Archive | June, 2017

A Blueberry Treat Whose Name We Shall Not Mention

30 Jun

Some things that I love, in no particular order: carbohydrates that defy definition, blueberries, and GingerKef’s cousin. So when I got the chance to bake a blueberry kind-of-cake/kind-of-bread WITH PresidentKef HIMSELF, I knew it was going to be a good night.

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PresidentKef and I go way back to the early days of this blog, when he was just a young man searching for Emerald City and I was a young, imprudent woman living on Lincoln Rd. Since then, we’ve been basically #BFF.

PresidentKef came into town last week and requested some time in kitchen with Kef, and I was only too happy to oblige. This recipe comes from the 1940s, and has an obnoxiously-appropriate-of-the-era name to boot: Blueberry Boy Bait. Blech. Good to know that in the 60 years between this recipe’s publication and the Neptunes’ production of “Milkshake,” America held true to the ideal that a hefty amount of saturated fat and sugar would snag you a suitable life partner.

Anyway- PresidentKef and I had a blast whipping this guy up. Here’s a mini lesson on when to be precise in baking and when to just go with your gut:

Sadly, there is no chocolate in this recipe– but there is a bunch of butter, sugar, and gluten. I’ve made this two or three times for large groups and it has always been met with demands for an encore appearance (but somehow, not one suitor… hmph). It’s “cake” in the way that coffee cake is, which is to say somewhere in between bread and cake (cread? brake?). Whatever you call it, it’s awesome, and I think you should make it.

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A Blueberry Cake Whose Name We Shall Not Mention

Ingredients

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 16 TBS unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first)
  • 1/2 c blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 13×9 pan (pyrex or metal).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand or electric mixer on medium high, beat butter and sugars until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Scrape down bowl between egg additions.
  3. Reduce speed to medium, then beat in one-third of flour mixture. Once incorpated, beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture.
  4. Toss blueberries in about 1 tsp of flour (optional). Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Make the topping: scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter.
  6. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Three Books I Read In One Sitting

19 Jun

I’m supposed to be studying for my Boards 24/7, but I went a little overboard and put the entirety of the 2016 NYT Notable Books of the Year list on hold at the library and now I have to read all these books before their return date. Whoopsies.

But it’s not procrastinating if you read them really quickly, right? In general I am not a speed reader (we leave that to ThisIsYourLifeNowKef), but these three books sucked me in and didn’t let go until I finished them. Since I should be studying, I’ll just give you the quick and dirty–ask me about my full thoughts sometime after August 1st or so.

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

What happens when a young neurosurgeon becomes the patient? This posthumously-published memoir of Kalanithi’s struggle to maintain meaning as he faced the end of his life is stunningly-written and deeply resonant. The book is worth reading just for the final paragraph, which has to be among the most touching words ever put to page.

The End of Eddy – Edouard Louis

I’ve spent more time talking and thinking about this book than I did reading it– the autobiographic novel is less than 200 pages but manages to tackle (among other things): socially-prescribed expectations of masculinity, class-based systemic violence, and resiliency in the face of abuse, isolation, and neglect. Many have called The End of Eddy a French version of Hillbilly Elegy, but I resist the comparison.  Certainly, The End of Eddy aims to connect the personal injustices waged against its gay protagonist with the massive marginalization and humiliation of his working-class family in a factory town, and its US-release was timed with the rise and near-election of a dangerous right wing politician (Le Pen), two similarities to Hillbilly Elegy that make drawing the parallel clean and neat. But Eddy has none of the suggestions for redemption of Elegy— like the author/main character, Eddy’s readers are left weighing the balance of blame and forgiveness for the family and neighbors who torment him.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers – Max Porter

Honestly, I haven’t the slightest idea how to describe this book, but if Gregor woke up a bug on the day of his mother’s funeral, Metamorphosis might have been a it like GITTWF. We meet a father and his two boys just after the sudden death of their wife/mother, and large parts of the book are spent in sparse-but-touching observations of grief and the act of living after the life you once knew is gone. Somehow, an allegoric crow borne of Ted Hughes’ (of Sylvia Plath fame) mind becomes the shepherd of their grieving process, and even manages to illuminate their most poignant moments. To be honest, I couldn’t make much sense of the Crow, but I loved the rest of the book so much I didn’t care. If someone knows a sophomore Literature major, I’d love them to close read it for me and let me know what to make of it.

Summer Running Essentials

16 Jun

The extended spring we were enjoying here in DC was nice while it lasted, but the summer stank has settled in– and if things keep heading in our current direction, I’d bet 2017 will go down as the Swampiest Summer Ever. But I’ll leave that right there.

