Coconut Flour Pancakes

_MG_6381Since Ari has been making an effort to eat less gluten, I decided I would try to do so as well (but don't worry bread, I could never leave you forever.) It's actually kind of fun to be challenged sometimes – not being able to use traditional flours or starches forces you to be more creative and try new things. He picked up some coconut flour last week, which I had never used, and I made these coconut pancakes for brunch over the weekend._MG_6376  

_MG_6370I love coconut, but if you aren't a fan of it then this might not be the recipe for you. These were also a little drier than regular pancakes and you could really taste the eggs (although, I found that the pancakes that I was keeping in the oven tasted less like eggs than the ones that came directly off the griddle). I liked the eggy taste, but you could try it both ways. And I would highly recommend serving these with the amazing strawberries that are in season right now!_MG_6373

Coconut Flour Pancakes (makes 8 3-inch pancakes, adapted from Bob's Red Mill)

4 eggs 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil 1/4 cup milk (we used almond milk) 1/4 cup coconut flour1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, oil and milk until well combined

In a separate bowl, sift coconut flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add dry to wet and thoroughly mix until there are no lumps.

Coat a cast-iron skillet or  griddle with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Ladle 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto skillet. Cook until bubbles begin to form on the top and pancake begins to set, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook on the second side, about 2 minutes. Brush griddle with additional oil, then repeat until batter is gone. Serve with maple syrup and fruit.

Spring Frittata

_MG_6234Happy spring! I know it was technically spring almost two months ago, but here on the east coast it's felt like a very slow slog through miserable winter. But after a lovely weekend (and my first sunburn of the season), it's finally feeling like warm weather is here to stay. _MG_6248

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Spring, for me, means lots of fresh vegetables (finally!) and one of my favorite ways to use these is to throw them together in a frittata. Like fried rice, this recipe has almost endless variations and is a great way to use up whatever you might have languishing in the refrigerator.

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_MG_6243 To make this particularly springy, I went with asparagus, ramps, kale and turkey bacon – but I think that peas, arugula, and even chicken sausage would also be lovely.

_MG_6229And just for fun, some lovely ranunculus that I picked up at Trader Joe's.

Spring Frittata (serves 4-5)

1 tablespoon butter

4 slices turkey bacon, roughly chopped

1/4 onion, finely chopped

4-5 ramps or green onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 bunch asparagus, woody ends broken off and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large handful kale or other greens, stemmed and chopped

8 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

2 ounces goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast-iron or oven proof pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add turkey bacon and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until combined. Add asparagus, ramps, garlic and kale to pan and cook until vegetables are bright green and slightly wilted, 5-6 minutes. Make sure they are evenly distributed around the pan, then pour egg mixture over and remove from heat. Crumble goat cheese over eggs, then cook frittata in the oven until eggs are set and the top is just slightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Blender Hollandaise

_MG_6147There's a part in the movie Julie and Julia where Stanley Tucci (as Paul Child) walks in on Meryl Streep (as Julia Child) frantically whisking bowls and bowls of mayonnaise in their Paris kitchen, perfecting the recipe for her forthcoming cookbook – the trick being that warming the bowl beforehand made combining the egg yolks and oil much easier._MG_6135 Julia Child's great gift was bringing complicated French techniques and dishes to the American masses, and nothing represents this philosophy better than hollandaise made in a blender. It combines French emulsifying techniques with modern convenience, and of course, plenty of butter. Three ingredients, about 5 minutes total, and not even a thought of whisking – what could be easier? As shown in the movie, warming the blender beforehand ensures that the egg yolk and butter will blend into a creamy sauce and not a separated mess._MG_6149

_MG_6153 Quick Blender Hollandaise (makes about 3/4 cup, adapted from Bon Appétit) 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Salt and pepper

Fill your blender with hot water and set aside. Melt butter until foaming in a small saucepan over medium heat, then remove from heat.

Empty blender, then dry thoroughly. Add egg yolk and lemon juice to blender, and pulse on low to blend. Working quickly and with blender running, pour melted butter in a slow stream (almost dripping) through the hole in cover, leaving the milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Blend until sauce is creamy, and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. (Here, we topped quickly sautéed asparagus and poached eggs).

