Monday, July 27, 2015

review: superiority burger.

The New York dinning scene can sometimes feel like a dog with a cone on it's head.  When a restaurant is popular or the new "it" place or super cool, it is all you will read about it.  That place will appear on the blogs, it will pop-up in your Instagram, and you will feel as if you are missing out unless you visit said place right now.   

That's how I felt when I read about Superiority Burger the vegetarian/vegan 6 seat restaurant in the East Village run by Brooks Headley the former pastry chef at Del Posto.  His veggie burger has been given quite a lot of acclaim, some have even said it's the burger that could make you swear off meat. When something gets so much press and so much hype I get nervous to try it.  What if I don't think it's as good as everyone says?  Is there something wrong with me or is there something wrong with everyone else?

What I discovered is that everyone is on the same page when it comes to Superiority Burger.  This burger is awesome. Mind-blowingly awesome.  Probably one of the best things I've eaten in a long time kind of awesome. I don't know how it's made because I've had quinoa based veggie burgers before and this is nothing like any of them.  This is hefty, it's meaty, it's seared on the outside so it practically mimics the crust of a real burger.  It's magical and I want to eat it everyday.   I almost can because if you order one to go it tastes just as good the next as it does fresh (I would know because I purchased one to go).  A real burger can't do that.  

Did I mention there are also sides?  There are sides.  Seasonal sides that change based on the market. Whatever they are, order them because they will be good.  Right now there are things like green tomato and corn salad and fingerling potato coins with crushed potato chips (you can never go wrong with potato on potato). The charred broccoli salad seems to have a permanent spot on the menu and rightly so.  It's crunchy, spicy, and the perfect accouterment to a burger.  

And then there is dessert which I foolishly didn't order but was given on the house by the incredibly sweet Brooks Headley.  (I was too distracted by the burger to think about dessert which is shocking since I never forget about dessert.)  Since pastry is his forte it isn't surprising that the cream cheese gelato and apricot sorbet with graham crumbs was incredible.  Flavors rotate.  I don't think you could go wrong with any flavor.     

The hype around the burger is well deserved and too be honest it probably deserves more because it's doing something different and different should always be praised. If you go (and you better go), you will probably see me there, drinking an Arnold Palmer (one of the better one's I've had) and waiting for some burgers and sides.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

almond and sweet cherry galette.

For the better part of the last 3 weeks I've been buying at least 2 pounds of cherries (sometimes close to 3) every Thursday.  Part of the reason why I've been buying so many is because Thursdays are the day I walk by 3 different farmer's markets and I feel it's my civic duty to contribute to the bottom line of every farmstand I see. It also doesn't help that I am attracted to jewel like things and cherries fit that bill nicely.  They just keep calling me and I keep answering.  

Which means cherry desserts have been a mainstay as of late.   

I hope you don't mind.  We discussed Cherry Shortbread bars a few weeks back and now it's time to discuss this Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette which is everything. Like most people, I am obsessed with the combination of cherry and almond because it just works and trying to break up something that just works isn't something I'm willing to do.  Most galettes consist of just a layer of fruit and a crust but this one, created  by the wonderful Deb at Smitten Kitchen, is a galette that has fruit, crust, and a layer of almond filling.  That extra layer of almond filling takes the galette from run of the mill to truly special. I particularly love it because it has the elegance of a tart with the simplicity of a free-form dessert.  A win-win in my book.       

Almond and Sweet Cherry Galette
Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

For the Galette

1 Flaky All-Butter Crust (recipe below)
1/3 cup sliced, slivered, or coarsely chopped almonds, blanched if you can get them (or almond meal)
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg white
1 pound  (or a generous pound if you are anything like me) sweet cherries, any variety or a mix of varieties, pitted

To Finish

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Make pastry: The dough should be refrigerated for at least an hour before you use it in this recipe.

Make filling: Finely grind almonds and flour in a food processor (if you use almond meal, you can just use a bowl and a spoon).  Mix in sugar, butter, and extract, then egg white. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill until needed.

Prepare galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the almond filling evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Scatter the cherries on top. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit; the center will be open. Whisk egg yolk with water, brush crust with egg wash mixture and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette until the filling is puffed and the crust is golden brown, about 30 – 40 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through for even browning.  Cool, and serve.

Flaky All-Butter Crust

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 sticks unsalted butter, very cold

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — I like to use a very wide one, so I can get my hands in — whisk together 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 ½  teaspoons of sugar and a ½ teaspoon of salt. Dice one stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.

Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven; you’ll thank me later.

Glue it together: Start by drizzling 1/4 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 2 or so tablespoons of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

Pack it up: Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. I like to use the sides to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk. Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

Do ahead: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

new orleans.

This New Orleans home has me dreaming of heading South of the Mason-Dixon line again and eating beignets and drinking coffee in this utterly amazing kitchen.  

This looks like heaven.  Have you ever seen a more lush and perfect backyard?    

Image via Domaine Home.

Monday, July 20, 2015

guacamole disguised as a salad.

One of the reasons I love Instagram so much is that if you are food obsessed person (like myself), you can follow other like-minded people and become privy to a whole lot of recipe inspiration.  It's like an ever-updating magazine of what's in-season and what you should be making for dinner.   I find myself taking screenshots of people's feed multiple times a day - photo reminders of what I need to get to the kitchen and make. 

I came across a photo and a description of a salad very similar to this one last week on the feed of Ashley Rodriguez; the writer and photographer behind Not Without Salt.  The words "kind of like guacamole" got me because if there is anything I want to eat during an epic heat wave it's guacamole. But I'm an adult (I think that's what happens when you turn 30), and while a bowl of guac and an endless bag of tortilla chips sounds absurdly delightful, it doesn't really feel like a proper dinner.  But guacamole disguised as a salad?  That I can get behind.  

I threw this together based on her description and what I had on hand and the resulting salad is dreamy.  It really does taste exactly like most American's dip of choice but it's classy since it's a salad.  Served with Bourbon Sugar Steak and some homemade cornbread (recipe coming soon) and you have one perfect summer Sunday supper.

Guacamole Disguised as a Salad
Recipe based on a photo and description from Ashley Rodriguez at Not Without Salt

Serves 2

1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups mixed variety heirloom cherry tomatoes halved and/or quartered
2 tablespoons pepitas or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
Flaky sea salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for drizzling

On a large plate or platter, scatter 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes.  Sprinkle lightly with flaky salt and pepper.  Arrange the sliced avocado over the tomatoes.   Scatter the additional tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with additional flaky salt and pepper.  Scatter the pepitas/sunflower seeds, cilantro, and cumin over the tomatoes and avocados.  Drizzle the lime juice and a little olive oil over the top and then sprinkle with the lime zest.  Eat immediately.   

Saturday, July 18, 2015

smoky bbq pulled chicken.

I've been neglecting this space which makes me sad.   This doesn't mean I haven't been cooking - I've been cooking a lot (the produce is utterly outstanding this year).   Yet most of what I've been making are those thrown together meals I'm known for.  Broccoli tacos (don't knock it till you try it),  sauteed cherries (best served over ice cream or even yogurt), kale pesto (superb with fresh mozzarella and the first heirloom tomatoes of the season) and clean out the fridge pasta dishes.  Tyler refers to these as my best meals and always encourages me to share them here, but when you're rushing to get dinner together, it's not easy to keep track of how many teaspoons of ancho powder you just added to the pot.  

Which isn't to say I don't have a small pile of recipes scattered around the apartment that are begging to be made.  I finally tackled a few earlier this week.  BBQ pulled chicken has been on my mind for a while now as I keep looking for ways to feel as if I am BBQing even if I don't have access to a grill. This recipe can be made in the comforts of your own home and tastes just as good as chicken made on the grill.  I recommend  serving it on potato rolls with homemade pickles (my favorite recipe here) and a side of corn - it's outdoor cooking for the indoors.  

Smoky Pulled Barbecue Chicken
Recipe adapted (slightly) from Serious Eats 

The chicken itself is amazing.  Tender, moist, and succulent.  The sauce while good, was a little sweet for my tastes and not quite vinegary enough (though Tyler loved it).  I suggest dialing back the sugar by starting with the lesser amounts of apple juice, brown sugar, and honey.  Taste (before bringing to a boil and simmering), and add more as necessary.  If you have similar tastes to me - add some extra hot sauce and apple cider vinegar. Then slather on everything all summer long.      

For the Chicken and Rub

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 whole chicken, halved and backbones discarded or reserved for another use

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic (about 1 medium cloves)
3/4 cups ketchup
1/3 - 1/2 cup apple juice
1 -2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 -2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sandwich rolls and pickles, for serving (optional)

For the Chicken and Rub: Mix together salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Season chicken halves all over with rub and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 12 hours.

For the Sauce: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned around the edges, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup, apple juice, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Puree sauce with an immersion blender, or transfer sauce to the jar of a standard blender, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If not using right away, transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator.

Fire up smoker or grill to 225°F. Add wood chunk to smoker following manufacturer's instructions, or set wood chunk on top of embers if using a grill. Place chickens in smoker or on grill over indirect heat, and cook until breast meat registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from smoker and let chickens rest until cool enough to handle.

This can also be done in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.  Place chicken in an ovenproof dish and cook for about 1 ½ hours or until the breast meat registers 160°F on an instant read thermometer. 

Using hands or two forks, pull chicken into thin strands, discarding skin, cartilage, and excess fat.

Measure out 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce and set aside. Reheat remaining barbecue sauce in a large saucepan. Stir shredded chicken into hot barbecue sauce and cook until chicken is warmed throughout. Serve immediately on sandwich rolls with reserved barbecue sauce and pickles, if desired.

Monday, July 13, 2015


These deep green pendant lights are truly dreamy.  Especially when paired with black, white, and wood.  

Image via Pinterest