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Very Popular Peanut & Sweet Potato Stew

30 Jan

One day, I will write up a run down of how wonderful Cameroonian food is. Today, I will share a soup that is truly delicious and has proven VERY popular, but it is “West African” in the way that Chobani is “Greek” yogurt. Which is to say that I’m not bringing this home to MrKef’s mom as evidence of my mastery of Cameroonian Cuisine.

Anyway, I made this for a fun soup night during one of those Arctic Blasts a few weeks ago with my dearest friends. FlailKef and GingerKef suggested this recipe, and I doctored it up a little bit to suit my own preferences because, well, that’s what I do. It goes without saying that a soup is WAY above my paygrade, photography wise– so if you’d like a picture of the stew itself, you should head over to the original recipe. But, if you want pictures of the soup eaters and I on a night I was wearing a dashiki-print dress, then you’ve come to the right place!


The recipe below was PLENTY for 5 hungry people + leftovers– I had doubled the original, so I can say that this one scales up or down easily.

Peanut & Sweet Potato Stew


  • 10-12 c low sodium vegetable broth (less if you want thicker, more if you want thinner)
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 5 TBS peeled and minced fresh ginger (I am currently really into frozen ginger and used ~5-6 frozen pods)
  •  5 cloves garlic, minced (I used frozen again and used about the same number as I did the ginger).
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch collard greens or kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips (I used a 16 oz pre-shredded bag)
  • 1.5 c unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth, almond butter if you prefer to spend $8.99/jar vs $2.49)
  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 c sriracha sauce (or youre preferred red hot sauce, and you could use wayyyy more if you feel so inclined)
  • 2-4 sweet potatoes, cubed (quantity dependent on how hearty you’d like the stew)


  1. In a medium  pot, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook until soft and fragrant, ~ 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt, then broth. Bring to a boil and then cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste. Transfer 1.5-2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl and whisk together until smooth. Pour the peanut mixture into the soup, mix well. Stir in the greens, sweet potatoes, and hot sauce sauce.
  3. Simmer for 15-25 more minutes on medium-low heat (or until sweet potatoes are at your preferred texture), stirring often. If you’re working with a West African crowd do not even THINK of serving it without rice (or better yet, fufu)– but I ate it happily on its own.

Further Proof that God Loves Us: Gluten-Free Spanakopita

10 Feb

Years and years ago, I watched this video of someone making gluten-free phyllo dough–truly, God’s work. Despite how easy he makes it look in the video, I have neither the patience nor the pastry skills required to roll out that dough into fine sheets and usually end up with a doughy mess.

Enter Emily, of Goldilocks Goodies. I first met Emily through a mutual friend at a birthday party, and later ran into her at an awesome gluten-free happy hour she organized for local businesses. The point here is that Emily is not only a giant in the local gluten-free scene; she’s also a big supporter of other women entrepreneurs, and that is just awesome.

ANYWAY, back to the life-changing product at hand. Right before Christmas, Emily teamed up with Kat from Baklava Couture (another DC-area woman who’s work is as awesome as it is enviable) to make gluten-free baklava, which earned enthusiastic approval from ChampagneOnlyKef. This got my little wheels turning, and I asked Emily if she would sell me a batch of gluten-free phyllo. Because she is the loveliest woman alive, she had a batch ready for me within a couple days.

For the first few days after I picked up the dough, I would just open the refrigerator and bask in the knowledge that I was staring at my heart’s fondest dream. I finally took this baby for a spin last night, and I am so excited to share the results!

photo(3) This dough is awesome. Though It is not the paper-thin phyllo gluten-eaters know and love, and doesn’t quite produce the signature flakiness of spanakopita, Emily has gotten us as close as humanly possible. I am sure of that. Eaten immediately from the oven, it has almost the taste/texture of very thin puff pastry dough (which is also really delicious but not really in the style of spanakopita). However, eaten the next morning it has EXACTLY the texture of next-morning spanakopita!

!!! !!! !!!! REAL NEXT-MORNING SPANAKOPITA GOODNESS !! !!! !!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I knew had to use emojis, I would totally add some Greek woman doing backflips to all that overpunctuation.  Seriously–those of you who have a 90-year-old Aunt Stella who cooks enough for an army every time you visit know all about the morning race to the breakfast table to snag the last piece of leftover spanakopita. And if you don’t, well… now you have a thirty-something Aunt Emily who can help simulate that experience. Thank you, Emily!

Gluten-Free Spanakopita


  • 4-5 sheets of gluten-free phyllo dough from Goldilocks Goodies
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 leek (white part only), minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4-5 c fresh spinach
  • 4-5 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 c cooked rice


1. Preheat oven to 425F. Use olive oil to lightly grease a small casserole dish (I used a 10×6 glass one, or you could use more than one piece of dough for a layer to fit the dish you have) In a deep pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until fragrant. Add garlic and leeks and saute 2-3 more minutes, until mixture is tender.

2. Add lemon zest and juice. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat. Add feta and stir until well combined.

3. Pour mixture into colander or strainer and press out as much liquid as possible.

4. Carefully place your first piece of dough in the pan. Put about a quarter of the spinach mixture on top of the dough and all of the rice. Spread evenly. Repeat for another 2-3 layers (just dough and spinach, no more rice). For the top layer, use two pieces of dough on top of each other to finish. Lightly grease the top of the pie with olive oil and slice as desired, going through only about half of the pie’s thickness.

5. Bake at 425 for 17-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Definitely let cool to let flavors come together–if possible, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the net day for that awesome leftover spanakopita taste.


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.



Tips for a Yummy Salad and a Basil Sort-of Salad Dressing Recipe

12 Aug


Anyone know why restaurant salads always come out better than made-at-home salads? I really wish I were a bring-salad-to-work kind of gal, but whenever I do that I find myself wishing I had just sucked up the eight bucks and gone to Sweetgreen. Come to think of it–pretty much no matter what I bring for lunch, I am still wishing I had Sweetgreen. Some things can’t be helped, I guess.

Yesterday I had all the fixings for salads and figured I might as well give it a go. Mary over at Minutes Per Mile makes an amazing Sweetgreen-caliber salad pretty much every day and after a few minutes drooling over some of her best work I decided it was the day I’d make my own damn delicious salad.

I am so pleased to report that it was a successful mission! I am going to chalk up yesterday’s victory to two new methods: 1) I cut the kale with kitchen scissors instead of shredding it with my hands–maybe kale is more delicate than originally thought and cutting it helps maintain crispness? I’m gonna go with that. 2) I didn’t make a dressing, per se–instead, I made a sort-of pesto that had a tabbouleh consistency. I really preferred this to other, wetter dressings. Who knew?

So today our recipe is for the basil sort-of salad dressing, pictured above in the bottom right corner. If you prefer to pour your salad dressing rather than scoop it, just add more oil. The salad above is a bed of kale, shredded carrots, 1/2 a sliced avocado, 1/2 sliced tomato, and sauteed brussels sprouts.

Basil Sort-of Salad Dressing


  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into food-processor-friendly chunks
  • oil, to taste– I used about 1/8 c, which gave me tabbouleh-like texture. Use more for more liquidy dressing.
  • 1/4 c hard cheese (I used mizithra–parmesan would work, too)
  • maple syrup, to taste (1/2 tsp was all I needed to cut the lemon’s tangyness just enough)


1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired texture.

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