flour so I would cut it by hand which was a lot of work, so this week was my first time making pie dough with the food processor and, wow, just wow, in seconds I had my dough made. I was blown away. The dough recipe is for two pie crusts, it’s nice having one in the freezer ready to go.

Berry + Cherry Galette

  • 4 cups of berries and cherries (I used 2 cups raspberries and 2 cups cherries)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 13” pie dough, recipe below

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 13-inch round. Fold the round in half, transfer to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, unfold the round. 

In a bowl, lightly stir together the berries, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Spoon the filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered around the edge. Fold the edge up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes. 

Transfer the galette to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch galette

Pie Dough

  • 11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 5 oz. (about 2/3 cup) ice water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the chilled butter using a stand mixer, a food processor, or a pastry blender until the butter is evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces. Add the ice water all at once to the flour and butter. Mix the dough just until it begins to come together (if using a stand mixer or a food processor, be especially careful not to overmix the dough). Note: it’s recommended to remove butter/flour mixture from the processor and incorporate the water gently to form the dough by hand. Gather the dough with your hands -- don't worry if you see streaks of butter -- and shape it into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Adapted from David Lebovitz and Williams-Sonoma

I couldn't stop taking photos while eating, messy and delicious

Homemade Kefir and Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

If you love yogurt as much I as I do you will definitely love milk kefir. It has a similar flavor to greek yogurt and can be used in smoothies, dressings, ice cream and anywhere you might use yogurt or buttermilk in a recipe. Why Kefir? It’s very beneficial for your digestive system as it’s a great source of probiotics. And kefir in particular has more beneficial bacteria than other fermented foods from what I’ve read. For example if you’re lactose intolerant you shouldn’t have any problems consuming milk kefir since it has the proper enzymes for digestion. And honestly heath benefits or not, I love this stuff! 

Keep in mind this is similar to making a sour dough starter, once you start you’ll need to keep feeding it. If you’ll be going away you can put it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Here’s “How to take a break from making milk kefir” which also has instructions on how to dry them for up to six months.

We ordered the grains from Amazon, it’s a nice little kit with easy instructions which I’ve outlined below. And if cared for they will last indefinitely. 

Milk Kefir

  • 1 packet of dehydrated milk kefir grains
  • 1 cup milk, preferably organic, avoid ultra-pasteurized (plus more for each day)

Equipment: Glass jar, strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter, rubber band, storage jar (all equipment/jars should be completely clean)

Activating Kefir grains

Empty packet of dehydrated milk kefir grains into 1 cup fresh pasteurized milk in glass jar, then stir. Cover with coffee filter or cloth and secure with rubber band. Allow to sit in warm spot 68°-85°F.

Keep an eye on the thickening over the next 8-24 hrs. If it has thickened or changed in texture then strain out the grains, discarding the milk, then put the grains in a 1 1/2 cups fresh milk. If it’s been 24 hours with no change, follow the steps to strain and place cultures in fresh milk. Follow these steps over the next 3-7 days, checking daily, and straining daily, increasing the amount of milk by 1/2 cup each time until you’ve reached 4 cups. At this point you’re milk kefir will be ready to drink and store in the refrigerator (it might be ready before you reach 4 cups, smell and taste, if it looks good you can start drinking it rather than tossing it.) When it’s ready it will be thick and have a tangy aroma and flavor much like yogurt.

Making Milk Kefir

Each day strain the kefir grains, store your new milk kefir, then place kefir grains into 2-4 cups of fresh milk, storing at room temp. If you use 2 cups it will probably culture faster than 4 cups. You can also place the kefir in the refrigerator to slow it down if you’re going to be away. Always use sterile clean jars and equipment.

Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

  • 2 cups milk kefir
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or sweeten to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. 

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

This is my first time making a cold brew coffee. It’s popular here in Portland and I wanted to give it a try. Stumptown coffee makes a delicious cold brew iced coffee with coconut milk (almost addictively good!), I tried adding some coconut milk to the iced coffee and it was really messy. Chunks of coconut cream that did not want to dissolve. I think the cream needs to be heated then cooled or something like that. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say what would work best when adding coconut cream. So here we’re sticking with a bit of half and half. Results? It was very good but I like a really strong coffee and it tasted like it could have brewed a bit longer than 17 hours. Or maybe my rough grind was too coarse. It’s fun to try so I recommend giving it a go, and it’s always nice to have cold iced coffee ready in the fridge! 

