15 mi, 4000′ & 680 stairs: I’ve earned some tart

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Hi friends!

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Holy cow, C and I hiked 15 miles yesterday with over 4000′ of elevation gain! We did out and back on the Dipsea trail in less than 3 hours both ways (this may or may not have been dubbed the ‘Hayley Scott Beast Mode” speed, NOT by me hahaha sorry not sorry) – had lunch in Stinson & then dinner in Mill Valley when we got back. Never have nachos tasted so good!

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You can see the teeny tiny skyline in this one, and Sutro tower!

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Gettin’ after some lunch:

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It goes without saying that I feel quite accomplished and also tired. I did arms at the gym today and left squats out of it, haha! According to a quick google, the Dipsea has 680 stairs. My quads and glutes believe it!

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Anyway – it was extremely satisfying to come back home to this tart! We both loved it – arguably I think this is one of my favorite things that I’ve made in the last six months or so. Maybe even 9 months. I LOVE fennel. I’m currently sitting here munching on sliced raw fennel as I type… it makes a great snack with cheese (Humboldt fog, yesss)

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It’s lightly sweet, like everything I make – we had it with ice cream for dessert (delicious) and on its own for breakfast (also delicious). It’s also a great make-ahead, since it’s best when it sets up in the fridge overnight.

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Definitely fennelicious, as C put it! Not for the faint of fennel-loving heart, that is for sure. If you love munching on raw fennel, this is totally for you. Fennel and almond are a match made in heaven – the crust is nicely textured with cornmeal & very almondy.

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Happy trails! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

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Fennel Panna Cotta on an Almond Cornmeal Crust

Gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. Fennelicious! This is a tart for those who LOOOOVE fennel & almond. Lightly sweet; perfect for dessert with ice cream or breakfast on its own. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the crust:

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

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″ tart pan (w/ removable bottom) with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted*
4ish 1” pieces of fresh fennel bulb
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Scant 1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c water, cold

*toast until fragrant – I did it in a small sauté pan

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add fennel (seeds + fresh), maple, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat and cover to steep for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cold water. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Strain the coconut milk mixture. Pour it back into the saucepan and add lemon juice. Bring it back to a simmer. Remove from heat, and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Top with strawberries, etc.

Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight for breakfast the next morning :)

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All the change, all at once. Why not?!

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Internet friends!

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Hello! It feels like it’s been forever. I started my new job last week – though I had two first days, one in Dallas for the marketing group and then one in SF at my actual office – and I signed the lease on an adorable little apartment today! I can’t wait to live in the same city in which I work, AND the apartment building is a 1920s original. The architecture nerd in me is doing the biggest happy dance. Not to mention that it has an incredible renovated kitchen and I can’t wait to bake in it!

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My walk to work is also substantially awesome:

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Minus the fact that I move the day before camp starts (somewhere, the universe is laughing at me), I am SO excited for all of these changes. I already love my new job!

Dallas was a great trip too – I got to see some incredible sunrise skies and the Thanks-Giving chapel’s amazing ceiling – photos were too good not to share!

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C also has a birthday coming up! We celebrated early since he’ll be off on a cycling trip (wheee!) for his actual birthday but it’s me and of course I couldn’t let it go unmarked – had to provide baked goods! Obviously.

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I have to say, this cake makes an awesome breakfast. It’s kind of like cornbread? Only lightly sweet and super delicious. C and I are only mildly obsessed with fennel right now, so stay tuned for more fennel-y things, as soon as the utter insanity of my life calms down. There might be one or two things before I leave for camp, but no promises.

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I actually made two cakes from one batch – one in an 8″ pan, and the leftover batter in a 5″. It’s a really adaptable cake; you can use an 8″ springform, a 9″ cake pan, 8″ cake pan + a smaller one (cupcake tins would probably work also)… you do you!

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Happy Monday! I hope the rest of your week goes swimmingly :)

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Apple & Fennel Ricotta Polenta Cake

Gluten free and refined sugar free! The fennel and apple balance each other perfectly for a lightly sweet dessert that has a dense crumb. I love it with ice cream, but it’s great on its own as well. Yield: 1 8″ or 9″ cake, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original!

6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c maple syrup, divided
zest of 2 meyer lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1.25 c almond flour
3/4 c fine polenta
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1.25 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 granny smith apple, diced
1 bulb of fennel, grated
1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced, for garnish
1/3 cup slivered almonds, optional for garnish
a sprinkle of coconut sugar

Preheat the oven to 325, and either use an 8″ springform pan OR do like I did and use a 8″ cake pan, well greased and lined with two strips of parchment paper so that you can lift the cake out onto a cooling rack easily (the leftover batter went into a 5″ pan; two cakes for the price of one!)

Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) , beat butter, half the maple, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in egg yolks and beat until combined, another minute-ish. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients into the larger bowl, add ricotta, and stir to combine.

In a separate, non-reactive bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (preferably with your hand mixer or stand mixer so that your arm doesn’t fall off) – drizzle in the rest of the maple while mixing.

Fold the egg whites into the batter in two batches, then fold in chopped apples and grated fennel. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and top with sliced apples and almonds, if using. Sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean (mine was done closer to 50 min). Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, removing parchment from underneath if you used it. Let cool completely before serving; also delicious cold if you want to stick it in the fridge for an hour or two.

Excellent with a bit of vanilla ice cream (really, what isn’t) for dessert or eat it alongside eggs for breakfast. Keeps well for several days, covered in the fridge or stored in an airtight glass container.

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