Wednesday, August 27, 2014

i'm swooning.

Sometimes you see a picture that is EXACTLY what you have been thinking of and you begin to wonder whether someone crawled into your mind and took a picture of the thoughts inside your head.  

This is everything I want my wedding to be.  EVERYTHING.  I am swooning so hard it hurts.  

||


Image via Pinterest

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

peach shortbread.

Last night marked the start of the Lovely Lady League aka the Fantasy Football league I am part of.  If you know me, you will know I spent the majority of the college football games that I attended reading the latest fashion magazines rather then actually paying attention to what was going on.  The fact that I am part of a Fantasy Football league is as shocking to me as it probably is to you.  I still don't watch the games (I find the sport rather dull) but Fantasy Football is like a really fun game and I can always get behind really fun games.

Getting a group of girls together on a Monday night to draft their football teams means plenty of snacks will be provided.  And good snacks! Nothing like what I imagine a group of guys would put together (namely cold pizza and even colder beer). Girls bring things like kale salads, smoky eggplant dip, lots of hummus and peach shortbread bars which was part of my contribution.

Peach shortbread bars beg to be served to a crowd and this particular recipe is a real crowd-pleaser. Tender subtly sweet and barely spiced shortbread provides the perfect base for juicy-at-the-peak-of-ripeness peaches.  The whole thing is topped with some of the remaining crumbled shortbread which makes this bar like a peach crumble pie/cookie hybrid which may be the best kind of hybrid out there.  

Peach Shortbread
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

You can halve this and bake it in a 8 x 8 pan instead.  If you do halve it, you can still use the full egg or just a yolk.  

1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (12 5/8 ounces or 359 grams) cups all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tablespoons flour) (you can also do a combo of all-purpose and whole wheat like I did!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces or 227 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Keeping: I’ve kept mine in the fridge and they've held up great there since Monday. I imagine that these would freeze well, between layers of waxed paper, with the container sealed well in plastic wrap.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

apricot jam.

Currently there are 4 different types of homemade jam in our fridge (rhubarb, cherry, peach-jalapeno, and apricot) and I am scared to know how many jars of purchased jam (if I had to throw a number out there I would say 3 but who can say with any degree of certainty).

I guess we like jam?  

Jam is one of those things I kind of love to make for a couple of reasons.

1 - When you tell people you made jam then give you a head tilt and a look of confusion because no one who lives in a city with at least 4 bodegas within a 2 block radius should be making something that can be purchased so easily but I like to challenge myself.  

2 - It makes me feel like Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie.  She is my idol.  

3 - Homemade jam is infinitely better then what you can buy in the store. INFINITELY.  

The flavor of the summer is apricot because the farmers market I pass on the way to work has been selling a pound of apricots for $3 and that my friends is a steal.  Apricot jam is also the bee's knees because it pairs incredibly well with savory items (I am partial to eating it with turkey and brie) as well as sweet (like toast aka my favorite food).  I dialed back the sugar on the original recipe by a great deal because I enjoy a little bit of tart (apricots as they cook down get very tart!) and a little bit of sweet.  It allows the flavor of the fruit to really shine and isn't that the whole point of jam?

Apricot Jam
Recipe adapted from the Homesick Texan

1 pound of apricots, pits removed and quartered (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of lemon juice (about one lemon) plus zest

Place the apricots, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a pot, and add a couple of tablespoons of water.


Place a plate into the freezer.

Turn the heat to medium, and stirring every five minutes or so, let the fruit cook. It will first get juicy with the fruit intact, and then the fruit will start to disintegrate. As it cooks, there will be foam on top, but just keep stirring, don’t worry about skimming it.

After about 15 - 20 minutes the jam will be about two or three shades darker and will be smooth and thick, with a few lumps here and there. When it coats the back of a spoon, take out the plate from the freezer and place a dollop of the jam on the plate. If it runs, cook it for five more minutes and then test it again. But if becomes solid, then the jam is done.

Store jam in the fridge.  Will keep for about a month if not longer.  

Makes about one pint.





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

warm.

Casey DeBois's New York City Apartment Tour | The Everygirl

This chandelier is breathtakingly beautiful.  I love the contrast of gold, glass, wood, and leather.  It's somehow warm and sexy and the epitome of everything I am currently obsessed with.

Image via Pinterest.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

tomato galette with goat cheese and rosemary.

Somehow summer has escaped me and I can't entirely figure out how it happened.  

With 2 weeks to go until Labor Day, the boy and I decided, despite the cooler summer temperatures, that it was time to make a trip to the beach (because what's summer without at least one trip to the beach). Sandwiches were made, freshly baked cookies were packed, orange Gatorade was purchased (it's my favorite, don't judge).  We lay in the sand with books (and Kindle's) in our hands. The new fall fashion magazines were devoured and check lists were made of fall must haves (a light grey crewneck sweater and pinstripe work pants please).  The day ended with a walk down the Asbury Park boardwalk and the consumption of one too many Korean fusion tacos.  It was kind of perfect.  

I figured if I was going to embrace summer, I might as well keep it a consistent weekend theme which is how I found myself turning the most glorious heirloom cherry tomatoes into a galette.  A whole wheat crust was made.  Tomatoes both halved and quartered were tossed with olive oil, rosemary, and crumbled goat cheese and then piled into the center of the whole wheat crust.  As the galette baked, the tomatoes began to char and breakdown, their juices mingling with the rosemary and goat cheese.  And then we ate it, by the last rays of Sunday night light.  

Tomato Galette with Goat Cheese and Rosemary

1 batch of dough (recipe below)
550 grams of assorted cherry tomatoes (the more assorted the better) or about 4 cups halved and quartered
2 ounces of crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400°. 

Line a large rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine the tomatoes, goat cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Toss to combine and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Transfer it to the baking sheet.

Spread the tomatoes on top of the dough leaving a 2 inch border all around.  Fold up the edges of the dough over the filling.  

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes are burst and the pastry and browned and cooked through.  Let cool before serving.

Galette Dough
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons ice water

In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in the remaining butter until the largest pieces are the size of lima beans. Drizzle the water over the dough and stir until moistened. (Start with 3 tablespoons and add more if needed.)  Gather up the dough and knead it 2 or 3 times. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

grapefruit and dark chocolate olive oil cookies.

I know we are in the throws of summer and it seems absurd to be discussing chocolate when there is so many stone fruit options available right now (peaches! plums!), but sometimes a girl just needs some chocolate (especially when this girl is in the throws of wedding planning). So that's why these cookies came to be. 

And these cookies? These cookies are intense in the best possible way. 

(How could something involving chocolate and more chocolate be anything but intense?)

Fruity olive oil paired with grapefruit zest makes for an incredible base for a chocolate filled cookie.  The combination of coffee and olive oil and zest makes these perfectly appropriate for all of the adults in your life (though I would be hard pressed to imagine I child would spit one of these out). The chocolate chips provide a nice amount of textural contrast to the soft (veering on under-baked in the best possible way) cookie.  And the sprinkle of sea salt?  Well a sprinkle of flaky sea salt is always a good idea when dealing with chocolate.  



Grapefruit and Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies
Recipe adapted from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Makes 16-18 cookies

Grated zest of one medium grapefruit or orange
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon hot brewed coffee (or hot water)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 room temperature eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rye or whole wheat flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips
Sea salt; for garnish

In stand mixer bowl, combine grapefruit or orange zest and sugar; use your fingertips to rub zest into sugar until moist and aromatic - set bowl aside for a few minutes.

In a separate small bowl, combine the baking soda and hot coffee. Mix soda into coffee until dissolved; set aside.  

Add olive oil to grapefruit or orange-sugar mixture. With the paddle attachment, beat on med-high speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for about one minute after each addition. Add flour, cocoa, and salt; beat on med-low speed until dough thickens (it should have the consistency of a loose brownie batter).

Add baking soda-coffee mixture and vanilla extract. Beat on med-high speed until combined. Switch to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon and stir in chocolate chips. 

Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours (or overnight).   After allowing the dough to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours, measure out the dough into heaping tablespoons and place on a baking sheet.  Allow the un-baked dough to continue to chill, covered, in the fridge overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Arrange cookies on prepared sheet, allowing for about 2-inches of space between each one. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set.

Remove sheets from oven and cool completely before transferring cookies to cooling rack.