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baking

Strawberry Lemon Whole Wheat Scones

Strawberry Lemon Whole Wheat Scones

The season for strawberries is finally here!!! At least in the markets; even farmers' markets. These are obviously hot house fruits because the weather, even in June is a bit erratic. Lovely, all around but certainly not high Summer as it you would expect it to be. I love that this is start of a bounty of produce that overflow in the markets and so many more options in vegetables.

Given the straddling seasons and because lemons are always cool, I paired the berries with hints of citrus from the fragrant zest for these scones. They are light, full of flavor and so so crumbly and soft. The perfect way to start a good day!

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Swimming with the Sharks

Swimming with the Sharks

I was in Fort Lauderdale last week. We were a small party of girls who came from NYC in search of sun and waves. We got little of first and a lot of the second. For the time we were there, Florida was a moody b**tch tempting us with gorgeous blue skies in the early am and dousing us with furious showers and crackling lighting and thunder as soon as we got to the beach...

But we were resolute. We counted the time between the crack of thunder and streak of lightning in the distant horizon and convinced ourselves it was too far away to rob us off our fun. We had packed a cooler of alcohol and we were determined to polish it off while beaching on the sand, even if it was wet. 

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Chilli and Irish Cheddar Scones

Chilli and Irish Cheddar Scones

These scones are made with part Einkorn and part gluten free blend of flours. The recipe I used is in the British fashion where room temperature fat is used and in this case, I used lard instead of butter for flavor as well as texture. Unexpected as it sounds, lard gives pastry a better lift as its melting point is much lower than butter and it 'steams' a lot faster. For flavor, I went with simple pantry items like cheese and chili. I always keep a decent Irish cheddar on hand. As humble as the cheese comes across it is a great one for use either in cooking (oh! Béchamel sauce) as much as a cheese plate....

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Savory Pumpkin Pie

Savory Pumpkin Pie

 My interest is still towards creating a more sustainable ecosystem. What I am working on now is a collaborative approach the goal of which education, awareness and independent choices. I hope to deliver this through an several biased, multi-perspective platform that creates room for discussion and debate leading to a collectively better understanding of all issues.

I am still clarifying the concept and in the middle of putting together the infrastructure and framework for the online platform. But, if any of you is interested in getting involved, please drop me a note and I would love to collaborate.

That's really what is on my mind. So, I am going dive right into the photos and leave you with the recipe for this simple vegetarian pie that surprises you in flavor and more-ness. The secret is the contrast of the crunch of the pastry and succulence of the filling. 

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Fresh Sardines and Corn {Millet} Bread

Corn and Millet Bread (Gluten Free)
Roast Sardines salad

Every time a weekend nears, I feel my pulse quickening. I get the jitters. Especially, in Summer. I want to pack the 48 hours with as much stuff as the hours allow. I find myself thinking of how to maximize the days by cramming all the outdoor stuff and all the new things I want to experience around the city. I want to welcome Monday completely exhausted. That will be my ideal!!

Although, in reality, I rarely do much of it! LOL. Really, this happens every time. Best laid plans. Between wanting to and doing, something slips and I usually am lazing on the couch, thinking I should do more but not really moving. Last weekend was not much different. Friday last, I was armed with a sweet list of exploration, discovery and appetite.

Picnic in Prospect Park
Picnic in Prospect Park
Picnic in Prospect Park
Picnic in Prospect Park
Picnic in Prospect Park

As I come out of the long weekend, I feel like I owe you a rich account of all the amazing things that I did. Well, it was nice, long, indeed and a nicely

lazy

one! Nothing spectacular. Just a lot of quality time and catching up. A picnic loaded with amazing meats and cheeses from a lovely

nearby store

, some balls in the range, caught up on a few interesting documentaries and a lot of sleeping. I went outside every day. So, I am not complaining... Ok, I am, just to myself. Now, I want to make the most of this last month of warm weather. I have a long list. Yes, I must. Yes, I should. Yes, yes yes.

;-)

Do you guys feel this way at all?

Roast Sardines salad + GF Bread + Broccoli Rabe

In other news, it has been nearly a month now since my self-imposed largely grain abstinence. And, the verdict is that I LOVE it!! I feel great, have loads of energy and I have eaten so much more variety without deliberation. It of course is lucky that I started this in the middle of Summer and all the produce bounty available but this way of eating definitely feels sustainable long term.

I have also found brilliant inspirations around the web that aren't fancy and very much applicable in my every day. My latest crush is

Alanna's beautiful blog

that is filled with amazing gluten free goodies. Recently, I came across her

corn bread recipe

that made my mouth water as soon as I landed on the page. I knew I wanted to make it but the recipe called for some items that I had chosen to stay away from, like rice flour. So, on went the food-blogger hat and I opted for 80% corn, balanced with a touch of a favorite, red millet flour. I also avoided the cheese and ended with a simple flavored bread that was very good as a side but would not be a star.

DSC_0308-1
Roast Sardines salad + GF Bread + Broccoli Rabe

For the same meal, I also made a sardine salad with fresh sardines. The pleasure I got in gutting and cleaning the fish, I surprised myself. Cooking with sardines is an interesting balance of return on effort. Which is to say, if you start with the whole fish, after cleaning and cooking (baking) it, you end up with about a third of the original volume! You would wonder, why bother and why not use canned. These days you even find canned fish that has no additives or funny sounding ingredients in it. But, I have to say, the fresh sardines make a world of difference. For one, they don't taste as "fishy" as sardines tend to. Also, the brine tang of the fresh fish is a lovely addition to the salad, requiring lesser salt added to it.

Finally, to round off the meal, greens had to be there. There is a bounty to choose from now and I went with another favorite, broccoli rabe. I love the mild bitterness that this green has. Most people shy away from it for just that reason. You can blanch it in salt water to remove the bitterness. All it needs then is a simple sauté with loads of garlic and olive oil.

Corn {and Millet} Bread

Corn and Millet Bread (Gluten Free)

1 cup of yellow corn meal

1/2 cup of red millet flour

1 ear of sweet corn

1-1/4 tsp of baking soda

2 small eggs

1 cup yogurt

1/4 cup peanut oil/olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 jalapeño, sliced

handful of sliced yellow onion

handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half vertically

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375F.

Grate the ear of corn to remove the kernels. Set aside.

Whisk together the corn meal, millet flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a bowl mix all the liquid ingredients to an emulsion. Pour the wet into the dry and fold to incorporate. Whip by hand a couple of times.

Fold in the fresh corn. Pour into an oiled 8 inch skillet. Sprinkle the onions, cherry tomatoes and jalapeño on top.

Crack pepper and a touch of sea salt on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springy. Cool before slicing into it.

Fresh Sardine Yogurt Salad

{for 2}

Roast Sardines salad + GF Bread + Broccoli Rabe

2 fillets of sardine

1/2 small onion

1 tomato, diced

1 ear of fresh corn

1/3 cup of yogurt

2 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce

lots of diced basil

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper as needed + olive oil

Season the fillets with salt, pepper and divide the rosemary between them. Bake at 350 F for 6-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, assemble the rest of the salad by chafing the ear of corn to remove the kernels and tossing in with the other ingredients, except yogurt.

Crumble in the sardines and fold in the yogurt and gently mix them to dress the salad.

Serve drizzled with olive oil.

As tasty as this salad is, it does not last for long. I would recommend cleaning the bowl in one sitting.

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