hello summer & other seasonal ramblings (+ a recipe)

The weather in Vancouver has been nothing but spectacular with it’s blue skies and sunshine. I want to say that this summer is actually pretty rad, but as a seasoned West Coaster I have to amend that to, “this summer is pretty rad….so far“. We’re jaded when it comes to the weather and it seems we are always looking for the grey clouds in the silver lining. But I’m excited because summer is here and it is awesome. Really.

Now here’s a grey cloud – I told you, I’m a Vancouverite. I know, I know, these pancakes look amazing. I tried to create a delicious coconut and lime pancake, but instead these were tough and biscuit-like. Not the yieldingly soft and fluffy pancake of my dreams. The flavour was pretty on par, but the texture needed work. Next time, I think I’ll just modify these truly sublime coconut yogurt pancakes (made with my favorite yogurt) with some lime zest and juice and call it a success. But hey, throw on some fresh organic raspberries and I can forgive pretty much anything.

The next kink in my week was cold-brewed coffee. It seemed like a great idea, but I was let down. It was a bit too weak for my liking and it was just too much waiting around. I’ll try it again to be sure, adding less water to the final “coffee concentrate”, so I’m not going to knock it down to the ground. Yet. However, saving already brewed left-over coffee in the fridge is my kind of easy and it makes a good cuppa iced joe.

But back to the good things because if you know me, I actually like to look on the bright side. Yesterday there was the new Wednesday farmer’s market near the Main Street skytrain station where I picked up some very lovely peonies along with garlic scapes and some lettuce. There’s also summer bike rides in skirts and cold lemony Hefeweizen with friends. And take note, this coming Sunday, I’ll be taking part in the Got Craft? Bite Sized fair happening on Main Street (luckily coinciding with the car-free festival!) So please stop by, say hello & check out my wares why don’t you?

If you’ve stuck through this post long enough, here’s a quick little recipe for lemon marinated olives. I was served these recently at a party and loved them so much that I had to make my own. This recipe includes caper berries which I found in a glass jar near the capers in my local Chinatown market. If you don’t have the caper berries, you can skip them, but do try to find them. They are delicious and even non-olive lovers will love them. Trust me. These go nicely on a hot day with some of my most favorite lemony-garlic green beans that I’ve been making for almost 20 years now. Crack open a cold beer, invite a few friends over for some patio hanging and you’ve got yourself a nice little party. Open your arms and give a lemony, salty hello to summer.

30 comments to “hello summer & other seasonal ramblings (+ a recipe)”

  1. 1
    Aimée   June 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Oh, so YOU guys are stealing all the nice weather. Hah. This post is like the polar opposite to my most recent.

  2. 2
    Kristen   June 11, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Try the coffee without adding water — I just add milk to mine, as instructed by Blue Bottle Coffee folks in San Fransisco: http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/index.php/2007/05/20/p_s_thanks_for_the_blog_post_idea_too_ka.

  3. 3
    Kristen   June 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Jeez. That was one big ugly URL. Here's a tiny cute one instead: http://ow.ly/dD0Z

  4. 4
    Karencilla   June 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I am just craving for all that!!

    hey I enjoy your blog so much, I nominated you for One Lovely Blog Award! for more detail, please visit


  5. 5
    squirrelbread   June 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    You are blessed! What a view! Thank Heavens for nice weather finally, right? Wisconsin breezes are still nippy, but we're getting there.



  6. 6
    crystal!   June 11, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    to me, caper berries are a fake thing dreamed up by bridget jones when she makes that horrible meal of atrocities. i can't believe they're real!

  7. 7
    Bijoux   June 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Good to know that you are enjoying your west coast weather because we have been not enjoying our weather in Toronto for the past few weeks…cooler temperatures and plenty of rain. I've been making hearty stews to keep warm. Seriously!
    I saw caper berries at the supermarket one day and wondered what on earth you would use them for. Now I know. Those olives look fantastic!

