It’s Rootbeer Float time!

Summertime is meant for spending time outdoors. I grew up on a street that is above a lake and when I am home visiting my parents during the summer this lake is my oasis.

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It is a short three minute walk down the hill to spend a couple hours floating in the sunshine! But summertime is also about satisfying my sweet tooth! Usually folks enjoy a bowl or cone of ice cream to cool down and satisfy their sweet summer cravings. I usually enjoy sorbet as it is lactose free. I have a sensitivity to dairy and have not eaten real, creamy ice cream in a very long time! But after a random conversation about old fashioned rootbeer I decided I really wanted a rootbeer float! I satisfied my sweet tooth with a cold, Pacific Northwest brewed rootbeer and two scoops of coconut milk ice cream!

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This Oregon rootbeer is made with 100% cane sugar and without high fructose corn syrup and it is gluten free! Combining it with the coconut milk ice cream, I made a gluten free and lactose free treat and it honestly tasted just as good as the real deal!

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This sweet summer treat brought back memories of childhood summers with my siblings… and during this last week in Oregon, I fully intend not only to enjoy a few more “floats” on the lake but also another float with this fancy Oregon rootbeer!

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How to make your own rootbeer float!
1. Put two big scoops of your favorite vanilla flavored ice cream in a tall glass. (If you are a non-dairy or lactose free person use a soy or coconut milk based ice cream!)
2. Pour 1/2 a bottle (or can) of rootbeer over the ice cream and let it fizz! Then pour as much as you want to fill the glass!!
3. Enjoy with a spoon or straw, inside or outside and alone or with people… Just enjoy it!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Buckle by Allison

Blueberries by the basket you say? Yes indeed, I’ve been buying blueberries by the basket! Why not? Being from the Pacific Northwest I grew up with being able to have fresh berries at my fingertips. I can remember back when I was in college and seeking out “U-Pick Farms” and I got bucket loads of raspberries for 50 cents a pound! I made cartons of freezer jam that night until the wee hours of the morning! Now I’m in the Czech Republic which is also “Berry Land” and I’m lucky to be able to have access to local farmers who grow the berries. They just taste better than the kind you buy in large stores let me tell ya! So here’s one way to get some more antioxidants in your system, eat blueberry buckle!photo (4)

This is my Mom’s recipe and it is certainly a family favorite. You can use frozen blueberries as well just be sure to thaw them out before-hand and make sure they are without extra moisture. My crumbly topping sank to the bottom as I used a bit more butter than needed but they turned out great and they were very delicious!
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Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free flour ( I like Schar Mix C gluten-free flour)

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. butter

¾ cup milk

1 egg

2 cups well-drained blueberries

 

Topping:

½ cup sugar

1/3 gluten-free flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup soft butter

Mix and sprinkle over batter in pan.

 

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease round layer pan, 9 ½ inches or square pan, 8″ x 8″ pan or pour into a muffin tin.  Blend all ingredients except blueberries and topping.  Beat for ½ minute.  Spread in pan.

Sprinkle topping over batter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes if baking it in a pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. My muffins baked about 20 minutes.

 

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Sand Dabs… Aka Dad’s dabs!

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Summer vacation is in full swing and the fun of visiting family and friends has begun. It all started my first weekend home at Mom and Dad’s house. They still live in our childhood home so it really is “home sweet home”. They had recently spent their anniversary weekend in San Francisco where they enjoyed Sand Dabs, or breaded sole, at Tadech’s Grill. Dad decided to remake this tasty dish last weekend and it was sooooo good! Now we call this dish “Dad’s dabs.” Side-by-side and step-by-step in our family kitchen, my Dad walked me through this recipe. It is surprisingly easy! We used Pacific Northwest Ling Cod but you can use your favorite white fish to create this dish. Just follow the recipe out of Tadech’s cookbook (photo below) and you will soon enjoy your own fish dabs!

