Tag Archives: breakfast

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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For Father’s Day this year, Xerxes requested the day to begin with coffee cake. When he made this request, the kids started dancing around cracking up. Cake for breakfast Papa!? Followed by… I don’t drink coffee! I don’t want coffee in my cake!! 

The explanation of “It is just a breakfast dish that you eat at the same time you drink coffee” did not seem to satisfy their hilarious inquiry, but once the cake was in front of them, they were gleefully satisfied that it did not contain coffee and was just sweet enough to feel a bit like dessert.

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Since fruit is not exactly easy to find at this point in our local food year, I chopped up a good pile of rhubarb from our yard and let it soak in a little honey bath over night. The next goal was to find a recipe that uses honey rather than sugar as the sweetener. A recipe from the Honey Board did the trick. We also wanted a simple ode to the crumble you see on top of NY Crumb Cakes and that seem to be the final flourish.

Quick tip: As we have baked with honey much more in the last few weeks, one thing I keep trying to remember is to have the oven temperature a bit lower as the color can get dark faster. IMG_5810

Honey Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Inspired by the Honey Board’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

3 cups minced rhubarb
1 cup honey, divided
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose gluten-free blend could work, too!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond

For the crumble:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter, very soft
1/4 cup minced almonds
1/4 cup flour
pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon

The night before or about an hour prior, toss together the rhubarb and honey. Place in the fridge to soften and sweeten up.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Turn on the oven to 350.

Melt the butter. Stir in the honey and milk. Making sure this mixture is not too hot, whisk in the eggs, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. If the honey-butter is hot, place in the fridge until it is closer to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the crumbs by mixing together the softened butter, honey, nuts, flour and spices. The goal is to be able to clump it together, if it is too moist, add more flour, if it is too dry and not coming together add a drizzle more melted butter. Set aside.

Butter the dish for the coffee cake up on the sides until it is evenly coated. Sprinkle with flour and shake around until it is thinly distributed and dump the remaining flour.

Fold together the dry flour ingredients with the honey-butter-egg ingredients and the honey soaked rhubarb. Pour into the coffee cake pan. Spread it out with a spatula until it is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top in clumps.

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So happy his coffee cake contains no coffee!

Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Eat hot, cool or room temperature. It lasts a few days as well.

Just Beet It Chocolate Cookies

IMG_4222We are in the middle of a sugar-break in my home. I invited you to join me and a few of you did (yay sugar-free buddies!), but considering not ALL of you decided to go on the sugar break with me, I am guessing you are still eating the sweet stuff. Am I right?

Of course, Valentine’s Day is looming and I thought- darn it, I must share a heart-filled treat with you and I absolutely cannot wait until this sugar cleanse is complete (which is thankfully before V-day!) Especially, because you may need to go grocery shopping sometime soon.

Whenever I write recipes or meal plans I have this hard rule: No writing while hungry. Writing about food while hungry is surprisingly much worse than shopping on an empty stomach. We have all done it and it isn’t pretty. For me, it is as if I have entered a shopping time warp and all the food is glowing a bit too brightly and my hands are grabbing and pulling things off the shelves that I don’t even like to eat. If I am smart I will grab a sandwich or snack-y item and then aimlessly nibble while wandering through the store keeping my eyes averted from the bright food products. It is rarely my finest hour. Don’t do it. Friends don’t let friends shop on an empty stomach. 

Nonetheless, when I thought, I must write to my buddies about this perfect little Valentine cookie that one can eat joyfully for breakfast, snack or dessert, suddenly that obnoxious little voice said: How the hell do you plan to write about cookies when you cannot under any circumstance currently consider eating it?
You will not survive this sugar-break.
You will be eating cookies before you are able to edit the post.
You are doomed to fail this sugar-break. 

Trying to stay calm, I told that little voice, I am not missing chocolate nearly as much as I am missing brie cheese slathered across my homemade sourdough with a glass of red wine. So, there! You mean little voice. Yes, did I mention there is no dairy, caffeine, alcohol or grains on this sugar break. But, who am I kidding, it is late, the kids are in bed and these Chocolate Beet Cookies would really, really hit the spot.

