9 June 12 • MAV

Stephanie has mentioned the book Good To The Grain in this space before. I am a huge fan as well. My copy has flour dusted onto most pages and eggs smeared so that some stick together. It’s well-worn and I do love it so. I don’t stock most of Kim’s recommended flours on your regular old day but I do always have spelt flour. I love the taste and in most recipes I swap in at least 1/2 cup spelt  for some of the all-purpose.

This Olive Oil Cake, on page 172 in the book, has become a staple in my kitchen. I swear to you that both kids and adults love it equally (there have been fights!) and that makes it a real winner. I’ve served it with fresh strawberries/raspberries and/or vanilla ice cream. Last 4th of July I served it with whipped cream. Lately I just put it out plain and watch it get devoured in a matter of moments. We rarely have a piece left and I love that part too (leftovers tend to become my breakfast the next day and starting with sugar/chocolate is not the best for this gal).

I make a few small adjustments to the original recipe—I don’t include the rosemary, I use more spelt than all-purpose, I use a touch less sugar and I increase the chocolate. It’s a fun recipe to play with. It also calls for very few ingredients so you’ll likely have most of what you need in your kitchen already. Oh and Kim calls for bittersweet chocolate chopped. While I love this idea, and have done it before, I find dark chocolate chips are easier. Either way I’d say go with a minimum of 60% cacao mass. The darker the chocolate the better because is mixes so well with the spelt and olive oil. Yumm!

Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake
adapted slightly from Good To The Grain by Kim Boyce

1-1/4 C spelt flour
1 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C natural sugar
1-1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3 eggs
3/4 C whole milk
1 C olive oil
7 ounces dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Rub a 9-inch fluted tart pan or round cake pan with olive oil. Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In separate bowl whisk eggs together thoroughly. Add in milk and olive oil and whisk again. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and turn the entire batter out into the baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm if you can!

9 June 12 • SCB

In just a few days, school is out and our schedules and commitments relax, the weather warms (we hope), and we will start heading out on all kinds of day-trips around Oregon. I am so excited for summer. This week I packed up our summer adventuring kit for the car. It all fits fairly well into a basket I just leave in the car, so when we head out we don’t have to fuss too much about what we bring along. I have been doing this since the kids were small (and the kit was twice the size, filled with diapers, toys and pajamas), and have found that having these essentials available means we can be more spontaneous and don’t find ourselves heading home early because someone is too wet, cold, or hungry. Here’s what I packed:

1. A good sized towel or cotton blanket. Ours is a vintage cotton heavy-weight tablecloth. It works equally well as a towel, picnic blanket or a throw to cover your legs on a chilly night.

2. A Baggu holds lightweight rain jackets (for sudden rain showers or cool evenings), spare bathing suits (for swimming hole discoveries or last-minute invitations to the pool), and a pair of cheap flip-flops for everyone.

3. More Baggus! For trips to the market, but also to hold wet or dirty clothes or to use as impromptu backpacks.

4. A kit with basic essentials like sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, band-aids, ibuprofen, hair ties, and a packet of tissues (aka emergency toilet paper).

5. An empty jar to fill with berries we find growing roadside, wildflowers or other treasures.

6. Emergency snacks. The key here is to have snacks that won’t spoil in the car or melt and also aren’t too tempting that my kids will eat them up on the next ten-minute ride across town. We’ve got almonds and dried fruit in there.

7. Filled water bottles.

8. Another pouch holds a folding knife (for slicing fruit or whittling), a bandana to use as a napkin or a tourniquet (just kidding—I hope), and a small amount of cash for parking meters, roadside fruit stands, garage sales, and ice cream (or in my case, iced coffee) emergencies.

Happy summer adventures, everyone.