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When Life Hands You Rotten Fruit…

11 Apr

… you make some Banana Mango bread.

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pay no mind to the cranberry cake in the corner– that’s a post for another day

My sweet husband is forever adding bananas to the grocery list, despite the fact that he almost never eats them before they go bad. Last week, our fruit bowl pile of  three-seconds-from-rotten fruit also included two mangoes, despite Mr Kef’s sworn plans to make a smoothie with them. So, I consulted the oracle of the internet for inspiration and, once I saw a recipe for this mango banana bread, I knew this produce hadn’t gone past its prime in vain.

20180402_084711The original recipe can be found here. I toyed with the spices, turned the muffins into a bread loaf, and omitted the glaze– my final recipe is below. I also cannot explain the bizarre order of ingredient incorporation, but it made for an incredibly moist and not overdone bread, so I left strange enough alone and kept the original order. It smelled so.good. and got rave reviews from my coworkers, MrKef’s coworkers, and my favorite neighbor. If that’s not a reason to run to your nearest grocery store, buy some fruit, and let it get within a day of rotting, then I just don’t know what is.

Mango Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 c mashed very ripe bananas (this was about 2 medium ones for me)
  • ¼ c  Greek yogurt (just get the Fage)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c  ripe mango, cut into as small cubes as you can
  • 1-2 tsp ground ginger powder, based on taste 
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBS dark rum

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, bananas, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Gradually fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add mango and ginger; stir with spatula until incorporated, then add oil. Scrape down sides and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I Ate Only These Healthy Cookies For A Week and You’ll Be Blown Away By What Happened Next

8 Sep

No, your favorite Gluten-free Greek blog has not gone all Buzzfeed, despite the clickbait headline. But I did eat these chock-full-of-goodness cookies pretty much for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week… and what happened was that I still wanted some damn more.

Super filling, brimming with fiber/protein/healthy fat, and right up my taste-profile alley (hello ginger and sweet potato!), these rank right up there with my other RFES love, Superhero Muffins, but are even quicker to throw together. Extra points if you’re a parent trying to convince a picky kid (or a wife trying to convince a husband with a bland palate like someone who may happen to be my sister…), there are real, live SWEET POTATOES baked into these puppies. Oh, and they just-so-happen to be vegan. I have died and gone to baking heaven.

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Finally, these guys were amazing pre-long-run fuel, and I am pretty sure I am going to eat them pre-marathon… assuming I can put them down long enough to run 26 damn miles. Only time will tell.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies from Run Fast Eat Slow

Ingredients

  • 3 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 TBS fresh)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 c sweet potato puree
    (I tried both the canned syrup-free puree and pureeing my own by roasting the potato for ~40 minutes, removing it from skin, and mashing it … canned was still very good, but I did prefer the earthier taste of the one I did  myself. I also think pureed pumpkin would work, but I’d remove some maple syrup to decrease liquid and sweetness)
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • ½ c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins (optional, but you want them)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl of food processor, pulse oats for 5-6 times, until roughly chopped (note: I skipped this step entirely and cookies were still amazing). Place oatmeal in large mixing bowl and combine with almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together sweet potato puree, syrup, oil, vanilla, and raisins until well combined. Fold into oat mix and stir until blended. The dough should be thick.
  3. Use ¼ cup measuring cup to drop batter onto baking sheet. Space cookies 1 inch apart and slightly flatten.
  4. Bake until bottoms are deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes.

Almond Lemon Poppy Seed Teacake

16 Aug

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed my first trip to San Francisco. Since my factory settings default to somewhere between “contrarian” and “hater,” I fully expected to return with the report that the Bay Area does NOT live up to the hype. Wrrrrroooooonnnnnngggg. I had a really wonderful weekend there and can definitely see why it gets the rep it does. Some quick highlights:

ThisIs YourLifeNowKef came to hang, and we walked 12 miles and ate tacos– talk about the perfect way to catch up.