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Rhubarb, oh rhubarb! by L

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Rhubarb… love the name, the color and the tang. Therefore, on a recent visit to my local farmers market, I couldn’t resist  bringing home some stalks. However, I’m not an expert with this vegetable, (sometimes called a fruit too,) so I was a bit unsure about how they would end up on our plates.

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Thank goodness for the Internet! One thing I did have in mind was to use this herbaceous perennial in a dessert to celebrate my husband’s birthday. But, have you ever heard of a rhubarb birthday cake? Yep, me neither.

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However, a strawberry rhubarb tiramisu for a summer birthday was a fine runner-up. I found this delicious recipe from  http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/stovetop-cooking-method/strawberry-rhubarb-tiramisu/  The only substitute  I made was to use a cup of orange juice instead of 3/4 cup of orange juice and 1/4 of Grand Marnier. It had to be a toddler friendly dessert.

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All that’s left to say is that this tasted absolutely divine. Now go and find some rhubarb before the season is over!

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

There are so many beautiful cafes in Prague to enjoy breakfast in while you sit, savor and soak in your surroundings with friends or family. But sometimes a homemade breakfast in the comfort of your own home is what you’d like to offer your newly arrived guests from overseas after a long journey. Aromas of steaming hot double-shot coffee brewing in the french press and a pot of black or green tea steeping in a beautiful Polish pottery teapot await for thirsty guests.  The egg bake is cooking away in the oven while we enjoy greek yogurt with homemade granola and fresh fruits of the season, apricots, cherries and strawberries. One word, delicious.

 

There’s nothing like farmer’s market eggs or homegrown eggs in your own backyard. They taste better, they are fresher and it feels good to support local farmers at the same time. I try to only buy my eggs from the farmer’s market and especially for this recipe.

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

Ingredients

Fresh mushrooms (1 large container or approximately two 1/2 to three cups of sliced mushrooms)

200 grams of fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. butter

2-3 cloves garlic

2 small onions

fresh thyme springs

12 eggs

2 cups grated cheese (can use cheddar or gouda or a smaller amount of parmesan)

1/2 cup of milk or cream

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius.

First melt the butter in a large frying pan/wok, then add the chopped onion and cook on low until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic to the pan after cooking onions for 10 minutes and stir frequently to prevent from burning. Turn up the heat to medium and add mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt. Cook until the moisture in the bottom of the pan has cooked off, about 10 minutes or so. Then add fresh spinach in 2 handfuls at a time until it wilts and cooks down, continue to turn and stir. Remove from heat and in a large bowl crack 12 eggs and add in the milk and grated cheese. Beat mixture with a whisk until blended, be careful not to over beat. Add in the mushroom, onion and spinach mixture and stir gently. Pour into a large 9″ x 13″ pan and bake uncovered for the first 25 minutes, check frequently to see if the top is getting brown and cover with foil when you’ve reached the desired color on the top of the egg bake. Total baking time should be around 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. Serve warm and enjoy!

Sweet Summertime Sundays with Salmon Asparagus Flatbread!

Salmon and Asparagus Flat Bread

Salmon and Asparagus Flat Bread

Well, it is summer break again and we are all taking a vacation from what we call “work life!” I love teaching and find joy in my work and sticking to my daily routines, but summer always brings with it time. Time to think and reflect, time to read and create, time to try new activities and travel, and of course, time to wander food markets and create in the kitchen! Time is not something we busy teachers often have during the school year. In April, my good friend Lor visited from Portland. After a sunny, Saturday bicycle ride out to Karlstejn Castle, we were hungry and craving protein but wanted something light and tasty. I suggested using my favorite pizza crust recipe to make a flat bread. We used a lemon olive olive oil and pesto base, topped it with asparagus, salmon pieces, and parmesan cheese. It hit the spot! I have enjoyed this recipe since it’s original creation in April. However, I find that I now have the time to share it with you all… and just in time for summer!

Light, fresh, healthy, and it tastes good too!

Light, fresh, healthy, and it tastes good too!

