One thing I love about coming home from trips is seeing what kind of organizational innovations Gen has achieved in my absence. This trip I came back to my knives standing on-end inside a pitcher, the cutlery mixed in the holder (rather than divided), and all the pots stacked on the stove, clean but not put away. He did buy a Costco pack of new tupperware, which I am thrilled about, so that’s good! And really, the kitchen took just a few minutes to straighten out, I really kind of like my kitchen roulette.
Well we’ve had summery, lovely weather for the past few weeks. Yesterday afternoon the weather broke and we are slated for a rather drizzly week to come, but I am alright with that. The intermittent rain is just one thing I love about Vancouver; cool days to break up the hot ones is my favourite kind of summer!
Lots has happened in this last week. First, I found out that I’ve been chosen for a wonderful graduate award (that I am not sure if I am allowed to formally announce yet). They are flying myself and the other recipients to Toronto in the middle of June to attend a Board of Director’s dinner. I need to write a 5-minute speech to say at the dinner and a bio about myself in case my story is picked up by media, crazy! Anyway, I have been so fortunate to have such wonderful references for opportunities like this, as well as the job opportunities that have come about, so I definitely have to thank my wonderful former-boss and friend, Johanne, my internship supervisor, Lindsay, and my lovely and talented best friend, Caelin!
Also, I’ve been in straight-panic mode lately about our impending move from our amazing apartment. When I sent in our second year’s worth of cheques last year sometime, our landlord had told us that they’d like to retake the place in September of 2013. We were sad about the date but were so thankful to get to live in this wonderful spot for two whole years. Anyway, this whole week I’ve been determined to find us a great place so that we can move this summer instead of having to hustle out of here last minute in the fall. On a whim, a whim that my mother suggested, I emailed Marta (our wonderful landlady) to confirm that they were still needing the place for the fall. WELL, I’ll be damned if she didn’t email me back to say that we could stay for another year. HUZZAH! We are so love this location, the apartment, and now we are getting to know our neighbours. And, to make things better, she mentioned that they’d like to swap out the carpet for laminate (this carpet is terrible!). So, things are great. My husband said, when I called him about the apartment, “We are so lucky, well no(thinking of my dad), but this is one great thing.”
These are bribery cookies. No, donation-solicitation cookies. No, donation-encouraging cookies. Okay, so they are cookies that will sit beside a sign that tells the story of my dad, his battle, our loss, and the Spring Sprint that is yet to come. We are in the last leg of our fundraising campaign and I’d love to top out our fundraising at $5000 (we are at $3,500). So, I am bringing cookies into work and into trivia to encourage people to either donate-to or join our cause.
My sister is a busy mom of the two cutest and smartest little girls out there, so you can imagine she is busy! She sent along this recipe and another that I will post this week, to share with you all! Enjoy!
Dad’s doing fairly well, as well as he can. He’s certainly got his sense of humour. He has a steady flow of visitors each day, and more importantly, a steady flow of scotch. Today, his son-in-law brought him a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and we all enjoyed the smooth delicious blend of ridiculously expensiveness. I am looking forward to another paper cup with a scotch rock (granite frozen to cool the scotch without watering it down) and a splash of the good stuff tomorrow.
Dad asked the other day, for some pie, specifically apple… and then pumpkin…and finally coconut cream. So coconut cream pie it is! Kel and I got to making it that night and we had it the next day, the longer the flavours mellow, the better. And wow, super delicious. I really can’t think of a time when I’ve had coconut cream pie, and I’ve stayed clear of banana cream pie for the most part because it seems like one too many smooth textures, I need some textural variation. Well, coconut cream pie has some chewy bits of toasted coconut, a nice gingersnap crust and two different layers of creamy goodness. The pictures aren’t great because I am still in the midst of the Great Camera Fiasco of 2012. I left my battery charger up here in the Yukon in July. Mom and Dad were supposed to head south mid-August, so I made-do with the cord. Then all of this madness happened and I had to come north, a month after I left it here. Well, I get off the plane and tell mom how excited I am to charge my camera battery (it’s the small things, clearly) and she tells me that she mailed it the day before. Curses! Anyway, the iPhone photos can’t take away from the scrumptious pie. Make it. Love it. Tell me all about it.
Coconut Cream Pie
Lightly adapted from Anna Ols0n.
- 3/4 cup + 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamon
- sugar, for coating
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups coconut milk
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted**
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp skim milk powder
- 1/4 cup coconut, lightly toasted **
- The first step is to bake your gingersnaps.
- Heat oven to 350 °F.
- Cream 3/4 cup butter (reserve the 1/3 for later) and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in molasses and beat in egg.
- Add flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and stir just until blended.
- Roll spoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in a shallow dish of white sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and press flat with the palm of your hand, or a fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to cool. If you just want gingersnaps, stop here. Eat cookies.
- To form the crust: grind cooled cookies in a food processor, or by hand (good luck!) and measure out 2 1/2 cups of crumbs (we used all but 6 cookies, which we munched on the next day). Melt the 1/3 cup butter and mix into crumbs. Press into a 9-inch pie pan (we also put some into a 4-inch tart pan so Dad could have his individual pie at the hospital) and chill until ready to fill.
- For filling: stir sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a heavy-bottomed saucepot. Whisk in coconut milk, whole eggs, and egg yolks. Heat custard on low while whisking constantly for 5 minutes.
- **Turn oven to 400°F, spread coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, stir on pan and toast for another 3-5 minutes until light brown. Some darker toasted shreds are totally ok. Reserve 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top.
- Back to the custard! Increase heat to medium and continue whisking until custard thickens and becomes glossy, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Stir in vanilla, butter, and toasted coconut. Stir until butter has melted. Pour immediately into chilled pie shell, let cool on the counter for 15 minutes, then chill completely before topping with cream, at least 4 hours.
- For cream topping: whip cream to a medium peak, and whisk in sugar and skim milk powder. Top coconut custard with whipped cream, and sprinkle remaining toasted coconut on top as garnish.
As I mentioned in my last post, I went to my sister’s house for about a week. This trip, paired with my being incredibly sick (still) has lead to a bit of a dead zone on the blog here. In any case, I did some brief training with Kel, and she is getting excited about posting. We made a couple new recipes while I was there and she is looking forward to posting some of her own in the future. I, of course, made some beer bread while I was there and Kel made me an awesome breakfast of beer bread, ham, cheese, and a poached egg, that I highly recommend for anyone. I will update that post with the picture of this treat.
We also made some delicious brownies! Kel was game for making the brown butter blondies I posted earlier but I wanted to try something new and had been eyeing this recipe for sometime. We made some adjustments for ingredients and preferences and they turned out delicious. We happened to undercook them slightly which was tasty but I think they would’ve been perfect had they been given their extra few minutes. These brownies are truly fudgy, chewy, and delicious. I am going to make them again this week, if only to eat the batter.
Chewy Brownies with Almonds and Coconut
Adapted from here.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8 inch square pan with parchment paper (or spray).
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium, microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments, being careful not to scorch the chocolate. Stir until well combined and smooth.
- Combine the eggs and the sugar, mix until light, about 3 minutes.
- Mix in vanilla and salt.
- Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture, mix well.
- Add the flour, almonds, and coconut. Stir until incorporated.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving.
My dad has always loved honey buns from Chinatown in Victoria and often, when we came down south we got some. Needless to say, the love for these subtle coconuty buns rubbed off on me. I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately and decided to make my semi-failed (ugly) Easter Bread into a true treat. So Coconut French Toast was born out of sheer hunger and momentary genius. This stuff is tasty, it’s hard to go wrong here.
Coconut French Toast
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 4 slices of Easter Bread
- 3 tbsp butter
1. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, milk, coconut, and sugar. Pour mixture into a long (if using a long bread…) and shallow dish. Soak slices of Easter Bread in the mixture for 2 minutes a side, until thoroughly spongy. The bread should have a nice coating of coconut (if not, spread some on once you put it in the pan).
2. Brown the butter in a pan and place slices of soaked bread in the midst of the buttery goodness.
3. Cook french toast for 2-4 minutes per side, until browned. Sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar if needed, and enjoy.
Quote from Genesis, “Whoa this is amazing, it’s too delicious.” From the man who doesn’t love sweets. Success.