Rye Loaf with Strawberries

Happy Friday!

It’s been pretty cold here for California! When it’s cold and overcast, I really enjoy my afternoon coffee break. I came across this recipe from Adriana (A Cozy Kitchen) and was intrigued because this loaf looks pretty simple to make and uses rye flour and strawberries for an interesting flavor profile.

I have to say that the flavor blew me away – it is like a pound cake, not too sweet and the combination with the strawberries just works. I did modify the recipe – Adriana made a strawberry glaze but I ended up cooking up some strawberries with sugar and making a rough strawberry jam to put on top of the loaf. I also cut back the sugar.

Rye Loaf with Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk

For the strawberry jam I used a pound of frozen strawberries and sugar to taste.

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 8×4 or 9×5 inch loaf pan. I used a bit of a longer pan that I had bought from Ikea a few years ago.

2. Make the jam: put the strawberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat until they start to thaw. Sprinkle liberally with sugar until they have a good layer on top. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly, smashing the strawberries down with a back of a wooden spoon as you go. They will be done when they are soft and starting to caramelize

    3. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, salt and baking powder. In another medium bowl, add the sugar softened butter, and vanilla extract and using a hand mixer, mix until pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add one egg at a time, being sure each egg is incorporated before adding another.
  • 4.Add the flour mixture in a few batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, until you no longer see any speckles of flour. Pour the pound cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Top the batter with the smashed strawberry jam evenly. Transfer it to the oven to bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with coffee or tea!

Love,

Pooja

Salty Rye Brownies + Books

Happy Monday everyone! It’s almost holiday time and I am super looking forward to some quality times with friends and family. I hope that you are finding a semblance of balance in this very packed time of year!

I wanted to throw out some book recommendations in case you need something to read during the holidays! These are books that I have read and enjoyed over the last few months – let me know if you have an recommendations for me!

  1. Little Fires Everywhere
  2. A difficult but necessary read: Homegoing
  3. Some interesting life advice books: Grit and this one that I liked less but was still interesting: Overwhelmed – this book had a quote from one of our really good friends which was really cool and it also called out the overuse of the word BUSY – so I am trying hard to stop using it!
  4. An interesting story: How to Stop Time
  5. Loved this: The Hate You Give – still have to see the movie
  6. Intense and SO interesting! One of President Obama’s fave books from last year – literally blew my mind! The Power

The ones on my list to read next are:

  1. Becoming – no intro necessary!
  2. Always looking for an inspiring read and came across this: Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You – it’s by Lin Manuel-Miranda
  3. A Place for Us

Also, I recommend this article for those of you who are interested in what it is like being a doctor mom, it was written by a friend of mine: Working in Medicine: Experiences of Pregnant Physicians.

Now, onto the brownies! These brownies are GF as they are made with rye flour. They are intensely chocolatey and these turned out a bit salty since I cut back on the added sugar – however, I think that this made them even more addictive! These are adapted from the Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. The recipe comes in grams but I converted on google.

img_2665Salty Rye Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing the tin (about 10 tablespoons)
  • 300g dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces (about 8 ounces, I used about half of a Trader Joe’s 72% dark giant bar)
  • 50g cocoa powder (1/4 cup)
  • 200g wholemeal rye flour (1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g unrefined caster sugar (I cut this down to a half cup instead of the full one cup)
  • 200g light brown sugar (I also cut this down to a half cup)
  • 200g eggs (this is closer to 3-4 eggs but I used 2 and they came out fine)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (e.g.Maldon), for sprinkling on top

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a square 8×8 or 9×9 pan and line with parchment paper.

In a heatproof bowl, melt together the butter and the chocolate over a pan of water that has been brought to the boil and then taken off the heat. I actually did this by melting the butter in the microwave then adding the chocolate and stirring until it was melted. This allowed me to avoid the double boiler technique.Allow the mixture to rest, stirring occasionally as it melts.

In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa, rye flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the sugars, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Slowly add the melted chocolate, followed by the dry ingredients. Mix just enough to combine, then pour into the prepared baking tin. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of flaky sea salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the brownies are set but with a slight wobble. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting into 12 squares. These are best warm with vanilla ice cream but also take amazing the next day as they firm up!

