Apricot and Pistachio Olive Oil Crisp For Two

by Kailey Kramer in

Apricots somehow became the theme of my summer and I'm already dreading the very foreseeable end of their season. For someone who has historically always been team veggie and/or savory rather than team sweet, I've just never really been intensely passionate about fruit.  But at last, I finally found my fruit -- and eventually, perhaps even my jam?  

Without fail, even with the lovely blueberries, plums and even melons moving in on the scene in the past few weeks, I always end up with a quart of apricots in my bag after a visit to the farmers's market. Despite my love for the little guys, I found myself in a something of a rut.  Sure, they're great snacks eaten by their lonesome, chopped into some almond milk and cereal in the morning or shaved into an arugula salad, but none of those things are very creative on my part, nor properly showcase all they have to literally bring to the table.  These crisps were my solution -- my way out of the apricot rut, or rather, pit. 

I had one of my closest friends over for dinner. Liz covered the green market salad while I was on risotto duty, working out of the Rose Bakery cookbook on their signature aubergine and roasted tomato variation.  (To die for and highly recommended.)  In the midst of all the stirring which the diva that is risotto demands, there wasn't much time to make dessert so I whipped up these little crisps for a quick dessert before she came over and popped them in the oven to re-heat while we were eating dinner.    

Ripe apricots have such a delicately sweet and tart flavor that pairs so well with the savory-fruitniess of the olive oil and the vanilla notes from the molasses. Using nuts as the "flour" for the crispy topping also adds another dimension of flavor and makes it gluten-free for kicks.

So easy to make and the perfect amount of sweet to end a meal for two.  

Enjoy your stone fruits while they're still around. KK xx

Apricot and Pistachio Olive Oil Crisp For Two

Serves Two, but the recipe can easily multiplied x4 for an 8x8 baking dish or multiple ramekins.  

For the filling: 

2 C. fresh sliced apricots

1 T. black strap molasses

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. Chinese five spice*  

1 t. cardamom  

1 t. ground cloves

1/4 C. toasted pistachios, roughly chopped, reserve a few for later

For the topping: 

1/2 C. toasted almonds and walnuts

2 T. rolled oats

1 T. buckwheat groats

1 T. good olive oil  

1 t. black strap molasses

pinch of sea salt

a handful of chopped toasted pistachios

 Coconut milk ice cream or a dollop of marscarpone for serving. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Combine the apricots with the molasses, spices and chopped nuts in a bowl. Stir to coat apricots and divide the mixture into individual ramekins.  

For the topping, add the nuts into a food processor and pulse until you have a flour-like consistency (if you like, you could also just use about 1/4 C. almond flour if you have it on hand). Add the oats and pulse until they are also finely ground into the mixture. Move the nut/oat  flour mix to a bowl. Add the chopped pistachios buckwheat groats, olive oil, molasses and salt and mix the crumble with a fork. The mix should resemble something like a pre-baked granola. 

Spoon the crumble over the apricots. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until just brown on top. 

Drizzle with a bit of olive oil on top and serve with a bit of something cold and creamy. 

*Chinese Five Spice is a lovely, warm blend of anise, cinnamon, and a few other spices but if you don't have or can't find it in your local market, cinnamon will work fine here.  

Blackberry and Basil Lavender Breakfast Bowl

by Kailey Kramer in

If 'seasonal' is the name of the game when it comes to the relevancy of any food blog, then I consider me a purist in the most literal way seeing that I have given you one single post this entire season.

Please accept my sincerest apologies on that account. Admittedly, I've been slacking, but only at the mercy of major transitional life changes: a new home, a new city and a new job, in brief. 

But if its any reassurance, I've been cooking more seasonally than ever and often.  As of recent, I've re-located to Brooklyn and am here to to stay until a very unforeseeable date.  I've made what I call something along the lines of 'Green Market Saturday Morning' a ritual part of my week and am very much looking forward to documenting those, or more so just the results of, those on the regular. 

So, if you're heading out to market anytime soon, you might add these to your shopping list before you go: blackberries and basil. 


Then, turn these things of summer into breakfast this week because sometimes it can be nice to enjoy a warm bowl of something in the morning while the temperature still sits below 70 degrees  -- moreover, the fresh flavors keep it feeling light.  Add some lavender to it for it's lovely, aromatic flavor and because...well, if we're  on a pretty, purple kick -- why not? Infusing the lavender into the milk with which you cook the oatmeal is as, well, adding a teaspoon of lavender buds to the milk.   Raspberries and rose petals might also be a combination to try if you're set on sticking to a pre-determined color palate.  If that's the case, I might hold off the basil though. 

In the likely case you might not have lavender on hand, it's one of those great instant "wow' additions you can buy at grocers with good bulk spices.  You can buy as little or as much as you need because, let's be honest, nobody needs to be stuck with a twenty dollar bottle of lavender in the pantry for bi-annual use.  A little goes a long way and it's one of those great things you can throw into a sweet treat like cookies or even summer lemonade to give it that little extra floral something. 

And speaking of floral, zucchini blossoms are also in season! So, add that to your list and stuff it with runny goat cheese.

On that note, I'm off to market!  

KK xx  


 Blackberry and Basil Lavender Scented Breakfast Bowl  

Serves One, easily doubled for two

A handful of fresh blackberries, a few for garnish

1 T. water

1/2 C. rolled oat or your favorite hot cereal, I like Bob's Redmill Creamy Buckwheat for a GF option

1 C. milk

1 T, chia seeds

1 tsp. dried lavender buds (available in spice section of natural grocers)

1 T. honey, extra for drizzle if you like

A few chopped pistachios  

1 T.  basil, chiffonaded

Add the blackberries to the bottom of a small sauce pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of water. Allow the berries to cook down and smoosh them a bit -- as if you were making a jam.  When the berries resemble a cobbler-like filling and have released lots of thier juices, add the milk, oats, lavender buds, honey and chia seeds.  Stir until the oats are cooked though. Feel free to add extra milk if the chia seeds thicken the mixture too much.  

Transfer to a bowl, top with berries, basil and pistachios. Rim the bowl with a bit of extra milk, if you desire. 


Basil Miso Aioli

by Kailey Kramer in

This is certainly not the first time I'm on the record declaring the utmost importance of good dipping sauces and condiments. In my book, essentially anything and everything is rendered a snack with a smear of some good french mustard. 

While at-home mustard is fairly ambitious, aioli is not. Otherwise known as mayonnaise, aioli is one of the simplest and most versatile sauces you can make. Alongside the belief that aioli is difficult to make, it also has a terrible reputation for being unhealthy, which simply isn't true.  Perhaps we have Hellman's gelatinous, bland substance, resembling actual lard, to blame for this?  Probably. In defense of aioli, this smooth sauce isn't bad for you at all in moderation. Being egg-yolk based, aioli isn't exactly a fat-free food, but a few dips or a light spread on your sandwich won't ever compromise your spring break bod or well-being -- unless you're vegan. But that's an entirely different story all together.

Contrary to popular myth, it's actually quite good for you as the egg yolks and oil (such as walnut, olive or grapeseed) are full of lots of good omega-3 fats, largely responsible for helping you process bad fats more efficiently and maintaining heart health.  Moreover, adding fresh herbs, spices or nutrient packed miso to flavor the mix only increase its potential benefits. 

