breakfast/ recipes

Hemp Pumpkin Pancakes ~w/ Cashew Cream~

Ingredients~
Feeds 2-3 hungry individuals!

1 cup wholegrain spelt flour (or white spelt, whole wheat, all-purpose,…)
1/2 heaped cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup unsweetened hemp milk 
2 tbsps hemp protein powder
2 tbsps hulled hemp seeds
1 tbsp unrefined cane sugar (I think coconut sugar would also be lovely)
1 pasture raised egg
1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsps pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of baking soda

Cashew cream:
1 1/2 cups soaked raw cashews
1/4-1/3 cup milk of choice (try to use a light-flavored milk, such as almond or hemp)
2-3 tbsps maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener of choice (add to taste)
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 packed tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions~ 

recipes

Raw Blackberry Cashew Cheesecake

I’ve recently fallen head-over-heels in awe with raw desserts. Have you been under this spell as well? I’ve been trying to rationalize my newfound excitement for unbaked treats, but I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it… The magic is elusive. Part of my wonderment can probably be explained by the unbelievable simplicity of raw desserts (most of them, anyway). The required ingredients are often whole foods (cashews, dates, blackberries) and, even when they aren’t (coconut oil, maple syrup), they don’t take center stage. Whole foods are able to shine in the spotlight. This isn’t a dig at ‘processed’ foods; I’m not renouncing my love of flour and oil and cheese, but I am welcoming in this new way of approaching “sweets” with wide open arms, and a big cheesy smile. It’s just so rad! Cashews are the cement of this cake! I’m spellbound by the capabilities of whole foods, and the myriad ways something as unassuming as a nut can be transformed into such a beautiful, fairy-esque cake.

Ingredients~
Makes two 4-inch cakes, or one 8-inch cake

Crust:
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 heaped cup cashews and walnuts (or other nuts of choice)
1/3 packed cup pitted dates
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp melted unrefined coconut oil
2 tsps maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Filling: 
1 1/4 cups soaked raw cashews
2/3 cup ripe blackberries
1/2 packed cup pitted dates
3 tbsps melted unrefined coconut oil
2 tbsps milk of choice
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions~

mains

Rainy Day Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients~
Serves 2 hungry individuals!

1 ~2-pound head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
A few grinds of black pepper (plus more to top)
1/2 tsp onion powder
2-3 cups veggie broth (add based on desired soup thickness)
Finely chopped green onions, chives, and/or grated cheese to top

Instructions~

baked sweets/ breakfast

Strawberry Banana Bread

In an effort to satisfy my sugary-sweet cake craving I baked banana bread in a cake tin. It did the trick; my longing for unnatural sweetness? Satisfied. Bananas are seriously magical; sometimes I can’t believe how sweet they are, and have to remind myself all over again that they are a fruit and do in fact contain a plentiful amount of vitamins and nutrients. They are nature’s candy and I couldn’t be more happy about their prevalence and affordability (scoot over, $3 dollar hit-or-miss imported mango).

Now, what to do with all of this naturally occurring sweetness? Eat it in it’s whole form, sure (with a generous drizzle of almond/peanut butter, please). Freeze it and blend it into a thick-as-ice-cream smoothie? Yes, most definitely. Turn it into a healthy bread-cake? Ah, my interest is piqued….

Sweetness is so desired (and addictive) that it’s no surprise people’s body fat percentages are going up and, tacked on to all that weight, are a host of health problems and diseases. Isn’t it wild to think that some of those issues, *some*, may be diet and lifestyle related? I’m blown away by that idea every time I mull over it, even if just for a minute a day. I like to think that I have my hands in a pocket packed with choices, and I ultimately get to decide how to distribute those choices in my life; will they benefit me in the short and long run, or will they only be churned out to satisfy my moment-to-moment cravings? To be honest, sometimes it’s the latter, and I try to laugh a little when I think about how I used to be overcome with shame to admit that. Thick ice-cream sandwiches are still a rare friend, but they are now genuinely welcomed when they do make an appearance; my smile gets big and toothy and my belly, excited. And on most days, when I know better than to give into the voice that could eat slice after slice of fudgy cake or a pint of heavily-creamed ice-cream in one sitting, I make strawberry banana bread (try it!).

