This morning, a breakfast cake

blueberriescousinsan every day cake

Everyone needs a go-to cake. This is mine.

Blueberry lemon cake

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Pretty much any berry can be subbed in for the blueberries. When I have a lot (8-10 oz) of berries on the ripe side, I cook them down into a skillet jam and then fold them in at the end, after combining the liquid and dry ingredients. Even better, though, is replacing the berries with 2/3 cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips, and replacing the lemon juice and zest with that of a blood orange. A tart pan is essential in my house (it fits best under our cake dome), but an 8 x 8 square pan will also do.

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2 cups white spelt flour
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch fine grain salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C. Line the bottom of a 10-inch round tart pan with parchment, and lightly oil the sides.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest together. Add the berries and toss gently to coat. In a small bowl, whisk the liquid ingredients together. Add liquid ingredients to dry, and fold gently to combine. The batter will be thick, like biscuit dough. If it seems to dry, add a splash of almond milk.

Once the cake is in the oven, lower the heat to 350. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes

Breakfast for dinner

 

Saturday morning drizzleEverything is better when lemon icing is involved, even a Saturday morning school make up day.

Nina’s love for the written word is at that stage where she’ll read anything within reach. Comic books, chapter books, the back of a cereal box, whatever I’ve downloaded on my Kindle.

It wasn’t long before she started reaching for my cookbooks, especially anything with ‘vegan’ in the title . A few weeks ago she shouted “Tonight, blueberry waffles!” from the living room, and just like that, she also took over menu planning.

The Readerpage three

Ni reads recipes with intent, quizzing me about ingredients (always fun when she mispronounces them), memorizing the steps, and preemptively chastising me if anything I’ve ever done in the history of our time in the kitchen together these past seven years contradicts a recipe’s Notes. This intensity means she has the energy to read through exactly one recipe most nights, usually from the first chapter of a book.

We had a lot of breakfast for dinner before I rearranged the cookbooks.

blueberry teff waffles

 

Blueberry teff sourdough waffles with lemon icing

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Any sourdough starter will work in this recipe, but teff is especially suited, flavor-wise, to blueberries. (Rye would be my second choice.) Also! My teff sourdough starter smells like apples, and this makes me want to put it in everything. I started it several months ago while testing recipes for Kittee’s Ethiopian cookbook, and it’s now the only sourdough starter in my refrigerator. Oh yeah, and it’s gluten free to boot. In case you don’t recognize the book Nina’s holding, she plucked this gem from Lauren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum.  As with most recipes in my cookbooks, I made it once as written, modified the heck out of it (which usually means making it from memory alone and letting instinct take over), and then scribbled all over the recipe page when I got it just so. The lemon icing is very sweet, the waffles not so much. Definitely use muscovado sugar if you have it;  turbinado is also quite good. To make these gluten free, substitute an all purpose gluten free flour blend for the white spelt and add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.

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For the waffles:
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 ounces unsweetened plain coconut or soy yogurt
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup teff sourdough starter
3 tablespoons coconut or sunflower oil
1 heaping cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the icing:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons almond milk, more if needed to thin

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yogurt, almond milk, starter and oil. Whisk together until just incorporated, and then fold in the blueberries. Let the batter rest while you prepare the icing.

Preheat a waffle iron and brush or spray it with oil. Cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions – a heaping 1/2 cup batter in my iron makes a 7-inch waffle. Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200 F / 93 C oven.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5-7 minutes per waffle | Yield: 5 7-inch waffles

Not a zombie apocalypse

Snow days are a rare occurrence in the Southeast. Sleet, ice, black ice, freezing rain, or about thirty seconds’ worth of snow that turns immediately into sleet, ice, or freezing rain (aka ‘wintry mix’) – pretty standard fare ’round here.

12504056255_ca75c1e4aa_bContrary to popular belief, writing in one’s book is not always a sign of boredom of hoodlumdom // no one is safe from the veganizer/deglutenizer, including Ms. Swanson

A bona fide snowfall that comes down so fast and heavy that my footprints from walking out to the pond are completely filled in by the time I make one loop and head back to the house? Until yesterday, I would have put my money on a zombie apocalypse happening first.