The basic recipe is more than worth learning. Once you've got it down, adjusting the flavors to suit your mood for or appropriate pairings is as easy as pushing pulse on the food processor. I guarantee you'll never need or want to buy another jar of Hellman's or Miracle Whip again after seeing how easy it is to make at home and keep in the fridge for future uses. But more importantly, the flavor the fresh stuff packs can't be beat. Add it into homemade tuna or chicken salad, on sandwiches, burgers, serve with ceviches or with Provençal mussels. And of course, alongside frites

miso_aioli_fries_0001_aioli mason jar .jpg

When I made this one, I bought thai basil that week so I decided to give it some Asian flare with garlic, miso and siracha add-ins. I paired it with some sweet potato fries and used half Garnet yams and half Japanese oriental yams, which are actually even a sweeter than basic sweet potatoes. Click here my fool-proof recipe for Sweet Potato Oven Fries. 

Enjoy experimenting and endeavors in good dipping,

KK xx

Basil Miso Aioli

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of aioli and will keep for 2 -3 weeks in air tight container in the refrigerator.

1 garlic clove

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

2 T. miso paste

Just under 1 C. walnut oil + 2 T. toasted sesame oil

3 T. fresh thai basil leaves

2 T. siracha (add more if desired)

Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the garlic in a food processor (Image 2) . Add the egg yolks and pulse until they are creamy, thick and a pale yellow in color (3). With the food processor running, stream in the oil slowly until the mixture becomes even thicker and creamier (3). If you don't have a food processor that allows for you to stream in the ingredients, just add the oil in 1/4 c. increments. It will work all the same! Add the thai basil and pulse (5). Add the Siracha and pulse (6 + 7). Add another round of the hot stuff, if you dare. (I always dare.) Transfer it all to a mason jar or air tight container and keep it on hand for the upcoming weeks. 

Basic Aioli Recipe

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of aioli

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 t. good white wine vinegar (note, any good infused or flavored vinegar is an easy one-step way to change up the aioli!)

1 C. grapeseed, olive, walnut or almond oil

1 T. water (optional, if it looks like too thick)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Herb Aioli: Add 2 T. good dijon mustard and 3 T. of any combination of flat leaf parsley, sage, tarragon dill and chives. 

Garlic Aioli:  Pulse one 1 clove of garlic before adding the egg yolks. 1 T. Rosemary would also be a nice herb addition to his. 

Sesame Aioli: Add 2 t. of tahini instead of dijon mustard and sub 1/4 of the oil for toasted sesame oil. Use 2 T. rice vinegar. Add 1 T. of fresh basil or parsley if desired. 

Basil Lime Aioli: Add fresh lime juice instead of vinegar. Add 1 T. of basil. a T. of parmesan also works really well in this recipe (especially with Ken Oringer-inspired grilled corn in the summer!)

Saffron Aioli: Soak 1 t. of saffron threads in 2 T. warm water until the color of the water is bright yellow. Add this after the vinegar.  Finish off with fresh parsley. 2. t. of curry power could also be a nice addition to this. 

Horseradish Aioli: Pulse 1/2 T. of fresh horseradish before adding the egg yolk or Add 1/2 T. horseradish with the vinegar. Finish with celery salt. 

Provençal Aioli: Add 2 T. Dijon mustard, or better yet, good whole grain french mustard, 2 cloves of garlic and fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of the vinegar. 

Olive and Anchovy Aioli: Pulse 2 anchovies, 2 garlic cloves and 5 pitted black olives together before adding the egg yolks. Substitute fresh squeezed lemon juice for the vinegar. Finish with lots of fresh flat leaf parsley. 

Belgian Beer Aioli: Great for moules frites! Add 2 T. good dijon and 2 T. good belgian ale, like La Chouffe or Duvel.  

Sorrel Aioli: Add 2 T. good dijon, substitute 2 T. rice vinegar, and 2 T. sorrel leaves. 

Kimchi Aioli:  Pulse 2 T. garlic, 1 t. fresh ginger, 1 t. Szechuan pepper corns soaked in 2 T. warm water. Add 1 T. fish sauce, 1 T. light soy sauce or tamari, substitute rice wine vinegar. Finish with 3T. scallions tops (green parts only.)

You get the picture. Combinations are infinite. Have fun with it!

Perfect Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

by Kailey Kramer in

Both my stomach and my heart have a soft spot and a love for french fries that will never subside. They make me weak in the knees and thus, in need of barstool.  Some people love ice cream, some people love chocolate chip cookies, I adore fries. Greasy, crispy-on-the-outside-pillowy-on-the-inside-fries  -- well, actually, frites from my favorite haunt for fries that happens to be a Belgian pub.  After a week of eating healthy, an order of fries is my routine rebellion and indulgence that is just essential as the greens in my lunch salads. After all, the only way to thwart binging is to avoid deprivation of the things we crave most. For me, that thing is fries -- double points if they're sweet potato.

While one or two days a week, usually between the hours of Friday dinner and Sunday brunch, I am a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the Boston fried potato scene (Publick House and Lineage have the best, trust me), I simply can't go 6 days without a fry.  So, I satiate my desires with a healthy substitute on my off days. 

And so, I give you my techniques and recipe for getting crispy oven fries.  Being quite picky when it comes my fries, I've experimented with the oven method quite a bit.  Honestly, none of the results ever come out with the same consistency as that of a deep frier; however, these are as close as you're going to get for using scant oil and ultimately the price you're not paying in calories. Save those up for the real thing and a Chimay tripel on the side.  

The tricks to these are in distributing the oil, heating the baking sheet before you put the taters on it, and a really hot oven. Pre-heating the baking sheet mimics something of a sear, similar to the one you would get from adding something to a hot skillet.  Cutting the fries precisely all the same thickness also makes for even cooking and crisping. 

I used both Garnet yams and Japanese Oriental yams, here.  Garnet are your basic sweet potatoes and have vibrant orange flesh that can't be mistaken for anything but beta-carotene fighting free-radical crime (aging, cancer, general ugliness). The Oriental variety are lighter in color and have a purple skin (which I leave on for the extra nutrients and crisp) . They also have a sweeter flavor than the basic sweet potato that I even tend to prefer, but mixing them up together keeps things interesting.

Ketchup is obviously the go-to dipping sauce for fries, but I challenge you to get more creative. You're better than that.  Tzatziki yogurt or tahini sauce, a scallion pesto, a few drops of truffle oil in the ketchup, or a good aioli (like the Basil Miso one pictured) a good grainy mustard or simply dusted with some aged manchego or salty pecorino would make great accoutrements -- although, sometimes good old Heinz just hits the spot. 

Fry on and tell me what you think, 

KK xx


Perfect Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Serves Two.

Recipe can be doubled for as many fries as you need or however many baking sheets you plan to fill but you might have to extend the cook time a bit. 

