I don’t want to jinx anything, but this feels like the week things are beginning to take a turn for the better around here.
The weather, for one, is looking much more promising; the sun bursting through the clouds this afternoon had jangly summertime song lyrics bouncing through my head.
Sticking to my Lenten resolution has not been as painful as I might have thought (possibly because I have been compensating for the lack of baked goods with sushi and potato chips in equal measure), and I have found that going largely, although unscientifically, gluten-free has made me feel more clear-headed and slightly less fatigued.
My children and I are all germ-free for the moment, and my husband and I have been spending what feels like a gluttonous amount of time together.
As the kids say, it’s all good.
My week so far has also included a couple of bits and pieces of good news, which I will have to keep under my hat for the time being, but we are celebrating around here nonetheless with (what else? )cake: this flourless cake.
And this pale green soup, which will counteract the cake and put a little virtuous spring in your step.
Simple Broccoli Soup
This is adapted from a great basic cookbook called Whining and Dining, by Emma Waverman (yes, that Waverman!) and Eshun Mott. I can never bring myself not to fiddle with their recipes, but my husband follows them to the letter and the results are always perfectly good.
1/4c unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4c (a one-litre carton) low-sodium chicken broth
1c diced peeled russet potatoes
4c broccoli florets
1 – 400 mL can coconut milk
In a large pot set over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to colour. Add broth and potatoes and bring just to a boil; then simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Add broccoli and return to a simmer. Continue to simmer 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Add coconut milk to pot, and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
The list of things that have conspired to keep me off the keys these past several weeks includes, but is not limited to:
a lack of internet service (and an appalling lack of service from our internet provider, but you’ve all no doubt heard that story before) for more than a week following the move;
three family birthdays and twice that number of birthday parties;
many wonderful out of town house guests;
a broken camera;
and my husband’s travel schedule, which took him away from us for what felt like an eternity.
I have missed posting a great deal – in fact, I have missed cooking a great deal, since most of my meals this summer have centered around cheese and crackers and leftover birthday cake.
Still, there are at least a couple of weeks left of this glorious summer yet, and my kitchen, now that I have begun to settle into it, is awash in fresh local ingredients.
Which I plan to press into service.
Any minute now.
As soon as I finish this cupcake.
Carrot Cupcakes for a Momentous Day
adapted from Gourmet Today
It was my son’s first birthday on Saturday, and I made these cupcakes for the first of two parties we held for him over the weekend. They were a huge hit, and I’d make them again in a heartbeat.
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/2c light spelt pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3/4c vegetable oil
1c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4c finely shredded carrots (I used 2 large ones)
1/3c finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
For the Icing:
3 1/2c icing sugar
250g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp vanilla
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg in a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour mixture until well combined. Gently fold in carrots, walnuts and coconut until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning pan halfway through cooking time, until a tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out onto rack to cool completely.
For the Icing:
Place icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to remove any lumps. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and thick. If icing is runny (as mine was on a highly humid Saturday morning), refrigerate it for an hour or so until firm enough to pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes.