Cherry Kirsch Crisp

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A large part of the joy of cooking is witnessing the perfection of nature.

I believe in respecting the integrity of foods– as Brooks Headley so eloquently put it, above. He also said, “the key to making great food is to get the best possible stuff and avoid fucking it up”. Okay Brooks, simple enough.

His cookbook Fancy Desserts is a real pleasure to read. It’s one of the quirkiest, unique, personal, thought-provoking, and creative-juice-stimulating ones I’ve ever read. (“I genuinely love holding a piece of fruit in its perfect state, barely able to contain its own fragile insides, a few hours away from rot. It is magic.”)

Although I haven’t gotten around to making anything from it yet (chocolate eggplant sounds a bit far fetched, even for me…), it just reminded me again how lucky I am to be spoiled by the bounty of local, fresh summer fruit.

For me, there’s a sort of default dessert they’ll be siphoned off to– a crisp. It always goes back to the crisp. It’s quick, easy, simple, versatile, and respectful. You’re fully in charge of how much or how little sugar to add, the combination of fruits, how “whole” you want to leave the fruit, the types of oats and nuts in the topping. Whether or not you want an element of surprise. Black pepper and strawberry, perhaps. A bit of herb in the topping, like thyme, perhaps. It’s easier to make than a pie, since there’s no waiting for the crust to chill, no need to dirty your counters rolling out the crust… it’s pretty much a mix-and-dump type deal. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being able to sneak in oats, your choice of nuts and seeds, and even almond flour into your crisp topping, so you can convince yourself it’s breakfast food. Serve it à la mode, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer dessert.  Continue reading →

Hazelnut Berry Coffeecake

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Warning: long post mostly of me rambling about instagram and coffeecake and what turned into a mini critique of revolver, (not that I’m qualified of giving any out)– please scroll to the bottom if you’re just looking for the recipe & recipe notes! 

Let’s face it– eating will never be the same as it was before social media. On one hand I welcome it– it’s allowed us to connect with chefs and bakers, and take a “behind-the-scenes” look at the process of creating. Viewing photos on Instagram, for me, is the closest I can get to being there without actually going. We can menu browse before we even step foot in the restaurant– we may feign surprise or pretend to flip through the menu, but let’s face it– us serious diners have already read through every single line, and have already curated the perfect meal. Hardly anything is a surprise anymore, when we’re free to browse through reviews and photos on yelp or urbanspoon/zomato. On the other hand, it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying more attention to our devices than being fully in the present, using all our senses to appreciate our food.

I remember going to camp a long time ago, and being inspired by one of our camp counselors (total nature lover, once sat in a forest for 24 hours– overall awesome person), who ate breakfast outside everyday– no phones, just him, the food, and the environment.

Even though that image sort of stayed with me, I’d say I’m about the complete opposite of that and I eat breakfast while scrolling through my feed. (#sorrynotsorry?) It’s one of my main sources of inspiration for recipes, styling, etc. as well as new food places to try!   Continue reading →

Pumpkin Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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HIRING: hand model. must be able to hold things. hot things and cold things. light things and heavy things. multiple things or one thing. must have not-so-pretty, wise-looking hands with character, maybe some protruding veins to symbolize life. must have hands that can tell stories without words. hands must be chiral. short nails are a must because long nails = the chalkboard noise. 

BENEFITS: some hand lotion and maybe nail clippers.

What I realize is missing from my photos is some sort of presence of life. Shots of people tearing apart bread, rolling up the dough while basked in the dim evening shadows. The in-the-process-moody photos. The sort of photos that grip you with the lighting and mood, that stir up some memories of childhood or family, that conjure up aromas and tastes in your mind. You know, even if it’s something as simple as muffins on a cooling rack and one arm grabbing one, another unwrapping one.

It sounds weird talking about hands as separate entities. They very well could be. Continue reading →

Raspberry Almond Cake

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I work as a pharmacy assistant. It’s not the *most* dynamic sort of job, but I do get to interact with a wonderfully diverse group of people. Today I was ringing up a lady dressed in varying shades of pink– from her top, to her jacket, to her nails, to her jewelry– very spring-appropriate, I thought. (I silently applauded her, because pink is my favourite colour and has been since I was old enough to understand what a favourite colour meant). She kept her gaze fixed on me, even after she had inserted her card into the machine. Her fingers hovered over the keypad as she looked at me. Finally, she blurted: “but how can you be a pharmacy assistant when you’re like, grade three??”

I smile politely and told her I just finished my first year of pharmacy school. She nodded and said, as if to convince herself, “well yes, of course I wasn’t being serious, I know you can’t be working here if you were really in grade three…”

I somehow felt apologetic and tried to assure her lightly, “I know I look young”.

She just looked at me, her fingers still hovering over the pinpad.

Continue reading →

Frangipane stuffed Pineapple Bookies

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I’ll be running my first half-marathon TOMORROW (cue heavy gasping), and my superbly disciplined, nonexistent training regimen has left me *really* prepared. Actually, I’m pretty sure I developed shin splints from chronic never-stretching after running long distances, and my legs are getting payback at me, big time. I’ve also been preparing by eating really nutritious, healthy food, as evidenced by these buns (sigh). I should know better. So right now my body is nowhere near where I’d like it to be for Sunday, but I will sure as heck give it my best.

I’m counting on that marathon magic and adrenaline of having a zillion runners next to you. That helps too. Continue reading →