My sister started eating a paleo diet about a year ago, and since has come up with these amazing new things to try. And while I have not switched my daily consumption of things much, I had included some of the new and interesting things my sister introduces me to. A few months back she came up to me and stuffed a spoonful of coconut oil into my mouth… And it tasted like sunshine. It was coconut!!! Well… since then I have been a bit obsessed with coconut. I drink coconut water after my runs, run coconut oil on my feet, and generally just like coconut anything.
I made shredded coconut cookies a few weeks ago, and then became obsessed with the idea of peach jam on the tops of the cookies. I’ve read a few dozen recipes on shredded coconut cookies, so I can’t honestly say where I got this recipe from. It’s an amalgamation of everything I’ve read… and most importantly I included the whole egg in the batter as opposed to just egg whites as many recipes call for. I find that using only the white or yolk of the egg is wasteful so I try to avoid recipes like that.
Toasty Coconut Jam Cookies (inspired from a bit of this and that all over the web)
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes*
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of jam (I used a thick apricot jam)
If your coconut are large flakes like mine, run it through your food processor until it is a bit finer. I usually work in two batches. One I leave a little larger, and the other I zip in the food processor a little bit more for a finer grain. I measure my coconut after I’ve processed it.
In a bowl, stir together egg and sugar
Add coconut and stir until the egg/sugar mixture coats the coconut and forms a loose ball.
On a parchment sheet, arrange scoops of coconut. I use a tablespoon and pack the coconut into the spoon tightly before gently tapping the mound out on the cookie sheet.
Using a 1/4 teaspoon scoop, dollop jam onto the center of the coconut mounds
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. My oven runs a bit hot, so I baked for 18 minutes.
These cookies keep well in the refrigerator for a week. I packaged mine in little cellophane bags and presented them to my grandmother a week ago. They are just soft and just sweet enough to be perfect for grandmothers that are health conscious like mine.
It also occurs to me, that a little chocolate covered almond tapped onto the top of the coconut mounds might be an excellent alternative to jam. However, I would bake the coconut mounds just a minute or two less to let the coconut whiteness contrast more beautifully with the almonds.
* Alternatively, you may use sweetened coconut but I find this often sickeningly sweet. Plus… who knows what sugar is added?! I’ve also seen unsweetened coconut in smaller flakes called “desiccated coconut” – for whatever reason I find that label so unpalatable. The coconut I purchase is from Fresh Market, and comes in larger flakes. It’s quite a bit too big, so I spin it in my food processor for a finer grit.
I spend about 18 hours a day in front of my computer… and if not directly in front of my computer in the very near vicinity doing something with my computer. I’m a law student, so naturally I’m addicted to my computer and the internet. I often scroll through blogs and recipes, making note of the blog addresses so I can zip back and try the recipes. Occasionally, I’ll forget these amazing blog addresses and then I’ll spend the next boring class charging through hundreds of blogs and recipes trying to find that elusive recipe that I remember, but kinda don’t remember.
Anyway, I remember a year or so ago reading this amazing blog about this family that was traveling and eating roasted coconut. I also remember scribbling the web address down on some scrap of paper… and then promptly forgetting it. Anyway – I recently re-found the excellent blog and the even more brilliant recipe for roasted coconut. See Yummy Supper for excellent pictures, stories, and recipes.
So, I bought two coconuts with the intention of making these roasted coconut strips in my oven. One of the coconuts was horribly rotten (thanks a lot you stupid Safeway!) and the second (and organic from the Fresh Market, my new favorite store) coconut was just wonderfully fragrant and beautiful. Of course I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to open that coconut without breaking my counter. I whacked it a bunch with my rolling pin (sorry baby, those dents aren’t coming out are they) and then poked it some with a chopstick before I finally cracked that baby open.
After prying those little strips out of their shell, and roasting them under the broiler for 15 minutes… I had these piping hot strips of coconut. Delicious!!!
After eating plenty of these toasted strips of coconut, I decided to take the coconut and turn them into cookies too. Kissed with macadamia and vanilla, these crumbly little cookies proved to be just the perfect thing to stave off cloudy winter days.
Coconut and Macadamia Cookies (adapted from a shortbread recipe I found here)
1 1/3 cup of flour
3/4 cup of good quality butter (Kerrygold or Smjor are my current favorites)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of toasted coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup of macadamia nuts
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Place macadamia nuts in a plastic bag, whack a couple times with your poor rolling pin (at least, mine has been having a rough couple weeks. It’s dented from the coconut, stained from the pomegranate, and now being willy nilly used to smash nuts)
Shred roasted coconut with a microplane for fine flakes, or a large box shredder for thicker flakes.
Spread macadamia and coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool completely before adding to cookie dough.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla.
Stir in flour, coconut, macadamia, and salt.
Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes, or until just golden brown at the edges.
A couple weeks ago, I discovered that chubby coins of sweet potato baked at a high temperature turned into these sweet and chewy discs of sweet potato… and I kept promising that I would post this super easy way to make sweet potato even more delicious. So a couple days ago I was in the kitchen peeling sweet potatoes to take photographs, but then I had a little bit of inspiration and made this instead.
It’s nothing like those sticky sweet sweet potato dishes that grace holiday tables… instead it’s spiced with cumin and mashed with a bit of swiss chard. It’s delicious right out of the oven, but just as good cold out of the fridge. If anything, it tastes even better after an overnight stay in the fridge and the flavors have had some time to meld.
Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Casserole (Kaprise Kitchen original)
3 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 bunch of swiss chard (I used red swiss chard, but any would suffice)
1 chicken sausage, crumbled
1 teaspoon of cumin
3/4 cup of full fat greek yogurt
1 cup of finely shredded parmesan cheese
Peel and cube sweet potatoes. In a large pot of salted water, boil cubed potato until tender. About 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
Cut swiss chard into 1/2 inch ribbons. In a large pot of salter water, blanch the ribbons until just wilted. About 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze excess water out of swiss chard
In a small sauce pan, brown crumbled sausage. About 5 minutes
In a large bowl, mash the cooked sweet potato, swiss chard, and sausage together. Add yogurt and cumin and stir until combined.
Spread mixture into casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
It’s midnight here, and I’m running some random shows on hulu.com and eating some bacon. I have homework and reading tomorrow… but I needed some time to blow of steam so I baked some pumpkin bran bites and packed them up into little containers and hung them with recipe cards on some of my neighbors’ doors. It might be a little creepy that I was tiptoeing around the halls hanging muffins on doors at midnight, but Santa does it too…. and at least I left little cards!
I wrote this nearly a month ago, but I never got around to posting the recipe, so I’ve attached the recipe and pictures.
Yesterday I ran 18 miles. I ran 16 blissfully uninterrupted miles, but as the sun sank rapidly I lost sight of the pavement and tripped. This time (unlike last time) I only scraped up my palms. The bruises and gashes on my legs finally healed, but now my palms are the unfortunate victim of running. Today, I went on a 4 mile hike… and you know what? I feel amazing.
Most people don’t understand why I run… and I find it hard to put into words. But mostly, I love it because I have to dig deep and find the courage and strength to do it. You know, at mile 10 when the sun is setting and you’re the only person still running, you have to fight back the quitter in you. You have to put your feet on the ground and move. And, the only thing that keeps you going is YOU. Running is a testament to the strength and the good inner fiber you have. It shows you the power you have over everything else. It’s not about control or anything else – it is about your insides. Your guts. Do you have it or not? Because even when your feet hurt, you want to cry, your underwear is giving you blisters, your music died, and the only thing you can hear is your rasping breath against everything else – you can prevail. That’s what running is about for me. It’s a test of faith in the strength that I have inside me.
Anyway, yesterday when I was standing in CVS with blood dripping down my arm and panting while I picked out band-aids and antiseptic I laughed a little. Mostly because I honestly contemplated running 2 more miles with the blood trickling down my arms before going to the drug store to patch myself up. Because, the goal was 20 and I had only finished 18 when I reached the 24hr CVS.