Homemade Granola

_MG_5822We have a special guest today from none other than my PIC, Ari King. He took a little time off from his radio show to share a recent cooking project.  –Maren_MG_5816Although I am usually the one on ‘dish patrol’ (as my mom always puts it), I’m occasionally able to give my scoundrel a respite when it comes to cooking. True, this recipe doesn’t exactly translate to “Hey, I’ll take care of dinner tonight, you’ve had a long day” but it does show an effort has been made and it is pretty tasty._MG_5821

I’m going to come right out and say it: I love cereal. I love it. I love it for breakfast and I love it for dessert. But, I recently chose to cut back on the sweet cereal (Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and look into different types of granola. Each grocery and health food store I went to carried granola but it was always so expensive. I decided to just make the granola myself and, like most amateur kitchen-dwellers, I Googled recipes and got 22,000,000 results in 0.57 seconds and drove myself crazy trying to find the perfect one before  settling on this one from Bon Appétit. The good thing about making your own granola is that beyond the essentials – oats, nuts, olive oil, sweetener – you can add whatever you want. I threw in flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut shreds, and added goji berries and currants on top._MG_5823

And a little something extra:

*If you are feeling really groovy, toss in some chocolate chips. Go head. It’s cool.

*Imagine eating a toasted cloud. Put some granola on top of your delicious yogurt and you can know that feeling. Add fruit if you are into that kind of thing.

*Hungry between meals? Grab a fistful and tilt your head back and throw it in your mouth like popcorn at the movies.

Homemade Granola (adapted from Bon Appétit)

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine 1 large beaten egg white, 3 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (we used cashews), 1 1/2 cups unsweetened dried coconut, 1/2 cup agave syrup, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup flax seeds, 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a large bowl; toss to combine. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake granola, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and dry, 40-45 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet (it will crisp as it cools).
Mix in 1 cup dried fruit, such as currants, raisins, cherries or cranberries.

Baked Eggs with Mushrooms, Spinach & Bread

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_MG_5631I firmly believe that you can never have enough egg recipes. My personal favorite way to eat eggs is over-easy, atop a piece of avocado-slathered toast with a little hot sauce, but every now and then I like to switch it up a little. This recipe looks impressive, uses one pan, and can be expanded exponentially to accommodate a crowd – really, what's not to love? You could also add bacon for a smoky flavor, or switch the vegetables for other items you prefer. The only thing I really insist on is the croutons and runny eggs. A perfect winter breakfast, if I do say so myself._MG_5637

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Baked Eggs with Mushrooms, Spinach & Bread (serves 2)

2 T. olive oil

1/2 baguette or other rustic bread, torn into bite-size pieces

2 T. butter

1 leek, rinsed well and thinly sliced

10 oz mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

4 oz spinach, chopped

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil over medium in a sauté pan. When hot, add bread and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a cast-iron or oven-proof pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek, and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt an pepper, sautéing until browned, about 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and add croutons and toss. Carefully make four small wells in vegetable mixture, then crack eggs directly into each well. Place pan in oven and cook until eggs are just set, 6-7 minutes. Serve immediately.

Baked Apple Pancake

_MG_5183 _MG_5208For many people, autumn is the best season of all. (Apple cider! Plaid! Falling leaves!) Summer will always have my heart, but I must say that I do love the beginnings of fall – the first night when you really need a blanket, those first crisp apples and pears, and being in the Northeast, the beautiful autumn colors. Since it seems like now it is officially the end of summer, I have decided to embrace it –and what better way than with apples?

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_MG_5200Pancakes aren't my favorite (I've always been more of a french toast kind of girl), but since Ari loves them I try to make them every now and again. I had picked up a few apples last weekend at the farmer's market, and while I love eating them sliced with a little peanut butter, how can you say no to adding a little butter and sugar? This baked "pancake" tastes indulgent and yet is surprisingly healthy, thanks to very little sugar and the addition of whole-wheat flour. A perfect fall breakfast (or dessert)._MG_5210

On a side note, does anyone else only like sliced apples? I can never eat them whole. Or is it just me?

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Baked Apple Pancake (adapted from Food & Wine)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2  apples, halved, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used Honeycrisp) 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus warmed syrup for serving 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Pinch of salt 4 large eggs, separated 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the apples, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the lemon juice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden, about 6 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of maple syrup and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 1 minute. Spread the apples in an even layer and remove the pan from the heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours with the baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg yolks with the milk and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold the beaten whites into the batter and scrape it over the apples; spread the batter to the edge.
  4. Bake the pancake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes, until it is golden, puffed and set. Let the pancake cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen the pancake, then invert it onto a serving plate. Replace any apples that may have stuck to the pan. Cut the pancake into wedges and serve at once with the warmed maple syrup.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

_MG_4864As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I went home to Minnesota for a week at the end of June. I love going home, not only for the opportunity to escape from New York for a little while, but also because my parent's house is such a lovely contrast from my little apartment in Brooklyn. One of my favorite things to do there in the summer is eat breakfast (or pretty much any meal) on the porch, and my mom surprised us all on the first morning of my trip with these delicious blueberry pancakes. The fresh peonies everywhere were pretty great too. _MG_4871 _MG_4869