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

  • 1 1/2 cups coffee beans
  • 8 cups cold water 

Grind the coffee beans to a rough coarse texture. Place the coffee grinds in large pitcher, then pour in the cold water, give a stir. Place cheese cloth over the top and secure. Let sit at room temp at least 12 hours up to 24 hours. When ready prepare a large mesh strainer over a large container, strain the coffee grinds (there will be a lot!) Clean out the large pitcher and place a coffee filter on top (or you could use a Chemex pitcher and filter), pour the strained coffee into the clean pitcher. The two step filtering should be sufficient, but if you think you might need more repeat the process. Mine was fine with two strains. You could also use a french press for the whole process as well. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Sugar Snap Pea Slaw with Miso Lime Dressing

The best thing about this type of salad, or slaw, is that it keeps so well refrigerated. Often I like to make a really big batch that can work as a side dish throughout the week. It’s been crazy busy (not to mention physically draining) here lately with work on the backyard, so this sort of make-ahead salad works out perfect with something like a grilled burger. I won’t bore you with the details and logistics of digging dirt, discarding said dirt, irrigation, mulch, pavers, gravel, sand, whew! That’s some heavy stuff. But we’re almost there. I think. I hope.

I improvised this recipe from a salad I had at New Seasons, a local market here in Portland, they have terrific salads that I always want to replicate. They list all the ingredients in the prepared food case and I take a photo of it! And it’s very close. The baby kale is optional, I like the added greens, but I didn’t have any today, and spinach or other greens could work, but they won’t last as long in the refrigerator and will get too soggy. So if you add something like baby spinach you will want to eat it right away.

Well that’s all for now, enjoy!

Sugar Snap Pea Slaw with Miso Lime Dressing

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage 10 oz
  • 4 cups Sugar snap peas, chopped 12 oz
  • 1 large carrot, shredded 
  • 1 cup baby kale
  • 2 tablespoons White Miso
  • 3 limes juiced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup Sunflower seeds

In a large bowl combine the shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, baby kale and sugar snap peas. In a small bowl whisk together the miso and lime juice until smooth. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil, whisk until well combined. Toss the dressing in the slaw, then toss in the sunflower seeds. Best chilled before eaten. Will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Grapefruit Radler

Last summer I discovered the Grapefruit Radler drink. They seem to fly off the shelves here in Portland, especially on hot days, and for a good reason, it’s very refreshing. I’m not a big fan of soda-like drinks or coolers or whatever, but this is exceptional. Radlers (or Summer Shandy made with lemonade) are quite popular in Germany and Austria. It’s simply a neutral beer combined 50/50 with a sparkling citrus. The one I attempted to make is Stiegl-Radler, an Austrian brand. I initially tried to make it with a Hefeweizen beer, but the flavor of the beer was too strong, it tasted like a Hefe with grapefruit juice and syrup, the flavors just didn’t blend well. The Stiegl brand lists the ingredients as 40% Stiegl Goldbräu, 60% fruit soda. Goldbräu is an Oktoberfest beer, which is not so easy to find in April, so I bought their brand of beer since I wanted to get as close to the Stiegl-Radler as possible. Basically you want use a lager beer so there might be other brands that are just as suitable. Feel free to play around with the ratios but I felt this was pretty close to what I was trying to achieve. I think you’ll like this bright and refreshing drink that tastes like summertime. Cheers!

Grapefruit Radler

  • 5 ounces Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 6 ounces Club Soda
  • 12 ounces Lager Beer (Stiegl Gold is a good option)
  • Grapefruit Wedges To Garnish

(makes 2 drinks)

Combine the juice, simple syrup and club soda in a container, then divide between two glasses. Add 6 ounces of beer to each glass, give a stir and garnish with grapefruit wedges. 

