Blood oranges: Mother Nature’s ombre playground

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It’s blood orange season! They are just absolutely gorgeous, I never get tired of that beautiful color.

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They remind me of stained glass… appropriate, considering architecture and food are two of my fave things (really?! I’m sure you had NO idea). Case in point: old and new! A favorite juxtaposition.

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I love how they’re variegated in color too – you never quite know what you’re getting. Dark red? Ombre? Everything is fair game when mother nature gets involved.

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It’s sunny and beautiful today!! I’ve been enjoying the rain but I must say I’m not minding the sun either… AND it’s ski season! Tahoe-bound this week to get back on my K2 babies — it’s been way too long. Actually I’m currently sitting OUTSIDE to write this, what?! Weird. But awesome. Hooray for wifi that extends into the back yard!

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But back to food. This tart is perfect winter dessert — I’m also pretty sure I’ve said that about the last five citrus desserts I’ve made but that’s because it’s TRUE! Citrus + winter = made for each other. The brightness of the citrus perks up even the greyest of days, even for someone like me who *likes* the grey! (I like sun too, don’t get me wrong)

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Highly recommended, easy and delicious. This can also be made in stages and left overnight in the fridge before serving, so it’s a user-friendly experience all around. Lightly sweet, lightly tart, orangey & chocolatey.

Happy weekend!

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Blood Orange Curd Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust with Candied Ginger

Blood orange curd is like lemon, only it’s orange! Brilliant, no? Ha. Lightly sweet, somewhat tart (though less so than it’s lemony cousin), complemented by a chocolate coconut crust and candied ginger… for breakfast and dessert! Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serving sizes are up to your discretion. A Wait are Those Cookies original – the curd is riffed off of my usual go-to, and the crust is an easy favorite I’ve modified many times for different tarts.

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For the curd (make at least one day ahead so it can chill overnight in the fridge)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c blood orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 3 blood oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, blood orange juice, lemon juice and orange zest. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – it will still be runny but will firm up a bit in the fridge. Strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

For garnish:

  • 2 small blood oranges, sliced thinly
  • candied ginger
  • shredded coconut

Assembly:

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

Top the cooled tart with sliced oranges & candied ginger + shredded coconut if that’s your jam (melted chocolate wouldn’t come amiss either, I’m sure)… Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers – I usually just cover the original pie dish with foil but an airtight container works just fine too.

Happy eating!

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All the citrus, all the time

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Helloooo! Happy Friday :)

I have lemon for you today! Because I still haven’t gotten tired of the citrus theme – winter weather and citrus are just made for each other. Besides that, meyer lemons are perfect right now and I’d be crazy not to get on that (again).

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We’re also enjoying a break in the rain — though I do love rainy weather, it’s good to dry out a little in between and enjoy the sun. Today is absolutely beautiful: sunny weather for sunny dessert!

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I caught one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen during the last rains!

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More SF series, of course:

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But, back to dessert…

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I made torta di riso a few years back with blood oranges — this riff uses meyer lemons instead for a taste that is very citrus-forward. I love any rice based desserts so this is an easy sell for me, but regardless – the rice has a great chewy texture that contrasts nicely with the airy, eggy custard.

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This cake is Tuscan in origin I believe, and is usually described as a rice custard cake – completely appropriate. It’s lighter and fluffier than a baked rice pudding, but still has that all-important chewy rice-ness. Excellent for breakfast, if I do say so.

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A heads up – this is not for those who aren’t a fan of citrus or who prefer very sweet desserts! It is a very, very mildly sweet dessert, with more citrus-tart flavor profile than sweet. It was definitely a big hit over here, but we’re citrus & rice nuts so that goes without saying. Delicious with ice cream for dessert or a bit of jam for breakfast.

Happy baking!

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Meyer Lemon and Coconut Torta di Riso

Lightly sweet Tuscan rice custard cake. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Delicious served with ice cream for dessert or jam for breakfast! Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serving size is left to your discretion ;) Recipe adapted from my previous blood orange incarnation, here, and from Cafe Lynnylu, here!

For the cake:

  • 2 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 3/4 c arborio rice
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c almond meal
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons (~2 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated

Lightly grease your pie dish with coconut oil and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add in rice and salt, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then begin stirring continuously for another ~10 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the milk (the rice should be chewy but not underdone). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Add the rice to a larger bowl, and stir in almond meal, lemon zest and juice, and coconut sugar until combined. Whisk in egg yolks. In a non-reactive bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer, with a handheld electric mixer), beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold them into the rice mixture. Once incorporated, pour all this goodness into the prepared pie dish. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with foil. The cake develops somewhat of a crust as it bakes, so be sure to test the middle and make sure it’s done – the tester should come out clean, but sometimes it’s tricky to tell.

Let cool before serving and serve warm or at room temperature (or cold, I like it all three ways). Garnish with shredded unsweetened coconut and meyer lemon segments if desired. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, covered.

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Tarts for days. Grapefruit is the new lemon (at least for today)

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Sometimes, you just need all the citrus. ALL the citrus! Lately I’ve been eating a ton of mandarins and clementines – they have been so delicious and they’re such a great snack!

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But sometimes you need more than just a citrus snack… you need citrus DESSERT. When that happens, I usually gravitate toward lemon curd for it’s bright, citrusy, sunshine-in-my-kitchen scent and taste. But I’ve never actually made grapefruit curd until now, despite loving grapefruit even more than lemon.

I’m not so sure how it translates into photos, but I promise it was incredibly delicious…

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This is definitely going into the rotation. I actually added a slight bit of lemon to bump up the citrus flavor – next time, I might even reduce the honey a bit to really bring out the citrus tang. It makes a great change from lemon curd, and a great tart filling. I had no idea grapefruit and ginger were flavor affinities, but they are! And it’s a match made in gastronomic heaven, at least for those of us who love grapefruit.

By the way, this tart make excellent breakfast. Just a suggestion…

A bit more progress in the SF series, of course.

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Keeping it short and sweet today, and finishing with this to my beloved grandpa who transitioned off this earth plane this past weekend: You are responsible for so many wonderful memories, and for my fierce love of malted milkshakes. Happy travels, you are so, so missed. Om Shanti, Grandpa.

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Grapefruit Curd Tart with Coconut Ginger Crust and Citrus Coconut Cream

Citrusy, relatively light on the dessert-intensity scale, and perfect for the winter season. Dairy free, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo if that’s your jam. Full of healthy fats and vitamin c! The crust is a riff on my usual citrus bar crust, but I’ve discovered it makes a good tart shell too. You’ll want to make the grapefruit curd ahead of time, and chill the coconut milk overnight. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish.

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For the curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2/3 c grapefruit juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 large grapefruits, about ~1 tbsp zest
  • scant 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, solid
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine eggs, grapefruit and lemon juice, zest, honey, coconut oil, and sea salt. Heat over medium-low, whisking constantly. The curd will begin to thicken as it cooks, and usually is as thick as it’s going to get after about 10 minutes. I usually strain mine to get rid of any erroneous bits – a metal strainer over a bowl works just fine; I recommend straining it while it’s still warm. Let cool completely in a bowl sitting in an ice bath, then move to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before using (overnight is preferable, which is why I usually try to make this the day before).

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, ginger, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, almond butter, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

For the citrus coconut cream:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
  • zest of one grapefruit
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit juice

For topping:

  • candied ginger!

Zest the citrus, and rub the coconut sugar into it until fragrant. Open the can of coconut milk and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla, coconut sugar-zest, and grapefruit juice, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

To serve, top the tart with segmented grapefruit and citrus coconut cream. Don’t skip the candied ginger! It’s awesome. Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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2017: the tale of demanding, reincarnating bananas

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2017 treats everyone a little better than last year – 2016 was a rough one for many. But as they say, onward and upward! Preferably with cake, which is where I come in.

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The dead bananas are calling! I had a plethora lurking around my kitchen this weekend and they put me on notice that they really wanted to reincarnate into something amazing… not banana bread again, if you please (my bananas can get a little demanding sometimes…). That being said, I had a hankering for banana cake (fundamentally different from banana bread, you see), so THIS happened!

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Happily so. Have you ever had sautéed dates? No? Get into the kitchen immediately and make them! I love dates anyway, but they are mindblowingly good when given a little bath in some olive oil and sea salt. I’ve always been a salt monster, so salty-sweet desserts are absolutely my jam, and these little powerhouses deliver. Besides that, they’re full of good nutrients (dates are high in vit A & K, plus potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & zinc. woohoo!).

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This cake is actually full of good things – you have healthy fats from almond flour, hazelnuts, and coconut, and all the good stuff in dates. And besides that, most critically: it’s delicious, which is good for your soul.

Let’s see, what else? Jessie says hello (this is her way of chatting me up during breakfast, adorable cat)

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More drawings, of course! New year, same series! This is the Havens Mansion, built 1884 on S. Van Ness in SF.

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My first activity of 2017! Shocked? Nope.

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More beautiful sky!

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Show your new and improved 2017 self some love with some sautéed dates atop your cake, and revel in all the possibilities of a new year. Onward!

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Banana Date Skillet Cake with Coconut Frosting, Maple Hazelnuts, and Sautéed Dates

Pretty freaking amazing, if I do say so! Lightly sweet banana cake with jewel-like date pieces, coconut frosting and OMG sautéed dates, please make them immediately. Serve with a bit of ice cream or non-dairy biz if that’s your jam! Can’t miss either way. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake, enough frosting to frost the top (cake is served straight out of the skillet); extra hazelnuts because you’ll definitely want extras… and the amount of dates is up to you (make extra!). Skillet cake adapted from Confessions of a Confectionista, here!

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For the cake:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • heaping 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped

For the maple hazelnuts (make ahead, if desired):

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

For the sautéed dates:

  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 7-8 medjool dates, halved & pitted
  • pinch of sea salt

For the coconut frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled upside-down overnight in the fridge
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I usually make the hazelnuts ahead and store them in a jar until needed. Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet with coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then add eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, and use an electric mixer to beat until combined. Stir in the chopped dates, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when touched. The cake will brown because of the honey – if you feel it’s browning too fast, feel free to cover it with foil. Let cool completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make the sautéed dates! (good luck not eating them all straight out of the pan). In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the dates and sauté, stirring frequently, until they caramelize and are heated through, just about 2-3 minutes (the edges will start to get a little crispy). Watch them carefully, as they burn easily. When done, move them to a bowl to cool and sprinkle with sea salt (be sure to get all of the good oil out of the pan for drizzling!).

Also while the cake is cooling, make the coconut frosting. Open the can of coconut milk rightside up, and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla and coconut sugar, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

For serving: Frost the cake with the coconut whip (make sure to frost the cake once it’s completely cool! otherwise a melty mess will ensue); top with sautéed dates and maple hazelnuts. Indulge responsibly (i.e., have another piece)!

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This tart is made of grapefruit. Therefore, BREAKFAST!

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It’s December! I doubt you need reminding, but there it is. Despite the slight annoyances of increased traffic, impacted post offices and whatnot, I do love this time of year, especially all the lighted buildings in the city and the excuse to have a giant tree in my living room.

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AND the baking. Because holidays = baking & eggnog, a well known fact. I haven’t gotten to the eggnog (give it time) but at least I’ve got the baking on lock.

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I’m on a citrus run over here (scurvy? pshhhh no) — I’ve had requests and I’ve been loving fresh citrus taste. This makes two in a row, and there’s at least one more coming, probably lemon next time — can’t stop won’t stop!

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I debated calling these bars vs a tart… but tarts are fun I can call it whatever I want! Besides, this slices into wedges which makes me want to call it a tart. Bars are square. Right?! Right. We’ll go with tart. ALSO hahahaha grapefruits are kind of tart. You see what I did there?!

…. Moving on, terrible pun notwithstanding.

This tart is spectacular (and easy!) – if you love grapefruit, these are for you. In the course of my recipe brainstorming, I discovered that caramel is a flavor affinity for grapefruit, which seemed rather counter-intuitive, but I decided I was going to try it anyway. Good thing too because the grapefruit – caramel combination of these bars is SO GOOD IT MUST BE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS. Not shouting… just for emphasis! ha. But seriously — if you like grapefruit, get on these. They will brighten up your day and make your kitchen smell amazing! The tart has the consistency of lemon bars, with the crust adding a great textural counterpoint. And then there’s caramel… of course.

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Besides that, it’s paleo, gluten & grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free – enjoy with abandon! ‘Tis the season :)

Jessie would like to say hello:

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The latest… plus fun at the tree lot:

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Happy December!

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Side note, this tart is perfectly acceptable breakfast food. Because, grapefruit!

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Grapefruit Tart on a Coconut Cashew Crust with Coconut Caramel Sauce

A Wait are those Cookies original! Full of grapefruity flavor (if you love grapefruit, these are absolutely for you!) that is complemented by the coconut and cashew crust. Serve with vanilla ice cream of choice for maximum flavor happiness. Gluten & grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo depending on your definition. Yield: 1 9″ dish; serves as many as your discretion dictates (that could be 2. Or 8!)

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c cashew flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted cashew butter
  • 1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the bars:

  • 4.5 eggs*
  • scant 2/3 c runny honey
  • zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c fresh grapefruit juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4.75 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the caramel (best made at least one day ahead):

Combine coconut milk, coconut sugar, and sea salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Leave uncovered and bring to a boil, then lower the temp and continue to let the sauce simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has reduced, thickened and will coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and stir in coconut oil and vanilla. The caramel will lighten in color and thicken slightly if you keep it overnight in the fridge (though it is still relatively runny caramel) — store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks if not using immediately.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a deep 9″ pie dish with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, stir together cashew flour, coconut, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in cashew butter, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla, and stir until combined and crumbly. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan and up the sides, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, grapefruit zest and juice, sea salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the parbaked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like it cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel for maximum happiness. Store any leftovers in the fridge, though I challenge you to actually have any leftovers!

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Let’s roooollllllll

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This is how I roooolllllllllll.

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Or something like that! I roll with rolls for dessert and for breakfast, because I am all about the treats that do double duty. These are appropriately autumnal with pumpkin and warming spices and such, and glazed pecans just sort of scream HOLIDAY TIME!!!! to me. Do you hear that, or is it just me? … don’t answer that.

Anyway, moving on. Cinnamon rolls! A winner all around, especially when there is some kind of glaze or frosting involved (which is absolutely necessary…there is no question).

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These happen to be paleo, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (everything EXCEPT taste free), so if that’s how you roll (ha. pun intended), these are for you!

Let’s see, what else is new…

More drawing!

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More photography fun:

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Succulents! Why not.

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I don’t have much anecdotal humor for you today, so you’ll just have to content yourself with some cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend making them to be eaten for dessert… and then for breakfast! You won’t be sorry, promise.

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Grain Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Coconut Glaze and Maple Pecans

These aren’t overwhelmingly pumpkin-y, more towards the cinnamon side, but are delicious regardless. Grain free, paleo, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Roll dough adapted from Eat Something Delicious, here! Yield: 1 8″ skillet-worth of rolls; I got about 8 large rolls.

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For the dough:

  • 2 c tapioca starch
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs*
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

*the eggs I used were small, so I needed a few tbsp of coconut milk to bring it together — you may not need this if your eggs are larger

For the filling (This makes extra; use it to top the rolls or eat separately!)

  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 heaping tbsp almond butter

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 c coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

For the pecans (these are great to make ahead and store for when you need them):

  • 1 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

If making the pecans ahead, do that now!

Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, add maple — it will foam a bit when it hits the pan. Add in pecans and sea salt, stirring to combine. Keep stirring and cooking for about 3-5 more minutes, until the maple has caramelized. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy clean up and pour the pecans out, breaking up any large chunks. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or other pan of choice. I sprinkled the bottom with a little extra coconut sugar, just for fun.

For the dough: stir together tapioca starch, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and vanilla. Use a fork to combine until you get lots of little pieces, then get in there with your hands and knead until the dough comes together (add coconut milk here if needed; by the tsp and just until the dough comes together to avoid sticky dough). The dough should come together nicely and be stiff enough to roll out; if it’s too sticky, add a bit more starch. Flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin (or do like I did and roll out between parchment paper), and roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 1/4″ thick.

