This way to the Emerald City

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Hello and happy weekend!

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We’ve been having the stormiest weather over here this week and I LOVE it – rain is my favorite!

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Besides which, it’s made everything so GREEN! The hills are absolutely gorgeous.

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C and I went for a saunter up Twin Peaks today and everything was so green and glorious – not to mention the crystal clear air!

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Apparently the theme of today’s post is green…

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This tart is straight up amazing! It’s all kinds of earthy, minty flavor wrapped up in a polenta and almond crust. Matcha and mint are such an easy sell for me, and besides, vanilla bean just makes everything better, instantaneously.

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C and I universally agreed this is one of our top favorites – that’s saying something, since we like most things! He especially loved it – I’m betting it won’t last through the night ;) This is going on the must-repeat list, and SOON.

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It’s light and fresh – we ate it both for dessert with some ice cream (awesome, obviously) but it was equally good alongside a midday meal today (I’d call it breakfast since it was our first meal of the day but we didn’t eat till 1:30 so that seems a bit of a misnomer…)

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Happy three day weekend!

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Matcha Mint & Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Tart

Full of green tea, minty goodness. This tart is only lightly sweet, earthy from the tea and refreshing from the mint. Vanilla bean just makes everything better. Cornmeal & almond flour round out the crust, making this gluten free, refined sugar free & dairy free. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several. A Wait are Those Cookies original.

For the crust:

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

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, 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.

With a pastry brush or a spoon, coat the bottom the crust with an even layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup full-fat coconut milk, divided
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1.5 tbsp matcha powder
melted coconut butter or more melted chocolate, for drizzling (just a few tbsp needed – use more for serving if desired)

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

Pour the remaining 1.5 cups of coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, mint extract, maple, salt, and matcha powder into it. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat (blend if necessary with an immersion blender if you have a few matcha blobs). Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Drop melted chocolate or coconut butter onto the surface of the tart and swirl with a knife or a toothpick. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

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

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Nature’s ombré: blood oranges!

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Hello!

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Fun fact of the day – did you know that ricotta is actually *technically* not a cheese? It’s considered a dairy product since it’s made from a dairy by-product, whey. The name comes from the Latin recocta, or ‘twice cooked’. Fascinating! I love things like this.

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Anyway! I’ve got ricotta on the brain since I made this tart for the weekend.

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Blood oranges are very much in season right now, which is making me very happy – I LOVE their color (and flavor!) They pair so well with vanilla bean, it’s almost criminal.

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This tart is lightly sweet, as is everything I make – but packs a powerful orange punch. As a child, I really didn’t like the orange and chocolate combination – what was I thinking?! Thankfully, I aged into more accepting tastebuds, and am happily part of the citrus+chocolate tribe these days.

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Perfect for breakfast or dessert – as usual, we ate it both ways. Last weekend, we did a 9 mile hike from Taraval to Lands’ End & back; this weekend was a lighter 5.5 mile up to Twin Peaks and back. I don’t have any photos from today’s; it was hazy and I wasn’t feeling super motivated – so here is one from last weekend! It was a gorgeous day, and those 9 miles flew by.

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I’ll be back in mid-Feb with some new posts – C and I are going skiing this week (wooo!!!) and after that I’m taking a bit of time off for some r&r with my mama in a nice, tropical location (which hopefully will allow some of annoying & uncomfortable AF autoimmune symptoms to calm down. Ideally, I’ll just spend a ton of time in the water…)

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Happy weekend!

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Ricotta, Vanilla Bean and Blood Orange Tart on a Chocolate Polenta Crust

Lightly sweet but with plenty of orange flavor – for those who love the orange and chocolate combination! Perfect for dessert with a blob of ice cream, or for breakfast. Gluten free and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Adapted from my other ricotta tart, here.

For the crust:

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

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cornmeal, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, 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 or pie plate 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.

For the filling:

1.5 c (15 oz) full fat ricotta
1/2 c full fat coconut milk
scant 1/4 c maple syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
zest of 2 blood oranges
Juice of 1 blood orange
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

This is as easy as it gets: toss ricotta into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients: coconut milk, maple, egg yolks + egg, orange zest + juice, and vanilla paste, mixing well to prevent any lumps (heaven forbid).

Tart Assembly:
Pour the ricotta filling into the baked and cooled tart shell. Place in the oven at 350 and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until filling is set. Let cool completely before serving.
Top with sliced blood oranges and shredded coconut if desired! Keep refrigerated until serving. Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered loosely in plastic wrap – arguably it’s almost better the next day!

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Panna cotta that is mint to be

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Happy holidays!

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I had a delightful holiday with both my fam and C’s. He and I took a 6ish mile hike yesterday with fam; the weather was just beautiful and it felt great to get outside.

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today – I made this panna cotta tart for xmas dinner with the fave human’s family; it got rave reviews from both kids and adults, which totally makes it a win in my book!

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It’s relatively simple to put together and keeps very well when made ahead – I made it 24 hours before serving, which was just perfect (the panna cotta needs to set up anyway, so that’s ideal).