We shall see who is correct. Clearly I must hurry and wrap up this post before that little meanie wins this one.

Here are the facts, this recipe is flexible and I have made these cookies up & down the sweet scale. I personally prefer them less-sweet and skip the brown sugar. That way I can better justify them at snack time or even breakfast. But, if you add the brown sugar, maybe coconut sugar or your favorite sweetener, the flavor will become more intense & dessert like. Basically, if you have a sweet tooth– add your favorite sweetener. If you have been on a sugar-break, you won’t need it because quite frankly that is the bonus of not eating sugar: everything tastes crazy sweet after.

And why the beets, you ask?

During the World War II rations, Red Velvet Cake contained beets to give the pink hue, rather than the red food dye. When I heard that I started adding beets and chocolate to my Smoothies and even this Red Velvet Granola. I love the blushing hue, the hint of nutrients and maybe I get a bit excited about the slight shock factor for non-beet lovers: it ain’t food dye folks, it’s beets! 

Just a couple more fun facts and then you can have the recipe: If you use vegan cocoa & chocolate these can be entirely vegan delights. If you are making them gluten-free be sure to purchase oats that specify they are actually gluten-free.

Indulge! Actually, make these for a friend who is coming off a sugar-break and needs a Valentines Day treat, but also needs to ease back in slowly. Make the low-sugar version and your friend will think they are fully loaded.

Chocolate Beet Cookies

¾ lb beet, enough to make 1 cup puree
¾ cup date, if not soft, soak in hot water
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup almond meal, or almond flour
½ cup cocoa, vegan if necessary
½ cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened
½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar, optional, omit for a less sweet cookie
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup coconut oil, warmed to a liquid or olive oil
½ cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet, or minced vegan chocolate bar

Place the unpeeled beets in a saucepan covered with water. Cut any large beets in half or quarters. Simmer until the beets can be easily stabbed with a fork. Run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle and then peel away the skins. Meanwhile, soak the dates in hot water if they are not already soft.

While the beets are cooking, in a separate bowl, toss together the rolled oats, almond meal, cocoa, coconut flakes, brown sugar (if using), baking powder and salt.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the beets in a food processor or blender with the dates, vanilla and coconut oil. Blend until it is a thick magenta puree. Fold the beet puree with the dry ingredients and chocolate chips/chunks until well combined. Dollop onto a baking sheet in 2 tablespoon mounds. Press down for a flatter cookie or leave round for a soft-centered delight.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops are dry and bottoms appear dry and have a slight color.

To add this recipe to your weekly meal plan or to have on-going access to the two recipes listed above, simply subscribe to Lilly’s Table and receive a new seasonal meal plan every Thursday.

Happy Valentine’s Day Cutie-Pies!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

PS- I WON! No, cookies were consumed during the writing and editing of this blog post. 😉

Poached Pears with Spiced Ricotta

IMG_9515With Autumn’s official arrival, some people are excited about the crispier air & the changing colors, but as always I am excited about the food. Of course, I am eyeing those winter squash and pumpkins, but at the moment I want to talk about the fruits of fall and how a ting of spice can make magic.

Lately, we have been swimming in apples. We find apple tree owners who are overwhelmed by their supply and we arrive with ladders or small children on our shoulders and lend a hand. We are always happily to adopt your fruit, by the way! Certainly, we feel we are the true benefactors as I haven’t spent a dime on apples in months. My children happily pick them up and start munching at nearly any opportunity. My one-year old isn’t even picky as he picks up apples off the floor that have previously been nibbled on, most likely by him. We certainly feel grateful for these apples. However, lately I have been dreaming about a similar fruit, but with a slightly sexier shape: the pear.

I have this vague but happy childhood memory of canned pears that my Mom would dollop with ricotta and call breakfast. I loved it! That was entirely the inspiration for this simple, yet elegant breakfast.

Poaching in juice is certainly the appropriate way to go if you will be starting your day with this dish, but if you prefer to call this dessert (or a fancy-schmany brunch?) by all means use champagne, riesling, prosecco or any drinkably delicious white wine.

