Friendly Food Snobs

sweets

peach galette

Can you believe we are in the last weeks of summer? Stone fruit is still in season here in Ontario to make this dreamy and simple dessert. Technically a galette is just a rustic pie. All you have to do is make a crust, roll it out into a messy circle, fill it with fruit and fold up the edges. It is so easy and looks beautiful. I like most things in life a little undone, so no wonder I have loved baking galettes this summer. Peach shown here in photos and a blueberry + blackberry combo were my faves.

Serve it with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Or you can slice it up and let everyone pick it up and eat it like a pizza slice. That feels like summer to me. No utensils and eaten outside or in my dining room with early evening sun beams streaking in.

Berries or peaches are my preferred fruit but anything works (apple, plums, strawberries). I sort of cheat with the filling and use a few tablespoons of good quality jam, like the new Bonne Maman intense preserves . I recommend using wild blueberry jam for a berry galette and apricot jam for this peach galette.

I love the addition of a little spelt flour or almond flour to make a nuttier and healthier crust.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 cup white all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or spelt flour or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cold tap water
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • for topping the edge of the crust: 1 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp raw sugar (or regular white sugar)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 heaping tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put the stick of butter in the freezer to chill. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add vinegar to the cold tap water (leave to the side). Using a dinner knife chop up the cold butter in small chunks and sprinkle it over the flour. Add five tablespoons of the ice water + vinegar mixture to the bowl and start to mix the dough. I use a fork at first. Then I use a pastry cutter or my hands.

Rub the dough between your hands to get the dough similar to butter + flour pebbles. Don’t work the dough too much – about two minutes or less. I find it helpful to keep a bit of flour on my hands. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on counter and scoop the dough onto it. Create a ball pressing as you wrap up the plastic wrap around the dough and put in fridge for 30 mins. 

While the dough chills, wash and slice the peaches. In a clean bowl mix the peaches with the jam and sugar.

Spread a piece of parchment paper on your counter. You’ll prep the dough on this and then bake the galette right on it. Sprinkle flour on the parchment. Unwrap the dough and place it on the floured parchment. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough.

I like to cover the dough with a fresh piece of plastic wrap and roll it out that way, keeps it smoother and less messy. Start to roll the dough from the centre out, taking on the rough shape of a circle. It’s rustic, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Dough should be about 1/8 inch thick when you’re done. Place fruit in the middle. Begin to fold the dough around the fruit, pinching at every fold to keep the fruit and juice in.

Brush the outside of the dough with tablespoon of milk using a pastry brush or your finger and sprinkle raw sugar over the spots where you wet the dough with the milk. Lift it up and set on a baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and fruit bubbly. Let cool before slicing in. Enjoy and share it if you can! Happy last weeks of summer.

zucchini spelt muffins

It’s nearing the end of summer and local fruit and veg is abundant. I love to hit the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings this time of year. Grab some zucchini next time you go and make these muffins. They are moist, easy to make and the spelt flour gives them a fluffy texture and nutty flavour that I love.

I started playing around with more spelt flour recently and I am officially a convert. Why? Spelt flour is easier to digest than regular flour, it’s less processed, has more protein and fibre and gives a nutty flavour and fluffy texture.

I also am a HUGE fan of one bowl cookie and muffin recipes like this one. If you sprinkle the baking powder, soda and spices over the flour it works every time! And one less bowl to wash.

Ok back to the recipe. These zucchini muffins have a walnut and raw sugar crunchy topping that is divine. And I also list a couple different additions below, think raisins, chopped dates or chocolate chips. Not gonna lie the dark chocolate chip version is pretty incredible and my family gobbled them in less than two days. Recipe makes 12 muffins or one loaf. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • 1/4 TSP nutmeg
  • 1 and 3/4 cups spelt flour (I love Bobs Red Mill)
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • crunchy topping = 2 TBSP chopped walnuts + 1 TBSP raw sugar for sprinkling on top before baking

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine coconut oil, eggs, milk and maple syrup in bowl along with the grated zucchini. (By the way, I never squeeze out the moisture in the zucchini, I know some recommend it, but why squeeze out all that goodness that will make your muffins moist!?) Mix all these wet ingredients well.

Sprinkle over top all the dry ingredients, doing the spelt flour first and then sprinkling the spices and baking soda and powder evenly as best you can.

Stir until just combined. I use a fork or spatula.

Grease your muffin tin with non stick spray or line the cups. Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle the chopped walnuts and raw sugar over each muffin.

Bake 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.

Note: I have made this same muffin recipe with a few variations. You can add 1/2 cup of any of the following: raisins, chocolate chips or chopped dates.

Recipe also makes one loaf. Just bake at a lower temp, 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Check by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out clean when done. Let bread cool in loaf pan for for an hour.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer friends!

blackberry almond cake

It’s early June and the summer lays out full of possibilities. I love this time of year. I have been playing around with the idea of this cake for a few weeks. I finally wrangled all the ingredients including some gorgeous organic blackberries (I ate the extra pint while I baked). Is there anything better than baking with summer fruit?

The blackberries get sort of jammy and even sweeter as they are baked right into this cake. This cake is moist and lower in carbs thanks to the almond flour. It’s perfect all on its own. If you want to dress it up for dessert sift some icing sugar over each slice or add a dollop of whipped cream. I love it with a strong cup of tea in the morning as a treat. Raspberries or blueberries would be lovely too if you don’t have blackberries.

You’ll see in the recipe I used salted butter, and didn’t add any extra salt. Probably a baking purist would critique me for this one – but I always have salted butter in my fridge as my kids love it on good bread as a weekend treat. So if I can do a shortcut – I will. If you do have unsalted butter and prefer to bake with it, I would add 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. Oh and don’t over mix this batter, stir until just combined. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup superfine almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% dairy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease the pan
  • approx. 15 blackberries (rinsed)
  • small handful slivered almonds

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pan generously with the 1 tbsp butter. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate, however you can also use a round metal cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir well. Cream the sugar and room temperature butter. Then add in the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkled the almonds over the top. Nestle the berries in between the almonds. Be generous with the berries, really cannot have too many. Push them down a tiny bit into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely (at least an hour or two) before cutting in with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy blueberry buckle.

meditation, food prep and self care

Rachel Barbaro

We are in the busy weeks leading to the holidays and I was looking at the calendar earlier this week and felt that holiday anxiety set in. So much to do, so many commitments. And then yesterday I found myself eating a  protein bar in the car for lunch. Sad for me, because food makes me so happy usually!

I thought to myself, time to amp up my self care and food prep…I want to enjoy this season and not feel run over by it. I don’t know about you but eating well and taking care of myself seem to be the two foundations to stay calm and present. To be able to enjoy the sparkle in my boys’ eyes when I turn on the Christmas tree every morning or reading a book cuddled under a blanket. It’s the really simple mundane everyday moments that I love the most, not the high pressure ones. Here are a few rituals I’ve found so useful year round, but especially this season. 

Meditate 

I love to find some stillness between my thoughts before I start my day. I practice every morning and have for years. 

Here’s what I do: as soon as I wake up (before caffeine) I take a few minutes usually between five and ten to sit in stillness in my bedroom. (Yes I drink some water and visit the bathroom first..very very quietly to not wake the kids!) I don’t use a fancy meditation cushion or an app. This is old school zen meditation.  I sit cross legged on my bed and shut the door. If the kids are asleep or awake I still practice. And Neil protects those few minutes of the day for me because he knows how important it is. It just resets my mind to a place of stillness before the stream of thoughts and busy starts. Jon Kabat Zinn has a few amazing talks that you can watch on youtube. This post from Mindful.org helped me so much when I started my practice.

Self care/self love

Caring for yourself, honouring yourself is whatever fills up your cup. It is not usually going to spa for me or getting my nails done…after having two kids that isn’t realistic. I need actions that can be done simply and usually at home.

Here are my faves: chai or peppermint tea and watching a foreign movie or doc on Netflix (leave the chores for another day),  doing a mini facial and using a scrub/mask and my best face creams before bed slowly and mindfully, or making it to a yoga or bootcamp class to sweat out the old energy and breath in new. The point is to honour your body. 

Pure fun

Leave all screens in another part of the house and pile onto the couch or bed under a blanket with a magazine solo or with my kids and a dozen of their silliest books.

Walk outside in the trails and parks near my house with or without the little ones, noticing the change of the seasons.

Take myself for lunch or a coffee solo, my friend Tamara reminded me this is called an artist’s date and I love that.

Turn on music (like some 90’s rock or pop) and cook or bake usually super seedy banana bread or a soup that will be used for a few meals.

Onto the recipe below.

raspberry honey chia pudding

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole black chia seeds

2 tablespoons plain full fat yogurt

3/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you like)

shake of cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

tiny pinch sea salt

topping ideas: fresh raspberries/any berries, raisins, granola, coconut flakes

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl, stir well and cover and set in fridge overnight. When ready to eat give it a stir, and top with raspberries and whatever else you have on hand. If it’s too thick for your liking add a few drops of milk and stir.

Scotcheroos

scotcheroosWhat is not to love about the scotcheroo? Peanut butter, dark chocolate and crunchy crispy bottom. It is simple to make (no bake) and gluten free and ridiculously yummy. I have been making them for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) for years and they are my sister’s absolute fave thing I think I make. Recipe makes a 9 x 13 dish so there will be LOTS of leftovers. I love to hide a few of these in the freezer (just for me) for a rainy day. I already made a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving and plan to whip up another the week before Christmas. Dashel will be 8 months at Christmas for his first one and I cannot wait. Oscar is 3 1/2 and will probably be gobbling up these scotcheroos as soon as he can get his hands on them after dinner. I follow the recipe from food52.com but make a tiny tweak by adding cinnamon. Onto the recipe below, hope you love them!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use the natural stuff I have on hand)
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi sweet)
1 cup butterscotch chips

Line a 9 x 13 dish with foil or parchment for easy lifting. Measure the Rice Krispies into a large bowl and set aside. Heat the syrup and sugar in a small pot. Stir and remove from heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Add the peanut butter to the syrup and sugar. (I use a spatula for this recipe and it is so easy.) Stir the peanut butter and mix it well with the syrup and sugar then pour over the Rice Krispies. Adding the cinnamon and stir to combine. Pour this into the bottom on the lined 9 x 13 dish and press down firmly with your hands to make an even base.

In a microwave safe bowl mix the chocolate and butterscotch chips and heat in microwave for 30 secs then stir, and repeat twice. (So in the microwave for 3 x 30 seconds = 90 seconds total.) You want to heat the chips JUST enough to combine them and melt them. Wisk the chips and them pour over the Rice Krispie base. Leave to set for two hours before you cut them. Hint: if you want them to be perfect then run the knife you are using to cut them with under hot water and then dry it. The warm knife will help make clean cut squares. Store in a container at room temperature for a week or in the freezer for up to three months. Just thaw one hour before serving.

 

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