Thursday, December 22, 2016

cocoa-tahini cookies with sesame crunch.

Since purchasing Dorie's Cookies back in November, I've already made 5 different recipes from it and have earmarked at least 25 others.   

I haven't fallen this hard for a cookbook in a long time.   

Dorie's Cookies is the kind of book that every baker should have in their arsenal.  It's interesting, reliable, and quite frankly delicious.  It feels as if you have a friend in your kitchen guiding you to try new things (both flavors and techniques).  It's a cookie bible and I see myself turning to it season after season, year after year.

The first cookie I made were these Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch.   They felt like a such a modern-rift on a classic chocolate cookie (I love updated versions of classics).  The final product is a delight.  Tender, nutty, and exciting.  The pop of the sesame crunch provides the perfect textural contrast to the chocolate cookie base.   It would make the perfect addition to any holiday cookie plate though I expect these to be year-round favorites in our house.   

Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch
Recipe from Dorie's Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

For the Sesame Crunch

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup (40 grams) hulled white sesame seeds

For the Cookies

3/4 cup (102 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (28 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons; 3 ounces; 85 grams) butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/4 cup (63 grams) tahini (stir very well before measuring)
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (67 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup (170 grams) dark chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional but I recommend it)   

To Make the Crunch: Put a silicone baking mat on the counter near your stove or lightly butter the underside of a baking sheet.   Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of a small heavy skillet, drizzle over the water and place the pan over medium-high heat.   The sugar will boil and then, after 3-5 minutes, will start to change color. If during this time the sugar bubbles up the sides of the pan, wash the sides down with a brush (silicone is great here) dipped in cold water.  When about one quarter of the sugar has changed color, gently stir it with s silicone spatula or wooden spoon until you've got a fairly even pale amber color (the color of beer) - a matter of seconds not minutes.  Pour in the sesame seeds and stir to coat them evenly with caramel.   Don't worry if you see a little smoke rising from the mixture, just keep stirring until the seeds are coated.  Turn the caramelized seeds out onto the silicone mat (or baking sheet) spread them as thin as possible and allow to cool.  Finely chop the caramelize seeds (you'll have a scant 1/2 cup of crunch).  To clean your skillet, fill it with water and bring the water to a boil - the caramel will melt.   

To Make the Cookies: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.   

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, tahini, both sugars and the salt together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for a minute or so, then use a sturdy spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.   With the mixer off, add the flour mixture all at once and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are almost but not completely incorporated.  Pour in the chopped chocolate and sesame crunch and mix until the dry ingredients have disappeared.  Give the dough, which will look like frosting, a few finishing turns with the spatula.   

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out level portions of dough or use a tablespoon to get rounded spoonfuls, place the mounds of dough at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet - these are spreaders. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if using.  

Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. At 13 minutes the cookies will look unset; at 15 only the edges will be unset.  They'll both be fine, one just a little firmer then the other - your choice! (Note - I took mine out at the 13 minute mark.) Place the baking sheets on racks and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to the racks to firm and cool. Repeat with any remaining dough.     

Storing - The dough can be refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 3 days.  The cookies will keep in a container at room temperature for about 4 days.   They'll get a little firmer and sandier, but their flavor and appeal won't diminish.  Wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.   

Friday, December 9, 2016

black-bottom oatmeal pie.

It's December (when did that happen?).   We should be talking about cookies and trust me I have a lot of cookies I want to talk about but it felt cruel to not discuss this pie because it's one of the absolute best things I've made (maybe ever?).   

This my friends is the so-called Poor' Man's Version of Pecan Pie.  In my opinion, it's better then pecan pie. Maybe because I have a fondness for oats?  Maybe because I subbed the corn syrup in the original recipe with golden syrup?  Have you ever had golden syrup?  You should go to your nearest Whole Foods (that's where I found mine) and seek it out.  It's the way better version of corn syrup with a subtle caramel flavor and I am quite frankly obsessed.   Maybe I love it because there is a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache at the base of the pie which provides the perfect counterpart to the goo layer.  

