Five Things And A Basket Of Peaches – Part Two


So what started as a peach upside down cake, happily was converted mid – gear.

Looking for something a little like a peach clafoutis, I imagined luscious round peaches peeking out from above the crust of a sweet, white cake. But little did I know, they didn’t need a push into the batter. As the cake puffed up, the peaches ventured further downward creating more of a upside down peach surprise cake; and what a surprise. I suppose I got what I’ originally wanted and was delighted to cut into the cake to find the perfect peach halves peeking out from below.

Served with a dollop of vanilla cream, this dessert made for a very nice finish to a summer meal.

SUNKEN PEACH CAKE

1 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour, sifted
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoon Egg Replacer
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Margarine
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Peaches
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line a square cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the margarine with the sugar.
Add the egg replacer, milk and the vanilla to the margarine.
Slowly add the flour until just moistened. and fold the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Halve the peaches and remove the pit.
Place the peaches in the center of each of the four corners of the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden and an inserted pick is cleanly removed.

Walnut Crumb Banana Muffins


Upon noticing an onslaught of bananas in my frozen hoard and an indecent craving for sweet comfort food, (like I haven’t been eating enough of that lately) I hit my freezer stash and thawed a few bananas.

Even though they go against a local market movement, they were light, sweet and deceivingly healthy (ish). The candied walnuts further pushed these banana muffins to almost gourmet status.

Well, you be the judge:


BANANA MUFFINS

3 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

WALNUT CRUMB TOPPING

1/2 Cup Walnut Halves or Pieces
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 350º.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
With a fork, mash the bananas in a large bowl.
Add the oil, brown sugar, vanilla and salt; mix well.
Once well combined, add the sifted flour in batches, mixing only to moisten.
Line cooking tin with muffin papers and add enough batter to fill them 2/3 up.

In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of the topping margarine. Toss the walnuts in the melted margarine, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar to coat evenly; set aside.
Combine the remaining margarine and brown sugar with the flour,oats and salt. Mix completely with a fork.
Add spoonfuls of the topping to the waiting muffin batter and top evenly with a few of the sugared walnut pieces.

Bake at 350º on the centre rack for 18 minutes, until firm and golden or insert and remove a toothpick. The muffins are moist but it should come out fairly clean.
Allow muffins to rest in the tin before moving to a rack to cool.

Makes about 10 -12 muffins.

Cindy over at Where’s the Beef tried them out, giving some really great play by play photos along the way!

Raspberry Tart


After a meal last week, I thought about some of my recipes on the site.
You see, my sister in law, along with being vegan, suffers from Celiac Disease which is a gluten intolerance restricting her diet of all wheat, rye and barley products.
No meat, no dairy and no bread. Poor girl.

To her, wheat shows it’s ugly head often. It’s in so much more that the mere loaf of bread – it’s in cakes, pastries, muffins, most veggie burgers, hot dogs and soy sauce.

This was the problem I feared when I first met with my vegan cooking challenge. I’ve gone on about creating a satisfying meal for my guests. I have to admit I feel just awful when I see her eating only hummus or grilled vegetables then skipping dessert, all while we’re all slathering our freshly toasted buns with bar-b-qed goodies.

It’s not the full meal, but here’s a little more than a popsicle for your next dessert; a gluten free, no bake raspberry tart. Happy early birthday, my dear. I hope you like it.

RASPBERRY TART

You will need about 2 Pints (3-4 cups) of fresh raspberries for the final topping.

CRUST

1/3 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt (pinch)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Add the vanilla and brown sugar; mix well.
Simmer over a medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 -3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the almonds and half of the oats, until well ground.
Add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon and salt; pulsing to combine.
Empty the dry mixture into a medium sized bowl and pour over the hot syrup.
Once the crust mixture is well combined, transfer to an 8 inch tart pan.
Spread out and evenly press the mixture along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Chill to set, about 20 minutes or just while you prepare the filling.

TOFU CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the arrowroot, soy milk, lemon juice and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.

Pour into the waiting crust and return it to the refrigerator.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1/2 Cup Chocolate Pieces, vegan
1 Tablespoon Margarine
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the margarine.
Whisk in the milk to combining until smooth.
Pour over chilling tart.

Top with raspberries and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.
Chill until ready to serve.

Caramelized Rhubarb & Strawberry Crisp


Rhubarb, I find is one of those thing people either love or not. I like it, in fact I used to pluck it from the garden as a kid, peel the curly red strings and carry around a little bowl of sugar for dipping to gnaw on it raw.