Ingredients~
Fills one 9-inch cake tin (alternatively, turn it into a loaf cake)

1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour (or white spelt flour)
1 heaping cup mashed banana (~3 ripe and spotty bananas )
4 tbsps maple syrup
4 tbsps melted unsalted butter (or ghee)
1 egg, at room temperature and lightly beaten
3 tbsps milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 heaping cup sliced strawberries

Chocolate sauce:
3 tbsps cocoa butter (or coconut oil)
3 tbsps cacao powder
1-2 tbsps maple syrup or other liquid sweetener of choice (add based on desired sweetness)
Splash of heavy cream or milk (~1 tbsp)

Instructions~

1. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until creamy, and add the maple syrup, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, and egg, whisking until just combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined (don’t over-stir! doing so can overwork the spelt and result in a tougher crumb!)
4. Lightly grease an 8-9 inch cake tin with oil and spoon about half of the batter into the pan. Add a layer of strawberries (about half) to the top of the batter before spooning the remainder of the batter on top and topping with the final strawberries slices. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes (I recommend checking on it at 50 minutes), until an inserted toothpick/chopstick comes out clean!
5. As the banana bread bakes, make the (optional, but decadently delicious) chocolate sauce by melting the cocoa butter in a nonstick pan over low-medium heat. Once melted, pour it into a bowl and whisk in the cacao and maple syrup. Add a splash of heavy cream or milk for a more ganache-like sauce and allow to cool slightly (until no longer scalding hot!) while the banana bread finishes baking up.
6. Finally, drizzle the chocolate over the cooled (ahem, *slightly* cooled if you’re at all like me) bread, slice, and enjoy! Note that the sauce hardens into a lovely crunchy chocolate once refrigerated, if that at all tickles your fancy.

snacks

Cheese-less Cheez Its!

I have a sweet tooth, yes, a nearly monstrous one, but I also have a savory tooth, and a great big one at that. So big that I may have once powered my way through an entire box of Cheez Its in a single sitting (I may have also been up in the wee, pitch-black hours of the morning working on an English essay). If you’ve never tasted a Cheez It before, let me give you a little de-briefing about the (nearly notorious) savory cracker: salty + cheesy + so crisp/crunchy = the best goddamn cracker around that doesn’t even try to cover up it’s dismal health benefits or myriad processed ingredients with false marketing; the only ‘healthy’ thing about Cheez Its is the fact that the refined flour is fortified. From a nutritional standpoint, yes, okay, Cheez Its are essentially the devil’s handiwork, but from a more romantic, c’est la vie, perspective, that is precisely their charm! If you’ve ever had Flaming Hot Cheetos you may understand what I’m getting at… so savory and unnatural, but so satisfying (addictive? eeep…) that you allow yourself an indulgent nibble once in a while, and subsequently throw your hands in the air when asked by a loved one (or the other, more responsible, voice in your head) why you’re eating such obviously unhealthy junk, ‘who cares? not me right now.’ 

The truth is that I do care a little bit right now, or at least more than I used to. I’ll definitely never outgrow my sweet and savory mammoth-sized teeth, but I no longer have as much of an allowance to spend on processed junk like Cheez Its. Also, quite simply, I just don’t feel too great after eating ‘junk’ food. I could throw out as many ‘you only live once’ quotes as I could possibly retrieve from the depths of Google, and all of them combined still wouldn’t cancel out the tummy ache and lethargy and brain fog that follow my rare bouts of unhealthy eating. Having said that, however, and as I’ve come to realize, you can take the Cheez Its out of the girl’s life, but you can’t take the Cheez Its out of the girl. And so, here we are, with a wagon-load of homemade Cheez Its in tow (cheese-less Cheez Its at that).