Hippie Bowl

Getting healthy can be exhausting. Let me start out with the arrival of spring and that it means yard work. We’ve been digging up our backyard recently for a landscape project. Digging and lugging dirt in a wheelbarrow is pretty intense. It’s ok once you get in a groove but wow, this is some serious labor! I can’t tell you how many times we think about hiring somebody, but then we make good progress and keep moving along. This is good exercise right? People pay money to go to a gym for the same workout right? I’m more into yoga and hiking, not so much heavy lifting, but the end result will be satisfying so that keeps me going. Now the following recipe is not exhausting, however it does entail a few recipes within a recipe, but it’s worth it, and very much an energizing food to enjoy.

I first had this dish at a Sprouted Kitchen photography & styling workshop I attended last fall, it was so good that I’ve been wanting to make it ever since. It’s from their new cookbook Bowl + Spoon. Everything about this bowl is fantastic, however there are quite a few things to make here (the kind of recipe that makes me gasp at the ingredient list!), but some of this you can make ahead to save a little time, like the dressing and sunflower seeds. The dressing is really good not just for this bowl but other salads or falafels. These healthy bowls lend themselves to a lot of flexibility so feel free to swap out different vegetables or grains, but I would recommend sticking with the tofu marinade, the dressing and the sunflower seeds. The combination of flavors work really well. 

Hippie Bowl

  • 1/4 cup (coconut) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (low-sodium) soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 (14 oz) extra firm tofu blocks
  • 1 cup millet (or quinoa)
  • 2 cups (low-sodium vegetable broth) or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups stemmed, chopped kale
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • Sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 carrots shaved into ribbons
  • 1 cup sprouts or micro greens
  • 2 avocados, peeled and quartered
  • Tahini Citrus Miso Dressing (recipe below)
  • Spiced Sunflower Seeds (recipe below)

In a shallow dish whisk together the coconut sugar, soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar and sesame oil. Drain and press tofu between layers of paper towel or dish towel to remove excess liquid. Cut each block into 1-inch squares, toss them in the marinade and let soak for at least 30 minutes or for a few hours in the fridge. Flip them halfway through.

Preheat oven to 475°.

In a small pot over medium-low heat, add the millet and toast for a few minutes until you hear them start to pop. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 18 minutes until millet is tender. Remove from stove, fluff with fork, and stir in 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover and let sit until ready to use.

Spread the tofu on rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until edges are browned. 

To saute the greens, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the kale and spinach in batches with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice, saute until just wilted, about 2 minutes.

Assemble the bowls with a portion of the millet, and then add your other toppings in quadrants on top, a scoop of tofu, warm greens, carrot ribbons and sprouts. Top with avocado, spiced sunflower seeds and a generous drizzle of tahini dressing.

Tahini Citrus Miso Dressing

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha or hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 large orange (about 1/3 cup)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon juice to taste

In a mixing bowl whisk together the tahini, miso, honey, sesame oil, Sriracha until combined. Whisk in the vinegar, orange juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Thin with water or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning. The dressing will keep covered in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Spiced Sunflower Seeds

  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon (muscovado) sugar

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and that the sunflower seeds until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne, and sugar and toss them around until the sugar is hot enough to stick to the seeds, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and spread out in a single layer and allow to cool. The seeds can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in airtight container. (I had a lot left over and they were good well up to a week in advance!)

Adapted from Bowl + Spoon


Honey Cake

What to do with a jar of honey that’s crystallized? Make cake. There are ways to deal with crystallized honey, putting the bottle in warm water for a while will make it smooth again for a while, but for the everyday dollop on some yogurt it can be a bit tedious. This is the first time I’ve made Honey Cake and it’s a great everyday cake for dessert or even breakfast. Although it’s traditionally served for the Jewish New Year. The original recipe calls for vegetable oil, which I didn’t have, so I used olive oil. Initially I thought the olive oil flavor was too dominant, but after the cake had a chance to sit, the flavors seemed to mellow and I didn’t notice it anymore. I also used walnuts instead of almonds, so feel free to use whatever you like, I just really love walnuts in baked goods! There are a variety of cake pan sizes listed below, for me this recipe worked out to one 9” loaf pan and one 9x9” square cake pan.

Honey Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons (about 8 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup (340 grams) honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) rye or whiskey
  • 1/2 cup (45 to 55 grams) Walnuts (or sliced almonds)

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. (I used one 9" loaf pan and one 9"x9" square pan.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with butter. Line the bottom and sides of pans with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with nuts. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen