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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.

It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog Cake

6 Mar

There is a enough room in my feline-philic heart for exactly 5 dogs: Bailey, Blue, Ryley, Murphy, and Cosmo. And though I love each of them with the exact same amount of reluctance (seriously — what is with the licking?), Cosmo is the only one small enough to let me treat him kind of like a cat, and so he gets some shine today.

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Don’t be fooled by Cosmo’s less-than-Mastiff stature: he’s smart, sassy, and commands an impressive following on Instagram.  ChampagneOnlyKef and CafeKef throw him a party every year with the best birthday treat a boy could bark for: cake that is safe for both dogs and people AND is gluten free. If St. Matthew had to rewrite the Beatitudes for today’s world, it would go something like, “Blessed is the smallest dog in Chef Kefi’s favor: for he will get a social-media presence AND a blog post written about his 11th birthday.” With a promise like that one, who really needs to inherit the earth?

Before a lightning bolt strikes me down,  I better tell you about the recipe. This cake is safe for both dogs and humans, is refined-sugar-free AND can easily be made without gluten … just the thing you never knew you needed. CafeKef says the homemade version below (original recipe here) is one dogs LOVE and that humans “won’t mind” — she also suggests this canine cake mix that comes with its own frosting. Cosmo had no problem cleaning his plate with either version!

Doggie Birthday Cake

Ingredients

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt or cake pan.
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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!

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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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Assembly

  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.

Back with Lemon & Rosemary Cookies

24 Jan

Don’t call it a comeback — I been here for years.

Blogging about baking took a backseat to school, then running, then living my life, but I’m settling into 2018 and I come bearing a sophisticated lemon cookie.

I made these for my holiday cookie exchange and everyone’s mama said they’ll knock you out. Refreshing lemon with a hint of rosemary? Yes, please. Oh, and they only require ~30 min and ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen?

Don’t you never, ever
Pull my lever*.

This recipe comes from a Taste of Home (which I always thought was just for check-out aisle decoration … you live, you learn)– picture and recipe are reproduced verbatim.

Lemon & Rosemary Butter Cookies Recipe

Lemon and Rosemary Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1.25 cups sugar, divided into 1 c and 1/4 c
  • 4 tsp grated lemon peel, divided into 3 tsp and 1 tsp
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2.5 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon peel. In a large bowl, beat butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, rosemary and remaining lemon peel. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. 
  2. Roll dough into balls that are ~1.25 inches; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten to 1/4-in. thickness with bottom of a glass (ed note: I did not do this). Sprinkle tops of cookies with remaining sugar mixture. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

    *If you missed the references, do yourself a favor and go here.

 

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.

Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

30 Aug

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There is no good way to ease into this, so I am just going to say it– WestCoastKef has left us the City of Angels. And when somebody who has been THERE for your husband the way WCK has, you throw a party and bake the man a damn pie.

Intel from his Beloved led me down the berry pie path, and Smitten Kitchen brought me to this mixed berry crumb pie. They are better at life than I could ever hope to be, and so I will reproduce the original recipe verbatim below.

But, first, some photos.

Immediately upon arrival, WestCoastKef had my living room looking like a photo shoot for his debut album, Bojanglin’ Back Home, which drops late 2017. COP THAT.

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What’s the number one sign your people are really ready to celebrate your ass? Double fisting bottles.

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… which escalated quickly. One bottle down approximately 1 hour into party.

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There are many hilarious interceding #turntup photos and videos, but we are grown ups with bills to pay and the internet is a scary place so instead… a jump to the group shot at the end:

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WestCoastKef– we will miss you mightily. And while I will pretty much never forgive you for bringing Settlers of Catan into my husband’s life, you can bet we will still be on the first spring break flight out to LA.

And now, the pie:

Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Blackberry Crumb Pie

For the crust

  • 1.25 c all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 c very cold water

Forthe filling

  • 4 c blueberries
  • 2 c blackberries
  • 3/4 c sugar (for a moderately, but not very, sweet pie)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 7 TBS tapioca flour/starch or 5 1/2 TBS  cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
  • Pinch of salt

For the crumb topping

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 TBS sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.3 c all-purpose flour
  • Two pinches of salt

Assembly

Make pie dough:
– By hand : In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add another tablespoon of water.
– With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.
– Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Heat oven: To 400°F (205°C).

Roll out crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9 1/2-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Save scraps in fridge, just in case.

Par-bake crust: Freeze for 15 minutes, until solid. Dock all over with a fork. Coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press tightly against frozen pie shell, covering the dough and rim and molding it to fit the shape of the edges. Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully, gently remove foil. (Set the foil, still molded, aside. It will come in handy later.) If any parts have puffed, just press them gently back into place. Patch any tears or cracks with reserved dough scraps. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and leave oven on.

Meanwhile, make filling: Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

To make crumb topping, stir sugar, zest, baking powder, flour and salt into melted butter in a large bowl with a fork until crumbs form.

Assemble and bake: Pour filling into crust and scatter crumbs over the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes with these two important things in mind:

1. This crumb browns much more quickly than the pie is done. Grab that piece of foil you set aside from the parbaking phase and upend it over the top of the pie to protect it against further browning once it reaches the color you want. This might only take 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Fruit pies are done when you can see bubbles forming at the edges, with some creeping through and over some crumbs. If it takes longer, that’s better than an underbaked pie.

To serve: Try to let the pie cool until close to room temperature before serving. This gives the pie thickener a chance to help the pie set. The pie will be even better set after a night in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature before serving.

 

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.

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