Three Weddings, a Trip to Germany and a Peach and Berry Pie

Fall is almost here and three weddings later, summer is beginning to wind down. Wedding number three: Germany! It’s been a while since I took a vacation overseas and this trip was much needed. Dresden, Germany is where my cousin Elliot and his beautiful wife took their vows and I was fortunate enough to be a part of the celebration. The historic city was nicknamed the Jewel Box because of its stunning rococo and baroque architecture. It was rebuilt after the bombing of WWII. Salvaging all that could be salvaged, the city was restored using parts of the original structures. I was lucky enough to wander around this magical sight and snap a few pics of giant floating bubbles, brides sawing logs and sky-scraping cathedrals. All while drinking wine in the street and snacking on some delicious German pastries.

German tradition, the bride and groom saw a log together.

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The Dresden countryside.
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Popping bubbles everywhere!
Dresden Bubble
The one that got away…
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A city fit for a king…or lots of them.
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One of many cathedrals.

Oh yeah…that peach and berry pie I mentioned? You’ll just have to wait until the next post…see ya soon! I promise.

Limon Cello Ice Cream or How to Make Lemon Dairy-Free Ice Cream

Summer is nearing the end (insert sad face here) but there is still time to create some delicious lemon treats before the leaves start falling. Recently I went to friend’s limon cello party and I was amazed to learn that all you have to do to make this Italian drink is suspend some lemons over a jar of vodka, seal, and set in a dark corner for a month. Inspired by that bitter sweet taste, I created an ice cream recipe to go with it. To learn how to make the best limon cello, click here. To make some limon cello ice cream, see below.

Limon Cello Ice Cream

2 whole lemons, boiled- save water

1 13.5 can of coconut milk chilled

1/3 cup honey room temperature

2 tablespoon vodka or lemon rum

Boil the lemons for about 1 & 1/2 hours, or until very soft. Remove from pot to cool, take out seeds. Place lemons, vodka, and 1/4 cup of lemon water (from the boil) in a blender or food processor and grind until smooth and thick consistency or until you can pour (not scoop) the mixture out of the blender. You may need to add a little more water depending on how juicy the lemons are. In a separate bowl add to the lemon puree the honey and coconut milk. Combine with a whisk or hand mixer for 3-5 minutes. Pour into ice cream maker and blend for 20-30 minutes. Grab a glass of limon cello, a spoon and enjoy! Makes about a quart.

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My Darling Clementine Cake Grain-Free, Paleo, Made With Honey

When I told my friend I made a clementine cake to bring to a party we were attending he said in a bewildered yet unconcerned voice- What’s a clementine!? The little orange fruit is a cross between an orange and a mandarine.  It’s sweeter than an orange and slightly larger than a mandarine. A beautiful marriage of the two spawned this lovely child. Which was fortunate for me when I realized they make wonderful cakes. Inspired by Nigella’s kitchen, here is a delicious and sweet unrefined paleo dessert, that also, coincidentally, has a song to go with it.

clementinecakespoonandapron 1My Darling Clementine Cake

3 clementines boiled

3 eggs room temperature

3/4 cup of honey room temperature

2 1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Fill a pot with water enough to cover three whole clementines. Bring water to a boil, add clementines. Keep covered and boil for about an hour or until soft enough for a knife to pierce the skin without causing a puncture, it should glide right through. Remove fruit from water and let cool, carefully remove the seeds. I didn’t have too much trouble with this seeing as there were only a couple seeds per fruit and they were easy to spot.

Next place the entire cooled fruit in a blender or food processor. Chop until the clementines turn to a thick orange liquid. Now, preheat oven to 375˚, butter an 8” brownie or cake pan- spring form works best. You can also bake these into muffins or ramekins for individual desserts, but the baking time will decrease.

Place dry ingredients in a bowl and sift with a whisk. Coconut and almond flours tend to get lumpy, so sifting will keep the batter from getting chunky. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, honey and add the clementine puree. With a spoon or electric hand mixer, combine the dry ingredients with wet making sure to mix thoroughly. When done mixing, place in pan and bake for about 40 minutes. If you are making muffins, 20-25 minutes should be adequate, but make sure to test batter by dipping a toothpick or fork into it and make sure it comes out clean. Add clementine slices for garnish. Eat. Enjoy. Eat again. You can also save for the next day. Its moist texture allows it to stay fresh a few days after it’s made.

