Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blueberry & Lavender "Lumples"

Two years ago, right before Richard and my wedding, I met the most lovely woman named Kathy, who just so happened to be from Virginia. Since my soon to be husband was also from the south, we became fast friends due to her constant insisting that since I was NOT from the south, she  had to teach me how to bake just like a proper southern lady. You see, Kathy is seriously one of the best bakers I have ever met. Not just someone who can follow a recipe and actually remember to include all of the ingredients, a skill that I sadly lack... but she could whip up a perfect pie, decadent brownies, and impressive desserts. You name it, she could bake it!

I immediately started joining Kathy in her home on Saturday mornings for my weekly lady lessons, as we liked to call them. I learned how to properly make pimento cheese, bagels, pies, and my very favorite treat to date, "Lumples." Well, that's what she called them. A sort of scone, muffin, pastry lump-of-a-thing which is stuffed with fresh blueberries and smells of heavenly lavender. Like me, they are slightly hard on the outside, flaky and delicate on the inside, and just slightly, perfectly sweet. And I mustn't forget the glaze. Ah, the glaze. They are drizzled with a light meyer lemon glaze that adds the slightest taste of sour. And there you have it. A lumple. The kind you'd never want to have removed. I love them.

Blueberry & Lavender "Lumples"

Makes about 8 Lumples

2 cups unbleached King Arthur all purpose flour (Kathy said King Arthur is the ONLY flour to use.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 egg 
3/4 cup whole milk
7 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together. 

Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and blend together with your fingers until the mixture resembles course corn meal.

Mix in the dried lavender buds. You can find these in the spice aisle at Whole Foods and other nice grocery stores. 

Add the egg and the milk and mix quickly with a fork until just combined. Do not over mix or the lumples will become dense. 

Drop large spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, about two inches apart. The dough can be kind of messy. Then, once the lumples are formed, add several blueberries to each lumple by lightly pushing them into the lumple so that they will stay in place while baking. You don't want to mix the blueberries into the mixture before forming the lumples because the berries will get mushy and mix into the dough. 

Bake 15-20 minutes until just slightly golden. 

Meyer lemon glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar (sifted well)
6 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon

Mix well until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add another tablespoon of softened butter.

Drizzle with the Meyer Lemon Glaze onto the lumples immediately after removing them from the oven. The heat will make the glaze melt perfectly over the lumple. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summertime Peach Cobbler

GAHHH, why isn't EVERYTHING made out of peaches?! It's the peak of summer and I cannot think of a single food that I love more.

I love peaches.


They're a real peach.  I guess that's where that saying comes from.

You can grill them, you can put them in salad, you can make my very favorite desserts out of them.  You can bob for them. You can eat them with a man named Bob. They'd even brighten up some corn on the cob. (Sorry, I momentarily channeled Dr. Seuss there. I'm on a peach sugar high). Anyway, there is really nothing that a peach can't make better. Even RK, who claims that he has always disliked peaches, now loves them. They are perfect. We are in love. WE are a real peach.

I am also in love with this cobbler recipe. It is SO simple. Nothing fancy. It just focuses on the flavor of the peaches and the simplicity of a perfect pastry topping. Just use very ripe, fresh peaches and you will have the perfect summertime dessert! Rich's grandmother's china is optional, but encouraged.


For the peaches
8 fresh peaches, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the pastry
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoon chilled butter cut into small cubes
1/4 cup boiling water

For the topping
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Flaky sea salt (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine peeled and sliced peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss everything together until the peaches are coated evenly. Pour into a greased baking dish and bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.

While the peaches are baking, in another large bowl, combine flour, remaining sugars, baking poser, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter and blend until the mixture resembles course meal. Stir in the boiling water until just combined.

Remove the peached from the oven and top with spoonfuls of the pastry topping. Sprinkle the entire cobbler with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake until the topping is golden and the peaches are bubbling, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cobbler from the oven and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. This is totally optional, but I did it and it was delicious.

Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cauliflower and Black Bean NACHOS!

Please allow me to introduce you to my new favorite food.....

They are cheesy, spicy, and have all of the flavor of your very favorite late night bar food... except they are carb free, and nutritious! No, I am not joking. I replaced tortilla chips for sriracha roasted cauliflower and then piled them high with all of my favorite nacho toppings. They lasted about 5 minutes. RK and I gobbled them up so fast!