12504534764_86dec42a45_bNot zombie food

The possibility of losing power last night loomed large (and may very well happen tonight), so we took the usual precautions: charged all of our phones and various devices; filled up the cars with petrol; cooked giants pots of rice and beans and squash sauce; stocked up on bottled water, bread, chips and wine; and made a few favorite family treats, including these muffins.

For the record, I think all of these things would also come in handy for a zombie apocalypse.

12504056415_6959ac0800_bNary a blue streak // take the time to coat your berries in flour and you will not be disappointed

Blueberry millet muffins

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If you’ve never tasted millet before, it has a mild, sweet flavor not unlike cornmeal. I often grind it into flour for baking, but I really like the way the teensy seeds pop between my teeth when left whole. I used frozen wild blueberries in these muffins, but I imagine just about any berry would do. These are both gluten and gum free; I use whole flax seeds to bind and leaven. Maple syrup is my sweetener of choice, lending these a rich honeyed flavor.

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4 teaspoons whole flax seeds + 1/2 cup water
1 cup superfine brown rice flour (single-milled brown rice flour will also work)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons potato starch
1/3 cup raw millet
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup plain coconut or soy yogurt
1/2 cup olive or sunflower oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
grated zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 cup blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1 tablespoon sorghum or brown rice flour to coat berries

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 F / 205 C. Line or lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin.

First, prepare your flax eggs. Stovetop: Combine the flax seeds and water in a small saucepan and bring to a low simmer for five minutes. The water may or may not begin to thicken; this is okay. Remove the saucepan from heat and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Microwave: In a large heatproof bowl, combine 1/2 cup boiling water with the flax seeds; microwave on high for 40 seconds; set aside and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

In a small bowl, toss the berries in 1 tablespoon of flour; set aside.

Whisk together the flours, starches, millet, baking soda and powder, and salt. In another  bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, syrup, lemon zest and juice, and flax-water mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Carefully fold in the berries and any excess flour. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups; they should be filled 2/3-3/4 from the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway to ensure even browning. The muffins are ready when they smell nutty and the tops are just starting to crack. Take the tins out of the oven and twist each muffin out of its cup, turning it on its side in the cup to cool.

These taste best if eaten the same day they are made, but will hold up well for up to two days stored in an airtight container.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Oven time: 20 minutes

It’s been a busy summer.

Hoosier_campsite

Cubs

We camped our way to the Upper Peninsula, stopping in Chicago to catch a Cubs game before spending nearly two weeks on lake Superior.

killdeer_nest

wave_jumper

There was a bear cub sighting, a killdeer nest, and ten straight days of sand and sun.

kitchengarden

moonandstars

pattypan

zucchiniWe returned home to find out it rained every single day we were out of town. My kitchen garden? Completely overrun with basil and shiso. My vine garden? Completely overrun with melons. Even my zucchini and patty pan plants survived, despite the annual squash bug plague.

pearsPears are in season. Tip of the iceberg. I suspect a few pear recipes may make an appearance once I get out from under these knobbly green pomes.

blueberry_oatshakeThe past five years we forgot to net our blueberry bushes, which made the local deer happy. This summer we finally got around to it, and have been picking berries every day for over a month. Most of them go straight into Nina’s mouth; any stragglers she leaves behind make it into the kitchen. She has recently declared herself a superhero-in-training*, and we came up with this shake to keep her healthy and strong.

Blueberry superhero oatshake

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This is more milkshake than smoothie, packed with all manner of things a growing superhero needs (…antioxidants, protein, fiber…). An equal amount of rolled or steel cut oats can be substituted for the groats, and 2 tablespoons cashew or peanut butter can be substituted for the raw cashews. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, there will be little flecks of oats and cashews in your shake. To avoid this, simply pre-grind the cashews and oats to a powder with a burr grinder before blending with the rest of the ingredients. I often combine everything in a large mason jar and pop it in the refrigerator before I go to bed, then blend it right in the jar with my immersion blender in the morning.

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1 large handful fresh blueberries
1 small handful baby spinach
1/2 Cup sprouted oat groats
1/4 Cup raw cashews
1/2 to 1 Cup almond milk
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

Blend until smooth, starting with 1/2 Cup milk and adding more if needed to reach desired consistency.

Yield: 1 superhero or 2 mortal servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

*Awesome Girl. Is anyone even a little bit surprised?