Ingredients~
Makes two large batches (each batch = one baking-pan-sized sheet of crackers)

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups wholegrain spelt flour (or sub with more all-purpose or white spelt flour)
1/4 cup cornmeal
6 tbsps unsalted butter, cold and cubed (swap out for non-dairy butter to make it totally vegan-friendly!)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Dash or two of turmeric (for a deeper yellow hue)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt, plus generous sprinkles for the top
4-7 tbsps cold water

Instructions~

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, combine both flours, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, turmeric, baking powder, and salt. Cube the cold butter if you haven’t already, and toss the pieces into the flour mixture, using your hands and/or a fork to cut up the butter until the resulting mixture resembles ~roughly~ pea-sized buttery-flour pebbles.
2. Drizzle 4 tbsps of cold water (to start) over the mixture and stir to combine. Add one more tbsp at a time until the mixture just comes together into a ball; it may still seem a little scraggly, but that’s okay, drizzle extra water sparingly).
3. Separate the ball of dough into two and wrap one and set it aside. Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper and the top of the dough before beginning to roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick; you’ll probably have to continue to dust the dough with flour as you roll, but that’s alright. Once rolled and (mostly) even in thickness, use a sharp knife or pizza cutter if you happen to have one, to cut the dough into squares. Finally, use a chopstick to dot holes in the center of each cracker (if you feel like it).
4. Carefully transfer the sheet of crackers to a baking tray and bake for about 10-13 minutes, checking on them at the 8-9 minute mark to make sure they aren’t too dark; you want the cheez-its to be borderline too-golden as this means they will be sufficiently crunchy, but 20 seconds too long and they can easily take on a burnt flavor. Allow the crackers to fully (i.e. mostly) cool and crisp up before digging in! (You’ll be glad you have a second ball of dough to roll out)

Note: recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker’s recipe!

baked sweets

Buckwheat Jam-Swirl Scones

These are called scones, but they really don’t scream scone, do they? (Scones are those three-sided things that Starbucks likes to make as sweet as cake!) These are more of a scone-muffin hybrid that I can’t quite put my finger on but am very, very on board with. I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate wholegrain flours into my sweet-pastry mixes without compromising on flavor or texture, and this recipe does it (Thanks, Kim Boyce!) The dough is part buckwheat and part all-purpose and the filling is the simplest thing around: jam. I used store-bought wild blueberry jam and added some gooey medjool dates, along with ground cinnamon and cloves, and a dash of lemon juice. If you don’t feel like going beyond spooning jam out of a jar, by all means skip the extra ingredients and enjoy this buckwheat jam-swirl in all it’s sweet and simple glory.

If you’re not a Portland (Oregon) resident, or at least familiar with the spots to get the best pastries in Portland, you may not have heard of Bakeshop. I hadn’t either, until I moved here last year and tried my first buckwheat scone, and then… (oh yes), I took a bite of an almond-custard filled (only lightly filled, this isn’t a donut) croissant dusted with powdered sugar, blanched sliced almonds, and an exciting amount of buttery pastry flake and was transported to a crazy place. Kim Boyce is the pastry master behind the Portland bakery, and her cookbook features these “figgy buckwheat scones,” as she calls them. I altered the recipe a decent amount, just doing my usual things like reducing the sugar a tad and, because I’m a simpleton, taking shortcuts with the jam (i.e. spooning it out of a jar and doing a little dance as I sprinkle some spices in it). Her homemade fig jam recipe features butter and wine, so if you’re really looking to jazz these scones up, flip on over to her recipe for the real deal. If, however, you’re anything like me, you will be undoubtedly pleased by the magic of jarred jam 🙂

One day I’d like to try and make a croissant as obscenely flaky and delicious as hers, but for right now I am, quite honestly, a little proud of myself for rolling up and slicing these scones without accidentally turning them inside out in the process. Ha. Baby steps, right?

 Ingredients~
Makes 12 scones
 
1 cup (135 g) wholegrain buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (70 g) unrefined cane sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup plus 1-2 tbsps milk (dairy or high-protein plant milk such as soy or pea)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:
1/2 heaping cup blueberry jam (or fig, cherry,…)
4 soft and gooey medjool dates
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions~

1. Begin by whisking together the two flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Dice the butter into roughly 1/4-inch cubes and toss the pieces in the flour mixture. Use your fingers to pinch the butter pieces flat and, using a fork or pastry cutter, continue to combine until the result is pea and dime-sized dough pieces. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cold milk until the dough mostly comes together; it will be slightly sticky to the touch. Dump it out onto a generously floured surface and use the palm of your hand to gently press the dough together, sparingly sprinkling 1-2 tbsps more milk as needed. Fold one half of the dough over onto the other half (like a book) and press down, cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Make the filling by tearing up the dates and adding them to the food processor, along with the jam, spices, and lemon juice. Blend until there are no large chunks of date left. Add a few pinches of sugar to taste if you’d like a sweeter filling (I prefer it without the extra sugar).
3. Once the 30 minutes are up, set the dough on a generously floured surface and gently roll out into a roughly 16-inch long and 8-inch wide rectangle. Moving quickly, evenly spread the jam over the surface, leave about an inch of empty space between the filling and long edge on the far side (where the seal will be). Beginning with the long side closest to you, tightly roll up the dough, and gently pinch together the dough at the end to form a seal. Allow the log to rest seal-side down and gently cut it in half with a sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. While the logs chill, preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Once the 30 minutes are up, place each log on a pan and cut into 6 pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches thick. Bake for 30 minutes until the bottoms are crisp and golden brown. Eat warm and store in a plastic/glass container to keep from drying out!

Note: recipe adapted from Kim Boyce’s (@Portland’s Bakeshop) insane buckwheat figgy scone recipe!

baked sweets

Brown Butter Rhubarb Loaf

The sun is shining bright and radiating its energy down on Portland today. It feels so good. I think I feel more alive when the sun is out and the clouds are scarce. I wonder why that is; is it in our nature to feel happier when that fiery ball is above us in the sky? Maybe it’s simply our bodies yearning for vitamin D? It almost feels as though some unseen power or magic is being transmitted through the suns rays; when I have the time to sit outside in the sun with my cup of morning coffee, or fit a sun-filled walk or run into my afternoon, I always return back indoors feeling a little changed. It’s only a little change, but it’s a positive one, and, in that sense, it’s monumental.

While this city (Portland, Oregon) is amazing, the weather is where it is lacking; a grey blanket of clouds is almost perpetually in the sky, and drizzle showers are always looming on the horizon, but the closer it inches to Summer, the more the sun reveals itself, and the bees, and flowers, follow suit (and so do the people, too). This rhubarb loaf is one way I celebrate the beaming new weather. I brought it along on a hike up to a waterfall and couldn’t have been happier that I did; maybe I’m a little too food-oriented, but I think anticipating eating a slice of this sweet rhubarb bread propelled me up the mountain more than my own two feet did. Perhaps you need some sweet energy because the sun is hiding in your part of the world, or maybe you’re looking to celebrate the fact that the sun can in fact be seen in your sky today; either way, this loaf can be a converging place for both scenarios. Make it to eat indoors, or make it to eat outdoors; make it because you need some excitement, or make it because you have excitement to expend. To me, this loaf comes close to conveying the same brightness as the sun; rhubarb is literally bright in color, sure, but it is also bright in flavor, and, when combined with sugar, lemon zest, and browned butter (along with a few other things), it leaves me beaming from the inside out, whether the sun is around or not.

Ingredients~
Fills one 9×5 inch loaf

1 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar, plus more for sprinkling (or regular granulated sugar)
1/3 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
7 tbsps unsalted butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped rhubarb, sliced into roughly 1/4-inch-thick pieces (about 3-4 stalks, plus 1-2 more sliced stalks if opting for a decorative top!

Instructions~

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat, stirring frequently as it begins to bubble/foam. Once you can notice brown specks at the bottom of the pan and a noticeable change in hue from yellow to golden brown, take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool until no longer hot to the touch (your finger doesn’t retract when touching it). As the butter cools down, chop the rhubarb into roughly 1/4-inch-thick pieces and toss in a bowl with the lemon zest, vanilla extract, and both sugars. Set aside.
2. Whisk together the spelt, all-purpose, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork in a small bowl before adding to the dry mixture, along with the cooled melted butter and the sugar rhubarb mixture (if the butter is still very hot, be sure to continue cooling it! You don’t want to scramble the eggs at this point). Know that the butter will be quite thick. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper (the safest option in my opinion) or thoroughly oil it before pouring in the batter. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar over the top and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until deeply golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and allowing to continue to cool before slicing (or nab a slice while it’s warm, but be careful as it is fragile while hot!)