When poaching fruit a low simmer is ideal, but I like to get there quickly by turning the heat high first and I keep a close eye on it. If possible, reduce the hot juice just before you see more than a couple of bubbles burst along the edges of the pan.

After the fruit is removed, blast that heat high and reduce the juice (or vino!) into the most lovely sauce.

There is really only one way to make this dish a more delightful, which is to make a farmers cheese/ricotta from scratch. Stop it. I see that eye roll! What if I told you that making the cheese is probably easier to make than these Poached Pears? Well, you might just have to stay close to this blog, because I will be posting the creamy farmers cheese recipe soon. Although, this one will get you by for a bit, too.

And now… may I introduce:

Poached Pears with Spiced Ricotta
Serves two for breakfast, or four for dessert 

2 pears, cut in half, seeds removed and peeled
2 cups pear nectar or apple juice
1 cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 whole star anise pod, or a 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ideally freshly grated off a whole nutmeg piece
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup ricotta cheese or fresh farmers cheese

Place the peeled and deseeded pears in a saucepan in an even layer. Pour the juice on top and add enough water to just barely cover the pears. Add all of the spices: ground or stick of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Bring up to a simmer over high heat. Reduce immediately to a slight simmer, cover with a lid and cook 5 minutes. Flip over the pears and continue to cook another 5-8 minutes until just barely tender.

Remove the pears, set aside to drain and cool slightly. Raise the temperature on the poaching liquid to high. Reduce for 8-12 minutes until only about 1/2 cup of syrupy liquid is remaining.

Whisk a few tablespoons of the reduced juice into the ricotta or farmers cheese. Serve the pears with the poaching liquid drizzled around and the spiced cheese filling the inside of the pear.

What fruits are you excited about this season?

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

Tortilla Egg Wraps for a quick morning

Tortilla Egg WrapPut away your knife & cutting board, pull out a pair of scissors. Grab a small jar with a lid, instead of a bowl & whisk. You need just a few more tools: a spatula, your favorite skillet, and all of the ingredients. Now, set the timer and see how quickly you can whip up this snappy little breakfast from start to finish.

With two tiny ones at home, breakfast is not only mandatory but it is full of challenges and opinions being chanted at me as I try to balance everything on my morning to do list. More and more I require my breakfasts to not need a lot of time, brainpower or my attention. We have our favorites that wax and wan throughout the month: yogurt & granola, eggs & toast, pancakes or waffles with fruit and there are plenty of variations throughout this list.

I started making this tortilla wrap when we lived in Tucson and were shamelessly blessed with the BEST TORTILLAS EVER. This speedy little dish comes together faster than fast. Although, you have no time to multitask. With a bit of focus, just minutes later, the wrap is complete and easy to tuck in a napkin to take on the go.

My other favorite part of this dish is how I can cut it up into little rounds and serve them appetizer style as we all take turns dashing in and out of the kitchen or dining room. When I need an easy, take it on the go breakfast and pronto, this always comes up.

There are a few tricks to make this recipe work. First, soft whole grain tortillas are a very, good idea. Try making these egg wraps for the first time without distractions. Basically, it is a one egg omelette with some goodies and a tortilla smashed on top. Then shimmy the whole hot thing on to a plate and start snipping greens for the next one (if you have a mini crowd as I do). Once the tortilla and filling is cool enough, quickly roll it up and slice (a serrated knife is a good idea for this task!) in small rounds or keep it in tact and just wrap it in a napkin and hand it to whomever is flying out the door.

I have made it countless times, and surprisingly, I have not of done a lot of variations so far. That being said, I am sure finely diced sweet peppers, mushrooms, or shreds of carrots could work well, but I usually just grab a fistful of easy to sauté greens and whatever melt-able cheese is handy in my fridge. And voila- all three macronutrients are tucked into this one on the go dish.

Let me know if you are planning to try this! You can do it! A speedy breakfast is just a few minutes away.

Tortilla Egg Wrap
Serves just one: multiple the ingredients as needed, but always make one at a time for personal sanity.

3 big leaves (kale, collards, spinach, chard, arugula, whatever is green and sauté-able)
1 green onion
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
1 pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, etc)
1 whole wheat tortilla

Wash and dry the greens and green onions. Place an 8-9 inch skillet over medium heat. Stack up the leaves and use kitchen shears or scissors to thinly slice into the skillet. Use the scissors for the green onions as well, discarding the hairy tips. Toss periodically as the vegetables start to cook.

Add the butter to the veggies. Place the egg in a bowl or jar with the pinch of salt. Whisk or shake the jar until it is beaten up. Pour the eggs over the veggies. Lift the pan and tilt around until the egg is thinly and evenly distributed.

Sprinkle the cheese across the top. Shake the pan and lift the edges of the eggs up. As soon as it is loosened, place the tortilla on top.

Carefully, place a plate across the skillet with your hand on top. Lift the pan and plate together. Then flip the egg and tortilla onto the plate. Slide the tortilla back into the skillet to warm briefly for just another few seconds.

Slide back on to the plate. Roll up and cut into 2-3 inch slices to be shared or just enjoy the whole wrap yourself.

Let me know below if you made it, are planning to make it or you have any questions!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

Mama has gone Coco-Nutty… Granola

Coco-Nutty low-res

My first-thing-in-the-morning routine is simple: Wake up. Brush my teeth.

When I walk out of the bathroom, my day has begun. This is often my only time alone during the day, unless my baby wakes up and insists on joining me. Regardless, if I do not brush my teeth at this time, it may never happen as I rarely sit still until bedtime, much less have time in the bathroom for such luxurious matters as teeth brushing.

So, this is how the routine started one recent morning. We have a ‘jack & jill’ cabinet that I love, because you can access it from the hallway or the bathroom. This is oh so convenient since we only have one bathroom. But this morning, as I reached in to grab my toothbrush in a groggy state with barely an eye open, suddenly there was a loud whisper and a head poking out on the other side. I did the most natural thing one does in these moments, when one is in a semi-dream like state and then woken by a total creeper:

Blood. Curdling. Scream.

Of course, the creeper was merely my husband and his attempt to keep the children asleep was foiled by me. And my damn scream.

Fast forward just an hour or so, I was still a touch shaken by my only daily little “self-care” routine being so disrupted, and I decided a shower might do the trick. I probably should have considered eating somewhere in there, but since the day began with such a rude alarm, eating did not seem plausible. The baby joined me, because otherwise he just screams and pulls the curtain back: not pleasant. My 4-year old is typically happy to have some time to just hang out alone quietly playing or drawing.

The shower was so calming and relaxing that I finally let the morning melt off me and I let go of my slight low blood sugar. Zed and I climbed out of the shower, me in my fluffy robe, him naked. Ah, here I was: finally ready for my day.

I peaked out, feeling sparkly, and called out to Juliette: “Hey sweetie!”
“Juliette”
“Juliette?”
“Juliette!?”
“Juliette Allison!?”
“Juliette Allison Steirer!?!?”

Of course, I was dashing in and out of every room gathering up more hysteria in my search. After running out to the backyard feeling rather underdressed, I decided the front yard was my only option after one last dash through my house. And who has time really to get dressed when your child is missing?! I ran out, screaming with utter franticness, wearing only a bathrobe and naked baby in tow; a complete spectacle I am sure.

I finally came to the helpless realization that yes, yes indeed the only explanation was quite terrible: she very much had to be completely lost. Gone.

Then I turned around and looked up to see my Juliette, finger in her mouth, leaning on the front door’s frame, twinkle in her eye: “Mama?!”

I am amazed at how many emotions one can feel in a single breath:
Relief.
Happiness.
Anger.
Frustration.
Elation.
Annoyance.
Gratitude.

There she stood and now what? Apparently, for me this meant scooping her up, running inside with uncontrollable sobbing, hugging and begging her to tell me where she was. She became selectively mute, other than that damn twinkle in her eye, which I can only imagine had something to do with witnessing her mother’s complete breakdown.