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Nectarine & Honey Kale Salad With Grilled Salmon

Here is a health-conscious meal to detox from all the dessert recipes I’ve been posting. Kale is one of my favorite standbys for sides and salads. I have to admit, I’m not crazy about the bitter taste of the vegetable itself, but when prepared properly it can be a great part of healthy and tasty meal. I like this salad because the nectarine and honey pair very well with the sharp taste of the kale. This also tastes good as a left over. Use the cold salmon and break it up into the salad and brown bag it.

Nectarine and Honey Kale Salad

4 cups of kale

1 ripe nectarine

2 tablespoons of honey

4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cups of almond slivers or almond meal


Wash and then slice up the kale into salad bite-size pieces. Dice the nectarine and add to the kale. Mix together the honey, vinaigrette and olive oil, drizzle over salad. Top with almonds slivers or almond meal. The meal will change the texture of the salad. It will absorb the dressing so it might be slightly mealy. It’s a great use for leftover almond meal, but if you prefer a crunchy topping use the almond slivers instead.

Grill two salmon steaks in olive oil on both sides for about 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat in a covered skillet. Serves two healthy individuals.

How do you use your kale in meals? There are so many ways to prepare it, send me some of your ideas!


Will Eating Sweets Make You Sweeter? Air-Whipped Espresso Chip Ice Cream – Paleo Ice Cream, Dairy-Free

I’d like to think that my sweet addiction contributes to my sweet disposition. I eat, therefore I am. According this article in Science Daily, it’s true. What could make you sweeter than eating ice cream, brownies, cookies, cake…? What’s better than coming home to a cute little baby panda? Coming home to a big fat plate of dessert. I can’t help it, every where I go I see clouds of sweet ice cream, chocolate covered sneakers, dancing cookies, mountains of floating cupcakes, thunderstorms of melted chocolate, and so much more. My imaginary world of confections is my dessert heaven. Here’s a delicious sample from this fantasy land. Inspired by a recipe from Nigella’s kitchen, this espresso ice cream recipe is slightly different from the ice cream I usually make. In order to create a fluffier, lighter texture, I whipped the cream full of air. It maintains a soft texture hours after it’s been frozen. It just might be my new favorite ice cream. Just don’t eat this too close to bed time or you won’t sleep a wink.

Espresso Ice Cream 1

Air-Whipped Espresso Chip Ice Cream Dairy-Free

13.5oz whole can of coconut milk (if you want to make with dairy, substitute with 2 cups of heavy cream & 1 cup of half & half)

13.5oz fat from coconut milk- use only the fatty bit from the top. It’s easier to separate after can is refrigerated a few hours.

1/3 cup & 2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder- I use Cafe Bustelo

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup diced dark chocolate- I use Lindt 85%

Separate milk fat from one can of coconut milk, add another entire 13.5oz can. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, espresso and honey. Blend until smooth, add to the coconut milk. With a mixer (I use a handheld) at top speed, whip mixture for about 5-7 minutes. It won’t look like whipped cream, but you will start to see bubbles and it will feel lighter and fluffier. This step adds air to the cream so when the ice cream freezes overnight, it will have a lighter texture. Don’t skip the whip! Otherwise it won’t fluff. Place combination in ice cream maker for about twenty minutes and then add chocolate chips when it starts to firm. Mix for about another ten minutes. And there ya go! Serves about four…or makes about a pint and a half.

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Mango Lime Shake Made with Coconut Milk (Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Paleo)

Mango Sunset Eileen
The new bride absconds into the sunset…

Rest and recovery were much needed after spending four days in the hot and steamy south of Charleston South Carolina for a good friend’s wedding. A slower pace of life is a welcome change from living in the city, but with that slower pace comes long pauses and empty spaces to fill. Hopping from one hour to the next, we filled the spaces touring the city’s historic mansions, wading in the warm atlantic, watching frolicking dolphins, running into thunderstorms, running out of thunderstorms, eating pounds upon pounds of seafood and spending all hours of the night with the bride-to-be drinking and dancing in our bare feet.

Now I’m back in the city, savoring a few moments of some sweet silence and drinking my mango shake. New York  City is handy with its fresh fruit stands on practically every street corner and I like to take full advantage on my walk to the office. Last summer I ate a mango every morning for breakfast. Eating the messy fruit caused some sideward glances from coworkers as I attempted to quickly scarf it down while becoming covered in the orange pulp. The bold sweetness and bright flesh remind me of the lazy summer sunsets. Here’s a less sloppy way to eat, or should I say, sip all that mango goodness.

Mango Lime Shake

14oz frozen mango flesh

2 cups coconut milk, after flesh is extracted (if you use canned milk)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 lime – half for juice, half for garnish slices.