In a small bowl, make the filling: stir together pumpkin, maple, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and almond butter until smooth. Spread the filling onto the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1/2″ clear on the edge furthest from you (there will be leftover filling!). Roll up the dough starting on the long side (I always try to cram as much filling in there as possible and end up with it going everywhere, so you do you!). Once the log is rolled up neatly-ish, slice it into rolls. I like to start in the middle and slice outwards to get the most even slices. Place the rolls into the skillet, so that their sides are just touching. Bake for 20-30 minutes — sorry for the range; mine stayed in much closer to 30 so that the centers of the rolls that were touching would be done all the way through — the rolls should be firm to the touch and not goopy in the spaces between them.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Make the glaze while the rolls are cooling: stir together warmed/melted coconut butter (it’s solid at room temp), maple, vanilla, and sea salt together until smooth. Alternatively, store it in a jar and dance around to mix it up. It’s way more fun, I guarantee.

If you want a true glaze and less of a frosting, pour the melted coconut butter mix over the rolls and eat immediately. Let cool to room temp or overnight if you’d rather have a consistency closer to frosting. Either is delicious!

Before serving, drizzle glaze over the rolls and top with a few pecans for decorative shenanigans. Serve with more glaze, more pecans, and vanilla ice cream because you’d be missing out otherwise, and we can’t have that!

Leftovers keep well covered on the counter overnight; in the fridge for longer storage.

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Death by chocolate via skillet

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Hello!

This is a rather belated post / a compilation of a lot of things that have transpired out of my oven of late… I have no other excuse other than that I’ve just been lazy on the blogging front. And also it’s been HOT. So running the oven is the last thing I ever want to do when it’s a thousand degrees in the shade. Despite that, I’m sharing these brownies that require an oven because a) they’re amazing and you need them and b) I made lemon bars that got eaten so fast there was no picture to be had but they were AMAZING and if it cools down several degrees I’ll no doubt make them again soon and hopefully get in some pictures so you can see the deliciousness, in case you don’t believe the words (though you should).

Let’s see, what else has been shakin…

Occasionally I have fun with fans.

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I’ve been doing a lot of this, and it’s been glorious (btw; highly recommend this book; I couldn’t put it down).

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I got to see my favorite band ever ever ever in the beginning of June!! Caravan Palace is AMAZING.

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Summer means a glut of zucchini (at least in theory; I am [im]patiently waiting for the zucchini plant to really get going; at the moment am having to restrain myself from ripping the somewhat tiny zucchinis off the plant and eating them immediately. That being said, I did get to get out my spiralizer again after a long hiatus, and that was fun.

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But.

These brownies. Do you see that caramel sauce swirl going on down there?!

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Are pretty much death by chocolate in a skillet. In the best way. I took these brownies that are super dark, fudgy and dense and refined sugar free and dairy free and gluten free and DELICIOUS….

… and then I trashed them up with paleo caramel and coconut and more chocolate and they became a fairly evil dessert. I use evil in a complimentary way, of course.

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Topped with paleo gelato, they just about sent me over the edge (I was not eating these alone either, and I was not the only one accusing them of delicious death by chocolate). Good thing I was watching a movie on the floor so I didn’t really have to move very much after I finished them.

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But really. They’re amazing. Just pace yourself when eating, ha.

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Coconut Caramel Brownies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free. Fudgy, dark brownies with a deep dark chocolate taste — these are not for the faint of heart or for those who prefer a cakier brownie. No way man; eat these if you love dark chocolate in all its forms. The coconut caramel and coconut flakes take them over the top. Serves: a lot. Yield: 1 8″ cast iron skillet or an 8″ square baking pan.

Use the recipe below for the brownies: Deep Dark Flourless Brownies 

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate [mine was 77%]
  • 2 oz dark chocolate [mine was 63%]
  • 2 eggs
  • scant 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • a handful of extra dark chocolate chips

1 batch of paleo caramel (I used this one from Bakerita, here — it is DELICIOUS)

  • much easier to make this ahead of time and refrigerate until needed — I made it the day before. It will also thicken up in the fridge the longer it sits.

For toppings: flaked coconut, shredded coconut, melted chocolate if desired

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron with coconut oil or line an 8 by 8 pan with foil.