The rest of the week was spent with family, eating, playing croquet, and reading -- all in all, a perfect vacation. _MG_4876

Happy 4th of July to all of you! Hope you are somewhere enjoying a few days off and celebrating the independence of our great country._MG_4881

 

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Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Heat griddle over medium heat. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps. Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter onto griddle. Wipe off excess. Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Sprinkle 8-9 blueberries on each pancake. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, (about 3 minutes) flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Pineapple-Mango-Banana Smoothie with Spinach & Chia Seeds

_MG_4803Now that it is finally feeling like summer around here, I have been craving cool salads and smoothies for breakfast (of course, they would taste even better if I could drink them on my terrace, but alas, that will have to wait until I live somewhere besides New York. Or make a lot more money. One of the two.) I've gotten to be a big fan of adding greens to smoothies, as they add lots of nutritional value while not tasting like salad in a glass. This is my current favorite combination, and I added chia seeds in there for some protein, though they are completely optional if you don't like the taste. One of the other things I love about smoothies is the endless variation -- you could sub berries for the pineapple, or use 1/2 coconut or almond milk and 1/2 orange juice instead. Whatever you try, the results usually end up being pretty delicious._MG_4801

Also, in case you're wondering, the metal straws are from Amazon. I happen to always want to use straws for any kind of drink, so I love these -- eco-friendly and so much cuter than the boring old plastic straws. (Though I kind of hate myself for using metal straws AND a mason jar. So twee. And yet, I still love it.)_MG_4802

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Pineapple-Mango-Banana Smoothie with Spinach & Chia Seeds (serves 2)

3/4 cup diced frozen mango

3/4 cup diced frozen pineapple

1 banana, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup orange juice

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Blend first five ingredients in a blender on high until smooth, about a minute. Add chia seeds and blend for about 10 seconds more, until mixed well. Serve immediately.

Chia Seed Pudding

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We have been having a lot of smoothies lately for breakfast -- which is great, but in an effort to switch things up a bit from the routine, while still being healthy, I decided to try out this chia seed pudding recipe from Food & WineIt couldn't have been easier. Ari was not as big of a fan -- I will admit, the texture takes a little getting used to, but it pretty much just tasted like vanilla almond milk -- so, delicious. I used maple syrup (my dad makes it!) instead of agave, and vanilla almond milk (from Trader Joe's -- it's SO good), and served it with diced mango and just a touch of maple syrup drizzled on top. My note would be to make sure that you shake it occasionally while refrigerating -- the chia seeds in mine were a little unevenly distributed, making some parts more liquidy than others. Overall, it made a delicious, healthy , and filling breakfast -- and I always love anything that you can make the night before to make getting out the door in the morning that much quicker. _MG_4682

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Black Bean, Corn & Egg Tostadas

_MG_4671If you are anything like me, there are nights that you simply don't want to go to the grocery store (although mine is a block and a half away, so I don't have much of an excuse). This recipe uses ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, and can be adapted really easily to suit your tastes -- you could add in some chicken sausage, sprinkle lettuce or cotija cheese on top, make scrambled eggs instead of poached. But in any case, this is an easy, cheap option for weeknight dinners or weekend brunches -- and even if it's still a little cold here in New York (although, compared to what my family is experiencing in Minnesota, it's practically summer here), I can almost imagine sitting on a beach, maragarita in hand, devouring these tostadas._MG_4630 _MG_4674

Disclaimer: Ari told me that I had to tell you that this is very messy to eat. We tried our luck with forks but ended up just picking up the whole tostada at once. It still tastes good, in any case._MG_4670

Black Bean, Corn & Egg Tostadas (serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon pickled jalapeños, minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 can black beans, drained

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

4 corn tortillas

1 tablespoon white vinegar

4 eggs

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Cilantro, chopped

Salsa

Hot sauce

Heat oil over medium-high in a saucepan. When hot, add onion, garlic, jalapeños and cumin and sauté until the mixture begins to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add black beans and lower heat to simmer. Heat through, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn and season with salt and pepper. remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the meantime, fill a sauté pan with about 2 inches of water, add vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Carefully crack first egg directly into pan. Immediately use a spoon to fold white over yolk so that it is covered, using the spoon to hold the egg together. Cook about 1 minute, then carefully flip over and cook until white is set but yolk is still runny, 1-2 minutes. Remove egg to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Place tortillas on oven rack. Toast until crispy, 5-6 minutes. Place two on each plate, then top with bean & corn mixture, avocado slices, and egg. Serve immediately with cilantro, additional chopped onion, salsa, and hot sauce.