Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Icing

 

Pumpkins-in-a-row

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”-George Eliot

It’s that time of year again; time for pumpkin patches, enjoying the rich fall colours, planning for Halloween and celebrating Thanksgiving.

Autumn is my favourite time of year! I love the rich hues that paint the trees across the city and parks. I love the crisp breeze that rushes through my hair as a walk about the city. I love the beautiful sweaters and scarves that grace the shop windows. I love the excitement of children as they play among the fallen leaves.

Most of all I love the warm feeling of snuggling up with some warm apple cider and a good book.

Fall Colours-Algonquin Park

We celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving over 2 weekends so that more people were able to come. It is difficult to get everyone together at one time since many of our friends and family members live out of town.

When preparing a Thanksgiving meal, I tend to break with the usual tradition of roasting a turkey with all of the trimmings by tasting new recipes with my family. This year we enjoyed pork tenderloins with a white wine tarragon sauce for the first celebration and a leg of lamb roasted with rosemary and garlic for the second. Everyone pitched in a brought something toward the meal so it was a true group effort. I love spending time with family over the holidays.

Instead of baking the traditional pumpkin or sweet potato pie I baked a pumpkin cake with brown butter icing sprinkled with candied pecans. The cake is packed with flavour and the icing is rich and buttery; a perfect match to the sweetness of the candied pecans.

It could be baked for any occasion, but I thought pumpkin was an nice autumn treat for us to enjoy.

pumpkin cake with brown butter icing 2

“When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people.”
Jens Stoltenberg

pumpkin-cake-with-brown-butter-icing

Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Pumpkin Pecan Cake

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups (310 mL) packed, light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or canned pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1½ cups (375 mL) unbleached cake and pastry flour
½ cup (125 mL) ground toasted pecans
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) each ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice
1 tsp (5 mL) orange zest
½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
2 cups (500 mL) chopped candied pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Grease sides of two 9-inch (1.5-L) round metal cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk fl our, ground pecans, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and orange zest. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of wet. Scrape into pans; smooth.

Bake in the centre of oven until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Let cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks; peel off paper. Invert; let cool.

To assemble the cake, brush any crumbs from cake layers. Cut each in half horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut-side up on cake plate. Spread with about ¾ cup (175 mL) of the icing. Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup (125 mL) of the candied pecans. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining layer, cut-side down. Spread entire cake with a scant cup of the icing to mask. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes. Spread cake with remaining icing and decorate with remaining pecans.

Brown Butter Icing

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
8 oz (250 g) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (60 mL) brown sugar
1¼ cup (310 mL) confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

For icing, in a large heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns a golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let stand until the little bits sink to the bottom, about 5 minutes. Transfer to freezer and chill until firm, about 15 minutes. Scrape the top of the butter from the bits at the bottom; discard bits.

Transfer brown butter to bowl with the cream cheese and brown sugar. With an electric mixer beat until the brown sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar until incorporated and fluff y, 1 to 2 minutes.

Recipe from Food and Drink Magazine-Autumn 2011 by Nicole Youngpumpkin-6332

Advertisements

Ricotta Cheesecake with Late-Summer Fruit in Niagara Ice Wine

Ricotta-Summer-Cheesecake-3

“Summer always ends with good memories”- anonymous

Can you feel it slipping away? Another summer is ending with the cool, crisp promise of autumn.

I had an unusual summer this year. What is typically the time of year to take things a little slower, ended up being the busiest it has been in a long time. I had so many unique projects on the go that filled me with anticipation and excitement.

Ricotta-Summer-Cheesecake-top-Edit

The most interesting project of them all was shooting a wedding for a dear friend of mine. I never realized how much responsibility one takes on when agreeing to shoot a wedding. The thought of missing the special moments or having equipment glitches was enough to make me even more obsessive about planning than usual. Thankfully, the day went off without a hitch and the bride is very pleased with her photos; all 1475 of them.

Since I decided to add more lifestyle photos to my portfolio, I have been on a constant cycle of learning and planning and shooting and editing. It has really been wonderful and has helped me to feed my passion for photography.