2 large sweet potatoes (I like garnet and oriental yams)

2 T. Walnut Oil (Olive oil or any neutral oil will do) 

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chopped basil or fresh herbs, chiffonaded

Preheat the oven to 450F. Place a large baking sheet lined with parchment in the oven while the oven pre-heats. Don't skip this step! Slice the potatoes into planks and then into sticks -- generally about a 1/4 inch thick each. Try to keep the thickness consistent so they all cook evenly.  Toss the fries in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and arrange one even layer of the fries, making sure they all have a spot on the pan's surface.  Cook the fries for 8 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle all the fries on the baking sheet with the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Toss lightly with a spatula to make sure all the fries get a second coating. Flip the fries and return the pan to the oven for another 8 minutes or until brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and transfer the parchment to a cutting board, wire rack or cool surface. Allow the fries to cool off the cool for a 2 minutes  -- this will also allow them to crisp up a bit more as they cool down.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs, serve with desired dipping sauces ( eg. like homemade aioli) and enjoy. 

Grapefruit Brûlée

by Kailey Kramer in

They say your tastebuds change every seven years or so and I'm more than inclined to believe whoever 'they' are, are correct. Amidst a few other of my now favorite foods (olives, fennel, pickles) I used to despise grapefruit. But can you really blame me? It's a pretty counter-intutive food, if you think about it -- so let's: bitter, sour, alarmingly yellow skin. Decidedly, grapefruits rank high on the list of most difficult foods to eat. Scraping our their juicy insides is no easy task and literally, an incredibly sticky one. Not to mention, in what other circumstances would we ever stick a jagged edged spoon anywhere near our tongue?  Natural selection clearly favors these fruits but somehow, their efforts in protecting themselves from the voraciously hungry human go unrewarded and we dine on, armed with nothing short of intimidating cutlery in hand. 

Well, snack on, really. Here's a quick one I made the other day. The yogurt and honey take the edge off the grapefruit's acidity and the whole thing can be thrown together about all of 5 minutes. So, if you've a got a grapefruit lying around in your fruit bowl, now you've something to do with it on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  

Now go show that fruit who's boss. 

KK xx

Grapefruit Brûlèe

 Serves two

1 grapefruit, halved

1 C. plain greek yogurt or yogurt of your choice

4 T. good honey 

2 T. toasted buckwheat and granola (I love any á la Purely Elizabeth -- here, I used the Original blend but the Pumpkin + Fig is a personal favorite) 

If you don't have a mini-blowtorch handy, preheat the broiler. Slice the grapefruits in half and drizzle with honey, top with yogurt and drizzle with more honey. Sprinkle granola. Place grapefruits beneath the broiler until the honey begins to bubble and brown -- don't take your eyes off it though, broilers work quickly. 

If using a blow torch, brûlée the grapefruits until the honey is caramelized and brown to your heart's desire. Top with more granola or buckwheat. 

Serve and enjoy.

Aduki Bean Espresso Brownies

by Kailey Kramer in

So, if you bake someone brownies with the dark chocolate bar that same someone gave you for Christmas, is that technically re-gifting?  Because if so, I'm definitely guilty on this one. Although, "re-gifting" sounds so cheap. I much prefer "sharing the wealth."

But not counting the über dark German chocolate bar I received in my stocking which remains properly unpronounceable to me, these brownies have a more important incognito ingredient that slyly baked its way in. And thus I ask you another question: Is it considered completely underhanded if you make dessert for your family and don't let them in on the fact that there's actually legumes in them?  

I would say you'll never guess the secret ingredient but it's in the title of this post and pictured in the slideshow, so I'll suppose I'll insult your intelligence some other day. And by the way, speaking of slideshows -- what says you about the new layouts and formatting? Comment! I've enabled you, given you agency on this site, given you a voice! Talk to me, talk to me, talk to me, baby. See the addition of the new comment area down below? Get a Disqus name if ya don't already got one, people. Gmail and the like works too -- and if you don't have one of those by now, that should definitely concern you more than Disqus. And let me be the first to welcome you to 2-0-1-3. Big things with the site's new face lift. Ironically, she looks older and more mature, but ain't she pretty? 

I digress, but yes, you guessed it. Its beans. Really cool beansAduki, to be exact. While it seems an entirely absurd, even approaching disgusting, proposition to most westerners to incorporate something so savory as a bean into dessert, it's neither a novel idea or as preposterous as it sounds.  Asian cuisine tapped into it centuries ago and had been sweet on their beans ever since with sweets like Dorayaki. Red bean pancakes, anyone? Anyone? Yes, please and may I have another. Well, those red beans are, in fact, simply sweetened aduki beans. So, stick that in your pancake and eat it.

Really, it all makes sense. When combined with sweeteners and say, a bar of decadently dark chocolate and a cup of sugar, who's to even know there's a bean in the batter? The flavor is essentially a blank canvas and the moisture levels and proteins bind while keeping things moist. Plus, the introduction of yet another cool bean, namely espresso, renders the aduki beans a footnote in the batter while your still reap the health benefits of their detoxifying, fibrous, B-vitamin-clad existence. 

And so when life gives you aduki beans, (that is, when Whole Foods puts them on sale and you buy instead of black beans) make some brownies. Make some really fudgy brownies and add extra chocolate chunks to compensate for all the non-vegan ingredients you're leaving in the fridge. Dark chocolate also happens to be good for your heart, brain, is full of antioxidants and originally comes from a bean. I might be exploiting the theme a bit too much on that one -- But cool beans, right? 

Toot, toot, yum, yum,

KK xx 


Aduki Bean Brownies

These are also literally the easiest brownies you'll ever make. Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and line a baking dish. The hardest part is waiting for them to cook. Black beans could surely be subbed for aduki.  Also, if you're looking to make them totally vegan, egg replacers could stand in and so could chia eggs ( 1 T. chia seed + 3 T. water or 1 T. ground flax + 3 T. water); however, I haven't tested it so I'm not sure how it would affect the texture.  But by all means, give it a go! 

2 C. cooked Azuki beans (about 1 can), drained + rinsed

3 eggs, beaten

3 T. walnut oil ( canola or your mild flavored oil of choice)

3/4 C. sugar

1/2 C. unseetened cocoa powder

1 t. vanilla extract

2 t. finely ground espresso powder / coffee beans

pinch of salt

3/4 C. good dark chocolate, coursely chopped into 1cm squares

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment or oil. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Meanwhile, drain the azuki beans and rinse through a strainer. Make sure they all excess liquid has run off and place into a food processor. Pulse the beans into a smooth puree. Add the remaining ingredients except the chocolate. Pulse until completely combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for ten minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy. 

Lavender and Chamomile Almond Muffins

by Kailey Kramer in

The smells of coffee in the morning are often brutally laden with bitter animosity towards the long day ahead and the warm bed, freshly abandoned. A rude awakening, at best. But really, the punchy aromas escaping your brewing device of choice, pushing you around in the morning aren't to blame -- mornings, by nature, simply aren't fun. 

So, Amidst all the unmanageable New Years resolutions laid out, why not make a simple one, inevitably yielding a better year, albeit one day at a time. Namely, by starting your mornings right. Maybe that means waking up ten or thirty minutes earlier than your 2012 alarm or by simply better managing the hour prior to heading out the door. In any scenario, a solid routine allowing just enough time for enjoying the morning, rather than feverishly watching the minutes dissipate, undisputedly facilitates a more productive day. 
And as I've said before, a huge part of this routine is eating breakfast.

I always make these muffins for brunches, particularly for Christmas morning. Actually, this previous Christmas morning, they reminded me just how enjoyable they are and how easy they are to whip up. So, if you're looking for a kinder means of motivation for throwing off the covers, take a stab at making these. 