And since I’ve really only been regaling you all with stories and commentary on myself (I mean really, what a narcissist!) These are chocolate cookies. They aren’t very good the day after, and you absolutely have to underbake them for them to be as yummy as you want them to be. In fact, they’re a bit fussy, but I love them. To combat the dry cookie crumb you get the day after, you should scoop balls of them and freeze them and bake as you want to eat them. I only make 6 cookies at a time because they’re just not good unless they are fresh out of the oven.
Chocolate Cookies (Modified from the back of the Ghiradelli bag!)
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of chocolate chips, measured and then melted
In a heavy bottomed pan gently melt the chocolate chips. I use an All-Clad skillet, heated on high for a few minutes before throwing in the chips and letting it sit off the heat until the chips have melted down and I can stir them easily. Or just be a normal person and use a double boiler. Let the chocolate cool.
In a bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until light and creamy
Add the eggs, beating well after each addition
All at once, add flour, salt, and baking soda and stir until well incorporated
In a thin stream, incorporate the cooled chocolate and dough.
Drop tablespoons of cookie dough two inches apart on cookie sheets and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes
Note: These cookies are best just a bit uncooked, so once the dough poufs, remove them from the oven for perfectly baked cookies. Once the cookies cool, they deflate a little and form a perfectly chewy interior.
I went to the farmer’s market… and as I’m apt to do, I went a little crazy with the buying. I just like farmer’s markets and when I see all of the people and the produce I just want to buy it all.
I found an adorable gentleman who sold me two soft-shell crabs… I cleaned them (eeek!) and ate them with great gusto. I was pleased that I had cleaned them myself… but a little freaked out that they continue to move even as I was hacking into their vital organs and cutting their faces off. It makes me cringe still. ::cringe::
Well, last week I walked past anything that required cooking/baking because I was in study mode. I’m still in study mode, but I decided that this week I was going to just spend a couple hours cooking and enjoying myself before going back to :::i-want-to-kill-someone::: study mode. When I saw these arm length (or if you’re short, like me, 1/2 body length) rhubarb, I had to have them. They were so delightfully pink, I immediately grabbed them.
I did like Connie at ouichefcook and tossed the sliced rhubarb in sugar before letting it drain in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Then, I decided I wanted coffee cake crumbs in a buttermilk based cake. So I fused Lottie + Doof’s favorite cake with some coffee cake crumbs… with a layer of rhubarb in between the cake. So maybe I over-did it a little bit. I ended up with is a 9×13” cake that’s about 2 inches thick. I told you. I’m not good at subtle. Or a little. I like BIG. Bigger = better. DUH… I might have been a Texan in a former life.
The crumbs are just perfectly crunchy and the cake is pillowy. And the layer of rhubarb is just acidic and tart enough to balance the crunchy crumbs. And since I absentmindedly left out the vanilla extract, the cake tastes just like rhubarb. I know some people won’t like it because it’s a bit tart, but this giant corner slice I pried out of the pan before it cooled is just delicious.
Anyway. Here is what I did
Giant Rhubarb Coffee Cake (Kaprise Kitchen interpretation from a little of this and a little of that)
3 cups of flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
12 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 1/2 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup of shaken buttermilk
about 1 pound of rhubarb
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
8 tablespoons of melted butter
1 1/2 cup of flour
About 8 hours before you plan on baking, or the night before (or in the wee morning hours): wash and slice the rhubarb. Toss with 1/4 cup of sugar. Place in a colander over a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
After 8 or so hours have elapsed, shake the excess moisture from the rhubarb and discard the liquid that has drained. Set the rhubarb aside.
On to the batter!!
In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar together, adding one egg at a time until creamy and smooth
Whisk in the buttermilk.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, and soda (I normally stir 1/2 of the flour with the baking powder and soda into the mixture, and then stir the remaining flour in. Mostly because I don’t have another mixing bowl to combine dry ingredients, and because this works just fine)
The batter should be a little thicker than normal cake batter.
Line a 9X13” baking pan with buttered parchment paper. Butter the sides of the pan as well.
Spread about 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the pan.
Add the rhubarb in an even layer over the batter
If you prefer a less tart cake, sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the rhubarb layer to counteract the acidity of the fruit. I left this out because I like the bite.
Dollop the remaining batter over the rhubarb. Because the batter is pretty stiff, I drop blobs of the batter over the rhubarb and then lightly tap the pan on the counter to even it out a bit.
