Brunch: Tiramisu Pancakes and Kale and Egg Scramble

Weeks ago, I got an email from VegNews containing a recipe for Vegan Tiramisu Pancakes.  I immediately forwarded the email to Lindsey and a few girlfriends, and started planning when I could justify making such a decadent breakfast.  I ended up scheduling two brunches, since, unsurprisingly, a lot of my friends were intrigued.  The first of the two was last weekend.  I can’t wait for round 2, scheduled for Cinco de Mayo!

Brunch.  My favorite meal!

Brunch. My favorite meal!

Obviously, I have a bit of a brunch obsession.  My friend and I went all out.  We poured some mimosas, mixed up a colorful fruit salad with pears, clementines, blueberries, and rasperries, and made eggs with some of the vegetables I had on hand.  The resulting kale, onion, thyme, and egg scramble was delicious!  It was a great, savory dish to balance out the sweet pancakes.

Fruit salad

Fruit salad

Now about those pancakes…

I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly, so I overlooked the chill time in the whipped cream instructions.  Our coconut cream ended up as more of a syrup replacement than whipped cream.  While I recommend following the original instructions, our resulting cream tasted awesome, and added a bit of extra moisture to the pancakes.  We made a few other modifications, just based on the ingredients we had.  Some of them I will be repeating!

Pancakes and Eggs

Pancakes and Eggs

Vegan Tiramisu Pancakes

Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli, slightly modified

For the Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 13.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground hazelnut coffee*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Malibu coconut rum**
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free), plus more for garnish
  • Canola oil, for greasing

*Original recipe: instant espresso powder

**Original recipe: dark rum

For the whipped cream, chill the bowl and whisk of a hand mixer in freezer for 10 minutes.  Skim the solidified cream from the can of coconut milk, and transfer solids to the bowl.  Do not include the coconut water.  Add powdered sugar and whip until cream begins to stiffen.  Chill whipped cream in an airtight container for 3 hours to 1 day before serving.

For the pancakes, whisk flour, baking powder, coffee/espresso, and salt in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk water, maple syrup, and rum.  Add the wet mixture into the dry and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.  Do not overmix.

Lightly oil a large, nonstick skillet, and heat over medium-high heat.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet, and cook until bubbles appear in center.  Flip with a spatula, and cook other side for about 1 minute, until golden-brown.  Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil when needed.  If batter becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water.

To serve, top pancakes with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar and chocolate chips.

So much to love

So much to love

We ended up with a lot of leftover coconut cream.  I threw some of it into the blender with fruit the next day for a tasty dessert smoothie.  Yum!

While I’m not a vegan, I enjoy vegan recipes.  I generally avoid dairy products, so vegan baking is usually safer for me.  After making (and devouring) these pancakes, I can’t wait to pick up a copy of Chloe’s book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts!

What are your favorite brunch recipes?

New favorites

My new favorites

Happy eating!

-C

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

When we started this blog almost a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure why I really wanted to try out this whole blogging thing.

I have worked to improve my food photography skills, sometimes with success, and other times, less successfully. But in the past few months I have realized that photography is not my passion.

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Sometimes the lighting in my apartment is just right, and I love taking photos of my food. I love that I have learned to use my husband’s DSLR, and I am very proud of how far my photos have come.

But sometimes, the lighting is just blah and I am more invested in the process of cooking and sharing the food I make with others than in the process of photographing my food.

Sliced bread

Sliced bread

In the almost year we have been blogging, I have invented some delicious new recipes, but in the past few months I have realized that recipe development is not my passion.

I much prefer to be inspired by other peoples’ recipes or to just throw “a little of this and a little of that” into a dish, no measurements required. By the time Friday rolls around, I have pinned and bookmarked more recipes than I could ever tackle in one weekend, and I don’t really feel like creating something “new” of my own.

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

But blogging has helped me to learn more about myself and to find a way to articulate my true passion(s). It has helped me to understand why I cook, and it has awakened in me a curiosity about why other people cook.

Blogging has helped me to learn more about our food system, and to understand how my personal choices can and do have an impact on our larger food culture and food systems.

Blogging has helped me to understand that the pursuit of self knowledge and taking time out for self care make me a better person not only for those I love, but also enables me to work towards something greater than myself.

Hello gorgeous!

Hello gorgeous!

Blogging has helped my sister and I connect over food in a new way, and it has created a platform by which my family has begun to share stories about out “kitchen history.”

After losing our Grandma last August, these stories are more important than ever. They are slowing coming out—like a few weeks ago, when my Aunt Kris followed up on my post about pizza with an email telling me that Grandma used to make huge batches of pesto, with basil that the neighbors left on the porch for her (the whole plant, roots and all!), and froze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever it was needed.

Freshly baked

Freshly baked

All of this is to say that as life has gotten busy in the past few months, the frequency of our posts has decreased, and will likely continue to remain at 1 or 2 posts per week rather than 3 or 4. But I will continue to document and recount my kitchen adventures when I can! I assure you that I spend most weekends on my feet making one thing after another, even when I forget to take photos.