  8. 8
    Dana   June 11, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I know, can you believe this Northwest weather? I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. BUT, we are close to July 4th which is when things get good for good until October. I think we are just lucky this year. ANYWAY, olives are one of my favorite things in the entire world so I appreciate this recipe!

  9. 9
    Sara   June 11, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    that first photo belongs in a travel brochure! looks very inviting. so does the olives and caper berries. i will have to keep an eye out for them.

  10. 10
    Jessica   June 11, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Those peonies are GORGEOUS!

  11. 11
    The Leftoverist   June 11, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    a) Love caper berries
    b) Peonies soothe even the most disappointing kitchen experiments
    c) I like your propensity to look on the bright side

  12. 12
    Culinary Wannabe   June 12, 2009 at 6:01 am

    It has been raining in nyc for like a week straight now. I would love to see the sun! Too bad about those pancakes, they look and sound good in theory!

  13. 13
    stephchows   June 12, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Well at least the pancakes looked pretty right? Beautiful landscape pic… mmm it's making me relax just looking at it!

  14. 14
    Ambitious   June 12, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I love the cold brewed coffee! 🙂 Try using condensed milk instead of regular milk!

    Also, I find that it doesn't have the acidic aftertaste!

  15. 15
    Amanda Nicole   June 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I am soooo gracious towards our weather right now. I'm freakin tanned! But, like a true Vancouverite, I am trying not to jinx it 😉

    Those olives look and sound so refreshing!

  16. 16
    Kim   June 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I'm really excited about Car Free Days too. We live on Commercial but have planned it so that we can do both here and Main, and not miss too much awesomeness.

    Coffee in the fridge is nice because it's quick and on hand, but sometimes not as tasty. Do you take milk in your iced coffee? If so, this should work for you (it does for me!)

    I use a french press, and let it sit (soak? stew? not sure what that process is officially called) for about twice as long (6 minutes) as I usually do (3 minutes) when I'm making regular coffee. I don't add any MORE coffee than usual, I just let it sit longer. But if you use a coffee maker I suppose you'd use extra coffee. Not espresso-levels, though.

    Anyway, once that's done, pour it into a mug. Add the sugar at this part (or other flavor.. yum) if that's your thing, and then add the milk. Adding the milk significantly cools the coffee down! So I usually add more milk than I would for a normal cup o' coffee.

    Then I pour all this coffee yummness into a tall glass with lots of ice cubes. Because it's been cooled by the milk, the ice cubes don't melt too too much. They do melt a little bit, but that's why I made the stronger coffee. It kinda averages out.

    Voila! I've noticed that Starbucks is the only one that has iced regular coffee and it lives in a fridge. Everyone else makes iced americanos, which I think are delicious. It always seems better than what I can make at home, for some reason..

    And now that I've finished breakfast and need to get down to work.. time to make myself an iced coffee! 😉

  17. 17
    eatme_delicious   June 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Too bad about the pancakes and coffee though they do look delicious. I need to get to a farmers market!

  18. 18
    Maija   June 12, 2009 at 9:49 am

    It has been an amazing spring in the NW so far – and hard to believe it's not officially summer till next weekend. I keep reminding myself there are many more months of playing & biking outside.

    I make my iced coffee similar to Kim. I have a coffee maker, so I use the same amount of coffee grinds, but half the water I'd usually use(to make an extra strong batch of coffee). I then fill pint glasses full with ice & pour coffee over top & top it off with soy milk. It works pretty well, and I can never remember to plan ahead to make other methods of iced coffee.

    In the NW, I find I never know (unless it hits 100) if I'll want iced coffee in the am till I rise. Sometimes our summer mornings can be quite cool.

  19. 19
    tara   June 12, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Drat. Now I want an iced Americano. And someone to bring me peonies the size of small melons.

    It's been raining here, but today it finally cleared and we've welcomed some sun. Thanks for sending it our way.

  20. 20
    Kali   June 12, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Kickpleat, have you tried making cold press coffee for your iced coffee?