Cauliflower nachos for the win!


For the cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower cut into thin florets
Sriracha sauce
Olive oil
Taco seasoning

For the nachos
Black beans
Pickled jalapeƱos
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded jack cheese
Iceberg lettuce
Green onion 
Fresh cilantro
Sour cream or greek yogurt

No, there are no measurements.... this is all completely to your taste! 

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut the cauliflower into florets and then slice each one into thin-ish slices. They will fall apart a little bit, which is fine. You want to get the florets thin, but not all falling apart into tiny pieces. The cauliflower will replace tortilla chips, so you want them to hold some toppings! 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Toss the cauliflower with a little olive oil, sriracha, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
Spread the cauliflower in a single layer in the baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes or until the cauliflower is roasted and browned. 

Once the cauliflower is roasted, top with cheese, black beans, and pickled jalapeƱos and put back in the oven to bake until the cheese is melted and the black beans are hot. 

Then, pile on the toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Homemade Vanilla Bean Yogurt

About two years ago, I convinced Richard that if I got a yogurt maker I would definitely, for sure make homemade yogurt every week! I have used it once... and I didn't end up eating any of the yogurt.

Turns out home made yogurt maker is like home exercise equipment, decorative and a place to hang your clothes that you're too lazy to put in the hamper. Well, yesterday I filled the hamper, did my laundry and pulled out the yogurt maker to give it another shot. And boy was I blown away.

Please note: the home exercise bike is still functioning as an expensive clothes hanger. But when I look at it, I do feel skinnier.

Speaking of skinnier, low fat yogurt, especially of the homemade variety is a great, low calorie source of protein that can actually help reduce belly fat... and my version has no added sugar unlike the store bought versions! So here's how you can make it yourself AND make yourself skinnier, without getting on that damn exercise bike.

Homemade Vanilla Bean Yogurt

6 cups of 2% milk (you can use whatever kind of milk you would like.... most recipes call for 1/2 gallon, but then you have leftover cultured milk that you have to throw away. I don't like to waste)
3/4 cup store bought, plain yogurt
1 vanilla bean pod
2 tablespoons powdered milk

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and the split open vanilla bean pod to a boil (180°F degrees.) Take care not to let the milk scald by stirring it every few minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Place the end of an instant-read thermometer in the pan of milk. When the milk has cooled to lukewarm (110°F), in a bowl, combine about 1 cup of the milk and the yogurt and stir until smooth. Then, stirring constantly, slowly pour the mixture back into the pan of warm milk. Remove the vanilla bean pod and stir in the powdered milk, which makes the yogurt thicker.

Pour the milk-yogurt mixture into the containers of a home yogurt maker and process overnight or about 8 hours, according to the manufacturers instructions. Serve warm the next morning, or cover and refrigerate before serving. Store the yogurt, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
Top with honey, berries, nuts, cacao nibs... whatever your heart desires!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gingerbread Chai Protein Shake

Two things about today:

1. I am beyond tired because poor Penelope (mutt #4 out of 6 currently residing in the Keith house) was up all night with a double ear infection and terrible allergies...resulting in yours truly being up all night cuddling with poor Penelo-puppy. That was not an enjoyable vet visit this morning. Ugh.

2. I am sick of summer. I wish it was fall. That's all.

So, that said, all that I needed today was a yummy, cozy, fall sort of drink to give me little pep in my step. Since I am really sick of my normal afternoon coffee shake wake me up, I decided to give this gingerbread chai shake from GOOP a try. It has been on my TO MAKE list since before last fall and before the whole "conscious uncoupling" fiasco made me reconsider ever reading her blog again. Though, I will say that I really wish I had made it sooner because it may be my new absolute favorite thing!!

There's no added sugar, lots of protein, and the perfect amount of caffein for an afternoon pick me up!

Gingerbread Chai Protein Shake

1 cup of brewed rooibos chai tea
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used light coconut milk to avoid the super high fat content. You could also use almond milk, but it will turn out much less creamy)
2 tablespoons almond butter (I used Justin's Maple Almond butter. SO. GOOD.)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You could also let the tea cool and add some ice for a frozen shake!