I whipped up this lovely loaf of bread last Saturday to serve on Sunday morning for Easter Brunch with the East Coast portion of my family (Casey was sorely missed). Inspired by Smitten Kitchen, I did what Deb said was not necessary, and adapted Bill Granger’s recipe for Coconut Bread. I wanted to incorporate the dried apricots that my sister’s mother-in-law brought as part of a house-warming basket for my parents, and this bread seemed the perfect use.

While I have no doubt that the original recipe was fabulous, I really love the addition of the apricots.

Served for Easter Brunch

Served for Easter Brunch

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes 
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, coconut, and apricots and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Hope you had a happy Easter with your loved ones!

-L

Berry Orange Smoothie and Foodie Finds

Berry Orange Smoothie

Berry Orange Smoothie

I had an awesome mini-vacation over the weekend! I went to Florida for an audition, and was able to meet up with one of my best friends. I was sad to come home so soon, but have had a great time since returning to SF.

Wading in the water

Wading in the water

After ballet class on Tuesday, I wandered over to the Ferry Building Farmers Market to pick up some fresh fruit. I ended up with some gorgeous navel oranges and a pack of strawberries. When I got home, I decided to toss some of them into the blender to make a Berry Orange Smoothie.

Beautiful bunch of oranges

Beautiful bunch of oranges

Berry Orange Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 orange, seeds and casings removed
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Topping of choice (I used granola)

Combine fruits and coconut milk in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into glass, and garnish with topping of your choice.

Fruity and fun

Fruity and fun

Foodie Finds

While I was at the Ferry Building, I also picked up a bag of Original Granola made by From the Fields. This wheat and oil free granola is made in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. It has a great crunch, a variety of nuts and seeds, and plump cranberries. I’m looking forward to trying the Honey Lavender flavor soon!

Farm to Fields Granola

From the Fields Granola

When I was outside, I gave into temptation, and accepted a sample of Dark Chocolate Coffee Almond Brittle from G.I. Alfieri. I’ve seen them many times before, but have always managed to keep my distance. I have a big weakness for nuts and chocolate! Today I’m glad I stopped. The almond brittle is delicious! It is thin and crispy, with smooth dark chocolate, and a surprisingly strong kick of coffee flavor. I enjoyed a lovely conversation with the man handing out samples as well! It turns out he was a dancer, and knows many of the teachers I train with in the city. What a small world!

Dark Chocolate Coffee Almond Brittle

Dark Chocolate Coffee Almond Brittle

This was the perfect way to wind down after my fun, fast venture to Florida! The rest of the week will be a bit less leisurely, but with my new foodie finds and fruit, I feel ready to take on whatever comes my way.

Yum yum

Yum yum

Happy Eating!

-C

Apricot, Cashew, and Coconut Oatmeal

My first “experiment” with my coconut was to blend up some fresh coconut milk. Coconut milk comes from blending the meat with the juice (or water).

lid

I decided to use my fresh coconut milk in a hearty bowl of oatmeal, topped with dried apricots and cashews. It’s been a fruit and (coco)nut kind of week on Pas de Deux, and this will be the first in a “series” I’ll be working on in the next few weeks spotlighting various fruit and nut combos with oatmeal.

bowl

Oatmeal provides such a great canvas upon which to layer flavors and textures. This particular bowl was topped with chopped dried apricots, cashews, coconut flakes, sliced banana, and a drizzle of coconut butter. The coconut milk gave the oats a great creaminess. This bowl was full of healthy fats and kept me full for hours.

toppings

Apricot, Cashew, and Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Coach’s Oats (or 1/3 – 1/2 cup rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut milk (or canned)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • dash ground ginger
  • 1/2 banana, plus more for topping
  • Toppings: chopped dried apricots, chopped cashews, coconut flakes, coconut butter

bowl from above

Method

Combine oats, coconut milk, water, salt and ginger in a pot over medium heat. Thinly slice banana into the pot. Cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you stir vigorously, banana will “melt” into the oatmeal. Pour oats into a bowl, and add toppings. Enjoy!

close up

Cashews are a kidney-shaped nut that grow out of the bottom of cashew apples. Cashew trees are native to Brazil, India, and the West Indies, and though the apples are not imported to the U.S., some parts of South America consider them to be a delicacy. Cashew apples are extremely high in vitamin C, and have a highly astringent taste. Cashew nuts are high in fat and are a good source of copper, iron, and zinc. Unlike other tree nuts, cashews contain starch, which allows them to act as a thickening agent. They can be soaked and blended to make “cheese”, salad dressings, or creams.

Apricots have been grown in China for nearly 4,000 years, and today, 90% of the American crop is grown in California. Dried apricots are often treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their bright orange color (though the ones pictured here were not). Dried apricots are high in vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

stirred

Dried fruit and nuts add a huge nutritional boost to an already hearty and healthy bowl of oatmeal. The flavor combinations go on and on. Do you have a favorite fruit and nut combination for your oatmeal?

-L

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