In a bowl, combine the crumb ingredients. I make crumbs by squishing the ingredients into a ball and then breaking the ball apart over the cake.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes. Mine took about 65 minutes, but I was also peeking in the oven to check on my baked potatoes (because there is nothing like multitasking your oven!)
A tester should come out nearly clean from the center of the cake. Remember that the rhubarb is moist so the cake around the rhubarb will be moist – so be cautious of overbaking since your tester won’t be perfectly clean coming out of the cake. However… make sure the cake is sufficiently baked, otherwise the cake will be dense and gummy. (I know. Not an exact science, but I normally press a finger at the center of the cake, and if it springs back, it’s normally done).
This is a tart of sorts… it’s a pie? I don’t know what I should call it, but I needed something to help me procrastinate my little heart out. I’m having the worst time focusing on finals this year. I’m good at waking up, but the only thing getting me out of bed is dehydration this semester. This is the first semester I have been single since starting law school, so I have been getting more work done (no pesky boys clamoring for my time), but I’ve also been distracted. I’m thinking about running and getting back into top running form. I’m thinking about where to jet off too… I just want to be on the move.
This morning, my neighbor invited me to run with her running group. I went along and it was phenomenal. I ran 10 miles with the group, paced at about 9:30/mile. It was wonderful. I was back in my apartment by 9:00am. But, the only thing I have been having problems with is splitting headaches after my long runs. I don’t know if anyone else has this problem… but about an hour after finishing a longer (more than 7 miles) run, I’m sitting with my head in my hands with a horrible headache. So instead of hitting the library as planned, I was zoinked out on my bed sleeping off my headache. Maybe it’s the water. Or maybe, like my neighbor suggested, it’s because I run without water and without any nutrition. I just go. Hmm.
This tart is super easy. Five ingredients, thirty minutes, and delicious. You can use any variation of vegetables. I imagine it’s delicious with some squash, maybe thin eggplant slices? Or even tomatoes. Or potatoes… the possibilities are endless.
Easy Peasy Zucchini and Feta Squares (the result of Kaprise Kitchen procrastination)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced. If you have a mandoline (I do not) this would be supremely easy
1 small onion, thinly sliced
8-10 sheets of phyllo dough (I used 8 out of a package, but feel free to use whatever thickness or variation)
4 oz of feta cheese, crumbled finely
3 tablespoons of butter, melted
Place the phyllo dough on a cookie sheet, brushing the bottom of the first sheet with butter, and brushing alternating layers lightly with butter.
Spread crumbled feta cheese once inch from the sides of the phyllo dough.
Arrange the zucchini and onion slices on top of the feta cheese
Fold the sides of the dough up to cover a little bit of the zucchini and onion.
Brush with butter
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
I know, I might be the worst blogger ever. I go on giant hiatuses and then come back and then disappear again!
I meant to post this ONE week ago, but here I am. Two weekends ago I ran the D.C. Half Marathon. I finished strong and felt great. I realized I have come to be a stronger runner, and then decided I needed to be stronger athletically. I went out and bought some weights and started doing some cross training. This weekend, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run. I felt great. Powered through the entire race and finished in 1:32. Averaging a pretty respectable 9:13/mile. Ideally, by this time next year I will average an 8:30/mile in 10+mile runs. I’m also aiming to get my 1 mile time down to about 6:30 and maximize my cardio by adding more short length sprints.
Anyway, when I’m in my running zone, I tend to bake and cook less. I just crave more vegetables and grilled steaks, hence the reason for the lack of posting here. But, when I do run, I love bananas. Unfortunately, because I live in a city, it’s hard to get good fresh produce. So when I do see delicious bananas, I have a tendency to buy boatloads of them. So I make banana bread. I make mine with a healthy dose of flax seed (sometimes some wheat germ) and sprinkle generously with walnuts and sunflower seeds. I bake it in a 9 x 13 pan so I can have a lot of walnuts and sunflower seeds crunching on the tops. As always, I dialed back the sugar. This banana bread is super easy and moist. I leave it on my counter with a butter knife so I can slice off little squares as I pass by.
