Momofuku Bagel Bombs

This summer has been busy, but it’s also been pretty great. Last weekend I flew out to Toronto to celebrate the marriage of my amazing friend Heidi to her now-husband Colin. It was an incredibly fun trip, flying with my friend Megan and staying with our friend Lauren. I don’t know how I manage, but whenever I visit Toronto, it’s in July, and it’s generally obnoxiously hot, this trip was no exception. Thankfully Lauren had an amazing fan, and we powered through!

The wedding was beautiful and Lauren and her boyfriend, Brian, were awesome hosts (no surprise there)! Food highlight of the trip (other than the amazing wedding food!) was Lauren making Momofuku bagel bombs. I’ve actually had this recipe tucked away for a long time, but as with most things Momofuku, I was somewhat intimidated. But, Lauren confidently whipped these up, and I helped her wrap the dough around the cream cheese plugs, and they were incredible! These are actually really easy, they just take a bit of time to prep, with the plugs needing some time to freeze and the dough needing to rest. That said, prep these on a Friday night, and your Saturday morning will be GLORIOUS. The real perk of these is that you can mix up the filling, and I am planning on adding some smoked salmon and dill next time around.

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Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Well I guess my last few posts, spaced very dramatically apart over the last couple years were a suggestion that poor NotCrocker was left on its own. I’ve been around, checking in, but largely just figuring out life. And it’s been alright. I produced a short film, am still doing that. Flew to London and most recently I’ve started a new job, and am finally getting back to things that make me happy. It’s been a crazy 2-3 years. Truly, since I’ve moved to Vancouver, my whole life has been a bit topsy-turvey. I moved to Vancouver in August of 2011, packed into the moving truck with my dad at the wheel, it was the exciting start to a new adventure. We arrived, settled into my new place and struck off on my new life. I’ve met some incredible people in this city. My Masters program was a huge part of my feeling settled and part of something. My best friends are those I met in the program, women whose drive and intelligence inspire me. And since finishing coursework, the jobs I’ve held have all been an amazing source of learning and growing for me. I loved being part of the NFB team, and while I am sad to move on, I have been really enjoying my new path.

In the midst of all the newness, my dad was diagnosed with and passed away from cancer. It was a traumatic time, and it changed me a lot. My dad and I were close, he was a wonderful man who really shaped who I am, and how I go through the world. His passing taught me a lot about myself, lessons I am still learning, really.

All to say, a lot has changed, but my love for NotCrocker has remained. I’ve baked and cooked plenty over the last couple years. I’ve made cakes and cookies, casseroles and salads. I’ve come up with new combos and tweaked old, I’ve just not had the energy or brainspace to focus on this, something just for myself. NotCrocker is my space, it’s always been where I’ve come to be creative. The last couple of years were a bit of a suck on my resources, and I feel that a lot of myself was swept under the rug while I was busy serving other interests. Enough of that. I am going to, admittedly slowly, start posting again. And I am excited. I’d love suggestions for recipes, requests, new things to try!

For today’s recipe, I am channeling my deep, deep love of rhubarb. Seriously folks, I love rhubarb. I love dipping a stalk in sugar and taking a bite. Rhubarb just tastes like summer. I even like rhubarb and strawberry pie… and I barely like pie as a rule, so that’s pretty special. The tangy, brightness of rhubarb just goes so well with buttery-sweet baking. My mom caught wind of my desire to have some tasty rhubarb treats and when we ended up at my sister’s place that weekend, my sister proceeded to whip up a delicious crumble. She chopped up the extra rhubarb and we popped it in the freezer so I could take it home and do some baking of my own. Well, of course I forgot it, and only now, two weeks later, have I hunted down my own in Vancouver. To start, Rhubarb Coffee Cake!

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Scrambled Eggs Gordon Ramsay style

The sun is out! Well the sun is out and I am now a little sick. I’m totally muddy in the head, have a sore throat, and feel totally rough. Ooph, not the way I wanted to start the heat of summer! I took a bunch of oregano oil, and drank an insane amount of water, and alternated between overheating and freezing. So here’s hoping this ritual will kick this cold’s butt before it truly settles in. For breakfast I made a super easy batch of Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs.

