Category: fruit

Comforting Cobbler

When it comes to summertime desserts, I tend to opt for all things simple and refreshing. Fruits are often the star, especially when they’re fresh and local. So, when I got my hands on a giant container of juicy blueberries last weekend, I knew that I had to make them into something special. In an act of perfect timing, I got the chance to sneak a peak at Canadian Living’s August cover recipe – a deliciously comforting blueberry cobbler.

If blueberry pie and cornbread got together and had a baby, this dessert would be their offspring! When a crispy, crumbly topping sits on top of a mountain of sweet blueberries, it’s a challenge not to devour it straight out of the oven. Not only does this comfort food taste as incredible as it smells, but it’s super satisfying to crack through the cobbler crust with your spoon for that very first bite!

You can whip yourself up one of these babies at home in no time flat, just follow the link below to take you to the original recipe on Canadian Living’s website.

Tip: top with a dollop of ice cream for an extra summery touch!

Peaches and Cream (Grilled Peach Melba Sundaes)

What better way to test out our new BBQ than by grilling… peaches?! No but seriously. That’s exactly what we did last weekend. An unexpectedly delicious combination, the charred brown sugar and butter coating resulted in an explosion of flavour. We got so excited about it that we started grilling other fruits too. We tried out some pineapple, and I can’t wait to try grilling bananas next. I’m telling you, if you haven’t tasted grilled fruit yet, you really haven’t lived. Tossed into a fish taco, cubed up in a salad, on little toothpicks with cheese… the BBQ takes fruit to a whole new level! 

Alright, let’s get back to the peaches. So imagine this. Smoky sweet peaches. On top of vanilla ice cream. Drizzled with warm raspberry syrup. Topped off with fresh berries and a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds.
Yeah. You know you want it. 
This über summery dessert would look super cute all layered up in a mason jar, but I opted to serve it in crystal wine glasses instead, putting a fancy twist on a casual sundae. What a hit! I threw on a dollop of fresh whipped chantilly cream (I couldn’t help myself), and a dash of cinnamon. Perfection in a glass. 
Now now, I can’t take all the credit. Though the cinnamon was my idea, the whole recipe actually comes from Canadian Living’s wonderful July issue, on newsstands today! But just for you, loyal readers, I’ll include a link to the recipe below so that you can try it out yourself. It’s quick and easy, and looks as fab as it tastes. Throwing together a last minute brunch and don’t have time to make the raspberry syrup? Don’t fret. Some store bought jam would work in it’s place! Oh, and take my advice, top it with a dash of cinnamon. It brings all the flavours together so nicely. 
Peach pit removal tip: to remove peaches from the pits, slice down the middle and twist while the skins are still on. If your peaches are ripe enough, the pit should come out without much fuss! 
For the full recipe, click here. 

Preserving Summertime (Strawberry Rhubarb Jam)

As any Montrealer can attest to, the extremely short duration of the summer season is a bittersweet affair. The bitter portion? The fact that Summertime takes, what seems like, an eternity to arrive after a long, brutal winter, and then disappears in what often feels like an instant – leaving us occasionally to wonder if the entire thing was just a dream. The sweet part? The season is around for such a short period of time that it is welcome with a gushing appreciation for it’s sheer existence.  We try then to soak in as much as humanly possible – leaving work a little bit earlier, staying out a little bit later, lounging for a little bit longer. Because, before we know it, we’ll be lacing up our boots once again and crunching through the fallen leaves before we spiral into another seemingly eternal ice age.

In the spirit of things bittersweet, as well as the desire to preserve Summertime, I’ve made a sweet and tangy delight – strawberry rhubarb jam. A traditional summery fruit combination – make enough of this and you can taste the season all year round.

This jam is a wonderful accompaniment to yogourt, ice cream, toast, or, if you’re feeling a little rebellious, as I have been lately, simply eat it with a spoon.
Straight out of the jar.
Go ahead – I won’t tell.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

what you’ll need
1 cup white sugar
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 packet liquid pectin (available in the baking section of the supermarket)

for canning
4 to 5 medium-size (250ml) Mason jars, lids and ring closures
Tongs/jar lifters
Labels if desired
(all available at Canadian Tire, or any good kitchen store)

how to do it
combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until fruit is soft. Do not overcook, as your jam will turn unappealing colours and lose it’s flavours! Skim the bubbly pink stuff off of the top as much as possible. This froth will liquefy in your jam and will interfere with the consistency once canned.

While fruit is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil to sterilize jars.
Remove jars once jam is ready and fill, while jars are still hot and jam is hot, leaving a 1-inch space at the top. Seal with lids and secure with rings. Leave to cool on the counter.

Once jars are cool enough, you can keep them in the fridge until ready to use – if canned and sealed properly, jam will be shelf-stable for about a year. Perfect time – just until the next strawberry harvest!

If you’ve never canned before, don’t be afraid! It’s easy peasy! Visit http://bernardin.ca for more information about heat processing, and some other great jam recipes. This isn’t a plug, but hey, Bernardin, if you’re reading this and feel like sending some free jars my way, I wouldn’t be opposed!

Spring Cleanse

Spring is in the air, and I’ve decided that there is no better time than now to do some spring-cleaning-of-my-body. I’ll be doing this not by dieting, but by incorporating more healthy, nutrient-packed meals and snacks. I decided to start this off by taking a dive into my vegetable bin… which is when I discovered some vegetables and fruits that were looking a little less than savoury edible. Carrots growing roots, apples so wilted they could go undercover as prunes, and some oranges that resembled a fat old lady’s butt cheeks much more so than any citrus fruit I’ve ever seen. Thing is, I absolutely despise wasting food. Brilliant-idea-alert: Now is the perfect time to dust off my trusty juicer and get juicing!

Here is what I came up with:

revitalizing carrot, ginger and orange

 invigorating beet, apple and lime

Recipes:
Carrot-Ginger-Orange: Two oranges, peeled. 5 Carrots. 1 inch cube ginger.
Apple-Beet-Lime: 4 apples. 2 medium beets. 1 lime.

Juicing for more? Click the following link to see my past juice post with tons more recipes and inspiration. Enjoy!

http://baconveggie.blogspot.ca/2011/11/juiced-up.html

Juiced Up (Juice Recipes)

Juice cleanses (also known as juice fasts or juice feasts, depending on who you ask) seem to be all the rage these days. Popping up everywhere from celebrity gossip rags to health food blogs, many raw foodists, foodies, and everyday people swear by them. I’ve read multiple claims that a diet consisting of fresh juice will cleanse everything – from your skin, to your palate, to your colon, to your soul. While I’ve never been one for fad diets, this idea of a juice cleanse has intrigued me for months. A combination of my desire to hit the reset button on my eating patterns along with my absolute love of juice lead me to hop on this shiny new bandwagon for a little ride.

It lasted all of 6 hours.
Till I fell off.
And ate an entire container of hummus.
With a spoon.

So, be it! I will never be the kind of girl who can survive on juiced vegetables and supplements for weeks on end. Or even for a day. Still, those short few hours reminded me that I definitely am the kind of girl who likes to experiment with food. Finding myself in a slight cooking rut shortly after my return, I saw juicing as this fantastic opportunity to try new things. How many juice combinations could I make? So, so many. So many, that I decided to blog about it. Here, my friends, is a list of juicespirations. Oh, and a word of warning: beet juice tends to dye certain things red. Like your hands. Your clothes. Your juicer. And, well, your body waste – which can be frightening, but totally harmless. So drink it. A lot. Because it’s absolutely delicious. And so good for you. So, so good.


Juicespiratons

Tips: Wash all fruit and vegetables before juicing.
Peel when specified.
Drink immediately after juicing for best taste & maximum nutrients.
Transporting juice to work or school: Store juice in clean bottle with a crushed (chewable) vitamin C tablet to slow oxidation.
Do not juice: bananas, avocados, any pits & seeds.

Each recipe makes approximately 1 cup (250ml).

  • Red Power: 3 medium beetroots, peeled. 1 medium apple. (Best when mixed with equal parts water once juice is extracted.)
  • Invigorating Orange: 5 medium carrots, 3 slices pineapple, 1 tbsp ginger root
  • Summer Breeze: 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled. 1/2 cup cubed honeydew.
  • Fruitylexia: 6 large strawberries, greens removed.  2 kiwis, peeled. 2 apples.
  • Island Escape: 2 mangoes. 1/2 cup cubed pineapple. 1 peach. 
  • Wake Up: 3 pears, 1 apple, 1 tbsp ginger root
  • Apple Cobbler: 3 apples, 2 pears. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Hidden Veg: 2 small carrots, 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, 2 mangoes
  • Refresh: 1/2 cup cubed watermelon, 1/2 cup raspberries

Sweet Tart

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I quietly promised myself that I would learn as many new skills as I can. This vow came in an effort to better myself as a teacher and an artist… and may also have been slightly backed by my desire to add some pretty pictures to my portfolio. So far, I have explored watercolour painting (frustrating, yet so pretty when it’s done right), charcoal drawing (tried once before, but the mess has always kept me away), metal embossing (time-consuming but relaxing), and most recently, knitting (just because it makes me feel so crafty). My artistic explorations have also extended into the culinary realm: until recently, I hadn’t expanded my baking repertoire further than simple cakes, cookies and muffins, always sticking to traditional, simple recipes. I’ve decided that it’s time to change that. I’ve decided that I am going to eventually learn to bake all of the basics as described Michel Roux’s “Pastry: Savory & Sweet”

I am not doing this Julie & Juila style, though the book may have inspired me somewhat, but I am doing this because of my friend Lisa, who has recently commenced pastry school, of which I am quite envious. I’ve therefore decided that Michel Roux will be my teacher, and “Pastry” will be my textbook. I will be assessed by my partner, who has no qualms telling me if something is dog-gone awful – though, let’s be honest, it rarely is –  and will be evaluated by my brother, who is perhaps the world’s pickiest eater. I will share my explorations with you, dear readers (hi mom!), and perhaps you’ll get to learn a thing or two along the way!

I have started with the most basic pastry, and, according to Roux, a sturdy one – Tart Dough, or Pate Foncee in France. I filled it with a homemade custard – a massive, chunky flop the first time around – and a delicious wild blueberry filling with a hint of cranberry (definitely a keeper.) So, without further adieu… I present to you a delectable, buttery, custard and blueberry tart. Savourez!


Tart Dough (Pate Foncée)
Note: it may look like a lot of instruction, but don’t let this intimidate you – the actual dough making is rather easy! 

what you’ll need

•    1 ¾ cups flour
•    ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
•    1 egg at room temperature
•    1 tsp sugar
•    ½ tsp salt
•    2 ½ tbsp cold water

 
how to do it
Make a heap with the flour on the counter and create a well in the centre. Add everything except for water into the well, and work in with your fingers until dough begins to hold together. Add water, little at a time, until dough is even. Pat into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or until ready to use. The dough will harden in the fridge, but will soften quickly once it is taken back out (as butter does), so remove it from fridge a few minutes before rolling it out. Roll out evenly and place dough sheet into tart pan. TIPS: to transfer your dough from counter to pan: roll your dough onto your rolling pin (I used a marble rolling pin and I highly recommend it), and then roll out into the pan. Do not press down with your fingers – instead, take some extra dough, roll into a ball, and press the tart down into the pan and into the side crevaces.  Roll the pin over the top to cut off the remaining edges. Poke fork holes into the dough once it is down in the pan. This will allow the dough to breathe in the oven so it does not bubble and crack.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375F. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pan that reaches long enough over the edges. Because you are baking this dough sans filling (also known as blind baking, thank you Michel!) Fill with dried beans (or dough weights) in order to weigh down the dough when baking. This is important because if you do not weigh it down, the dough might shrink and deform. The weights will ensure that the tart keeps it’s shape. Bake for 35 minutes, remove weights and paper, and return to oven for 5 more minutes in order to brown and dry the shell.
Filling
what you’ll need:
2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1/4 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatine

how to do it:
Dissolve cornstarch and gelatine in water. Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until berries begin to soften and sugar dissolves. Stir intermittently. Mixture will begin to thicken. Tip: to speed up the thickening process, add an extra 1/4 tsp gelatin powder dissolved in 1/4 cup water. Remove from stovetop, cover and cool. Sauce will thicken even more upon standing. Pour into prepared pie crust, over custard if desired.