Note: recipe is loosely adapted from king arthur’s rhubarb quick bread recipe!

baked sweets

Strawberry and Rhubarb Summer Galette

Making this strawberry and rhubarb galette reinvigorated my (not simply figurative) appetite for flaky pastry. This is my first pastry crust of the summer, but it shant be my last! It is a little bit silly that I’m getting into crust-making right as the cold weather winds down and the sun makes its bold (and much needed) appearance here in Portland. While making this galette I re-learned some of the steadfast rules about pastry-making; i.e., don’t attempt to make a flaky crust with clammy hands and a warm countertop! Or do, but don’t be surprised if said galette is lacking in flaky, buttery galore. I’ve always had a problem being patient with pastry dough; I used to loom over my chilling dough, expecting it to speed up in the fridge and harden those butter shards already. Not surprisingly, my pie crusts always fell on the tough and gummy side of the pie-making spectrum. But not this time. No, no. This crust was made with patient hands and controlled with care, rather than by my thoughtless desire to rush to the finish line.

This galette is full of wholegrain spelt flour, though you could totally swap it out for all-purpose and possibly add a bit less water (since spelt is more water absorbant). If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big spelt fan. It adds a touch more wholegrainy-ness without tasting and feeling as heavy as whole wheat or buckwheat. Plus, it just so happens to be strewn with a significant amount of vitamins and minerals (hoorah for nutrient-packed pies and cakes!). Spelt flour does still contain gluten, but, as I have recently learned, gluten proteins are not all created equal, and the protein in spelt is far easier for the stomach to digest (regardless, I don’t have a gluten intolerance, and welcome bread into my life with open arms).

Spelt or no spelt, the real star of this show is the rhubarb. And the strawberries, but mostly the rhubarb. I was blown away by how little I had to do to make something so gaspingly-delicious; toss the rhubarb in a little lemon zest, sugar, and vanilla, bake it, and voila (!), a magical matrix of flavors are now yours to enjoy. I seriously need to get back to the shops and stock up on rhubarb while it’s fresh and in season… a rhubarb loaf next, perhaps? Or a rhubarb crumble topped with embarrassingly generous dollops of cream? I’m thinking pretty much anything that combines the unique tanginess of rhubarb with the almightiness of flour and cold butter.


Ingredients~
Makes one ~10-inch galette

Crust:
1/2 cup wholegrain spelt flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus a few more pinches for dusting the surface of your workspace)
6 tbsps unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3-4 tbsps ice cold water (the less we need to use the better!)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Slightly heaped 1/4 tsp fine salt

Filling and assembly:
300 g (~3 cups) rhubarb, cut into small inch-thick pieces or left longer and sliced in half lengthwise, as pictured (or into thirds/quarters depending on thickness of stalks)
1/2 heaped cup fresh strawberries, halved or quartered depending on size
Finely grated zest of half a large lemon (or all of one small lemon)
1/4-1/3 cup granulated sugar (less if you have a higher tang tolerance; plus generous sprinkles to top)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps cornstarch
Optional: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for brushing the crust (promotes a shinier finish; but know that the above galette was not brushed with a wash)

For serving:
Powdered sugar for dusting
Freshly whipped heavy cream or vanilla-bean ice cream!

