Messy, delicious pre-camp cobbler

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It’s that time of year again! I leave tomorrow for my home away from home: camp, under the tall pines and in the crisp Sierra air.

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I have this strange tradition of always making some kind of fruit dessert before I leave – something about the combination of mindful baking that takes my mind off the trillion things I have to do before I leave, plus the freshness of the fruit that I miss while I’m at camp. I have no idea when this started, but for the last 5 years or so, it seems that I always make something the day before I leave. So! Cobbler. Here ya go. At least it was a change from the shortcakes – I looked back into the archives & apparently I made shortcakes the last three years. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency?!

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And after I finish the trillion things it feels like I need to do today…. CAMP! YAY! It really is my home away from home – an awesome family who I only see about twice a year, beautiful surroundings and a soul-soothing break from technology.

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But in the meantime, before I go… I’ll eat cobbler. One of the more homely desserts out there – a blobby, delicious mess – but sometimes, dessert needs to be less than perfectly aesthetic and perfectly delicious.

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Cobbler is obviously dessert alongside a generous scoop of ice cream, but no doubt also will be breakfast, because everyone knows that cobbler is one of the most perfect breakfast foods (right up there with pie) – especially since this one is whole grain and full of fruit! That’s breakfast, right there.

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I really wanted to use leaves from my ginger mint plant – it’s actually a thing! It’s mint, that tastes gingery! Literally amazing. But sadly, a resident caterpillar thought it was amazing too, and ate all the leaves yesterday, RUDE. Which meant I had to punt and use regular spearmint, but it’s still delicious, I promise. And the caterpillar has been kicked out of his comfy digs on my plant, so hopefully the ginger mint (whose name is Watson, by the way) will make a speedy recovery.

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In other news… let’s see. More progress on the SF series, and a few different days of fun on the Bay!

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Happy July! See ya on the flip side of my wilderness sojourn.

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Rhubarb Raspberry Ginger-Mint Cobbler

Heavy on the fruit, lightly sweet with a kick from the ginger and a hint of mint  – perfect for summer since (unlike pie dough) there’s no fussing with cold butter or unwieldy dough in a hot kitchen. Cobbler is one of the easiest summer desserts – start to finish, it really only takes about an hour. This one is supremely easy, whole grain, and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serves…. 2? Hahahaha I kid. Sort of. You could feed anywhere from 2-6 people, but I argue for two with breakfast leftovers ;) A Wait are those Cookies original; topping lightly adapted from the Kitchn, here.

For the fruit filling:

  • 4-5 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh spearmint
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

*I bake straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine. I also don’t measure fruit for this – I just use enough so that my pie plate is heapingly full

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather). Stick some foil on the rack below the rack you’ll bake the cobbler on, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice, candied ginger, chopped mint, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream, until the combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 5 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling. A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

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You must construct additional pie-lons to defeat the Swarm!

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I just can’t stop with the Starcraft pie situation over here…

We are the Swarm… Numberless, Merciless {when it comes to pie}

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Besides, I like Zerg best so I couldn’t very well not do a Zerg pie… and of course it had to be dark purple, obviously.

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Besides that, I know I’ve broken my unofficial rule of not repeating myself in two subsequent posts, but…. it’s PIE. So… it’s fine. And it’s my blog anyway so why do I have these stupid rules for myself?! As a very wise man once said, who would refuse pie?! Exactly.

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I’ve never put mint in pie prior to this, but I like it! It’s very unusual – the berries are still the dominant flavor, but the mint keeps popping in there to keep you on your toes. It adds an unexpected bit of freshness to the berries, and it smells SO good. I don’t think I breathed while I was doing the top crust…

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Let’s see, what else is new…

Opera night lions! Opening night at Rigoletto was fantastic, of course.

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And a balanced breakfast, because pie definitely counts as a fruit serving.

