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Have I ever told you how this blog came to be a real thing? As in an internet real thing? My friend Michelle pushed me to do it. It took a bit of convincing. I generally liked food blogs, but was also annoyed by them all the same. The more I mulled over the actual existence of it, the less I thought I had to contribute to people’s actual lives in a productive sense. I knew a few things about cooking, had studied nutrition and held some very solid dinner parties in my time (including that one where I made straight bourbon slushies with little more than a sprig of mint to “soften the blow”), but a regular log of that stuff–where people can see it and generally like or be annoyed by it too? Eeeeeenh. It took me a solid bit of time, waffling between the reasons why or why not (see what I did there?).

And my friend kept at it until I dredged up the gumption essentially. She would gently nudge me on what I could contribute in a real way. There were texts asking me about a particular ingredient or cooking technique, with the obligatory reminder that qualified the creation of a site. Jokingly, she would mention its sheer benefit to her own life with food.

So I tried making and photographing a few things with a purchased domain just kind of sitting there. I agonized about those first recipes. They weren’t good enough, I hated the photos (I have an embarrassed fondness for a lot of my old photos now), the whole thing felt kind of silly (“blog” as an actual word, bluh awful)–just riffing on healthy seasonal foods to a solid following of 12 people (hey mom!).

Nowadays, the number of readers is a bit higher and this project has contributed a lot of (sometimes crazy) greatness to my life. I’ve only been tempted 4 times that I can remember to start a post with “Guys, I hate blogging. Fuuuuuuu–” …So, many wins. But still, every little speck of opportunity I get because of it, you betcha I’m letting my instigating friend hear about it first and foremost. This usually leads to a blitz of !!!’s and “Holy shit!” kind of texts, which is pretty much the most fun. I was compelled to talk about this here, to serve as a reminder of the serious abundance she’s helped bring into my life and why I keep at this thing. What I’m driving at here: You need to keep the good + positive people around you, to remind you that a blog isn’t always the silliest thing in the world. Or to just help you work towards actually creating and becoming something to wave from up high with all of your pride.

Since Michelle is pretty keen on pointing out that I probably just want to post breakfast treats all the time (I do), I made some waffles for y’all this week–with my first bunch of rhubarb that I bought from a really sweet lady on the side of the road over the weekend. She weighed the bunch on an old-time-y scale, questioning its accuracy as the bunch seemed to thicken rather tremendously. I brought it home and stewed half of it with tons of vanilla bean flecks, orange zest and juice, and slid the mushy heap of it right onto the tops of golden, yeasted buckwheat-y waffles. What could be better enjoyed outside in a spring splendour? Nothin’ at all.

Did you know that rhubarb and buckwheat are botanical relatives in the category of pseudocereals? I thought this was kind of interesting for a few reasons. Both ingredients seem to take a few tries to fully appreciate for one. Buckwheat flour has a bitter, wine-y quality that requires thoughtful pairing in a general sense–in blinis with smoked fish + horseradish, mixed into pancakes with roasted pears, as noodles in fragrant + perfectly salty/pork-y ramen broth. Its aroma is sweet and colour delightfully purple-ish heather grey (this tends to fade throughout the course of cooking/baking). Rhubarb is notoriously sour, and like buckwheat, not often enjoyed on its own. Pairings of berries, heavy cream and heaps of sugar are utilized with frequency and um yep, it’s pretty delicious with riesling and other white wines. So I thought that the two together would make a very happy union, one offering up what the other lacked with an enthusiastic drizzle of maple syrup, a heavy hand of wholewheat pastry flour to balance the assertiveness of the buckwheat and flecks of warm spice throughout the waffle. We ate them outside in the shade, perched at the tiniest patio table, completely full in all ways imaginable.

Waving hello from some strange (but wonderful) summer-in-spring weather, bike rides + new albums on repeat. xo!

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raised buckwheat waffles + vanilla bean braised rhubarb
serves: 2
notes: You have the option to raise the batter on the counter for 1 hour before you plan to cook the waffles OR for a 1/2 hour on the counter + a covered overnight rest in the fridge for extra developed flavour from the yeast. The stewed rhubarb remains pleasantly sour, so I would recommend serving these with some maple syrup on the side for the lovers of sweetness in the am hours.

raised buckwheat waffles ingredients:
1 cup warm almond milk (or other milk that you like)
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tbsp raw honey/maple syrup/agave
2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil + extra to grease waffle iron
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup wholewheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 tbsp warm water
pinch of fine sea salt

vanilla stewed rhubarb ingredients: 
1/2 lb rhubarb, cleaned + cut into 3-4 inch pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup + extra to serve
zest + juice of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped

In a medium-large non reactive bowl, combine the warm almond milk and yeast. Let the yeast dissolve and become part of the milk for a few minutes.

To the almond milk and yeast, add the honey, oil and vanilla. Give it a stir. Add the buckwheat and wholewheat flours, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir until just combined, then add the water and stir one more time. over the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1/2 an hour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or let the batter sit on the counter for a full hour and go from there if you’re okay with slightly less developed flavour).

Meanwhile, make the braised rhubarb. Combine the rhubarb, maple syrup, orange zest + juice and vanilla bean seeds in a medium saucepan (throw the vanilla pod in while it cooks too). Let it sit over medium heat until there’s some faint bubbling. Let the rhubarb cook until soft and syrup-y, about 12 minutes. Set it aside or keep it warm until you’re ready to serve the waffles.

Remove the batter from the fridge and stir in the fine sea salt. Let the batter rest while you preheat the waffle iron. I find a higher done-ness level is desirable with yeasted waffles in general, so there’s that. Grease the waffle iron and cook waffle batter according to your maker’s directions (almost 1/2 the batter per waffle in the iron for 3 minutes or so for me). Enjoy waffles warm with the stewed rhubarb.

