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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.


Almond Mint Orange Cake


  • 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


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


  • 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


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


29 Aug

The FIGS continue to rain down goodness during the dog days of summer.  Hyperthermia alert in late August? No problem. I got some FIGS for ya.

Here’s a too-easy-to-be-true recipe for FIG jam that combines all of the fruit’s awesomeness with a savory kick of black pepper.  There are hundreds of recipes for jam on ye olde interwebs- choose one that fits you.


photo-38     Ingredients

3 c FIGS, stemmed and quartered

1/3 c honey

1.5-2 tsp black pepper, to taste

a pinch of sea salt


1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes, until deeply fragrant, brown, and figs

have become quite soft. Stir occasionally to keep too much honey from sticking to


3. Set aside to cool. Blend in a food processor until you reach desired texture.

Occupy the Grocery Store: Creamy Yogurt Pops

26 Aug

I have often wondered if you could just freeze yogurt to make frozen yogurt (spoiler alert: you can’t). I’ve wasted a lot of perfectly good yogurt trying to transform it into perfectly good froyo–but today I have a finished product I can be proud of.

I found this idea somewhere on Tastespotting (and for whatever reason can’t find it again–sorry, original post!). Seriously- all you do is freeze three measly-little ingredients and a few hours later you can enjoy a perfectly healthy, good-enough-for-breakfast creamy treat. Does life get any better?

I’ll be experimenting with chocolate and pumpkin versions in the near future–what else would you guys add?


Creamy Yogurt Pops


  • 2 c plain Greek yogurt (Fage is best but you do you)
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 8-12 oz berries of your choice


1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.

2. Divide between popsicle molds or ice cube molds. Insert pop sticks or toothpicks.

3. Freeze for at least four hours or overnight.

4. Allow pops to thaw for at least 10 minutes before removing from molds (running warm water over the molds helps, too).

Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

7 Jun


banamuf1I have been more impressed with weather patterns. A very cold May has turned into a rainy June here in Washington, DC and it’s putting a cramp in my Ferragosto preparations (which is to say–instead of biking and running and tanning, I’ve been cooking and baking and eating. At this rate I will have carb face well before I even set foot in Aunt Stella’s kitchen!). 

It may be worth it, though, if it means I get to keep eating yummies like these banana muffins. I followed this recipe exactly and switched out the loaf pan for a muffin tin–the muffins took about 20 minutes to bake in BFKef’s convection oven.  These guys were universally enjoyed in the KefHousehold, so even those of you who eat like normal humans should whip these up!


Bright Beginnings: Gf/Sf Blueberry Muffins

6 Mar
Yum a dum dum. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and these blueberry muffins are a grainfree, easy-peasey way to feed a crowd. Thanks to Guilty Kitchen!

Sometimes gf/sf cooking can be an exercise in abstraction, as baked goods can easily become an interpretation of the intended treat rather than a version of it. These muffins, however, are the real deal and  I was impressed by how very recognizably blueberry muffiny they tasted.  I admit that coconut flour is a huge moisture suck, but the resulting teensy lack of moisture was not enough to stop me from eating three…a day.

When I was in seventh grade, I spent a few weeks learning html so I could build an awesome website on Geocities. I’m dusting off the ol’ coding cap to upgrade Cooking Up Kefi–so bear with me as I figure out how to tweak the new template.

Gf/Sf Blueberry Muffins
  • 3/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp + pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/3 c Greek yogurt (FIBYDY)
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c + 3 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 12 oz frozen blueberries (I used 10 oz and think the extra berries would have helped the moisture issue)


1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper or lightly grease each muffin hole.

2. Combine dry ingredients.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture and stir until lumps are out–it won’t be perfectly smooth, but it’ll do.

4. Spoon into muffin tins until each is nearly full, as these guys don’t rise too too much. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in them and it comes out clean.

5. Let cool completely before gobbling up.

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.

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