Monday, July 16, 2018

blueberry, spelt, and oat scones.

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself invited to someone's house for the weekend, I strongly suggest you bring these.   

These are not cinnamon rolls or doughnuts or the kind of thing small children beg for.  They are not coated in sugar or filled with white flour.   They are instead the kind of scone I've always wanted.  Nutty, dense, and packed full of ingreadients that leave you full but not heavy.   They still taste good on day 3 (especially if you wrap them in tin foil and reheat for about 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven).   They have seasonal fruit and almond butter and can be baked directly from the freezer which is a good thing if you find yourself getting invited to the Hamptons, Jersey Shore, or somewhere else at the very last minute.   

Blueberry, Spelt, and Oat Scones
Recipe from the Violet Bakery Cookbook

2 cups whole grain spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange zest or lemon zest
4 heaped tablespoons (about 3.5 oz.) almond butter
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To make the scones, whisk together the spelt flour, oat flour, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the agave and maple syrup, the orange juice and zest and the almond butter. Pour in the melted coconut oil and whisk together. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients along with the blueberries. Mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.

Allow the dough to rest for five minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle about 1 1/2-inch thick. Cut the rectangle into 12 triangles (I usually cut into 6 "squares" and then cut each square in half on the diagonal).  Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake the scones for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze.  They are good from the freezer and reheated. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

spicy lamb meatballs with raisin pesto.

Over the last couple of weeks we've started (once again) eating alfresco.  When you're four flights up facing a courtyard and surrounded by herbs and twinkly lights, you no longer feel as if you are in the city, it feels as if you are somewhere else.   Drinking cocktails, eating the latest farmers market offerings, and watching the sun set - it's magical. 

Dinners, as is typical of me this time of year, revolves around small plates of different things.  Fresh farmers market vegetable salads, really good cheeses, and occasionally local meat.   We recently got a phenomenal butcher in our hood and it's been fun trying their offerings (we are big fans of their cheesesteak sausages).   I love the fact that when you go in for ground meat, it has actually just been ground.  It's such a novel and old fashioned concept.   

I made these meatballs with the aforementioned freshly ground lamb and I have to say, these are just insanely good.  The meatballs are spicy and come together quickly but it's the raisin pesto that I want to eat by the spoonful.  Salty, sweet, herb-y, it pairs brilliantly with the lamb and yogurt.   This will be my Summer 2018 repeat dish.   

Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Raisin Pesto
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit 

For the Meatballs

1 large egg
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper (if using aleppo increase to 1/2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. sumac (optional)
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic 
1 lb. ground lamb

For the Pesto

1/2 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 - 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cups mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro
3 Tbsp. golden raisins
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. pomogranatte molasses
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
Black to pepper to taste

Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (for serving)

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Combine egg, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, sumac, finely chopped parsley,  oil, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into bowl. Add lamb and mix with your hands until evenly distributed.

Gently roll lamb mixture into 1½"-diameter balls (about the size of a golf ball; you should have about 20). Place on a rimmed baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Bake meatballs until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree parsley, pistachios, garlic, mint, cilantro, raisins, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper, and a 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender until smooth. Taste pesto; season with more salt if needed - if too thick, add more olive oil.

Spread yogurt over plates and divide pesto and meatballs on top. Top with sesame seeds if desired.  

Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Meatballs can be formed 2 months ahead; freeze on baking sheet until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen.

Friday, June 8, 2018

anthony bourdain. thanks for being you.

The death of Anthony Bourdain really hit me.  I ready Kitchen Confidential what feels like a decade ago (now I think about it it most definitely was a decade ago).  The book was shocking but I loved its honesty when it came to the underground world of the restaurant industry.  Anthony Bourdain was a badass, fearless, and completely unapologetic about who he was as a person and as a chef.   He was forthcoming about his struggles with drugs, alcohol, and depression and in a world where so many people try and constantly paint an unrealistically rosy picture of their life, Anthony was a breath of fresh air.  He told it like it was.   

My dad, like Anthony Bourdain, taught me to seek out off the beaten path food no matter the location.   BBQ restaurants that look like shacks on the side of a highway in Delaware, hole-in-the-wall empanada spots, BYOB fish-fry restaurants in former dark wood-paneled bars.   Anthony Bourdain made it cool to travel far and wide in search of food that told the story of a place.   He taught you to be adventurous and daring and above all to live fearlessly with an open mind and an open stomach.   I will miss him and his voice.   

Monday, June 4, 2018

strawberry-rhubarb pandowdy.