In a saucepan over med-low, melt coconut oil+extra dark chocolate+dark chocolate until smooth, stirring occasionally (you can also do this in the microwave, stirring at 30 sec intervals if you are feeling supremely lazy). In a biggish bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla until pale and smooth, about 2 minutes. After that’s all good, beat in the coconut oil-chocolate goodness until incorporated. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and sea salt; then slowly use the mixer to beat that into the rest of the mix. Don’t overmix, just make sure there aren’t any pockets of cocoa powder. The batter should be thick and smooth. Stir in the extra chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Drizzle about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cooled caramel onto the brownie batter, and use a knife to swirl it together. You’ll end up with streaks and pockets of caramel, which are delicious– don’t feel like you need to completely stir it into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes in an 8″ skillet (it’s thicker, so test accordingly) or for just about 25 minutes in an 8 by 8 pan, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping.

Once cool, drizzle remaining caramel sauce over the top and excessively top with all the coconut. Toast the flakes if you like, or toss them on un-toasted – I did half and half and both were delicious. Melted chocolate drizzle is also a nice touch!

Slice. Eat. Devour. Might I suggest eating them in delightful company, since good food is so much better that way?! Also because a chocolate coma is more fun when you’re in good company.

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Green cookies. Because, obviously.

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Guess WHAT?!

I made cookies. And they’re GREEN!! Muahahah. Like you’re even a tiny bit surprised by this? Nope, I didn’t think so.

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But really. I’m studying for the GRE because I have to and it’s SUPER lame (because let’s be honest, who actually uses the math garbage that they put on there after high school?! That’s right, NO ONE. Remind me again why I have to re-learn quadratics and functions and wait, these are of no use in my everyday life, moving on). So to make my studying that much less icky I made myself green cookies!! Green things always make me feel better.

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I know this is horribly overexposed but I think it’s funny because the cookie looks like it’s levitating…. ooOOOooooOOOOoOooOo

Besides, these are really aggressively green. Artificial food coloring crap can take a backseat because this is soooo much more fun. Wouldn’t you rather the color in your food come from natural fun reactions?! This is what happens when baking soda/powder and the chlorophyll from sunflower seeds have a party in your cookies. When they cool, they turn green!! I like to refrigerate them to speed this along (besides I’m weird and I also like cold cookies)… and if you can refrain from eating them all at once (good luck), they get even greener the next day [the photos in this blog show them in varying states of green-ness… the ones on the blue plate are the next day after spending all night in the fridge].

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In addition to making green cookies, I did a number of other fun and delicious things…

bread at the beach with the boy… what more do you want?

bread at the beach with the boy… what more do you want?

Tea sandwiches. Because HIGH TEA!!! Crumpets!! And scones!! And no crusts!!

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And also creamy coconut buckwheat with turmeric-curry-cinnamon roasted chickpeas. Crappy photos but soooo delicious. I accidentally permanently stained a cookie sheet yellow, thanks turmeric.

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And also this. Frozen pb-banana ‘ice cream’ with a ridiculously good walnut-date-cinnamon-oat crumble [1/2 c raw walnuts, 1/2 c pitted dates, 2 tbsp almond butter+ pinch of sea salt+1/2 c rolled oats+1/2 tsp cinnamon+1 tsp vanilla spun through a food processor]. I couldn’t stop eating it, mildly problematic except not because delicious.

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Oh. One more thing. Are variables delicious? Last I checked, no. These cookies on the other hand? Absolutely yes.

See? Real food fun. Imminently more useful than bothersome little equations and silly variables.

I would much rather have green cookies than remember how to correctly diagram a factor tree, thanks.

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Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies

Grain free, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. Paleo? Maybs? GREEN! Full of healthy fats and good fiber. I made a half batch and ended up with seven cookies because I mistakenly thought the 1/3 c was a 1/4 c measuring cup…oops. I wasn’t sorry, it meant I got an extra cookie out of the bunch. I’ll include the full recipe here, for a yield of an even dozen. Recipe lightly adapted from Against All Grain, here!

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/2 c unsweetened sunbutter (mine is roasted, unsalted)
  •  6 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine flax and water and set aside to gel. If your dates aren’t super squishy and soft, soak them in hot/near boiling water for a few minutes—I usually do this anyway so my food processor doesn’t complain as much. In your food processor, combine sun butter, dates, and applesauce and pulse until smooth. Add in vanilla, vinegar, and flax egg, and process until combined (I left a few chunks of date in mine, but it’s up to you). Add in coconut, coconut flour, cinnamon, and baking soda, processing until everything is fully combined. Take out the blade and stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, smoothing the edges with your fingers if you want (though I kind of like the craggy rustic look). Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a few, then remove to a rack to cool further. They’ll start turning green once they start cooling, but they get to be a deeper green after about 2 hours. The next day they’re even better! Store in an airtight container in the fridge (I like plastic for these, glass makes them soft).