Because of all those reasons I love this pie and I imagine you will too.   

Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
Recipe from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Cookbook

I dialed the brown sugar back a tiny bit to 1/2 cup (100 grams).  Your choice!


1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed


1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (115 grams) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (145 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup golden syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs

Make the pie dough: By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. If not parbaking, place in fridge until ready to fill. If parbaking, place in freezer for 20 minutes, until solid.

Par-bake the crust: [Optional, but will lead to a crispier base.] Heat oven 400°F (205°C). Line frozen crust with lightly buttered or oiled foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and let cool completely before filling.

Heat oven: (Or reduce oven heat, if you just par-baked your crust) to 350°F (175°C).

Prepare filling: Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C).

To make the black bottom, bring the cream just to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Pour in chocolate pieces and whisk until melted and smooth. Scrape the chocolate into the bottom of the cooled pie shell and spread evenly. Place in freezer while making the filling.

To make the oatmeal layer, in a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ginger, salt, and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and cider vinegar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in the cooled oats. Place chocolate-coated pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and pour filling over.

Bake: For 55 to 70 minutes, rotating 180 degrees for even color if needed halfway through. The pie is done with the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has a little give — like gelatin. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Do ahead: The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

Monday, December 5, 2016

a 2016 christmas wishlist.

The Best Garlands We’ve Ever Seen via @domainehome:

Over the last couple of weeks I debated over putting together a Christmas wishlist.  Since buying a home I've developed a strong aversion to things/stuff unless...

1 - The item is insanely practical.
2 - It literally makes my heart skip a beat.   

So needless to say, Christmas which is all about (mostly) impractical objects wrapped in shinny boxes, is leaving me feeling a wee-bit overwhelmed.   Tyler is probably thrilled to hear about this.   

Tyler and I will be gifting to each other a weekend away in January (location TBD) and will be donating to some charities that are going to be negatively impacted by the presidency of you know who (also known as the man who can't-stop-tweeting about things that should be a non-priority TO THE PRESIDENT ELECT).   

Over the last couple of months, I've kept a running list of things our new home needs so without further ado, this is all I (and our home) wants for Christmas.  

1 - A Milk Frother - I previously owned one but it saw it's demise during the great flood of 2012 (i.e. Hurricane Sandy).  I never replaced it because I thought to myself  "you don't really need this" but then when I was home for Thanksgiving my dad made me coffee with frothed milk and it was so much better then coffee without frothed milk.  So yeah, now I want one again.    

2 - A Dust Buster - Asking for this makes me feel as if I'm 50 but yes, I want a dust buster.  We don't have the need for a full-fledged vacuum since the majority of our home is hardwood, but a dust buster for sucking up dust bunnies and pet hair is something we need.  This one fits the bill nicely.   

3 - More Serving Utensils - Tyler and I hosted our first official-large scale holiday soiree this past weekend and it made me realize we could benefit from a couple of more serving utensils.  Keeping with the theme of our apartment, I want them in brass!

4 - Dusters (big and little) - Our apartment is like a dust magnet.  I'm not sure if it's due to us being on the 4th floor or something else but there is so much dust.  We've been using the Swiffer to clean but it just feels so wasteful.  A real old-fashioned duster that can be cleaned and used again and again seems like the perfect solution.   (Big duster also be found here.)

5 - An Angora Beanie - Yes, this is an expensive hat.  When I tried it on, I said to myself this is really nice but you don't really need it.  And yes, I don't really need it, but I can't stop thinking about it.  It's the first hat that I've tried on and just really loved.  The color's great, it's soft, and it actually looks good!  In the winter, you're bundled up and all anyone ever sees's is your jacket and your hat so you might as well wear a really good hat.  

6 - A Garlic Press - I love garlic but I hate mincing it.  Especially for salad dressings since it takes forever to mince it small enough that you don't feel as if you are eating pieces of raw garlic.  This press gets rave reviews from the team over at Serious Eats and for that reason I want it.   

