Archive | January, 2013

A Brunchypoo for Obama

23 Jan

As you may have heard, a fairly large event took place this week in Washington, DC. Last time around, I left the house at 3 am and slept under the Department of Labor in freezing temperatures to watch B.H.S. on a jumbotron from 15 blocks away.   Not even a little bit interested in doing that a second time, I invited some dear friends over for a little brunchypoo.

FatherKef is a big fan of breakfast-making, and especially loves to make a cheesey frittata when there are enough people around to eat the whole thing. He got the recipe from a man named Tyler who is apparently on the Food Network and, as such, this dish is referred to as ‘a Tyler’ in the Kef household.

I also made a batch of blueberry foccacia, which is most definitely NOT gluten free but I devoured anyway. Whoopsies.

Cheesey Potato Frittata


  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 2 TBS heavy cream
  • 1 c grated Gruyere cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 small red potatoes, diced
  • 1 c diced smoked ham or Canadian bacon (optional)
  • 1 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for finishing top
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 bunch chives, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, Gruyere cheese, salt, and pepper until foamy. Melt butter over medium-large heat–make sure this pan can be transferred to the oven (it will say on the bottom “oven safe” and should NOT have a rubber handle!). Add the onion and potatoes and cook thoroughly.

3. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Pull the edges away from the sides of the pan with a spatula so the eggs flow to the bottom of the pan. When the frittata is half set, add the ham if using it.

4. Transfer the pan to the heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes until puffed and golden, with firm (but not dry) center.

5. Remove from oven.  FatherKef has developed an amazing technique for this last part–grab a big serving dish, cover pan and flip in one swoop so that frittata is now right-side-up and on dish. Shower with grated Parmesan and serve garnished with sour cream and chives.


Happy Birthday (observed), MLK

21 Jan

Public Service Announcement

17 Jan


Sweet ‘n’ Salty Almond Butter Cups

15 Jan

In the words of my dear friend GingerKef, “Wowowowowowowowowowow!” 

I’ve been eyeing all the iterations of homemade Reese’s cups out there on the interwebs, but none have been exactly sugar-free–the recipes I’ve seen have called for some kind sugar for either the nut butter or the chocolate shell. That ends now.

I played around with these puppies last night, and was amazed to find how easy they really are.  BF Kef was HUGE fan and promptly enjoyed two of these fancy little treats. They’re a little sweet, a little salty, and a delicious replacement for any Reese’s lover.

You’ll have lots of almond butter left over–keep it in a container at room temp and enjoy it on apples, bananas, toast, and everything else on which almond butter is awesome.


  • 2 c slivered almonds
  • 2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 10oz bag of unsweetened carob chip (or dark chocolate over 50% if you prefer)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Put an ungreased cupcake tin in the freezer.
2. Spread almonds out on a rimmed baking pan. Roast in oven for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
3. While almonds roast, put coconut and in a food processor. Blend until buttery, which will take about 10 minutes. About half way through, add the vanilla extract to keep the mixer moving.
4. Once roasted, let almonds cool for 2-3 minutes, then add the nuts, 1/4 c of the carob chips and salt to the coconut/vanilla mix in food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles a loose nut butter. Check for taste, and add another 1/4 c of carob chips if you feel so inclined. Set aside.
5. Heat a deep pot of water to a low boil. Remove cupcake tin from freeze. Place remaining carob chips in a handheld pot small enough to hold over the boiling water.  Stirring very frequently, place the small pot over the hot water (but try to keep bottom from touching water) and allow carob to melt. This will take 3-5 minutes. 
6. Using a spatula, divide the carob between each cupcake hole–each one should get enough to cover the bottom completely. Move quickly so the carob does not re-harden (if it starts to get firm again, put back over the boiling water for a few seconds and stir). It will not be pretty. Then, use the back of a metal spoon to smooth out the melted carob and push some up the sides of the tin. Again–it will not be pretty, just do what you can.
7. Add about 1 TBS of almond butter to each cupcake holder and smooth. We liked these without a top layer of carob–but if you have any left over, go ahead and pour it over the almond butter to make a final layer of “chocolate.” Put cupcake tin back in freezer for 15-30 minutes. Once frozen, remove from cupcake forms and let come to room temperature before enjoying.

Paulatimi’s Fabulous Fudge

14 Jan

My mother has been known to bake dozens of Christmas cookies each year.  No–not a few dozen chocolate chip cookies… dozens of KINDS of cookies. Monster cookies, peanut butter surprise cookies, oatmeal raisin, white-chocolate cranberry, Linzer, sugar, gingerbread… the list goes on.

Paula’s famous party platter–no one goes home with one!
Fudge is those tan squares with red/green M&Ms.

