Sunday, July 28, 2013

chocolate cake 2.0



It's back, baby! I've been playing with my basic chocolate cake recipe since posting it originally here, and the results are a definite improvement. I finally nailed it. This one is richer, less crumbly, and just as easy. Shown here is the strawberry-garnished cake I made today for my brother-in-law's birthday, with strawberry spread in the middle, cream cheese icing (1 c butter, 1 stick cream cheese, 2 tbsp RAW beet puree, 1 c sugar), and a small basket of strawberries from the Atwater Market blowing your mind on top of and all around the cake. It was kind of ridiculously good.

Updated recipe:

Preheat oven to 370F.

100g ground almonds
200g white rice flour
80g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda

--> Sift into a medium bowl, compost large flakes of almond that remain.

Mix in:

1 c soft butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sour milk (I use about 1/3 c kefir and 2/3 c milk, you can use sour milk, all kefir, buttermilk, maybe a mix of strong yogurt and milk...)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Pour batter into two buttered and cocoa-sprinkled eight-inch pans and bake 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool about 20 minutes in pans, then turn onto a wire rack to complete cooling. Makes one two-layer cake. Best eaten the same day - gluten-free baking is always a little crumblier to start with, and the longer it stays out the more this is true. Bon appetit!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A bunch of random pictures

So I took a real silly video of me making brunch last week but I cant seem to make it into a nice smooth running little movie, so that's on hold till I can figure it out. In the meantime, here is a bunch of random pictures I collected and meant to post individually, but you now get them in a nice big bunch!

Summer is for salads, I feel, because slow cooking roasts in the oven for hours doesn't make me a happy girl.
Broc, cauliflower, bacon, hardboiled egg with a cheesy dressing

Simple cucumber and tomatoes with some herbs and a bit of vinegar and oil. I live on this stuff.

Black cracked pepper Triscuits are a bit of an obsession lately, with a tuna salad that's got a bit of whatever's in the fridge. Pictured here with green onion, corn, carrots, red pepper, and tomato.

 
FARMER'S MARKET! I am so friggin thankful to live where I do. The stuff I pick up is grown 10 minutes away from my home, and since my mother grew up on such farm in the same area, everyone knows each other. The stand I go to most often is Mr. Poirier's, right on the main road in Mercier. The experience of buying from them is incredible. Apart from actually knowing these people, they treat everyone like family, and Ive heard them try to explain to an American the layout of their fields with extreme broken English and broken French from both sides, it was beautiful. And Mr. Poirier sometimes sneaks an ear or two extra of corn in my bag, with a wink. It feels more like a social occasion than shopping.




Them tomatoes had no chance.


Some corn I roasted from them. I thought the yellow looked like jewels or something.

 
Went to the Echoes of a Proud Nation Powwow at Kahnawake, and let me tell you, the first thing I did when I walked in, as I do every year, is make a straight bee-line to the food stands. In particular, the smoked sausage stand where this guy makes his own sausages of meat he's hunted (a mix of rabbit, deer, and moose). They are beyond delicious.

Grills them right in front of you and you can get it with sautéed onions and hot sauce. I dream about these all year long.

Buffalo burgers. EVERYONE MUST EAT THESE.

Indian tacos are frybread topped with chili and regular taco toppings, and corn soup is, well, just that. Both staples of Mohawk cuisine. I'm lucky enough to have a couple of friends that make these year round and are willing to feed me so I focus on those once-a-year treats. Thing to note: strawberry juice is a huge thing culturally wise, they even have a whole festival dedicated to strawberries! Now how's that for celebrating Nature's juiciest and sweetest candy?
 Here's a few shots of the dancers and drummers for your viewing pleasure:

Families were braiding each other's hair, helping each other with their regalia. It was awesome to see.


Little bear clan warrior.
 
 

video
video

Notice the children hanging around the drums. They have an open policy where children are always invited and encouraged to sit around their drumming circle, they're very superstitious about that drum. Special treatment, the way they talk about it, people cannot under any circumstance touch that drum or the beating sticks. But children are the exception. Its actually considered good energy for an innocent child to touch a drum in wonderment.


Tried out these muffin egg things. Onion red pepper for Jeff, zucchini, carrot, red pepper, and some other stuff I cant quite recall in mine. Result, we hated them. Theyre good on the spot, but cold and/or reheated egg? Yuck.


 

 
 Plus they left an awful mess to clean, even though I very carefully greased every individual cup. Unpleasant.
 

 
This also happened. -_-


 
 
So that about sums up the last couple of months. Soon, oh so very soon (September soon), it will be canning time! I'm actually excited about this, which makes me... I don't know what it makes me. I specifically scheduled my vacation at work during harvest so I would have time to can and freeze all this delicious produce. So excited!

Friday, July 5, 2013

fermentaholic!

Mojito wine (mint and citrus) working in the yeast in a 1-gallon pickle jar - still in the rapid integration phase, the yeast is the light bubbly stuff at the top.

GF toast and eggs for brekky.

We love crackers, and GF crackers are absurdly expensive, so I'm working again on a better cracker recipe. I first soaked this bean & lentil mix over night with water and a little rejuvelac, then cooked them, then used a hand blender to turn them into mush...
Like so! I also added some buckwheat flour, spices, and more rejuvelac. I'll let it hang out awhile, then once I've baked them I'll be sure to share how they turned out.
I am reading Orlean Puckett: Life of a Mountain Midwife, and having reached the part about how all the passers-by enjoyed sitting down to a bowl of her sauerkraut for a snack, I thought, hot damn, I need to make me some sauerkraut! Thank God for my food processor, which relatively quickly sliced & shredded 2 sweet potatoes, 2 onions, 3 carrots, 1 huge daikon, 1/2 head cabbage, 1 bunch kale, about 1/2 head garlic, and 3 apples. You can see the brine is coming along nicely. (More about sauerkraut here, from the master.)
The left is the wine - you can't see the airlock here but it's on and is bubbling away, at a rate of about one to three per minute (there's a second one also out of sight), the right is the sauerkraut of course, and in the forefront is my favourite fermentation book.
Glorious rainbow compost fodder!


I used a few Tattler lids to create a barrier to push the veggies below the brine. And while I have your attention, a reflection: I offered some free kraut on facebook, and while I was working on the shredding, I was thinking about how to pitch it, and I was thinking about the notion of something being an 'acquired taste'. Because in reality... all tastes are acquired tastes. Anybody who grows up with sour fermented foods, but not sugar cane, would perceive Western cake as 'an acquired taste'. It's not a real category written in stone.

There's something about summer...! I just want to ferment things like crazy. I also bought some Rise kombucha to grow a new SCOBY with, so it's hanging out in a wide-mouth jar on my island as well. It's supposed to be raw, so hopefully that will work. Failing that, a few of the members of the WAPF Montreal group on facebook, which I've recently joined and am enjoying daily (as opposed to several other groups I'm in, which I largely ignore), have offered to share SCOBYs with me. Hurrah!