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I’m currently navigating the last few work days of the year in this weird no-space between Christmas and New Years (grudgingly, mind you), while I wait for a few more days off and some relaxation time. I’m already plotting my NYE dessert, of course.

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I hope you’re happily relaxing with loved ones! I highly recommend to feed them panna cotta tart :)

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Mint and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta Tart on a Chocolate Crust

Mint and chocolate: a match made in heaven. Only lightly sweet but a big crowd pleaser (this one got rave reviews from both kids and adults!). Infuse the cream the day before you plan to make the tart. Keeps well wrapped in the fridge overnight; I made it 24 hours before serving. Gluten and grain free; refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several! A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
~1/4 c chopped dark chocolate

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, 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 tart pan 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.

Let cool for a few. Melt the dark chocolate and pour it into the bottom of the tart shell. Use a spoon or a brush to smooth it out. Let cool completely to set the chocolate.

Infused cream*:

1 c cream
1/4 loosely packed fresh mint leaves

Coarsely chop fresh mint with a very sharp knife, without crushing or bruising them. Stir them into cold cream, cover, and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.

Strain the cream, pressing on the solids to extract as much cream as possible. Discard the leaves. If you’re not using the cream immediately, cover and refrigerate it until needed.

*the infused cream makes just shy of a cup; you’ll be adding more cream for the rest of the panna cotta (see below) – use all of the infused cream + another 3/4 c for a total of 1.75 c

For the panna cotta:

1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup mint-infused heavy cream, divided*
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup plain greek whole-milk yogurt
Pomegranate, coconut and mint for garnish

*See above note; I used 1 c infused cream + 3/4 non-infused cream

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

Pour the remaining 1.5 cups of cream into a small saucepan. Add maple, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat, whisk in peppermint extract and vanilla paste. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the yogurt until well blended. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

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

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An obsession with perpendicular vaulting and also rice pudding

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I kind of love Harry Potter.

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As in, not the kid. Obviously. But the books! And the movies, on a certain level. They’re just so my generation. And besides, when I turned eleven and didn’t get a Hogwarts letter, I convinced myself that the yank version of Hogwarts started later, and that I still had a chance to be magical. Doesn’t every little kid at some point want to do magic? Wand waving type magic though, not the sawing people in half variety…

My patronus would undoubtedly be a tiger… which is really just a big kitty!!

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I also wish I had classes in a castle. I mean, HELLO have you SEEN the perpendicular vaulting in there?! It’s freaking gorgeous (Side note: during the epic battle of Hogwarts takes place in the last book, I kind of had a mini panic attack until I reminded myself that it was a set, and not some piece of glorious architecture). And um, turrets?! Lancet windows? The great hall ceiling?? And staircases that move? (wait, maybe no on that last one for expediency’s sake…) Anywayyy. Nerd alert! Ever since I wrote my thesis I’ve been startlingly aware of gothic architecture. At one point I toyed with the idea of proposing a thesis discussing the Hogwarts architecture in relation to the neo-gothic, but I kind of didn’t think that would go over real well… Whatever. It would have been an entertaining presentation!

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Anyway. Enough babble: time for dessert (which is obviously why you’re all here anyway, riiiight? Or can it be that you really like reading my random tangents? Wait. Don’t answer that). I have an Italian dessert for you today, which is kind of a cross between baked rice pudding and a soufflé. It’s delicious. I don’t care if you don’t like rice pudding, you should make this anyway. Big thanks to Elaine and Ramona who dropped off a massive bag of blood oranges for me! I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest, but never fear, they’ll go in many delicious things I’m sure.

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Torte di Riso

Ever so slightly adapted from Nutmegs, seven, here! I was able to get 9 servings out of my 10″ springform pan. This torte is delicious, worth every minute of stirring over the stove. It is dense yet light, chewy yet fluffy. The blood oranges lend it just a little bit of citrusy overtones, and the vanilla bean makes your kitchen smell like heaven. I know those little beans are expensive, but seriously: this is worth it!

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  • 4 c milk (I used 3.25 unsweetened almond milk, 0.75 c 1% dairy, as that’s what I had)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • zest of 1 blood orange
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 7/8 c arborio rice
  • 3.5 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Add milk, vanilla bean, orange zest, and sugar into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (Mine went for more like 40 minutes, so use your best judgement). The rice should be cooked and slightly al dente. Whisk it good a few times, then leave to cool (if you can prevent yourself from eating it straight out of the pan… not that I speak from experience or anything *ahem*). It should thicken a bit more as it cools.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 10″ springform pan (I used coconut oil as usual).

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks; then add in orange juice and whisk until thick and gorgeously orangey. Stir this into the cooled rice. Whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then fold 1/3 of them into the rice. Once incorporated, fold in the rest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evening out the top with a spatula. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (mine went for exactly 60). If the cake browns too much during baking, loosely cover the top with foil. Let cool, then cut with a sharp knife! I stored mine in the fridge and it kept well for a few days (let’s be real, it only lasted about two).

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