Tuesday, April 22, 2014

merida, mexico.

It's only once I leave New York, the land of black overcoats and black jeans that I remember how much I love color.  























Mexico is so full of color and patterns and light.  The vibrancy kills me.  Tyler and I keep contemplating about which of the 517 dilapidated casa's and hacienda's that we pass on every walk should we buy.  We would fix it up and make it our winter retreat.  We would hide out during the month of February eating avocado, papaya, and limes.  We would drink tequilla on the rocks.  We would gorge on tacos and pizza (because apparently Merida has a big Italian influence. All my favorite foods in one place.  This is paradise.) 










This place is so beautiful it hurts.  It's also serves as a reminder of the wealth and riches that used to reside here. Now it's nothing more then the bones of it's former glory.  If I had millions and billions I would return this city to it's former state.  I would make it a place people seek out.  A place people see people pictures of feel a sense of awe and wonderment.  














So. Much. Color. So much to love.



Monday, April 21, 2014

english muffin bread.

























This my friends is English muffin bread/toast which if you ask me is the greatest thing since well, regular toast. I didn't know such a thing existed until recently and now I can't imagine breakfast without it.

The name describes this loaf fairly accurately. When sliced and cooked it looks just like ordinary toast but after one bite it reveals it's true identity and that is toast with the flavor profile of an English muffin (without the hassle of making individual English muffins). The nooks and crannies make for an excellent vessel for hiding salted butter and jam which is my preferred way of eating it. Especially when served with a cappuccino and the Sunday New York Times.


English Muffin Bread 
Recipe from Lootie and Doof

Makes 2 Loaves

Cornmeal
5 cups (27 1/2 ounces) bread flour
4 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt (fine/table salt)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups whole milk, heated to 120°F

Grease two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans and dust with the cornmeal. Combine the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Stir in the hot milk until thoroughly combined. Cover dough with greased plastic wrap (so it doesn't stick to top of dough) and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes, or until dough is bubbly and has doubled in size.

Stir dough to deflate and divide between prepared loaf pans, pushing into corners with greased rubber spatula. (Pans should be about two-thirds full.) Cover pans with greased plastic and let dough rise in warm place until it reaches edge of pans, about 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°F.

Discard plastic and transfer pans to oven. Bake until bread is well browned and registers 200°F, about 30 minutes, rotating and switching pans halfway through baking. Turn bread out onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Slice, toast, and serve.

Note: You can, of course, cut the recipe in half if you only want one loaf. It is worth stressing that this bread must be toasted. It is not worth eating if it is not toasted, much like an English muffin.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

coconut macaroons. (for passover!)

























While I do not celebrate Passover, I can get behind the Passover related foods.  I have a slight obsession with matzo slathered in peanut butter.  I also adore a good Tex-Mex matzo brei scramble (don't knock it 'till you try it) and let's not forget chocolate-toffee matzo bark! But what I really love is macaroons.  Coconut macaroons dipped in deep dark chocolate (without a trace of flour!).  They are divine.  

I already had a coconut macaroon recipe and while I love it I find it to be a little well, finicky (stirring for 10 minutes straight starts to verge into arm work-out territory).  This one!  This one is so easy-peasy you could give the recipe to a small child and they would be able to give back to you a tray of perfect cookies.  While these are perfect for Passover, I think they would also be a pretty great addition to your upcoming Easter celebration.  Or really any random Tuesday that you deem a celebration.  

(Sorry for the lack of pictures.  Everyone ate them and all I was able to save was one!  I think that means they were good.)  

Coconut Macaroons
Recipe adapted from Leite's Culinaria

The only change I made to the recipe was the sugar.  The original recipe call for 2 CUPS which seemed ungodly high to me.  I cut it in half and the results are awesome.  Sweet but not cloyingly so.  

Makes about 48 cookies

8 lightly packed cups sweetened flaked coconut (two 14-ounce bags)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large whites)
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups dark chocolate (chopped if a bar or chips)

Position an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350˚F (176˚C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the coconut and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg whites and almond extract and mix by hand until the coconut is completely moistened.



Use a small ice cream scoop or a spoon to form the macaroons, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place them on the prepared sheets, leaving about 1 inch between the macaroons to allow for spreading. Slightly flatten each macaroon with the palm of your hand.

Bake the macaroons, 1 sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden. (If you prefer your macaroons with an exceptionally crisp, browned outside in contrast to the moist, pale inside, bake for up to 18 minutes.) Cool the macaroons completely on wire racks.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), put the chocolate in the bowl, and let it melt, stirring occasionally. The end result ought to be exceptionally smooth.  (You can also do this in the microwave.  Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 15 second intervals.  Stir every 15 seconds.  Repeat until melted and smooth.)

Dip the cooled macaroons into the chocolate, coating each halfway, and place the dipped macaroons back on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Let the chocolate set. Store the macaroons in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. (Hah! As if they’ll last….)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

flowers.

Between the onslaught of spring, wedding planning, and our impending trip to Mexico, I've got bold colorful flowers on the brain.  

beautiful cake!ombre it up!
Mexican centre piecegold dippedFlowers by Sachi Roseblack, gold, and pink.



All images via Pinterest.

Monday, April 14, 2014

pizza (roberta's version).

























Based on the fact that I have spent the better part of the last week debating the merits of serving pizza in some form at our impending nuptials, it's safe to safe I am a pizzaholic.  There is no food more perfect then a slice of pizza.  If you beg to differ with me then I doubt we are friends.  

Last week when the NYTimes ran an article about making pizza at home along with a recipe for Roberta's pizza, I knew it was time for me to test a new dough recipe.  Pizza dough recipes are kind of like chocolate chip cookies or jeans or even white tee-shirts, there are a million different versions and you will spend your entire life looking for the perfect one.  At least that's how I see myself spending my life. Searching for the perfect pizza recipe, one that tastes like a cross between Paulie Gee's and my Mom's.  The only way I will find such a recipe is if I sell my soul to the devil. 

The Roberta's pizza dough is pretty darn awesome and pretty absurdly easy so no complaining you can't make homemade pizza.  It's chewy with a good flavorful bite and the perfect base for a multitude of toppings.  But before you get crazy with ramps, mushrooms, and asparagus, try your hand at a simple Pizza Margherita because sometimes simple is best.  






















Roberta’s Pizza Dough
Recipe via the NYTimes

Makes 2 12-inch Pizzas
Time: 20 minutes plus at least 3 hours' rising

153 grams 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)
8 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams (about 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, approximately 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

Knead rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 36 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. Top and bake (See below for topping the pizza).

NOTE: Measurements for dry ingredients are given by weight for greater accuracy. The equivalent measurements by volume are approximate.

Pizza Margherita
Recipe adapted from NYTimes

2 12-inch rounds of pizza dough, stretched (see above dough recipe)
½ cup tomato sauce, divided in half
6 ounces fresh mozzarella
8 basil leaves, roughly torn (optional)
Red pepper flakes and grated parmesan for serving (optional)

Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of your oven and turn heat to its highest setting. Let it heat for at least an hour.

Put half the sauce in the center of the stretched dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly across the surface, stopping approximately 1/2 inch from the edges.

Break half the cheese into large pieces (or thinly slice it) and place gently on the sauce. Scatter basil leaves over the top (if using).

Using a pizza peel, pick up the pie and slide it onto the heated stone or tiles in the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, approximately 4 to 8 minutes.  (NOTE: If you do not have a pizza peel you can stretch the dough to the size ahead of time.  Then when ready to bake, quickly remove the pizza stone from the oven and place the stretched dough on top.  Working quickly, top with sauces and cheese then put the pizza back in the oven.) 

When the pizza is cooked, remove from the oven and top with crushed red pepper and parmesan.  





Thursday, April 10, 2014

unexpected.

There is something wonderful about the unexpected and the juxtaposition of old and new.  

Keeping things interesting is a very good thing.  

-\





Image via Pinterest.