Tuesday, November 24, 2015

pull-apart potato rolls.

In my mind, it's imperative when thinking about Thanksgiving that you also think about the day after Thanksgiving.  Some live for the day of but I personally adore the Friday after Thanksgiving.  On that day it becomes socially acceptable to eat leftover pie for breakfast and an abundance of turkey sandwiches for lunch and dinner.  It's OK to spend the day perusing Black Friday sales in the comfort of your own home while never leaving your couch (or ditching your sweatpants).  It's the best day and it involves all of my favorite things.   

The real key to the perfect Turkey Day + 1 is making sure your have really good sandwich bread on hand (and no definitive plans).  In the next couple of days I urge you to visit the best bakery you can find and seek out the best bread - preferably something soft and squishy.  If you are really smart, you'll make your own.  Something that does double duty i.e. a side on Thanksgiving and a vehicle for the best sandwich on the day after.

These pull-apart potato rolls are my dream.  Impossibly fluffy and perfectly squishy. They are the ideal bread no matter the day but they really shine when stuffed with leftover turkey, a smidge of cranberry chutney, a swipe of mayo, and a slice of aged cheddar.  Sandwich bliss.  Eat with abandon.      

Pull-Apart Potato Rolls
Recipe from Bon Appetit

Use these to make amazing leftover turkey sandwiches.

Makes 18

1 large Yukon Gold potato (about 12 ounces), scrubbed
1 cup whole milk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼-ounce envelopes active dry yeast (about 4½ teaspoons)
3 (heaping) tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
2⅔ cups (or more) bread flour
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt, plus more
Vegetable oil (for surface)

Boil potato in a small saucepan of boiling water (no need to add salt) until a paring knife passes through flesh with no resistance, 30–40 minutes; drain. When cool enough to handle, pass through ricer into a small bowl (peel won’t go through; discard).

Mix milk and ¾ cup riced potato in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment until no lumps remain. Add ½ cup butter and mix until incorporated. Switch to dough hook. Add all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar and mix on medium speed, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed, until a very wet, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes. 

Let dough rise, uncovered, in a warm spot, 30 minutes (it will have puffed slightly).

Add eggs, egg yolk, 2⅔ cups bread flour, and 1 Tbsp. salt and mix on medium-high, adding more bread flour if needed, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Brush surface of dough with butter, cover, and let rise in a warm spot 30 minutes (dough should rise 1½ times its initial size).

Turn out dough onto a lightly oiled surface and divide into 18 pieces; roll each into a ball using your palm. Brush a 13x9" baking dish with butter and place balls side by side in dish (rolls will be touching). Brush tops with more butter. Let sit, uncovered, in a warm spot 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush dough again with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack and let rolls cool in dish 10 minutes. Turn out rolls onto rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 23, 2015

dinning dreams.

I hope I someday have a dinning room so I can host my own Thanksgiving.

The below would do quite nicely.     

Chrome tubular chairs | pendant light series:

Image via Pinterest.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

butternut squash soup with coconut milk, miso, and lime.

I've been eating a lot of soup lately.  I feel like I need to make up for all of October (and let's be honest the beginning of November) where the temperatures still felt like late summer/early fall and soup was the last thing I wanted to consume.  

Global warming is throwing my food eating game off.  

But now, as Tyler declared to me this morning, it is officially fall and soup is now a part of our weekly dinner cycle.   

Squash based soups, as much as I love them, can be a little boring at times.  No one wants to feel like a 30 year old eating baby food.   So I was pleasantly surprised when perusing Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy that she suggested you stir cooked rice into your squash soup.  It provides a nice chew and a pleasant textural contrast to an otherwise simple puree.  

The base of this squash soup is all of my favorite things namely miso and ginger with a good kick of heat.  That flavor profile is warming and interesting making it perfect for cold evenings (and a great light meal before and after the big Turkey day!).  

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk, Miso, and Lime
Recipe from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Serves 4 to 6

One butternut squash weighing about 2 pounds is what’s needed here. The straight, easy-to-peel neck of the squash is cubed; the seed end is steamed and used to thicken the soup. That way, you get both a creamy texture and distinct pieces. The addition of rice makes the soup chewy and more interesting to eat in larger portions.

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons light sesame oil
1 large onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons crushed Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 cup cilantro stems or leaves, chopped, plus cilantro sprigs to finish
Sea salt
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup white or brown basmati rice
1 to 2 teaspoons coconut butter
3 tablespoons white miso

Cut the squash crosswise into 2 pieces just where the rounded (seed) end begins. Cut the rounded end in half lengthwise and start it steaming over simmering water while you go on to deal with the neck of the squash.

