Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cauliflower quiche tarts

Remember summer? Remember sitting in the park, reading just for fun? (Yah, for fun!) Remember watching every episode of  that TV show? (Masterchef Australia.) Remember basking in a coma of complete relaxation? (I’m not an English major, can you tell?) But then after a couple of those days, maybe you got a little bored. Or maybe you just got tired of living at home for the summer. And then one day you hear yourself say, “You know, I wouldn’t mind if school started soon. I’m actually looking forward to it.”
Yah. That. That was silly.

Fast forward to mid October with midterms in full swing. Those days where the top priority was “what am I going to eat today and in what order” are over. What used to be the time you woke up in the morning is now the time where you have already gone to two classes and are walking to the library, maybe trying to sneak a Subway footlong coffee past library security. Oh and did I mention you can’t wear shorts anymore. Nope, the sun got fed up with all the studying. 
Hi summer, why can’t we be friends again.

So during this past week, with an hour before yet another midterm, I find myself in the kitchen, waiting for these cauliflower tarts to bake. (Everyone prepares for exams differently.) These individual portion sizes are great because they can be made ahead of time and packed for weekday lunches with some salad greens. Plus the protein from the egg keeps you full, while the low fat content keeps it light.

6 Servings
1 small head of cauliflower
4 extra large eggs
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper (more if desired)
½ teaspoon each of dill and pepper flakes (optional)
6 half inch cubes of mozzarella or brie or camembert
Oil for greasing the tin

1. Cut cauliflower into quarters and boil for 10 min or until tender.
2. Preheat the oven to 450F.
3. Cut cauliflower into florets, discarding the hard core. Lightly grease a 6 cup, extra large muffin tin and divide the cooked cauliflower between the six holes.
4. Mix together eggs, yogurt, flour, salt, pepper, and spices and pour mixture on top of the cauliflower. Make sure the mixture is covering the cauliflower evenly.
5. Nest a cube of cheese into the center of each tart. Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper on top.
6. Bake for half an hour or until golden. Let cool and pop the tarts out, topping with salsa if desired.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Power smoothie bowl

This past week I turned 21, which set the backdrop for some of the following events to take place:
1. Going rock climbing with my boyfriend. He was good. I was not. He is also good at drunk riding mechanical bulls. Yes these things impress me. Really he is just more life savvy than me which is why I stick with him.    
Then he suggested some activities we could do in between rock climbing and dinner, like “We could go to the art museum or it’s such a nice day we could walk along the canal…”
“Mmm I’m kind of tired. OOO want to walk to Costco?”
 “I thought you were tired.”
“Okay, or we could go to the Premiere Moisson bakery.
“What, a bakery?”
“You want to go to the bakery.”

2. Where I had the most delicious macaroony thing with layers of chocolate mousse and raspberry jam. And left holding a cake made of 70% chocolate to “share” at dinner later. (It’s my birthday! What are calories on this day.)  

3. For dinner, having strategically picked a restaurant that is “bring your own wine,” our group considerately showed up with enough wine for everyone at the restaurant (though none was offered). And if you couldn’t already guess that a classy night was ahead, how about it being foreshadowed by a birthday speech by my two best friends to Ludacris’s “whats your fantasy”. Semi rapped. In a nice French restaurant. Where actual grownups were also eating.
4. Highlight of the night? Walking out of the restaurant and going from almost getting a drinking-in-public ticket to having a police man get out of his police car to kiss me on the cheek happy birthday (yay birthday!)
5. The night ended at one of my favourite bars, where the entire beer garden sang happy birthday (although for a few choruses all that could be heard was my one friend Chloe and me telling her to “staaaaap it”)

Wait did I mention my birthday was on a Wednesday? Smack dab in the middle of the school week. So all this to say that 21 year old me did not handle waking up after a full day of activities to 3 back to back morning classes well the next day. I find that when these nights arise, what helps in the morning is a (soluble) breakfast high in nutrients. Like this smoothie bowl. And with the new possession of a food processor birthday present as well as a 5 kg bag of oats and 1kg bag of frozen blueberries after a trip to Costco, this smoothie can now be at my disposal whenever. I think you should make it too. (And I promise you won't even be able to taste that there's spinach in this.) 

1/3 cup frozen blue berries (a handful)  
1/3 cup baby spinach leaves (a handful)
3 tablespoons of oats (optional)
3 spoonfuls of yogurt
Half a banana
Splash of milk 

1. Put everything into a food processor and blend. (If using oats, you can soak the oats in the yogurt overnight for a more doughy texture, or add them straight to the food processor.)
2. Pour everything into a bowl and top with granola if desired.  Spoon into mouth and feel better. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mini dutch babies

Making friends was a lot simpler at age six. 
“Hi, want to build a pillow fort with me?”
“Okay, we can eat cookies in it!”

Instant friendship

Now four years into university, it's easy to just settle into a comfortable friend group, with less emphasis placed on meeting new people. Plus there are the midterms and extra curricular commitments keeping us busy. And showing up to class with scraggly hair and toothpaste stains is not really conducive to good first impressions. Yah, personal experience speaking.

With that said, a play date took place at my house this past Saturday.
“Hi, want to come over for brunch?”
“Okay, I can make candied bacon!”

Instant friendship 

Oh I see how this works. 

So during a morning play date involving two university students, these baked pancakes were created. They are doughy, yet light, and crunchy on the sides, yet moist in the center. Plus the toppings are endless. Powdered sugar for breakfast? Yes please. Making new friends is fun.

Adapted from Allrecipes (makes 6 mini pancakes)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch ground nutmeg or cinnamon
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

1. Place a 6 cup (extra large) muffin tin inside the oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Gradually whisk in flour, nutmeg/cinnamon and salt.
3. Remove hot muffin tin from the oven and add a thin slice of butter in each muffin hole. Stick tin back into oven until butter is melted and slightly browned (~1 min). Take the tin out and swirl butter until the bottom is completely covered.
4. Reduce oven heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Meanwhile, divide the batter between the muffin tins and return tin to oven.
5. Bake until the pancakes have puffed up and are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
6. Transfer out of tin and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with berries, lemon slices and maple syrup if desired
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