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Pan-Roasted Salmon with Dijon Butterbean Salad & 5 Random Favorites

6 Mar

salmon and butterbean salad

Welcome back from what was definitely the last snow day of the year. It’s Friday and that means I’m linking up with Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney. Today’s a pretty open prompt, so I’m gonna make it just as random as can be, and then read on for the insanely easy salmon recipe I’ve got for you today.

Five Favorites Apropos of Nothing

1. Robin Wright’s stylists on House of Cards. Just when I think they have exhausted the world’s supply of natural-waisted, solid shift dresses with asymmetrical necklines, they go and find another one that I wish I had in my closet. Well done, friends.

2. Garmin Customer Support. My trusty Forerunner 610 was never the same after a wet and grimy NYC Triathlon and these real, live, lovely people helped me troubleshoot and repair it.

3. Arlington Free Clinic. I volunteer here and they do amazing work I am just so proud to be a small part of.

4. The fact that Trader Joe’s sells frozen figs. I don’t know what to do with them yet–they’re frozen with the skin on but this lady says I can blend ’em right up that way, so it seems VERY favorite-worthy!

5. People who are kind, supportive, and inclusive will always be my favorite. Here’s a little shoutout to Jamie Brewer, who became the first person with Down Syndrome to rock the runway at New York Fashion Week.

Actress Jamie Brewer walks in the Carrie Hammer show at New York Fashion Week.

Alrighty then–on to the salmon. MrKef and I tried out Hello Fresh, which is one of those weekly meals-all-but-cooked delivery services. This was our first meal and we were both pretty wowed at how delicious the result was, but I can’t say that I found it any easier to cook just because the teaspoon of coriander was portioned out for me. It’s a fun idea and I think we’ll do it again sometime, but I can’t see us making this a weekly subscription. This salmon, on the other hand–well, it could become a nightly thing.

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Dijon Butterbean Salad


  • 2 salmon fillets (4 oz)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12 (or so) sugar snap peas
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 TBS stock concentrate
  • 1 small red onion
  • juice of half lemon
  • 1 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 TBS butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 c water


1. Drain and rinse the butter beans. Finely dice the red onion and garlic. Chop the zucchini into 1/2-inch cubes.

2. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until tender and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add the snap peas and zucchini until peas are just a little tender and zucchini has softened (another 3-4 minutes). Pour into a bowl and set aside. Do not wash the pan.

3. In the same pan, add another 2 tsp of olive oil. Season both sides of the salmon with the salt and pepper, then add to pan skin-side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Add butter and lemon juice, then spoon sauce over the salmon. Remove the fish from the pan and cover with foil. Still don’t wash the pan.

4. In the same pan, add the mustard and coriander to the lemon/butter sauce (mine wasn’t the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, but it tasted great). Cook for 30 seconds, then add the beans, onion, zucchini, and snap peas. Toss for 1-2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper if you’d like.

5. Add stock concentrate and 1/4 c water. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until broth is slightly thickened.

6. Serve salmon over salad and enjoy.

Cranberry Apple Galette

13 Nov

Christmas came early to the CasaKefi–FianceKef arranged an amazing surprise that I’ll give you all the scoop on later (hint: it involves kicking off Love Actually season!) AND the replacement parts for my food processor arrived today. God is good ALL of the time.

I have been dying to try my hand at galettes–an unfinicky French dessert? Sign me up! QueijoKef has been filling up my Instagram account with all kinds of galette inspiration, so when I had some extra time between really fun night of Korean BBQ and bedtime, I decided it was time to whip one up. (PS- Follow me on Instagram @ChefKefiRN and you, too, can see the absurd food-picture tag Queij and I are engaged in.) Pastries are always a little touch and go when it comes to subbing in gluten-free flour, and I was fully prepared for this late-night escapade to be a disappointment. Imagine my shock and joy when it turned out to be a great success!

photo 4(1)This cranberry apple galette comes from our friends at Williams Sonoma, who are not playing around, and I have included my substitutions for gf/sf in their recipe below. The crust calls for both cornmeal and sour cream, which adds a fullness of flavor and texture that I haven’t come across in other gluten-free crusts, and the cranberries keep the apples from making the dessert too sweet or apple-crispy. Taken all together, this dessert toes the line of savory–perfect for a brunch or someone who’s not all that into sweet treats. A commenter on the original recipe suggested subbing 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with almond flour; having eaten several slices of this tonight, I think that sounds like the only way this crusty package could get more delicious.