Peel the neck, slice it in half crosswise, then slice each half lengthwise into slabs about 3/8 inch thick. Cut the lengths into strips and then into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, squash, and ginger, stir to coat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Add the Aleppo pepper, turmeric, chopped cilantro, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the coconut milk and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, return to the seed end of the squash. As soon as it is tender, lift the pieces onto your counter, scrape out the seeds, and scoop out the flesh. Puree the flesh with 1 cup of the liquid from the soup, plus extra water (or coconut milk, if you have some on hand) if needed to achieve a good consistency. Stir the puree into the soup. Taste for salt and season with the lime juice, to taste.

To cook the rice, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring back to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook until done, about 15 minutes.

Toss the rice with the coconut butter to taste.

Just before serving, dilute the miso in little of the soup liquid, mashing it until smooth, then stir it into the soup. Heat the soup, keeping it just below a boil, then ladle it into bowls. Add a little rice to each bowl, and finish with cilantro sprigs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

crunchy peanutpepper ginger cookies.

When one works in the Financial District, you quickly discover that the food choices around you are grim.  Sure there are a couple of exciting options, but for the most part you are dealing with the same cookie cutter chains that you can find anywhere. This is why I am staunch supporter of bringing my own lunch to work.  Why pay for food when you can make it better yourself?

But lately, things have begun to change, a Le Pain Quitoden will be opening in a few weeks, we finally have a couple of passable taco options, my favorite falafel truck makes a weekly appearance across the street from our office, and Num Pang, the phenomenal Cambodian sandwich shop is now just 3 blocks away.  These changes aren't enough to stop me from bringing my lunch but I appreciate having options.   

I stopped in Num Pang last week and discovered they've expanded their menu to include salads, bowls, and cookies.  While I appreciate all of their new offerings, I was most drawn to their cookies (obviously).   In particular their peanut butter ginger cookie.  While it was passable (some may even say good), my immediate thought was I could make it better.  So on Halloween I set out to make the kind of treat an adult would appreciate.   

This is the resulting cookie.  It is in no way shape or form your traditional peanut butter cookie, but that's why I love it so much.  There are textures (crunchy nuts! candied ginger!) and there are bold flavors (cayenne!) but even with all of that, it's easy to love.   

Crunchy Peanutpepper Ginger Cookies
Recipe adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co. 

Much like oatmeal raisin cookies, I thought peanut butter cookies were the ugly stepchild of cookies. Who wants peanut butter when they can have chocolate?   Boy was I wrong.  These were gobbled up by my co-workers. Clearly they are a crowd pleaser.   

Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for pressing
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup natural, well-stirred unsweetened peanut butter
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup candied ginger, coarsely chopped

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cayenne, ground ginger, and baking soda. In a large bowl, stir the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Stir in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the peanuts and ginger.

Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place on the prepared sheets at least 2 inches apart. Using a fork dipped in sugar, gently press a crisscross pattern in the top of each cookie, flattening it out to a 2-inch circle.

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown around the edges and on the bottom about 12 minutes minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheets on the racks, then move them to the racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for 1 month.

Monday, November 9, 2015

red pepper and baked egg galettes.

The more I cook, the more I understand my style.  I love seasonal food that is full of flavor.  Sure there is something to be said for a simple baked potato with butter but I think that baked potato is made exceptionally better when you add in a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper or a dusting of smoked paprika.  Those bold flavors keep things exciting.   

Yotam Ottolenghi shares this sentiment.  It's why I own three of his cookbooks - he understands me and my need to use 10 different spices in every dish I make.  He wouldn't think I'm crazy for sprinkling zatar on just about everything instead he would encourage it.  

I've been flipping through his cookbooks a lot lately.  They've become my default starting place when it comes to figuring out what do with 4 pounds of cauliflower and leeks I couldn't leave behind.  Last weekend I bought as many red peppers as I could figuring it would probably be the last weekend for them.  I went home and roasted them and then wondered what exactly I should do with them beyond my standard roasted tomatoes + mozzarella tartines.  At that moment, I stumbled across this recipe.

This is about as simple as it gets.  It makes for a killer weekend breakfast though I would happily eat this for dinner with a peppery salad.  It's a satisfying kind of dish made all the better with the addition of (many) herbs and spices.  

