Gettin’ figgy with it

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My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.

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Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!

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I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…

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A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….

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However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!

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This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….

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Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.

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Happy almost-weekend!

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Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)

The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!

For the roasted figs:

  • 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).

To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.

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Radishes and brownies and beans n’stuff (because those things totally go together…)

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Errrrybody do a happy dance, somehow I’ve actually blogged twice in two weeks! Shocker. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. And I have TWO things for you today! Two completely disparate things, but that’s sort of my jam anyway.

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Also, Buddha says hi!

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Today was a happy food prep day, where all I did was go to yoga, fetched some groceries, and cooked. ALL. DAY. Why can’t I have more days like this? They’re my favorite. Also, I got to play with my food and today it was super colorful, which just brings home the fact that I’m pretty much five years old and obsessed with all things glittery and colorful. Just indulge me, I’m just sure it’s one of things you love about me…

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ALL THE COLOR!!! I love food.

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Who says adults can’t play with their food?

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SO! Dessert and veggies. Two of my favorite things. AND both things are allergen-free, meaning no almonds, coconuts, any of that business (this is interesting, by the way…. not eating all the things I did before is encouraging my creativity). But I’m not feeling deprived (yet. Kinda want some bread up in here), especially because I have these SUPER BOMB brownies in my life. I mean, I’ve made plenty black bean brownies before… but these are my favorite! Completely made of whole foods, vegan, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free… and they come together in about three seconds in the food processor. Which is basically a win-win in my book. Mmmm. Brownies. I will never ever ever stop loving them.

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And for the veg portion of things, we have crispy roasted radishes! I love radishes raw or cooked, but lately more on the cooked side of things. These get all creamy like a potato since they have a high water content… AND you can use the greens and roast those alongside the radishes, leaving you with some radish green-chips! Sort of like kale chips but way more sassy.

From this…

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To this! Must be magic…

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And with that, I leave you with some colorful food and deliciousness.

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Maple Black Bean Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, vegan! Also free of nuts, coconut, and soy. Make sure your chocolate chips are soy free if that’s an issue for you (I like Guittard extra dark, they are soy free and dairy free!). Super fudgy, chocolatey brownies. Don’t worry about the avocado, you won’t taste it! I prefer these cold, straight out of the fridge. Recipe gratefully adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water; let sit for at least five minutes)
  • 1 15oz can of black beans (mine are very lightly salted), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 ripe, medium avocado
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (dairy free/soy free if needed)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In the food processor, combine flax egg, black beans, avocado, maple, vanilla, and avocado oil. Let it run until combined — I don’t think you especially want whole beans in your brownies… Once everything is smooth, toss in cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Pulse to combine. The batter will be nice and thick. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top out with a spatula prior to getting them into the oven. Bake for 27-29 minutes—mine were perfect at 28. The top should be slightly firm, but not hard. Let them cool completely in the pan, then store leftovers in the fridge for a few days (if they even last that long).

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Crispy Roasted Radishes

These are spectacularly creamy and satisfying. The pepperiness of radishes is muted a little, and the texture almost reminds me of potatoes. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan. This is really a recipe suggestion — I left mine simple with just salt and pepper, but go nuts! All kinds of different herbs would be delicious on these. I roast the greens with the radishes as well for a crispy, chip-like complement.

  • 3 bunches of radishes, tipped and separated from their greens; halved
  • radish greens, stems removed
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • a few good grinds of pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a smallish sheet pan.

Place halved radishes on the baking sheet, and top with salt and pepper and any other desired spices / herbs. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then use your hands (or a spoon, I guess…. but trust me, it is way more fun with your hands) to toss the radishes around and distribute the oil evenly.

Roast for 10 minutes, then add radish greens. Continue roasting for 30 – 35 more minutes, until the radishes are browned and crispy. Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Sunday!

Squash Wrestling Champ

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You don’t even want to know my struggles yesterday involving a kabocha squash.

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Well…

Maybe you do. They’re kind of funny.

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Let me just preface this with a simple suggestion. Don’t ever ever ever go to jazzercise on circuit day and then expect to be able to wrestle open a kabocha squash for roasting purposes an hour later. Just don’t. It will end badly, with the knife stuck in the squash and your arms aching. Also that weird spot where your arm meets your body?? You know, not your armpit but in front of it?? Yeah. That is impossibly sore too, which means picking up squashes and putting them in the oven (as well as taking the heavy bottom of the food processor down from the ridiculous high place that it’s stored in), not to mention cutting them open, rather difficult. I FINALLY got that squash cut in half (a little unevenly but don’t you judge me) after quite the struggle. We’re talking two hands on the knife, full body weight bearing down on the stupid thing trying to make things happen. Safely, naturally. Those squash don’t give up easily, let me tell you…

I think I might actually be sore-er today due to squash wrestling yesterday. For reals.

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Also I made so many things yesterday!! Day off + too much studying+ in between forcing myself to study + fall + pumpkin = bopping around in the kitchen all day! Which I love. Hello, kale chips out of the dehydrator, roasted and curried kabocha squash soup, and gluten free, vegan, date sweetened pumpkin cookies!!

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Aside from all that, I have some other pretty pictures of stuff [food. obvs]:

Darling skillet brownie for two! Paleo, gluten free, vegan. From this:

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To this!! Oops.

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And cranberries! Hi Fall, I love you. IMG_1336

This soup is delicious. And I love kabocha squash (minus the difficulties of getting them open) for their bright orange color and sweet flavor. I actually like them better than butternut—there’s something about the flavor of the kabochas that is richer, or more caramelized? Anyway. They’re easy to roast—toss them in the oven (halved) on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 45 minutes, until they can be pierced with a  fork easily. Take them out, flip them over and let them cool off… then scoop all that pureed goodness out and toss it in some soup. Or something. Like this:

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Roasted and Curried Kabocha Squash Soup

Yield: a vat. I used this recipe from My Darling Vegan, but obviously used a roasted kabocha squash instead of pumpkin. I reduced the garlic to 1 clove but went heavy handed on the cumin and curry powder, and I blended in all of the cashew creme instead of saving some for topping. Delicious all around, I wouldn’t change a thing!

And then obviously you need some beta carotene to go with your beta carotene… and some cookies to follow up that soup sooooo…..

THESE happened. Obviously.

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Date Sweetened Pumpkin Cookies

Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free! These cookies are soft, but not cakey. They’re oaty, pumpkiny and spicy—everything you want in a fall cookie. I made 3/4 of the recipe (don’t even ask) for a yield of 22. Recipe adapted from Tasty Yummies, here! They do tend to soften as they sit, so I like to store mine in the fridge in an airtight container.

  • 1 c pitted dates, soaked in near-boiling water for at least 10 minutes
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+ 3 tbsp water)
  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • scant 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

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

In a food processor, make date paste out of your soaking dates. Chuck em all in there with a little bit of water and whizz whizz whizz until it’s mostly smooth. This isn’t an exact science and I love chunks of dates in my cookies so I don’t go crazy trying to get it to smooth out. Set aside. Make your flax egg by combining flax and water in a small bowl, and set that aside as well.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together oil, pumpkin, vanilla and gelled flax egg. Stir wet into dry, add in oats and chocolate chips, and stir until combined. Drop by large tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening them slightly and rounding the edges if you like perfect looking cookies (I usually opt for the rustic variety). Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and slightly firm. Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for at least 3-4 minutes before moving them (they’re soft, be careful!). Let cool completely on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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