Archive | paleo RSS feed for this section

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.

Roasted Root Vegetables in Fall Curry

5 Oct

Usually I try to hold out one week more before calling it quits on summer, but even I have to face facts when it’s already dark out by 7:15pm. Today’s recipe is a perfect entrance into autumn, and you won’t waste any of summer’s last precious light making it– it’s as easy as chop, roast, sauce. Oh, and it comes to us from the good folks behind the Whole 30, so it’s vegan, gluten free, sugar free, full of healthy fat, and just all around awesome.

That’s all I have to say about that– one of these days I’ll miss summer enough to recap our trips to Athens, Prague, New Orleans, Charleston, and WVa.  For today, just enjoy the curried veggies!


Roasted Root Vegetables in Fall Curry


  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup potatoes (sweet or regular), peeled and chopped
  • 1 c rutabagas, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 c turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 c parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1.5 tsp ginger, grated or diced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or diced
  • 2-3 tsp curry powder, to taste
  • 500 mL full fat coconut milk
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss vegetables in 4 TBS olive oil. Spread oil-covered veggies in a single layer, using one or two cookie sheets as needed. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until veggies are tender and lightly browned.
  2. While they roast, put remaining 1 TBS olive oil in saute pan over med-high heat on stove. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and cook for another minute. Add curry powder, stir well, then add coconut milk. Reduce the mixture to simmer for 8-10 minutes (do not boil). Once nice and thick, remove from heat and season with lime zest and juice.
  3. Top the veggies with the curry sauce and enjoy!

The Best Ice Cream I’ve Ever Made (Or: Why Your College Roommate is the Best Person To Keep in Your Life Forever)

25 Aug

Sometimes you gotta let the world know: something INSANE just came out of your kitchen. So, here I am telling you- this ice cream is gonna change the whole game. And I’m not talking about a pickup soccer match cut short for rain– this ice cream is a game-changer on the level of an epic Cricket battle that has gone into days-long overtime. That’s how good it is. OH- and it’s vegan, refined-sugar-free, and off-the-charts easy to make.

You already know- SO not my picture. Thanks to the Tasting Table for this recipe and picture!

But before we get to that, a word from our sponsors. As I’ve written about before, QueijoKef and I spend a lot of time texting/emailing/’graming each other delicious things we’d like to cook or eat. It’s just one of the reasons she is so great (see also: our quick trip to Miamithe epic bike ride inspired by our friendship’s soundtrack, the gnocchi we both die for, and her signature non-dairy creamy sauce). She has an excellent track record of picking awesome recipes (this matcha gingerbread cookie is a fan favorite), so when she sent me this turmeric-cardamom-coconut milk ice cream, I knew she was on a mission to keep her streak alive.

This ice cream has a seriously complex flavor profile (how’s that for food blogger lingo?) that is somewhere between sweet and savory. In another life when I never have to go to school again, I would make grainless graham crackers, slather this ice cream between ’em for an ice cream sandwich, and make my millions selling them on Georgia Ave. A girl can dream.

I followed this recipe exactly, and you should all go over there to give credit where it’s due and support The Tasting Table with all the clicks you can muster. Because I love this recipe so much and would be devastated if it ever went away, I am reproducing it here for posterity (because if Cooking Up Kefi can outlast Gawker, clearly I’ll be here long after The Tasting Table is gone).

Golden Milk Vegan Ice Cream from The Tasting Table


  • 3 c coconut milk
  • ½ c cream of coconut (here on amazon)
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • ¼ c honey
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (I used 1-1.5 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Chopped candied ginger, for garnish (optional)


1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients, minus the candied ginger, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Make sure you freeze the bowl of an ice cream maker during this time.

2. The next day, strain the base into the bowl of the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a shallow dish and freeze for at least 4 hours. Scoop the ice cream into bowls and drizzle with honey. Garnish with chopped candied ginger, then serve.

Weekend Overachieving: Coconut Curry Chicken and a Record Run

8 Aug

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a happy surprise on the running front, and even longer since I made my dear husband something nutritious that he would also call delicious. Great news-I did both this weekend!

Let’s start with running- I have been doing my long runs with the Arlington Road Runners Club for the past couple of Saturdays, and it has been just the kick in the pants I need to remember that the hole is not actually that deep.

I had 90 minutes planned for the run, which probably would have been about 10 miles in the stank heat and humidity that Saturday showed up with. Around mile 6, Courtney pointed out that it was time to either take an uber home or make the decision to run the rest of the route with her… the rest of the route being ANOTHER TEN miles. Previous to that morning, the longest I had ever run was 13.5 miles, but I was feeling great and thought to myself, “Let’s see what the ol’ girl can do” (and that’s a direct quote–things have been weird in Kef-landia lately).

Long (run) story short- I finished the route, very much thanks to the AWESOME ARRC volunteers who set up life-changing water stops at miles 7 and 11 and Courtney for being the world’s BEST run-buddy-cheerleader. I’ve been living in a world where I didn’t believe I could ever run that far and, lo and behold, I did it without even planning to. How do you like them apples?

Annoyingly, I forgot to turn my watch back on after a water fountain break and missed some mileage on my watch. Whatever.


Anyway, I worked and napped and ate and Hoodwinked with SummitKef for the rest of Saturday. I woke up on Sunday ready to kick more ass. I cooked a week’s worth of food in 3 hours, a nice reversal of my usual Sunday routine, which is to eat a week’s worth of food in 3 hours.