Red Pepper and Baked Egg Galettes
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem 

The original recipe calls for roasting the onions and peppers together.  I took the slightly lazier approach of using my pre-roasted peppers and omitting the onions (we were short on time).  Truth be told, I think if I was to add onions in, they would be caramelized onions (because caramelized onions are the only way I will eat onions).

If you were making this as a to-go meal, I would swap the egg for some good feta.   

4 large red peppers
1 teaspoon cumin or zatar
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 tablespoons sour cream or labnah
4 large eggs or 8 tablespoons crumbled feta

Set the oven to 400 degrees.   Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast until blackened and collapsed, about 45 minutes.  Remove the peppers from the oven and place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. When cool, peel the skin off the peppers and slice then flesh into 1/2 inch wide slices.  Season the peppers with the cumin or zatar, coriander, sumac, salt, and pepper, and half the parsley and cilantro.  Set aside. (Can be done 3 days ahead.  Store the peppers in the fridge in a plastic container.)

Turn the oven up to 425. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it reaches a 12x12 inch square. Cut into four 6 inch squares. Transfer to two parchment or silpat lined baking sheets and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and spread 1 tablespoon sour cream or labnah on each of the pastry squares. Top each square with 1/4 of the pepper mixture spreading it out evenly, leaving the borders free, and leaving a shallow depression in the center for the egg, which will go in later.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the pastry begins to puff and brown. 

Remove from the oven and carefully crack in egg into the center of each galette.  Return the galette to the oven and continue to bake until the egg white is set, about 6 - 8 more minutes.  (Note - If using feta instead of egg, bake for a full 15 minutes and them sprinkle with cheese.  Continue to bake for another 3 - 5 minutes).  

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining herbs and additional salt and pepper.   Eat.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

maple poached pears.

One of my favorite Jersey City restaurants is closing and I am heart broken about it.  When Thirty Acres arrived in Jersey City (just over 3 years ago), I felt as if Jersey City had finally made it and that made me really happy. People, especially New Yorkers are scared of Jersey City. They are scared of living in a place that isn't New York.  They are scared of having to take another subway to get to the city.  When I first moved there, I was one of those people.  I thought I was better then Jersey City.  I thought living there was temporary.  And now, 8 1/2 years later, I kind of can't imagine living anywhere else.  I like the scruffiness. I like my farmers markets and my bread place and our art murals.  Sure I wish I had a fancy cheese shop but it's probably better for my wallet and stomach that I don't.

A couple of weekends ago, Tyler and I took advantage of a Thirty Acres gift certificate we had been saving and treated ourselves to the tasting menu.  As expected, the meal was phenomenal. Seasonal, exciting, and beautiful.  (I may have bought urfa chiles this week to try and recreate the sweet potato dish we had.)   But one dish stole the show and I can't stop thinking about it.   Maple poached pears with toasted hazelnuts and  a clotted-esq cream. It was a dish that I would probably never order on my own (I have the tendency to gravitate towards chocolate...) but it was dreamy. Incredibly satisfying and absurdly original (at least to me).  It was a dessert that could double as a breakfast or an afternoon snack.  And it managed to taste exactly like fall.

Thirty Acres, I'm going to miss you, but at least I can drown my sorrows in maple poached pears.

Maple Poached Pears
Recipe inspired by Thirty Acres

These would make for a phenomenal breakfast with some yogurt and granola.  I also think they would be the perfect side to a hazelnut or almond cake.   Really they are worth eating anyway you choose. 

To Note - I tweeted Thirty Acres for their recipe (because they were that unreal) and found out, they use only maple syrup and a splash of sherry vinegar (no wonder I loved them so much )which means I'll be re-making these this weekend and will report back with my updated thoughts and possibly a new recipe!

4 pears, peeled, cored, and halved
1/2 cup maple syrup (the most robust flavored one you can get - Grade A dark or a Grade B)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Optional addition - a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean halved

In a large saucepan combine the pears, maple syrup, lemon juice, any of the optional flavorings, and just enough water to cover the pears.   Bring the mixture to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the pears until they are cooked through and easily pierced with a knife about 20 - 25 minutes.

Allow the pears to cool in their liquid. When cool, remove the pears from their poaching liquid and then bring the liquid back to a boil.  Cook the liquid until the mixture has reduced by half.   

Serve the pears anyway you like but make sure you include a drizzle of the poaching liquid with it!

Pears can be stored in their liquid for up to 5 days in the fridge.