Place coconut milk, almond milk, lime juice (extracted from 1/2 lime, about two tablespoons) and frozen mango flesh in a blender. I like to use the leftover coconut milk after the fatty pulp is extracted, because I often use the actual fatty part to make ice cream. This isn’t necessary, you can use the entire can for this recipe. It will still taste delicious, but it will add on a few hundred calories. Blend all ingredients in blender until shake-like consistency.  Serve with a slice of lime for garnish. Serves about four.

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Peach & Honey Cake (Gluten Free)


nectarine and peach cake 1

Soon I’ll be boarding a flight to South Carolina to see one of my bests, Eileen, get married. It was just years ago we were carousing the streets of New York City together, seemingly with no direction, yet with such purpose. It was May and the season was just settling in with its damp heat. The longer days sported tank-tops, street fairs and pigeons.  The 9th Avenue Food Festival was in session, offering us all the grilled corn, arepas, and watermelons we could possibly consume while sitting on the stoop of whose apartment we did not know. There we sat in the afternoon sun eating our melted cheese and drinking our fresh squeezed lemonade and speaking in girl language. Which boyfriend do I keep? Which do I give away? And which will forever pull me through the tumult of unrequited love? The answers seemed so important at the time, that is until a spry pigeon swooped over my head that doubled as a toilet. As soon as it left its mark, Eileen produced a kleenex and sprang over to my side. Without hesitation she gently slid the kleenex through my soiled locks, wiping them until the golden strands emerged shiny and clean. It was from that moment I knew Eileen would make a loving wife and a caring mother. This tall redhead from Alabama really knew how to take care of sh*t, so her soon-to-be-husband better watch his. She’s a real peach, a southern act of kindness.

Peach and Honey Cake

2 cups of all purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup of honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs room temperature

1/4 stick of butter room temperature

4-5 peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350˚. Sift dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mix eggs, honey, and butter together. It’s best when the liquid ingredients are room temperature so that the honey stays soft and combines well. Once thoroughly mixed, slowly add the egg and honey mixture. Mix in the peaches, you can also use sweet nectarines. They will sink to the bottom, so I like to add a few on top as a garnish only after it has baked and cooled. Butter a 10″ cake pan and pour batter into it. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This is the first time I have used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. I made this cake three times until I got it right. The flour is a sturdy blend of ground chickpea, yuca and potato. It has a slight different taste than regular old wheat flour, but seemed to bode well with the honey for the sweet taste of this cake.

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Rosemary Yuca Cheese Rolls (Traditional Pan de Yuca) vs. The World Cup Finals (Gluten & Grain-free Free Snacks)

I’ve never been one to watch American Football and consider this a major flaw on my part, you know, being American and all. I do however enjoy football, as in soccer. Players gracefully maneuver their way up and down the field guiding the ball strategically into a goal (gracefully that is, until one player bites another).  In 2006 when Italy won the World Cup title, fans in my old neighborhood in Queens drove up and down the streets with their red, white and green flags hanging out of car windows. A cacophony  of cheers and car horns blasted through the night into the wee hours of the morning. The entire neighborhood came together in a fit of blissful victory that could only be achieved through that one moment. Traffic came to a jammed halt and a cluster of cars spewed out clouds of exhaust and waves of screams in heavy Italian accents cheered, “Victory!!!” Bystanders crowded the sidewalks in excitement and amazement. Everyone was invited to the party, participation not required,  attendance mandatory. I am excited to see what today’s 2014 World Cup final Argentina vs. Germany brings to the streets of the city and if I’ll be attending the party.

If you’re watching the match at home today here’s a simple recipe to make. I originally found these Colombian treats at one of my favorite New York City bakeries, Big Booty.  After some inspiration and much experimentation, I finally learned how to make a version of them for myself. The blend of yucca flour and cheese makes a chewy soft texture that pulls apart like a ripe slice of pie.



Cheese Rolls or Pan de Yuca

1 1/4 cups of Yuca or Tapioca flour

2 cups of grated Queso Blanco or mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs of rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 stick of butter room temperature

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large egg room temperature

Preheat oven to 450˚. Chop rosemary leaves into very fine pieces or grind using a pestle and mortar. Blend flour, salt, baking powder with a whisk. In a separate bowl, blend butter, egg and olive oil, when combined add to the flour mixture. The dough will come to a rubbery texture. Add the cheese and rosemary then knead dough until all ingredients are blended. Bake for about 10-12 minutes on parchment paper until the edges and top have a golden brown color. Makes about two dozen small rolls.

*Inspiration for this recipe came from this great site.


Good-Bye to All That: Dark Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream (Dairy-Free Version, Vegan)

As I write this, it’s been exactly one week since my friend Jessica and I sat across from each other at a cafe on Park Avenue, indulging ourselves in what would be our final meal together in New York City. We talked about our lives, which entailed unresolved romances, frequently empty bank accounts, overly crowded subway rides, and unaffordable real estate.  And we wondered, is it all worth it? With all the ugliness of the city also came beautiful experiences that were rarely captured elsewhere. For example, we were, at the moment scarfing down oysters doused in hot-sauce and lapping up as many margaritas as our bodies could handle. Happy-hour and half-off deals made these indulgences possible. We sat and chatted and laughed as strangers passed by. The evening sun reflected off of some of the most amazing architecture in the world. The city was ours in that moment. But, is all the exciting decadence worthy of  all the hardships and challenges? No, it is not, she decided before we stumbled out on to the sidewalks full-bellied and jovial. All of this is not worth all of that. And so, there I was standing on the sidewalk with a dark feeling of loneliness looming. I knew that I would soon be sending her off, back to her homeland in Canada. I congratulated her on her decision to determine that no, all the struggles in the city are not worth the random and brief satisfactory moments. It takes guts to live in this city, but it takes even more guts to leave it. I congratulated her on her decision to say good-bye, good-bye to all that. And off she went, up north. And there she is, embarking on a new life.

Upon her departure, knowing my love for creating recipes, she thoughtfully left me a book, The Flavor Thesaurus, which inspired the recipe below. It takes a while to realize that, un-like cooking, there are no rules to life and the decisions you make are ultimately your own. You can only experiment with the flavors, some good, some bad and hope that some will better suit you in the end.  You take them all, mix them together and hope for the right outcome, without actually knowing what that outcome is supposed to be.  There is no “Flavor Thesaurus” for life, so dig in. Because, what else can we do?

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Good-Bye to All That: Dark Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

3 13.5 oz cans of coconut refrigerated milk fat (or 2 1/2 cups of heavy cream)

1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or 1/2 & 1/2)

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup of diced black cherries

4 squares of chopped 85% Lindt Dark Chocolate

Separate the thick fatty portion on the top of the coconut milk. This works best when it is refrigerated for about hour or so. You can skim it off the top, it will be the solid part of the milk. In a saucepan mix together the coconut milk, honey, cocoa, vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk at a low-medium heat until thoroughly blended. Make sure it is warm, but not boiling. Honey will not mix well with chilled liquid so heating the milk is important. Since I don’t like to wait around for the liquid to chill before making the ice cream, once heated, remove from the stove ad pour into a separate bowl. Add the remaining chilled almond milk. This should set the temperature at a cool state again. Make sure the mixture is at least at room temperature and place in an ice cream maker. After about twenty minutes of churning, once the ice cream is semi solid, add the chopped cherries and chocolate chunks. Mix for another ten minutes. Scoop. Eat. Serves 4-6.

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Drunken & Virgin Horchata Made with Coconut Milk (Dairy Free & Paleo)

It’s hot and steamy here in New York City. The night is young and the humidity is high. The heat bulldozes over your senses like a thick cloud of smoked molasses infused with jalapenos. The fan in your window teases you with an unfettered breath of cool air that briefly brushes your damp skin. Your brain melts like a slice of cheese on blacktop in the sun. This, my friend is summer in the city.

Cool off with a homemade glass of iced horchata, the traditional Mexican rice, almond and cinnamon drink. There are various ways to make horchata depending on the country of origin.  This version is made with coconut milk. It’s a great use for that leftover coconut milk after making coconut milk ice cream (since only the fatty portion of the milk is used for ice cream). I make this all the time and drink it quickly. It tastes just as good without the alcohol, a perfect treat for adults and kids.

Drunken Horchata and Virgin Horchata

13 oz can refrigerated coconut milk (skim fatty top off)

1 1/2 cups of almond or rice milk (preferably unsweetened)

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

2 cinnamon sticks for garnish

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 dash of nutmeg

2 shots of whiskey or coconut rum (omit for virgin horchata)

I don’t like to use my stove in the summer, but this recipe works better when heated. In a sauce pan, heat coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and honey to a medium-high temperature. Do not boil, but make sure it’s hot enough to infuse honey and spices. Whisk mixture for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add almond milk, whiskey and ice to chill. Serves two.

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Stories and Recipes from My Unrefined Life in Sunset Park Brooklyn


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