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Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

30 Aug

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There is no good way to ease into this, so I am just going to say it– WestCoastKef has left us the City of Angels. And when somebody who has been THERE for your husband the way WCK has, you throw a party and bake the man a damn pie.

Intel from his Beloved led me down the berry pie path, and Smitten Kitchen brought me to this mixed berry crumb pie. They are better at life than I could ever hope to be, and so I will reproduce the original recipe verbatim below.

But, first, some photos.

Immediately upon arrival, WestCoastKef had my living room looking like a photo shoot for his debut album, Bojanglin’ Back Home, which drops late 2017. COP THAT.

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What’s the number one sign your people are really ready to celebrate your ass? Double fisting bottles.

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… which escalated quickly. One bottle down approximately 1 hour into party.

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There are many hilarious interceding #turntup photos and videos, but we are grown ups with bills to pay and the internet is a scary place so instead… a jump to the group shot at the end:

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WestCoastKef– we will miss you mightily. And while I will pretty much never forgive you for bringing Settlers of Catan into my husband’s life, you can bet we will still be on the first spring break flight out to LA.

And now, the pie:

Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

For the crust

  • 1.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c very cold water

Forthe filling

  • 4 c blueberries
  • 2 c blackberries
  • 3/4 c sugar (for a moderately, but not very, sweet pie)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 7 TBS tapioca flour/starch or 5 1/2 TBS  cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
  • Pinch of salt

For the crumb topping

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 TBS sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.3 c all-purpose flour
  • Two pinches of salt

Assembly

Make pie dough:
– By hand : In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
– With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
– Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).

Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save scraps in fridge, just in case.

Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. (Set the foil, still molded, aside. It will come in handy later.) If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place. Patch any tears or cracks with reserved dough scraps. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make filling: Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

To make crumb topping, stir sugar, zest, baking powder, flour and salt into melted butter in a large bowl with a fork until crumbs form.

Assemble and bake: Pour filling into crust and scatter crumbs over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes with these two important things in mind:

1. This crumb browns much more quickly than the pie is done. Grab that piece of foil you set aside from the parbaking phase and upend it over the top of the pie to protect it against further browning once it reaches the color you want. This might only take 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Fruit pies are done when you can see bubbles forming at the edges, with some creeping through and over some crumbs. If it takes longer, that’s better than an underbaked pie.

To serve: Try to let the pie cool until close to room temperature before serving. This gives the pie thickener a chance to help the pie set. The pie will be even better set after a night in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.

 

Mincemeat Cookies–An Awesome Misnomer

8 Dec

You are reading the words of a free woman– another quarter of NP school is in my rear view and now it’s just an easy ride into the season of 10 million Christmas cookies in preparation for the GANZA. I’ve been whipping up cookie dough like it’s my job this week, including some old favorites (these highbrow gingerbread cookies and Greece’s most valuable contribution to civilization) as well as some Kefi cookie collective newbies, like today’s not-totally-appropriately named mincemeat cookie.

A friend I run with told me about these Polish cookies that “taste like Christmas in each bite” and that traditionally contained meat but are now just a wonderful collection of fat and fruit. Um, yes please. Back in ye olde days beef lard (or chunks!) apparently seemed like something we needed in cookies–for the record, if I ever go back to eating meat again, I’m starting with beef cookies. From what I can tell, when people today say “mincemeat,” they mean “jarred jam-like substance comprised of dried fruits, spices, and liquor.” Most recipes I found called for the store-bought kind, but since you literally just throw stuff in a sauce pan and let it simmer, I figured I would make my own.

I found a vegetarian version and doctored it up (original here), then added it to a recipe for the cookie itself (original here). They aren’t the prettiest cookies–y’all already know I’m here for palate-pleasing, not presentation–but MrKef was ALL about them, and my test tray disappeared faster than I could take a halfway decent picture (#parforthecourse).

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I managed to get one bite in before he could eat them all, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had, in fact, bitten into Christmas. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and ever-so-slightly cakey on the inside–the perfect drop cookie, if you ask me. Add to the equation that they are super-easy to make and you get a big endorsement from me on this one.

Mincemeat Cookies

Ingredients

–For the Mincemeat

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 1 c apple juice
  • 1 c raisin
  • 1/2 c dried currant (which from what I could tell were just raisins, but who am I to mince words with mincemeat ingredients? Har har)
  • 5 oz  dried berries/cherries mix (I found a Safeway brand, sub with just dried cherries)
  • 1/2 c Craisins (I used the 50% less sugar ones, you do you)
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime + 1/8 c MORE lime juice
  • 1/4c Godiva liquor
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-4 TBS rum (optional)

For the Cookie

  • 1/2 c softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c softened vegetable shortening
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c prepared mincemeat
  • 3.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Assembly

  1. To make the mincemeat, put all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to simmer and cook down for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in 2-4 TBS rum (optional–but I surely did it.) Allow to cool completely, before baking cookie dough–even better if you can let it sit overnight.
  2. To make the cookies– Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer (with dough hook attachment if you have it), cream together the butter, shortening, and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, beat for about 3 minutes. Add the mincemeat by hand, mixing with rubber spatula until mincemeat is distributed pretty evenly throughout the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and spices. Add one third of the flour to the batter, mix by hand until just combine. Repeat twice more until all the flour is gone.
  4. Drop about 2 TBS of batter onto a parchment- or silicon-lined cookie sheet, keeping 2-3 inches between cookies so they can spread out and become wonderful. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes before serving, even better if served the next day.

Iranian Jeweled Rice

6 Jan

There are two things in this world MrKef cannot live without (and neither of them are me): rice and meat. He is, in general, a very cool and collected man, but put him in an eating situation without rice or meat, and you will see a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Put him at a table with neither rice NOR meat and I don’t really want to know what would happen.

So when I said I wanted to make a New Year’s Day feast, I could see the fear in his eyes: she’s not really going to make my first dinner of 2016 vegetarian and riceless, is she? I am not particularly into rice, but I once had this insanely delicious Persian rice and wanted to attempt to recreate it. A google search came up with this insane-sounding recipe from TheKitchn. For once, I have a dish as pretty as the one included in the recipe and a nice photo to prove it– thank you MsBumbleBee’sArchEnemyKef for your photography skills!

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This is not your ricecooker’s recipe. Sara from TheKitchn, in all her foodblog glory, has this to say: “this is a decadent dish, both in its ingredients and in the time it takes to prepare it….for your first go, make it a celebration. Take your time, source the best ingredients, treat each step of this recipe like a precious stone.” ChefKefi, in all her food blog averageness, adds this: don’t underestimate how haggard you will look once this masterpiece is done:

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Now we know who the first lobster present at the birth of Christ was.

The key to this dish is the orange blossom water, which makes it a sweet, aromatic dish–so don’t skip it if you’re looking for something truly unique. I found this rice interesting but not the most compelling, and kept trying to decide if it was a side or a dessert. MrKef, on the other hand, was all about this rice, and since he would be thrilled by an UNRWA ration, we can take his word and call it a rice worthy of a year’s first meal.

If you’re looking for a less sweet, potentially less lovely dish, the NYT published this very similar recipe (which has all the same components but the orange blossom water)– I’d love to hear your results. The recipe below is largely verbatim so I will once again remind you of its source: The Kitchn.

Iranian Jeweled Rice

Ingredients

  • 3 c long-grain white basmati rice
  • 2 TBS salt, divided
  • peel of 2 large oranges
  • 1 c whole dried barberries or chopped unsweetened dried cranberries (I used pomegranate seeds)
  • 1 tsp loosely-packed saffron (I found it at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 c orange blossom water, divided (interestingly, they did NOT have this at Whole Foods- I got it in the Latino section at Giant. But any Mediterranean store should have it)
  • 2 TBS oil, butter or ghee
  • 1/2 c sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 c chopped raw pistachios
  • 1/2 c golden or green raisins
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks (I used 1 bag of pre-shredded carrots from Trader Joe’s)
  • One 4-inch whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp freshly ground cardamom

Assembly

1. Wash the rice in a large container of water, swishing it around with your hand then draining off the water and repeating until the water runs clear, about five times. Cover again with water, add 2 tablespoons of the salt and soak between 2 and 24 hours. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

2. Set a small pot of water to boil. Slice your orange peels into very small slivers. When the water is boiling, drop the slivers into the water and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (This cuts the bitterness of the orange rind.)

3. If you’re using cranberries or pomegranate seeds, proceed to step 4. For purists using barberries: Clean the barberries by removing any stems or debris. Place them in a sieve set inside a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Pull the sieve from the bowl and rinse under cold water to flush out any remaining sand. Set aside.

4. In a mortar and pestle (or, you know, with whatever you’ve got), crush the saffron threads with a few pinches of sugar until a powder forms. Stir in 3 tablespoons of orange blossom water and set aside.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and the pistachios, and sauté for about a minute. Add the raisins to the pan and toss with the nuts. Empty the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

6. Heat 2 tablespoons of the saffron orange blossom water mixture, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in the same skillet. Add the carrots and orange peel and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, the remaining saffron orange blossom water mixture, the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots lightly caramelize and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Drain the carrots and orange peel, and reserve the syrup.

7. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, bring ten cups of water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, and then add the rice to the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon plain orange blossom water. Boil briskly until the rice has risen to the surface and when bitten into, a grain of rice feels soft, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice into a large fine-mesh sieve, rinse with cold water and turn it out into a bowl.

8. Gently mix the remaining saffron orange blossom water and the reserved carrot/orange syrup to the par-boiled rice. Take a large spoonful of rice at a time and gently spread it over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base. Add more spoonfuls of rice, one at a time, gradually shaping it into a pyramid. (This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge.)

9. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 20 minutes over low heat (I accidentally skipped the low heat part, so if you’re short on space you probably could, too).

10. To serve, arrange on a serving platter layers of rice, then the caramelized carrot mixture (discarding the cinnamon stick), then the barberry/nut mixture

 

 

Ricotta Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries

8 Jul

 

The theme of this week seems to be  “food Chef Kefi, RN made but didn’t eat.” A meaty, full-of-flour pizza yesterday, and today some super-easy, 4-ingredient ice cream that’s chock full of sugar (and oh so good!). Not sold yet? Serve up that ice cream with some strawberries marinated in a balsamic glaze and just let the drool dribble on down your chin. An ice cream maker will help keep this ice cream light and smooth, but isn’t required.

Ricotta Cheese Ice Cream With Balsamic Strawberries 

Ingredients

  • 2 c ricotta
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 TBS Marsala wine (or 1.5 TBS sherry vinegar)
  • 2 c strawberries, sliced
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Assembly

1. Whisk together the egg yolks and confectioner’s sugar in a standing mixer until the mixture is thick and lemony in color. Add the Marsala wine, then the ricotta and whisk together until just combined.

2. If you have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into machine and churn to desired texture, then freeze. If you don’t have a machine, pour mixture into freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to serve.

3. Combine balsamic, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. Move ice cream from freezer to fridge about 30 minutes before serving to soften. Serve with strawberries.

Burnt Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce and the Quinoa Bowl I’m Dying to Eat

18 Nov

Cranberries: not just the name of JetSetKef’s favorite band in middle school. I always buy bags of ’em because they are so cheap but have never really LOVED the dishes I’ve made with them. This year things are different: last week I made a cranberry apple galette that restored my faith in French pastry and yesterday I made a cranberry sauce so good and so easy that you will forget it even comes in a can. With two more bags in the fridge, who knows what more can happen!

This is a total set-it-and-forget-it recipe– I was actually doing yoga in my living room while it cooked (more like fighting with my cat for room on the yoga mat…a story for another day). The only way I could keep myself from eating the whole thing right out of the damn pot was to mix some with the butternut squash I had roasted earlier that day, which had me reallllllly wishing I had more of that frozen quinoa and kale from Costco I posted about a few weeks ago. I think this just-sweet-enough, hearty-with-a-pinch-of-spice cranberry sauce can be paired with almost anything–but if I were you, I’d throw it in a bowl with some red quinoa, braised kale, and roasted butternut.

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Burnt Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 7/8 c red wine
  • 1/8 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 TBS cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

Assembly

1. Combine ingredients in a medium pot and mix well.

2. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and let cook, strring occasionally, for 45-50 minutes, or until you’ve reached your desired consistency. The burnt bits on the bottom WILL be the best part.

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.

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Ingredients

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)

Assembly

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.

 

4 Ingredient Coconut Lemon Popsicles

13 Aug

I came across my popsicle makers yesterday, shoved up in the top cabinet where I keep all my seasonal stuff. My first thought was, “OH I’ll have to make some popsicles this summer,” immediately after which I realized that this summer is already, in fact, more than half over. Y’all KNOW how I feel about August (one long month of Sundays)–so I had to shake off the “summer’s almost gone” blues and whip up some pops–stat.. I saw this recipe for coconut lemon pops, and decided I’d take a turn at taking out the refined sugar and adding another fruit. Et voila! Just about the easiest, most refreshing treat you could ever want, all before the end of another summer’s day.

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Coconut Lemon Popsicles

Ingredients

  • juice of 2 lemons (I got a bit more than 1/3 c using a hand juicer)
  • 1 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/3 c frozen blueberries
  • maple syrup, to taste (I used about 3 TBS and mine came out very tangy)

Assembly

1. Assemble all ingredients. Stir vigorously in a bowl.

2. Pour into popsicle molds. Add sticks. Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours. To remove, run warm water over the outside of the frozen molds and loosen gently.

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