Cranberry Apple Galettephoto 1(1)


For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup for gluten free)
  • 6 TBS white cornmeal
  • 2 tsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 12 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 6 TBS sour cream
  • 1/2 c ice-cold water

For the Filling

  • 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3 TBS honey
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 medium Granny Smith apples (about 4 lbs total) peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2  c fresh cranberries
  • 2 TBS. unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
  • Sugar for dusting (optional)


1. For the crust: in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Scatter the chunks of butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and ice water. Drizzle the mixture over the dough and pulse until the dough is smooth and clings together. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2. For the filling: in a large fry pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the apple slices and simmer until the apples begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple slices to a bowl.

3. Add the cranberries to the liquid in the fry pan and simmer until they start to pop, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the bowl with the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil the liquid until reduced slightly, then spoon over the fruit.

4. Position 2 racks in the middle of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

5. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each half into a round about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to separate baking sheets. Divide the fruit filling equally between the pastry rounds and spread it in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border uncovered. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating the edges to form a rim. Lay the butter slices over the exposed fruit. Spoon juice from fruit over the galette. Dust the pastry rims with sugar.

6. Bake the galettes, rotating them 180 degrees at the midway point, until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the galettes cool completely on the pans. Makes two 9-inch galettes; serves 10 to 12.


Protein-Packed Costco Meal in 10 Minutes or Less!

19 Aug

Costco- truly the land of plenty. I try to stick to one simple rule when shopping there: if we don’t already consume it in the Kef household, we don’t need to give it a whirl in bulk proportions. Seems reasonable right? Well- I broke that rule big time yesterday with the help of MarymountKef and am now the proud owner of three new pairs of running gloves (which should come in handy tonight during my 86F run), 400 thread-count sheets, and a lot of apple cinnamon chips. But the fun didn’t end there–I also bought new bean-based noodles and frozen quinoa. Why is that crazy? Well, I don’t really eat beans or quinoa, and I usually am not that into things with noodles or frozen food that isn’t ice cream. So basically, I looked at a HUGE amount of a new item and said, “Meh, I’m not really into any of the components of this, but I’ll see how I feel about 11 servings of it without so much as tasting it.” Twice. Luckily, the gamble paid off and I now have two new products worth sharing!

The first– black bean spaghetti.

mainimage__52508_1405393272_1280_1280I have no real reason for not eating beans often, but they’re not paleo and I feel way bloated after eating them, so I’ve been avoiding them. But when I saw that, unlike most gluten-free noodles, these guys have no weird stuff in them– 92% beans, 8% water–  it seemed like a thing to try.

The second–frozen quinoa and kale.


Note: not my nicely-manicured thumb nail.

Again–quinoa is not totally my thing for no particular reason (unless you count the destruction of Peru’s agricultural system particular), but I figured this is would be a great alternative to rice for BFKef, who can’t stand the idea of a meal without a grain. The Costco package comes with four steamable bags with 3-4 servings in each, so I am hoping BFKef will microwave one of these guys on Sundays and use it for his lunch all week. A girl can dream.

So what did I do with these the massive amount of things I don’t eat all that often? Well, I put them all together to make one huge meal, of course. And it was delicious.


On the blog today: billions of things I don’t eat with a side of condos for sale.

This meal was laughably easy– I threw the noodles in boiling water, microwaved the quinoa/kale, and then threw in some edamame (because there wasn’t nearly enough protein already between the beans and the quinoa) to the already-boiling noodle water in the last minute or so of cooking. I added sriracha to BFKef’s and sesame oil/tamari to mine and called it a meal.

