bourbon peach crostata

I’m really sorry for disappearing for the past few weeks.  School started the Tuesday after Labor Day, and since then things have gotten truly insane.

There is so much hype about junior year.  It seems like when my classmates used to talk about The Bachelor and the scary new P.E. teacher, they now talk about AP classes and college apps.
 
All of this hype freaked me out a little bit.  My label-maker went into overdrive, I felt as though my life was scheduled down to the minute, I was constantly writing myself illegible notes on my phone,  I had calenders solely dedicated to keeping track of my other calenders. 

Then I took a step back.  I realized that while jamming my label-maker and staring down at my bi-weekly calender, I was missing a heck of a lot.   Things were just passing right by me.   The air started smelling like fall, Carly got a haircut, and I desperately needed a manicure… and I didn’t even notice.  Missing out is a scary thing.  I realized that sometimes, I need to get my face out of my agendas.  Sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary to do something “pointless.”

I did a dryer load of fuzzy socks, so I could put them on when they’re still warm.

I painted my nails this electric peachy pink color.

I went on a long walk blasting “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun” and looking at the trees. Then I started noticing things again and how beautiful everything was.  I noticed how the light reflects of the wavy windows in my neighborhood, how birds manage to nestle into precarious little crevices of brick walls without falling down, and how simply tilting my chin can give me a whole new perspective on my neighborhood. I wondered what the world would look like if I were 6 feet tall, or what it looks like to Carly.  Before I knew it, I was eighteen blocks away from home.

Most of the time, I bake for a purpose (bake sales, birthdays, sports games), and I absolutely love my classic cookie/blondie/brownie repertoire (i.e. things that can be eaten with one hand on the way to English class or on the sidelines).  But I think that sometimes, it’s important to make something impractical and crumbly.

Like this crostata.  It’s not particularly ridiculous like some of the other things I make.  It doesn’t have the “wow” factor of a triple-decker Nutella cake or oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

It’s a little crumbly, a little rustic, and the dough looks a little like a six-year-old’s play-dough creation.

But it’s really delicious.  It’s one of my favorite things to make.  It’s pretty simple and great for sharing.  Perhaps some would say that it’s a little “pointless.”  But maybe “pointless” isn’t such a bad thing after all.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
11 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 small jar of peach jam (mine had a hint of smoky bourbon in it)
1 peach
raw cane sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 9″ tart pan.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add
the eggs. Using either your hands or a fork, incorporate the eggs
into the flour. Work the butter into the dough until it forms clumps.

Add the sugar, lemon
zest, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Keep working the dough until is it very crumbly and slightly sticky.


On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a
couple of times, then take off about 1/3 of the dough (for the lattice pattern on top). 

With a rolling pin, roll out the bigger piece of dough
into about a nine inch circle and press into the tart pan. Prick a few times with a fork, then spread the jam evenly on top.
Break off little pieces of the small piece of dough and roll them between your hands into long strips. Place the strips
over the jam, pressing lightly at the edges so they stick to the crust.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

coconut breakfast quinoa

I’ve been on a total quinoa kick lately. It started with that quinoa fried rice, and I’ve been hooked on this super-food grain ever since. 

Overnight oats are one of my staples during the school week, they can be prepared at night and devoured in the morning.  They keep me full of energy all morning so that I can search for my gym clothes and take my math quizzes without having to stop at the vending machine. 

Quinoa is a wonderfully nutty, crunchy alternative to classic oats, plus it’s loaded with protein. That means that I can substitute my usual Greek yogurt for something even creamier and delicious: coconut milk.  The rich, creamy, coconutty milk seeps into the fluffy quinoa overnight, along with some chia seeds. Now that’s something to wake up for!  Since winter break started, I’ve been waking up at 10:30 and staying up until 2:00. I just realized that school starts on Wednesday… but I have faith that this quinoa will lure me out of bed despite the fact that I’m going out yet again for New Years Eve tonight.

Think of this “recipe” as more of an outline — and top this quinoa off with any fruit, nut, or milk you like.

With love,
Erica

Serves 2

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling

pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds.
1/2 cup light coconut milk 
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 banana, chopped

2 kiwis, sliced

The night before:

Combine quinoa, water, cinnamon and vanilla in a small
saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook
for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork. Combine the cooked quinoa along with the coconut milk and chia seeds in a container with a lid and let chill in the fridge overnight.

The next morning:

Divide quinoa into two bowls then top with bananas and kiwi slices. Sprinkle with coconut and pumpkin seeds.

brown butter peach shortbread bars

This morning at the farmer’s market, my dad bought $50 dollars worth of peaches.
$50 dollars worth of peaches. 
These were not “designer” or expensive peaches — about $3 a pound… you can do the math.
I was going to make another crunchy and custardy tart, because the last one was so good. But I decided to be adventurous and make these peach shortbread bars instead.