Love,

Pooja

Ricotta Donuts

Happy December everyone! It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the year. In the midst of all of the holiday craziness, I am trying to find ways to stay centered. We celebrated Esha’s 10th birthday and Nisa’s 3rd birthday. I went on a hike with a good friend last week, had a family dinner with a bunch of friends for Friendsgiving last weekend, and was blessed to reconnect with someone important in my life. As we gear up for new adventures next year, we are trying to find ways to be cozy for the end of the year. Enter these amazing donuts – please excuse the pictures, I was so skeptical that these would be good (they are so easy! I have never made donuts before!) that I didn’t take pictures until the girls took a bite and were wowed.

I thought that these were going to be a weekend project but really they only take a few minutes and they are well worth the effort! They may have been even more delicious because I fried them in ghee. We also made these with spelt flour – you really couldn’t tell the difference.

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Ricotta Donuts

Ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • ghee (or canola oil for frying)
  • 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 1 minute)
  2. Stir in the ricotta and the vanilla until blended.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and then add to the sugar/egg mixture until just combined. Careful not to overmix.
  4. Heat the oil until shimmering.
  5. Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to drop small balls of batter into the oil.
  6. Fry each side until golden brown (about 30 sec to 1 minute). Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels placed on a cookie sheet. Once they are slightly cooled, coat in the sugar.
  7. Using a sieve, shake powdered sugar over the donuts, flip to cover both sides.
  8. Enjoy them hot and fresh! We will never go to Dunkin Donuts again!!

Love,

Pooja

Breakfast Cookies!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are well into October with Halloween coming up right around the corner! Hard to believe it, right? My girls have their costumes all picked out and they are going to be super cute. I am probably going to dress up again this year, even though I got a bunch of funny look as the ONLY adult wearing a costume last year at Whole Foods:

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I was flipping through recipes and found this lovely post by Robyn at sweetish.co. I love the idea of living your best life and it really inspired me to think about what that looks like for me/us. The breakfast cookies looked amazing too and we made them a couple of days ago with some minor tweaks. They are barely sweet and delicious as a morning meal with milk or coffee. These would be great to take along on a plane for a healthy pick-me-up.

We are not eating apples right now so I swapped out the applesauce for homemade pear sauce (I put in the recipe below, in case you want to make some for yourself since pears are in season). We also left out the maple syrup (didn’t miss it), walnuts, and chocolate chips. I would highly recommend using the chocolate chips – it would take these over the top! We are just avoiding it right now.

Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup oat flour (we only needed a half cup)
  • 2 cups gluten-free (or regular) oats
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened pear sauce (recipe to follow)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup  (optional)
  • ½ cup / 150g peanut butter or almond butter (salted or unsalted, we used salted PB)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • cup walnuts, chopped – we omitted
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips (optional)

 

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Instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  2. Measure all of your dry ingredients (oat flour, oats, salt, soda + flax) and put them in a bowl and mix.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter until well mixed with an electric mixer.
  4. Mix in pear sauce and vanilla.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry mixture. Mix well until moistened throughout. Add in the add-ins that you are using (we used only the dried cherries). If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of the milk of your choice to wet it.
  6. Form balls and press down to flatten on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 12-15 min – these are best a little underdone so they retain their moistness.
  8. Dunk and enjoy! Yum!

Pear Sauce

Ingredients:

2-4 pears

1-2 tsp of ghee

water

Instructions:

  1. Dice pears finely, discarding cores. It is fine to leave the skin on.
  2. Place in a medium saucepan and add water until just covered. Cook on medium-high for a few minutes until pears are soft (this will vary based on the type of pear you are using, bosc pears are firmer and so take more like 5-7 min to cook, softer varieties will only take 3-4 min to cook through).
  3. Drain off the excess water.
  4. Blend the pears using a bullet blender or a food processor with the ghee until smooth. The ghee really enhances the flavor and I find that my kids love to eat this sauce with a spoon!
  5. Eat and enjoy or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Cooking up a storm…

Good morning! I haven’t posted in a while because I have been too busy cooking! We are on a bit of a restricted diet as a family and as a result, I have been spending a lot of time being creative with what we are eating.

The good thing is, we have started to pay more attention to all of the extra junk that is in so much of the food we eat.  We have also tried a lot of cool recipes that we wouldn’t have tried before. Here are some of the more successful ones:

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Fresh paneer!
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Mascarpone-Oat Blondies
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Greek Yogurt Date Pistachio Bark
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Oat Milk

 

The best recipe that we made (I don’t have pictures because they are gobbled up THAT fast) is the one for Spelt Cookies. I made some adjustments: I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and left out the chocolate chips. Sometimes I also brown the butter which makes them even yummier.

The mascarpone blondies are truly amazing. The recipe is awesome as it stands but I swapped out oat flour for the all-purpose to keep them gluten free. I also decreased the sugar to 1/3 of a cup of coconut sugar instead (but you may want to halve it instead) . They are barely sweet and perfect with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

I hope that the beginning of fall is going well for everyone.

 

xo

Pooja

Vanilla Ice Cream with Blackberries Swirl and Speculoos cookies

Happy summer everyone! I know that I have been away from this space for too long. The problem is that the longer I was away, the more activation energy it was taking to get started again. But then, this ice cream! And I knew exactly what I needed to tell you about. But first, a bit about the summer.

We had the chance to have an epic adventure this summer where we lived/worked in a small town outside Zurich called Zug. Our life there was simple – no driving, only taking trains and buses and walking. Lots of playing at the park with a view of the lake. And, of course, lots of chocolate. We did local sightseeing, a short jaunt to Prague and then ended the trip with a few days in Paris and then London. We watched the entire World Cup in Europe which is was an added bonus! I will share some of the pictures in a separate post for those who are interested.

Now, the ice cream! I was hanging out in the back yard with Nisa last week when I noticed that we have a blackberry tree/bush! I was so excited! There are not that many so I wanted to find something that I could make with them that would work. I got my inspiration from this blackberry cobbler ice cream. I hope that you enjoy this version as much as we did!

One tip: If your berries are firmer, really smash them down with a fork so that they incorporate well into the ice cream. Otherwise, you will end up (like we did) with whole frozen blackberries – not so easy to eat!

P.S. Thank you to Aparna for this awesome housewarming gift!

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Vanilla Ice Cream with Blackberries Swirl and Speculoos cookies

Ingredients:

Ice cream:

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Blackberry smash:

1 cup blackberries

2 tablespoons sugar

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Cookies:

a handful (to taste) speculoos cookies

Instructions:

  1. Freeze the freezer bowl (ahead of time if possible – needs 24 hours).
  2. Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl and either mix by hand or use a hand mixer until well incorporated and no separation between the sugar and liquid remains.
  3. Put it into the freezer bowl and then into the ice cream maker and churn for at least 20 min or until starting to form into ice cream.
  4. Meanwhile, smash the blackberries well with a fork and toss with the sugar – add more if needed for desired sweetness, although better to leave it a bit tart since the ice cream is sweet.
  5. Crumble the cookies into a bowl and set aside.
  6. When the ice cream is done, swirl in the blackberry mixture, and mix in the cookies. Put it in the freezer for another 15-20 min to firm up the ice cream.
  7. Enjoy! We ate ours in these cones!

 

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Love,

Pooja

 

 

Double Chocolate Cookies

Happy Wednesday!

We tend to be a chocolate chip cookie eating family. We love all types: oaty ones, brown butter ones, thin and crispy ones….but sometimes we all want something really chocolaty. We have made Deb’s brownie cookies which are delicious – but take a bit more work as you are supposed roll them out. These double chocolate cookies are much more forgiving – I definitely didn’t chill them for the full amount of time and they still came out delicious.

In other news, we went to the Taylor Swift concert last week and it was EPIC!

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I hope that you all have a wonderful rest of the week and that you get to eat some cookies!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons/141 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups/ semisweet or bittersweet chocolate discs (or use 2 cups chocolate chips – which is what I used)

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Instructions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one), beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly to combine. Chill the dough for at least 30 min (the original recipe calls for 24-36 hours).
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into balls using your hands – you can decide what the best size is. Be aware that the cookies will spread a little. Bake the cookies until set, being careful to remove cookies from the oven when still soft in the center, about 18 minutes. Transfer the parchment with the cookies to a rack to cool. Serve warm.

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