I deduced that she was in her bedroom during my manhunt probably tucked in her messy closet, but beyond that I am not certain as to why she did not respond back. We had a little discussion about future times when one calls her name. Anyone, but especially me. Then I decided to get rid of my morning’s low-blood sugar once and for all with my rendition of this Coco-Nutty Granola. Although, I actually didn’t follow that linked recipe or even took a peak at it while I was baking, but it seems unfair not to credit it since it has floated past my pinterest page a bazzillion times it seems. I first made this when we were on a detox, which was grain-free, vegan, no soy, etc. and so breakfasts were challenging us until I whipped up a batch of this. Now we cannot get enough of it.

As Juliette and I sat together peacefully with our bowl of goodness, drenched in freshly made coconut milk, strawberries and berries, she asked me what I was grateful for. This is a common enough question at our mealtimes, but I couldn’t respond until I ate a few more bites and felt my heart palpitations slow a bit. Finally, I looked up and said:

Juliette, I am grateful for you, darling. Always. I love you so much. But, I beg you, never do that to me again. 

_MG_6894My Seedy-Coco-Nutty Make this RIGHT NOW Granola

4 cups of your favorite nuts*: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, brazil nuts (try them all first, because our brazil nuts ended up being weird- typical I realize)
1/2 cup coconut or olive oil or your favorite oil (or even butter… oh decadence, that sounds amazing!)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
1 cup sunflower &/or pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame, chia, poppy &/or hemp seeds (I combined them all!)
1/4 cup flax meal (this helps them stick together.)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups large coconut flakes

Roughly chop your nuts. Spread on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Stir together the oil (you may need to melt it, if using coconut oil or butter), honey, apple juice, and vanilla.  Quick tip: Keep your measuring cup clean(ish) by measuring the oil first in a liquid cup, then the honey, which will slide right out of the lubricated cup and then finish with the apple or orange juice which will hopefully pick up the remaining goop. 

Drizzle the liquid mixture across the nuts and toss.

Toss all of the seeds together with the salt and sprinkle them all over the sticky nuts. Fold in the large coconut flakes. Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until they are crunchy. I make this on cool evenings, and typically turn off the oven, leaving them to dry out a bit further into sticky goodness overnight.

* Please note: I soaked my nuts overnight before making the granola, but that is entirely optional. The soaking plumped them up a bit and made me feel like I was somehow stretching this rather expensive cereal into something bigger. Again, it doesn’t make a difference, so do not sweat this step. I share that only for full disclosure.

You certainly can play around with this recipe in so many ways: add spices, longer/shorter bake time, all seeds, no seeds, dried fruit, oats, buckwheat grouts, quinoa, etc. Sky is the limit on this amazing ‘cereal’.

May your morning routines be a bit smoother than ours!

Cook seasonally. Eat consciously. Live well,

Chef Lilly

Sweet potatoes are braised in coconut milk and then finished with toasty flakes and whipped coconut cream.

Serves two-three guests 

14 ounce can coconut milk, chilled in the fridge

1 pound sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon almond extract or coconut extract

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey, more to taste if desired

If possible, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge at least 20 minutes before you start cooking. Either way, avoid shaking the can. Gently turn over the coconut milk and open up side down. Pour off the liquid into a saucepan with a lid. Place the creamy coconut topping back in the fridge.

Add the chopped sweet potatoes to the liquid coconut milk over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce to a simmer. When the sweet potatoes are tender to the touch, remove the lid and simmer off any excess liquid.

Meanwhile, place a separate skillet over medium heat and sprinkle in the coconut flakes. Shake the pan periodically until you start to see some flakes turn golden. Turn off the heat and shake to evenly toast the coconut flakes, some will be a deeper color then others.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, mash them with the coconut oil, extract, salt and half of the toasted coconut flakes. If this is for dessert, add an extra splash of maple syrup to the sweet potatoes.

In a chilled bowl, whip the coconut cream with the maple syrup until fluffy. Serve the sweet potatoes warm with the whipped coconut cream and toasted coconut flakes sprinkled on top.