Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

When I moved to Montreal for graduate school shortly after starting this blog, I eased into life there slowly. My program would last two years; there was no rush to see (and eat) everything the city had to offer. I had plenty of time to explore. I stayed close to home, visiting the markets and bakeries lining my walk to the metro station, venturing further only when invited by friends. 

When I quit graduate school a few short months later, I scrambled. With a couple weeks left before flying back home, there was not enough time to check everything off the to-do list I had carefully curated. The plates went uneaten. The sights unseen.

I called Montreal my home, but I had missed out on many of the things that made Montreal so unique. As I boarded the plane, I vowed that I would never do this to myself again, whenever and wherever I should move in the future.

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Three weeks into my move to the big city, I find myself in the same pattern as in Montreal, a pattern I promised myself I would never fall into again. I unconsciously created a bubble for myself, extending five miles in every direction, where I walk through the mundane activities of everyday life. My mother keeps asking me if I have gone exploring, visited a museum, walked through a park.

Not yet, I reply. I have plenty of time

On my short drive to the gym this morning, I listened to a segment on the radio about exploring the city you live in as a visitor instead of a resident. Instead of dismissing certain restaurants or neighborhoods as places you can visit any time, it is important to extend the limits of your backyard by making it a point to venture out of that familiar comfort zone. 

I moved to the city for the diversity and variety. It is time to leave the bubble and embrace it. 

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Matcha is an ingredient I have known about for a long time, but never took the time to fully explore. Unlike most tea leaves, matcha is created when the entire green tea leaf is crushed into a fine powder, giving it an intense green tea flavor. It can be used for flavoring in baking, but traditionally it is used to make tea. I may have taken a less traditional route by using the powder to whip up an iced latte, but after looking longingly at my empty glass, I can assure you it was an excellent decision.

Although I have professed myself as an avid black tea fan in the past, I may have to make a little more room in my cupboard for the green.

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte is a treat for the eyes and the tongue. Matcha powder is blended into almond milk, with maple syrup for sweetness, and layered into a glass with thick coconut milk. The matcha and coconut complement each other well, making this latte as distinctive in flavor as it is beautiful.

Matcha should be a vibrant, bright green color when purchasing. Over time, the color will fade into a dark mossy shade. Use within 6-12 months for best results. Matcha can be found in tea shops, some health food stores, and online.

One Year Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread and Date Flapjacks
Three Years Ago: Maple Roasted Peaches and Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Four Years Ago: Malted Chocolate Cupcakes, Coconut Pancakes, and Rocky Road Cookies
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Yields 2 servings (or 1 large)

1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large handful of ice
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk*

Place all ingredients except the coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide matcha mixture evenly between two glasses. Pour the coconut milk over the matcha, dividing evenly between glasses. Stir before drinking.

* Full-fat (canned) coconut milk is my personal preference because it is so creamy, but light coconut milk will work as well. Avoid coconut milk from a carton (the milk is too thin to layer).

Olive Oil Pound Cake

Olive Oil Pound Cake

The first week after a move is the hardest. The stress of packing and unpacking the moving van (twice), the long hours finding space for belongings in unfamiliar cupboards and drawers, the uncertainty of where to buy everyday items, like groceries or end tables. It is both intimidating and exciting. Over the course of the summer, I went from a small town of 3,000 to a big city of over 3 million. The change hasn't sunk in for me yet. Besides a handful of necessary errands, I haven't had the chance to leave the apartment and explore the new neighborhood.

I am no stranger to movingI have lived in eight cities in three different countries throughout my twentiesbut every move brings unexpected changes and emotions. Time must pass before the foreign becomes familiar, and you feel ready to call it home. 

Olive Oil Pound Cake

Olive Oil Pound Cake

I have gone out to buy pantry essentials twicethe eggs were forgotten, and then the baking powderbut my cupboards still feel bare. After noticing the only item in overabundance was the fruit bowl, I set out to create a simple dessert that would accompany everything from the nectarines to the red and blue berries on the counter. 

Pound cakes are the clean slate of cakes, relying on the topping to create the excitement. 

Olive Oil Pound Cake

Though pound cakes are traditionally made with butter, olive oil can create a cake with a comparable texture and flavor (especially if butter is another pantry staple unintentionally overlooked). Using a high quality olive oil will give you the best results. A light extra virgin olive oil gives a taste most similar to butter, but a herb infused oil or other distinctive flavor will create a unique final product. I suggest topping it with coconut whipped cream and fresh, seasonal fruit.

Though pound cakes are perfectly delicious sliced and served, they can also be grilled or coated with butter and fried like a grilled cheese before topping. The choice, as always, is yours.