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IMG_8142Everyone in SF kept talking about the “heat wave,” while I was thanking our sweet lord baby Jesus for the zero-humidity, perfect running weather. I headed out for my 16-mile run to the Golden Gate Bridge and was reminded, once again, that I would never make it as a teenager these days because I cannot be bothered to be good at selfies.IMG_8149

I stumbled upon Souvla, which serves the definition of a Greek-American dessert: SOFT SERVE NOTHING-ADDED FROZEN FAGE (FRO-YAY?). I cannot believe I did not die of happiness on the spot. FullSizeRender (36)

When I told people I was going to SF, the #1 recommendation was a trip to Tartine. Pretty much everyone who spends their time making listicles about food agrees that this bakery puts out the best bread in America, so when ThisIsYourLifeNowKef and I happened to stumble upon it, we took it as our duty to check it out.

Today’s recipe comes to us from the bakery’s first cookbook, Tartine. This recipe was published in the LA Times, and there appears to be an entire corner of the internet devoted to this sweet and crunchy tea cake. I made this twice in the first week of being home, and both times I received several text messages within minutes of dropping it off that said something to the tune of “OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH.” The good people of Tartine are real culinary chemists– what this loaf lacks in flour (only 3/4c in the whole thing!) is made up for by almond paste, which must be the magic ingredient for both texture and taste.

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Since no one has proclaimed my kitchen to put out the best anything in America, I will reproduce their recipe verbatim below–there’s no room for my two cents in this masterpiece of a recipe!

Almond Lemon Poppy Teacake from Tartine

Ingredients

  • 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus some for preparing the pan)
  • 3/4 c pastry or cake flour, sifted (plus some for preparing the pan)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c almond paste, at room temperature (I used one 7 oz tube)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 TBS poppy seeds
  • 3 TBS lemon juice
  • 3 TBS orange juice
  • 3/4 c sugar

Assembly

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, knocking out the excess flour.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt twice. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla and whisk together just to combine.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on low speed until it breaks up. This can take up to a minute, depending on how soft and warm it is. Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, beating until incorporated. If you add the sugar too quickly, the paste won’t break up as well.

4. Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces. Continue on low speed while adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, for about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Then turn on the mixer to medium speed and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs in a very slow, steady stream and mix until incorporated. Stop the mixer and again scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the mixer again to medium speed and mix for 30 seconds more.

5. Add the citrus zests and poppy seeds and mix in with a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture in two batches, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time, then spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.

6. Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 7 minutes while you make the glaze.

7. To make the glaze, stir together the lemon and orange juices and the sugar in a small bowl. Place the wire rack holding the cake over a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil to catch any drips of glaze, and gently invert the cake onto the rack. If the cake does not want to release, run the tip of a small knife around the edge to loosen it. Brush the entire warm cake with the glaze, then let the cake cool completely on the rack. The cake breaks apart easily when warm, so don’t attempt to move it.

8. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a serving plate, using two crisscrossed icing spatulas or the base of a two-part tart pan to lift it. Serve at room temperature. The cake will keep, well-wrapped, for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Tsoureki Bread Pudding

17 Jul

Thanks to the many, many of you who reached out with kind words about my grandfather. It is appreciated more than you know.

I’ve got no clever transition and very few jokes today, so we’ll just get right into it– tsoureki bread pudding. IS THIS NOT THE MOST BRILLIANT THING YOU HAVE EVER HEARD OF? I mean, really.

So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna make a loaf of the delicious sort-of-sweet Easter bread, tsoureki. Then we’re gonna drown it in cream and sugar. And then we’re gonna throw some chocolate on it, bake it and eat it.

Please accept my most sincere apologies that I could not have been bothered to take the perfect picture of what is obviously the world’s most delicious dessert. Although, if you need a picture to believe that this dessert is a good idea, I’m gonna need you to check yourself — the cheddar on your cracker may not be as sharp as it used to be.

FullSizeRender (31)I pooled several resources to come up with this recipe–what I ended up going with is reflected below.