Banana Bread (adapted from Food & Wine Annual 2009 best recipes)
1 1/2 cup of mashed banana (about 3 bananas), I’ve used up to 2 cups of banana for very moist bread
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of canola oil (I have used butter with very good results too)
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of roasted walnuts
1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds
Mash the bananas
Whisk in sugar, oil and 3 eggs.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, salt, and flax seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit
In an oiled and flour dusted pan, pour the batter
Sprinkle the walnuts and sunflower seeds evenly over the top
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean and the top is golden brown
This banana bread gets very brown, so I bake mine on the lower rack of my oven so it stays a golden hue. Should you like darkly gold breads – feel free to bake it higher up.
Tada! I’m back. I promise. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing that would excuse my 10 day hiatus, but I do have a delicious quick recipe for you.
I was making lemon tart a while back, and as I removed the crust from the oven to pour the lemony curd into the shell I dropped it. The little pieces of crust scattered everywhere! But I snagged a little piece from the pan and thoughtfully chewed on it while I swept up the other crumbs. I’m a sucker for pie crust. I was notorious for picking the crust off the pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving as a kid, so I guess not much has changed. I swapped out some white flour for whole wheat, sprinkled sea salt over the tops, and mixed turbindo sugar in for a delightful little crunch. The flavor is mild and the sweet/salt melting on your tongue is just my favorite. The cookies can be difficult to roll out, so I roll them out on plastic wrap and pop the little cookies up and onto my baking sheet.
Whole Wheat Shortbread, for pie crust lovers like Kaprise!
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of sugar (I used a mixture of granulated and turbindo sugar)
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt
In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter until completely melted. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt into the melted butter. Knead for a minute or two until the ingredients come together.
At this point, you may chill the dough for 30 minutes to allow the dough to firm up a little. This makes it easier to roll out and cut.
But, I’m not patient enough to wait for the dough to firm, so I spread parchment paper or plastic wrap on my counter and use my little 1/2 inch fluted circle cookie cutter and punch out my cookies. Then I just lift the paper/wrap and pop the cookies onto a baking sheet
Bake cookies at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown
Has anyone been to Lebanese Taverna? It’s my grandmother’s favorite restaurant because of the cute puffy little pitas that are served. The pitas are white, soft little pillows of bread that are served piping hot. She loves these pitas.
(^Whole wheat dough)
A few days ago, I was making pizza, when I just tossed the leftover dough into the oven, and it ballooned into a little pita. It was delicious! So I tried it again, and then again with whole wheat flour. And then again with some honey. I ate these little pitas with cheese and some avocado…. but then I wanted more! So I made more. The water added to the dough fluctuates depending on the type of whole wheat flour you use. Keep in mind that whole wheat dough requires just a bit more water than regular dough to keep the bread soft.
(^ Whoops! A plain dough picture… hehe)
Whole Wheat Pitas (Kaprise Kitchen, adapted from a cookbook, which I don’t remember the name of (and I’ll promise to update, but inevitably forget))
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of bread flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 cup of warm water
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil
In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water. Allow the yeast to soften and bloom for about 10 minutes
Sprinkle the whole wheat and bread flour over the water. Sprinkle the salt over the flour (salt can kill yeast, but I find that this method works best.
Drizzle the honey over the flours and salt and begin to incorporate all of the ingredients into a shaggy ball
Using your hands (washed first!!), knead the dough to combine all of the ingredients. Add another tablespoon of warm water if the dough is stiff and hard to work with.
The dough should be supple and warm to touch. It should be just a bit more moist than regular bread dough.
Add the olive oil to a clean bowl and roll the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel.
Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 3 hours, or until doubled.
Once the dough has doubled, knead the dough for 10 minutes to redistribute the yeast.
Allow the dough to rise again, this time in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best.
Allow the dough to come to room temperature before kneading and dividing into 16 equally sized balls
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
Roll the dough into ovals, about 1/2 inch thick.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet before placing the dough on the sheet (this helps prevent sticking)
Bake the pitas for 8 to 12 minutes, until puffy and golden.
(The next two pictures are plain dough pitas)
(I forgot to take pictures when I rolled the whole wheat ones out)