7 - A Quartz Co. Parka - Since adopting Jackson, Tyler and I have spent a lot of time outdoors at the dog park or on walks which has made me realize I really need a nice warm jacket.  I love this one. It's warm, stylish, and Made in Canada.  It costs a lot, but its a jacket you have forever and that makes it worth it.  (Oh and my color choice?  Olive grey (size medium).)   

8 - Soom Tahini - I asked for it last year and I'm asking for it again.  It's the world's best tahini and I need more of it.

9 - A Natural Sheepskin Rug - I've been obsessed with this rug for a while since the tan color feels so different then the white rugs you see everywhere.  It would look great thrown over our chair in the living room and will make everything feel that much more cozy.   

Other random items of interest - a gift certificate for Anson Mills (so I can buy more oats), socks, and Trader Joe's chocolate covered mint faux-oreos (they are awesome). 
Image via Pinterest.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

warm hummus with spiced lamb.

I've tried to find things to make me laugh over the past couple of weeks.  John Oliver helped, so did the Biden/Obama memes that are circulating.   Hearing about all the people donating to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence's name is about as genius as it gets.  But even with all of this, the election still hurts.  I think it will for some time. 

I've also spent a lot of time in the kitchen; looking for ways to find comfort in the everyday and the things I can control.  I spotted this hummus recipe on David Lebovitz's blog and everything about it was calling to me.   Warm hummus paired with spiced and fragrant lamb eaten with toasted pita is my kind of ethnic comfort food. It's the perfect dish to be served as part of a large mezze smorgasbord which means it begs to be served at your next party.  

Warm Hummus with Spiced Lamb
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz 

The hummus should be served warm along with the spiced lamb. This is one of those places where the often-maligned microwave oven could come in handy, to rewarm it before topping it with the spiced lamb mixture. Conversely, you can warm the hummus is shallow baking dish, in a 300ºF (150ºC) oven, covered with foil for 15 minutes. 

8 ounces (225g) ground lamb

1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (110g) canned chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 cup (60ml) chickpea cooking liquid, chicken stock, or water
4 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 1/2 teaspoons harissa
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Hummus for serving (this is my go-to recipe)   
Additions: Pita or other flatbread, good feta, pickled carrots 

Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the lamb, season with the salt, and cook it, breaking it up as it cooks, until it's almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Add the allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, tomatoes and 1/4 cup (60ml) chickpea liquid. Cook until the liquids are slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the scallions and harissa and cook for another couple of minutes, until the liquid is reduced (but the meat is still very juicy) then remove from heat and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mix in the flat-leaf parsley.

Serving and storage: To serve, spoon the warm hummus onto a serving plate or bowl and use the back of a soupspoon to make a crater in the middle of it, leaving a rim. Spoon the spiced lamb into the middle of the hummus and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Both the hummus and lamb sausage can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Friday, November 11, 2016

lamb, lentil, and white bean chili.

What a week.   

I've been a ball of emotions and I imagine I will continue to be for sometime.  At this moment in time, I am most upset and appalled about the stories of outright racism that has cropped up in our country over the last 36 hours. This is not OK.  We should not be OK with this.  No one should be threatened because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or for being LGBT.  No one should be bullied or told they are less than a person because they aren't white and because they aren't born in this country.  This breaks my heart.

I started this blog almost 5 years ago because I wanted a place to share recipes for delicious food with others. At the end of the day, food brings people together.  I was raised in a family that valued the importance of sitting together and sharing a meal with one another.   At the table we talked and laughed and ate and it was a way to feel connected at the end of each day.  I think now more than ever, it's important to feel connected to one another.   To understand the point of view of others and to try and figure out how to relate to one another.   People will always have differing opinions from you but having constructive conversations, educating yourself, and finding common ground is the key.  To me, food is common ground.   

As we head into Thanksgiving and the December holidays, I'm going to use this space to include recipes that are about sharing (expect lots of cookie recipes).  Now is the time to be kind and giving.  To have an open mind and to make others feel included.  To say Thank You (Thank You Veterans for all you do).  Go out into your community, go to festivals, go to your place of worship (if you have one) and eat a meal with others.  I'm kicking things off with chili because we could all use comfort food right now (Am I right?!).   This is a riff on the classic beef chili but with lamb and lentils.   The combination of lamb, lentils, and white beans results in an earthy and filling dish that warms your belly.  I encourage you to make a pot this weekend, invite some people over, have a couple of beers, and enjoy the company of others.           

Lamb, Lentil, and White Bean Chili

Recipe adapted from the NYTimes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound ground lamb
 Kosher salt and black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced (or 2 small green bell peppers)
1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small jalapeños, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chile powder, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups cooked white beans (homemade or canned)
1 cup dried lentils
Juice of 1 lime, plus more for serving
Plain yogurt, preferably sheep’s milk or feta, for serving (or both if you are like me)
Lime wedges, for serving

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up with a fork, until well browned, 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the onion and poblano peppers. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the cilantro stems and add to the pot. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook 2 minutes. Add the chile powder, coriander and cumin, and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to turn brown.

Return the lamb to the pot. Stir in 5 cups water, the beans, lentils, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes; add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of yogurt (or some feta) and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

election thoughts. nov. 9th 2016.

Yesterday I left work early to meet Tyler so we could vote together.   For the past 10 months, our evening walks to the dog park with Jackson was an opportunity for us to discuss current events and most notably this election. Voting together felt like a culmination of those conversations.  I was euphoric about voting for the first woman president.  I was even more excited to have my husband doing the same.  That he felt confident in her abilities, her tenacity, and her knowledge to lead the country made me proud.  

And just like that, my feelings of euphoria faded.  I am currently experiencing a profound sense of sadness that I didn't think was possible.  Walking to work this morning, all of Manhattan felt like it was marching towards a funeral.  

Much like Brexit, it feels as if most of this country didn't understand that their actions - electing an arrogant, self-righteous, sexist, racist, pig would result in the financial markets tanking, the world questioning our status as superpower would happen.   Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.  It appears I am blind to the feelings of 50 million people because I think America is great. Flawed at times (but what isn't) but at the end of the day it's great and I am proud to be an American. It's a country that is ripe with opportunity if you are willing to work hard.   It's a country built on immigrants and hope. 

To think that the endorsement of almost every newspaper in this country, that winning three debates, to actually having experience in politics, and TO WINNING THE POPULAR VOTE would not make you the victor is utterly shocking.  I had to graduate college, have internship experience in finance, and pass a test to get my entry level finance job.  Here we have someone with credentials that include running a company that has lost millions of dollars and hosting a TV show as the new leader of our world.  I'm heartbroken we got here.  

The thing that continues to leave me feeling as if I need to run to the bathroom to throw-up is wondering what the next four years will look like.   We've made great strides in clean energy, monitoring carbon emissions and now we have a president who wants to get rid of the EPA.   We've made progress in LGBT rights, women's rights, gun laws, immigration, among so many other things and all of these things are in jeopardy.  It's possible Trump will piss off our allies.  That we will become an fragmented, insular, and broken country.   It leads me feeling scared in a way I never though possible.  This feels bigger then 9/11.   

My hope is that my worst fears will not be realized.  That because we are a government built on checks and balances that the scariest parts of Trump's campaign will never be realized.   I'm going to continue to wallow through the end of today and tomorrow will be a new day.  This may not be the outcome I believed we would see but it's not the end.   I will continue to fight for a country of progress and inclusion because love trumps hate. 

I told Tyler earlier today that instead of Christmas gifts, that we should donate to different organizations that are endanger due to a Trump presidency (I'm looking at you Planned Parenthood, EarthJustice, and Next Gen Climate Action).  We will continue to do our part to move America forward.   

The glass ceiling will be shattered.     #imstillwithher           

Monday, November 7, 2016

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette.

For the better part of the last week I've had an insane amount of election related anxiety.   I just want this thing to be over.  I know Hilary is a very polarizing candidate (actually I this the same could be said about the Donald) and I can understand why people may not like her - she can feel standoffish, secretive, and untrustworthy but, I feel that a lot of people treat her differently because she is a woman and that really bothers me.  As someone who works in a predominantly male-oriented field, I've observed on a first-hand basis the different standards that exist for men and women.   It's infuriating.   If Hilary was a man, so much of what has been said about her would never have been said.  She wouldn't be called nasty or angry - she would be considered passionate or a true leader.   Double standards suck.

These two candidates represent two very different paths for the future of America.  And one of those paths - the path where we close ourselves from the world, where we no longer allow people to come to our country to fulfill the American dream, the one where LGBT's have no rights, and women can't make their own decisions is in danger of becoming a reality.  I don't want that.   I don't believe that is what's best for us.   Trade is good, allowing gay's to marry is good, bringing refugees into this country is good.   Moving forward is good.  Showing the world America is a progressive leader is good.   

So tomorrow night Tyler and I are going to hunker down on the couch, watch the election coverage, eat this tart (which is fall at its finest), and (hopefully) watch history be made.  #werewithher      

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette 
Recipe from Seven Spoons

This tart is one of the best things I've made in recent history.  I served it with roast chicken and vegetables but it would also make a great side for Thanksgiving (something vegetarians would appreciate it).   

A couple of notes.  The squash, onions, and dough can be prepared a day or two before you want to serve it. Just assemble the filling and bake on the day of (thus making this the ideal party food).   You can also divide the dough in half and make two 9-inch galettes.   

For the Pastry

2½ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour, including 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour if you like, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon (2 g) table salt
16 tablespoons (227 g) or 2 sticks, unsalted butter
1/2 cup (64 g) sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt, strained
1 tablespoon (15 mL) white wine vinegar
1/3 cup (79 mL) ice water

For the Filling

2 small or 1 large butternut squash, about 21/2 pounds (1134 g)
3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil
1½ teaspoons (5 g) tsp table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
2 large sweet onions, such as Spanish or Vidalia, halved, thinly sliced in half-moons
1/4 teaspoon (1 g) sugar
1/4 teaspoon (1 g) cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional
2 cups (180 g) grated Italian Fontina cheese (or a combination of Fontina and Gruyere) 
1 teaspoon (4 g) chopped fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp (4 g) water, for glaze (optional, but makes for a croissant-looking finish)

To make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the whole sticks of butter and, using a pastry blender, break up the bits of butter until the texture is like cornmeal, with the biggest pieces the size of pebbles. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar and water, and pour this over the butter-flour mixture. Stir with a spoon or a rubber spatula until a dough forms, kneading it once or twice on the counter if needed to bring it together. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic and chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or up to two days.

To prepare squash: Peel the squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into ½-inch to ¾-inch chunks. Pour 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil into one or two smaller baking sheets, spreading it to an even slick. Lay the squash chunks on the baking sheet in one layer, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon (2 g) of the salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and roast in a 400 F oven for 30 minutes, or until squash is tender, turning the pieces occasionally so that they brown evenly. Set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.

While the squash is roasting, melt the butter and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan, and cook the onions over medium-low heat with the sugar and remaining teaspoon of salt, stirring occasionally, until soft and tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the cayenne pepper, if using.

Mix the squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

To assemble the galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 16- to 17-inch round. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the squash-and-cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a 2 to 2½-inch border. Fold the border over the squash and cheese, pleating the edge to make it fit. The centre will be open. Brush the outside of the crust with the egg-yolk wash, if using.

Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the galette from the oven, let stand for five minutes, then slide onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 hearty 12-inch galette, serving 8

Thursday, November 3, 2016

roasted broccoli and sweet potato bowl with miso-tahini dressing.

