Wednesday, March 4, 2015

oatmeal cookies.

It was only after I purchased 10 pounds of Anson Mills oats that I realized exactly how much 10 pounds of oats is.   

It is a lot of oats.  A lot, a lot of oats.  
So yeah, I own 10 pounds of oats.  I had convinced myself that I would never get sick of oatmeal, but oatmeal is one of those foods that you can get sick of rather easily (even after doctoring it up with all sorts of goodies) so after my 15th bowl, I decided it was time to finally explore the gloriousness that is the Anson Mills library of recipes and that is where I stumbled across a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.  

Oatmeal raisin cookies are completely and utterly under-appreciated.  I will be the first to say that my favorite cookie from Levain Bakery is their oatmeal raisin (I know there are chocolate chip fans out there crying) but most others don't share this sentiment.  Oatmeal cookies lack all the magical qualities that most other cookies have, namely chocolate.  This is why whenever I make an oatmeal based cookie, I always doctor it up,  Adding in chocolate and dried cherries and omitting the raisins. That resulting cookie is a crowd-pleaser.  It retains all of it's oatmeal cookie charm while being something people can't get enough of.  This particular recipe produces a cookie that is so absurdly perfect that I already have plans to make it again this weekend.  It's a cross between a cookie and granola and it's glorious.  Crisp edges give way to a perfectly soft and chewy center.   It's not cloyingly sweet and the Anson Mills oats provide a nutty flavor that most find irresistible.  Coupled with chocolate and dried cherries you have one hell of a cookie. 

(I think it may be the cookie of summer picnics which is quite an honor to be bestowed!)   

Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe adapted slightly from Anson Mills

Of course you can follow the traditional path and use raisins.  If you do, I recommend 3/4 - 1 cup of raisins depending on your raisin to cookie preference.   


7.5 ounces (1½ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour 
7.9 ounces (1½ cups) oats (and I encourage you to get Anson Mills!!)
½ teaspoon baking powder
Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
2.4 ounces (½ cup) dried cherries
¾ cup chocolate chips or chunked chocolate
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup packed) dark brown sugar
3 ounces (⅓ cup plus 4 teaspoons) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon or nutmeg into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dried cherries and chocolate chips and stir to combine, breaking up any clumps with your fingers.
  
Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat-beater attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add both sugars and beat on medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light and aerated, pausing once to scrape down the bowl, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running on low speed, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Detach the bowl from the mixer and scrape it down. Using the rubber spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until an evenly moistened dough forms.

Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop just shy of 2 inches in diameter, form sixteen 2-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. (At this point the cookies can be transferred to the fridge for up to 36 hours or to the freezer for a month.) Flatten the balls slightly with moistened palms. Bake 1 sheet at a time until golden brown on the bottoms and tops, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through. Slide the parchment sheet onto a cooling rack and let the cookies cool for 15 minutes.









Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Amazingly ecclectic.  

A little old, a little new - the new modern.  

And of course it had a rug!  Rugs in kitchens is the new normal.  

rug in the kitchen


Image via Pinterest.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

sesame-spiced turkey meatballs with chickpea salad.

In an effort to streamline weekday evenings, I've taken it upon myself to turn Sunday into a full blown day of cooking.  This usually involves a big batch of something that can be transformed into other meals throughout the week.  This concept is nothing new (I mean Rachel Ray did have an entire show about this) but it takes a lot to have the foresight to plan out a whole week. I've found it helpful - it makes me less stressed and less overwhelmed and it ensures we don't eat every night (just some nights) until 8.  

This is why I've been scouring my large inventory of recipes as of late - looking for things that can be made in big batches and transformed throughout the week.  I've been relying a lot on beans (why don't beans get the respect they deserve?!) but this past week I tried something new with these spiced turkey meatballs.  

Middle-eastern flavors are the way to my heart so the second I spotted these in my ever reliable Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I knew they had to be made.   These are easy-peasy. So easy in fact that you could make them in the middle of the week and still get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. They are chock full of flavor (so many spices!), protein-packed, and fairly healthy.  Really, what is there not to love?


Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs with Chickpea Salad
Recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Me being me (and considering I was serving this to adults), I upped all the spices (and added some new ones), I don't think Deb would mind.  

Serves 4 – 6 depending on the individuals and the appetites

For the Meatballs

1 pound ground turkey
⅔ cup fresh breadcrumbs 
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
¼ teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon Zatar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

For the Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup pitted green olives, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground sumac
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Zatar
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Olive oil

For the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with your hands. Form into 1½" balls and arrange on a baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil or nonstick spray.

Bake meatballs for 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Serve with chickpea salad.


For the chickpea salad: Combine all the salad ingredients except the olive oil in a medium bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork, leaving small bits. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine.






























Wednesday, February 25, 2015

homemade nutella (gianduja).

At the very top (if not the top) of the list of things you should never ever (under any circumstances) learn how to make homemade sits nutella.   

Making homemade nutella (also known as gianduja) is like going down a rabbit hole - you will realize rather quickly that you can never ever go back to the jarred stuff.  The jarred stuff is cloyingly sweet, it lacks the true hazlenut taste, and it just isn't really that good (Sorry, don't hate me). 

But this stuff?  This is insane with a pronounced chocolate/nut taste that the jarred stuff doesn't come close to. This is why you buy fresh bread from a reputable bakery.  This is why you make homemade crepes.  This is why you find yourself sneaking into the fridge with a spoon in one hand and a thought in your head that you will only have one more bite (such a lie).  Tyler and I have been eating it slathered on toasted sourdough bread with a thin layer of jam and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (absurdly good).  It's the kind of stuff that will get you through the rest of February and take you through March.  How can you be sad about the weather when you have homemade nutella in your life?  

Homemade Nutella Recipe (Gianduja)
Recipe via the Baking Society (From the guys at Baked Bakery in Brooklyn/TriBeca) 

This can be halved, but why would you do such a thing?   Also – my Nutella firms up quite a bit as I store it in the fridge.  To bring it back to a spreadable consistency, just nuke it for about 10 seconds.  It will return to its normal perfect state.  

6 ounces (a heaping cup) skinned hazelnuts
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chunked
8 ounces dark chocolate (in the 60% range, not higher)
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a small baking sheet and roast until toasty brown in color, about 12 minutes (I usually flip the nuts half-way through the bake time for an even roast). Allow to cool completely. Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and sprinkle with sugar. Process until a smooth, buttery paste forms, about 3+ minutes. Add the butter and process until just incorporated.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate, stirring often, in heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. After the chocolate is completely melted, whisk in the cream then the hazelnut paste. Pour into a glass jar. The gianduja will thicken as it cools.

Spread on everything.    


Monday, February 23, 2015

galley.

Hello, lover.

This is a galley kitchen done extraordinarily right.   

That floor. That stove.  Those lights.

I'm starting to realize smaller can be better.  Quality over quantity (and I will always pick quality).  

small kitchen

Image via Pinterest.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

bolognese.

I am currently a bread/carb/pasta eating machine.  

It started with the flu last week when all I could stomach was toast with butter and jam and from there it downward spiraled into an all out obsession with anything made with all-purpose flour. Sourdough bread slathered in homemade nutella and strawberry jam? GIVE ME. Bean and cheese tortillas? I'll take 5!  Pasta covered in cheese?  Two bowls please.   

I like to think I am balancing out the world that is filled with Paleo/carb-phobic eaters.   

This on-going carb obsession culminated this past Sunday with me deciding if I was going to be stuck inside all day because it was too damm cold to walk more then one city block then my god I was going to make fresh pasta with bolognese. (We are officially hibernating people!)

Fresh pasta is up there with bread warm from the oven as one of the most perfect foods.  I mean it's the definition of pure comfort food.  The kind of thing your body craves wholeheartedly this time of year.  The kind of thing you should FEED your body with this time of year.   Bathing suit season is still months away.  

This bolognese recipe is adapted slightly from one I had photo-copied from my mom.  She and I share a love of creating binders filled with recipe favorites and I stumbled across this one one of the last times I was home.  It isn't difficult in the slightest and is the perfect thing to put together on a Sunday afternoon while you are puttering around your home.  It will fill your space with a fantastic scent i.e. the perfume of Italian grandmothers and leave you with a pretty fabulous dinner.  

Bolognese
Recipe tweaked slighly from Mama

Makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta.  Pasta recipe below.

2 slices of bacon, chopped 1 small yellow onion, minced
2 small-medium sized carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound ground beef, pork, or lamb or some combination of all 3 (I did half beef and half pork)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 13.5 ounces can crushed San Marzano tomatoes 
2 cups beef or chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red or white wine
1/2 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat, combine the bacon, onion, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the bacon has rendered and the vegetables have softened and begun to lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.   Add in meat mixture, and use a spoon to break up the clumps. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the meat is well-browned and cooked through. Add a good pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of black pepper, and the wine - continue to cook until the wine has been absorbed.

Mix tomato paste with broth and add to mixture along with the can of crushed tomatoes.  Simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so or until the mixture has reduced and the meat sauce has thickened.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.   Remove from heat, add cream, and mix well.  If freezing or reheating, hold the cream until ready to serve.  

Toss with pasta and serve with lots of grated parmesan.   

Poor Man's Fresh Pasta 
Recipe from the great Lidia Bastianich

Makes about 1 pound  

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large whole eggs
¼ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons water 


Making the Dough:  Measure the flour and shake it through a sieve into a medium sized mixing bowl

Drop the eggs into a small bowl or measuring cup; beat briefly with a fork to break them up. Pour in the measured amounts of oil and water and mix well with the eggs. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Toss and mix everything with a fork until the flour is moistened and starts to clump together. 

Lightly flour with your hands, then gather the clumps-or use a flexible plastic dough scraper-and begin kneading right in the bowl, folding the ragged mass over, pushing and turning it, then folding again. Use the kneading action to clean the sides of the bowl. 

When you have formed a cohesive clump of dough, turn it out onto a small work surface lightly dusted with 1/2 teaspoon of flour and continue kneading for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny on the outside, soft throughout, and stretchy. 

Form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour. Store, very well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a day, or for a month or more in the freezer. Defrost frozen dough slowly in refrigerator, and let it return to room temperature before rolling. Defrosted dough will need a bit more flour.

Rolling the Dough: Have your dough at room temperature and cut the dough into 4 pieces.  Work with one piece at a time and keep the others covered.  Have a large trade tray or baking sheet nearby, lightly sprinkled with flour, on which to lay the dough strips. 

Turn the knob to the widest setting  - you’ll work at this setting for a while . Press the first piece of dough into a rectangle, then fold it in half, and roll it through the machine two times.  Fold the now elongated rectangle in thirds, turn the dough 90 degrees (so the fold in on the side) and roll it through. 

Catch the dough; fold it and roll it through again with the fold on the side.  Repeat the folding and rolling six more times (total of 8) to straighten and smooth the dough.  Like kneading this will make if more resilient and workable. 

Resent the roller to the very next setting (slightly narrower) or skip to the third (even narrower).  Roll your strip through, short end in first (don’t fold it again).  Let the rollers grab and move the dough – don’t push it or pull it through – and catch it on your hand as it comes out. 

Reset the machine even narrower; you should be on the third or fifth setting by now.  Pass the strip through once again; it will lengthen rapidly, and you will need to catch and support it as it comes through the rollers.  Flour the strip lightly and cut the dough in half so it becomes a more manageable size.  You should now have 2 long strips about 5 inches wide and 13ish inches in length, dust them with flour so they don’t stick.   Cut them by hand into "pappardelle" width or via the machine.  Repeat the above procedure with the remaining 3 pieces of dough.