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  • Blogging is a magical thing, you just never know what will happen. But one thing is for sure – you make a great work. Your recipes are delicious, photography amazing. You show food as it should be seen. Yummy yummy.ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf22/05/2013 - 8:44 am

    I need a waffle maker! As for your thoughts on blogging, it’s fascinating to hear about your journey to get to this space and I’m so pleased your friend encouraged you to do it. The internet wouldn’t be quite the same without you :-)ReplyCancel

  • Asha@FSK22/05/2013 - 9:07 am

    haha… Glad you held out and are here now. Blogging can be frustrating like when you are stuck for things to say and short on time but it is also hugely rewarding in just the people sense :) It is such an altruistic effort in and by itself :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley22/05/2013 - 9:23 am

    I’m so glad you stopped waffling and decided to create this spectacular space! It is a true gem!! I have a friend who is like your friend. Such a great reminder about keeping the good and positive people around us. There just isn’t time for anything else! I am loving how you prepared the rhubarb and that you cut it in mini stalks. Also…I also only want to post breakfast…all of the time! Hugs, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia22/05/2013 - 9:45 am

    Well I am glad your friend pestered you long enough to start this blog – I have yet to come across a dish I didn’t want to immediately devour and let’s not get me started on your beautiful photos!

    And the waffles look and sound delicious – I agree that both buckwheat and rhubarb are quite particular ingredients and need careful thought when it comes to pairing them with other ingredients but the idea of putting the two together in a dish seems great (even more so given that the plants are related!).ReplyCancel

  • Erin22/05/2013 - 10:08 am

    Hooray for new experiences and exciting adventures because of the blog! I’ve had only a few times where I said “screw it, I’m deleting the whole damn thing” but those usually came after a few super crazy comments :)

    I also think we should start a blogger breakfast support group because you’re not alone. Breakfast, always (I do put eggs on everything just so it looks like lunch, but could still be a legit breakfast…)ReplyCancel

  • Terry22/05/2013 - 10:31 am

    Great post, and as someone also encouraged down this blogging path with my own “why am I doing this questions”, I appreciate your thoughts! It is amazing how much people can add to your life if they are positive, and take away if not. And – this is on the dinner menu tonight!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin22/05/2013 - 10:31 am

    i completely understood where you are coming from in this post. blogging is weird to me, and i question it, but those positive people in my life make me feel like i’m doing a great service to humanity ;) even if only my husband, mom, dad, aunt, and best friend read my blog, that’s just fine with me ;)ReplyCancel

  • ashley c22/05/2013 - 10:49 am

    thank you for sharing! i’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, and this post is so raw and inspiring. i just started school at iin and have been thinking of starting a blog, but had the same reservations as you. who knows, maybe i’ll start one soon?ReplyCancel

  • Melissa // The Fauxmartha22/05/2013 - 11:19 am

    Forever indebted to Michelle for pushing you to do this. I love your voice in this blog world that sometimes leaves me questioning my place in it too. You’re a keeper and a big inspiration to me. And of course, I lurrrvvee waffles like they’re going out of style.ReplyCancel

  • Blaine22/05/2013 - 2:19 pm

    Having kindred spirits out there blogging about good food & seemingly trivial bits of life reminds me that I am not alone, in some way. That connection is nothing short of awesome!
    Rock on with your posts. Especially if they’re breakfasty.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne22/05/2013 - 3:09 pm

    Well, I’m glad you’re friend convinced you to start blogging. Otherwise I wouldn’t have the pleasure of knowing you! This recipe sounds great. Side note: I’ve been listening Trouble Will Find Me on repeat this morning. It’s haunting.ReplyCancel

  • Laura@bakinginpyjamas22/05/2013 - 3:45 pm

    I love the combination of flavours here, I can imagine these taste delicious! I’ve never had waffles before and this recipe makes me want to try them in the very near future.ReplyCancel

  • Jo22/05/2013 - 4:48 pm

    Reading certain blogs is somewhat a passion of mine.. you have me hooked with your amazing unique recipes, stories, humor and amazing pictures! You made me curious to look back to the start of your blog; your pics are still stunning then in my books! Though you should be very proud of how your writing and photography has come on over the course of your wonderful blog. They are an amazing tool for motivation and learning! Keep being your creative inspiring self, I for one am loving your work xReplyCancel

  • Kasey22/05/2013 - 5:40 pm

    I love this story, and I am so glad you are here. There. Everywhere, wherever my computer/mobile device goes ;) If it were up to me, I’d post breakfast treats all the time, too. In fact, I have a little yeasted waffle recipe I am sharing very soon (clearly we are on the same wavelength). This is gorgeous, lady. Blogging brings so many good things to our lives. I’m thankful for it everyday (even the days I wanna be like, fuuuuuu…) xoReplyCancel

  • Polly22/05/2013 - 5:50 pm

    I’m so pleased that friend pestered you into blogging! I’ve only found your space quite recently but I’m so pleased to have. Your photography is beautiful and your food looks so good and leaves me inspired every post.ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com23/05/2013 - 12:14 am

    I’m glad you were literally “pushed” into blogging! You are surrounded by people who loves you very much :)

    And I want this yeasty waffles in my life.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah23/05/2013 - 1:40 am

    Your waffles look freaking amazing and I love your work. Never stop, even though I agree that this can sometimes be a sucker’s game. Bloggers be crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Trisha @ Vignette23/05/2013 - 3:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. I agree, surrounding ourselves with supportive friends makes our lives so much brighter and fulfilling! The vanilla braised rhubarb looks positively delicious on these waffles!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney23/05/2013 - 4:15 pm