This curry chicken took ~20 to put together, made enough for him to eat all week, and got big thumbs up from MrKef. It is based off a Whole30 recipe, but I had to punch up the spice for my audience.


Coconut Curry Chicken


  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 medium potatoes, rinsed and chopped (sweet potatoes if you’d like!)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS curry powder
  • 1-2 TBS hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
  • 1/3 c coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over med-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add curry powder and cook another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and hot sauce. Stir well, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer contents of pan into blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add salt, pepper, and coconut milk and blend again.
  3. Arrange chicken and potatoes in a casserole dish, Pyrex pan, or any high-rimmed oven-safe dish. Pour the curry sauce over the chicken and potatoes, and distribute so everything is covered. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Could-Be Paleo Sweet Potato Skins

16 Feb

Hope everyone is enjoying their two-hour delay/unscheduled telework (by the way–when did THREE hour delays become a thing, Feds?). I am trying to be patient with Mother Nature and remember that I was running in shorts all the way through December, but very few people would list “patience with things she finds stupid, even if it is a fact of life” as one of the skills I employ most frequently.

So, instead of trying to get all patient and zen, I’m just going to remember that when it’s winter, it is absolutely seasonally appropriate to eat 10,000 sweet potatoes. And that’s what we’re working with today.

These sweet potato skins are more like twice-baked potatoes. I made them for the Super Bowl and ate more than my fair share… whoopsies (remember those ribs I swore I was making to bring joy to my husband? They were actually just meant to distract everyone so I could eat all the veggies myself).

The original recipeoriginal recipe comes from Paleo supersite Mark’s Daily Apple, but I found them under spiced and my adjustments are reflected below.

FullSizeRender (6)

Sweet Potato Skins


  • 6 small sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • olive oil or butter, for brushing
  • 1 TBS cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • Optional Dairy: grated cheddar, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Bake on a baking sheet flesh sides up for 40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool for ~ 10 minutes.
  2. When cool enough to handle, carefully remove almost all the flesh from the skin (leaving a thin layer of flesh in the skin helps avoid tearing them and maintains shape). Put the skins back on the baking sheet, brush with oil or butter, and return to oven for about 10 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.
  3. Put all the flesh in a medium bowl and mash to desired consistency–I like them very smooth but you do you. Mix in all the spices except for green onions and dairy (if you are using it). Remove the skins from the oven and divide the spiced flesh between the skins. If using grated cheddar, sprinkle as much as you’d like on top of the re-filled potatoes. Return to oven and cook until warmed, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Top with green onions and serve warm.

Pan-seared Salmon with Roasted Beets and Horseradish Salsa

16 Sep

Thanks everyone for your kind words yesterday about my big triathlon!

Today we have a recipe that practically cooks itself. It comes to us from HelloFresh, the ingredient-delivery service that MrKef and I use during hectic weeks. This meal was ready to go in about 25 minutes and got resounding thumbs up from both of us here in the Kef household–not an easy task!

photo (2)

Pan-seared Salmon with roasted Beets and Horseradish Salsa


  • 2 fillets of salmon, skin on
  • 1 8 oz package of pre-cooked beets (or 3-4 beets, peeled and roasted), chopped into 1/2 cubes
  • 1 red onion, 1/4 diced and 3/4 chopped
  • grain of your choice–we used white rice because that’s what we had
  • 2 tsp horseradish
  • dill, to taste, diced (I used one of those small plastic packages, about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste


1. Get your grain going per package instructions (boil the water, cover the pot, etc etc). Preheat your oven to 400F.

2. Toss 2/3 of the beets with the chopped 3/4 of onions, 1-2 tsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until onions are slightly carmelized (browned).

3. In a small bowl, combine the dill, diced onions, horseradish, remaining beets, and 1 tsp olive oil. Mix in some salt & pepper. Check on your grain per package instructions. Take out the beets/onions if they’ve been cooking and you forgot about them, like I did (oops!)

4. Season the salmon on all sides with salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small pan over high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot (but not smoking!), cook the salmon skin-side down for 4-6 minutes (assuming a 6 oz fillet), or until skin begins to crisp and turn golden brown. Flip the fish and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. Set aside to rest.

5. Add the balsamic vinegar and garlic to the hot pan and let the liquid reduce by half to make a delicious balsamic glaze. Hello Fresh says you should discard the garlic, I think that is a horrible idea and ate it as a balsamic-garlic glaze.

6. Mix together your grain and horseradish salsa. Serve with fish and roasted beets and onions. Drizzle with balsamic glaze (with or without the garlic).

The Only Way I’m Eating Brussels Sprouts Right Now

2 Mar

Busy week ahead, Keftanis. No time for cooking? No problem. Whip these brussels sprouts up in 10 minutes or less.

best sauce for brussels sprouts

Maple Dijon Brussels Sprouts


  • 1 bag shredded brussels sprouts from Trader Joes (or chop up 3-4 c yourself, but then don’t blame me when it takes more than 5 minutes!)
  • 1 TSP olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-4 TBS dijon mustard (depending on taste and kick)
  • 1-2 TBS maple syrup


1. Heat oil in saute pan. Throw in brussels sprouts and let ’em cook to your desired level of blackened. I like them particularly crispy so would leave them for 5-7 minutes on medium. Stir occasionally.

2. Mix together lemon juice and 2 TBS of mustard. Add maple syrup to taste and titrate until you get the mustardy kick/maple sweet that you desire. I like 3 heaping TBS mustard to 1 TBS maple syrup–but it will depend on your mustard and taste. Mix sauce into cooked sprouts and enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: