Keep calm and eat your veggies.

I was going to title this post “Keep calm and have a cupcake”, but I somehow forgot to take pictures of the chocolate-cardamom-nutella cupcakes. I haven’t been baking enough during the daytime, and natural light being essential to decent photos, you’ll just have to wait until the sun stay up later in the day for more frequent baking photos. Which, is also why you’re getting an Instagram photo, for now.

The past week has been a panic-and-freak-out sort of week: I busted my butt to get to Toronto, to interview for a pretty incredible job opportunity, which ended up not working out, despite my best hopes. I’m taking it in stride, but it’s still stressful. Also stressful was the travel: Freezing rain made for delays there and cancellations on the way home. I was pretty happy to have a roof over my head on Thursday night and Via Comfort Class on Friday morning. Oh, also on Thursday, I got an e-mail from Urban Craft officially welcoming me as a vendor for February sale at GCTC. Yay! And then, this morning, my vendor information came.

And then, I was like “Whoa.” This just got real. Very, very real.

This is going to be a huge learning curve for me. I recognize some of the other vendors, like michaelsdolce – a phenomenal company who I mostly know for their preserves – and Pascale’s (Ottawa’s Queen of Ice Cream). Yeah, I’m a bit panicked at the moment. Partly, out of the scope of it all and partly because I want this to be a great big success, and successes are scary, hard, challenging things. I’ll try to blog about the challenging things the best that I can. The trouble is, the challenging things tend to bring me back to the kitchen, to explore a favourite recipe, or make something that doesn’t need a recipe at all, like this galette.

Galette is a general term used to refer to a flat, free-form cake or pastry; in the savoury sense, it often is specific to a buckwheat flour pancake, sold by creperies, filled with savoury fillings. Alyson (of Unruly Things) and Deb (of Smitten Kitchen) jointly introduced me to the concept of a galette as something that wasn’t necessarily made with buckwheat flour. Think of it as a free-form pie, and you’ll be singing.

Pâte Brisée
Makes enough for 1 7-inch galette

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Combine flour and butter in your food processor; pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Too much water makes for a tough crust. Gently shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Savoury Swiss Galette (Swiss chard, carmelized onions & Swiss cheese galette)
Serves 4 as a main, with sides

1 recipe Pâte Brisée (above)
1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned stems removed, blanched and well-drained
1 medium yellow onion, carmelized in 2 tbsp olive oil.
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

Heat the oven to 400F.

Once your pâte brisée has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface (or on a Silipat) into a ten-inch round; don’t fret too much if it’s not perfect.

Leaving a three-inch border, layer the dough with the chard, then the onions, and finally the thyme. Fold the border into the middle and pinch it here and there so it has some form to it. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Allow the galette to cool for a few minutes before serving, lest you burn your tongue.


(not quite) Indian-inspired Rice Pudding


We’ve entered 2012, the Year of the Dragon, the Year of Sustainable Energy (according to the UN), and the Year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s also the beginning of the year and people are starting to make their resolutions, their goals, and their purpose for the next twelve months known. I’ve started to do so, for better of worse. I’ve fallen into the trap, if you want to call it that, of resolving to be healthier this year and to end this year in a healthier body*. What struck me as interesting, if I may speak freely for a moment, was how many people on January 1 were saying that they wanted to stick to a resolution, but didn’t actually start their resolution on the first. What better a day than the first day of the new year to feel motivated and to get momentum for something that you know is going to be difficult?

Funny that I should say that, since this morning I have had trouble getting going. Even with this delightful, amazing Indian-inspired rice pudding for breakfast. I should clarify something: This isn’t really rice pudding. It’s not thick or dense or pudding like at all. It’s kind of more like a rice cereal. But, if I call it that, I’ll be reminded of Rice Krispies, the original rice cereal. And it’s not like that at all. It’s like if you had oatmeal, but made of rice. With lots of milk.

This was created largely to use up leftover basmati rice from dinner last night (Hey, I really like basmati rice, okay?). When I was younger, my family used to visit friends who made the most delicious curries and other Indian food, and I’m pretty sure that my mother couldn’t stand the curries. But, I loved the rice. It had cardamom in it and was dotted with raisins. This has that. It also has coconut, for sweetness, and cashews, for crunch and density, and mangoes, because I like mangoes. It’s a really great, quick breakfast that’s a good way to use up leftover rice, something which I come into at least twice a week. (And it discourages me from eating too much rice at dinner!)

Indian-inspired Rice Pudding
for one large breakfast serving

1/3 cup cooked basmati rice
1/2 cup frozen mango, thawed**
2 tbsp milk or dairy drink of your choice
a small handful of shredded coconut
a small handful of golden raisins***
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp roasted cashews

Place the first three ingredients (rice, mango, milk) into a small saucepan and heat over medium for about 5 minutes, until well combined and the mango is heated through. Add the coconut, raisins, cinnamon and cardamom and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring. Serve, and top with cashews.

*I am also resolving to start using proper capitalization in future posts. I’m not sure when I became so lazy, but it doesn’t have the aesthetic appeal that it once did.
**I threw the frozen mango in with the rice last night after dinner and stuck it in the fridge
***I cheated and used Thompson raisins. Speaking of which, who is Thompson and why does he have raisins named for him?