Tuesday, September 16

Hazelnut Apple Tart with Date Caramel

As I write this I am currently thirty-thousand feet above Newfoundland, or there abouts. I've been meticulously watching the screen with the little animated plane fly over towns and rivers unheard of by me for what seems like hours now.  Watching it crawl along the dotted line helps me relax and takes my mind off being so high above the earth and so far from home. This flight marks the end of the first leg of our adventure which had us spending the last couple of weeks in New York City. 

These weeks have been a complete whirl-wind, catching up with old friends, enjoying some cheesy tourist activities, trying to see just the tip of the museum iceberg, all the while taking the time to sit and enjoy the city's beautiful parks and cafes. Being the country kid that I am, New York has always stood out in my mind as being the place to be. Immortalized on screen and romanticized in my imagination, I was a bit fearful that she wouldn't live up to my ideals, but boy was I wrong. Spending the last little while here has only made me fall in love with the city more and made my desire to come back even stronger. As the long summer nights shorten into crisp autumn evenings, I can only imagine the beauty that the city must see come the changing leaves and cozy sweater weather. We'll just have to come back so I can see for myself I guess. 

To pay homage to The Big Apple herself, I whipped up the perfect dessert to get us into the autumn frame of mind -  Hazelnut Apple Tart with Date Caramel. While it might sound totally decedent, it's still clean and healthy enough to enjoy with an afternoon tea, or dare I say, breakfast. Simply made with gluten free flours, coconut oil, and no refined sugar, the tart is wholesome while remaining lightly sweet. I enjoyed mine with coconut ice-cream (one of my biggest weaknesses), but a nice dollop of coconut cream, or yogurt would also add a nice touch. 

Hazelnut Apple Tart with Date Caramel

Recipe: Serves 6-8

1 Cup Rolled Oats (gluten-free if possible)
1/2 Cup Hazelnut Flour (or almond flour)*
3 Tbsp. Liquid Sweetener of Choice (honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup)
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
1 tsp. vanilla (I used 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 tbsp. Quinoa flour, or other gluten free flour

2 Cooking Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
3/4 Cup of Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

1.Pulse the oats in a food processor until a coarse flour is made. Combine the ground oats with the hazelnut flour, 3 Tbsp Liquid Sweetener, 1/4 Cup Melted Coconut Oil, Vanilla, Salt, and the Quinoa Flour. Mix until combined and press into a rectangular shaped tart pan (the ones with the removable bottom are best).

2. Next, spread the apple sauce over the crust and sprinkle with the cinnamon.

3. Peel and slice the apples, then neatly arrange them over the apple sauce.

4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining Tbsp of Coconut Oil and Maple Syrup in a small dish and melt. Brush the mixture over top the sliced apples.

5. Cook the tart in a 175 C (350 F) oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Let the tart sit to cool before removing from the pan. 

6. Once cool, glaze the apples with half the Date Caramel mixture, reserving the other half for serving. Serve with coconut ice cream, yogurt, and the rest of the caramel.

* This can be made by grinding hazelnuts into a fine powder. Coffee grinders or high speed blenders work well.

Date Caramel

1 Cup Pitted Dates
Boiling Water
A Pinch Sea Salt

1. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for half an hour or so to soften.

2. Drain the dates, reserving the soaking liquid for later.

3. Combine the dates in a blender with the salt and 1/2 cup of the soaking water. Puree until smooth. You may need to add a touch more or less water.

4. For a super-smooth caramel, pass the mixture through a sieve. 

5. Store in the refrigerator. 

xox Sophie

Sunday, August 31

Nectarine and Almond Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Before summer ends (unofficially, at least), I thought it best to get one last go at a summery recipe. Fresh cilantro, nectarines, and lime combine to make a clean and refreshing summer salad brimming with the seasons opulence.

If it could only be like this always — always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe... 
~Evelyn Waugh

Nectarine and Almond Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Recipe: Serves 2

A Couple Handfuls of Spinach
2 Nectarines, Sliced
1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds, Toasted
1/4 Cup Red Onion, Slivered
1/3 Cup Goat Feta (optional)
1/2 Cup Cilantro Leaves

1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1 Clove Garlic, Grated
1/2 tsp. Grainy Mustard
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
A Pinch Black Pepper
A Pinch Sea Salt

1. On a platter arrange the spinach, nectarine, almonds, onion, feta, and cilantro.
2. To make the dressing, combine the mustard, honey, salt, pepper, garlic, and lime. Slowly pour in the oil.
3. Dress the salad and serve.

xox Sophie

Tuesday, August 26

Blackberry and Rye Cobbler

Summer on the coast is synonymous with a few annual endeavours. Whether it be dipping into the chilly Pacific, hiking through wild flowers, or camping among the cedar trees, each is a special routine I look forward to all year. None, however, is as anticipated as much the annual berry hunt. For years and years now I recount wading through the prickles to find the perfectly sweet, but also kind of sour, blackberries. Turned into jam, pies, wine, or eaten as they are, they provide a much needed zip to what can quickly become a summer of tomatoes, salads, and cucumbers.

The Trailing Blackberries which are native to the West Coast are smaller, sweeter, and more flavourful than the more common Himalayan Blackberry (actually native to Armenia and Northern Iran and brought to North America in 1885). While the Trailing Berry was used for eons by the Salish and other Coastal people as a food source, medicine, and rituals, they are now often hard to find. The Himalayan variety on the other hand is rampant! Most would considered it a pest, and although it can overcome a garden, I still think they are an amazing source of wild food perfect for foraging. Found on most every roadside, riverbank, or disturbed soil, the blackberry is a staple in the diets of wild birds, black bears, and eager pickers like me. If they aren't easy to access, try this recipe with whatever berries or stone fruit are available in your area. 

I chose to match the berries with rye (another edible which seeds itself in my parents garden) as the earthy flavours complement each other so well and evoke deep seated bittersweet feelings of end-of-summer. 

Blackberry and Rye Cobbler

Recipe: (Serves 4-6)

6 Cups Fresh Blackberries (or any berry that's on hand. Peaches and even plums work too)
1 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar (or 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup)

3/4 Cup Light Spelt Flour
1/3 Cup Rye Flour
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
4 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, Chilled (butter or vegan shorting will also work)
1/3 Cup plus 4 Tbsp. Almond Milk
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

***To make a gluten-free version, replace the spelt with your favourite gluten free mix and the rye with buckwheat flour. Begin by using 1/3 cup almond milk, adding just enough extra to make the batter a muffin like consistency.***

1. In an 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) pan, toss the berries with the arrowroot powder, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar. Pop the dish in a 205 C (400 F) oven for 15 minutes to let the berries begin to release their juice.
2. Meanwhile combine the light spelt, rye, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a bowl and mix well. In a separate dish add the vinegar to the almond milk and let sit a few minutes to sour.
3. Add the chilled coconut oil and mix into the flour with the tips of your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Combine the soured milk with the vanilla and pour over the dry mix, stirring until just combined.
5. Dollop 6 or so spoonfuls of the topping mix over the partially cooked berries. Don't worry if the topping isn't even, it will spread as it cooks.
6. Pop back into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and the cobbler top is golden and cooked through. Serve warm with coconut whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt.

xox Sophie