Olive Oil Pound Cake

Olive Oil Pound Cake is a great accompaniment to seasonal, ripe fruit. The cake is infused with lemon and orange zest, which gives the cake a subtle citrus note, but is not a primary flavor. The type of olive oil used will have the greatest influence on the taste of the final product. Choose a strong or neutral tasting oil based on your preference for the cake flavor; if uncertain, use the olive oil you already have in your home (you know you already enjoy it).

One Year Ago: Paris and Provence & the French Riviera
Two Years Ago: Cookie Dough Cake
Three Years Ago: Dark & StormyBlueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes, and S'mores Pancakes
Four Years Ago: Banana CakeS'mores Pie, and Grilled Apricots
Five Years Ago: Roasted Cherry Coconut Ice Cream

Olive Oil Pound Cake
Adapted from Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

Yields 1 loaf

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup (120 mL) high quality olive oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (170 grams) all-purpose flour
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 mL) milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, rub the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest between your fingers until fragrant. Beat in olive oil. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating the mixture on high for 3-4 minutes to add aeration to the mixture. Beat in the vanilla, baking powder, salt, and lemon juice. Add 1/3 of the flour and beat at a low speed until blended. Add 1/2 of the milk and continue beating. Repeat additions by adding 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and, after 10 minutes, transfer cake to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve with fresh fruit and coconut whipped cream.

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies

Smoke from wildfires up north caused a gray haze to sink over the fields and pastures of my grandparents' farm. Dark blue rain clouds slowly gathered on the edge of the horizon during the afternoon of tractor repairs and garden surveying. When the wind grew stale and the air pressure dropped, we brushed the dust off the bottoms of our jeans and headed indoors. 

We gathered around the dining room table as we always do; it's the heart of the home. My grandfather opened the windows to let in the rapidly cooling air, turning on a fan to circulate the air through the old farmhouse. My grandmother settled over the stove, frying up sausages for an early dinner. My father opened the newspaper, the room filling with the periodic sound of his page turning. I shuffled through a deck of cards, laying out a new game of solitaire.

We lived in this comfortable silence, taking in the earthly scent of the downpour and the browning of the meat in alternating breaths. This moment embodied the slow living of country life; no television or radio in the background, no electronics to take us away from the reality of moment. Instead, we listened to the music of 4:30 pmthe sound of a lid arranged on a pot, of rain hitting the windowpane, of the eight of clubs placed on the nine of hearts.

I wish I could put this song on repeat.

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies

In the heat of the summer, it would be a shame to ignore the abundance of fresh, in season fruit. I have embraced the fruit perhaps too much; my kitchen is currently stocked with a mixture of honeydew, watermelon, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, dark cherries, and plums. In attempts to use up the fruit before it expires, I have baked them into cakes and crumbles (and eaten it straight with a fork).

My favorite iteration so far are these dark cherry hand pies. While full-sized pies are both stunning and delicious, this season calls for more convenient fare. Hand pies require no knives, forks, or messy plates, making them ideal to serve at parties, picnics, and afternoon snacks. Dark cherries are so sweet and ripe this time of year; I recommend buying a pound to eat and a pound to bake.

 

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies are a sweet, well portioned dessert to bring to events to share. The dark cherries are complemented by a touch of cinnamon and a spoonful of lemon juice, which bring a strong, balanced flavor to the bite-sized pastries. As a note, if you choose to use sour cherries in this recipe, you will need to add more sugar. Taste the filling as you go for best results. 

One Year Ago: Plum Almond Galette
Two Years Ago: Nutella Espresso Rolls and Brownie Cookies
Three Years Ago: Mango Coconut Popsicles, French Silk Pie, and Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Four Years Ago: Plum Clafouti
Five Years Ago: Grilled Peaches

Cherry Hand Pies

Yields 1 dozen

1 recipe double crust pie dough
1 pound (16 ounces or 450 grams) fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Milk, for brushing
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the pitted and quartered cherries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon until the cherries are evenly coated. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough into an 11 by 16-inch rectangle between 1/4 and 1/8-inch thick. Using a pizza cutter (and a ruler to guide) cut out 5-inch squares. You should get six squares. Use leftover dough to fill in areas where the dough tears or more dough is needed near an edge.

Place a spoonful of cherry filling in the center of each square. Avoid overfilling the squares or they will not seal properly. Using a finger, brush water around the dough square to help seal in the fruit. Fold over the dough to form a triangle (keep the nicest edge on the top of the fold for best appearance) and use a fork to press down the edges. Brush each square with milk and sprinkle on granulated sugar for additional sweetness. Use a knife to cut several steam holes in the top of each pie. Repeat process for second half of the pie dough.

Bake the hand pies for 35-40 minutes, or until fruit is steaming and pastry is browned. If the crust browns too quickly, cover the edges of each pie (or the entire pan) with aluminum foil to prevent further browning. This will likely only occur with all-shortening pie dough.