    Blogging has always been a bit of a struggle for me as I don’t particularly like talking about myself (I’d rather just share the food!). But, it’s been a good sort of challenge that I like to think has allowed me to grow. I love coming to this space and seeing what you’ve cooked up as it follows with how I like to live and eat. Bravo on a beautiful space and can’t wait to be able to make these waffles :)ReplyCancel

  • la domestique23/05/2013 - 6:20 pm

    Can’t get enough rhubarb these days and totally love waffles means I think this post is fantastic! So glad you’re in the annoying food blog world! :)ReplyCancel

  • carey23/05/2013 - 6:25 pm

    Oh man, that blog beginnings story is so familiar. (My friend Matt [now friend/admin] was the one who hassled me as I continually weighed the pros and cons, and tried to generally avoid talking about it as much as possible except when I felt like theoretically babbling about all the things I would do if I did have a blog…yeah. Go pesky friends!)

    My love affair with buckwheat is super new and exciting, so the blinis + smoked fish + horseradish nearly killed me. NEED THAT in my life/face.ReplyCancel

  • lindsey25/05/2013 - 8:25 am

    you are so right, surrounding yourself with positive people, no matter what you’re doing in life is super important. thanks for sharing your story.

    i made something very similar a few weeks back. i added some bourbon to the rhubarb, next time i’ll add more, made for a nice boozy breakfast. the addition of buckwheat is so clever. i knew they were relatives, but i never would have thought to pair them in a breakfast recipe – awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Justina25/05/2013 - 4:43 pm

    I love this post (and your photographs are beautiful). Thanks for the reminder of how encouraging and fun it can be. A few of my best friends encouraged me to start a blog as well and they are the same people that I share the “you won’t believe” or “I have a great idea” with. I look forward to following your blog.ReplyCancel

  • mary rizzaro26/05/2013 - 1:08 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Mark27/05/2013 - 9:42 am

    Great post… These look delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush28/05/2013 - 9:53 am

    Lovely! The idea of yeasted buckwheat waffles is making me drool. That rhubarb looks extra beautiful in your pink saucepan. So glad to have found your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)30/05/2013 - 10:59 am

    I think I am in love with these waffles. Absolutely smitten. Your photography is just gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline03/06/2013 - 12:45 pm

    I liiiike rhubarb pretty well. My husband really really likes rhubarb. So every week I buy it at the Farmer’s Market and wonder what to do it with. He made a really kick ass rhubarb savory sauce one time. I put some wilted stalks into our kale smoothies. This weekend I made rhubarb vanilla rosemary jam, which burnt a little bit but still tastes pretty damn great. But now. Now I want to stew the rest and make these. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • […] a bubbly, golden, maca-infused topping. For this recipe, I drew inspiration from both Laura’s Vanilla Stewed Rhubarb and The Urban Vegan’s Rhubarb-Maca Coffee Cake. Implementing a variation on Laura’s […]ReplyCancel

  • […] the last 6 months, waffle recipes seemed to be everywhere I turned (The First Mess, or Oh, Ladycakes, for instance). My waffle-hunger initiated, I had no way to satisfy my desire for […]ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer12/05/2014 - 5:17 am


    I made these waffles yesterday and followed the recipe exactly. They came out tasting wonderful but somehow they did not hold together and ended up sticking to my waffle iron (which I had oiled prior to use) and falling apart in the middle. Do you have any idea why this might have happened and how I could avoid this? I also made some whole wheat waffles the same day in the same waffle iron using the same amount of oil and these came out perfectly.

    Any advice? I would love to make your waffles again as they tasted amazing!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/05/2014 - 7:36 am

      Hi Jennifer,
      I’m so sorry that these stuck to your waffle iron! From my experience, waffles that stick/fall apart in the middle tend to come from mixtures that are too wet. I’ve made these a few times and have never had a problem, so I’m scratching my head a bit at this one. Do you live in a humid climate? Either way, I might try an extra couple tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour stirred in next time, or perhaps a little bit less oil in the batter itself next time. Please let me know if you try them again!

  • […] | Edible Perspective Pumpkin Buckwheat Waffles with Sauteed Apples {GF} | The Year In Food Raised Buckwheat Waffles + Vanilla Stewed Rhubarb | The First Mess Pecan Cookies with Whipped Chocolate Filling {vegan} | Jessica Murnane Chocolate Hazelnut Tart […]ReplyCancel

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Any expanded thoughts or musings on my week that I could offer you today would just be a heap of slashed clippings, loose (+ heavily frayed) threads, scratches on paper napkins, and trailed-off sentences with space-y eyes. Notes from the heap: how is it possible that #humblebrags continue to rise out of the lower regions of the online/spilling-into-real-life world? Cut that out, internet. An introduction to Let Me Google That For You a couple weeks ago has led to much temptation in the contact form submission/questions area of managing this site (side note: if you email me a question, I promise I won’t be a demonstrative POS). My dependence on a computer for a majority of my work/communication is kind of weighing on me lately. It’s a machine that executes repetitive sequences of all types with zero variation. When I think of the greatness of life, I see waves of moments that surely intersect (sometimes serendipitously), but never fully repeat with exactitude. Technological devices have been temporarily sucking the existential magic out of things for me I guess (fully realize that I’ll change my mind on this in like, 2 minutes). Anything described as “charming” is just a write off in general. Oh and! I’m still reeling from the amount of money I spent on some mediocre sandwiches over the weekend.

It’s not all bad though. The blood orange soda I got with my crummy sandwich was lovely, this site/movement of no-fucks-given is just the thing for me in this particular spot in time, I got my hair whipped around by some wild lake breezes the other day and dang if Leo isn’t still the dreamiest ever in Gatsby, AMIRIGHT?! (I’m right) Oh yeah, and this little thing that’s happening.