Chamomile, generally reserved for lullng one to under the covers, alternatively, here, offers nothing short of a leisurely wake up call. There's also something, perhaps a certain sense of accomplishment interlaced in using the oven before 6PM, moreover noon. If you pre-make the batter and store in the fridge, there's just enough time wash, brush, or make-up while they're cooking. Plus, the smell from baking will fill your kitchen with warmer scents than what I imagine the 'Secret Garden,' itself, boasts. 

And if the aromas of coffee feel like a slap in the face from the gods of AM, consider the lavender in combination with the chamomile, the sweetness of the honey and the nuttyness of the almond something resembling a warm and loving embrace. Made from almond flour, these muffins also happen to be gluten-free -- giving your stomach a comparatively relaxing digestive wake-up. I adapted the recipe for Chamomile and Honey Almond Meal Muffinsfrom one of my favorites, Caitlin of RoostBlog, who cooks entirely gluten-free, to include lavender because well, I dig botanicals. And as the almond flour already packs a good amount of healthy omega-3 fats, there's no need to add much extra oil (although the added almond oil really reinforces the flavor) to ensure moisture. The honey is also a great low-glycemic and healthy alternative to white sugar. Hence, all of the purposeful ingredients keep the finished product super lower in saturated fats and calories but big on flavor. Not your average take-away Starbucks muffin.

And when they're done, after you generously drizzle one with lusciously warm honey, sit down and take a few minutes for yourself. Mentally prep for the hours ahead. Grab your laptop, iPad or old fashioned paper and read-up on a few things that matter to you. And let's be honest, while that first cup of coffee is still brewed with that morning time spite, it's not going anywhere. If you're anything like me, caffeine, after all, is essentially fueling all of my daily routines at all hours of the day. But, one of these muffins alongside is surely guaranteed to soften the blow of that punchy morning joe.

So, resolve to slow down a bit while simultaneously always moving forward. 

Happy 2013 to you and yours, 

KK xx

Lavender and Chamomile Almond Muffins
Adapted from one of my favorites, RoostBlog

2 C finely ground almond flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T finely chopped dried chamomile flowers + 1 T lavender buds, and extra for garnish (processed through a spice/coffee grinder or finely chopped with knife) 
2 eggs
1/4 C almond oil (ghee or your mild flavored oil of choice also work) 
1/4 C good honey, plus extra for serving
Greek yogurt for serving, I like Siggi's vanilla bean for these (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet and dry until well incorporated. Pour into lined muffin tins and garnish with whole buds and flowers Bake for 25-30 or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter or greek yogurt and drizzled honey.

Pumpkin and Honey Soup

by Kailey Kramer in

So it's the day after a very widely anticipated holiday. You're essentially pregnant with a small holiday roast beast and growing a small tree of peppermint bark in your belly. Not to mention all those cocktails... 

"Hypothetically" speaking, you made Audrey Griswald in European Vacation look like a chump. Hypothetically.

But, no regrets. By definition, a holiday is an opportunity to shatter the normal routine -- a day set aside to let the mind rest, be with the people you care about and collectively indulge in good company over equally as good food. 

 The downtime before New Years presents an ideal opportunity to give your stomach a quick break; however, it can be done without dropping the holiday cheer that is inevitably tied to the happiness of digging into peaks of homemade mashed potatoes or finishing that third glass of egg nog -- only after dunking an army of ginger men in said nog. There's no need to subsist on celery sticks and raw crudite today when you could be cooking up something so much more satisfying, and equally, if not more so, healthy and nutrient dense.

So, whether you're reading this during an intermission before New Year's or after the New Year's celebratory debauchery has come and gone, consider this a very viable solution for 'the morning after' mistress of indulgent dining and extravagant celebrations with flowing libations. Lazy late December days never looked better with a bowl of this stuff. It's sweet and spicy notes provide those classic holiday flavors you're still craving while the squash keeps things hearty and quite filling. Although, I guarantee you'll be going back for a guilt-free second bowlful.


And yes, the recipe can be doubled. I also highly recommend you do. Saving some in the fridge or freezer will most certainly make New Year's resolutions that much easier to uphold. 

If you're in the Midwest trapped inside amidst a blizzard at the moment as I am -- this is the perfect soup if you've any kind of squash or canned pumpkin on hand. Cozy up next to the fire with a bowl tonight or tomorrow. 

Stay warm, 
KK xx

Pumpkin and Honey Soup
Serves between 4-6
I love this with a few green on top and even with a scoop of brown rice or quinoa for some extra fiber.

1/2 medium size kabocha squash or sugar pumpkin, roasted 
1 T. olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 T. good honey, extra for drizzling
A Splash of dry white wine
4 C. vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 T. cumin
2 t. nutmeg
1 t. ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C. almond milk
1/4 C. plain greek yogurt (I like Siggi's), optional
Greens for toppping (arugula, spinach, mache), optional
Other topping like pepitas, pomegranate seeds, sliced almonds, plain greek yogurt, etc. 

Pre-heat a 400F oven and roast the squash in large pieces in skins for about 20 - 30 minutes, or just until tender. This can be done ahead and kept in the fridge for a few days. Before preparing the soup, remove the skins and scoop out the flesh into a bowl and cut roughly into large chunks . Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in medium size pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and add onion. Add a pinch of salt to sweat the onion and cook until translucent. At this point, add the honey and allow the onions to caramelize. The pan should also be on high heat. Deglaze the pot with the splash of white wine (one quick circle around the pan) half of the stock and scape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining stock. Add the almond milk, pumpkin and spices. Stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a blender -- work in batches if need be. Blend until smooth, adding additional stock or almond milk if you feel the consistency is too thick. 

Transfer back to pot and heat through on the stove and whisk briefly. Add a 1/4 C. of plain greek yogurt if you're looking for even more more creaminess. Top with desired garnishes and serve. 

A final note: If you find the the soup is too thick after blending, feel free to make adjustments and add more water, stock or milk, as you find fit. On a similar subject, give or take on the spices to your taste. I often find i add extra cumin and nutmeg, but do as your please and eat what you like -- that's what cooking is about anyway!

Cardamom Champagne Cookies

by Kailey Kramer in


If you wanna call anything culturally ambiguous, it's these cookies as it seems every culture and cuisine has a claim to some variation on it. From Meixcan Wedding Cookies to German Butterballs to Champagne Cookies to, everyone's grandmother has a recipe for these tucked away somewhere. Although, everyone knows Pete Scwhweddy makes the best. Trust me, I'm interrupting my aesthetic for this one.

But why mess with a good thing? Not that it's particularly hard to mess up any variation on autonomously delicious pecans, butter and sugar -- aside from minding the salt? But considering all the sweetness, even that might not be so bad....

These ones are a take on Pete Schweddy's on a recipe I found in the latest Bon Appétit. The cardamom is just enough to make them a little bit more interesting than your nut + butter combo and a nice alternative to the holiday's ubiquitous ginger spiked....well, everything. Don't get me wrong though, I wholly subscribe to all things ginger. 

As for future musings, I feel like there's a lot of potential in using coconut oil rather than butter as it might bring a new flavor the mix while keeping the cookies moist and complimenting the cardamom. Or perhaps maybe using cashews for the pecans? Coconut Cashew Cardamon Champagne Cookies? While there's entirely too many C's and in a literal sort of way I hate the sound of it, I do like the sound of the way it might taste...

The recipe yields quite a few so wrap up the little snowballs and give them to friends in little cellophane bags -- but make sure to save some for yourself to enjoy with a nice chai. 

KK xx 

Cardamom Champagne Cookies
Makes about four dozen cookies
Inspiration nod à la Bon Appétit

2 C. whole wheat, spelt or all-purpose flour
3/4 t. ground cardamom
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar, divided
1 C. pecans
1 C. (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter (or non-diary substitute like 'Melt or Earth Balance)
1 T. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. 

Combine 1/2 C. of the powdered sugar and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse meal forms -- this shouldn't be chunky at all, but gritty, if anything. Using a mixer of your choosing, beat the butter and vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy, roughly 2 - minutes. Add the nut mixture and beat to incorporate. Add the dry ingredient and again, mix until combined. The dough will still be a bit crumbly, but once you start rolling it into balls, the butter will pull it all together. 

Measure 1 tablespoon portions of dough and roll into balls using your hands. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing about 1/2 inch apart on prepared sheets.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through baking, until bottoms are golden after about 12–15 minutes. Sift remaining 1 cup powdered sugar into a shallow wide bowl. Douse the cookies in the sugar, roll until coated and shake off any excess.

Saffron Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles

by Kailey Kramer in

Saffron snickerdoodle_square_diptic_noborder.jpg

Turning once again to the great Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks for inspiration, I give you the most interesting combination of flavors you've yet to taste in a cookie this season. My roommate and I have been drooling over these since September and saving the precious saffron in our spice cabinet soley with these in mind. Aside from the fact that 'tis the season for cookies, I was amidst morning the death of Ravi Shankar and the time just seemed right. By chance, my other round of Christmas cookies happened to be Cardamom Champagne cookies. Evidently I was more sad about the loss of the great sitarist than I thought... RIP Ravi.

Double this recipe while you're making it because you will definitely want to freeze some extra dough and bake these on demand for yourself after gobbling the first batch. They're that good -- and really at their best when eaten nearly straight out of the oven. Not to mention, your kitchen will smell like a saffron vanilla bean dream. 

Saffron may be a bit of a splurge but no regret. Trust me, 

KK xx 

Saffron Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks via The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes by James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan. 

Yields roughly a dozen medium sized cookies

1/8 t. ground saffron 
1/2 vanilla bean
2 T. milk
2 C. all-purpose flour ( I used whole wheat for these)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 cup room temperature, or your non-dairy butter spread of choice (I like 'Melt')
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 t. kosher salt
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla extract

If not using pre-ground saffron powder, crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle until powdery or grind them in a clean spice grinder; alternatively, you can finely mince the saffron. The finer the powder, the more intense the saffron color and flavor in the cookies.

Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the pulp into a small saucepan. Add the vanilla pod, milk, and saffron and cook over very low heat, just bubbles start to appear around the edges. The milk should be a sunny yellow color.

Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl.

With a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, squeezing off any liquid or pulp clinging to it back into the milk. In a medium bowl, combine the milk mixture, egg, and vanilla extract and whisk vigorously until well blended. With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg mixture very slowly, in a steady stream, and mix until well-incorporated and very smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed for 30 more seconds.Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just until uniform in texture. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dough out into an airtight container or onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover the container, or, if using plastic wrap, shape the dough into a log, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Alternatively, save for later and bake on demand :)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Roll 2-inch portions of the dough into balls, and place them on the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake for about 13 minutes, until golden but not too dark, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. Ideally, the baked cookies will be tall and slightly undercooked in the center, and will buckle shortly after coming out of the oven. If the cookies don't buckle, don't worry; they'll still be delicious. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing. 

These cookies are best when eaten warm, shortly after they come out of the oven. However, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days. 

Alternatively, the dough can stored in the freezer for 5 to 10 days so consider baking only as many cookies as needed and saving the rest of the dough to bake another day.

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

by Kailey Kramer in

Admittedly, I'm not a great baker. I like to do it on occasion, most likely prompted by some sort of craving, but the restraints inherent in the notion of an exact measurement don't entirely suit my mix and match approach to life. Despite this, I've decided utilize my oven this holiday season for something other than roasting root vegetables; however, I turned to some of my favorite cookbooks and friends for the for the recipes.

This first one is from my friend Sam, who I believe got it from her sister. They're vegan-friendly cookies, but don't let that color your opinion of them. These are incredibly flavorful and have exactly the chewy texture you expect a molasses cookie to have. 

Great with a steaming cup of coffee on a snowy day. 

Happy baking, 

KK xx 

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Makes roughly three dozen medium cookies. 
Note, the dough will be fairly runny. Make sure you have time to let it freeze and set so it can be rolled into balls.

2 1/4 C. whole wheat or spelt flour 
2 t. baking soda 
1 t. cinnamon 
1 t. ginger 
1/2 t. clove 
1/4 t. salt 
1 C. packed dark mucavado brown sugar 
12 t. vegetable oil 
4 T. molasses 
1 t. vanilla extract 
1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C. raw sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 325. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a second bowl, mix brown sugar, vegetable oil, molasses, vanilla and apple sauce. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture and stir until mixed. 

Transfer the dough to a sheet of non-stick paper and roll iinto a log shape and secure with tape or twice. Or pur dough into and airtight container. Freeze for at least an hour. 

Unwrap the dough and break off tablespoon amount. Roll into balls, roll in the raw sugar and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes and transfer to a wire wrack to cool for 10 minutes. The cookies will be quite soft when you take them out, but after cooling they'll be chewy and ready to eat.

Brown Sugar and Rosemary Walnuts

by Kailey Kramer in

While I did just give you a comprehensive and materialistic guide to making people smile just under a week ago, the best gifts remain homemade. 

Bonus points if they 're edible. Sorry, kiddos, pasta necklaces don't count. 

Transparency first: This is a recipe I stole last year from 101 Cookbooks, but made with pecans. Long story short, I ate most of them in little more than constitutes a conventional "sitting." Thus, a tradition was officially instituted as I made them again yesterday, turning my kitchen into rosemary scented winter wonderland at 9 AM. Turns out, early morning baking is a pretty fantastic thing a. you can do it over coffee and b. you're probably not in a cookie dough eating state of mind and can completely dodge, "I ate way too much raw material to enjoy the real thing" dilemma. ...but maybe that's just me? 

Only thing I tweaked with Ms. Heidi's recipe was using Muscovado brown sugar instead of regular brown --.super moist and super flavorful brown sugar molasses sugar. Essentially, brown sugar's cousin on steroids. 

But, this year, instead of hoarding all the nuts for myself much like some sort of squirrel, I made them to gift. 

Roast 'em, wrap em' up and let FedEx does the rest. Easy, tasty, and affordable gift gifting. 

Not your everyday street nuts. 
Enjoy and share with good company. 

KK xx

Brown Sugar and Rosemary Walnuts
Adapted from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks 

Recipe can be easily doubled, if needed.

1 C. Muscovado dark brown sugar 
2 t. fine grain sea salt
1 T. chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 C. sesame seeds
2 large egg whites
4 C. walnuts
1/3 C. chopped dried figs

Preheat an oven to 300F. Then, combine the sugar, sea salt, rosemary and sesame seeds in a bowl and mix well. In a separate large bowl, loosen the egg whites a bit and them add chopped figs and walnuts. Using your hands, toss the figs and walnuts in the egg whites making sure they are completely coated so the sugar sticks. Then, using you hands again toss with the sugar mixture -- add in 1/2 C increments in needs. 