    Speaking as someone who's been doing the coffee thing for nearly a decade now, chilled coffee that used to be hot only produces bitter results. Cold press is a cinch to do and gives you a really awesome smooth result!

  21. 21
    CookiePie   June 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Great post! So many delicious things, and gorgeous peonies! I love anything with caper berries – have to try that recipe.

  22. 22
    Anonymous   June 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    what kind of camera do you use?

  23. 23
    kickpleat   June 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Aimee, it's about time that we get some nice summers here 🙂

    Kristen, good idea. Thanks for the tip!

    Thanks for the nomination, Karencilla!

    Squirrelbread, I wish it was my everyday view, but it's just a short ride away 🙂

    Crystal, caper berries are so real & so good!

    Bijoux, they're good & a bit unusual. I'm not envious of your weather at all 🙂

    I know, Dana, I LOVE it! If you love olives, I know you'll love this recipe. So easy & good.

    Thanks Sara!

    Thanks Jessica 🙂 I LOVE peonies.

    Leftoverist, I like all 3 points too.

    Bummer about your weather, Culinary. I'm taking full advantage of all this sunshine. Hopefully, it will spread east soon.

    Thanks Stephchows.

    Kali, I don't have a coffee press, just an old fashioned brew machine. I'll definitely give the cold brew another go.

    Ambitious, I love vietnamese coffee so I'll try regular coffee with condensed milk. Yum!

    Amanda, don't jinx it!!

    Kim, I've been to the car free fest on Commercial so I'm curious to see what the Main Street has planned. I don't have a french press, but I'll try cold brewing again. Thanks!

    Eatme, the farmer's markets are so great. I really liked the Main Street market.

    Maija, I'll definitely try the iced coffee route again! Thanks for your tips. It's true the morning are quite cool, so I'm fine with hot coffee then….but iced coffee is nice for the hot afternoons!

    Tara, enjoy the sun! I hope it stays 🙂

    Thanks Cookie Pie 🙂

    Anon, I have a Canon Powershot SD400 – it's an old one, but a good one!

    Lydia, one of these days you should come out to Got Craft! I'll be at the one in September if you can wait that long. As for the market, I really liked it! There was def people asking for change, but whatever, I didn't think it was too ghetto (but I live in the ghetto anyway!)

  24. 24
    Lydia   June 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Oh noes! I would totally go to the mini craft fair, but am working tomorrow. I still intend to get that birthday calendar.

    So the new location for the farmers market isn't too ghetto in that park? It's the only one I can go to because I always work Saturday.

  25. 25
    Pierre Lamielle   June 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Hey! That's a great pic of Deep Cove. I grew just around that photo…
    Did you stop in for a chocolate dipped doughnut at Honey's?

  26. 26
    jenelisebeth   June 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Weird! I did the exact same thing this weekend. We made the iced coffee just like the recipe said, and we too thought that it was too watery and weak.

  27. 27
    veganvegan   June 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    your blog is SO CUTE! i love the header at the top.. adorable 🙂

    and wow, it's definitely raining in san diego right now.. laaame.

  28. 28
    kickpleat   June 17, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Pierre, that afternoon I had a Honey's doughnut (plain, last one!) for the first time. Best doughnut ever!!!

    jenelisebeth, well I guess the key is to NOT add in any water and just let the ice melt into your drink. I'll try that next time.

    awww, thanks so much, vegan vegan!

  29. 29
    Jill   June 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm


    I have been visiting your great blog for a while now but this is my first time leaving a comment. I feel the same way about you when it comes to the cold brewed coffee. I am sure the debate will rage on about which tastes better, but I too was unimpressed with cold brewed coffee when I tried it. I'll stick with chilling what I make in the morning, or grudgingly shell out the bucks for the ones at the cafe. Hope you have a great summer!


  30. 30
    kickpleat   June 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks Jill for stopping by! Well, I'm going to give it another go before my mind is made up. We'll see!

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