Anyway– here are some things I think are essential to summer running:

1. Shorts You Can Actually Run In

A few years ago, I chronicled my quest to move from capris to shorts here and here. I stand by the claim I made back then that the Lole Lively Shorts are the best thing to ever happen to my thighs, but my endorsement of them must have broken the internet because they are now sold out everywhere. I am happy to report, however, that the Oiselle Long Roga shorts I wasn’t 100% sold on have been through some updates since my original test run, and I am now a big-time fan of them. I suggest sizing up because the built-in brief seems to be about 1/2 size smaller than the shorts themselves– but, if callipygian isn’t the word the Ancient Greeks would have used to describe you, you might not worry about that.

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2. A Hand-held Water Bottle

When it’s damn near 80 degrees and 100% humidity by 6am, there’s no two ways about it: you need to BYOW. I love this little 10-oz guy, but admit that it’s only enough if I know I’ll have access to a fillup while I’m out for a run. I’m considering upgrading to a 16 oz and would love to hear your recommendations if you’ve got ’em.

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3. Something–anything–to Keep the Sweat Out of Your Eyes

What is worse than being hot, tired, and soaked in your own sweat? Being hot, tired, and having that aforementioned sweat running into your eye and threatening to knock your contacts out of place, too. I love this Roga Visor from Oiselle (surprise). It’s made of the same super-lightweight and sweat-wicking fabric as the Roga shorts are, so it keeps the sweat out of your eyes without adding extra heat. The brim is a bit shorter than most other visors I’ve tried so I don’t find that it does a ton for face shade, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay for eyes that don’t sting.

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If visors aren’t quite your thing, I also sometimes use those 80s terrycloth sweatbands as a headband and have found that easier than trying to keep one of those super-cute-but-not-all-that-functional sparkly ones in place. Plus, you can roll out with your squad looking like this… because nothing says “I’m ready to run” like pantyhose:

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4. Sunglasses

As a health professional, I should recommend sunscreen… but the best this sun-worshiping (and foolhardy) Greek woman can do is to recommend good polarized, non-slip, non-fog sunglasses. I am pretty into these fun and durable KnockArounds, most of which cost around $10-25. (Click here and enter your email address for $10 off any purchase of $20+.)sung

5. A Plan

Listen, y’all– I have learned this the hard way. July is not the time to figure your route out while you’re running it. Are there water fountains available on the route? Is there shade? Are the hilliest parts of the route also the parts in full sun? If you keel over from heat exhaustion, will anyone be around to find you? Is your main obstacle going to be bikers (who provide just enough breeze as they blow by to count as a blessing) or a group of middle schoolers from Iowa (who totally screw your Garmin stats by making you slow down at every crosswalk because their chaperone refuses to let anyone by)? These are things I want to know BEFORE I head out of the house.

Watermelon Prosecco Slushies

13 Jun

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Summer 2017 has officially begun– and how better to ring it in than sipping a refreshing champagne slushie with your favorite people? We did a little celebrating this weekend up at the Kef Family Homestead, and these were just the beverages to get the party started.

The company didn’t hurt, either:

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And just in case frozen drinks and great people weren’t enough, we had a knee-high magnum of Rose. Gotta have back up.

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Watermelon Prosecco Slushies To Celebrate Summer

Ingredients

  • 4 c seedless watermelon, frozen and cubed
  • 1-3 c ice
  • 3/4 c limoncello (optional– we made batches with and without it)
  • 3/4 c sparkling white wine
  • Fresh mint and lemon slices for garnish, if you’re into garnish

Assembly

  1. Throw your cubed watermelon in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  2. Once frozen, combine all ingredients EXCEPT PROSECCO in blender. Blend just until ice is mostly blended, ~45 seconds.
  3. Pour blended watermelon into glasses, top each off with prosecco. Swirl with a fancy straw and top off with a mint leaf and/or lemon slice.

Who run the world? Girls.

9 Jun

Now that school is over, the question pretty much everyone is asking is, “What are you doing with all your free time?” I’d love to say that I’m taking up a new hobby or finally cleaning out my closet… but, mostly, I’ve been sitting around watching YouTube videos of girls who kick ass. I’ll distill my favorites here:

Kicking ass at kindness:

Kicking ass at taking down obstacles:

Kicking monster ass:

Actually, kicking pretty much all the asses:

 

Girl mother-effing power. And that’s really all I have to say about that.

Green Goddess Dressing

6 Jun

I’m dipping my toe back in the water of baking and blogging– so here’s a short and sweet recipe from Half Baked Harvest that I have been slathering on pretty much everything. Healthy fats mixed with feta cheese? And you just throw it in a food processor and whirl? Yes please.

Half Baked Harvest’s Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 of an avocado or 1 small avocado
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS roasted pistachios
  • 1 c fresh basil
  • 1/2 c fresh mint
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c feta

Assembly

1. Put everything in the food processor.

2. Puree until to desired texture.

3. Eat on everything.

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