25 July 2014

Skillet Cherry Cobbler

It's cobbler season! Are you as happy about this as I am? I had the good fortune of enjoying peach cobbler on our recent trip to the States not once but twice, while visiting both my mom and mother-in-law. And because I apparently did not get enough there I had to come home and make another. But this time it is filled with cherries, one of my top 3 favorite fruits, and is made in a skillet. There's something about the homey, rustic quality of cooking in a skillet that I just love. It presets my expectations that I will have an easy go cooking and a delicious, comforting result at the end. That's certainly true here, and as long as you have a cherry pitter -- couldn't live without this one--or a few helpers, you really don't have an excuse not to make this.

The cherries are pre-roasted in the skillet, then topped with the biscuit topping and returned to the oven for a quick 10-15 minute bake. The slightly tangy biscuit provides the perfect contrast to the soft, sweet cherries and the oozy, thick syrup they've baked in. Serve it warm, with ice cream of course, and bask in cherry bliss.


Skillet Cherry Cobbler with Buttermilk Biscuit Topping
Serves 6

Cherry Filling
5 cups/2.2 lbs (1 kg) cherries, pitted (weighed before pitting)
1/4 cup (40 gr) coconut sugar (or muscovado/natural cane sugar)
1 Tbsp. arrowroot (or corn starch)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Juice 1/2 lemon
Couple splashes of water

Buttermilk Biscuit Topping
1 cup (148 gr) light spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (or muscovado/natural cane sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. (42.5 gr) cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). Add a small knob of butter to a 10 inch (25 cm) cast-iron skillet and place skillet in oven while preheating.

Prepare cherry filling: Once butter has melted, remove  skillet from oven and swirl around to cover the bottom with melted butter. Add all filling ingredients to the skillet, and stir to combine. (I left the pitted cherries whole, but you can cut in half if you prefer.) Return skillet to oven and cook for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare biscuit topping: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to mix flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt). Use your fingers to crumble butter into flour mixture until you get pea-sized clumps distributed evenly throughout. Pour in buttermilk and stir with fork until just  combined.

Remove skillet from oven. Give cherries a stir. Pour biscuit topping over and spread around with back of a spoon to cover cherries as much as possible. Alternatively, drop dough by spoonfuls to make individual biscuits. Return to oven and cook another 10-15 minutes, or until top is lightly golden. (My oven cooks hot, so my cooking time was barely 10 minutes.)

19 July 2014

No-Cook Oatmeal - Two Ways


This is the lazy man's answer to oatmeal in the summer. Steel-cut/Irish oats (known as Hafergr├╝tze here) are soaked overnight, rinsed and drained in the morning, then blended with fruit and other flavoring elements to make a thick and creamy bowl of a light but filling raw oat porridge. From rinsing to blending you can have this on the table in 5 minutes. And with the wide array of juicy sun-ripened stone-fruit available right now, the possible flavor combinations are endless. I've included recipes for two of my favorites below. 

This oatmeal was another product of my time at our family reunion. My sister-in-law and I made this several mornings. We threw in peaches and walnuts most days, and mango another day. Sometimes I think I get a little overzealous with nuts in my diet, so this week I've been making a peach and sunflower seed version and am offering it here for any of you wanting or needing a nut-free option as well. So go on...whatever option you choose, or if you put your own spin on it, embrace your lazy man side this summer, try this oatmeal, and don't forget to let me know what favorite flavor combinations you come up with!


No-Cook Oatmeal - Two Ways
Notes: The amount of water used will depend on how thick you like your oatmeal and how much is needed to help the blending process. Water measurement  in the recipes are a suggestion. This is also a great make-ahead breakfast. Make it the day before, store in a portable glass jar in the fridge, topped with fruit and/or other toppings, and it's ready to grab and go in the morning.

Peachy Sunflower Seed Oatmeal
Serves 2

2/3 cup (100 gr) steel-cut (Irish) oats
2/3 cup (86 gr) sunflower seeds
2 large peaches (3 small) + extra for topping
Juice from 1/4 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) water

Add oats and sunflower seeds to a medium mixing bowl. Fill with water so everything is covered by several inches, then leave on counter to soak overnight (or 6-8 hours).

Rinse and drain thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve, then add to a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, or until you've reached desired consistency. Taste and adjust for salt, sweetness, and acidity level. Top with more peaches and sunflower seeds and/or other toppings.

