my 23rd cake

beachcolors

This is my happy place. Carova Beach, Outer Banks, NC. Once a year I get to be here with the best company for two weeks of laughter, play, sun, salt, relaxation, sandy doggies and lots of good cooking. Oh, and it also involves my birthday, so cake and fancy drinks are always part of the shenanigans.

margaritas + birthday cake!

My 23rd birthday cake to celebrate this new year of life: a blueberry cornmeal cake with lemon curd – neufchâtel frosting. I thought up the flavor combination when blueberry season was just beginning and had been craving it ever since. So when the day came, I handed the special job over to my boyfriend and supervised carefully to make sure he made it exactly how I imagined :) He did great, topping it off with a decorative blueberry swirl. Thanks Forrest!

*Note: my birthday was in July; I am just now realizing I never got to posting this cake recipe which needs to be preserved forever and ever. And I’m reminiscing of those wonderful two weeks at the beach. Summer, don’t go so fast! Continue reading

far from my last post

parque nacional tayrona

Cozy winter stews and hot cocoa no longer – I am now hundreds of miles south where juicy fruit, fresh seafood, and all things made with cornmeal are what I crave. Estoy en el maravilloso país de Colombia!

The highlight of the week I’ve spent here so far would have to be the unexpected adventure of trekking 3 hours to (and then back from) paradise, and enjoying fresh ceviche and arepas on the beach.

I’m a firm believer in the statement “expectations reduce joy,” as taught by my ‘Art of Living’ guru in India, as the best moments (for me) seem to be the spontaneous ones, the ones with no preconceived notions that I can be disappointed by. Continue reading

lemon + zucchini corncakes

Limón y calabacín, or lemon and zucchini as you may know them, were the flavors of my summer. Working at a Montessori school’s garden all season, we had an overflowing crop of zucchini and lots of time to mess around with new recipes and get creative.

…zucchini ice cream, anyone? ;)

I’ve never been a huge fan of lemon flavor in desserts, but this summer my taste buds must have changed on me. ‘Cause now it’s all I crave. With the help of the Montessori kids who came to work in the garden, we started experimenting with some lemon-rosemary zucchini bread, then progressed to Martha’s lemon-zucchini cornmeal cookies *veganized* (Mom’s faaavorite), and from there I decided to add the tasty combo to my favorite cornmeal pancakes that I posted here last summer.

Fluffy and buttery cornmeal cakes with shreds of bright green zucchini and tangy lemon zest, spread with maple syrup-greek yogurt….. it’s summer bundled up into a little pancake.

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Late summer corn cakes

As you may know, I have a thing for Latin-inspired savory breakfasts. Especially with a black iced coffee in the summertime (which it SHOULDN’T still be on this first day of October!). Anyhow, I’ll keep taking advantage of the late summer veggies here while I secretly envy everyone up north sipping pumpkin lattes and wrapping up in cute scarves.

This recipe is for a savory kind of pancake, and what I love about pancakes is that you can throw in anything you like—fruits, veggies, spices—depending on your taste, or the season, or your mood… etc. Endless combinations = no boredom! This recipe was originally for corn cakes, but I added in some chopped onions and black beans for more fiber, protein and a different texture. Maybe they’d be even better with a little sprinkle of chili powder? That’ll be for next time.

Fresh Corn Cakes with black beans + salsaadapted from here

1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen + thawed)

¼ cup finely diced onion

1/3 cup black beans

½ cup whole wheat flour

¼ cup cornmeal

½ t baking powder

¼ t baking soda

½ t salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 egg or 3 T egg whites, beaten

1 T milk

½ T agave

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder + soda, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Pulse the corn a few times in a food processor or blender, until slightly pureed but still chunky. Mix the corn, onion and black beans into the flour mixture. Add egg, milk and agave nectar and stir until just combined. Add another tablespoon of milk if batter seems too dry.

Preheat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot skillet and cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and serve with fresh cilantro, salsa and crumbly queso fresco or feta.

I ate mine with some spicy peach salsa, an tomatillo-avocado salsa from Trader Joe’s, and feta cheese. A hearty, flavorful and super filling mid-morning meal :]

….my plate after digging in…… :]

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vegan blueberry cornmeal cake

I’ve had this on my list of recipes to try for a long while, and now that I have an overabundance of blueberries and not enough mouths to force them in to, it seemed a good time to give it a go. This light, slightly sweet and wholesome coffee cake turned out lovely— just a touch of sweetness contrasts with the tart berries, the combination of corn meal and whole wheat lends a hearty texture, yet it’s still light and fluffy. I can’t wait to have this tomorrow morning with a big cup of coffee, some yogurt and more blueberries!

adapted from Eggless Cooking

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup stone ground white corn meal

¼ cup + 2 T Sugar (I actually think I could do with less)

3/4 t Baking Powder

1/4 t Baking Soda

¼ t salt

1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1/2 cup soy yogurt (I used regular Greek yogurt, which un-veganed it)

a little soymilk or water

2 T Vegetable Oil Spread, melted (Earth / Smart Balance)

1/2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 t Vanilla Extract

1/4 t Almond Extract

1 cup Blueberries, fresh if possible!!

1/2 cup Sliced Almonds (I omitted)

1 T Brown Sugar

1/4 t Ground Cinnamon

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