Ricotta-Summer-Cheesecake

I made this cake for a pre-wedding party by adapting two very different recipes from two different magazines. The cake is adapted from Bon Appetit and the Late-summer Fruit is adapted from Gourmet Traveller. I decided to use Niagara Ice wine instead of the Marsala wine in the original recipe. It was an easy decision because I had some on hand and I knew it would be a perfect pairing with the fresh Ontario stone fruit that was from the same region.

Ricotta Cheesecake with Late-Summer Fruit in Niagara Ice Wine

Makes 8-10 servings

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ingredients:

2 900g (15 oz.) containers fresh ricotta
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unseasoned dry bead crumbs
2 450g (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. ground almonds
2½ tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
icing sugar for dusting

Directions:

Place ricotta in a large fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes
Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8 inch springform pan with butter.

Mix 1 tbsp. sugar and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over buttered pan. Tap out the excess crumbs.

Puree the ricotta in a food processor for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides, puree until smooth. Add cream cheeses and puree until smooth. Add remaining sugar and all other ingredients, puree, scraping down the sides until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape batter into the springform pan.

Bake until golden brown and just set, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan. The cake will fall slightly.

Refrigerate uncovered until cool, about 3 hours. Then cover and chill overnight.

To serve, remove from pan by releasing sides and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit- May 2011

Late-Summer Fruit in Ice Wine

Ingredients:

250 ml white ice wine
100 g fine sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) orange juice
6 (mixed) plums, peaches and nectarines cut into wedges

Directions:

Combine ice wine, sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until it thickens to a syrup, 15-20 minutes and set aside to cool.
In a medium sized bowl pour the cooled syrup over the fruit wedges and mix gently.
Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.

Serve a slice of ricotta cheesecake topped with some late-summer fruit and syrup.

Recipe for Late-Summer fruit adapted from Gourmet Traveller-March 2014

Pear Tarts with Caramel Sauce

pear-tart-from-above

 How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?- Satchel Paige

I spent this past week celebrating the birthdays of my mother, myself and my grand daughter. We have 3 generations born within 5 days of one another in the month of June.

I really don’t like acknowledging my birthday any more, having just entered a pre-milestone year. I plan to hang on to this decade with all of my might.

You know we cannot stop getting older in years but we can always stay young in our hearts and minds. I plan to be the hippest, most active lady at the nursing home, when I get old. Attitude is everything!

I do plan on making the most of my life. My bucket list is constantly refilling with new places to see, things to learn, people to meet, and new experiences to try. Life is for living and enjoying each day as if it were our last.

One of the things that I have tried over the past 3 years was to become a better baker. I have tried a number of recipes while writing this blog that featured cakes, tarts and even pies. This pear and caramel tart is one of my favourites, so far.

 

Pear-tart-the-pour

When I was in Seattle last year I was lucky to stay at a hotel that was across the street from Tom Douglas’ famous Dahlia Bakery. The cookies and pastries were so decadent and delicious at the bakery I had to buy the cookbook so I could bake them out at home.

The cookbook offers 125 of the best loved recipes from the bakery complete with loads of helpful baking hints. The book offers wonderful instructions on making a Dahlia style breakfast of English muffins and breakfast sandwiches, or granola, or egg strata. There are chapters on baking doughnuts, on pastries, on a variety of cookies, making tomato soup and gourmet grilled cheese, ice cream and ice cream sandwiches,and preserving jam and jellies. For a bakery cookbook it has a nice variety of recipes, each complete with photos and step by step instructions.

If you are really adventurous the book also includes instructions on how to make your puff pastry and caramel sauce from scratch. For my tarts I used frozen puff pastry and a good quality store bought caramel sauce. The tarts were wonderful with the warm pears and almond cream. I added a dollop of ice cream to offset the sweet caramel drizzle. They were so decadent.

 

pear-tart-after-the-pour

Pear Tarts with Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

3 small to medium pears, ripe but firm

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

Six 4 1/2 inch squares of store bought frozen puff pastry, very cold or frozen

3 tbsp. almond paste

2 tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into ½ inch dice

1 large egg yolk

Caramel sauce for drizzling

Whipped cream or Ice cream for garnish

Directions:

To poach the pears, peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Trim out the stem and blossom end and remove the core using a melon baller or paring knife. Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Add the vanilla bean and pears. To keep the pears submerged while they poach, put a piece of parchment or wax paper on the surface and weigh it with a plate or small lid. Place the saucepan over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. As soon as the pears are tender, but not mushy, approximately 15-20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Allow pears to cool in the liquid.

Place the puff pastry squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and set in freezer. Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on the puff pastry package, depending on the brand 375-400 degrees F.

To make the almond cream, mix the almond paste and sugar  using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer. The mixture will look crumbly. Beat in the butter, bit by bit. Add the egg yolk and mix until creamy and smooth, set aside.

Remove the baking sheet of pastry squares from the freezer. Place about 2 teaspoons of almond cream in the centre of each square and spread gently using a small spatula.

Remove the pears from the liquid. Dry them on a clean kitchen towel. Slice each half into ¼ inch lengthwise slices. Lift the pear half with a spatula and place it on the almond cream on each pastry square. Gently fan the slices, leaving a ½ inch border of pastry around the pears.

Bake until the tarts are puffed and evenly golden brown, approximately 50-55 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven. Serve one tart per plate. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with whipped cream or ice cream. Serve warm.

pear-tart-with-ice-cream

Recipe adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook-Sweetness in Seattle by Tom Douglas and Shelly Lance.

I bought my copy here:

http://www.amazon.ca/Dahlia-Bakery-Cookbook-Sweetness-Seattle/dp/B00BXU9R50/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403050153&sr=8-2&keywords=the+dahlia+bakery+cookbook

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-Cake-on-a-pedastal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have mentioned things that make me smile throughout my posts but today I thought I would share a list of some of my favourites. These are some things or places that I enjoy. I hope you enjoy some of them too.

Listening to this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2VCwBzGdPM

Wonderful cake props

http://www.allantiqueglass.com/pedestal-cake-stands/

A photographer whose work I admire

http://www.clarebarboza.com/index2.php#/home/

The pot that I cannot live without

http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Le-Creuset-Brasier-10p421.htm

Toronto’s best little pie shop

http://www.wandaspieinthesky.com/about_wanda.html

Another blog that I enjoy

http://backroadjournal.wordpress.com/

Where to find the best market in Provence

http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/vaucluse/lourmari/lourmari.htm

A great reference book for cooking like a chef

http://books.google.ca/books/about/Complete_Techniques.html?id=HOKJA21UVxIC&redir_esc=y

A great family movie for a long weekend

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicentennial_Man_(film)

Algonquin park

Algonquin Park

Wonderful carrot cake

Carrot-Cake-Plated

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large ripe banana, mashed
½ cup low-fat yogurt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup raisins
½ cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. low-fat milk or water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch Bundt pan with cooking oil.

For the cake, beat the oil and granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating the mixture well (it may look curdled). Add the banana, carrots, raisins, pineapple and yogurt. Stir until everything is well combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl, mixing well. Add to the carrot mixture and stir just until everything `is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and milk in a bowl or food processor until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Make Ahead: Keep for up to 3 days well wrapped, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.
Serves 16

 

Recipe from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman

Creating Holiday Memories with Chocolate Crackle Cookies

chocolate-crackle-cookies-3

I always get sentimental at this time of year. The holidays are a time when we remember holidays past. Some of those memories are wonderful, while others can be sad. We miss those who are no longer with us and cherish the moments with those who are.

I remember what it was like when I was a child. My parents had four children and money was tight. Nevertheless, they made sure that we received presents and a wonderful dinner and lots of love over the holidays. My father was adamant that none of us would receive more than the others so he went out of his way to make all giving equal. He never knew that we did not care; we were just happy to receive gifts.

When I got older and had a family of my own I tried to keep some of my childhood traditions with my daughters, while incorporating new ones of our own. It was fun creating new traditions that my daughters remember as the ones from their childhood. It is the little moments that we remember that are the most special.