ANYWAY. In the interest of getting out of my own mind a bit, I made you some tarts with chocolate ganache-y good stuff. I had a college externship at a place that made these too-cool chocolate terrines with a nut and date core all running through them. Slices of it would get plated up with some cashew-based chocolate + orange ice cream and beautiful slices and spirals of fresh fruit. This mousse/ganache-ish filling is a riff on that terrine base. There’s plenty of avocado chocolate mousse recipes out there, but I love this one for the sheer amount of melted chocolate. Versions of it with cocoa powder are great, but this one rules. Trust. The first time I was tasked with making it at the restaurant, I had blitzed up the ripe avocado with vanilla and whiskey into a smooth paste. Then came the point in the prep where I would just drizzle the melted chocolate into the feed tube of a food processor while the motor ran. As I was doing this, the chef/owner kept telling me over my shoulder “More chocolate, more chocolate, more, more. You want it so thick with chocolate that the thing can’t even move.” Obviously this stuff is rich, delicious, deep, dark and perfect.

And this pastry is officially my go-to for sweet + savouries right now. Wrestling with cold coconut oil is kind of frustrating sometimes and I’m not terribly into the flavour of most non-dairy butter substitutes. This olive oil-focused tactic from The New York Times just needs some stirring (ie no cutting in of cold fat), a small pulling together with the hands and it’s good to go after a little rest. It’s highly forgiving, non-fussy, a breeze to roll out and delightfully crisp. It’s my fave and I want it to be yours too. I’ve tried it with a bunch of different whole grain flours (rye, spelt, wholewheat,  buckwheat, millet), in sweet and savoury versions and it’s perfect every time. Bake up the tarts, slap the ganache in and oh yeah, there’s coconut whip on top. Everything is kind of looking up I think :)

PS! I have a guest post at the wonderful A Couple Cooks blog this week as well. Sonja and Alex have started an excellent series called Healthy + Whole that focuses on accessible and wholesome recipes with real ingredients, overcoming fear/intimidation in the kitchen, and reconnecting with the earth that provides for us. Plus they are really lovely people to boot. You can see the post here.

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little chocolate tarts w/ simple olive oil pastry + coconut cream
pastry lightly adapted from The New York Times/Martha Rose Shulman (PS: there’s some gluten free instruction there too)
serves: makes 8 if you re-roll the pastry scraps (or 6 with leftover chocolate ganache)
notes: I stayed simple with mine, but orange zest, various types of booze, almond extract, orange blossom water or ginger would all make nice additions to the filling.

pastry ingredients:
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp/100g whole spelt flour
1/2 cup/55g light spelt flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp granulated sweetener (coconut/maple sugar, evaporated cane)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice (or white wine/white balsamic vinegar in a pinch)

chocolate ganache ingredients:
1 medium-large sized ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
1-2 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want this)
2 tsp vanilla extract
faintest pinch of ground cinnamon (mostly to boost the flavour of the chocolate)
tiny pinch of sea salt

coconut whip ingredients:
1 can of full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen’s Organic + Whole Foods 365 brand are my faves), refrigerated for 24+ hours
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 6-8 muffin cups with olive oil, spray oil etc and set aside.

Make the pastry: Combine the flours, salt and sweetener in a large bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and stir into the dry ingredients until uniform little clumps appear throughout the mix. Add the water and lemon juice. Stir until the pastry starts to come together. Dump it out onto a floured surface and bring the pastry together with your hands. It should feel lightly moist (not not tacky), elastic and giving. Shape it into a disc, wrap with saran and store in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.

After it’s rested, remove the dough from the fridge and flour a working surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to 1/4-1/3 inch-ish thickness. Using a 3 1/2 – 4 inch circular cutter, punch out circles of dough. I punched out 4 on the first go, pieces together the remaining pieces jigsaw puzzle-style and re-punched more circles and it all worked out. Gently fit them into the greased muffin cups, crimping/creasing them if you need to. Prick the bottoms of the crusts with a fork. Place some little squares of parchment on top and weigh them down with dry beans/pie weights. Bake the crusts like this for about 10 minutes or until you notice little brown edges on the tops. Remove the papers/dry beans and bake for another 5 minutes, or until crusts are fully golden brown. Allow crusts to cool before filling.

Make the ganache: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, melted chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. Pulse the mix a few times to get it going. Then flip it to high until the mix is completely incorporated, thick and creamy. Set aside until ready to use. It will harden considerably if you store it in the fridge, so keeping it covered on the countertop is fine.

Make the coconut whip: Open the can of coconut milk and extract the solid mass of coconut cream from the top of the can (and only the solid mass). The leftover milky water is a nice addition to a smoothie. Put the solid coconut cream into a medium bowl. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat everything together with a hand mixer on high for a minute or so, or until you’ve achieved an airy whipped-cream-ish result. Store this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Assemble the tarts: Fill the shells with chocolate ganache, top with dollops of coconut whip and garnish with chopped almonds, cocoa powder dustings etc.