Spread the mixture evenly (no layering! very important) over a few parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes Transfer to a cooling rack. The sugar might still be a tiny but sticky when you take them out but will solidify as they cool.

Fig and Arugula Almond Tarte

by Kailey Kramer in

As a result of being insanely busy with work, Thanksgiving travels and bad lighting in my kitchen due to the sun's lazy 3:30 PM retirement, I've been seriously slacking in the recipe department -- the grounds upon which this very blog predicates itself. 

That being said, I've been turning the content of my external hard drive inside searching for some kind of leftover, unused and didn't meet with much success. Then, alas, last night in a final round of searching random folders, I came across a series of cooking experiments I photographed last Christmas and forgot about all together. I also poorly labeled the folder in a way that was entirely not indicative of its contents. Particularly upsetting, as I generally pride myself on my digital organization skills. 

Luckily for the well being and holiday cheer of this blog, I have a few seasonal somethings for you to nibble on while I am in the midst of the my finals. Thus, sparing you the pictures of my re-heated soups while I mindlessly watch a cursor blink on my screen in attempts to contrast the styles of Gissing and Dickens. #highereducation Jealous? ......

Onto the good stuff. I made this tart last year for my mother before she headed off to a holiday party at which she was expected to bring a side dish. Tarts and quiches always make for crowd pleasers and pretty presentation for a bit of wow factor; however, it's actually a lot easier done than one might think. I put this one together a mere hour or so and handed it to my mother immediately before she left. I actually never even got a piece for myself, now that I think of it.... I did receive compliments in the following days so I trust it was tasty enough to relay to you. 

The rosemary and nutty crust of this one makes for a warm and hearty bite while the contents are light and slightly sweet from the figs and balsamic...and a tad spicy from the arugula. The crust is actually adapted from Roost Blog, who happens to cook entirely gluten -free. While I'm not gluten-free, I'm certainly not opposed and the almond flavor the crust is made with gives it great flavor in this case. It's also packed with all the good fats of almonds and thus, you won't need to use any butter -- only a bit of good flavored oil. 

Unfortunately I also didn't get a picture of the fresh arugula and fig garnsih on top because my mother was in such a rush to leave with the thing, but you can only imagine how pretty right?

Again, apologies I didn't make this yesterday, but rather something like a year ago, almost to date. I think it's still rather relevant, don't you? 

Here's to hoping so. Enjoy and happy baking! More holiday recipes to come soon! 

KK xx 

For the Crust:

(As adapted from Roost Blog)

1 1/2 C. almond flour (Bob's Red Mill can be found at Whole Foods)
1T. minced fresh rosemary
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 C. almond oil (or your preferred mild flavored oil)
1 T. water

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Combine all the dry ingredient in a bowl. Mix in the remaining two wet ingredients. Grease a 9 inch tarte pan or 5 minis ones with butter, oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let allow to cool in the fridge for another 20 minutes while you make the filling. This will make it easier to pop them out of the pan later. 

For the Filling: 

1 medium shallot
3 cups of arugula + 1 C. for garnish
3 eggs, beaten 
1/4 c. almond milk 
1/4 t. salt 
1 t. pepper 
2 -3 T. fig spread
1/2 C. chopped fresh or dried turkish figs
3 T. Aged balsamic vinegar or reduction

Preheat the oven to 375F. 

Saute the shallot in a pan with a bit of olive oil until caramelized. Combine with arugula in a mixing bowl and toss together. Add beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper and lightly stir the mixture. Set aside. 

Remove tart shells from the fridge and carfully pop them out of their pans. Place it onto a baking sheet with parchment. Line the inside of the tarte shell with the fig spread. Pour in the egg and arugula mixture. 

Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until the egg sets in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle the top with balsamic, top with a few handfuls of arugula and drizzle a bit more balsamic. Sprinkle dried figs as final garnish and serve.

Kabocha Sage Soba

by Kailey Kramer

So long, summer squash. You won't be missed terribly. Pumpkins and their winter squash brethren now populate their respective patches and I couldn't be happier to welcome them into my kitchen. 'Tis indeed a new season. I foresee a shift in the homepage color scheme to a shades of orange not entirely unlike the color of freaky beta-carotene ridden palms. And I, myself, might just turn into a pumpkin.

But, literally. I kid you not. I've been consuming, on average, about two pumpkins a week since the autumn winds started blowing. That's also not taking into account the canned stuff. So in attempts to be creative and resist coming home from a day's doings and eating the stuff roasted or by the spoonful in all its squash glory, this soba bowl was born.

Pastas and noodles generally usually isn't my thing as the vegetable to noodle ratio generally isn't very satisfying -- but there's something about soba. And that something is buckwheat. Whether in be in groat, flour, or noodle form, its nutty and toasted flavor hit the spot on a chilly fall day. It's also a friend to those who gluten has turned its back on as it's actually a fruit seed and not really a grain at all. 

Sage, being winter squash's best herbal friend, was a no-brainer addition to this one and mixes well with the classic shoyu sauce generally for japanese soba bowls. And seeing that kabocha squash is actually in reality a japanese pumpkin, this all just makes perfect, delicious sense. Soba salads make great work lunches too and can be eaten hot or cold -- although, I recommend keeping this one warm. 

Slurps up,

KK xx

Kabocha Sage Soba Bowl

Serves Two
Aside from spaghetti squash, any kind of winter squash of you liking can be easily subbed for kabocha.

1/4 C. sage, chiffonade or ribboned 
2 cups roasted kabocha squash, cubed
6 oz. soba noodles, roughly a generous handful

2 T sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green onion
2 C kale, rustically torn
2 cups roasted kabocha squash, cubed
1/4 C. shoyu or ponzu sauce
1 T. rice vinegar 

1/4 C. sage, chiffonade or ribboned 
2 cups roasted kabocha squash, cubed
6 oz. soba noodles, roughly a generous handful

Salt and black pepper to taste
Toasted sesame seeds or nori (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. 

In the meantime, bring a wok, or large skillet, to medium heat and sauté garlic and onions in the sesame oil. Add kale and continue to sauté until kale is soft and still vibrant green. Reduce the heat and add the cubed squash, shoyu and rice vinegar. Continue to sauté on low heat for about a minute. 

Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and allow to cook through for about 5-7 minutes. In the final minute, add half the sage to the noodles. Drain the noodles and sage and add to the wok with the remaining sage. Toss to combine and coat the noodles. 

Garnish with sesame seeds, nori or additional sage and serve.

On Kabocha Squash

by Kailey Kramer in

Recently my newly acquired roommate just started a newly acquired job on what else but a lovely farm that goes by the name of Allandale. What can I say? I know how to choose 'em. I seem to be in his good graces I am already reaping the benefits of his employment at what seems to be the mecca of Massachusetts small farming. And thus, living and eating in a state of bliss for the past week. Full post on Allandale to come. It's more than worthy. 