My daughters are getting to the age where they are starting to have families and I hope that they continue to create that sense of tradition within their own homes.

One tradition that we still hold onto from my childhood is for us to enjoy holiday movies together. Year after year we would roll out the tapes and DVDs of classic holiday films like White Christmas; It’s a Wonderful Life; and the Bishop’s Wife. We would curl up with tea or hot chocolate and baked cookies while enjoying the family time together. I can recall every word to the songs from White Christmas since we sang then over and over as children. As the years passed, we added a few modern classics like Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation and Love Actually to the viewing list.

Family time together is never boring.  I look forward to the holidays with anticipation of laughter and good times.

Whatever you have planned for the holidays, I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season!

Here is another holiday cookie recipe that will impress your family and guests. These cookies are filled with a burst of chocolate flavour that makes them so delicious you will probably want to bake them all year round.

Chocolate Crackles
Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring. Set aside and let cool. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

With an electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and then melted chocolate. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide each piece into sixteen 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners’ sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake until surfaces crack, about 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up for to 3 days.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies from the editors of Martha Stewart Living

Baking up a Holiday Storm with Cranberry and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

White-Chocolate-cranberry-cookies-styled-2

Can you believe that it s already the 7th of December? I have been madly rushing about trying to get started on my holiday shopping, decorating the house, and starting my holiday baking. Every year I try to make the holiday special for family and friends by cooking and baking up a storm. As my children grew older I tried to make our holiday celebration about being together for a great meal and sharing each others company.

I have decided to make some home-made gifts this year. It adds a more personal touch to everyone’s presents and creates special memories. Baked holiday cookies make a wonderful gift for the sweet lovers on the list.

I also decided to try some new recipes for my holiday cookies. This recipes makes some large chewy cookies that are filled with the rich flavours of white chocolate, coconut, cranberries and pecans. They taste like a mouthful of holiday magic!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 16-18 large cookies

Ingredients:
¾ cup (1880 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
½ cup (125 ml) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp. (15 ml) light corn syrup
1 tsp. (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (375 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup (65 ml) cake flour
1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) salt
½ cup (125 ml) sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup (125 ml) rolled oats (not the quick cook kind)
½ cup (125 ml) pecans, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
½ cup (125 ml) sweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
1 -3 ½ oz. (100 g) package white chocolate chips, coarsely chopped

White-chocolate-cranberry-cookies-on-a-cooling-rack

Directions:

Position 2 racks near the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl. Add the egg, corn syrup, and vanilla, beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Mix in half of the all-purpose flour on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Mix in the remaining half of the all-purpose flour. Sprinkle the cake flour, baking soda and salt into the bowl and mix on low speed until blended, about 1 minute. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries, oats, pecans, coconut and white chocolate.
Scoop up ¼ cup (65 ml) of dough and shape onto parchment paper into 2 inch disks that are ½ inch thick. Space the dough at least 2 inches apart.
Bake 15 – 18 minutes until the edges and bottoms are golden brown and centre feels dry on the surface but soft inside. When baking 2 pans of cookies at one time be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.
Let cookies cool on baking sheets for at least 1 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. These cookies can be kept for 3 or 4 days in an air tight container at room temperature or for several weeks in the freezer.

Recipe modified from The Best of Fine Cooking Cookies Holiday 2012

Black Plum Yogurt Loaf with Ice Wine

Autumn is my favourite time of year. In spite of the impending cold weather this season is filled with a pallet of warm rich colour, crisp blue skies and warm cozy dinners. The cooler weather has its advantages; you can run or cycle for an hour and still not get too hot. You can walk outside with a light jacket and feel the cool fall breeze on your face.

Farmers are busy harvesting their crops and filling the markets with apples, pumpkins, tomatoes, plums and dozens of other seasonal treats. The vineyards of Niagara and Prince Edward County are harvesting grapes for their annual wine production. Fall fairs are popping up all around the city and dinner plans are taking shape for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday next weekend.

This recipe makes a great dessert loaf topped with a layer of fresh black plums soaked in Niagara Ice Wine. It is great served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or served room temperature on its own.

Black Plum Yogurt Loaf with Ice Wine

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) ice wine
1 ½ cups (375 ml) black plums, pitted and diced
6 tbsp. (90 ml) butter, room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
¾ cup (180 ml) plain creamy yogurt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C). In a medium bowl pour the ice wine over the plums. Mix well and set aside to marinate.

In an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each one. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt until both are incorporated; careful not to over mix.

Meanwhile drain the plums. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and smooth top. Press the plums into the batter and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe adapted from The Ontario Table by Lynn Ogryzlo

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Mint

This has been a wonderful week filled with family celebrations.

Both my mother and I are born in June so we were planning to celebrate our birthdays together, as we usually do. What we did not expect was that my grand-daughter would come a few weeks early and we would have a precious baby girl to celebrate with us.

I spent most of my birthday helping my daughter while she recovered in the hospital. I was able to hold my grand-daughter for hours, to sing to her and talk to her and to celebrate her birth. I could not have dreamed of a more wonderful gift.

One of my favourite memories of when my daughters were young is how we would go strawberry picking in June with my sister and her daughters. The girls would eat more berries than we could pick but we had lots of fun. Then we would cart berry covered girls and the baskets of fruit home and promptly start making jam.

One of my favourite things is the unique flavour combination of strawberries and rhubarb. This year I made a strawberry and rhubarb compote. This delightful, fruity topping can be served on ice cream, as a cheesecake topping or in crepes that are topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Any way that you choose to enjoy this recipe I hope it will remind you of this wonderful time of year.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Mint

Ingredients

3 cups 1/2-inch-wide pieces fresh rhubarb (cut from about 1 pound)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1-pint container fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Directions

Combine rhubarb, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Simmer gently until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in strawberries. Transfer to bowl and stir in mint. Chill until cold, about 1 hour.

Use in your favourite recipe as a topping or crepe filling.

Recipe from Epicurious.com

Chocolate Quinoa Crepes with Bananas (Gluten-Free Goodness)

What a great weekend! As I continue on this journey of getting fit, I have decided to take up cycling again. I went out with a friend last evening and cycled along the Toronto Beaches bike trails. Just as we were riding back home the super moon was hanging over the lake reflecting rich, golden hues into the water. What an outstanding night!

I plan to continue with this fitness program all summer and will report back periodically on how well things are going. So far I am feeling more alive and happy than I have in years.

I will also try to add more recipes for healthy eating as I go.

I was skeptical when I tried this recipe for chocolate quinoa crepes. I am a crepe lover from way back. When in Paris, I love to order Crepes Chantilly as a treat and I love savoury crepes for dinner. So here I am making crepes with quinoa flour. This is a very different style of cooking for me. Well, the truth is, it was the chocolate that got my attention.

I have to admit that they turned out so well my daughters ate them up in mere minutes. The great thing is that my celiac friends can also enjoy this great gluten-free dessert with bananas or another fruit. They are a real treat for anyone who loves crepes.

 

Chocolate Quinoa Crepes with Bananas

Ingredients

1/3 cup quinoa flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. salted butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 bananas, sliced
whipped cream
chocolate shavings

Directions

Combine the quinoa flour, cocoa and white sugar in a medium bowl, mixing well. Whisk in the eggs, then the melted butter, mixing gently. Slowly add the milk, blending until smooth.

Lightly grease or spray a small frying pan with cooking oil and place over medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour about 3 tbsp. of the crepe batter into the pan spreading evenly to coat. Fry until the edges begin to turn golden brown and flip, cooking about 30 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate. Repeat until all of the crepes are done (you will have about 6-8 crepes).

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, brown sugar and vanilla to make the filling. Spread about 3 tbsp. of the filling onto each crepe. Add some sliced bananas. Wrap the crepe gently by folding in each side. Garnish with additional slices of banana, a tablespoon of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings.

Serve immediately.

Recipe from Quinoa 365 by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming