Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Here is a recipe taking advantage of small sweet seasonal blueberries. Any muffin recipe that has over a half cup of sweetener is heading into cupcake territory. I personally love cupcakes, but not for breakfast! Using seasonal fruit when baking adds natural sweetness and flavor that cannot be replicated with extra sugar.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
yields 12 small muffins
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) old fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking), ground fine in food processor + extra for garnish
  • 7.5 ml (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 1.25 ml (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk (or plain yogurt)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) canola oil
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fresh blueberries (or frozen)*
Pre-heat oven to (200C) (400F).

Whisk the flour, ground oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until well blended.  Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just blended.  Fold in blueberries. 

*If using frozen do not remove blueberries from freezer until ready to incorporate.

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and divide batter equally.  Sprinkle each with a little oatmeal if desired. Bake muffins in center of oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lemon Bars

I needed a foolproof recipe, but had no time for testing so I turned to a Cook's Illustrated version. Like with Canadian Living magazine's recipes you know that it had been thoroughly tested.  I have a magazine subscription to Cook's Illustrated, but that does no give me access to their online magazine or their recipe database. Not impressive, honestly, but I am at the acceptance stage. 

The crust is cookie like as it should be and the lemon flavour is impressive.

Here's a link to a food site that has happily appropriated the recipe:


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Creamy Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup

This recipe is very loosely inspired by Cook's Illustrated carrot ginger soup recipe. But honestly my left over coconut milk from the day before was the true inspiration.  Ginger, coconut milk and lime leaves gives this recipe a Thai bent that I always enjoy.  Coconut milk makes this soup velvety, and the lime leaves bring out, and compliment the ginger flavor.

Creamy Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 900 g (2 lbs) carrots, peeled, halved, cut in 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) slices
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) canola oil2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 l (4 cups) spring or filtered water
  • 2 lime leaves (bruised)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • To taste salt and freshly ground pepper

  • In a saucepan, sweat onions and carrots in canola oil, covered, over medium low heat for 10 minutes.  Turn heat up to medium, add garlic and ginger and saute uncovered for 2 minutes. Add water, lime leaves, bay leaf, coconut milk, and thyme and simmer for 15 minutes (or until carrots are very tender).  Let cool slightly.  Puree until smooth, in batches, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.  
Note: Freezes well. If using cream instead add after pureed.  Cook's Illustrated's recipe uses carrot juice as the liquid.  That's a great idea, but very expensive!  Unless of course you have a juicer or a large budget.  The above soup has a lot of flavor without it.  Adding water may seem strange, but remember that in the act of making this recipe you are creating your own carrot stock.  I find the flavor of store bought vegetable stock kind of muddy and/or extremely bland and not worth it. If you would like to try it with homemade vegetable stock.  Make a stock that's heavy on the carrots.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Best Christmas Recipes

Sucre à la crème or Maple Fudge:  A classic Quebec holiday recipe. This version by Ricardo is by far the best!

Joy of Baking Caramel Corn: This recipe is tricky but worth it.  Watch the video and follow the recipe.  You will make it every year.

Martha's Fig pinwheel cookies: These are my favorite cookies, and I am always reluctant to give them away.  I have made them every Christmas for 5 years straight. 

Classic Shortbread:  Canadian Living is where I turn when I want a good solid no fail recipe and this is one of them.

Fine cooking's Ginger Cake: is simply delicious.  The Fine Cooking picture accompanying this recipe does not present a very elegant dessert.  Try using a small bundt pan and finishing with icing sugar.

photo by Tiffany Rieder

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vegetable Paté as a Main Dish for the Holidays

The ingredients list in this recipe is long, but every ingredient on the list is thrown together in a food processor and blended (which takes a minute at most). This paté has the unami flavor we all crave and is a satisfying recipe for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores. If you are receiving over the holidays make this recipe ahead of time for your vegetarian guests.

Vegetable Paté
yield: 2 loaves

  • 250 ml (1 cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 250 ml (1 cup) filtered water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) spelt flour
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) soya or tamari sauce
  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) sesame seeds
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) miso or vegemite
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) dried thyme
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) dried sage
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) dried savory
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) dry mustard
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground black pepper     

                                                                                                                                         Pre-heat oven to 175C (350F).  Lightly grease 2 loaf pans. In a food processor blend all the ingredients until only the smallest flecks of vegetables are visible. Divide mixture equally between 2 loaf pans. Cook until the centers are set, but still soft (about 1 hour). Let loaves cool down a little before gently removing from pans.  Serve a whole loaf warm as a main dish or divide the paté into slices, wrap and freeze for future use in sandwiches etc.  These loaves can also be frozen whole and warmed up in the oven. Try serving with a vegetarian mushroom gravy. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have had some bad gluten free baking in my life.  Particularly "bread".  There are, however, more and more recipes using real ingredients that result in delicious desserts that even those without gluten intolerance would choose over grain based desserts.

The following recipe is a keeper. There is no strange after taste or that something isn't right feeling in your mouth.  My kids, who are not gluten intolerant, happily ate these cookies without complaint.  They also held up well to being dunked in hot chocolate (the cookies, not my kids). Most importantly they taste good. A mix of coconut flour and tapioca flour seems to have provided the satisfying texture you want in a cookie. 

Christmas version: I would add peppermint extract in place of the vanilla and crushed candy canes instead of chocolate chips if I wanted to turn this recipe into a Christmas recipe.

 Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
 #40 scoop 24 ml (1 5/8 oz.)  or approximately a scant 2 tablespoons
yield: 10 large cookies
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) coconut flour
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) tapioca flour/starch
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) chocolate chocolate chips
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 15 to 45 ml (1 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Pre-heat oven to 175C (350F). 
  • Add all the dry ingredients to a medium bowl, including the chocolate chips, and whisk to blend. Place the vanilla extract, eggs, vegetable oil, and butter in a blender.  Puree for 1 minute.  Add to the dry ingredients. Use a fork to blend. Add the water 15 ml (1 tablespoon) at a time until the dough starts to hold together.  Scoop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and press each scoop down with a fork. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes or until cookies are golden around edges. Cool on a baking rack.

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