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Icelandic Skyr with Muesli and Fruit | Umami Girl
I mentioned last year in a post about Reykjavik that we discovered a love for Icelandic skyr during our stay. What I didn’t say is that when we got home to New Jersey, somehow everyone else had suddenly discovered the same love. I half-joked at the time that we shouldn’t eat too much skyr, because we’d learned from our rad tour guide Sigurdur Albert that Icelandic cows were having a hard time keeping up with the growing worldwide demand for their milk. I don’t know whether I took myself too seriously or just embraced my old habit-monster or what, but instead of adopting skyr, I went back to my old Greek yogurt ways as soon as we got home. Which was, you know, delicious.

But then we visited my sister and bro-in-law a few weeks ago, and they had a fridge full of skyr, and I was instantly re-smitten, because re-smitten is a thing you can be. Also because skyr has this extra-fabulous thickness and a totally not over-the-top sweetness that lets its natural tartness shine through and fill it with added dimension. A yogurt prism, if you will. Also because the brand name made me think of what Sigurdur Albert might have been called by his parents and grandparents as a little boy growing up in rural Iceland. Is that weird? I don’t care. (Psst…it’s siggi’s.)

What follows is less a recipe and more a strong suggestion — an urging, even. You know you need a quick, healthy, incredibly delicious breakfast or snack sometimes. But did you know Iceland has a 100% literacy rate? I’m not saying it’s because of skyr, but I’m not saying it’s not. Maybe try it. 

See you soon.

Carolyn xx

{Get the recipe.}

My Perfect Popcorn | Umami GirlEverybody needs a go-to popcorn recipe. That’s a truth universally acknowledged. We’ve tried many methods and variations over the years, from stovetop popping to microwave hacks, from sweet to savory, from good to better to best. This is the recipe we come back to time after time. Snack after snack. Movie after movie. It’s our perfect popcorn.

It won’t surprise you that my favorite popcorn is a packed with umami and full of savory goodness. Bonus: it has only four ingredients even when you count the salt, and it takes less than five minutes to make. I haven’t yet figured out how to make it braces-friendly (and I’m not holding my breath for that one), but otherwise, like the title says, we think it’s perfect.

As with all the “my perfect” recipes on the blog (and you can type that phrase into the search bar to find the rest), I don’t mean to be a royal arse shouting MINE is better than YOURS. I just mean, man, this is one of those recipes where we’ve nailed it. It’s perfect for our taste buds, and we don’t tinker with it. You, of course, are free to tinker as you please.

Happy Monday. Happy popping. See you soon.

Carolyn xx

{CLICK for My Perfect Popcorn Recipe.}

Johnston Canyon Hike and The Inkpots Banff National Park | Umami GirlWelcome to the first post in what promises to be a truly picturesque series on hiking the national parks of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Today we’ll be showing off Johnston Canyon and The Ink Pots in Banff National Park. Our family discovered right here that we’ve reached a stage where we all love hiking, and I can’t think of anything better. The littlest Cope, now 8, needed some encouragement from time to time in the form of, “Think of how all this altitude training will improve your gymnastics!” But otherwise we fielded few complaints. Small price to pay for a new world of magical experiences.

Johnston Canyon Hike and The Inkpots Banff National Park | Umami GirlAt Johnston Canyon you can choose your own adventure. There’s a more crowded 1.7-mile hike to the Upper Falls (3.5 miles round-trip), which takes you on paved paths and the catwalk type thingy in the photo above. There’s an elevation gain of about 120 feet (which doesn’t begin at sea level, let me tell you), and the scenery is MAGNIFICENT, but otherwise this part of the journey feels a little less  hikey and a little more touristy.

The second phase of the trip, from the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, climbs higher through the woods on dirt paths and is much less crowded. The trail opens up at the end to beautiful meadows and the Ink Pots, seven cold mineral springs that bubble to the surface. Although they’re all in close proximity, each is a different color due to the mineral composition of the spring. I’m surprised how few people decided to continue on for the additional 1.9 miles to the Ink Pots. Maybe they’ve packed their schedules, or maybe they don’t know what they’re missing. But dudes. Do it. The total round-trip distance for this hike is 7.2 miles. We got a seriously late start on the day and still had plenty of time, even with kids.

Here’s a link to the official website for the area in case you’re in information-seeking mode. If you’d like to browse photos and endure some of my color commentary (both literal and figurative), keep scrolling. (more…)

Savory Broccoli Frittata with Mushrooms | Umami GirlWe are huge fans of frittatas on busy weeknights. This broccoli frittata saved us on Monday night after a worky-worky day. The thing is, just because a frittata is routine doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Dinner should never be boring! I’m not sure I’ve ever made the same frittata twice, and that helps to keep things interesting. But I thought I’d spend a minute talking about the other key to “maximizing your family’s engagement with dinner,” as a social media consultant might say if she were just on the brink of hangry.  

Let’s keep it short and savory. The password is…umami. Big surprise, right? Incorporate a few handfuls of umami-rich ingredients, and you’ll never look back. In this so-called broccoli frittata, which is actually so much more, I’ve umami-bombed with (1) shiitakes (2) capers and (3) pecorino. That’s all it takes. Aww yeah.

In other news, we’re toggling between soaking up the last rays of summer sun and getting ready to head back to school. Our town’s annual firemen’s fair starts tonight, and I fully plan to ride the rainbow just shy of nausea. I’m counting down the days until I turn 40, and I look forward to kicking things off right. More to come.

Enjoy your Friday. See you soon.

Carolyn xx

{CLICK for the Broccoli Frittata recipe.}

Chard Crostata (Galette) Corn Taleggio Olives | Umami Girl-2

As I’ve been saying a lot around here lately, I don’t turn on the oven, or even the stove, in the heat of summer without a solid reason. It’s been HOT, people. Why mess with that? Well. One reason to mess with that is a crostata, also called a galette or even a rustic tart. Rustic means that the ratio of effort to payoff is just right for summer. A crostata is the culinary equivalent of, let’s say, perfect jeans and a white button-down. Timeless and effortlessly chic. Makes you look like you care just enough. Which you do.

Crostata dough is, at its essence, a delicious shovel for the seasonal ingredients overrunning your fridge and countertop. Sweet or savory. Think stone fruit. Think tomatoes. Think chard. It’s hard to go wrong as long as you season aggressively and avoid an excess of moisture.

Chard Crostata (Galette) Corn Taleggio Olives | Umami GirlWhat you see here is the result of some slight overexuberance at the weekly farmers’ market. Maybe I showed up hungry. Maybe a NJ August just excites me. Maybe I have a hopeless crush on vegetables. Definitely I do. It’s love/hate, though, when the greens threaten a hostile takeover of the kitchen. A crostata is a way to regain control of your life. Just like that effortlessly chic version of yourself would do.

Chard Crostata (Galette) Corn Taleggio Olives | Umami Girl-2The combination of chard laced with the slightest bit of balsamic, cheese and olives, and corn in a buttery half whole-wheat crust hits all the right notes. Super-savory, a little bit earthy, a little bit sweet. Just indulgent enough, and packed with goodness too.

That’s exactly how summer should be.

Here’s a little video I made to show the initial dough-making process. Hope you like it. Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx



Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.


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