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Just because. Happy Friday!

 

Extraordinarily long and delicious sandwich names

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Okay Peeps. Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve mentally noted over the last several weeks at work. They’re like… retail pet peeves and rules. Anyone who has ever worked in retail: you get this. Anyone who hasn’t… take mental notes!! Ha. I’m sure you’re a totally fab, contentious shopper though, right?? Right. As I thought (Otherwise we wouldn’t be cool internet friends, because I’m only friends with cool peeps).

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1. If I greet you all cheerfully three feet from the door, chirping, “HELLO! How are you doing today?”, the normal response is “Oh fine thanks, how are you?”. A normal response is NOT: a) staring blankly at me like I’m an alien; b) rudely ignoring me and walking the other way [look. I promise I won’t stalk you while you shop. I’m simply SAYING HELLO]; c) staring at me like I’m an alien for 5 seconds, and then tentatively asking, “Um.. do you work here?” … No. of course not. I just stand inside the doors of random retail establishments greeting people with a silly grin on my face. All day. For fun.

OF COURSE I work here. I also don’t fold massive stacks of pants or ring people up on the tills for funzies, so if I’m doing either of those things, pleeeeeease don’t ask me if I work here. Really. I do. I promise.

2. What is it about a freshly folded stack of whatever that just screams “I’M FRESHLY FOLDED! UNFOLD ME AND DUMP ME EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING THE FLOOR!”. WHY do people decide to rifle through the piles of freshly folded things when I am right there refolding?! You know, asking is awesome. I would be SO HAPPY to pull out that shirt for you, maintaining the crispness of my previous folding work, rather watch and seethe as the invasive hands come in and extricate the shirt third from the bottom, leaving the rest in questionable assorted piles.

3. Just because someone opens the door on their way out of the store after we’re closed, does SO not mean sneaking in to shop post-close is acceptable. It’s not. We’re CLOSED!! Closed does not equal private shop time. I have shit to fold, people! Remember all those nice looking piles?? Yep. Remembering is key since they soooo don’t look like that anymore.

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I do kind of laugh at all this, though… some of the weirdest stuff makes for the best stories anyway, so sometimes weird is good. But really. Retail. Oi. It is a beast unto itself.

Which is why I invented this:

To eat after a day of being stared at like an alien and asked if you work there elevendy billion times. Oh. And for those days when you dream of folding pants in your sleep…

So here is this epically fantastic sandwich that I made for the boy and I last night. For dinner. Because only really, really cool people eat this kind of thing for dinner. Aren’t you SO glad you’re friends with one?! Or at least we’re invisible internet friends. That’s a relief… otherwise, this might not exist in your life and then you’d be sad. Elliott can vouch if you’re at all unsure… I think his eyes might have actually rolled back in his head slightly when he took a bite. It is THAT good. Just make it, you can thank E and I for inventing it for you later, after your fingers are all buttery and you have chocolate on your face!

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Grilled Banana, Dark Chocolate and Pecan Butter Sandwiches

Clearly this needs a shorter name, but hoooomg I don’t care because it tastes so fantastic I needed to spell everything out for you. OH. And there’s coconut in there too, which obviously just makes everything amazing. This is in no way gluten free, vegan (hellloooo, butter) or savory, but hey. Life is all about moderation (and obvi subs can be made: olive oil or vegan butter, gf bread, etc).
I LOVE grilling sammies. They are SO much better that way. This recipe serves makes 2 messy, delicious sammies… I suggest eating them with someone who loves food, just like you!

