Kyndra Decker not only has an eye for the gorgeous, but the talent to create it, too.
The chef, food stylist, photographer and artist develops recipes in the kitchen of her nearly 100-year-old Bloomfield Hills home that she shares with her husband, Detroit Lions’ Taylor Decker (see “Fierce” on page TK), and furry buddies Rollo and Benny.
A graduate of the Culinary School at Le Cordon Bleu, Decker created Kyndra’s Kitchen (kyndraclaire.com and @kyndraskitchen), where she posts her stunningly beautiful creations (which she photographs herself), some of which are found in Made With Love, Not Gluten (available on Amazon).
Growing up in Scottsdale, Ariz., Decker learned to cook from her mom, Cindy, and grandmother, Joyce, and she immediately fell in love with the feeling of creating tantalizing food for her friends and family. She published her book, Made With Love, after being diagnosed with a gluten allergy, wanting it to be as appealing to look at as the recipes are mouthwatering to taste.
"I never want anyone to feel the way I did, sitting in the doctor's office that day, being told I couldn't eat my favorite foods ever again,” Decker says. “Because you can. Going gluten-free does not mean you can't still eat all of your favorite treats and that is what this book is all about.”
In addition to Decker’s own love of cooking and baking, her husband, Taylor, is a fan of lighting up his backyard smoker. In the giving spirit of this holiday season, Decker shares with us two of her family’s favorite recipes.
GRASS-FED ANGUS RIBEYE WITH CHERRY BORDELAISE SAUCE
“When I made this sauce for Taylor, he said, ‘I would eat this cherry sauce off of a flipflop.’” No need!
FOR THE STEAK
2 grass-fed Angus steaks (Decker prefers ribeye)
FOR THE CHERRY BORDELAISE SAUCE
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups cherries (pitted & stemmed)
1 shallot, sliced thinly
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
½ cup red wine
2–3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon berry jam (any kind)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Let steaks rest at room temperature while you prepare the cherry sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt 1–2 tablespoons butter. Add in shallots and cook for 2–3 minutes until they are soft and just start to caramelize.
Add in the fresh thyme leaves, 2 cups cherries and ½ cup red wine. Reduce for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the 2–3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon berry jam, 1 tablespoon Dijon, 1 tablespoon honey. Stir until there are no more clumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and turn to low while you prepare the steaks.
Season one side of the steaks with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Season very well! Turn skillet on high and let it come to temp. In a cast-iron or skillet of your choice, heat 2
tablespoons of avocado oil and about 2 tablespoons butter.
Once very hot, add the steaks seasoned-side down. Do not move the steaks once placed on the skillet to avoid disrupting the crusting process. Season the other side thoroughly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook for 3 minutes. Add more butter, flip and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Tilt the pan and baste the steaks.
Using a meat thermometer, cook until the steaks reach 130 degrees F (medium rare). Adjust the cooking time to taste.
Remove from pan and let rest for a couple minutes; begin plating. Add cherry sauce over the top and enjoy!
SALTED CARAMEL APPLE COOKIE SKILLET (GLUTEN-FREE)
“One of my favorite cozy, fall-time, gluten-free treats,” Decker says.
1 cup almond flour (heaping cup)
½ tsp baking soda
Dash sea salt
½ cup softened butter
¾ cups brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans
SALTED CARAMEL TOPPING:
1 cup diced apples (about 2 apples)
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp sea salt
Your favorite salted caramel topping
1 pint your favorite ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a ⅛-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In stand mixer, combine browned butter and brown sugar. Whip until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing just until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Lastly, add the pecans.
Scoop dough out into cast-iron skillet. Gently pat down to the edges. Bake 25-35 minutes, depending on how gooey you want the center to be. Watch closely! Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
While cooling, make the salted caramel apple topping. In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced apples and let sauté for about 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes until apples are soft and syrupy.
Spoon apple mixture over cookie skillet and top with ice cream and drizzle with Salted Caramel Topping.