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Patting myself on the back over here for the structural stability of this pie – appropriate amount of thickener = appropriate amount of juices! Plus, no soggy bottom crust. Mission accomplished.

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It’s June – the beginning of the summer fruit season — make pie, be happy! But… beware the swarm…

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Wild Blueberry, Blackberry & Mint {Zerg} Pie on Whole Wheat Crust

A Wait are those Cookies original! Yield: 1 9″ pie, serves 2 (ha) – 6. Refined sugar free and whole wheat, plus lots of antioxidants! Mint adds an unexpected freshness to an otherwise basic berry pie.

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For the pie crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 2.5 c wild blueberries*
  • 2 c blackberries*
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/3 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine; use enough berries to fill your pie plate

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap or a ziploc and chill for at least 10 minutes or up to overnight.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together blueberries, blackberries, mint, maple, whole wheat flour, vanilla, and lemon juice + zest. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Zerg-pie Starcraft nerdy (you must construct additional pylons!)…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Zerg crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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Meyer lemons: sunlight in food form

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More citrus! ALL THE CITRUS! Why stop now? It makes my kitchen smell like sunshine, and besides — meyer lemons are in season (at least on the trees I have access to, ha) and they essentially embody sunshine in one little package.

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Which means they were featured for the last round of dessert shenanigans! In two forms, both in a soufflé-cake-pudding hybrid and some lemon curd because you really can never have too much lemon.

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I love December things! Lights, pretty houses, giant trees, and dessert. And tree elves doing yoga, obviously.

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More drawing, of course.

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But, back to the dessert (since I know that’s why you’re all here anyway!) — Light, refreshing and full of lemon flavor — this hybrid soufflé-curd-pie-cake-pudding is damn delicious. Perfect for the wintertime when the pop of citrus brightens up grey days and makes your kitchen smell like sunshine! Also perfect when you want dessert and need a break from the usual heavy desserts of the season.

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Happy holidays! Hopefully you’re enjoying the season with loved ones and eating everything delicious.

Meyer Lemon Soufflé Curd Cake with Lemon Curd, Maple Blackberries and Mint

Paleo, gluten & grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish, serves 2 (just kidding. Only kind of…) — it actually realistically could serve up to 6! But only if you feel like sharing.

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For the lemon curd (best to make ahead and refrigerate), lightly adapted from What the Fork:

  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • heaping 1 tsp of vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together eggs, lemon zest and juice, honey, salt, and coconut oil. Continue to cook the curd over medium-low, whisking constantly, until it thickens. It should be about the same consistency as pudding after 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat once thickened, whisk in vanilla extract, and strain (I use a mesh strainer and a flat spatula for this) to remove any errant zest chunks. Once cool, store in airtight jars in the fridge. Keeps for a week or two, but I doubt it will last that long!

For the soufflé cake, adapted from 24 Carrot Kitchen, here:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • scant 1/2 c full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • mint leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9″ pie dish.

In a non-reactive bowl (I like to use the bowl of my stand mixer), use a hand mixer or the raw power of your biceps to beat the eggs whites until they’re glossy and hold soft peaks. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, coconut milk, maple, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whisk in coconut flour and salt. Gently fold in the egg whites until fully incorporated. Pour the batter (it will be relatively thin) into your prepared pie dish and bake for 30-35 minutes. The filling should be set and the top should be lightly browned — if it’s browning too fast, cover the top with a bit of foil. This cake is designed to have a pudding-y layer at the bottom, so be careful not to overbake. Let cool before serving.

While the cake is baking, toss a bag of thawed (or fresh, if you’re lucky) blackberries with a drizzle of maple or honey, and let marinate in their juices until ready to serve.

Serve this deliciousness in a bowl, since the cake won’t slice all that neatly anyway and it makes a gloriously delicious mess when served with extra lemon curd, blackberries, mint leaves and a little vanilla ice cream.

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Super Squash Strikes Again!

No, that is NOT ranch dressing. Just in case you were wondering.