Instructions~

1. In a large bowl, toss together the flours and salt. In a separate, small bowl, stir together 3 tbsps of cold water with the apple cider vinegar and set aside. Add the cubed (and very cold) butter to the flour mixture and use your fingers to toss the butter in the flour and pinch the pieces between your thumb and forefinger into flat shards. Continue tossing and pinching the butter and flour until the pieces are roughly the size of peas (about 1/4-inch; some slightly larger pieces here and there are okay). If at anytime the butter begins to feel too soft and easily squishes between your fingers, immediately put the bowl in the fridge or freezer to chill for several minutes before continuing; cold, cold everything is essential here.
2. Add the water-vinegar mixture and use a fork to gently combine it with the buttery flour. The dough should come together slightly, but needs to be dumped onto a clean (and preferably cool), lightly-floured countertop to be put together. Using your hands, as well as a bench scraper if you have one, fold the right half of the dough mess onto the left half, creating a little stack, and use your palm to press the two stacks of dough together, slightly combining them. Use a rolling pin to roll them out slightly (only so that they gain length and can be folded over again), gently pressing together the sheets of buttery dough in the process, and repeat the previous steps again, folding, pressing, and rolling, at least 1-2 more times until the dough can just be formed into a roughly disc-shaped mass.
3. The above process will all be very messy at first, with loose crumbs running amuck, but trust in the process and drizzle water sparingly (~1 more tbsp) until the dough can just hold together and be wrapped in plastic wrapped; you should be able to see streaks of butter running through the dough, and it shouldn’t feel dry to the touch. Allow it to chill in the fridge for at least one hour but preferably 2.
3. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the chopped rhubarb and strawberries in a large bowl with the lemon zest, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Set aside.  Prepare a lined baking sheet for the galette before beginning to roll out the dough. Roll out the dough into a roughly 10-inch wide circle, turning the dough slightly as you roll to encourage a more circular shape. Carefully transfer the sheet of dough to the baking pan before adding the fruity filling to the center (scraping out all of the sugar-lemon-cornstarch from the bottom of the bowl!). Be sure to leave at least 1 1/2 inches of empty dough around the circumference. Arrange the strips of rhubarb and strawberries as you desire before folding the outer bit of dough over the filling, overlapping slightly as you go. Lightly brush the crust with egg wash if using, and generously sprinkle sugar over the top of the filling and crust. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the crust is thoroughly browned and the rhubarb is soft to the touch but not burnt. Allow to cool only slightly (to avoid burnt tongues) before serving with whipped cream or ice-cream!

Note: pastry recipe adapted from Bon Appetit’s buckwheat galette recipe!

breakfast/ gluten free

Blueberry Banana Buckwheat Pancakes!

These pancakes are so darn easy to make, it’s baffling; a handful of unpretentious, likely on-hand ingredients get whisked together, poured onto a skillet, babysat for a few minutes until they perk up, and… that’s all they require. In (way) less than 30 minutes you can churn out a batch of gut/heart/soul-friendly beautiful pancakes that still actually taste good. The whole thing is a little surreal if you ask me.

How could combining banana (preferably one that’s yelling out ‘eat me, I’m getting too freckly and soft!!‘), flour, milk, an egg, and a few pinches and drops of some other ingredients, result in a breakfast that is so beyond marginally better than the weekday breakfasts I usually only have time for? I’m beginning to think these pancakes could most likely be fit into my busy monday-friday schedule, so long as I skip the berry compote and lush whipped cream toppings, of course. Sometimes there just isn’t time for the extraneous (though incredibly enjoyable when enjoyed) toppings that dazzle the pancakes featured on many pretty food blogs. If I’m being honest with you, a stack of pancakes with a drizzle (or douse…) of real maple syrup does the trick for me; sure, the blueberry-orange compote I added to these pancakes was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed (I may have said ‘omg, omg‘ one too many times while eating it), but, at the heart of a good pancake-eating experience (in my mind, or heart, or whatever, at least), is simply this:

a thick stack of fluffy, flour-filled flapjacks
a sizable stream (waterfall) of 100% maple syrup (although the maple-flavored stuff is still golden in my pancake book!!!)
a swab or two (or three, four…) of slightly softened, unsalted butter

No peaks of whipped cream; no ice-cream (*shivers* is that actually a thing though?); and definitely no edible flowers, are needed take your buckwheat pancakes to extraordinary heights.

And now, for some odd reason unbeknownst to me, I may have just talked you out of bothering to make the blueberry compote featured in this post. Maybe that’s because I’m so excited about the actual pancakes. If that’s not telling enough of their splendor, I don’t know what else is! (besides me, telling you, over and over again, about them? aha.) Whether you’re a gluten-free peep or not (which I totally am not), I think these buckwheat pancakes will sit well with you and your belly. Or at least I hope they will. I don’t even feel the need to cross my fingers and hope to faint, I have that much faith in them. Although, maybe go easy on the heavy-whipped-cream topping if you’re a pancake lightweight, it is a taaad bit rich.