Just to preface, I documented this whole trip on Instagram and will be taking you on a visual trip through my memory via tumblr while recounting. This weekend, we venturedto the farm to bring him lunch after stopping at Cutty's where we picked up the most amazing sandwiches in Boston. Literally, they've been voted the "best" by legitimate authorities. I got the swiss chard with crispy shallots and saffron yogurt and it blew my mind with every bite. I'm left with just enough mental capacity to write this post which is ultimately, all that matters. Anyway, Cutty's is for an entirely different post all together let's visit these pals pictured in the above. 

Heirloom pumpkin and kaboucha squash are the new peas and carrots, am I right? Hangin' out on my window sil like old pals, lovers, what have you. I almost couldn't bring myself to separate them. Almost

The first of my take aways happens to be my favorite kind of squash. That is, kabocha squash or a japanese pumpkin. In actuality, it's the distant cousin of a butternut squash and in my opinion, a much better subsitute. Kabocha packs more flavor, comparable to that of pumpkin, and a silkier texture due to having half the carbohydrate value and hence, also saving yourself 20 less calories per cup. But let's be real, when the higher calorie count of the two veggies is 60 per cup as opposed to 40, who's counting. All that essentialy means to me is that I could eat the entire pumpkin if I wanted and probably will. The skin is also edible which means A. less pealing! and B. nutrient denCITY. 


And as for this orange guy, I'm not entirely sure what his actual name is so I've just been calling him "heirloom pumpkin. " At Allandale, the only indication of his proper identity was a sign on the table labeled "Our Own Winter Squash." So maybe I'll call him Allen? Although, I'm not entirely sure why I'm referring to him in present tense (and with gender?) he's already chopped and roasted him for the week. And on that note, tasting notes. Essentially heirloom Allen is the love child of a yam and a fancy squash, like delicata. Not quite as dense as sugar pumpkins, but just as tasty, if not more, with it's yam-like hearty flavor. And as far as I'm concerned, when orange vegetables get together, magic happens. 

In fact due to their orange flesh, winter squash dish heaping portions of beta-carotene into your system for free-radical production and keeping the cancers, aging and all that bad stuff at bay. They're also great sources of Vitamin A and C for good immunity and more visible concerns like healthy hair, nails and eyes. 

 So what to do with all these friendly squash other than make pie (borrrring, albeit tasty)?

On-the-Spot Potential Musings: 

Kabocha and sage soba noodle bowl (click through for recipe)
Pumpkin and date Porridge
Pumpkin Soup with Pistachio pesto drizzle 
Kabocha soup with red lentils 
Kale and kabocha miso soup
Ginger and chocolate chip squash squares
Apple pumpkin butter for toast for delicious sandwiches
Roasted pumpkin and walnuts over bibb lettuce with a chili maple vinaigrette
Squash strata with goat cheese and sage
Pumpkin bread pudding with leftover pumpkin loaf
Treat it like a meat: Cut into large, thick slices, grill and add to sandwiches with good dijon mustard and sautéed mushroom and leafy greens or fresh arugula
Moroccan Roasted squash over date and currant cous cous 
Pumpkin Chili 
Raw chocolate pudding (pumpkin puree based) 
Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt with Mexican chocolate chips
Gingered pumpkin dim sum
Dosas with pumpkin curry filling and chutney 
Flatbread pizza with pumpkin pesto, figs and arugula
Spiced pumpkin hummus or falafel 
Vegan pumpkin milkshake 

....And that's all I've got for now. Plus there's endless options and I'd be here all day if I kept going. It's the most wonderful time of the year, really. 

I'm off to go watch the leaves change before my very eyes. Toodles, 

KK xx

Triple Green Wheatberry Almond Salad

by Kailey Kramer in

Triple might actually be an inaccurate count of how much "green" is in this salad. Facing the indecsion that plagues every facet of my life, I got a little carried away with the vegetables of my fridge and couldn't bear to exclude any. I blame Veggie Tales. So, if it was green and tasted good, it probably went into this dish. Although, a craving for wheatberries on a Sunday afternoon originally prompted the making of this one.

Wheat berries, very similar to farro, are a fantastic alternative to rice. The texture lends hearty and chewy bite to dishes and the flavor, a nice nutty and toasted taste similar to that of barley. As whole-grain option, they not only bring more taste to the party via the punch-turned-salad-bowl, but also 6g of protein, 4g of fiber, and tons of cancer and heart disease fighting phytochemicals.

Make them ahead, freeze these little guys in a mason jar and summon then for all your salad, soup, or pilaf needs. Or just reheat and eat under a poached egg for a lazy dinner. 

So after my field trip down the street to Whole Foods to obtain a small satchel of my berries for less than a whopping dollar at the bulk bar, I went home and essentially emptied the contents of my crisper drawer atop my counter and started slicing and dicing. 

On this mid-summer's eve, I invited my friend, neighbor and talented artist, Liz Moy, to come over for dinner. One-bowl grain salads simplify entertaining for a number of reasons. They're cheap and easy to make in large amounts so whether you're having one other person or five for dinner, everyone will get a hearty, fiber packed filling serving (or two) and leave satisfied. And if you're lucky, there might just be leftovers for lunch the next day.

This particular grain salad is especially simplified as it can be made in all of one skillet so there's no demand to make all the components and a dressing separately. Simply squeeze of a bit lemon over everything, toss with some mint and let the combined and heat of the just-barely-cooked vegetables dress each other. Throw some toasted almonds in for extra nutty flavor and crunch amidst the wheat berries and head to the roof, if you've got one.

Serve with just-barely hard-boiled egg and over some more fresh arugula --which might be my "quint" green in this dish but who's keeping track? 

After all, there's no such thing as too much of a green thing.......well, debateable. But let's not spoil out appetites. 

Ciao Ciao, 

KK xx

Triple Green Wheatberry Almond Salad

1 C. wheat berries
2 1/2 C. water or low sodium vegetable stock
2 shallots, finely diced
4 C. fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
1 zuccnini, thinly sliced
3C. fresh arugula 
1/2 C. chopped toasted almonds, reserve a few for garnsih
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 C. fresh mint, chiffonade
1 lemon, juice and zest

Combine the wheat berries with the water or vegetable stock in a pan. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and berries are chewy and al dente. Set aside and allow to cool. 

In a separate skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet to medium high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent and nearly caramelized. Add the peas, zucchini, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Sauté on low heat until ingredients are just heated through. All the vegetables should still vibrant green in color. Remove the pan from heat and add the wheat berries. Stir. Finish by tossing entire salad with arugula, almonds and the rest of the juice of a lemon. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sliced cucumbers, lemon zest, more mint and almonds. Serve over more arugula, if desired, and with a hard-boiled egg.

Battle Tea Paleta

by Kailey Kramer in

Brown vs ....slightly less brown.

Secret ingredient brought to you commercial free by the The Republic of Tea.

During my previously alluded to popsicle-making fever a few weeks ago, I originally planned to make green tea matcha pops; however, plans changed after crossing paths, but really aisles, with the chocolate mate tea at my haunt, the lovely, West Point Market. Doubling up on the antioxidants made the choice to go for the choco-mate a no brainer. 

After going home and opening the delegated tea cupboard to make myself an actual cup, I found a zen army of tubular tins, all worthy of being infused and subsequently frozen. Decidedly, I called upon one lying nearly the complete opposite side of the tea spectrum from chocolate mate -- obviously with the intention of pitting them against one another for the ultimate tea paleta face-off and thus, making myself the chairman of my personal kitchen stadium.

