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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.

Five for Friday: Fall Recipes

21 Nov

It’s Friday (get your groove on!) and I’m linking up with Courtney, Cynthia, and Mar for the Friday Five link up. Today it’s right down to it: favorite fall foods!

Photo credit:

What are you guys eating this fall? What’s on your Thanksgiving list?

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chili

29 Jan

Nothing brings family together like the promise of food- my cousin, aunt, sister and I had been trying and trying to get together for ages. Victims of our own compulsive over scheduling, it wasn’t until BabyKef found this awesome chili recipe that we finally dropped everything and found the damn time.

No one could be bothered to take pictures of chili, though, because we were too busy enjoying the presence of the world’s cutest baby. Please pardon me for being a negligent blogger and praise me for being the world’s proudest Great Cousin. I followed the original recipe’s ingredients but add hot sauce and used a different procedure- my version is below.


Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Chili


  • 1.5 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find ’em!)
  • 1.5 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup  broth
  • hot sauce of your choice, on the side


1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over med-high heat. Add chili powder, cumin, and onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and mix well. Cook until sweet potatoes are softened but not cooked all the way through, about 7 minutes. Add zucchini, mix well, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except for hot sauce). Mix well. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and leave to simmer until sweet potatoes are soft and ready to eat, which took me another 25 minutes or so.

3. You’ll find this chili is unexpectedly sweet, so add some hot sauce to your taste and serve hot. Even better if you can get your awesome cousin to make gluten free cornbread for you!

Butternut Kale Soup, Family Photos, and a Caption Contest!

21 Jan

Welcome back to another work week- if you’re in DC, you’re spending today in one of two ways: a) cowering at home, thankful you stocked up on toilet paper and bread or b) chilling at home, maniacally laughing at OPM’s ridiculousness.

Good news for those of you not in DC (and therefore probably at work): today’s recipe turns back the clock to the eve of the long weekend: Thursday night.


Ahh, the end of the week. Work is winding down, weekend plans are hatching, and the refrigerator is looking sparser and sparser. Such was the situation in the Kef household last week, when all we had was some wilting kale and some butternut squash that had about one day left before it was butternut mush. I brushed the dust off this soup‘s recipe card and turned the week’s withering leftovers into a winning superfood soup!

I did not, however, take an outstanding picture.

Instead I offer you this hilarious picture, left completely unedited for dramatic effect.


Don’t infinity scarves, bad lighting, and a life-sized cardboard cutout make you want soup? If JetSet Kef ever returns to the blogosphere, he will explain. Just in case he doesn’t, I welcome your captions for this awkward family photo in the comments section below!

Butternut Kale Soup


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • black pepper, to taste (I used about 5 twists of a grinder)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs butternut, chopped
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 c broth


1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil, coriander, and ginger over med-high heat until fragrant. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes or so. Add butternut squash and mix thoroughly so that the squash is coated in oil and spices. If need be, add a bit more oil so the squash doesn’t stick to the pan.

2. Lower heat to medium. Cook the squash until softened but still al dente, which took me about 20 minutes. Add pumpkin, mix well. Add kale, mix well.

3. Add coconut milk and broth, mix completely. Allow mixture to come to boil, then simmer until thickened and reduced to a consistency you like- I let mine go on this way for 7 minutes or so, as I wanted a thinner broth. For a thicker, creamier broth, let it go on a bit longer. If you go too far, add more broth.

4. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve warm, as coconut milk will get slightly solid when cool.

Virtual Thanksgiving Menu

28 Nov

Okay- so y’all already know that I love the NYT Vegetarian Thanksgiving. This year they have totally outdone themselves and have included a GLUTEN FREE section. God is good, all of the time.

In other news– I’m headed to BFKef’s family homestead this year, but if I were making Thanksgiving dinner for my loved ones (who include a few gluten-free/sugar-free eaters, a few ALL MEAT ALL THE TIME eaters, a few traditionalists, and a few vegetarians), this is what I’d make to please us all:

The Starters:

Baked Kataifi-Wrapped Goat Cheese

If there were lobsters present at the birth of Jesus, there was definitely phyllo served at the first Thanksgiving.

Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Hummus


What better to whet the appetite than spicy fall flavors?

and how about some Roasted Corn and Tomato Soup?


Mmmm corn. The most delicious non-nutritive filler since soy.

The Sides:

 Beet-Fennel-Heirloom Carrot


Are we warmed up yet?

Sweet Potato and Apple Cakes


I could probably just eat a batch of these and be very, very grateful.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pomegranate


Just yum.

Paleo Jalapeno Cornbread


Not exactly sure how corn bread can be made without corn– but I’d love to find out.