But none are as good as her famous no-bake M&M fudge. This is definitively NOT sugar free– in fact, it falls into the same sickly sweet category as my other favorite seasonal treats (candy corn and Peeps–don’t judge me), but I fall for it everytime. My advice? Cut small and make sure you have reinforcements to help you eat!


  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter 2/3 cup (5 1/3 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 jar (7oz) marshallow fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups m&m’s plain (use colors for an easy themed dessert–MamaKef uses red and green at Christmas, I use team colors for the Super Bowl, etc)

1. Combine sugar, butter, milk, and salt in heavy 3 qt sausepan; bring to full rolling boil over high heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY with a wooden spoon.  Continue boiling over med heat 5 min stirring constantly. 2. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter until melted.
3. Add marshmallow fluff; mix until blended. Fold in M&Ms; immediately spread into greased 13 x9 inch baking pan.
4. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.
Makes one 13×9 inch pan of fudge (about 3 lbs).

Pan Dulce

8 Jan
 I love making bread.  This is a new recipe to the Kef repertoire–a Mexican treat just sweet enough to be considered a sweet bread, which makes it a great addition to any brunch.  I used this recipe for inspiration and added some orange for flavor. Enjoy!

— 1/4 c warm water
— 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (1 Fleishmann’s pack)
— 2/3 c warm whole milk
— 4 large eggs
— 2 tsp Grand Marnier (or vanilla extract)
— zest of one orange
— 2 tsp cinnamon
— 3/4 teaspoon salt
— 2/3 cup sugar
— 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
— 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
— 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
— 3/4 c confectioners sugar
— 4 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature and separated into TBS
— 1 large egg
— 2 TBS whole milk
— 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
— 1 TBS ground cinnamon

1. Combine the warm water, yeast, milk, eggs, Grand Marnier, zest, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a standing mixer with paddle attachment. Throw in 1 cup of flour, beat until combined and smooth. Mix in another cup of flour and then the butter, mix until incorporated. Half a cup at a time, add an additional two cups of flour (so you have now used 4 cups total–the dough will be very sticky). Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
2. Cover your hands and work surface in flour (I just use a big cutting board). Knead the dough for five minutes, adding 1 TBS of flour at a time as it gets sticky–basically, you are pushing/pulling the dough like a Brooklyn pizza maker and adding 1 TBS of flour at a time to prevent stickiness. The flour is JUST to prevent sticking, so don’t give in to the temptation to throw tons more flour in there. You’re done when the dough is soft and only a little sticky.   
3. Make the dough into a ball and put it in a large bowl (lightly greased with oil, butter, or Pam) and turn it over once to very lightly coat with grease. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for one hour so the dough can rise.
4. Put the dough back on your floured surface (save your plastic wrap–you can reuse it). Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into quarters. Then make four more pieces out of each quarter–so you now have 16 pieces. Roll each of these into a smooth ball. Put each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a few inches apart. 
5. With the same sharp knife, cut three slits into the top of each ball–I tried varying depths and they all worked out fine–I liked the look of the deep (but not all the way through) cut best. 
6. Cover each tray with lightly-greased plastic wrap (grease side-down, natch). Let the dough rise for another hour.
7. Make your topping– combine the flour, confectioners sugar, butter, egg, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a mixing bowl until smooth. Put one TBS of mix on each bun–it will not look pretty but that is a-okay. The heat of baking smooths it out. Allow the buns to rise for ANOTHER 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 when you have ten minutes to go.
8. Bake at 375or 18-24 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

Not Just Another Corn Casserole

7 Jan

The Extended Family Kef loves a good corn casserole. We have several versions, but this is maybe the best…depending on who you ask. This one is brought to you by ChampagneOnly Kef (mother of CafeKef, dear friend of MamaKef), who has been pioneering the gluten-free life since 1997.


  • 1.5 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1.5 c milk
  • 3/4 c stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1.5 TBS butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 c corn kernels (canned, frozen, fresh…whatever)
  • 3 TBS parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease casserole dish (1.5 qt if you have it).
2. In large sauce pan, heat water, salt, and half of milk on high until it boils. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in the corn meal gradually. Cover and simmer until the mixture becomes thick and pasty-ish. Whisk frequently. This should take about 10 minutes.
3. Remove corn mixture from heat and whisk in butter until melted. Keep whisking and add remaining milk gradually. Whisk in eggs one at a time, and then the baking powder.
4. Stir in green onions, corn, Parmesan, and pepper until combined. Pour into the casserole dish and use a spatula to smooth top.
5. Bake 45-60 minutes, until golden and knife comes out clean. 

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