Cinnamon Rolls

Today has been my most productive day in a really long time. I went for a 5k run this morning, got my poor iPhone fixed, and studied my butt off. My plants started to sprout today. I cannot grow things. They die. Usually because I overwater them. BUT I have beets, basil, pepper, thyme, and something unidentifiable sprouting in my garden! It is awesome.

I also made these rolls. Which, I think I consider the best accomplishment of the day. These are the easiest cinnamon rolls you will ever make. I was skeptical when I opened my cupboard and found my yeast pile empty. Wonderfully laborious cinnamon buns were on my mind. I did not want to do it but I made them in less than an hour. They are amazing. I like them better than any other cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. They are sticky, soft, and perfect. I studying with a pug in my lap, eating cinnamon buns, and drinking tea from my new mug. I am a happy girl.

Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 12 rolls

Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4  cup spelt flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup full fat greek yoghurt
1/2 cup water plus extra if needed
2 tbsp unsalted melted butter

Filling
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground all spice

Preheat your oven to 425F. grease a pan with vegetable oil (I used a 6X8 but use a bigger one if you like).

For the dough, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix your greek yoghurt with the 1/2 cup water and then pour in your melted butter. Pour your yoghurt mixture into the flour and stir until it comes together. It should look a bit shaggy but if it needs a little more water add some. Better to have very sticky rolls than dry ones. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Roll the dough out until it is in a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 8 inches.

For the filling, melt the butter and sugars together in a saucepan. Once it has all come together but the sugar has not started dissolving, pour onto your dough. Brush the butter and sugar mixture to the edges of your dough. Sprinkle you cinnamon and cloves over the dough. Begin to roll the dough from the 8 inch edge in to make a log. Once you have rolled it up, cut the log horizontally into 9-12 rolls. Line them up in your pan, making sure they are all snug. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and pop them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 16-18 minutes.

And please, don’t let them cool.

Banana Bread

My life has been on hold for the last little while and I am so sorry for neglecting my easy bake kitchen. I got a new room mate and things got a little hectic. He’s 3 pounds, pees in the house sometimes, and needs constant attention. He’s a pug, his name is Pete,  and he is the love of my life. Unfortunately 2 days after bringing him home, he got sick and spent 3 days in the hospital racking up a massive vet bill. He dropped to 1 pound 9 ounces and scared me to death. Two weeks later he’s almost 4 pounds and driving me crazy in the best way possible.

Needless to say, cooking hasn’t been my top priority lately. Apparently my parents noticed a reduction in goodies I was bringing over and thought I needed some inspiration because they got me a kitchen aid mixer for my birthday a couple weeks ago. It’s a beaut. It’s green apple green and I love the darn thing.

I have waited, searched, and baked my way through thousands of banana breads. Good banana bread is unbelievable, bad banana bread is still pretty good. This is what keeps me forging ahead with my experiments, no matter what I do I still end up with a soft bundle of yummy on my counter. I have found it though. I thought I had found it about a year ago when I bought Sophie Dahl’s cookbook in Anthropologie. That cookbook remains my favourite purchase ever and is my go to for everything. I fell pretty in love with that banana bread recipe but then I made it over and over and over again and tweeked the recipe every time I made it. It hardly resembles the original recipe anymore! I’m done tweeking. I’ve got it the way I want it and I’m sticking with it.

Banana Bread
Yield: 10 pieces

3 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup quick cook oats

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 5×8 pan (or any loaf pan just adjust cooking time).

Mash your bananas and add the butter and oil. Mix in the agave, almond butter, greek yoghurt, egg, vanilla, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Add baking soda and mix. Add you flour and oats and mix until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool and serve (yeah, this one really is that easy).

Baked Banana French Toast

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The other day I was sitting in class with my friend and we were talking about how hungry we were. I had a chickpea and quinoa salad in my purse but I couldn’t eat it until class was over. Torture, I know. We were casually talking then she said something that blew my mind out of the water and into space. One little sentence made me want to stuff her in my bag, take her home and make her the very best breakfast she has ever had. “I haven’t eaten anything but cafeteria hash browns since the beginning of first term.” She said this casually. Like it was normal. That is like 6 months without fruit, bagels, eggs, or BAKED FRENCH TOAST. I almost cried. She of course thinks I’m psychotic since this is evidently how most students eat. I woke up the next morning and made this. I don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable about eating hash browns again. I am truly shaken.

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These perfect little toasties are melty and crunchy. Do not skimp on the butter as they will become dry. If you’re worried about sugar for breakfast, live a little. I guess you could boil an egg to compensate for the lack of protein.

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Baked Banana French Toast
Yield: 4 pieces

1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1/8 cup soy milk or regular milk
4 pieces of any kind of bread you like
1 banana
1/2 cup plain greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a relatively small pan (just big enough to fit your bread) with parchment paper making sure it overlaps a little. Put your butter and sugar in the middle of your pan and put it in the oven until just melted. Take it out and leave it aside.

Mix together eggs and milk. Dip each piece into the egg mixture making sure they are well coated. I like an eggs french toast but let it drip off a bit longer and reduce the cooking time if you like them less eggy. Line them up on top you the butter adding more butter if the bottom of the pan is not well coated. Let them cook in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until golden.

For the maple yoghurt syrup, mix together the yoghurt, vanilla, and syrup.

Once the toasts are brown, take them out and slice some bananas on top and drizzle with the yoghurt syrup and cinnamon.

 

Homemade Goat Cheese

My parents went to Portland last week and to say I was jealous is an extreme understatement. Portland is my favourite city in the whole world (so far). If you’ve never been there, go. For a Portland trip Easy Bake Kitchen style: Eat at Veritable Quandary and have their johnny cakes, buy some (or MANY) books at Powell’s, and stay the nines. I told my parents to go to the food cart Euro Trash but they didn’t end up going.

As jealous as all this made me, they brought home Portlandy presents! They bought me a pug shirt and a cheese making kit! I read that sentence back to myself and I realize that I am a hopeless nerd. Boyfriend would say I’m lucky I’m good looking. Sigh. Anyways, I made cheese! I was terrified because the kit didn’t really have anything in it. It had a thermometer, some cheese cloth, moulding cups, salt, and citric acid. I don’t really know what I expected to be in there. Maybe a cheesemonger. I was on my own with some instructions. My goat cheese turned out a little softer than I would have liked. If you want to make harder cheese just add 1/2-1 tsp more acid and cook it to 190F instead of 182F.

Homemade Goat Cheese
Yield: 1 cup of cheese

1/4 gallon of goat milk
1/2 tsp citric acid
1/2 tsp cheese salt
Cheesecloth
Cheesemoulds

Measure citric acid into  1/4 cup water and stir to dissolve.

Pour milk into a large pot and add the acid solution and salt. Mix thoroughly.

Heat milk to 182F. Do not let it boil or scorch! Stir it often, about every 5-10 degrees. It will start to separate.

Allow it to sit without stirring and uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour in your mixture. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and tie with an elastic band. Wrap those loose ends around a knob in your kitchen or anything that will allow your whey to fall into the boil. Let drain completely (10-15 minutes).

Unwrap your cheese and put into cheese moulds (lined with cheesecloth). Put the cheese moulds on top of a pan to catch any remaining whey and let it chill over night.

Perfect Poached Eggs with Avocado, Gruyere, and Dill

Maybe it’s all the Sylvia Plath I’ve been reading today or the fact that’s I’ve run out of Ketchup (which is very upsetting because two of my meals today have contained eggs) but I’m in a bit of a slump. Let’s just say it’s been a rough day. I’m not really feeling the love today and I wish that I had a pug to snuggle right about now. The best I can do though, is eat some eggs, drink some tea, and read. Here’s a healthy fall-back recipe that always makes me feel full and just a little bit better.