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  • Kathryn15/05/2013 - 5:45 am

    I’m a little obsessed with olive oil pastry at the moment; I love how versatile and how tasty it is and it’s such a great combo with that rich chocolate filling. Love these.ReplyCancel

  • hungryandfrozen15/05/2013 - 5:49 am

    Oh, I love the sound of this pastry. I know what you mean about non-dairy butter substitutes. Meh. I always have olive oil handy, so I like knowing I could just make this any old time. Totally feeling you with the pile of trailing-off sentences and fragments and so on, but I think you pulled together something pretty beautiful here. (Also: boooourns about overpriced disappointing sandwiches) (Also, also: coveting that white plate!)ReplyCancel

  • I love the pictures. It was hard to stop looking and start reading :) I like that it’s vegan and that it’s so pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar15/05/2013 - 7:29 am

    That pastry looks soooo fabulous!! Love!ReplyCancel

  • Winnie15/05/2013 - 8:26 am

    You crack me up and I LOVE these tarts. LOVE!!!ReplyCancel

  • sarah15/05/2013 - 8:33 am

    Ooh, lovely. I make a very buttery-spelty-heavy-creamy version of these, but I’m going to have to try yours out, as we are slowly working on eating better (again. it’s a work in progress). And, I’ve never made an avocado-chocolate concoction that tasted well, so I’m excited to try yours! I trust you. :)ReplyCancel

  • Natasha15/05/2013 - 8:58 am

    This is perfect! I have actually been looking for an olive oil tart crust. I saw that one in the NY Times but hadn’t given it a shot yet. Happy to hear it works out well! These look absolutely wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Julia15/05/2013 - 9:52 am

    ok, i totally feel your pain.. and then you come out of the darkness + back into the light with this dessert!!?? smashingly brilliant. can’t wait to try it. also can’t wait to see gatsby. just saying.ReplyCancel

  • Claire15/05/2013 - 10:51 am

    Daft Punk really is making everything better. Power through, you can do it!

  • Elizabeth15/05/2013 - 11:04 am

    I have some strawberries languishing on the counter and was dreaming of some kind of olive oil crust to make for them, and then today – this beautiful post is just what I was looking for, except I didn’t even have to look. I’m also pretty tempted by this chocolate situation happening. And yeah, these internets are so full of highs and lows, I too feel the magic being sucked away.ReplyCancel

  • Fresh and Foodie15/05/2013 - 11:48 am

    I’m in love with these! And the thought of using avocado in a chocolate ganache is blowing my mind — but in a good way.ReplyCancel

  • Karen15/05/2013 - 12:14 pm

    You and this blog are magical. Thoughtful, smart and on point, you are raising this medium to a higher plane. Thank you for what is clearly a work directly from your heart. And ps: these tarts are insane. Yum.ReplyCancel

  • Izy15/05/2013 - 12:52 pm

    WOAH olive oil pastry! That sounds incredible!!! mmm, with that super mega chocolatey avocado ganache too; heavennnnn and so gorgeous! I’m always frustrated when people ask me questions where all they have to do is TYPE IT INTO GOOGLE to get an answer; so thank you for showing me LMGTFY, it appeals to the passive aggressive side of me hahahaReplyCancel

  • Eileen15/05/2013 - 2:32 pm

    Such pretty tiny tarts! I’ve never made a pastry with olive oil–super interesting.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne15/05/2013 - 5:25 pm

    Oh man, I love your ramblings. Glad I’m not the only one whose mind has been all over the place lately. This recipe sounds fantastic and I am eager to try out this olive oil pastry dough. I hate cutting butter into flour (lazy!) but I’m already imagining the uses for your way. Last, your photos! Amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Jeanine15/05/2013 - 5:53 pm

    These look amazing! So so gorgeous.

    ha – “Let me google that for you” – I hadn’t seen that, too funny.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui15/05/2013 - 8:56 pm

    Oh dang! I just want to gobble these up! I love a good oil pastry too, so much less of a pain to work with.ReplyCancel

  • Sara16/05/2013 - 12:19 am

    HellO Laura!

    I adore your wonderful, beautiful food as well as your ever-entertaining banter. I’ve been making a version of your asparagus and ramp soup (with leeks instead of ramps and cauliflower instead of potato, with the added step of roasting all the veg first…) and it is to die for. Thank you for the inspiration!

    This recipe looks fantastic–my only concern is the whole avocado business. I’ve attempted several raw desserts/smoothies using avocado and chocolate, and I always find that the avocado flavor overpowers all other flavors, even bittersweet cacao powder! Perhaps this recipe is different because it uses a large amount of real chocolate–but could you perhaps vouch for the non-avocado-y-ness of these tarts? Because I would really love to love them!

    Thank you ever so much!

    • Laura Wright17/05/2013 - 8:10 am

      Hey Sara! Thanks for your lovely note. Glad you’re enjoying the asparagus soup too :)

      As for the avocado-y-ness of this recipe. I have to say that the large amount of melted chocolate helps quite a bit. I know what you mean though. Sometimes it can taste pretty vegetable-ish. I use quite a bit of vanilla here to cover that up and if you decide to add a shot of whiskey or Grand Marnier or something, that only serves it further. I think the key is using a chocolate that you really, really love here. I used the vegan chocolate chunks from whole foods because the taste is pretty stellar, but I’ve also made it with dark chocolate caletts from Callebaut and it was unreal. Anyway, just my two cents there. I think it’s worth a try because well, anything with chocolate is worth a try in a general sense :)


  • Shira17/05/2013 - 9:00 pm

    Gorgeous little tarts to start the long weekend right! That pastry looks too yummy. Lovely, lovely way to end the week. Thanks Laura!xoReplyCancel

  • […] thanks, Angharad, for pointing out Farmhouse Table.  The original hipsters. I love Laura’s little chocolate tarts. I also love John Krasinski. I hope to be this awesome.  Interviews with Kyle? I can’t stop […]ReplyCancel

  • Foods4Health19/05/2013 - 5:43 pm

    Great, never heard of an olive oil pastry but after checking out this recipe and looking at the pictures, I will certainly be giving this a try :). Thanks for posting this recipe in an easy to follow way and such a great write up.