That’s right.

You can’t escape my obsession with squash for long.

I’m not orangey yet, believe it or not. I’m sure we’re getting there, between the amount of pumpkin, squash and pumpkin derivatives I’ve been consuming (not to mention carrots and bell peppers. oops.) Whatever, I like my beta carotene and Vitamin A.

Lucky for you, (and me), squash is SUPER SQUASH. As in, SUPER good for you! It basically deserves a cape and some spandex for full-on superfood status. Full of phytonutrients AND antioxidants AND vitamins, it is probably one of the best winter foods out there. Besides, it’s versatile and delicious, so why WOULDN’T you eat it?! Especially when I’ve discovered tasty recipes for you. I sort of like to imagine a butternut squash chunk with a cape on flying around antioxidizing the crap out of free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory support, and blocking the formation of cholesterol in cells, all while providing thorough gastronomical enjoyment to the being consuming it (Ideally me). Talk about a super squash.

Incidentally, I read that b-nut super squash contains THREE HUNDRED and FORTY FIVE percent of your daily Vitamin A requirements, per cup. Yup, you read that right. No wonder I have fighter-pilot vision, it must be all that Vitamin A and retinol.

Whoaaaa. I just reread the last two paragraphs. Yeeesh. I am SUCH a nerd. But I am totally ok with that, it’s part of my charm, right? Hehe.

So, onto the recipe! This is something a bit different—Kira and I both agreed that it was very unlike anything either of us had ever made (in terms of its flavor profile). It was also delicious (because I would never share with you something that wasn’t, of course!). It also steams the squash, which, fun fact, helps it retain its nutrient density (so that you get all 345% of that Vitamin A).

Middle Eastern Egg Noodles with Squash, Yogurt, and Cashews

Adapted from Delicious Living, which I picked up from Whole Foods at some point and clipped the recipe.

Supposedly this serves 6, but we made half the recipe and had waaay more than what would feed 3 people. I’ll list our measurements :)

Food type items:

  • 3/8 c plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic (or frozen chunk, if you like the Trader Joe’s version, like me)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint (or mint tea, if you can’t find regular mint…)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a good shake of cinnamon
  • a few grindings of pepper
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed into 1″ pieces (ish) (I am so NOT that exact)
  • 1/2 c water
  • egg noodles, to feed your crowd
  • 1/3 c coarsely chopped cashews (or more, if you’re me and you’re nuts for nuts, haaaa) (or just NUTS)

Firstly: Combine yogurt, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Crush mint between your fingers and add to yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then cover and let it chillax in the fridge.

Secondly: Heat oil in a skillet (or straight sided saute pan) on medium. Add onion, and cook until onion browns, about 6 minutes or however long it takes your particular onion. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Add tomatoes, squash, and water. Cover and simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes (according to the recipe—ours was probably closer to 20 or 22 minutes), until the squash is tender.

In the meantime, cook yo’ noodles. Usually my egg noodles are done after about 7 minutes. Drain. Toss pasta with squash sauce, and then plate. Drizzle with yogurt sauce and liberally sprinkle (or douse) with cashews.

*Alternatively: the recipe orinigally calls for a can of no-sodium added crushed tomatoes, but we didn’t have this. Besides, we decided we’d rather use fresh ingredients if possible! So in went a small carton of cherry tomatoes, hooray! Also, the original specified walnuts, which we also didn’t have. Whatever, I prefer cashews. Either way, whatever you have!

Incidentally, if you’re interested, the recipe includes nutrition facts! I just thought I’d share (though don’t expect this on a regular basis, because a) I’m too lazy, and b) I don’t calorie count!)

Per serving: 358 cals, 11 g fat (3 g monounsaturated, 6 g polyunsaturated, 1 g saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 12 g proteinm 51 g carbs, 7 g fiber, and 86 mg sodium.

Super squash strikes a blow against free radicals everywhere!