Poaching eggs is a different ordeal in every household. Different water poaches eggs differently. For my water, adding some vinegar works perfectly. The key is to be gentle. Wrap the egg tightly (and gently) around itself then leave it alone.

Perfect Poached Eggs with Avocado, Gruyere, and Dill
Yield: 1

A large pot of boiling water
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
Two eggs
1/2 avocado
1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp olive oil
Cracked pepper
2 slices of gruyere cheese
2 sprigs of dill

Once your water has come to a boil add the vinegar. Crack your eggs into two separate cups. With one in each hand lower cups towards the pot and (gently!) pour your eggs into the water. With a spoon (gently!) wrap the egg whites around their yolks while keeping both eggs separate. Let them cook for 5 or so minutes.

While your eggs are cooking thinly slice your avocado. Arrange on a plate and squeeze some lemon juice over top. Drizzle your olive oil and crack some pepper. Set your oven to broil.

Take your eggs out with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to dry off and pat down the tops of the eggs. Slice two pieces of gruyere and set them on top of the eggs. Put the eggs on a baking sheet with parchment and put in the oven until the cheese melts.

Place your eggs on top of your avocado and sprinkle with dill. Take a little bit of joy in breaking open your yolk!

Winter Birthday Cake

It was my mom’s birthday in November and this post is a long time coming. We went to french beach and had a bonfire like we do every year. We had the best weather I think we’ve ever had on her birthday. Most years it’s raining or so windy we can hardly start the fire. Last year there was so much snow we didn’t know if we would be able to make it home if we headed all the way up there. This year however, I had a fever. I didn’t let anyone know because, well, it was my mom’s birthday. She would have cancelled the trip and made me sleep and drink vitamin C tablets! It was freezing cold up there for me but I bundled up accordingly. I made marshmallows but they didn’t roast very well. So we used the store bought ones and burnt them to a perfect crisp. mmm!

I made this cake a couple days in advance and froze it because chocolate cake that’s been frozen and thawed is the best. This is a pretty rich cake even though it looks pretty tame. There’s about a million pounds of butter in it so that might account for the richness.

Winter Birthday Cake

8 oz high quality semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
3 tbsp cocoa
1 1/4 cups of butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4-1/2 cup fresh hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 10 inch cake pan.

Melt the chocolate, cocoa, and butter together in a double boiler. Stir until smooth.

In another bowl, mix the eggs and sugar. Pour into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and mix vigorously to make sure the heat doesn’t cook the eggs.

Sift the flour, soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir. Add half the buttermilk and stir. Continue alternating flour and buttermilk.

Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Garnish with your favourite type of icing (I’ve done cream cheese) and some fresh hazelnuts.

Berry Crepes

I have a massive stack of books I want to read. They are all books I want to read before school starts and I’ll have to read TS. Eliot over and over. My stack consists of Jane Austen and many other books that make me happy and loving. You know what else makes me giddy and affectionate towards everything? Crepes. I remember my mom making ham and cheese crepes. They were the best. I could never decide between fruit ones or savory ones but she usually made both. I was in a sweet type of mood this particular morning.

Berry Crepes
Yield: 5-6 crepes

3 tbsp oil
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (substitute 1/4 white 1/4 whole wheat if you want less wheaty crepes)

1 cup frozen berries
1 orange cut into segments
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp sugar

In a blender combine oil, yoghurt, eggs, salt, and flour(s). Blend everything then put your blender in the refrigerator for 2 hours. I skip the refrigeration sometimes. I can definitely tell when I skip this step but they still work out pretty well.

While waiting for your batter to cool, make the filling. Throw the berries, orange, vanilla, and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat. Cover and let simmer until everything is nicely reduced. Set aside.

Oil a pan and pour enough batter so you can swirl the pan and the batter covers to the edges. Cook until lightly browned and flip, cooking the other side. Put a good spoonful of berries in the middle of the crepe and fold. These are delicious with yoghurt or whipped cream on top.