  • 4 slices of sturdy whole grain bread
  • 4 tsp  good-quality salted butter
  • 8 tbsp chocolate pecan butter (recipe below)
  • 2-4 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (Depending on how much you love coconut)
  • 4 tbsp dark chocolate (mine was 70%)
  • 1 banana

I’m going to assume you could figure this out, but just in case… Butter the outsides of two slices of bread, then flip one over and liberally spread 2 tbsp of pecan butter thoroughly over the side. Sprinkle coconut over it, then top with 1/2 a banana, thinly sliced, and 2 tbsp dark chocolate. Spread another 2 tbsp of pecan butter over the other unbuttered side of bread, then smoosh it all (carefully) together, butter sides out. Grill in a pan over medium-low heat until the outsides are perfectly browned (and a little burnt, if you’re me) and the insides are just perfectly melty. Repeat for a second sammie… then cut into triangles and indulge shamelessly.

Eat immediately. There will not be leftovers, obviously…

Chocolate Pecan Butter

Not too sweet, with the emphasis on pecans—think along the lines of almond butter. This one comes from the depths of my brain, with some input from my continually evolving knowledge of my boyfriend’s food molecule and tastebud preferences. Gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegan. Yaddayaddayada… let’s just say it’s delicious, mmk?! Yield: about 1 cup.

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  • 1.5 c raw pecans
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • a good hefty pinch of sea salt

Process pecans in a food processor until a butter starts forming—-you’ll probably need to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, to integrate the really blended and not-so-blended stuff. Keep processing until the butter is smoother, about 2-4 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor. Add in cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt, and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning to your personal preference! Maple would be good here, if you wanted it sweeter.

Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for a week or two (assuming it lasts that long. Mine lasted 2 days, ha).

Cookies n’stuff.

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Excuses? No, not really.

I don’t have much to say for myself.

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Except that it’s FRIDAY which means…

I missed cookie Thursday, so obviously we need to have cookie Friday. Duh.

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Besides that, I am officially UN spotty AND I have tonsillitis no longer. What what! Clearly cookies are a necessary celebration. Besides that, I riffed on the lentil cookies again and these were too unusual and good not to share. I got the idea since I wanted to figure out another gluten free cookie based on lentils that could be chocolate free for my choco-free friends (Jill, these are for you!).

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I promise to do something savory or NOT a cookie some point soon. I mean, ideally my next post but my food life is unpredictable so no guarantees.

In other random food news (such is my life: a string of food-events. Breakfast! Snack! Lunch! Snack! Dinner! Snack!), Mutti had a birthday last week, which meant deliciousness at Boulevard and high tea. Which also meant a food coma ensued. Sooo worth it. Apparenlty there are also going to be a thousand pictures in this post, sorry I’m not sorry I reeeeealllyyy like photography (or whatever it is that I do)!!

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Truth:

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Additionally, did you know that eggs+sautéed mushrooms and spinach+chopped walnuts+chopped dates+a small sprinkle of parmesan is unaccountably delicious? Because it is. Promise. Hey!! This is savory. Mostly… Do I get any points for that??

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But anyway. Cookies. The reason we’re here in the first place. Happy allergen free cookie Friday! Proof that everyone can (and should) enjoy a cookie (or five) :)

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Peanut Butter Lentil Cookies

Lightly sweet, as I prefer my ‘snacking’ cookies (as opposed to full on indulgent dessert). Full of protein and fiber, as well as a host of other minerals and nutrients and such (phosphorus, manganese, Vit B6), they’re also gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. I’ll snap to that. Recipe modified from the chocolate-chocolate chip lentil version from last week, here. Yield: 15 cookies (maybe would have been 16 if I could have stopped eating the dough, oops).

  • 1.5 c green lentils, cooked
  • 1/3 c organic salted peanut butter (mine was chunky)
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips**
  • 1/8 c raw cocoa nibs**

**replace with carob for chocolate-free cookie fabulousness!

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If needed, precook your lentils (1/2 c dry=1.5 c cooked).

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

These are beyond easy (thank goodness for that because excuse me but who wants to make complicated cookies when they want cookies NOW?! Yes, that’s what I thought): Toss cooked lentils into the food processor, and process until mostly smooth. Add in peanut butter, oats, maple, vanilla, coconut, and baking powder, and pulse until it’s all combined into a big, deliciously thick mess. Stir in chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (I just take out the blade and use the bowl of the food processor). Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 12  minutes until the tops are just firm. Let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or just devour them immediately; why bother taking up fridge space for storage?!

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