Cherry Nutella Oatmeal
Serves 2

2/3 cup (100 gr) steel-cut (Irish) oats
2/3 cup (86 gr) hazelnuts, roasted
2/3 cup (100 gr) pitted cherries + extra for topping
1 Tbsp. raw cacao
2-3 soft dates (or honey/maple syrup, to taste)
Pinch salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) water

Add oats to a small mixing bowl. Fill with water so oats are covered by several inches, then leave on counter to soak overnight (or 6-8 hours).

Rinse and drain thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve, then add to a blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, or until you've reached desired consistency. Taste and adjust for salt and sweetness. Top with more cherries, hazelnuts, chopped dates, and/or other toppings of your choice.

Additional Toppings
Nut butter
Hemp seeds
Coconut flakes
Bee pollen
Chopped dates

16 July 2014

Jicama, Lime, and Pepita Slaw


In the span of 2 months, I have flown here, here, and here. I didn't intend for the trips to be so close together, but the timing happened to work best this way. They were all 8-12 hour flights promising a good amount of jetlag,  but none of which would I have traded in if I had to do them over again. Nevertheless, I am very happy to finally be home for good this summer to take in some of our own warm summer sun.

Several recipe ideas resulted from our trip to the U.S., one of which was this jicama slaw. While it was fresh on my mind (and the….ahhem…. "shipped jicama" was fresh), I wanted to share it with you, but I promise to return to some Balinese-inspired recipes in the coming months.

My sister-in-law and I made this jicama slaw during our family reunion. I love jicama but have missed it here in Switzerland. If you're not familiar with this root, it is grown in Mexico and other parts of Latin America and Southeast Asia. It is slightly sweet with a texture similar to water chestnuts, pear, and kohlrabi. If you cannot find jicama, grated kohlrabi and a tart apple would be a great substitute in this slaw. Otherwise finely chopped white cabbage (using the regular blade in a food processor) and a grated tart apple would also be delicious.



Jicama, Lime, and Pepita Slaw
Serves 4

Notes: If you cannot find jicama, substitute grated kohlrabi and a tart apple or finely chopped white cabbage (using the regular blade in a food processor) and a grated tart apple.

Juice from 1 medium juicy lime
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Drizzle of honey
1/2 red chili (or jalapeno), minced
Handful cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder/smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large jicama (~1.5 lbs/0.7 kg)
1/4 cup (33 gr) toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together lime juice and next 6 ingredients (through salt).

Next, prepare jicama. Cut away ends of jicama and peel skin with a knife or vegetable peeler. Shred jicama using the large grates of a box grater. Squeeze shredded jicama over the sink to remove excess water, then add to the dressing in the mixing bowl.

Using two forks or salad servers, toss jicama until covered in dressing, top with toasted pepitas, and serve. This is great to travel with and for picnics, as it can sit at room temperature for several hours. Simply toss pepitas in last minute if you plan to leave it out for a while.

07 July 2014

Summer Berry Cake


Well, I had hopes to have this post out in time for the 4th of July celebration in the U.S., especially since I am in the U.S. visiting family over the holiday. But things don't always go as planned. Nevertheless this is a great summer cake to highlight all of the fresh berries.



The cake batter is unique because half is poured into the baking dish as the base, berries are layered on top, then an egg and a little milk are added to the remaining batter before pouring over the berries. This clever technique makes for a denser cake base and a lighter sponge topping with warm, soft berries in the middle. It's a really enjoyable combination that keeps drawing me back to making it again and again. 


Summer Berry Cake

Notes: The original recipe calls for a mix of peaches and raspberries, which is also wonderful especially when peaches are juicy, sweet, and ripe. Feel free to substitute with the berries and/or stone fruit that look best where you live. This round I tested the recipe in a square 8x8 in baking dish (as pictured) but I would recommend sticking to the larger size suggested below, or a similar size, for best results.

1 1/2 cups (185 gr) light spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp.
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (113.4 gr) butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup (115 gr) coconut sugar + 2 Tbsp (or raw cane sugar)
1 1/2 cups (180 gr) mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (185 ml) almond milk (or milk of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and line the base of an 8x12 in (20x30 cm) baking tray.
In a large mixing bowl add flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, then stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Press half the mixture over the base of the tray. Sprinkle berries evenly on top and the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar over berries.

Add the vanilla extract, extra baking powder, egg, and milk to the remaining cake batter and stir well. There will be some lumps, which is fine.  Pour batter evenly over the top of the berries and bake for 1 hour, or until top is lightly brown and set*. Transfer dish to a cooling rack and cool slightly before cutting.


*The original recipe recommends baking for an hour but my cake has always been done well before then. I would recommend to start checking your cake at 30 minutes.