archives: food & recipes
We took a few days off recently and went to our family cabin on Qualicum Beach.
We drank piña coladas, ate oysters and kind of lazed around in the sun.
It was surprisingly hot when we were there,
weather I feel like I haven’t felt in BC since I was a kid.
I cut a pile of rhubarb from my parent’s backyard
before making the drive up island.
I brought along the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book (shot by the super talented Gentl & Hyers)
for the task of making a rhubarb pie and was SO pleased with the result!
I love that the Elsen sisters suggest to freeze the chopped rhubarb
and then thaw and drain before making the pie.
Such a great tip to get a little extra juice to drain from the stalks.
It’s late in the season for rhubarb I’m told, but there was no shortage at my parents place.
I noticed only afterward that the recipe is quite similar to the one Jen Causey
made for my, For the Love of Pie series back in 2012,
also by the Elsen sisters, but I’m including the recipe here
just because I think it’s worth mentioning again.
And if you don’t have it already, go buy the book, it’s great.
THE FOUR & TWENTY BLACKBIRDS RHUBARB PIE
This recipe came from, THE FOUR & TWENTY BLACKBIRDS PIE BOOK by Emily Elsen & Melissa Elsen published by Grand Central. It makes one 9-inch pie that serves 8-10 people. While it's perfect just as it is, I prefer to omit the allspice and ground ginger in favour of the contents of a vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I think it's best served at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but a spoonful of crème fraîche would be nice too.
- FOR THE CRUST
- Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
- Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Divide the dough in half before shaping each portion into flat discs.
- Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
- Have ready and refrigerated one pastry-lined 9-inch pan and pastry top.
- Combine the rhubarb, brown and granulated sugars, allspice, cardomom, ginger, salt, and arrowroot in a large bowl and mix throuroghly. Stir in the lemon juice, egg, and bitters. Pour the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, arrange the lattice or pastry round on top, and crimp as desired.
- Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat; if your pie has a lattice top, be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry (it will burn). Sprinkle the pastry with the desired amount of demerara sugar.
- Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375˚F, move the pie to the centre oven rack, and continue to until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or not at room temperature.
- The pie will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.
I can’t wait for this chocolate chip cookie recipe from Tara’s book.
Michael and I shot the new Bon Appétit Cover, find it on newsstands now!
This place looks amazing.
The design and photos in this story from the current print issue of Afar Magazine are beautiful.
Michael snapped this in NYC the other day, I love it.
This place looks nice.
And we updated the shop last week, have a look.
Photos: Nikole Herriott
We have a small strawberry patch in our garden.
So small that it’s not really a patch at all,
more like a few strawberry plants in mismatched pots
on a small deck to the side of our place.
We don’t get an abundance of berries,
but enough that we can eat one or two a day
or if we wait, enough to have with breakfast on the weekend.
That works as I’ve been thinking of breakfast a lot lately.
We have new maple syrup over in the shop (something we’re pretty excited about!)
so I’ve been fitting it into cooking and baking whenever I can.
From that came the idea of these sweet crêpes with strawberries and maple syrup.
I’m sort of a traditionalist when it comes to sweet crêpes,
but I like that this recipe has beer, something I hadn’t tried before.
The result is really nice texture and a pretty sort of lacy feel (you can see it well in this photo).
And they’re simple to make.
I found that 1/3 of a cup of mix worked well
when cooked on an 11″ cast crêpe pan.
If you don’t have one, I recommend this one.
On the crêpes in the photo,
I topped with fresh cut strawberries,
a little sour cream and a generous pour of maple syrup.
You should try it, it’s so delicious.
This recipe is by Jehnee Rains but I came to it via The Kitchn. I've made it several times now and found that I like the crêpes a little sweeter than the recipe calls for (I increased the sugar from a 1/2 teaspoon to 2-3 tablespoons and added a teaspoon of vanilla).
- 2 cups warm milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (I used 3T instead)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup beer (any light lager beer will work)
- Melt the butter and heat the milk to warm, over the stove or in a microwave. Meanwhile, mix flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl with a whisk ready). Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour eggs and oil into the well and beat on medium speed with whisk using the mixer, or vigorously with your hand-held whisk. Slowly add the melted butter and milk mixture until batter becomes uniform in texture.
- Now pour batter over a fine-toothed sieve into another medium-sized bowl, pressing any lumps through with your fingers. Stir in beer, until just evenly incorporated (don't overmix). Refrigerate the batter, covered with plastic, for 8 hours or overnight, if you can.
- Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter onto a smoking-hot pan, swirling the batter to create an even surface. Add a little more batter if needed. Little holes are okay while crêpe cooks — just 2 minutes on the first side (peek to see if golden brown color is there), then about 30 seconds on other side. Keep warm with sheets of parchment paper in between each crêpe, in a low oven, about 200 degrees until serving.
I love a good sandwich.
I especially love a good sandwich with some sort of pickle.
But until recently I hadn’t made my own.
I found the inspiration to give them a try
when I was walking through Toronto’s Chinatown a few saturdays ago.
It’s a brilliant place on weekend mornings.
The streets are full and bustling then,
the shops feel like they’re overflowing with produce.
The woman I bought my onions from said she had grown them in her backyard.
They were tiny and pink and sort of beautiful I thought.
I like that she and other vendors form a long line up Spadina where Dundas crosses.
They sell houseplants they’ve propagated, vegetables from their backyards and other little things.
It’s a hodgepodge row of tables and upside-down milk crates
that runs up the curb toward College.
There’s something about that row of them for me,
something that’s kind of awesome.
All that said, try the onions.
They’re simple and pretty and super tasty.
A bit of history on Toronto’s Chinatowns
I love how simple these pickled onions are. The recipe is actually for quick pickled shallots but it's great for these small spring onions. It's from the Gramercy Tavern Cookbook but I came to it via the, Leite's Culinaria blog. As Michael Anthony mentions, it's a great place to start with pickles and will work well for a variety of vegetables.
- 5 shallots
- 3/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I like it with a little less sugar)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1. Halve each shallot lengthwise and pull apart the layers to form petals. You should have about 2 cups. Place the shallots in a medium bowl.
- 2. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the shallots and cover them with a plate to keep them submerged. [Editor's Note: The shallots may not be completely submerged, but that's okay.] Let cool to room temperature.
- 3. Cover the bowl (as well as the plate) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Transfer the pickles and liquid to a container, cover, and refrigerate for up to several weeks.
, plus some old visuals
PHOTOS: Nikole Herriott
A bowl of orange sherbet always felt special to me as a kid.
Maybe it was because of the way the container seemed frostier,
or the way the lid sort of stuck before you could pull it off.
Or maybe it was because it was just easier to scoop.
I don’t know exactly, maybe it was because it tasted like a creamsicle.
Either way, all the leftover citrus in our studio fridge made me want to give it a try.
The recipe I used was from the NYT via Alice Waters and was super simple and delicious.
I did make grapefruit ice cream as well (pictured here), but it had nothing on that sherbet.
umbrellas and shadows
this instagram, especially this, so many peonies
sue’s bowls over on aran’s site. find them here
our feather and cloud cookie cutters are back in stock
+ NEW tea towels with lisa rupp!
and this side plate is in bon appétit this month
PHOTOS: Nikole Herriott
I’ve always loved a cake that travels well.
For lots of reasons but mostly because I like to send cake to my Dad.
It’s a trade we’ve made for about five years now–
he sends me things he’s made from wood
and I send things I’ve made from butter and sugar and eggs.
That got Tara and me to talking about cakes suited specifically for travel.
Cakes that make our journeys that little bit better. This one is definitely the sort and it’s delicious!
Find the recipe below.
tara’s cherry pecan picnic cake
Elvis Presley’s favourite pound cake called for seven eggs and a full cup of heavy cream. It is one of those recipes that I’ve long wanted to try, like the lemon meringue pie from Toast, for no other reason than its pedigree. The King’s pound cake would have to be a good one, and while that pie was created for looks over taste, what a looker it is.
Now this cake delivers admirably on both those fronts, even if more modestly so. It is sturdily handsome, hinting at richness, and with a dense crumb. The cherries create dark, juicy pockets as they’re baked, and the pecans contribute a subtle, waxy crunch. It is a cake suited for coffee in the morning, and whipped crème fraîche come at night. But really, this is a cake that’s made for for road trips, and plane rides, to be cut in thick slices and wrapped in wax paper. It’s a cake for picnics.
In other words, just the kind of cake Nikole and I like very much.
Makes 2 round cakes, 6-inches each
For the cake
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (256 g) cake flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups (275 g) granulated sugar, plus extra if not using the glaze
- 4 eggs
- Seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons thick yogurt or sour cream (not nonfat)
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 1 cup pitted dark cherries, fresh or frozen
For the glaze (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups (142 g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- A pinch of fine sea salt
- Preheat an oven to 300°F/150°C with a rack in the middle. Butter two 6-inch round cake tins, and line with parchment, on bottoms and sides. Butter the parchment.
- Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl, then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, cream butter and sugar for a full 8 minutes on medium-high, scraping down the bowl and beater with a silicone spatula regularly. Knock the speed down to medium, and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the beater after each, and beating well. The batter may look to curdle, but it’ll be fine. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, stir in the flour in two additions, alternating with the yogurt. Do not overmix. Fold in the nuts by hand, making sure to get all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Dollop one-quarter of the batter between the prepared pans, then scatter with cherries. Continue to layer spoonfuls of batter with cherries until finished. Gently smooth the tops, then sprinkle with granulated sugar if not planning to glaze the cakes later.
- Bake cakes in the hot oven, rotating halfway through, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, 60 minutes or so. Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes in their tins, then unmold. Place, right side up, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to cool completely.
- If making the glaze, whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. The glaze should be fluid enough to fall smoothly and slowly from a spoon. If it doesn’t, add more cream, a teaspoon at a time. If it is too thin, stir in more confectioners sugar. Spoon the glaze over the cakes as desired. Let set for at least an hour before cutting.
- The cakes can be kept at room temperature for 3 days, loosely covered or under a dome.
PS: There’s no picture of it here, but I like to decorate this cake with a single maraschino cherry (that you’ve patted dry) in the centre just before the icing is completely set.
PHOTOS: Nikole Herriott
More days than not, Tara and I talk about food.
We talk about porridge and grain and how flaky biscuits can be.
We talk about writing a good recipe (She’s working on her first book! With biscuits included.)
and what we’re making that day.
We talk about ice cream and cake and just about everything in between.
And we also talk about making more time to work together.
And so as a start of things to come,
find Tara’s recipe for RASPBERRY APPLE CRUMBLE.
It’s cold here still,
so while we’re actually really yearning for spring,
crumble still seems to fit.
It’s perfect day-of warm, with a dollop of cream
but it’s also great for travelling.
Let it rest overnight before cutting into wide slices
and wrapping snuggly in plastic wrap.
I so like the idea of crumble for dessert and then crumble the next day at lunch.
RASPBERRY & APPLE CRUMBLE by Tara O'Brady
I make a crumble almost every March. Not always with fresh fruit — at this time of year we’re still waiting for the snow to melt and the first forced rhubarb at the market — but often out of frozen berries, in an attempt to conjure up that springtime feeling.
This crumble tucks raspberries with storage apples underneath an intentionally-generous cover of oat streusel. It is without cinnamon, or nutmeg, or any of those wintery spices, instead fragrant with vanilla and drops of almond extract. The filling has a scant amount of sugar and a good amount of lemon juice, so the raspberries retain their twang and keep the whole business bright.
As a bonus while it bakes, the crumble makes the house smell like cookies and jam. It’s a fine way to say goodbye to the cold.
- 3/4 cup / 170 g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- 1/2 cup / 100 g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups / 150 g large-flake oats
- 1 1/4 cups / 160 g all-purpose flour
- Juice from half a lemon, about 2 tablespoons
- 2 1/4 pounds / 1 kg mixed baking apples, about five apples, see note
- 1/3 cup / 66 g granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
- 1 plump vanilla bean, split down its length
- 1 1/4 pounds / 566 g frozen raspberries
- Sweetened sour cream, whipped crème fraîche, pouring cream, custard (hot or cold) or ice cream
- Preheat an oven to 375°F / 190° C with the rack in the lower third. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the streusel. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, cream together the butter sugar, salt and almond extract on medium-high speed until fluffy, around 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the machine to low. Tip in the oats and flour all at once, and let the machine run until the dry ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is in medium to small clumps, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside in a cool spot or covered in the fridge while you get on with the filling.
- Grease a 3-quart capacity baking dish with butter. Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. Add the slices to the bowl as they are cut, turning them in the juice to prevent browning.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with sugar, salt and seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, reserving the pod. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and and toss gently until the dry ingredients look to disappear. Carefully fold in the raspberries. Tumble the fruit into the prepared baking dish and tuck in the vanilla bean. Crumble the streusel over the filling in a fairly even layer. Place the dish on the lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until the streusel is golden and the juices are bubbling thickly, around 45 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.
- NOTE: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Russet, Pink Cripps, Mutsus are all excellent for baking.
- Crumbles are ideal for using up just-about-overripe fruit or whatever flours are left in the baking cupboard. That said, keep proportion in mind; for this intentionally streusel-heavy recipe that means the topping is almost half the weight of the filling. And for the streusel itself, it is an approximate ratio, again by weight, of 1 part butter to 1 part oats to 1 part flour. Keeping that overall balance in mind, I’ll often add alternative flours to the streusel, say whole wheat, buckwheat or spelt for a portion of the all-purpose. Blackberries or rhubarb can be swapped in for some of the fruit, adjusting the sugar accordingly.
- Enough for 6 to 8 servings.
archive / rss