Lavender, mint, beet powder cupcakes with kefir frosting

 

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I recently read that cupcakes are still in, and I thought it was a crazy thing to read because cake in any form should always just be, cake is beyond “in”, cake is it’s own world, it’s own entity and to say any form of cake, whether in pound, round, square, small, cup, or otherwise is in or out is to degrade the thing that is cake. So, I’m posting this recipe, but not in response to the thing I read, because I don’t want to acknowledge cake speculation and trending, but just because these cupcakes are important to me. They are important to me because they are pretty and easy and absurdly delicious in all the right ways.

These cupcakes are quick and a totally successful first use of my beet powder. The lavender and mint combination is perfection I think, I mean just being able to smell mint and lavender before biting into a cupcake makes everything feel more okay. I first made them without mint and without beetroot, but the incorporation of these two ingredients made them both incomparably tastier and prettier. Oh, and the kefir! It just so slightly offsets the sweetness, and adds dimension and complexity, the way kefir should.

Cupcakes:

1/2 cup coconut oil melted
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp plain whole milk kefir
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut flour

Oven 350
1. Whisk coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, kefir, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl
2. Mix coconut flour and baking powder, then whisk into the egg-sugar mix
3. Line a cupcake tray, and bake for around 15 minutes.
4. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
1-2 tsp lavender buds
3-4 tbsp kefir
1 Tbsp beet powder
1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (add more/less as needed)
Mint leaves

1. Whisk together the lavender buds and kefir; place in the fridge while the cupcakes cool.
2. Add the beet powder and powdered sugar. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar or more kefir.
3. Frost the cooled cupcakes, garnish with mint.

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Acorn Squash Mac n’ Cheese + Manchego + Kale + Garlic

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Of all the usual ingredients for mac n’ cheese, the only thing I really had was pasta. I was out of cream and gruyere, and I had no bread crumbs. So this came together and it was by far the best mac n’ cheese dish I’ve made. The squash gives it a sweetness and richness, so you don’t need as much cheese and cream. The spices are important, the lavender is just hint of floral, and the cayenne balances out the sweetness. You can use any type of squash or cheese, and mix up the veggies on top. This is the perfect dish after spending the day playing in the snow.

Acorn Squash Mac n’ Cheese + Manchego + Kale + Garlic

1 acorn squash, roasted
1 box quinoa blend organic mac n’ cheese pasta (Ancient Harvest)
¾ cup milk
¼ cup parmesan cheese, cut into chunks
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp Teton View Lavender Farm Santa Fe Lavender Spice
1 tsp Teton View Lavender Farm Herbes de Provence
½ tsp cayenne
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large leafy pieces of kale, stems removed, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Lemon juice

Method: 

Oven 400. Cut the acorn squash in half and face flesh side down in a baking pan filled with ½ inch of water. Roast until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the squash and let it cool before handling.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in sea salted water.
Remove the seeds from the squash and scrape the soft cooked insides into a blender. Add the milk and blend until smooth. Add this mix to a small saucepan on medium heat. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring, and add the spices and salt. Mix the cooked pasta into the sauce and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Turn the heat off.
In a separate skillet, heat the butter. Add the garlic and kale and squeeze some lemon juice on top, cover and sauté for five minutes on medium-high heat.
Place another ½ tbsp of butter in a small skillet, and heat in the oven for a few minutes, until the butter is melted. Spoon the mac n’ cheese mix into the skillet, and top with the garlic-kale mix, a few thinly sliced pieces of manchego, and a grind of sea salt and pepper. Cook until the kale is slightly crisped, about 10-15 minutes.