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Tahini Dressing


It was a poor choice to make this list on an empty stomach.

The Main Event:

Portobello Mushrooms with Roasted  Pumpkin Mash and Caramelized Walnuts


Is your belt unbuckled yet?

Cornish Game Hen with Clementine Glaze and Cranberry - Almond Quinoa Pilaf

Gotta give the meat lovers something to look forward to–those wine glasses in the back are for me, after all this cooking!

The Sweets

Chocolate Almond Cookie Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches


And how could I choose between these two final desserts? Since this is a virtual meal and I don’t actually have to prepare anything, I think I’ll cook both.

Pumpkin Pie Caramel Biscoff Cheesecake


Bourbon Vanilla FIG Bundt Cake


You really didn’t think we’d have a feast without FIGS, did you?

Creamy Ginger Butternut Soup

10 Oct

Soup is awesome. Butternut squash is awesome. Ginger is REALLY awesome. Obviously, I had no choice but to whip up a bath of this soup which just happens to combine all three.

I followed the recipe pretty closely– really the only things I did differently were to flavor the vegetables BEFORE roasting (which I think ought to be required and standard practice–but who asked me?), and quadrupling the ginger.

It’s worth taking a little stroll over to Recipes From a Pantry, as my quick visit there yielded a recipe for this butternut soup, plus butternut squash hummus AND butternut squash muffins. If I have to explain to you why that is awesome, you probably live in a place with no fall to speak of, and for that I truly pity you.


Happy Fall!

Creamy Ginger Butternut Soup


  • 1 medium butternut squash (mine was about 2.5 lbs), peeled and chopped
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2-3 TBS vegetable oil
  • 3.25 c vegetable stock (I am really into the unsalted stock- but it’s your blood pressure. Do as you will.)
  • 15 cardamom pods, shelled
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 c coconut milk


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine in a large mixing bowl the chopped squash, onion, oil, cardamom, and ground ginger. Stir to make sure that the vegetables are all coated with oil and that spices are distributed. Throw the mixture onto a cookie pan or two– the vegetables can touch but should not be layered on top of one another. Roast until caramelized, which took me about 55 minutes. Stir once or twice throughout the roasting process to make sure everything gets cooked evenly.

2. When the vegetables are just about done, bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the fresh ginger and then the caramelized vegetables. Let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes– its done when the squash and broth both have awesome, gingery flavor.

3. Puree the broth and squash with whatever means you’ve got: an electric mixer if that’s all you have, a food processor if you’re lucky, or an immersion blender if you’re a fancy mamma jamma. Once you’ve got a nice puree, add the coconut milk and blend once more.

4. Serve warm (otherwise the coconut milk gets a bit thick) and enjoy!


Pumpkin Chili

1 Oct

I moved this summer, which was an exercise in soul-searching. How did I accumulate so much stuff? Did I really need the amazing individual cupcake maker I was given for Christmas two years ago? Just how, in God’s name, was this stuff going to fit into my new, much smaller apartment?

Soul searching aside, the move did force me to go through the binder full of torn-out magazine pages with recipes I’d been saving for a rainy day. It was funny to see the things I had held on to– there were literally hundreds of heavy, fancy-sounding meat dishes I must have ripped out back when I thought a great dinner party required breaking the bank and impossible-to-pronounce dishes. Most of those recipes didn’t make the cut, but it was a nice trip down memory lane that reunited me with awesome ditties like this pumpkin chili. I didn’t save the source, so I apologize for what is definitely recipe plagiarizing– but this is too good not to share!

Pumpkin Chili


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef (optional, obvi)
  • 1 can (15 oz) dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) light red kidney beans
  • 2 cans (28 oz total) pumpkin puree
  • 2 large cans (56 oz total) crushed or diced tomatoes (spend the extra $1 for the fire-roasted variety. It matters)
  • 4 c broth of your choice
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 1 serrano or jalepeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • cilantro (chopped and to taste if fresh, 2 tsp if dried)


1. Add oil, meat and black pepper to large soup pot. Cook over med-high heat until browned. Add cumin, chili, onion, serrano/jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook until translucent. If not using meat, just cook spices and vegetables in oil until soft and fragrant.

2. Add dark and light red beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, broth,and cilantro (only if using dried). Bring soup to a boil and reduced to simmer. If using fresh cilantro, add it now and let chili simmer together for at least an hour, stirring from bottom every 10-15 minutes.

(Note: you can also make this in the crock pot, basically just by browning meat and/or spices and vegetables and then adding everything together in the crock pot. Cook for about 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Just as above, add fresh cilantro with about an hour to go so it doesn’t get too stringy. I have found not everything fits in my crock pot and just reduce the broth to make it all fit.)

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