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Hot Cross Buns! (Yes, I chocolated these, you can go the traditional route!)

One of my favourite things about Easter was searching for treats with my sister. We established our own rules: no looking for eggs when you came out of your bedroom, you bee-line for the kitchen;  when the hunt was underway, you stick together, entering rooms and searching areas at the same time; no sampling the winnings during the hunt; when we finally felt like everything was found (to the best of our hunting abilities… apparently we often missed ones, much to the joy of our parents) we counted every last egg, bunny, marshmallow figure, and split it evenly. We took this fairness in hunting very seriously. We were serious about splitsies.

Our awesome mom kept hiding chocolate for us every Easter, straight through our teens. When my sister (who is three years older than I) moved away for school at 18, I was worried that my hunting days were over. Fortunately, dad got on board for Easter egg hunting… fortunately may not be the best word. Dad was ruthless! He was not part of the very structured system that Kellie and I had established. He was a competitive, chocolate-crazed Easter monster! He snacked on the ones he spotted on his way out of bed in the morning, then we ran from room to room, dad shoved me out of the way, stole candy from my basket, and gorged himself throughout the hunt. I remember at the end of that first year of hunting with dad I was defeated and bewildered, and I came away with a very dismal haul. I tried to explain to dad the “proper” way to conduct yourself at Easter but it was clear, the rules had changed! The next year I was much more prepared. I scouted chocolates on the bookshelves in front of my bedroom, snagged a couple in the bathroom and was much more aggressive as we made our way around the house. We had a lot of fun.

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Blackberry Cream Cheese Muffins

There are a lot of magical little places up in the Yukon. I was fortunate to work at the incomparable Alpine Bakery, and have struggled to find bread of that quality in either Calgary or Vancouver. There are incredible cafés, restaurants, and shops that would stand out even in the largest cities, and we are always thankful to have these gems in our small town. One such gem is the Chocolate Claim. First, they sell some of my favourite earrings from Lara Melnik, but they also have two types of muffins every day that are sure to knock your socks off (they also used to have a cranberry bread pudding muffin that is as close to heaven as I’ve been, I am not sure they still make it). When I was working at the Yukon Transportation Museum I used to go out of my way a few days a week to get a coffee and muffin. One of my favourites was their Raspberry Chocolate Chip, it had the perfect balance of tart and sweet. My ultimate favourite which seemed to appear less often was the Blackberry Cream Cheese. Their muffins were massive and packed with berries. But the best part was on top there was a hunk of cream cheese, baked into the muffin and lightly crusted with sugar. That nugget of cheesey goodness POPPED with the flavour of the muffin.

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Sausage and Egg Casserole

The weather has been rather crummy the last few days, leaving me uninspired! I was happy to get out of the apartment to spend the day with my good friend Heather as we worked away on our project reports, but I returned home with soaking boots and a general feeling of dampness. I love Vancouver, but being unemployed AND stuck in an apartment while it rains definitely isn’t my favourite. I do have to say, I’d be a lot less happy in a snow-blanketed city, so there is that!

Hospice Yukon approached my mom about writing a piece for their newsletter about how our family celebrated dad’s life without having a typical service. Mom wasn’t comfortable writing it but asked if me and Kel would be able to. So we are going to start working on that tomorrow and I am going to check with them about the right to post it here as well. I know that there is a growing trend towards non-religious celebrations for both good and tragic things, so I am excited to share our experience and what the gathering of friends meant for us and our father’s memory. So, hopefully more on that later!

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Flourless Pancakes: Cream Cheese pancakes spiced with cinnamon and cardamon

I am a week into unemployment (or uninternshipness) and have been slowly but surely working on my paper, moseying about my apartment, and applying for a stack of really great job opportunities. I’ve finally opened my mind to the possibility of moving away from Vancouver, somewhere like Toronto, if I am able to find something great out there. I’ve just applied for a really wonderful position at a progressive company that I’ve had my eye on for the last year, so it would be wonderful to work with them. It will be a very sad thing if we have to leave Vancouver, we’ve certainly felt like we belong here, but sometimes you have to do what’s best for your career and Gen is on board. So, we’ll see where all this goes.

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