    What camera are you using for these pictures. The quality is astounding and you certainly have a knack for finding the right lighting and angle. Thanks for all that you do and all of your work :). Glad to have found your site and look forward to learning more!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright20/05/2013 - 8:33 am

      I am using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II for the body and for these shots I used a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L Lens. I mostly shoot outside and process the photos in Lightroom + Photoshop.

  • Lindsey20/05/2013 - 3:15 pm

    i’ve been meaning to try chocolate avocado mousse. awesome idea to put it into a little tart, thanks for the great idea!ReplyCancel

  • I just love little desserts! Yours are so pretty. I made some spelt shortbread crusts recently, looking forward to trying your spelt crust next.ReplyCancel

  • Happy Memorial Day!24/05/2013 - 7:04 am

    […] Individual Chocolate Tarts in an Olive Oil Pastry Crust […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Little Chocolate Tarts with Olive Oil Pastry from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!
A part of me kind of feels a bit ridiculous for posting two recipes with ramps/wild leeks today. Let me qualify this feeling a bit. A lot of people on my instagram/twitter feed seem to be enjoying this first spoil of spring (on the real: like lots). I definitely had a bit of a laugh when I read that they were sought out aggressively as some sort of “foodie merit badge” in an article that was published last year. I enjoy their mild and sweet onion-to-garlic taste and burst of first warm season nutrition, certainly. Spotting them on a Spring hike offers a special kind of thrill, a sense of discovery that is uncommon with more typical food-sourcing practices. There’s an intense freedom in sourcing your own food by wilder means. It’s a process coloured by curiosity, passion and independence.

But there is growing evidence that ramps/wild leeks are over-foraged. A more direct way of explaining this: since their glamorization of recent years, less thought is being given to their sometimes 18-month germination stage (kale is 5 days by comparison) and multi-year growth period necessary to produce an edible bulb. I sprialed down the rabbit hole reading blog posts and articles about dwindling ramp populations, stories of families that would look forward to gathering a few every year, having to go deeper and deeper into the forests for them as time has worn on. Those gorgeous photos of leafy bundles piled high at a farmer’s market table seem to capture a myopic worldview to me now. Fortunately, there are plenty of pieces that detail on sustainable harvesting techniques. In the discussion of local eating (whatever it may be defined by in whatever circle you find yourself in), entitlement, movements of excess and the need for more thorough investigation always seem to come up in an ethics tug of war.

Anyway, as with all things we take into our bodies that become a part of us, there has to be some serious thinking involved. I enjoyed these first bits of spring to the brim of fullness, from painstakingly washing away the grit and forest-y attachments to the actual enjoyment of the end product. Taking them in slowly and approaching the food with thought means a longer-felt sense of satiation for me. Very simply stated: I’m good for the year. Bring on the peas, strawberries and garlic scapes too please? Today I’m sharing two things I made with my little bundle of the alliums with you. There’s a brilliantly simple asparagus soup that capitalizes on that sweet onion flavour and a rustic spelt bread with some chopped greens folded in. Enjoyed together? Yes, yes.

I’ll also add a few notes on asparagus soup. I have to tell you, I’ve had some awfully crummy versions of it over the years. Ones where the sweetness of the perennial is overwhelmed by salty stock. Or the vegetable is very clearly overcooked, that damp funk ringing loud and clear. Sometimes its lightness is smothered in parmesan or truffle to the point of obscurity. With some trial and error I’ve learned a few key principles to follow when simmering up a soulful pot of this goodness. The seeming main point of this dish is to preserve and glorify that spring vegetal sweetness. Here’s how you do that: utilize acid in the form of white wine and a fresh squeeze of lime at the end. The lime adds a perfect sour lift that doesn’t turn the dish into asparagus + citrus soup. It serves the soup without overwhelming. Also, use a bit of heat, but not to the point where you can feel it. I add cayenne near the beginning of the cooking process and it merely serves to heighten sweetness. Lastly, enrich your stock with some wilt-y asparagus bits. Asparagus sweated out, simmered and puréed with asparagus stock? That’s the Platonic ideal of clean asparagus flavour right there. This is important.

Lastly, I made you some bread with chopped up ramp greens. Any sort of herbs would be nice in this (although in lesser amounts if you’re using rosemary, oregano, thyme + the like). The recipe is pretty simple and forgiving. It does require about 2 hours of mostly inactive time, but as with all warm and fresh bread-like things, it is certainly worth it.

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!

simple asparagus + ramp soup recipe
serves: 4-6
notes: As I mentioned, I like to simmer my vegetable stock with a few chopped up pieces of asparagus prior to making this to really amp up the sweet asparagus flavour. Inevitably a few spears go off/wilt-y in a bunch, so I just chop those up and toss them in with the stock until they’ve gone a little past the bright green stage.

soup ingredients:
2 tsp grapeseed oil
12-15 ramps/wild leeks, cleaned + chopped, white bulbs + greens divided
1 medium waxy potato, peeled + 1/2 inch dice
1 bunch of asparagus, woody base ends removed, stalks cut into 1-2 inch lengths
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
heavy splash of dry white wine
salt + pepper
4-5 cups vegetable stock/asparagus stock
juice of 1 lime

kale chips (kale tossed in oil, salt + pepper and baked in a single layer at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until crisp)
cooked quinoa
diced avocado
extra virgin olive oil
fresh pepper
chopped chives/chive blossoms
violet flowers (SO optional, guys. They’re all over our lawn and I shot this outside and whoa, there they were :))

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped white ramp bulbs to the pot. Stir them around and cook them until slightly softened. Add the diced potato, asparagus and cayenne. Saute the vegetables for a minute or so. Add the white wine, let the alcohol burn off a bit and stir the vegetables some more. Season everything with salt and pepper. Keep cooking the vegetables until the asparagus is bright, bright green.