I know social media gets a lot of crap for being the worst thing that's ever happend to society - it's rotting our brains, disrupting out sleep schedule, tracking our every move, blah blah blah, but if I am being honest, I love (like really love) Instagram.  

I love Instgram for the sheer fact that it has afforded me the opportunity to discover/meet/become friendly with a whole world of really amazing cooks.  Women who are cooking the kind of food I always want to eat (i.e. in-season produce filled one pan salads and pastas, lots of fruit desserts, cookies!).  In a lot of ways Instagram has replaced my cookbooks when it comes to weeknight cooking.  I basically run through my feed and from there come-up with an off the cuff dinner plan solely based around someon

e's beautiful picture.  I'm really digging this on the fly, being inspired by whatever crosses my path kind-of cooking.  It feels really liberating.   

I got this recipe from one of those uber-talented women that I follow on Instagram.  Emily is a mom who somehow manages to get her kids to eat all sorts of really exciting foods that I am 100% sure I wouldn't have touched when I was 8 (fiddlehead ferns and rhubarb?!).  She posted this recipe and I was extremely excited about it - a cross between a cobbler and a custard but with a hilariously funny name, it's basically a dream June dessert.  I made it over Memorial Day weekend and we all loved it (I really love it for breakfast the next day).  It would be amazing come August filled with peaches.   

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pandowdy
Recipe from Emily C. at Food 52

To make the rye crust

1 cup (120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) rye flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

In a food processor, pulse flours and salt to combine. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture, then pulse until the butter is the size of large peas, about 6 to 8 short pulses. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over mixture and pulse a few times, then repeat with 1 tablespoon of water at a time, or just until small curds start to form and dough holds together when pinched with fingers. It’ll look kind of crumbly but that's okay. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand.) 

Empty dough onto clean counter or piece of wax paper. Using bench scraper, gather dough into a rough rectangular mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Starting from the farthest end, use the heel of your hand to smear about one sixth of dough against your work surface away from you. Repeat until all of your dough has been smeared. Using bench scraper, gather the dough again into a 12-inch long and 4-inch wide mound and repeat smearing of dough with heel of hand. The dough should be smooth and cohesive at this point; if not, repeat smearing process again. 

Form dough into 4 inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm about 1 hour. The smearing process creates long layers of butter in the dough, which translates to long flaky layers in the cooked crust.

To make the filling and assemble pandowdy

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled (leave small berries whole; halve any large berries)
1 pound rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca (sometimes called granulated tapioca or tapioca pearls)
Pinch of kosher salt
Finely grated zest + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 small lemon
1 large egg, separated into white and yolk (egg white lightly beaten with a fork)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 400° F. 

In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, tapioca, and pinch of salt until well integrated. 

In a 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar-tapioca mixture, lemon zest, and lemon juice. 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 12-inch round, dusting with flour as needed. (Don’t worry if your dough isn’t perfectly round.) Gently lay round of dough atop the fruit filling, tucking and folding the dough edges around the fruit, leaving a small rim that sticks up against the side of the skillet. Brush with egg white and then sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Poke a few small holes in the crust so steam can vent. 

Bake pandowdy for about 30 minutes (place a foil-lined baking sheet underneath the skillet to catch any fruit juices that spill over), then remove the skillet from oven and break the dough into large pieces with a sharp knife to “dowdy” its looks. Return to oven and bake until the crust is golden and firm and the fruit juices are bubbling up through the crust pieces, about 20 minutes longer. 

Meanwhile, whisk together the cream, egg yolk, and vanilla extract in a measuring cup with a spout. Remove the pandowdy from the oven and let the juices settle for a minute or two. Slowly begin pouring the cream mixture into each of the cuts; use the back of a spoon or a knife if needed to help with the flooding, working your way around the entire pandowdy. Some of the cream will go under the crust and much will pool on top. This is okay (and expected)! 

Return the pandowdy to the oven and bake until the cream just sets but is still a little jiggly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Even when fully cool, the pandowdy will have lots of juice, part of its charm, so serve in bowls with spoons. It's best on the day it's baked, but it's not bad at all on Day 2 straight from the fridge (breakfast, perhaps?!).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

potato pizza.

I am not much of a potato person.  To be honest, if you look at the recipe history of this blog, it's fairly devoid of potato recipes. 

To me, if I'm going to eat a starchy, carby, food, pasta will always win and for that reason, I tend to overlook potatoes.  But when the farmers market returned 2 weeks ago (hip hip hooray!) and they were selling what they referred to as "Fancy Yukon Potatoes" I felt I was doing myself a disservice by not buying them. 

I brought them home, looked at them and thought they were adorable and very fancy looking, and I had no idea what to do with them. That was until I made a lunch pitstop at Sullivan St Bakery and saw the potato pizza and realized combining your favorite thing (bread) with something you love less (potatoes) may result in a very tasty dinner.  

This is my ode to that in-between weather.   When you are aching for BBQ's but the weather isn't quite there yet so you make a pizza thats perfect for sharing with friends.   It's good with rose, it's good with beer, and it's even better the next day with an egg on it.   

Potato Pizza 
Recipe tweaked from Jim Lahey 

4 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
6 to 8 (1 kilo) small to medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
4 pieces of spring garlic, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino 
1 recipe Pizza Dough (see below)

In a medium bowl, combine the 1 quart lukewarm water with salt, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Use a mandoline or your best sharpest knife to slice the potatoes very thin (1/16 inch thick), and put the sliced directly into the salted water, which prevents oxidation and also helps soften them so they cook up nicely. Let them soak for 1 1/2 hours or up to 12 in the fridge overnight.

Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush a 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan with olive oil. Use your fingertips, oiled or dusted with flour, to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect. If holes form, just pinch them together. It’s all going to work out, promise.

Drain the potatoes in a colander and use your hands to press out as much water as possible, then pat dry on paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss the potato slices with the onion, spring garlic, parmesan and olive oil. Spread this potato mixture over your dough, going all the way to the edges so that there’s no uncovered edge; put a bit more topping around the edges of the pie, as the outside tends to cook more quickly. Usually the salt the potatoes were soaked in is enough, but you can sprinkle more on if desired.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is starting to turn golden brown and the crust is nicely bronzed underneath. Serve pizza hot or at room temperature.

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250 grams) all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) instant or active dry yeast
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2/3 cups (150 grams) room temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

Monday, April 30, 2018

paris, france.

Two-ish weeks ago I came back from a quick Paris trip with my sister.   The first time I went to Paris I was 20, a junior in college, and about 3 weeks into dating Tyler.   It was a magical first experience and my most vivid memory from that trip involves drinking champagne (though in hindsight I don't think we actually splurged on anything remotely as nice as champagne) with a handful of my good friends underneath the blinking Eiffel Tower.  I was so young and carefree and wearing a coat much to thin for the January weather.  It was great. 

This trip was different but just as memorable.   Hayley and I rented an apartment in the Marais.  We criss-crossed all across Paris walking 10 plus miles a day.   I ate some really good croissants and basically explored the city in a way I've never done before.  Most of the trips I take are to places I've never been, but there is something nice about visiting a place you've been before.  You don't need to stop and see all the major sites because you've done that.  You can instead spend your days walking down little streets and getting lost.  Stopping in stores that interest you or restaurants that seem quaint.  It's very liberating.   

So here's a list of places I visited.  I didn't hit everything but I did hit a lot of places.  I did not eat badly on this trip.  

Mokonuts - I came here for a chocolate chip cookie that was unlike any chocolate chip cookie I've ever had.  It is very much the French version of an American classic and I literally can't stop dreaming about it.  I wish I had had time to eat a full meal here.  

Septime - The one must-go on my trip.   It was a truly magical meal (4 courses and 2 glasses of wine!)   I plan on re-creating the asparagus dish with pistachio pesto and yogurt.   

Au Passage - A menu that rotates on a daily basis.   Lots of vegetables.  Casual but very French and a staff that is extraordinary friendly and accommodating.

Du Pain et Des Idees -  I could write 1000 words just about the pistachio chocolate snail but I wont (I will say I brought two back in my suitcase).   Everything (and I mean everything) is good.   Get as many things as you can and eat them outside while drinking an Americano.

Jambon Beurre - I stumbled across this one while we were walking through the Louvre area.  A very good ham and butter baguette sandwich with cornishons!  (All ham sandwiches on a baguette should include cornishons.)   

La Bourse et La Vie - Neo-bistro French food.  (It doesn't get much better then this.)  I had an incredible fish and fennel dish and text-book perfect creme caramel.  Also the restaurant is gorgeous.   
Poliane - For the most incredible apple tart you will ever (and I mean ever) have. 

Jacques Genin - Passionfruit-Mango Caramels.  I could eat 100 of them.   Buy a bunch and bring them home (they keep well in the fridge).   

And for non-food things...

Museum of Hunting and Nature which is totally absurd and also amazing.  

Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen - You have to walk through a lot of crappy vendors but once you do, you are rewarded with all sorts of beautiful antiques that you wish you could shrink down and fit in your luggage.   

Any Churches - I love old European churches.