Salmon and Asparagus Flat Bread

topping ingredients: 1-2 pieces of salmon (baked and slightly cooled), 5-8 stalks of asparagus (cut, steamed or roasted and slightly cooled), 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons pesto mixed with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil

pizza dough: 1 & 1/4 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat) + 1/4 cup white flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon dry-active yeast, 3/4 cup hot water

directions:

prepare salmon and asparagus – I usually wrap the salmon in tin foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. On/in the same roasting pan, I place the chopped asparagus and roast for the same amount of time as the salmon. Take out of the oven and cool for about 5-8 minutes.

prepare flat bread base: While the salmon and asparagus are baking I make the pizza crust. Roll it out to you desired shape and thickness. Spread the pesto base on the crust and let sit for 10 minutes to rise slightly.

build your flat bread: When the salmon and asparagus have cooled enough to touch, sprinkle half of the parmesan over the pesto base, fill with the salmon and asparagus and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Cut into squares or pizza slices and enjoy warm!

Good times with Lor!

Good times with Lor!

Note: For the months of July and August, the writers at The Prague Basket will be posting once a week on Sundays… enjoy your sweet, sunny summer and no matter where in the world you are look for us on Sundays!  – TPB

Gluten-free Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins by Allison

This muffin recipe is a keeper, let me tell ya! I remember tasting these muffins at dear friend’s home when I was in Elementary school way back when. This recipe has withstood the test of time. One of my Mom’s best friends, CW, used to make these for camping trips, snacks after her kids (my dear friends then and now too) and I got out of the pool, post softball games and for breakfast. I loved them then and I loved them now (gf of course) and they have that same taste I can remember from way back when. I needed to make some food for some friends of mine here in Prague who just had a baby and these muffins popped into mind! I whipped up a batch and placed them into two bags, one for the freezer and one for them to eat right away. These are a yummy, anytime kind-of-a-treat!

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GF Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins
 slightly adapted from Cindy W’s recipe

3/4 cup margarine (Hera here in Prague)

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. plain yogurt

2 cups GF flour (I use Schar Mix C)

1 tsp. GF baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

 

Cream together margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add yogurt and blend well. Combine dry ingredients, then add yogurt mixture (stir only until all dry ingredients are moistened). Fill greased muffin tins or cupcake liners half full. Combine 3 Tbs. sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; sprinkle half of this mixture over batter in each cup. Fill with remaining batter; sprinkle muffins with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 14-17 minutes. Enjoy! 

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Last Minute Sunday Morning Banana Muffins by L

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“Mommy, I want muffin,” those were the first words out of little P’s darling little puckered lips this morning.  “Mommy, I want muffin.”

Mommy wanted another hour of sleep. Although waking up at 8:10 on a Sunday morning shouldn’t be anything to complain about, especially if you are living with two toddlers. However, for someone who used to sleep until 10am on the weekends BK (Before Kids,) these “early” morning wake up calls are a heavy adjustment. I’ve never been a morning person.

Children do change you. They really do. That change happens so quickly, in a very natural way and for me, this parenthood journey continues to be a positive one. So, when my almost 3-year-old requested muffins for breakfast, I quickly set off for the task. When you have such a precious little person in your life, all you want to do is make them feel happy and loved. If it was muffins she wanted, it was muffins she was going to receive. Request granted!

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Where does one go for the quickest, healthiest and most reliably tasty muffins? The Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook for their Banana Bread recipe which can also be used to make more than a dozen muffins. This dairy free muffin recipe also includes whole wheat flour, wheat germ and just 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Fortunately, we had some very ripe bananas for the job and the rest of the ingredients on hand. It was a go!

After whipping up the recipe, scooping the batter into the muffin tins and taking them out of the oven 25 minutes later, I presented lil’P with her muffin. Can you guess how many bites she took? Go ahead, make a guess! Ok, I’ll tell you…THREE. Yes, THREE bites and she walked away from the table and asked her dad for some grapes. The story does have a happy ending. Her twin sister, lil’T, after eating her own muffin, reached over to her sister’s plate and happily enjoyed eating the rest of her sister’s abandoned baked goods.

The End.

Banana Muffins (adapted from The Laurel’s Kitchen Cookbook)

3 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup wheat germ

Optional – 1 cup dates or 1 cup nuts or 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we chose the latter)

Preheat over to 375F or 170C

Grease or line muffin tray.

Mash bananas until smooth.

Cream oil and sugar, then add bananas and stir well.

Sift together flour, salt baking powder, and baking soda.

Mix in wheat germ.

Add this to the banana mixture and stir in any of the optional ingredients if you choose to use any of them.

The batter will be quite stiff.

Scoop into muffin tray, just halfway if you want smaller muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick of knife in center.

If it comes out clean, it is done.

Enjoy!

 

 

Carrot Cake Cupcakes by L

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This Easter, we celebrated with some fun brunches, toddler partying and of course, with a few Easter egg hunts. I searched around the web for a carrot cupcake recipe that wouldn’t be too difficult to prepare and taste delicious. I ended up finding this one from Pinch of Yum. These sweet and moist cupcakes were a hit with both the kids and the adults.

We decorated our cupcakes with some Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs and some purple bunny Peeps. I was never crazy for these candies when I was a young girl, nor as an adult, but they did mark the Easter holiday for me. Somehow living abroad and away from my native country makes me pine for these little confectionaries. This holiday, we lucked out and received two special deliveries. Topping the cupcakes with these childhood treats, made me feel a bit closer to home this year. Hope your Easter was full of sweet memories!

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Party Cake by L

Party cake!

Party cake

Lately it seems like I’ve been baking every dessert recipe featured in Jamie Oliver’s book, The Return of The Naked Chef. The naughty treat that I will be writing about is called “Party Cake,” and rightly so. This cake is full on! We are talking chocolate, cream, strawberries, raspberries and MORE chocolate. It’s a true celebration for the taste buds.

Getting ready for the party.

Getting ready for the party.

This cake was baked in honor of fellow TPB contributor, Nikki. Only the best party cake for our birthday girl! This combination of chocolate with fruits swimming in sweetened cream equaled a deliciously moist birthday cake. Thank you Jamie O. for another fine recipe.

Adding the finishing touches.

Adding the finishing touches.

The finished product will make your honored guests think you slaved all day and night preparing this gorgeous delight. However, the required task is not at all daunting. It’s been the easiest fancy birthday cake I’ve baked in ages! Now, go bake one too. Party or No Party. Bake it, you know you want to! And please tell me all about it.

This slice has party written all over it!

This slice has party written all over it!

Party Cake from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients-

Cake:

3 rounded tablespoons cocoa powder

200 grams caster sugar

200 grams butter

3 large eggs

200 grams of self-raising flour, sifted

1 rounded teaspoon baking powder

1 handful of flaked almonds

200ml double cream

1 large handful raspberries

1 large handful strawberries

Who's birthday is it?

Who’s birthday is it?

Chocolate topping:

100 g butter

100g best cooking chocolate

100g icing sugar

3 tablespoons milk

Pre heat oven to 180C/350F

Line the bases of 2 X 20cm/8 inch cake tins with greased parchment paper.

Mix the cocoa powder with 4 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, add the cocoa mixture, eggs, flour and baking powder.

Mix well, fold in the nuts.

Divide the mixture between the tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes.

When cooked, allow to cool then remove from the tins.

Topping:

Melt the chocolate topping ingredients in a bowl over some lightly boiling water.

Stir until blended well and allow to cool.

Whip the double cream to soft peaks and sweeten with a little sugar to taste.

To assemble the cake, remove the grease proof paper from both sponges.

Spread the cream on top of one of the sponges.

Then sprinkle it with the fruit.

Place the other sponge on too and press down.

Run a knife around the edge of the cake and smooth it off.

Then drizzle the chocolate topping over the whole cake.

Let the topping firm up before serving it.

Enjoy with your fellow party-goers!