Tsoureki Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of tsoureki, cut into cubes (or, any store bought not-plain Jane bread … a cinnamon raisin loaf would probably be all kinds of awesome, too)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 6 c milk (please do not even come to me with anything other than whole)
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1 c butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 TBS bourbon (Metaxa if you have it!)
  • pinch of salt

Assembly

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 pyrex or large cake pan. Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, butter, vanilla, chocolate and nutmeg together.
  2. Arrange in the tsoureki cubes in the pan, the fewer the layers, the faster it will cook. Pour the egg mixture over it. Set aside and let the bread soak up all that creamy goodness for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F while the bread/cream mixture sits.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is browned and center is set. This will vary depending on your pan, so go with what it looks like rather than what these direction say.
  4. While the pudding bakes, make the sauce: simmer sugar and water on medium heat, swirling the pot  instead of stirring, until it is a deep amber.
  5. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the cream.
  6. Add bourbon and salt. Return to heat for 1 minute more, stirring constantly and gently.
  7. Serve pudding warm or room temp, with a generous serving of cooled bourbon sauce.

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.

 

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.

A Lemon Cranberry Tea Cake For High Class Turn Ups

1 Mar

I’m 4-5 seconds from wildin’ and we got 3 more days til Friday, so today I gotta type and dash. Because I know my readership is full of people who turn up with Rihanna on Saturday and attend pinky-up high teas on Sunday, I present this pretty little cake especially for yall. The cake itself is dainty and sophisticated–pretty much what you’d expect from a tea loaf–and the cranberry swirl and candied lemons give it just enough sour sass to be memorable.  Basically, a good girl gone bad.

To make this cake, I and combined a few recipes from the beautiful blog A Hint of Vanilla, the creator of which has artistry and genius that far exceed mine, so go check her out. Her bona fides include a world-class pastry education AND beautiful food photography, and all these recipes were easily made gluten/sugar free if you’re with me on that front. No word on whether she makes paragraphs-long Rihanna references, though.

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Lemon Cranberry Tea Cake

–For the cranberry swirl

  • 6 oz cranberries (about half of the bag you get in the grocery store)
  • 60 mL brandy (I used a cherry brandy we bizarrely had hanging out)
  • juice and zest of one orange
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch cloves
  • 1/2 TBS vanilla
  • 2 TBS maple syrup

–For the Cake

  • 6TBS butter
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c flour (I used CupforCup for gluten free)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • scant 1/2 c buttermilk (or 1/2 c milk + 1/4 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice)

–For the candied lemons

  • 1 lemon
  • 200 mL water
  • 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut sugar and it was beautiful)

–For the lemon glaze

  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 2 TBS milk
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Assembly:

  1. To make the cranberry swirl: place all the ingredients for the cranberry swirl in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir frequently. After about 5ish minutes, the cranberries will soften and burst–remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Texture will be something like smooth jam.
  2. To make candied lemons: slice the lemon as thin as you can–the original recipe suggest 1 mm, mine ended up somewhere about 3-4mm. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, then turn heat down to low. Add lemon slices and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let lemon slices soak in syrup until ready to use.
  3. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease two small loaf pans or one large one. Mix together dry ingredients, set aside. In a standing or electric mixer, cream together butter and honey until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    1. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg, then turn up to medium-high for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat again for about 15 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium-high for another 20 seconds. This crazy beating schedule should get you a shiny batter.
    2. Using a rubber spatula, alternate folding in the dry flour mix and the buttermilk to the honey/butter/egg mixture. Begin and end with the dry mix, so that it takes 4 additions to use all the dry mix and 3 additions to use all the buttermilk. Do not overdo it- fold in until just combined. Finally, add in your desired amount of cranberry swirl and fold in–I used about 1/2 cup and think my bread could have used a bit more… start there and, if you decide to add, move up slowly. But again- don’t go crazy mixing this beautiful batter.
    3. Fill your prepared pans so each is about 2/3 full. Arrange 2-3 candied lemon slices on top. Bake the loaves for 30-40 minutes (mine took around 36 or 37), or until center is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in pans.
  4. To make lemon glaze: Mix all glaze ingredients together in a small sauce pan until just simmering. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour/spoon glaze over cooled cake. Allow glaze to cool completely before serving.

 

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