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Vegan Carrot Cake Everyone Will Love

28 Mar

 

You may recall my love affair with Superhero Muffins, the healthy and insanely delicious muffins chock full of vegetables. If the insanely delicious part of that description appeals to you but you could do without the healthy, this Carrot Cake is for you.

I followed this recipe from The Greek Vegan’s brilliant mind exactly, and it was gobbled down by a whole bunch of kiddos who are not inclined to eat carrots, even if they are hidden in cake. If you think this is a stranger-than-usual photo, you are right: I took the picture on my desk at work and was terrified I would accidentally publish patient information, so I covered my desk in random sheets of paper to avoid that. So, uh, yeah… here’s the least weird one of the bunch:FullSizeRender (21)

Anyway, I am told this cake is awesome. The secret is pre-flavoring the carrots by boiling them in orange juice and spices and then later using that same liquid in the cake batter.  Greeks think of everything. This Greek-American will try to make another version that is a bit healthier… but you just feel free to ignore that and keep making this one.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 c chopped carrots
  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1 c water
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole cloves (I used 2ish tsp ground cloves)
    —-
  • 3.5 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c molasses
  • 1/2 c cooking liquid from carrots
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (I used zest of about half a lemon)
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c raisins (or walnuts if you don’t hate them as much as I do)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a bundt pan. Bring chopped carrots, orange juice, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool. Do not even THINK of dumping out that cooking liquid–we are coming back to it!
  2. Once cool, drain the liquids from the carrots AND KEEP THE LIQUID IN A BOWL SOMEWHREE. Throw carrots in your food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times, then scrape down sides,  then add 1/3 cup cooking liquid and pulse 2 more times. Scrape down side and set aside. At this point, carrots will be a variety of sizes, with a little mashing but not a full on puree.
  3. In medium mixng bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooking liquid, sugar and molasses until combined. Add spices, whisk. Add oil, whisk. Add carrots and stir to combine completely.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix completely. Stir in golden raisins and/or nuts if they’re your jam. The batter will be dense and a teeny bit dryer than you might have expected. This is okay..
  6. Pour batter into lightly greased bundt pan and use a spatula to even out the top. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan. Once completely cooled, turn the cake out and serve–if you’re fancy you can dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Mr Kef’s Crowning Achievement: Sourmilk Donuts

2 Nov

Better than the muffin man– I’m married to the donut man!

It’s no secret that MrKef is happier as the breadwinner than the breadmaker in this family. He doesn’t venture into the strange room with the oven and dishwasher often, but when he does, it usually makes for a good story. For some of his previous shenanigans, check out the hilarious crime scene I woke up to last time he cooked, and his Jamdown-wowing  goat stew.

Over the weekend MrKef realized he had let this fancy milk he buys at Jrink go one day too long in the fridge. It’s entirely too expensive to go to waste, so he did some googling and found that one can make all kinds of bready bakedgood with milk that’s gone bad. Who knew?

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These are the definition of easy- if you can stir ’em, you can make ’em. In case you don’t believe me, we made these after I had a full day of clinical, after I went on my first run in three weeks (#praiseHim), and before we went to Aar-zanaKef’s pumpkin carving party (and yes- if you were wondering- that is the first joint-couple Kef name to grace these pages).

We got the original idea from this recipe–what is reflected below are the few tweaks we made to thicken up the batter and speed the whole thing up by making them munchkins instead of full fledged donuts.

Sour Milk Donuts

Ingredients

  • 4 .5-5.5 c flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.25 sugar
  • 3 TBS shortening
  • 1 c sour milk (use insanely fancy milk your husband didn’t drink , or put 1 TBS  vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup. Add milk to fill. Let sit for 5 minutes and milk will sour.)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Oil- enough for deep drying
  • 0.5-1 c sugar
  • 2-4 TBS cinnamon, to taste

Assembly

  1. Mix together 4.5 flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl combine sugar, lard, milk and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, and mix well. Batter should be thick enough that it can be rolled into balls–if it’s not, add the remaining flour as needed, a quarter cup at a time. You’re in the ballpark when it the dough is a bit sticky but doesn’t make an absolute mess of your hands.
  2. Roll the dough into munchkin-sized balls. They will get expand in oil, so be judicious.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat–the oil should be at least 3-4 inches deep, so choose your pot accordingly. When oil is hot, add doughnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping over halfway. Cool on brown paper or paper towels.
  4. Mix sugar and cinnamon to taste and roll each donut in the mixture before serving. Serve warm or room temp.

Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”

21 Jan

This post could also be called “The Time I Ate 6 Oz of Feta in One Sitting,” but as I am drowning in school work, I will save that story for another day (Care to chat about anticholinergics? Call your girl). I had every intention of simply Greek-ifying this ridiculously good-looking cauliflower-based grilled cheese, but once I sampled the “bread” I got impatient, remembered I actually don’t really love grilled cheese that much, and decided to scarf down the patties on their own instead. 2015 is all about living with no regrets, right?

Anyway, these are simple and so yummy. The “bread” is plenty cheesey already and without the round of extra toasting they turned out very similar in texture and crispiness to hash brown patties.  They also marked my inaugural trial of the Ninja food processor (vs my beloved Cuisinart), so more on that later. Do any of yall use the Ninja? Any fans out there?

photo

Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”

Ingredients

  • small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz Feta (I used fat free because I am powerless in the face of Feta… but you do you)
  • 2-3 TBS chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Assembly

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is a fine grain. Throw it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. Let cool. Put in a cheesecloth or fine strainer and strain as much water as possible out of it.

2. Combine strained cauliflower, 2 eggs, and remaining ingredients. If the mixture will stick together to form a patty, congrats, you’re done. If it doesn’t, throw the other egg in there and mix again.

3. On a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet, shape the mixtures into patties (I used my fingers and the back of a fork). Cook for 16-25 minutes, depending on how successful you were at getting out the water. They’re done when they are browned to your liking.

Runner’s Low and Boozy Blueberry Banana Bread

30 Jun

Eventually, we’re gonna get to this:

photo 2(1)But first, I have some whining to get out of the way.

Coming off the runner’s high of the RnR Half and delving right into another intense training cycle for the NYC Tri may not have been my best idea. Actually–scratch that. Delving right into another intense training cycle while ignoring the basic tenets of training was definitely not my best idea.

Rest, stretch, listen to your body, they say. And what do I say? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t feel like resting, no time for stretching, and my body says another mile is a really great idea.

This training cycle has proven in exactly how many ways an attitude like that can (and will!) come back to bite me in my big ol’ butt. First there was an MPL sprain in early April. Next, more fueling issues in May. June brought some high temps, hydration woes that I can’t get into, and finally a nasty muscle pull in my lower leg that had me limping around. And then, because the triathlon Gods hate me, I woke up on Friday with a summer cold just as everything else was resolving. How cruel it is that people sitting on their couch eating bonbons have to wait 50 years for the error of their ways to catch up with them, while those of us trying to do something about the American obesity epidemic get rained on with instant ramifications. Granted I’d rather a pulled calf muscle than a CABG surgery–but the point remains.

I’ve had some really good training weeks, and I know that when push comes to shove I can complete the course and will have fun. I’m mostly frustrated by this up-and-down training experience, which pretty much leaves me feeling like this:

Gone_crazy

For awhile there I was riding the runner’s low, and that hole got pretty deep and dark. But I woke up this morning and decided to bump that, as a bad attitude isn’t going to get me across the finish line any faster.  For all of you who enjoyed the picture-perfect running weather this weekend, I’m gonna let yall enjoy it… but I’m still gonna pass you in the swim.

And with that, I present you this really amazing boozy blueberry banana bread that would fool any gluten and sugar lover. This recipe comes from the fancy folks at So Let’s Hang Out, and I cannot wait to make this bread again–perhaps I’ll even give someone else a slice next time!

PS: I’m looking for some guest bloggers! Check out the details here if you want to be part of the fun.

Boozy Banana Bread that Makes Up for a Bad Run

Ingredientsphoto 1(1)

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 TBS spiced rum
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar (optional)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Assembly

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a loaf pan (or two mini loaf pans) with parchment paper.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Combine wet ingredients (except blueberries) in a food processor until smooth.

4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in blueberries. Pour into loaf pan(s) and smooth with a spatula.

4a. Optional: combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of loaf.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on size of loaves), or until center is firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into middle.  Use the parchment paper to lift your loaf out and allow the bread to cool in the parchment paper for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Irish Soda Bread for your Snow Day

17 Mar

I’m generally not really into St. Patrick’s Day, but I am realllllly into Irish Soda Bread.  So if, like me, SPD 2014 nearly passed you by without so much as one green beer, here’s a quick and easy recipe you can make with ingredients you almost certainly already have in your fridge– no trek to an overcrowded grocery store required. BFKef and I loved this bread, especially with egg and cheese piled in between two slices.

photo(2)They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day… but naturally I went the other way and found an Irish soda bread recipe that honors Hellenic heritage, too. In addition to being quick, easy, and delicious,  this Irish soda bread has a secret Greek ingredient: yogurt! So to all the Greek-Americans with a little bit of Irish in them, this St. Patrick’s Day creation is for you.

I followed this recipe exactly and added raisins. My gluten free/sugar free subs are below.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 c flour (I used Cup4Cup gluten free)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBS granulated sugar (I used coconut)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c golden raisins
  • 1.5 c whole milk
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (FIBBYDY)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together milk and yogurt until fully combined. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir using a wooden spoon until you have a shaggy dough.
  3. Lightly flour your counter or a piece of wax paper, press the dough into a loose ball, and lightly knead the dough for a couple of minutes on your work surface. You want the dough to be pliable and not too sticky. Reform the dough into a ball and throw it on your prepared baking sheet. Cut an X into the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
  4. Find a large mixing bowl that is twice the size of your dough ball and is OVEN PROOF  (I used my large Pyrex mixing bowl– you will know it is oven proof because it will say on the bottom) and place it on top of the dough to help keep dough moist and to avoid burning. Bake for 30 minutes with the bowl covering the dough. Remove the bowl and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool before slicing.

Almond Mint Orange Cake

23 Jan

Amazingly, I didn’t eat oranges until sometime last year. I don’t remember ever eating them as a kid (I grew up on apple turf, okay?) and, lacking the necessary peeling knowledge, only ate them when they came in a juice carton. Then, MamaKef introduced me to this absurd gadget and my life has never been the same. Now it’s all oranges, all the time. I just can’t get enough!

So, in the spirit of my new fruit friends, I just knew I had to spend my snow day turning this amazing recipe into a gluten-free/sugar-free cake. My version wasn’t quite as pretty and didn’t rise as nicely, but lacked no flavor whatsoever.  This cake is moist, just a tad sweet, and the orange and almond just blend together as a lovely set up for the mint. I loved this cake and can’t wait to bring it to a brunch sometime soon. I’ve included my substitutions, but you should follow the original recipe if you need a little gluten and sugar to go with your orange and mint.

photo-72

Almond Mint Orange Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s All Purpose GF)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 orange and one clementine
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c finely chopped fresh mint

Assembly

photo-731. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 6-inch round pan. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until just combined. Add the olive oil and whisk again.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk into the egg mixture.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the zests, juice, vanilla, and mint. Whisk into egg/flour mixture until just combined. Do not over work.

4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until center is set. Keep a close eye in the final minutes, as the sides can get quite crispy! Serve cool.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Scones

10 Sep

While we’re on the subject of scones, let me give you the inside scoop on how to get anything you want from anyone you want. Spoiler alert: the answer comes in the form of a baked good that is chock FULL of sugar and flour.

In a former life I had the world’s most awesome job of talking to young people about staying safe and healthy. Pluuuus I got to talk to teachers  and school staff about best practices for engaging young people in these discussions– it was pretty much the best.

Most of the time.

There were, of course, people who weren’t quite hip to the fact that hundreds of young people in DC are living with HIV, and who thought that talking with young people only “encouraged and condoned” behavior that leads to the transmission of HIV. So I would sic my boss on them, who would employ this brilliant response: “In 20 years when they are making the 60 Minutes episode about how we beat HIV in DC,  would you rather be portrayed as someone who was part of the solution or part of the problem?”

Once the head hauncho set somebody straight, I’d swoop into the school with a smile and a bag of these chocolate chip scones to seal the deal– the one-two punch of good cop/bad cop. I haven’t the slightest idea where I got this recipe, and I never took a picture, but just trust me: if you need to win somebody over, bring these with you to the negotiating table.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 TBS butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c buttermilk, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • sugar, for sprinkling over the top

Assembly

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Add the cold butter and mix it with your fingers until mixture resembles a coarse meal with pea-sized lumps.  Add the chocolate chips, mix well.

3. Pour in the cold buttermilk and vanilla and mix until absorbed. Dough will look dry. That’s what we want.

4. Turn dough out onto a cutting board.  Press the dough into a fat disk about 6-inches in diameter. Then fold the dough in half, rotate 1/4 turn and press into another fat disk. Repeat the fold-turn-pat maneuver once more for a total of three kneads.

5. After the third knead, press out the dough just a bit more to get close to an 8-inch diameter. Cut the disk into 8 wedges.  Place scones on parchment-lined pan and brush with the beaten egg. Top each scone with a sprinkle of sugar.

6. Bake scones for 15-18 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Cool ten minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool complete.y

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