Juniper Ridge Granola

Granola… Such an innocent little word. It conjures up images of wellness, hiking, backpacking, yoga, and hippies. I’m sure many of you already know this but it’s also a densely packed calorie BOMB. One cup of this seducitive little grain delivers between 200 and 400 calories depending on the recipe. Unless you’re planning on running a marathon that day, it’s hard to justify consuming that many empty calories/sugar/fat for breakfast. If you have the self control to measure out a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle on your yogurt, then granola is a great option but many of us don’t have that self discipline and end up eating way more calories than we want to. Personally, I’d rather save my calorie chits for my evening mezcal.

Enter my mother in law. She and her husband live 20 miles outside Santa Fe, New Mexico on nine acres, surrounded by piñons, junipers, lone buttes and the siren cry of coyotes in the evening. It’s a magical place that lends itself to trail running and fitness. My father in law loves granola, is a triathlete and therefore consumes and burns an insane number of calories a day. So rather than buy granola in the supermarket (the nearest being 30 minutes away) which is loaded with calories and also costly my MIL started making it herself. Here I’ll share her granola recipe perfected over the last decade and lovingly stripped down to a delicious, healthy, crunchy, just sweet enough version:  Continue reading (92)

City Steak, Country Steak

Summer is here and I am stewing in “outdoor grill envy”: that resentful feeling when your friends post photos of perfectly grilled steak, burgers, tuna steaks and peaches and you’re stuck in your apartment with only a broiler to cook with.

I am going to share with you two simple flank steak recipes that work just as well under the broiler as they do on an outdoor grill. So you urban dwellers: put your bathing suit on, pour yourself a glass of rosé, crank up the heat, light some citronella candles, broil this steak and pretend you’re grilling outdoors. Who cares what your neighbors think?   Continue reading (190)

Quick Spicy Pineapple Salsa

Want to spice up you sex life? I mean dinner. Make this quick spicy pineapple salsa and serve it along side your simply grilled/broiled/roasted chicken/fish/fish tacos/pork. It’s so easy, can be made a day in advance and requires nothing other than a chopping board and a knife. I buy the cubed pineapple from Whole Foods. Yes, you heard me. It’s a huge timesaver but do not use canned!

This summer when you’re sitting outside grilling, you’ll think of me.  Continue reading (459)

Turkey Bolognese

In Italian restaurants I am always tempted by those bowls full of stick to your ribs Pasta Bolognese that I see being delivered to tables around me. I don’t eat red meat often, well maybe never, so  I played around with some classic Bolognese recipes and over time came up with my version of it using ground turkey instead of beef. It’s quick, easy, yields a lot and freezes beautifully.  Continue reading (363)

Vegan (but you wouldn’t know it) Banana Bread

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a vegan but I seem to attract people who are to some degree or another. Many of my friends are devoted vegans, others just until dinner, or on mondays, or until they travel to Argentina, or vegan because that’s how they justify their french fry consumption, in other words vaguely vegan….Vague-An. Regardless of how flexible my friends are in their commitment to eliminate all animal products from their diets, I still really enjoy having a recipe in my arsenal that I can offer them when they come over or when I’m invited to their homes.

This banana bread is vegan but you wouldn’t know it. It’s so easy to make, it’s moist, chocolatey, and even the non-vegans in the group will love it. It’s free of animal products but contains (are you sitting down?) WHITE all purpose flour because whole wheat, gluten free, and sawdust flour really alter the magical texture of this recipe. Also, just how annoyingly healthy do you want to be? The secret to this banana bread’s texture: coconut oil. Oh and the (vegan) chocolate chips don’t hurt one bit.  Continue reading (487)

About Flycakes Kitchen

I was born in Argentina, spent the first ten years of my life moving around South America, and then arrived in Manhattan in the winter of 1975 to an East River that was frozen solid. Quite a shock from the balminess of Punta Del Este. I speak Spanish fluently and have a deep attachment to the foods of my childhood. Time spent sitting across my Abuela’s kitchen table watching her make apple strudel with dough so thin I could see her fingernail color, influences my cooking to this day.

I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and consider myself a loyal, empathetic, thoughtful and attentive friend. I smile a lot, laugh loudly and never forget a birthday. I love my birthday, your birthday, everyone’s birthday and expect others to celebrate their birthday and my own like we’re all still six years old. I exercise every day and consider it a non-negotiable appointment I make with myself. Thankfully, I’m married to a man who feels exactly the same way and we rely on each other to get our asses to the gym on those days when the excess of the previous night (probably mezcal) is weighing us down.

My diet is far from perfect (I have a profound love affair with m&m’s and Nestle Crunch) but I try every day to take a long term view on my life, health, diet and the choices I make. I think the recipes I share reflect that balance: healthy, nutritious and simple meals followed by a little indulgence. Until recently, I considered myself a free lance pastry chef and I still very much enjoy that work but what I’ve come to understand is that desserts and sweets are a small part of my life and more importantly mine and my family’s diet. I’ve always felt very strongly that if we’re going to eat that dessert it better be the best tasting, explode-in-your-mouth-with-flavor sweet and it should be made with the purest and wholest ingredients. Ingredients that our bodies will recognize. Bring on the butter, sugar, eggs, and flour but deliver it  in such a way that ONE serving will scratch that itch.

Our son understands the importance of being active and when you live in a city with limited access to the outdooors, encouraging your kid to move can be a challenge. Our decision to spend our summers in Vail, CO is how we compensate for a school year in the city. Does he still play video games and eat crap every once in a while? Of course! But he spends the bulk of his time running, biking swimming, hiking, and playing sports and he is very aware that crap doesn’t count as food.  I strive for balance in my life and I’m trying to teach our son to self-regulate so that he can begin to make good choices in all aspects of his life starting with understanding the difference between ice cream truck ‘ice cream’ and an artisanal batch of gelato.

Flycakes Kitchen is about living life in balance. Finding it, mantaining it, and coming back to it when we’ve lost it.

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar.

Hugs, Maria (496)

Lemony Roast Chicken On the Fly

If your family is anything like mine, when you roast a whole chicken, everyone eats the breasts, drumsticks and thighs but you’re always left with this unappealing carcass of wings and skin. Nope, I’m not going to tell you to ‘simply make chicken stock’ out of the leftovers because mine is not that kind of blog. You know, that blog that is so smug it makes you feel like a failure in the kitchen if you use (gasp) store bought broth.

My advice is simple: don’t roast a whole chicken and save yourself both the messy hassle of carving it and a lot of cooking time.

Serves 4 (three in my household)
Preheat oven to 400

4 bone in, skin on organic chicken breasts (they really are more tender and moist)
Juice of one lemon, remove pits
3 tbs EVOO or basil infused olive oil or lemon infused olive oil
3 chopped or crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dijon mustard (if you have it on hand. If not, disregard)
Herbs de provence, salt and pepper to taste

In the bottom of a roasting pan whisk together all of the ingredients and coat both sides of the chicken well. Leave the skin on, it gives the chicken so much more flavor and you can remove it before eating if you’re watching your cholesterol.

Roast until juices run clear when you pierce the breast. 35-45 minutes.

Serve with my kale salad or raw cauliflower couscous salad and you have just made a simple and delicious dinner. Be proud!

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar
Hugs,
Maria (410)

My Sweet Mama’s Lemon Cake

I loved being pregnant. I mean REALLY loved being pregnant. I was that annoying, always smiling, belly rubbing, eye roll inducing, soaking it in kind of pregnant gal. Maybe it was the three miscarriages that came before, and maybe it was that I was so completely flipping grateful that THIS WAS IT, that my life long desire to be a mother was actually going to be fulfilled.

Those 40 weeks were some of the happiest of my life despite the 17 weeks of torturous 24 hour nausea and despite the twice self administered daily heparin shots. I was high, high, high on hormone marination. And just as soon as I got pregnant, I craved lemon and completely lost my appetite for chocolate.

You know the Starbucks Lemon Loaf? The one with that little coating of hardened lemony sugar glaze? I lived for that but being the crazy vain disciplined bitch that I am, I only caved twice. Yes, twice. In 9 months! So, every time I see that lemon cake, or smell lemon it brings me back to the blissful days of incubating my little boy. This lemon cake is my mother’s recipe. It’s simple, lemony, delicious, kicks Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf’s processed ass and wait for it…it’s made entirely in the food processor.  Continue reading (250)

You’ll-never-buy-it-in-a-jar-again Tomato Sauce

As much as I love cooking, I am here to tell you that there are certain products I will NEVER make from scratch and will shamelessly continue to buy from a store because let’s face it, they are just so good. Spending hours in the kitchen replicating the original gives you bragging rights yes, but it also inspires people to want to punch your smug face and it will NOT taste better than the original.  So, peanut butter, mayonnaise, sriracha (sorry GP), Oreos, Ritz, Mallomars, Graham Crackers, flour tortillas, are perfect the way they are. Move on people.

But if there’s one product that with just a teensy bit of effort can be improved tremendously it is TOMATO SAUCE.  Now, listen readers and listen carefully. If you are having one crazy military operation kind of day and jarred tomato sauce is all you’ve got, then by all means heat that sucker up, boil some pasta and call it dinner. It certainly beats the drive thru at McDonalds or KFC. This is a no judgment zone. Continue reading (381)

Shannon’s Sesame Citrus Fish

I have a dear friend who is naturally good at everything. She casually decides to pick up a sport, say golf for example and a month later is hitting that ball like she’s been doing it her whole life.  She trains for her first marathon and has a magnificent race finishing way under 4 hours. So when she  invited us over to her house for dinner I wasn’t one bit surprised when she served an unbelievably flavorlful sesame citrus halibut and poured me an intoxicating cocktail :  The Shanny Fanny. Why the name? Because you will be flat on your ass after a just couple of these babies.

Oh and did I forget to mention that she’s 5′ 10″, has thick brown hair like Jacqueline Smith, legs as long as my whole body, can dance like a pro, is fiercely loyal, imitates people like a stand up comic and would die of embarrassment knowing that I am unabashedly singing her praises?

I know, could she be any more flipping enviable? I’m a secure woman otherwise I might just hate her a little bit. This is my love letter to you Shannon!  Continue reading (319)