Raspberry and Peach Frozen Greek Yogurt

Loaf pan full of bright magenta frozen Greek  yogurt on a red table cloth.

This frozen Greek yogurt was adapted as a sort of healthy alternative to regular ice cream and has become a staple in my freezer ever since I decided on this frozen fruit combination as my favourite. When I say “healthy” I suppose what I actually mean is less sweet, as I find most store bought ice cream and frozen yogurt cloyingly so.  I’ve almost completely lost my sweet tooth over the last couple of years so being able to adjust the added sugar is perfect. I prefer to let the tart flavours of the raspberries, lime juice, and Greek yogurt really shine, but feel free to use vanilla yogurt instead of plain and an extra generous amount of maple syrup (or honey!). This makes a generous amount so keep any leftovers frozen in a container – if it becomes too hard to scoop just let it thaw a little bit, pop it back into the food processor for a quick blitz, and then serve. I like to top mine with fresh or frozen raspberries, grated dark chocolate, and shredded coconut.

raspberry and peach frozen greek yogurt:

2 cups frozen peaches

1 cup frozen raspberries

Juice of half a lime

1/2 cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or slightly more depending on how fruit concentrated you’d like your frozen yogurt to be)

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. This usually takes a few minutes and involves a combination of patience and stopping the machine every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the sides.
  2. Pour the frozen yogurt into a loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Freeze for at least an hour; if it’s very firm when you take it out of the freezer defrost for 10 minutes before serving.

I’m having one of those weeks (so far… it’s still only Monday) where EVERYTHING is making me feel agitated. Being in my head right now is nothing but a steady stream of complaining, swearing, complaining, and being a straight up curmudgeon. I thought I was going to start screaming on the crowded bus home tonight when no one would move to the back of the bus, I’m surprised I haven’t broken any teeth from gritting them so tightly. Luckily, I have Stan Getz providing the official score to this crabby swing in my mood. How can you explode when you have this to draw you back in?

Stan Getz – Body and Soul

 

Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Peaches and Butter Lettuce

Large shallow plate of butter lettuce, duck breast, peach, and avocado salad.

How do the perpetually anxious keep focused on slow days? This particular specimen likes to fantasize about food prep, the blissful combination of mindfulness and mindlessness involved with slicing and dicing up that evening’s meal. These daydreams work like a pendulum, the back and forth motion of my knife sends me into a state of hypnotic happiness. My fantasies don’t always come into fruition, it depends on how I feel about shopping for food in a crowded store after talking to people at work all day. This salad happened organically if not obsessively, I couldn’t stop thinking about the big bowl of local Okanagan  peaches I had sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter. I also couldn’t stop thinking about the smoked duck breast from Hills Foods I had in my freezer, ready to be quickly defrosted and seared until crispy perfection. When the time came to finally turn on some music, put on my “house slippers” (AKA house flip flops), and make a rye and ginger before settling down for a good prep session I was in a state of serenity unknown throughout the rest of my day. I made this for my mom and sister while Ian was visiting family in Seattle, it feeds 3 people generously. You could easily grill the peaches or use nectarines to punch up the sweetness, I dressed the salad with a rich homemade fig dressing so I felt the ripe uncooked peaches could stand on their own. Butter lettuce is best for this salad, it softens the whole feel of the meal and provides a gentle backdrop for the assertiveness of the duck.

smoked duck breast salad with peaches and butter lettuce:

1 head of butter lettuce, gently torn into small pieces

2 shallots, sliced thinly soaked in red wine vinegar or lemon juice for at least 15 minutes

2 ripes peaches, thinly sliced (poach briefly in water to peel them easily, or leave the skin on)

1 avocado

1 smoked duck breast, thinly sliced (or if we’re being realistic about ingredients you could just use prosciutto or Serrano ham torn into loose ribbons)

Grana Padano or Reggiano, shaved into big pieces

Creamy dressing of your choice, I used a fig and red wine vinegar dressing

On a large serving platter arrange (in order) the butter lettuce, pickled shallots, peach slices, avocado, and duck breast. Drizzle with creamy dressing and top with a generous amount of shaved cheese. Allow guests to marvel and then help themselves.

Leave it me to like the depressing songs by The Cars. Sure, Just What I Needed is great! But this song is just so over the top sad, a perfect soundtrack addition to any sad part of any sad movie ever. Maybe it’s because I heard it most aptly used in The Squid and the Whale, providing the literal sense of sadness so needed in a movie about divorce. Or maybe, most importantly, it’s the best song to listen to while performing a little zen vegetable chopping.

The Cars – Drive

 

 

Peach and Blueberry Salad with Fresh Chèvre

Yes, I know, another recipe with blueberries featured prominently in the ingredient list. I can hardly describe this as some sort of culinary crime though, blueberries are so refreshingly versatile in their ability to transform from the achingly sweet to the deepest savoury warmth (try them nestled into the pan with roasted duck or some other game bird that is happy to be paired with berries and other fruit.) I have been faced with a self-inflicted over-abundance of these small cobalt jewels for the past few weeks and have been gleefully forced to incorporate them into many of my culinary efforts. This salad, to me, is an eternal synaesthesia  snapshot of the best parts of August; eat it outside with the lightest of white wines – nothing too sweet, allow the fruit to be the star here, the dryness with cut nicely with the creamy  chèvre.

peach and blueberry salad with fresh chèvre:

(for one personal sized salad)

About 2 cups of green lettuce or baby spinach

1/3 cup of fresh blueberries, rinsed and allowed to dry on a clean tea towel

1 small peach, sliced into half moons

6 grape tomatoes, cut in half

1.5 oz. fresh chèvre (something really light tasting and creamy, you don’t want anything super goaty for this salad; I like to use locally made Happy Days  chèvre)

A small handful of toasted pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. neutral tasting olive oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

Kosher salt to taste

Lots of freshly cracked pepper to taste

A large fistful of fresh basil, torn

1. Combine the lettuce or spinach, blueberries, peach slices, tomatoes and chèvre in a pretty salad bowl. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients until fully emulsified, tasting as you’re whisking until you’re happy with the amount of salt and pepper in the dressing (I love this salad really peppery, I sometimes use my mortar and pestle instead of a pepper grinder for ultimate fiery pepper flavour.)

2. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss using either your hands or a pair of spoons. Arrange the basil leaves and toasted sunflower seeds on top, add a final crack of pepper and devour in the sunshine (or, due to decreasing August sunlight, watching a marbled purple and magenta sunset.)

I have so many seemingly random playlists on iTunes and a common denominator amongst most of them is Chapterhouse, primarily because they’re like shoegaze chameleons – ranging from The Swirlies to Slowdive in influence; this song is loudly pretty and reminds me of a combination of both of these bands.

Chapterhouse – Breather