These bars are elevated to the next level with the addition of brown butter. I am obsessed with the stuff.  With that deep, nutty, salty aroma calling my name; I may or may not have eaten some with a spoon…


(Erica, did you really just admit to eating butter with a spoon? Yes.)

I got the ingenious idea of freezing the brown butter from Deb of Smitten Kitchen. It may seem like extra work (butter is butter right? WRONG), but you can really taste the sweet, nutty flavor in the crust and crumb topping.

Simple, buttery bars with the flavors of perfect summer peaches and nutty brown butter — what more could you ask for? If you can’t get your hands on fresh peaches, they would be just fine with any other type of fruit or even some jam. These are the perfect thing to munch on alongside a big glass of iced tea.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 peach, sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over
medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and
finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping
up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off of the pot! It burns almost immediatly after it foams. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30
minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 8×8 inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking
powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Using your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the
flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom
of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base
in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and
bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and
you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan
before cutting into squares.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

raspberry and white chocolate tart

Hello everyone! Today I am super excited to share with you all a recipe from my favorite teen blogging duo: Anne and Mathilde. They are two teenage girls growing up in Denmark and sharing their beautiful photos and recipes on the blog Les Quatre Saisons. Hope you all check them out — I’m sure you’ll love their work as much as I do!

First of all, a big thank you to Erica, for letting us do this guest post and share our recipe with all of her readers! Second of all, we are from Denmark, and English aren’t our native language, so pardon our french 😉 We are two sisters, Mathilde and Anne, blogging on Les Quatre Saisons. Just like Erica, we are both high-school students with a huge passion for food and photography.

When Erica invited us to do this guest post, we knew that we wanted to make a dessert, because what’s better than dessert? The only question was, what kind? We chose to make raspberry and white chocolate tart. A crisp and sweat crust with a creamy, chocolatey filling and a rich raspberry filling. The combination of these 3 things worked perfectly together, a real treat.

Be careful not to overwork the dough, otherwise it might not be crispy. And remember to let the chocolate mixture settle before adding the raspberry mixture, otherwise they will blend together.
Please let us know what you think!
Love,
Mathilde and Anne

Ingredients

The dough:
4.41 ounce of butter
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 egg

Mix together all of the ingredients (be careful not to overwork the dough). Put the dough into the fridge for a few hours. Roll out the dough as thin as possible and place in a tart tin. Bake in a preheated oven (170 C) for approx. 20-30 min. until it’s golden.

White chocolate filling:
8,75 ounces of white chocolate
0.8 cups of cream
2 leafs gelatine

Let the gelatine soak in cold water. Warm the cream, and finely chop the chocolate. Put the gelatine into the cream, and let it melt, before mixing in the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous. Pour the mixture over the tart, and let it cool for a few hours.

Raspberry filling:
2 cups of raspberry puree
0.27 cups of caster sugar
2,5 egg whites
6 egg yolks
2 leafs gelatine
0.44 stick of butter

Let the gelatine soak in cold water. Warm up the raspberry puree and sugar. Whisk together the egg yolks and egg whites, and pour the warm puree over, while whisking. Let the mixture cook on low heat until the consistency is creamy. Add the gelatine and whisk in the cold butter. Pour the puree into the tart – as a second layer. Let it cool for at least two hours. Serve with fresh raspberries.

tropical hawaiian granola

All of this delicious Spring weather has put me in the mood for a vacation! Luckily, I have family in Oahu who always bring us bags full of delicious, macadamia nuts and dried tropical fruits when they visit. One of my favorite things to do with these nuts (besides eating them plain) is throwing them into this luxurious granola recipe. I absolutely love fresh granola. Making homemade granola is a lot healthier and a lot tastier than any store-bought variety because it can be made without all of the scary preservatives used even high-quality store bought granola, not to mention its a whole lot cheaper! This granola is nutty, hearty, sweet, and tangy — filled to the brim with the flavors and nutritional benefits of tropical fruits and nuts. This recipe could not be easier and the results could not be more satisfying. I love to eat it with my favorite Greek yogurt, some cold milk, or even just straight from the jar.
With love, Erica

   Erica ‘s Tropical Hawaiian Granola

Ingredients

  • 3 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 cup multigrain square cereal (like Chex) — nicely crushed up!
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup veggie or olive oil (or 1/3 cup applesauce — sometimes I like to use other fruit preserves)
  • 1/3 cup good honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup dried banana chips, dried mangoes, dried pineapple (or any other dried fruits you like!)

Heat oven to 350º.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, cereal, nuts, flax seeds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Whisk the oil, honey, and juice in measuring cup.
Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.  Spread onto a large sheet pan.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, around 30-40 minutes, depending on oven.
Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally.  Add dried fruit.  Store cooled granola in an airtight container.