August is one of the best months of the year, in my eyes. The freezer is full of freshly picked strawberries from a nearby farm, the raspberries in my yard have finally started coming out this week (they're behind this year due to all the chilly/rainy weather), and the wild blueberries should be ready for picking within a few weeks. The sugar snap peas are coming along nicely, the carrots are looking plentiful, the herbs are flourishing, the arugula and lettuce look great, and the zucchini are starting to produce. Talk about abundance!
Amidst working at the camp, lately I've been whipping up a lot of yummy treats in my kitchen. I'm doing a rather large catering job for a wedding in 9 days, consisting of 225 mini raw cakes in 11 flavours, many truffles, nori rolls and stuffed mushrooms. Naturally it's the perfect opportunity to make extra to enjoy, especially with all the summer guests. My all time favourite, strawberry lime mousse cake is on the list, of course, and I found the perfect way to use up a bit of the filling in the bottom of the vita mix! I added a bit of water, ice, more lime juice, a few more berries, and a dash of agave for a super strawberry/limeade.
Mmm, frosty, tangy and slightly sweet - perfect on a hot day.
This is another of the cake flavours for the wedding. So deliciously minty and fresh!
Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Tart
1 cup almonds, ground
3/4 cup pitted, packed dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a food processor, mix ingredients into a moist dough that presses together easily. Add 1-2 teaspoons water if needed.
Press the mixture into a 6" tart pan. Set aside.
2 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup lightly packed mint leaves
1 cup water
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons agave
5-8 drops mint essential oil, or to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan salt
3 tablespoons cacao butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
In a blender, combine all but the butter and oil until smooth and creamy. Start with less mint essential oil, as it is very strong! Now add the last 2 ingredients and blend to incorporate. Taste the mixture - add more mint oil if needed (or mint leaves). Pour into the crust and spread evenly. Chill the tart for at least 6 hours, or even better, overnight.
Note: You can sub mint extract for the mint oil if necessary.
Chocolate banana cheesecake from Cafe Gratitude made it into the cake lineup too! This cake is absolutely amaaaazing - if you like banana, of course - BUT I will say that even my mother, who finds banana revolting, really enjoyed a piece of this cake. I ate it with banana slices, but found they didn't look so good on the cake with the pretty swirl. I was thinking for next time, it might be nice to put a layer of sliced bananas over the crust before pouring the filling in.
And last, but not least, I have a cute poem to share with you that my mom wrote about me after visiting me with some friends at work one afternoon.
But first, I must tell you a funny little story... when a childhood friend of mine was home for a visit in recent months, is somehow came up that I would only answer to my full name when I was a little girl (we went to daycare together) - "Heather Sarah Lee Pace!" she exclaimed, imitating little me. OMG! I laughed so hard. My full name is Heather Sarah Helene Pace, but I guess saying it quickly as a little girl, it came out as "Sarah Lee" - she thought that was my name all these years - and I figure it's kind of fitting considering my love for desserts! 🙂
Now, for the poem....
We visited her on Saturday
The young woman called Sarah Helene
We were enchanted by all she was doing
In an environment so pristine!
We felt the magic immediately
As we saw a grin on her face
While she created wonderful meals & snacks,
Loved by everyone in the place.
We wondered what made everything so special,
Delicious and appealing to taste
Until we realized we were under the spell
Of Heather "Sarah Lee" Pace!
This young woman's cooking is her passion
Her creative outlet well known
Which delights the palate of many
From far away and back at home!
Because she is so close to nature
Using Mother Earth's ingredients at best
She incorporates into food she prepares
Tasty wonderful flavors with lots of tangy zest!
So happy were we as we munched on her snacks
And walked down the forest trail
Along the rocks at the water's edge
Beauty without fail!
Our friends were happy and so were we
Enjoying nature often unseen
Feeling content with our bellies full
Of the creations of Sarah Helene!
Written by Elaine Pace
Well, thats all for now! Hope you're having a great summer, and are getting warmer weather than we are!