Green Bean and Shiitake Stir Fry

*This post is created in partnership with Rioja Wines. There are two things that get me real excited about these wines. First of all they are only released when they are ready to drink so I don’t have to worry about aging them (something I’ve never been very good at). And secondly they are beautiful… Read more »

*This post is created in partnership with Rioja Wines. There are two things that get me real excited about these wines. First of all they are only released when they are ready to drink so I don’t have to worry about aging them (something I’ve never been very good at). And secondly they are beautiful with food. As always the words, images and recipes are mine. Thanks for supporting the brands that support the work I do here. Cheers!

 

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

One of the first things I do when I step into the kitchen to make dinner is to pour myself a glass of wine. This simple act goes beyond the wine itself in its significance. I watch the glass as the earthy red tint of the wine hits the bottom then dances up the sides. In that moment I slow down, become mindful of the process of cooking and attempt to shift my often distorted perspective from thinking of cooking dinner for my family as a chore to remembering it’s how I best love them. And what a gift and privilege it is to have the time and resources to do so.

Now of course this mindful moment doesn’t have to be instigated with the pouring of a glass of wine but for me it has become something sacred that pulls me into the present. Something I have been trying to do more and more lately. A moment to arrest the fretting about the past (even the past of 10 minutes ago) and to cease the fear of the future. The same intention can happen in the slicing of an onion, the process of making a cup of tea or plucking fresh herbs of their tender stems. All it requires is a brief moment to remind yourself of where you are and the gratitude to be there.

The older I get the more I realize that our life is lived in the little moments. The moments where we rest in the present.

This dinner takes about a half a glass of wine to prepare. The key to a successful stir fry to have all of your ingredients prepped before you start preheating the wok as the cooking goes quite fast, leaving little time to chop in the in between moments.

Since I’m feeding heat averse children I tend to leave out any chili and play it safe on the Sichuan peppers but you should feel free to add more based on your appreciation of heat. Also, this recipe would work well with ground chicken or pork and that would also be a nice fit with the wine.

Green Bean and Shiitake Stir Fry

Adapted from Melissa Clark via The New York Times

Ingredients

2 tablespoons neutral oil (rice bran, peanut or sunflower)

8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

12 ounces trimmed green beans

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon (about 5 cloves) minced garlic

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, roughly cracked in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

1 teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns, roughly cracked in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Rice, for serving

Instructions

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat for two minutes. Add the oil then wait another minute.

Add the shiitake mushrooms and half of the salt then sauté until deeply caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Add the green beans, red pepper, and the remaining salt and sauté until the green beans have blistered and brightened in color, about two minutes.

Stir in the ginger, garlic, coriander and sichuan peppercorns and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.

Finally add the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar then cook a few minutes until the liquid has nearly evaporated.

Serve while warm with rice and more soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

Finish with chopped cilantro or toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Walnut Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse and Salted Maple Caramel

*This post was created in partnership with California Walnuts, but all opinions are my own.. I’m so excited to be bringing you some of my very favorite walnut recipes in 2019 like these candied and chocolate covered walnuts and a hearty and nutritious soup made creamy with the help of walnuts. This month we’re celebrating… Read more »

*This post was created in partnership with California Walnuts, but all opinions are my own.. I’m so excited to be bringing you some of my very favorite walnut recipes in 2019 like these candied and chocolate covered walnuts and a hearty and nutritious soup made creamy with the help of walnuts.

This month we’re celebrating this heart-healthy* nut by making a cake that will warm anybody’s heart. Too much? Wait until you see the cake.

Normally when I crave a cake I stay clear away from those towering numbers that steal the show on everyone’s Instagram feed. Perhaps it was years of making wedding cakes that turned me off of stacking cakes on cakes then frosting to a slick perfection. Or perhaps it’s because for me, when it comes to cake I like it plain and often in loaf form.

It’s no surprise to many of you that I’m more of a snack cake fan (exhibit A, B, C). The sort that slips casually onto a plate tucked next to a cup of coffee in the morning. Or the sort that is perfectly fine served on a napkin at three in the afternoon. I don’t need a show stopper, I just want a simple stunner with a hearty crumb, a tender bite and one that values flavor over beauty.

In this walnut cake, flooded with milk chocolate mousse, covered with maple cream cheese frosting and a cascading river of salted maple caramel I believe we all win. Because in all its glory this cake is indeed a stunner. But strip away the frills and you have a cake that made my Saturday morning coffee time shine.

I will say that the milk chocolate mousse, while lovely, is a step that I may skip the next time I opt for stacking this cake. Just the cake, plentifully studded with walnuts, wrapped in a lightly sweet frosting and the flood of maple caramel is quite right on it’s own. But you know, it’s good to have options.

Stacked or unstacked this cake makes hearts happy.

 

Walnut Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse and Salted Maple Caramel

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cups chopped, toasted walnuts (plus more for finishing the cake)

Instructions

Makes two 8-inch cakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 3/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 cups chopped, toasted walnuts (plus more for finishing the cake)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In another large bowl whisk together the olive oil, milk, eggs and orange zest. Add this to the dry ingredients then mix well to combine. Stir in the walnuts.

Divide among the two prepared cake pans and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Or until the middle springs back when gently pressed.

Let the cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a wire rack.

While the cakes cool prepare the frosting and mousse.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

Pinch salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium low until creamy and well mixed, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt then mix on low until combined. Increase the speed to medium then beat for an addition 5 minutes. Set aside.

Milk Chocolate Mousse

From Epicurious.com

2 tablespoons brewed coffee

5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream, cold

Bring a small pot of water to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Combine the coffee and chocolate in a medium metal bowl that can sit atop the pot of water without touching the water. Place the bowl on the pot and heat until the chocolate is melted, stirring often. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and set aside to cool until no longer warm to the touch.

While the chocolate cools, whip the cream until soft peaks.

Gently fold in about half of the whipped cream into the chocolate. When just combined fold in the remaining whipped cream. Chill until ready to assemble the cake.

Salted Maple Caramel

1 cup maple syrup

Add the maple syrup to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer then reduce to 3/4 cup over low heat, about 5 – 7 minutes.

Keep a close eye on it as it can boil over. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble the cake:

Once the cakes are completely cooled it’s time to assemble!

Using a piping bag (or if you’re fresh out as I was use a ziplock with a small cut in one corner) pipe a ridge or dam around the top edge of one of the cake layers. Fill the frosting fencing with the chocolate mousse (you may not need all the mousse, consider that the cake baker’s bonus). Top with the remaining cake layer. Then frost the entire cake.

Refrigerate until firm.

Just before serving add 1 cup or so of toasted walnuts to the top of the cake then pour the maple caramel over the top of the walnuts. Sprinkle with flake salt then serve right away.

 

*Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.

Mushroom “Scallops” in a Warm Pesto Pool

  When we committed to going to the ocean, I immediately felt the thrilling sensation that washes over me when I stand at the intersection of land meeting water. I smelled brine and dampness. I saw certain patterns and colours; light sand against dark water, […]

The post Mushroom “Scallops” in a Warm Pesto Pool appeared first on My New Roots.

 

When we committed to going to the ocean, I immediately felt the thrilling sensation that washes over me when I stand at the intersection of land meeting water. I smelled brine and dampness. I saw certain patterns and colours; light sand against dark water, wet stones, seaweed, driftwood, and feathers.

This was the second recipe I created for the dreamy on-location photoshoot with Christiann Koepke back in October (you can see the first one here). The inspiration for this dish came first in fact, fast and furiously. Just thinking about the seaside brought this recipe to me in a wave of total inspiration. I wanted the ingredients to reflect the elements in this environment, and for the final result to be a visual meeting of land and sea.

Now I’m not super into “fake meat”, but there is something undeniably satisfying about tricking someone into thinking a vegetable is flesh. Tee hee. Plus, Rene Redzepi does it all the time, so maybe it puts me in the cool cooking club too? Yes? Anyway, I knew something on the plate had to look like seafood, and I had my sights set on scallops. In my first cookbook, I made “scallops” out of leeks, and wanted to try something different, so going through the rolodex of tube-shaped white veggies in my mind, I fell upon king oyster mushroom stems. Naturally. Browned in ghee and well-seasoned, I knew that these morsels would look exactly like mollusks, and taste deceptively meaty.

A pool of herbaceous, vibrant green pesto, would be the land, and the perfect resting place for my mushroom medallions. I combined flat-leaf parsley and spinach to create a bright yet balanced sauce that complimented – rather than overwhelmed – the rest of the dish. But with all this creaminess, I knew that I also needed to include something for textural contrast, so toasted hazelnuts became the beach stones, along with fried capers, which added a bite of seaside brine.

This dish is surprisingly easy to make, and it is the prefect main to serve for family and friends that you want to spoil a little. It looks impressive, but it’s a cinch to get on the table without gluing you to the stove. The pesto can be made a week in advance (although the fresher, the better), so that the only thing you need to do before serving is cook the mushroom and capers, and warm the pesto a little. I love cooking the capers and mushrooms in ghee (recipe here) because it’s just so darn delicious, but the pesto is vegan and if you want the entire meal to be so, simply swap out the ghee for expeller-pressed coconut oil, which is refined for high heat cooking and has no tropical aroma.


Beta-glucan Goodness

Edible mushrooms are both medical and nutritional dynamos. Collectively, they not only provide us with plant-based protein, vitamin D, and a whole host of minerals, but most excitingly a group of polysaccharides called beta-glucans. These complex, hemicellulose sugar molecules enhance the functioning of the immune system by activating immune cell response and stimulating the production of white blood cells. These compounds also effectively mobilize immune stem cells in your bone marrow, and exhibit anti-tumor properties, so they’re often used supplementally in cancer treatment protocols.

Beta-glucans help to lower cholesterol, as this type of fiber forms a viscous gel during digestion, which grabs a hold of excess dietary cholesterol, prevents absorption by moving it through your digestive tract, and eliminates it. Through your poop! This same gel also slows down your digestion, which in turn stabilizes blood sugar, and minimizes the release of insulin.

King oyster mushrooms are of course a good source of beta-glucans, but you can get them in other places too: barley, oats, sorghum, mushrooms like shiitake, reishi and maitake, as well as seaweed, algae, and dates.

 

I wouldn’t put king oyster mushrooms in the “specialty” category of fungi, but I also know that they’re not available at every grocery store, so if you can’t find them, substitute with any other kind of mushroom you like and forgo the whole “scallop” charade. The dish will still turn out delicious, I promise.

If you want to change up the herb in the pesto, try basil instead of flat-leaf parsley. Cilantro could also be delicious, but potentially overwhelming, so use more spinach in that case. And instead of hazelnuts in the pesto and garnish, try almonds, pecans or walnuts. Yummm.

I like to serve this with a big hunk of crusty bread on the side to mop up any leftover pesto in the bowl. It also helps to have some good olive oil and flaky salt around for this situation, just sayin’. If you’d prefer the grain route, steamed brown rice, quinoa, or millet could be a decent accompaniment too. And if you want to go completely grain-free, roasted sweet potato, winter squash, or pumpkin would be totally lovely.


We’re home from Bali now, settling back into life in the cold Canadian winter. It feels good to be here, especially after a satisfying few weeks in the sunshine, hosting two glorious retreats. Now it’s time to ground and focus on the year ahead. I’m very excited for 2019 – so many exciting things to share with you, just on the horizon.

I hope you’re all well out there, and enjoying a vibrant start to the new year. Sending love and gratitude out to you all, always.

xo, Sarah B

The post Mushroom “Scallops” in a Warm Pesto Pool appeared first on My New Roots.

Oh, Baby!

My husband and I welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world before the end of 2018! Baby N has completely captured our hearts, and it is already hard to imagine life before her. I…

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My husband and I welcomed our sweet baby girl into the world before the end of 2018! Baby N has completely captured our hearts, and it is already hard to imagine life before her. It has been amazing watching her grow over the last six weeks—each day she is changing and learning new things about the world around her.

Like most birth stories, Baby N’s story is one I could not have predicted. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy. Besides some typical lower back pain, I had no other symptoms except for the growing baby bump—no morning sickness, food cravings, or exhaustion. I feel especially fortunate for this outcome because this pregnancy was considered high risk from the beginning, so Baby N and I were watched particularly closely over our nine months together.

As the weeks passed, we learned that N was going to be a smaller baby. Each ultrasound showed her overall growth percentile decreasing, but her size wasn’t going to become a concern unless she dropped below the tenth percentile. We also learned that N was breech, with her butt down and her head and feet comfortably tucked up under my left ribcage.

While it is possible for babies to flip into the correct position before birth, it becomes less likely in the latter weeks of pregnancy. Even though I didn’t really believe the old wives’ tales on how to flip a breech baby, I spent many evenings positioned upside down anyway, with a bag of frozen blueberries above my bump trying to coax her to flip around to avoid the chill. This method was wildly unsuccessful, along with half a dozen others I tried. Baby N was comfortable and would not be moved.

During our 34 week appointment, N dropped to the eighth percentile and was subsequently diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The doctors believed this was due to increased resistance to blood flow through the placenta. We were cautioned that it is possible for the resistance to become so great that the blood flow can reverse direction, which is a very serious situation that calls for an emergency C-section to preserve the health of the baby.

This news hit us especially hard—baby N wasn’t due for another six weeks! Along with weekly appointments to closely monitor her health, we were told to pack and bring our hospital bags to the rest of our visits, just in case.

The reality that we could have a baby in a single week’s time was very overwhelming for me, especially since I assumed I would have several more weeks to prepare everything for her arrival. I spent the next week making lists of each task that needed to get done and frantically tried to get everything in order, both at work and at home.

I hoped that Baby N would be allowed to stay snuggled up under my ribcage a little longer. I still felt blindsided by the news and wasn’t ready for the pregnancy to end. I needed more time to enjoy her kicks and soak up my last few days as a non-parent.

Fortunately, my wish was granted. At our 35 week appointment, we learned the resistance was unexpectedly measuring less than it had before. At 36 weeks, the resistance was measuring completely normal, which no one (including the doctors) had anticipated. However, because N was still measuring so small for her age, the doctors believed she would do better outside of the womb. Our induction date was set for 37 weeks exactly. Baby N was going to be an early (full) term baby.

Since N was still breech, I opted to try an external cephalic version (ECV), in which the doctor manually tries to turn the baby into the correct position for birth. After two failed attempts (where Baby N refused to budge even an inch), she was born via C-section shortly thereafter.

Our little peanut was in perfect health, weighing in at a smidge over 5 pounds with a head full of fuzzy hair.

After spending a few nights in the hospital, we were able to return home in time for a quiet holiday. While the shift to parenthood was a huge adjustment, I’ve enjoyed getting to know and learn all about this little peanut. She loves to stretch for minutes at a time when she is unswaddled, clothes are her worst enemy, and her endless goofy expressions make me laugh. Who knew that simple things, like N discovering her tongue, would bring such joy? In the last couple weeks, she’s graduated to newborn sizes, and we discovered she loves to “dance” to music as she lays on the floor and kicks her legs.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve given myself a leave from the blog and social media to spend much needed quality time with Baby N. Parenthood is certainly going to be a balance, but I’m ready to start devoting more time to myself and get back to doing the things that I enjoy—like baking and sharing it with you.

All photographs are ©Amber Rishavy.

All photographs are ©Amber Rishavy.

One Bowl Passionfruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

190204_PassionfruitCake184.jpg Passionfruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting | Apt 2b Baking Co Passionfruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting | Apt 2b Baking Co Passionfruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting | Apt 2b Baking Co

I love a cake that you can stir together in one bowl, and this passionfruit cake fits the bill. It is packed with passionfruit flavor and is mouth-puckering tart, but the *ahem generous* swoops of chocolate frosting balance it quite nicely. You could also add an additional 1/4 cup (50g) sugar for a sweeter cake, but I’m a fan of the contrast. If you aren’t a huge frosting fan you may want to hold a little back when you are topping the cake. The cake is also delicious - tart, floral, and tropical - on its own. If you’d prefer to skip the frosting all together, make a little bit of glaze made from passionfruit and confectioners sugar and drizzle it over the top instead.

Would you believe that I have misplaced my sprinkles? I’m not sure how it happened, but after my Christmas cookie bonanza I managed to hide ALL OF MY SPRINKLES from myself and I didn’t discover it until I went their normal storage spot to grab some to sprinkle this beaut. In the end it was a blessing because I crushed up a handful of dehydrated raspberries for decor instead and they added a nice tart punch to the topping.

p.s. I use a spoon, instead of an offset spatula, to get these deep swoops and swirls.


One Bowl Passion Fruit Cake with Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

makes one 8-inch square cake

Frosting recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s “I want chocolate cake cake”

I used Goya brand passionfruit puree for this cake which I can find easily at most of the supermarkets in my area. Its also very inexpensive and runs about 3 bucks for 7 ounces. You can certainly make your own puree or use a higher end brand, but I’m here to tell you that the inexpensive stuff works just fine. Choose your own adventure. Although, if you can find fresh passionfruit, a few of the seeds and pulp sprinkled over the top would make a beautiful, crunchy garnish. This cake tastes best the day that it is baked, but holds up for a couple of days at room temperature. If you use dehydrated fruit as a garnish it will soften as it sits.

For a less tart cake use 1 cup (200g) sugar.

One Bowl Passionfruit Cake

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

2/3 cup passionfruit puree

1/3 cup (75g) sour cream

4 tablespoons (55g) melted unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups (140g) cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Chocolate Frosting

2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened (or bittersweet) chocolate, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups (180 grams) powdered sugar

1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoons milk, plus more if necessary

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

fat pinch of salt

Heat oven to 350ºF and butter and flour or spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, passionfruit puree, sour cream, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt until combined and smooth.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a fine mesh sieve and sift it into the large bowl. Whisk the batter until smooth and pour into the prepared pan. Slide the pan into the oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean 20-25 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack.

While the cake is cooling make the frosting.

Add all of the frosting ingredients to a large bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy, add a bit more milk if necessary. Alternately, Deb makes the frosting in a food processor.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake and decorate with a shit-ton of sprinkles. Enjoy immediately! This cake keeps is best the day it’s baked, but will keep for a couple of days, covered at room temperature. The dehydrated raspberries will soften over time.

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