There is something about the tart and sweet combination. That must be why strawberries love it too. The two are a traditional summer combination however, the problem I usually find is that people cook rhubarb to death, stewing it, leaving it a limp, stringy mess.

Rhubarb doesn’t need any water added when it’s cooked. Like most things from the garden, rhubarb is full of juice. All it needs is a spot of sugar and a bit of heat to pull out those juices and soften the rhubarb. Just a little brown sugar coats and creates a great, caramelized sweetness for the tart fruit. Add some berries and you’ve got yourself a fresher twist on an already classic dessert.



CARAMELIZED RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY CRISP

1 1/2 Cups Rhubarb
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Strawberries

TOPPING

1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Oatmeal (Whole)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
pinch of salt

Wash and trim the ends from the rhubarb. Chop stalks into 3/4″ pieces.
Add the rhubarb to a medium sized saucepan. Sprinkle over the 1/4 Cup of brown sugar and bring flame to a medium setting.
Stir occasionally to coat the rhubarb as the sugar melts and to keep it from sticking until the rhubarb begins to release it’s juices.
Simmer to soften, about 10 minutes.
Once the rhubarb is fork tender, add the strawberries.
Simmer for another 5 minutes or until everything is just softened (not mushy) and juicy.
In the meantime, in a medium bowl, add the margarine, oats, flour, brown sugar and salt.
Mix everything with a fork until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a short baking dish (7″x4″ x2″deep), add the fruit and cover it evenly with the topping mixture.
Bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

Raspberry Coulis


Perfect and quick addition to pancakes, swirled into cheesecake and of course, anything chocolate.

RASPBERRY COULIS

1 Cup Raspberries, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Heat everything in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries have broken down slightly, cook for 1 – 2 minutes more then remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture.
Strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, if desired.

Summer Strawberries



Canada Day Was spectacular. The local fireworks display was fantastic and jaw dropping for our kids, revealing, thankfully, that it was better than T.V.

Since July 1st fell on a Sunday this year, our statutory holiday is pushed to today. More relaxed and laid back of a celebration, we decided to go berry picking. It was a beautiful day and we just so happen to be smack in the middle of berry season and Mennonite country for the weekend.

Our warm summer has been mostly unwavering, not giving way to very much rain. The temperatures have fluctuated giving us breaks from unbearable heat and thankfully, today was one of those days. The hot sun and a cool breeze made  great conditions for us out on the strawberry patch and so began the search for the day’s perfect field berry.
I wasn’t surprised to find the berries so small that they could have been growing wild along the side of a country road. Obviously the warm sun and lack of rain left it’s mark on this season’s strawberries. With room to grow in clusters, the sun warmed berries came off their hosts with an audible ‘pop’. Succulent and sweet, each of these berries tasted like warm, fresh jam.
We picked as many of this summer’s little jewels we could stuff down and carry then headed back to my in-laws for more of a gluttony strawberry feast.

VEGAN STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Soft Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Shortening, cold – I keep mine in the freezer
1 1/4 Cups Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

In a measuring cup, combine the lemon juice and the soy milk and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
Prepare a baking sheet with a fitted piece of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, quickly sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a few good pulses.
Add the shortening to the flour mixture and continue to combine in short, quick pulses until it’s well incorporated and resembles course crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, a fork will do. Otherwise, use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the shortening into the flour.)
Add vanilla to soy milk mixture then drizzle over dry ingredients.
Stir with fork just until the flour is just moist, forming a soft dough.
Drop two heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.
Alternately, for more exact shortcakes, if needed, you may sprinkle enough flour to make the dough workable. Fold the dough out onto a lightly floured board or work surface. With floured hands, pat dough into a round that is about 1-inch thick. Sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar over dough. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup rimmed with flour, cut the dough into rounds. Bring the dough together and reshape as needed. You should get about 10 – 12 cakes. Use spatula to transfer the dough to your baking sheet.
Bake for about 13- 15 minutes or just golden.
Transfer shortcakes to wire rack to cool.

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES

2 Cups Strawberries, hulled & sliced, if necessary
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier or Brandy (optional)

Mix everything together in a large bowl and allow to sit while you prepare the shortcakes.

VEGAN WHIPPED CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
3 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the soy milk and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.
Refrigerate prior to serving. It will keep up to one week.

To assemble shortcakes, slice off the top of the cakes using a serrated knife.
Place bottom half, followed by a spoonful of macerated berries, cream and another spoonful of berries.
Place top half of shortcake at an angle over fillings; and serve immediately.