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Cherry Cardamom Vanilla Loaf

22 Nov

My friend Kendra and I had a bread day last week. We went a little crazy and made five different types! This Cherry Loaf came from modifying a recipe Kendra had for Strawberry Loaf (which is also delicious and which some day I will also post here) using ingredients that I had in my freezer – namely, 10 pounds of cherries I brought back from B.C. this Summer.

I’ll name some modifications we would both make next time we make it. We both thought it would be good with grapefruit glaze or some other citrus. This is delicious served with a fragrant tea like Roobois or Chamomile.

Cherry Cardamom Vanilla Loaf

5 cups of sweet cherries, pitted and mashed (next time I’d pulse it a few times in the food processor)
2/3 cup grapeseed oil
2/3 cup applesauce (I used the Crabapple Sauce I canned a few months ago)
1.5 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps ground cardamom (I only had whole cardamom, so we ground it ourselves)
2 pinches of allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt Continue reading

I made bread – you can too!!

26 Oct

Ok, so. Those of you who know me know that I’ve been wanting – nay, yearning – to learn how to make bread. My relationship with yeast has been tepid, at best. I’m not talking about tepid as in the lukewarm water you’re supposed to use to activate the yeast. I mean every time I’ve ever tried using yeast, I’ve somehow killed it (the time I thought I was supposed to use 100 degree CELSIUS water, not 100 degree FAHRENHEIT – whoops), or it’s only partially risen (not enough rising time??), or it’s risen and then baked into a brick (no idea)!

I got The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread from the library, without even knowing it was a collection of no-knead bread recipes. I’ve seen Michael Smith’s Chef at Home episode where he makes no-knead bread as per the technique developed by Jim Lahey and outlined in the New York Times piece by Mark Bittman. So I thought, how hard can it be? It’ll perfect for my computer weary arms.

The first try I did everything the book told me, including mixing the yeast in with the dry ingredients and then adding the liquid. Two hours of rising time went by and…nothing happened. My hopes dashed, I asked around and was told that I had to activate the yeast (I totally knew that…but I was following the book directions!)

Anyway, I made the recipe again, with already activated yeast, and viola – bread was made. Calgary is SUPER dry, so I ended up adding a full 1/2 to 1 cup more water than the recipe called for.

Classic French Boule – from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/4 – 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (I activated the yeast in about 1/4 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar)
2 tbsp cornmeal

Stir everything but the cornmeal together in a large bowl, until it comes into a ball. Loosely cover with plastic wrap (and a damp tea towel) and let rise on the counter in a draft-free place for 2-3 hours. Place in the fridge and let sit overnight up to 48 hours.

Preheat a Dutch Oven (enameled pot) in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes. With floured hands on a well-floured surface, draw the dough together into a 6″ ball. Let rise, seam side up in a bowl (covered again with plastic wrap or a damp, floured towel) for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Once the Dutch Oven is heated, sprinkle the cornmeal on the bottom and turn the dough into it (seam side down). Cover it and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 20 minutes more or until an internal temperature of 210 F is reached.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

9 Oct

Over the last week I’ve had a number of people ask if I have a great pumpkin pie recipe. I do, in fact, and though this post might be a little too late for some of you, I thought I’d post it anyway.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Filling:
300 g pumpkin purée
150 ml sourcream
150 g sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp clove
2 eggs
1 Tbsp molasses

Crust:
625-700 g flour (approx. 5 cups) (I like to use a mix of whole wheat, spelt and all-purpose, whatever I have on hand)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
454 g butter, lard or shortening (if using butter, add a little less water to start; shortening is NOT my favourite to work with)
1 egg
water Continue reading

Crabapple Sauce

21 Sep

There’s a very large crabapple tree in my backyard that produces beautiful red apples in September.Usually, the apples fall to the ground creating a mess that attracts wasp, but this year I broke out the extension ladder and picked about 25 pounds of fruit. Almost getting stuck on my garage roof aside, picking my own tree and turning into preserves that I’ll use over the next several months has been very satisfying!

I use applesauce quite a bit for baking, so I thought “why not make crabapple sauce?” I couldn’t find any recipes specifically using crabapples so I experimented a little and created my own.

Crabapples are very high in pectin which resulted in using much more water than regular applesauce recipes call for. I also wanted to make unsweetened sauce, but after tasting my first batch, I decided it’s more palatable to add a sweetener.

By the third batch I had the technique down; it turned out so well, I’m tempted to risk getting stuck on the garage again to pick more apples and make more sauce. This will definitely be something I make in future preserving seasons. Continue reading

Fruit Pies and Pie Crust – deconstructed.

9 Sep

Here’s the latest Om Cooking article from Bodhi Tree’s September 2011 Newsletter.

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September has always meant new beginnings to me. There’s something about the fall air, the leaves turning and the back to school signs that signal the turning of another year, even more so than our calendar new year in January. The city is starting to bustle again and you begin to notice fresh haircuts, new outfits, and a renewed sense of determination to get down to business. You yourself may be getting back into your daily routine, starting a new job, or going back to school.

Changes to our familiar routine can sometimes be uncomfortable. During these times it’s good to remember the practice of non-attachment that we learn in yoga class. Take deep breaths, take everything in stride and remember that at many points in our lives, we started new; from our first breath, our first step, our first day of school, first yoga class, first job…the list could go on. Especially when we were young, our parents were there with open arms to comfort us when new experiences overwhelmed us. Now, those comforts could be a hug from a good friend, our yoga practice, exercise, or any number of other things.

To me, the ultimate comfort food is pie. If you’re a pie lover already, this recipe’s for you. If not, this might become the quintessential dessert to make when you want something familiar. Try combining apples with cranberries, rhubarb, or other berries for something a little different. Continue reading

Baked Oatmeal

27 Apr

Here’s the original article from Bodhi Tree’s April 2011 newsletter.

———–

One cannot think well,
love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
~Virginia Woolf.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” You may have found that if you come to yoga on an empty stomach, you get dizzy and have very little energy, especially first thing in the morning. Your body is a complex machine that needs fuel to function properly. Nourishing the body with good food at regular intervals maintains your blood sugar levels, allowing you to think clearly and use your energy efficiently to remain active throughout the day. Continue reading

The Best Muffins

10 Apr

Here’s the original article from the Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre’s December 2010 Newsletter.

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The draw to pick up a muffin with your coffee on the way to work can be hard to resist. But what’s really in that muffin?

Baking at home allows you to choose your ingredients, avoid allergens and incorporate your ethical choices about food. I know it can seem overwhelming, time consuming and sometimes tedious, but I have a simple fix for you: a good base recipe!

Just like setting the foundation – hands and feet – in yoga allows you to build from the primary poses into more advanced variations, having a good base muffin recipe allows for a reliable quick cake that can handle varying flavours and textures. You can ensure you always have the ingredients you need on hand, so when the urge to bake arises, you’re ready to go.

To save time, make a double or triple batch every few weeks, then freeze them. Take a few out of the freezer whenever you want and pop into the toaster oven. You’ll pull out perfectly baked muffins every time!

Here’s my favourite base muffin recipe. I’ve included variations I like to do in brackets and flavour combinations at the end. This recipe can easily be made wheat-free, dairy free, or vegan. Continue reading