Add the vegetable stock to the pot (enough to cover by an inch or so) and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.

Carefully blend the soup in batches in your blender to puree. Add the lime juice to the pureed soup and stir to combine. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary. To serve, bring the pureed soup to a boil and serve with any garnishes you like and slices of the spelt bread.

spelt bread with ramps recipe
barely adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in The Guardian
serves: makes 2 small loaves
notes: You could experiment with ratios of whole spelt to hard bread flour, but I tend to go with this recipe when I want a no fuss, lightly grainy bread. Of course, you can use other add-ins you like or just enjoy it plain.

2 1/2 cups/300g whole spelt flour
1 1/3 cups/200g hard bread flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 package of instant yeast (8 grams)
1 cup chopped ramps/wild leeks, green leafy parts only
1 1/3 cups water
oil for greasing a bowl

In a large bowl combine the spelt flour, bread flour, salt, yeast and chopped wild leeks. Stir them to combine. Add the water and stir until a dough starts to form. Bring it together with your hands. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together. Knead for 8 – 10 minutes or until a supple and smooth dough forms with the slightest tackiness to it. It should feel warm and alive. It isn’t necessary to knock yourself out kneading this–just slowly keep on rolling it off the wrist until it feels good.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, rolling it around to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, cut it in half and form both pieces into round ball shapes by gathering/pinching dough on the bottom of the ball with your fingers. Once you’ve shaped both breads, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the sheet with a damp towel and let the bread rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and secure a rack in the middle of the oven.

Once you’re ready to bake, use a very sharp knife to cut a slit into the top. Nestle a whole ramp leaf in there if you like. Bake the loaves until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom, about 25 minutes. Allow loaves to cool slightly before enjoying.

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  • Kris08/05/2013 - 7:45 am

    Lady! I love the story, the recipes, and the photos (of course). Hats off to you for that stunning (STUNNING) finished soup photo!ReplyCancel

  • thelittleloaf08/05/2013 - 8:17 am

    Super pretty pictures! I’ve made a variation on Nigel Slater’s spelt loaf too but including ramps (or whatever herby, oniony replacement I can get in the UK) sounds divine. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • carey08/05/2013 - 8:27 am

    It’s funny, for the few short weeks that ramps are in season here, their presence at stores and farmers’ markets would make you think they were grown in giant crops on every farm, not sought out in the woods. I’d like to think that this is due to an abundance of mature plants and skilled foragers, but something tells me that isn’t the case (especially given the demanding restaurant industry around here). *sigh*. I go a bit crazy for them when they first show up, but the idea of over-foraging will make me think twice about how many I really need to consume before the season ends. (I actually had no idea how highly sought after they were until this year. Thanks, instagram! Totally teaching me things.)

    And this soup = early spring perfection. Spring-y flavors and un-funked up asparagus, but still warming with some bready goodness. And heck yes to flower garnishes. It really needs to cool the F down here, because this 80° sunny weather in May is kind of lame. (I don’t know if many people around here would agree with me, but it is.) I want highs in the low 70s and equal amounts of sun, clouds, and rain. Like, ya know, spring weather.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn08/05/2013 - 8:44 am

    I’ve been slightly taken aback by the ramps-love this year – they’ve never really been on my radar before but the word does seem to have gone ramp-crazy. It’s sad to hear that that might cause problems for future crops. Saying that, I’m pretty sure I’d love them if I tried them. They sounds exactly like my kind of thing.ReplyCancel

  • sarah08/05/2013 - 8:54 am

    Lovely post Laura! I’ve only had asparagus soup once, and it was delicious. It was years and years and years ago, and I’ve always meant to try and recreate it, but now I can just make yours. And that bread! It looks so good.ReplyCancel

  • Mariela08/05/2013 - 9:29 am

    I am a sucker for creamy green soups. Love the recipe. Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Renee08/05/2013 - 10:46 am

    This soup sounds simply lovely. I adore the inclusion of a hearty home-baked bread – there truly is nothing better with than a soup/crusty bread comfort combo. Also loving the budded chives – beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen08/05/2013 - 2:49 pm

    That soup is so green an beautiful!I love the violets as garnish. This really makes me wish we had any chance at ramps here on the west coast…but I suppose actual baby leeks will work well too. :)ReplyCancel

  • Zita08/05/2013 - 3:10 pm

    I am in love with this post. Period.ReplyCancel

  • Dervla @ the curator08/05/2013 - 3:16 pm

    hands down the most lovely photos of green soup ever! Plus I didn’t know about ramps being overforested, and I’m working on a book about foraging, oh no! Isn’t it amazing that too many people are foraging now, and a few years ago you couldn’t pay them to do it.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey08/05/2013 - 6:09 pm

    the soup sounds amazing. do you think i could substitute a white yam for the waxy potato? not sure it would work. beautiful ,beautiful photos.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright08/05/2013 - 10:10 pm

      Hey Lindsey! You could certainly use a white yam in place of the potato. The starch content of the yam may be a bit lower so it won’t provide as much creaminess, but I think it will still get the job done :)

  • hungryandfrozen08/05/2013 - 7:22 pm

    You are the queen of soup garnishes with that list, my goodness.

    I have so long to wait for asparagus – Winter has just started here – but I know what you mean about a short burst of seasonal food being enough. I adore strawberries to pieces but I am actually happy to wait for them. I’m not sure I could live entirely seasonally, but I’m certainly happy to wait for some things because they simply won’t taste as good out of their proper time.

    And so, I will wait, and wait, and wait, and come November or December, make myself this soup ;)

    Also, love that bread recipe, I haven’t made bread in ages and I love how it looks like it’s smiling at me!ReplyCancel

  • kels08/05/2013 - 8:51 pm

    Thank you, dear one, for challenging the ramp-hype. I have to admit, when I see pictures of ramps all over Instagram I sorta feel like this: It’s a shame how we, humans, can take a good thing and just make a mess out of it. I feel the same way about quinoa. I wrote about the human rights issues around it in Bolivia a few years ago and it was quite touchy for people, I’m proud of you for not being afraid to GO THERE. Okay, off the soapbox. This soup is stunning in all ways.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey09/05/2013 - 9:36 am

    awesome! thanks :)ReplyCancel

  • How beautiful this is! the soup is so vibrant! I love a good bowl of soup with some rustic bread. Perfect summer meal.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne10/05/2013 - 2:56 pm

    I have never tasted a ramp, but for all the blog love they have been getting lately, they must be super tasty. Your pictures are so gorgeous, Laura. Teach me!ReplyCancel

  • Kankana11/05/2013 - 11:56 am

    Asparagus soup is one of my fav. In fact asparagus is one of my fav in any form! Ramp on the other hand is something I haven’t had yet and am seeing it a LOT in the blog sphere. Clearly, I am missing out on something special and must find a bunch before the season slips by! LOVE the styling of your photos as always.ReplyCancel

  • I want the bread! It looks so good. Baking starts to be my new hobby.ReplyCancel

  • Kristy14/05/2013 - 2:53 pm

    Seriously, Laura- that is one of the most gorgeous soups I’ve ever seen! And the photography is just stellar! Wowzers!ReplyCancel

  • ileana15/05/2013 - 7:02 am

    What a gorgeous soup!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqui15/05/2013 - 9:04 pm

    These shots are gorgeous Laura! Keep on rockin’ it!ReplyCancel

  • […] This is the most beautiful bowl of soup I have ever seen, Laura. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potatoes (from The Beeroness) and Rainbow Carrot Salad (from Crepes of Wrath) Wednesday: Simple Asparagus + Ramp Soup (from The First Mess) with fresh crusty bread Thursday:  Roasted Tomato & Pesto Omelet with a […]ReplyCancel

  • Danielle21/05/2013 - 3:13 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful soup – so lovely with the splash of violet flowers and kale. It makes me feel that invigorating sense of spring just looking at it! It is a difficult consideration to make – I love eating wild things and the whole sense of nourishment that comes from going out in the forest to harvest. But then, what happens when everyone wants that! Or when a market opens up and the demand exceeds the availability? I came to the conclusion that I would only harvest the leaves and leave (no pun intended) the rootlets to continue growing. The leaves are just as delicious and then I’m happy and the plant is happy (or happier). Anyhow, I will be making this soon – nothing so good as a luscious green soup and a good rustic bread :)ReplyCancel

  • Chiara28/05/2013 - 4:42 pm

    Gorgeous photos!

    I’ve made this soup twice over the past few weeks to take advantage of the early veg. The first time it was amazing, so fresh and light. Dead easy too.

    The second time, I think I over cooked the vegetables and it was a bit unappetizing; I didn’t go back for seconds.

    So be careful not to over cook the greens.ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)30/05/2013 - 10:58 am

    This soup looks so incredible!!! Just so simple yet so complex with flavor.ReplyCancel

  • Cwis24/06/2013 - 7:36 pm

    I just made this soup and it didn’t come out the bright green color like the photo. Instead it looks like a murky greenish brown, closer to split pea soup. I used vegetable broth, not stock. Could that be the reason why?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright25/06/2013 - 6:35 am

      Hi Cwis,
      Vegetable broth and stock are pretty interchangeable for me, so I’m sure that isn’t it. Did it taste good? It sounds like the aspragus got a little overcooked at some point… Once the veg is JUST tender, I end the cooking process and blend immediately so that I don’t lose the colour. Also, the asparagus I had used was quite thick, so maybe this allowed for some extra cooking time. Hope some of this is helpful to you.

  • Soup Style | Sous Style04/10/2013 - 9:01 am

    […] Doriannn, Spiced Spinach & Lentil soup 6. My New Roots, Coconut soup 7. The First Mess, Simple Asparagus & Ramp soup  8. The First Mess, Simple Garlic & Greens […]ReplyCancel

  • […] isn’t afraid to call attention to issues of sustainability, as she did with her post about Asparagus Ramp Soup. You’ve really got to check her […]ReplyCancel

  • Phoebe Lapine @FeedMePhoebe13/05/2014 - 12:54 pm

    Both the bread and the soup look incredible. Asparagus is such a delicious spring vegetable and I love eating it in soup. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Sini12/04/2015 - 8:08 am

    Gosh, this soup is so pretty! Unfortunately, ramps are hard to come by here in Finland. They aren’t sold on farmers’ markets or in stores and few people seem to forage them. This year, however, I’m going to try and find some. To my excitement, my mom brought a bunch of ramps with her all the way from Munich yesterday! I felt like the luckies girl ever.

    So happy I discovered this old post.ReplyCancel

  • […] Simple Asparagus and Ramp Soup: The return of foods so brightly colored just lifts my spirit, a departure from all the things […]ReplyCancel

  • Racquel02/06/2015 - 2:42 pm

    Hi! So I made the soup and it was delicious after a critical modification. You MUST dial back the cayenne from 1/2 tsp to literally a SMALL pinch. This is a CRITICAL change. The soup was literally not edible and had to be thrown away when I added the 1/2 tsp cayenne. My husband can take heat, but he was not able to eat this. Not even practically an entire container of sour cream was able to cool the soup down! If anything – I would add 1/2 PINCH of cayenne – not a 1/2 tsp. It is otherwise a good recipe, but this change is critical!ReplyCancel

  • […] basis: The First Mess with significant changes (certainly with […]ReplyCancel