I was impressed by the texture of the noodles –they really had a spaghetti-like consistency. The quinoa and kale was YUMMY and perfectly spiced. BFKef liked it as well–the true test will be whether he makes it for himself or not.  If I ever have to buy a year’s worth of stuff I don’t eat again, I’ll start here.



Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.

24 Mar

Less than 24 hours ago, I was in the scorching sun of south Florida. Current temperature in Washington, DC: 27F. Forgive me if I’m less than impressed.

Things in Miami started off as you would imagine– we hit the gym, spa, and pool immediately upon arrival.


photo 1-4

photo 3-2It was all fun and games until people started standing on their heads:

photo 4-1And once we realized our girl Mimi and her hubs Nick Cannon were in town… it was ON (in a rude turn of events, Mariah never tweeted us back. Humph.)

photo 5-1We got all gussied up and headed to Katsuya for an amazing sushi dinner

photo 3-3 photo 5-2Amazingly, KPMGKef was in town as well, so she met up with us at the Delano and schooled us on how to take a selfie.

photo 1-3But we think there’s something about the wrist of a 23 year old that makes selfies so good… so we resorted to asking the bartender to take a shot

photo 2-2

Yes, I know my Spanx are showing. No, I’m not going to edit them out.

Another 12 hours and thousands of glasses of bubbly later, it was time for QueijoKef’s parents (CrashKef and SpritzKef) to collect us from Miami and head on to our next destination: Joe’s Stone Crab.

photo-88 photo 3-1We wasted no time getting down with some stone crab, sauteed mushrooms, and lobster mac & cheese.

photo 4 photo 5 photo 1-5Let’s take a break here for just a second to give some much-deserved high praise for Crash & Spritz Kef… they are just about the most amazing hosts on the face of this planet. Queijo and I last visited them together when they were holding court in Rio, and they have only become more warm, welcoming, and fun in the last 7 years. A HUGE thank you to my hosts!

photo 2-1 photo 1-6By Saturday we had a singular goal: get Crash to the couch at Palodar with a mojito in hand by sunset. Challenge accepted.

… but not without some stops along the way.

photo 1-2

People watching from the Surf Club at Fort Lauderdale beach. Prisoner transport not pictured.


photo 3-4

SpritzKef knows my heart–she made sure to point out that the Whole Foods was there in the distance!

photo 4-4

If anybody needs a straw, we have extra!

Driving home, we paid homage to our Québécois friends

photo 2-5

Mangez. Sommeil. Rave. Répétez.

And then, as quickly as it started, the Suspicious Minds dance party of 2014 was over. Per usual, Queijo and I ended up nestled in the bosom of a very grounding floor.


Here’s the thing (and there’s ALWAYS a thing…)

Back to the real world and the real blog tomorrow– thanks to QueijoKef, SpritzKef, and CrashKef for an amazing weekend!










Greek Empanadas

24 Feb

With weekends like that– who needs weekdays?

If you were lucky enough to be in the Mid-Atlantic region this week, you enjoyed sunny highs of 65- perfect running weather. I snuck in a 12-mile run that was absolutely glorious with the exception of the Calvert Street hill, where I realized the two women talking about butter pecan ice cream as they strolled up the hill were moving more quickly than I was while “running.”  Talk about an ego check.

Hilly runs aside, I had some of my long-time favorites over for empanadas. AKAKef and NoLongerClevelandParkKef brought their world-famous sangria (recipe forthcoming!), ChitownKef and TShirtMogulKef joined us, and it was on. We gossiped, we laughed, we speculated about the best places to spot Michael Eric Dyson and Eric Holder in DC, and then we kvetched about the lack of “house training” in the modern era… everything a Sunday night ought to be.

I used the dough from my favorite empanadas and filled them with fasolakia (plus a hearty dose of feta cheese) and was pleased with the result.  photo-82


We finished the night off with some chocolate peanut butter pop ’ems and a countdown to the return of Scandal Thursday, and then scurried home because some people reallly needed to catch the latest episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta. I won’t name names to protect the very, very guilty.

