meanwhile, the mister and i love salad and we have not had enough of it lately. we were craving fresh crunchy vegetables something awful. and so for lunch, i made a super salad, complete with cilantro, that left us feeling ready to take on the world.
salad is good.
i gathered the following:
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup quinoa (uncooked)
bunch of cilantro
half bunch of parsley
in the food processor, i chopped the living daylights out of the carrots, broccoli stem, parsley and cilantro. while i was busy with that, the florets were steaming. i prepped a bowl of cold water and once the broccoli turned a magically vivid green colour, i drowned them in the cold water to stop the cooking process. they were drained and chopped and set aside. then i used the water from the steamer to cook the quinoa.
once the quinoa was cooked and fluffed and cooled, i threw it all together with the raisins and the cranberries. i made a dressing with the juice of one lime, some honey, and a healthy splash of olive oil.
i served the veggies on a bed of spinach with strawberries and a few slices of avocado for good measure.
and then... we had plans to meet with friends for some pétanque (bocci ball) so i decided to bake a cake. ive had it in my head to combine chocolate and basil and balsamic vinegar... so i gave it a whirl.
the cake recipe itself is a pretty standard vegan chocolate cake recipe (though i use half the sugar and salt). the trick was adding the basil.
i went onto the balcony and plucked our basil plants until i filled a small bowl (roughly a cup-ish) with leaves. into the food processor went the leaves along with the sugar. i ground them together and made a sticky green mixture.
3 cups flour (680 grams)
1 cup basil sugar (225 grams sugar + about one cup basil)
6 heaping tablespoons cocoa (100 grams)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cup cold water
dry ingredients were combined, wet ingredients were combined, and then all the ingredients got together in one bowl and had a good time blending.
next, i greased a cake pan with olive oil and instead of flouring it with, er, flour, i used cocoa powder. i poured in the batter and baked it for about 40-ish minutes at 350/175 degrees.
while the cake was baking, i made ganache for the frosting.
some folks swear by making their ganache with cream but i use butter.
this time i used:
200 g baking chocolate
100ish g butter
lively splishysplash of milk (this helps keep the ganache spreadable. with a 2:1 ratio, the frosting can be a devil to spread)
2+ tbsp balsamic vinegar
melt the butter on the stovetop, or warm the cream if that's what youre using, and once melted/heated through, pour over broken-up chocolate bits. then, whisk until the chocolate is melted and combined, and the whole thing has a nice shine.
i let it cool for a bit then stuck it in the fridge.
once we got to the park, i realized the knife i brought to frost the cake seemed to have run away with the spoon and the dish. luckily, i was with a gathering of swiss folk and lo and behold, there was also a swiss army knife. i frosted the cake during a game intermission and i dont think lionel the lion has ever seen his knife used in such a fashion. i promised him i'd get the knife clean of chocolate. i let him cut the cake too.
and there were smiles all around.
the basil added a whole new dynamic to this cake. it almost had a peppery taste, and it sure was divine. for folks who are neither basil or balsamic vinegar enthusiasts, fear not: later in the evening, my father-in-law, hardly a devotee of either of those specific flavours, devoured his slice of cake.