Say it with me now, Allez-cuisine!

Just kidding, I'm the chairman, this is my blog and that's my line. 

While I suppose you could just brew uber-strong tea and freeze for a calorie-free pop, there's no fun in that and it's nearly the equivalent of eating frozen water. Seriously masochistic shit, people. Cue the yogurt stat. Using some almond milk (coconut or hazlenut milk could also stand in nicely) and almond yogurt these tea pops have creamy texture after being frozen without becoming an ice cream treat on a stick and staying true to their paleta-selves. Infusing the tea is easy and be done with whatever kind you like. It's as easy as, well, steeping tea. Simply heat the liquids over the stove and allowing the tea to steep in a sauce pan. I like using loose tea leaves but here I stuck to bagged -- which actually made things a bit easier as the mixture didn't need to be strained. This vanilla bean paste is a must and, if you have the means, a baking ingredient I highly reccomend investing in it. A. Becuase vanilla is everything and B. because it gives the nice little vanilla specs without having to de-seed a bean -- which also gets pricy for a pack of two or three. 

After infusing each yogurt with the respective tea, the pops were sent to the cold to battle it out. I must say, because the vanilla tea is actually a black tea, the contrast in color is comically underwhelming. Regardless, who will freeze to become to champion popsicle of domestic kitchen stadium? 

Turns out they were both pretty damn good. Although, this is a battle and thier must be a winner and for me, that winner was the chocolate mate paleta. It was a bit richer in flavor and the creaminess of the yogurt combined with the chocolate made for a great balance. Vanilla almond, literally on the other hand, also came out quite well, just not champ-status. 

Enjoy moth-lickas, 

KK xx


Double Chocolate Mate Paletas
Makes roughly 4 pops

1/2 C. Unsweetened almond milk, feel free to sub any milk you like
1 C. vanilla or plain almond milk yogurt, I like Almond Dream or Amande
1 T. vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
Double Dark Chocolate Mate tea bags or 5 T. loose tea
2 T. brown rice syrup or agave nectar, optional


Vanilla Almond Tea Paletas
Makes roughly 4 pops

1/2 C. Unsweetened almond milk, feel free to sub any milk you like
1 C. vanilla almond milk yogurt, I like Almond Dream or Amande
1 1/2 T. vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
Vanilla Almond Tea tea bags or 5 T. loose tea
2 T. brown rice syrup or agave nectar, optional

Combine the almond milk, yogurt, vanilla bean paste (or seeds of bean and whole bean) and tea bags over medium heat in a sauce pan. Heat just to a boil, about 5 minutes, and cook until tea is throughly infused. Taste test to your liking. Stir in brown rice syrup or agave nectar if the sugars in the yogurt isn't sweet enough for your taste. Pour into mold and freeze for at least four hours. Run mold until hot water for 15 seconds, pop out and lick on.

Thai Tapioca Tea Paletas

by Kailey Kramer in

Or on other words, culturally ambiguous frozen treats. Paletas to Mexico, popsicles to the most of us, whatever you dub them, they're frozen, delicious and like their dreamy cousin, ice cream, the possibilities are endless. Inspired by the folks over at People's Pops and my own personal cravings, I turned my parents kitchen into a popsicle factory last week while paying them a three day visit. My mother also invested in a tray of molds the week prior I took that as a cue from the paleta gods to go buck-frozen-wild

In addition to the PP, this recipe drew inspiration from the fine folk slaving over the burners in the BA test kitchens and their rice pudding popsIn addition to the Eastern flavor twang from the lemongrass, coconut and ginger, I decided to dress it up with more Asian flair by subbing the rice for tapioca and then confuse it my calling it a paleta. The apricots break up the frozen texture by giving it a nice chewy-ness as does the tapioca on a lesser scale. I imagine making these with boba would just be the ultimate batch of an asian theme pop but making good boba is a science. Unfortunately, one I haven't studied in depth just yet nor had the time for. So, tapioca for now. In attempts to keep these healthy, I also used almond milk and coconut almond milk yogurt for a vegan-friendly spin.

The pudding is extremely easy to make and even easier to eat on its own. Although resist licking the spatula too many times before filling the molds first. Then, go nuts and munch ( I digress but, what is the verb for eating runny substances anyway?) on the leftovers while the goods freeze. And on that note, popsicle making is not for the impatient. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Enjoy paleta people, 

KK xx 

Thai Tapioca Paletas

Makes roughly 6 popsicles...and some leftover pudding for snacking. 

1/2 C. pearl tapioca, soaked overnight 
1 1/2 C almond milk
1/2 C. coconut milk yogurt
1 T. vanilla bean paste or 1/2 whole vanilla bean, de-seesed
1 C. apricots, chopped into quarters
1 T. ginger, finely chopped
2 small lemongrass stalks, rough outer removed and finely chopped

Soak the tapioca pearls overnight in water. Drain and rinse. 

Combine the tapioca pearls, almond milk, yogurt, vanilla, ginger, and lemon grass in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat until tapioca is cooked through for around 15 mintues. Allow to cool and stir in apricots. Spoon into molds and freeze for at least 3 hours.

On The Art of The Simple Salad

by Kailey Kramer in

Even the simplest idea still require some thoughtfulness. Just because a concept is deemed "basic" doesn't doom it to a lowly, plain and puritan existence.

For instance, a simple salad need not be synonymous with that of a buffet side and by nature including some sort watery, nutritionally devoid and pesticide ridden lettuces. Or worse: pre-packaged in "kit" bag at a grocery store. 

For the same $6.00 price tag, only a few ingredients and pulls of a blade, something much more beautiful and nutrient-dense can tossed in a salad bowl. In my experiences, a good green salad is at its best when done minimally, allowing a one or two key ingredients to stand out. Especially when served as a side salad, you don't want to bring an entirely new dish to the table and distract from the main entrée or protein. 

Here's my formula for an everyday simple salad that's great alone eaten in dinner salad sized portions or served humbly as a side: 

Let's put it into action. This night alongside Toro's grilled corn, I used: 

Arugula + dill + shaved apples + shaved cucumbers + simple lemon vinagrette

All the ingredients in one frame, even! 

Simple, cohesive, crisp, light and satisfying. 

Make it easy, take it easy, 

KK xx

Simple Summer Fennel Apple Salad
Serves 1-2, depending on how much you like your ruffage.

1/4 C. The Simple Vinaigrette (see below)
4 C. Arugula
1 C. Fresh dill, reserve some for garnish
1 Apple, shaved
1 Cucumber, shaved

Using mandolin or chefs knife, shave or cut the apple and cucumber into paper think slices. Make the viniagrette in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Add arugula,dill, apples, and cucumbers. Toss with hands and combine until dressing evenly coats. Garnish with more dill and serve with avocado toasts. 

The Simple Vinaigrette

I call it the simple vinaigrette because this is my go-to dressing for 80% of the salad I make. It's light and flavorful but not in an overwhelming way and marries well with just about any ingredients or herbs you decide to craft your simple salad with. Occasionally, if I know I'm cooking for an adventurous eater, I'll throw in some anchovies for some omega-3's or chili oil for heat.

4 T. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1/2 C. good, fruity extra-virgin olive oil, walnut, almond or flavorful oil of your choice
1 T. quailty Dijon mustard
Salt + Pepper to taste