So how was your last week/weekend guys?
I’m still playing catch-up a little bit from mine. Wow, last week was such a busy week for my real life side of things. We ended up having different, both planned and unplanned, company show up literally every single day last week and, needless to say, that meant I spent some serious time in the kitchen.
Between Lela’s birthday (she just turned 18, isn’t that crazy!), meeting some really awesome new friends, and just cooking for the whole gang, you’d think I’d have plenty of stuff to share with you guys. The thing is though, for occasions like birthdays and first times meetings I prefer to play it safe rather than testing a new recipe that could potentially fail on me. Plus, I really wanted to make exactly what Lela wanted and that happened to be things that I’ve already shared, the Ukrainian Borcht and fudge that I shared forever ago and then the Schnitzel & Spaetzle that I shared a little more recently. That was fun, everyone really got into the whole Eastern European night and we turned on The Sound of Music in the background for atmosphere. I made her a tuxedo cheesecake for dessert too, which is something that I do want to share but I wasn’t satisfied with it so I’ll have to work on it to share it later.
The new friends I’m talking about are some really great people that I’m excited to get to know. That in itself is of course plenty of reason to be excited don’t get me wrong, but I have to tell you, I’m also slightly thrilled to know them because they apparently live among a treasure trove of antiques that they’ve freely offered to let me borrow for food photography. (You’ll definitely be seeing them soon!)
But anyway, I kind of feel like I’m trying to get my head back into blogging mode. Basically, it was a serious must-have-coffee kind of week for me and now I’m kind of hoping for a much quieter one to get some recipe developing and photography done. I still haven’t had the chance to really get comfortable with my new lens and it’s starting to bug me because, and this probably won’t make sense but, I have photography anxiety when I think about shooting my next recipe for some reason. I know I’m weird, but it’s true. Even though I don’t really understand why, I’ve got photo-phobia.
Another thing that might confirm my need for therapy; when I have so many things on my mind and I’m trying to work on the writing or editing, instead of distracting me like you might expect it to, it actually helps me focus on a tedious task (like photo-editing) if I watch a movie or something simultaneously. Speaking of movies though, my sisters and I have seen a few major fails recently, but I was really pleasantly surprised with how much I loved Zootopia. Have you seen it yet? It was so cute and there were some really hilarious references hidden in it for the grown-ups.
Okay, but you’re probably wanting to know what in the world a Chilean guava berry is. Also know as New Zealand cranberries, they are a berry that is native to South America and they grow all through the Andes where I live. Here they are called “murta” and they taste like, well you’d kind of just have to try one, but some people say they taste like apples, pineapple, or pears and I’ve even heard some say that they taste like vanilla and cotton candy. Personally, I think they taste a little like a pine tree and strawberry had a baby, but they’re very unique to say the least.
They don’t grow in my neighborhood but I got these from some friends who live across the lake where they do grow. I wanted to do something simple but really good with them and a tart seemed like the perfect thing. Obviously most of you won’t be able to get your hands on them but that’s what I love about this tart, you can use any berry in their place. Oooh, I bet blueberries would be amazing or any wild berries you may have nearby. I know that when I lived in Idaho we always loved picking huckleberries, those would be perfect too!
Other than using honey, which you can replace if you need to, I made this recipe completely vegan and it’s gluten free too. In fact, it’s even healthy enough for breakfast or afternoon snacking. Oh, and on more thing, the candied lemons were a first time thing for me but they definitely won’t be a last. You’ve got to try them! If you guys make this I’d love to hear what berries you use!
- 1/4 cup honey (or other liquid sweetener such as maple syrup)
- 1-2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 3 tablespoons honey (or other liquid sweetener such as maple syrup)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup oat flour
- 3 cups berries of choice, washed and stems removed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 lemons, juice and zest
- 2/3 cup honey (or other liquid sweetener such as maple syrup)
- dash of salt
- dash of cinnamon (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
- Combine the water and sugar in a small to medium saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved then add your lemon slices. Bring mixture to a low boil and boil uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes until the outer rind on each slice starts to look translucent. Remove pan from heat and use a fork to place lemon slices on a plate to dry. (p.s. the extra water in pan can be added to lemonade or smoothies!)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C) and grease a 10 or 12 inch tart pan with oil. Combine the salt, vanilla, coconut oil, and honey (or syrup) in a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Add oats and oat flour and mix until evenly coated then press the mixture into prepared pan and use your palms to pack it down and shape on the sides.
- Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown, then remove and cool.
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat and add berries. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes until they start to soften then pour in 2 cups of water, lemon juice and zest, honey, salt, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and boil uncovered while stirring for 8 to 10 minutes until berries are very soft. Whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small dish and add to berries. Reduce heat to low and simmer, still stirring, until think.
- You can leave the filling as it is or, depending on what berries you use, you may prefer to puree it until smooth in a blender or food processor (the berries I used have little leaves so I decided to puree mine).
- Pour the filling into crust and top with candied lemons and fresh berries. You can serve immediately while it's hot or cover and place in fridge for about 1 hour to serve chilled.