Greek Empanadas


  • 1 batch of empanada dough
  • 1 batch fasolakia (cut the beans into thirds after you stem them)
  • About 4 oz feta cheese (optional)


1. Prepare the fasolakia and let them cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare the empanada dough. Cut the dough into rounds (3-inches for small, 6-inches for big) using a biscuit cutter or glass cup as described in empanada recipe. Arrange half of the rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Put about 1 TBS of fasolakia in the center of each 3-inch round, or about 1.5 TBS in a larger empanada. Sprinkle generously with feta. Cover the bases with the remaining half of the rounds and seal with your fingers. Brush generously with the oil of your choice.

4. Bake for 12 minutes at 350, then turn on the broiler for another 2-3 minutes, WATCHING THE EMPANADAS LIKE A HAWK. When lightly browned, remove from the oven and enjoy!


Taverna-Quality Fasolakia

6 Feb

We are already in the second month of the year and I have not even so much as mentioned FERRAGOSTO! I realized this last night as I gobbled up the tomato-braised green beans I just took out of the oven and thought to myself, “Thank God my brother isn’t here because I would really hate to share these.” But then it occurred to me that if I were with my brother eating fasolakia as good as these, we would probably be herephoto-80

and in that case I could probably handle sharing. T MINUS 5 MONTHS(ish) TO FERRAGOSTO!

Which brings us to today’s recipe: fasolakia. Nom nom nom. As you know, I wasn’t that into green beans for a long time, so I missed out on this delicious Greek dish for some time. Fasolakia (translation: green beans) are as easy to make as they are a classic display of Greek flavors. Saute some onion, add some dill, throw in green beans, tomatoes and wine, simmer, then throw in the oven to braise. Done and done, right?


I still don’t know how to properly take pictures of greasy food, but the grease makes these beans so.damn.good I couldn’t even be bothered to try and fix it.



  • 100 mL olive oil (just under 1/2 c if you don’t have a metric measurer)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c dill, chopped
  • 1 lb green beans, ends chopped (Paleo magazine says they are, in fact, Paleo!)
  • 2 cans fire roasted diced tomato
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/5 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Somewhere around a cup of dry wine or broth


1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan that can be put in the oven (nothing rubber). Throw in your onion and garlic, cook over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add dill, cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Arrange green beans in as close to a single layer as possible over the onions. Add mint, diced tomatoes and tomato paste and spread  over top of beans. Let cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the juices of the tomatoes start to come out.

3. Add just enough wine or broth to meet the level of the beans. Give everything a good mix. Cover and reduce to very low heat for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove cover, increase stovetop heat to med-high and cook for another 15 minutes or so, or until most of the juices have cooked off.

5. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, throw the whole pan into your pre-heated oven and bake until beans are browned, which took me 12 minutes or so. Serve warm.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chili

29 Jan

Nothing brings family together like the promise of food- my cousin, aunt, sister and I had been trying and trying to get together for ages. Victims of our own compulsive over scheduling, it wasn’t until BabyKef found this awesome chili recipe that we finally dropped everything and found the damn time.

No one could be bothered to take pictures of chili, though, because we were too busy enjoying the presence of the world’s cutest baby. Please pardon me for being a negligent blogger and praise me for being the world’s proudest Great Cousin. I followed the original recipe’s ingredients but add hot sauce and used a different procedure- my version is below.


Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chili


  • 1.5 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find ’em!)
  • 1.5 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup  broth
  • hot sauce of your choice, on the side


1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over med-high heat. Add chili powder, cumin, and onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and mix well. Cook until sweet potatoes are softened but not cooked all the way through, about 7 minutes. Add zucchini, mix well, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except for hot sauce). Mix well. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and leave to simmer until sweet potatoes are soft and ready to eat, which took me another 25 minutes or so.

3. You’ll find this chili is unexpectedly sweet, so add some hot sauce to your taste and serve hot. Even better if you can get your awesome cousin to make gluten free cornbread for you!

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