Ingredients~
Serves 2

3/4 cup wholegrain buckwheat flour
1 medium-large ripe and spotty banana, mashed
1/2 cup & 2-5 tbsps milk of choice (add based on desired pancake consistency)
1 egg (a chia/flax egg may work, though I haven’t tried it myself)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2-3/4 tsp pure acai powder (optional, adds a hint more berry flavor)

Berry compote:
1 heaping cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries (or regular bluebs)
3-4 tbsps fresh orange juice (from ~one medium-large orange)
Finely grated zest of half a large orange (~1 packed tsp)
Dash of cinnamon

For serving:
Generous drizzles of maple syrup
2 fat orange wedges (to squeeze over the pancakes)
Freshly whipped cream; simply add a drop or two of vanilla extract to 1/4 cup heavy cream and whisk away!

Instructions~

1. To start, make the compote. In a nonstick pan on medium heat, stir together the blueberries, OJ, orange zest, and dash of cinnamon. Keep an eye on the mixture and stir it occasionally, especially as it begins to bubble and foam, in order to prevent it from sticking and burning. Once the compote has been consistently bubbling for about 2-3 minutes, turn it down to a lower heat to continue to reduce. Once it has thickened up to your liking take it off the heat (I like to make the pancake batter as the compote cooks). 
2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until only a little pulpy and no particularly large chunks remain. Whisk in the egg (using a fork if you don’t own a whisk) until just combined, before also adding the milk and vanilla extract; start with 1/2 cup of milk and add up to another 1/4 cup or so until the pancake batter if thick/thin enough for you. I like my pancake batter on the thicker side and added an additional ~3 tbsps of milk!
3. At this point, I recommend heating up your pan/skillet (I like to use a nonstick pan). Next, add the buckwheat flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, and acai powder (if using), to the bowl of wet ingredients, and toss the mound of dry ingredients together a little with a fork before completely stirring into the wet ingredients (only stir until just combined, you don’t want to over-mix).
4. Once the pan is hot enough (a drop of water sizzles and quickly disappears when dropped onto the pan), use a large serving spoon, 1/4 measuring cup, or liquid measuring cup, to pour the batter into the pan, making as many pancakes at a time as you are comfortable flipping. I find that the first batch always takes the longest to cook through~ be sure not to flip the pancakes until they are almost completely speckled (crowded!) with bubbles; you can also gently peek underneath one to check if it is lightly/noticeably browned and ready for flipping.
5. While the first batch of pancakes cook, whip up your heavy cream (if opting for a seriously divine and decadent pancake breakfast), and slice up another orange (if that’s what you’re feeling, of course) to enjoy alongside your soon-to-be stack of gorgeous buckwheat pancakes! (Oh, and don’t forget about that compote).

Note: my love for buckwheat pancakes was recently re-invigorated by The Almond Eater’s recent blood orange buckwheat pancakes recipe!

baked sweets

Whole Wheat Gingersnap Cookies

I stumbled upon The Violet Bakery cookbook at the massive Powell’s bookstore in Portland, Oregon. I went in with no desire to buy a cookbook (the internet is essentially one huge one anyway), but after pulling multiple baking books off the shelves only to find them boring and uninspiring, I magically grabbed ahold of Claire Ptak’s beautiful book. After a few moments of admiring the cover and flipping through the bright and clean pages, I was off to the cash register, book full of unknown recipes in tow and mind and body bubbling with excitement. I went home, plopped myself on a bed, and devoured the words and pictures in a couple of hours. I then proceeded to doze off into a nice little slumber and awoke with the urge to bake and bake and bake. Since my first day owning this book I’ve filled it with a thick wad of cute post-it notes; some shaped like butterflies, others like polar bears; it makes the recipe perusing experience all the more fun. One of the first recipes that had me head over heels in awe was the chewy gingersnap cookies. Molasses and ginger plus butter and dark sugar equals a divine revelation.

Ingredients~
Makes 12 large or 16 medium cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar (plus more for rolling the cookies; or light brown sugar)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/3 cup & 1 tbsp dark molasses
2 tsps ground ginger
1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch or two of paprika
1 tsp baking soda
Scant 1/4 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 tsps boiling water

Instructions~

Note: recipe adapted from Claire Ptak’s The Violet Bakery cookbook!