Each week I'm responsible for a lot of meals.   Ensuring two adults and one dog are fed healthy wholesome meals (with some cookies thrown in for good measure) is essentially a full time job - one that requires a lot of foresight and planning.   I've turned Sunday into a kind-of bum around the house/prepare meals for the week day. Doing so has helped alleviate some of the stress that comes from getting home from work, walking the dog, and pondering the age old question "what the heck are we going to eat for dinner?".

I've come to rely on roasted vegetables as the base for many meals throughout the week.   Combine roasted potatoes and beans and you're halfway to a breakfast taco for dinner.   Extra roasted cauliflower?  Toss it with bulger and a lemon dressing and you've got yourself a substantial salad that brings to life the flavors of the Middle-East.   But of all the roasted veggie dishes I make, my absolute favor is roasted broccoli and sweet potato with miso-tahini dressing.  It's incredibly easy, absurdly flavorful, and best of all, it's a salad that doesn't wilt which means leftovers work the next day for lunch.  How's that for winning?   

Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato Bowl with Miso-Tahini Dressing
Recipe adapted from Goop.  Dressing adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Serves 4

Rice is optional though it makes the whole thing more filling.  Any rice will do though I'm partial to sushi rice since I love sticky rice.   Also some sliced avocado up top makes for a very welcome addition.   

For the Bowl

1 cup sushi rice
1 head of broccoli (about 1.25 pounds) cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound of sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced into half inch cubes
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tablepsoons olive oil
Sesame seeds for garnish

For the Dressing

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons white miso 
2 tablespoons tahini 
1 tablespoon honey (I use Mike's Hot Honey)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sriracha

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place rice and cooking liquid in a rice cooker or on the stove. Cook according to package directions.  Set aside.

Coat one large or two smaller trays with a thin slick of olive oil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray(s) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until browning underneath. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli to the tray(s), season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly. 

While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth, scraping down sides once. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed.

Assemble bowls: Scoop some rice/grains into each, then pile on the roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Coat lightly with sesame-miso dressing and finish with toasted sesame seed duo. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Monday, October 24, 2016

carrot tahini muffins.

Tahini, much like all things Middle-Eastern is having a bit of moment and quite frankly I couldn't be happier about that.   

I love peanut butter (only chunky) so it should come as no surprise that I love tahini since it has a similar nuttiness and consistency to it.   It works exceptionally well in savory dishes (and makes for one killer salad dressing/sauce) but I've begun testing it out in more sweet applications.   Its roasted, earthy flavor works well in baked goods as it provides a nice juxtaposition to the sugar.   

These carrot tahini muffins had been on my list of "must try soon" for a couple of months now and I finally got around to them this past weekend.   This is my dream weekday morning muffin.  Filled with good for your grains, a slew of carrots, and subtly spiced with just enough glaze to make you feel as if you're indulging which makes Monday all the more bearable.   

Carrot Tahini Muffins
Recipe adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 Muffins 

For the muffins

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (30 grams) well-stirred tahini
1/2 cup (80 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk, almond milk or (nonalcoholic) apple cider
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (130 grams) whole-wheat flour 
1 cup (130 grams) spelt flour
2 cup packed coarsely grated carrots (from about 9 ounces or 5 slim carrots)

For the Glaze

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (25 grams) tahini
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk olive oil, tahini and brown sugar together in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, then buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt, then switch to a spoon or flexible spatula and stir in flours, then carrots, mixing just until combined.

Either line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with paper liners or coat them with a nonstick spray and then fill with batter.  Bake muffins for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out batter-free. Muffins should be domed and lightly golden on top. Let them cool in pan for 5 minutes on a rack before transferring them to the cooling rack to cool completely.

If you’d like to glaze your muffins, whisk powdered sugar, tahini and water together in a medium dish. Either drizzle this over the cooled muffins or dunk them into the puddle. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

yeasted apple coffee cake.

Ever since Tyler and I went apple picking last month, I've had visions of an apple coffee cake in my head.  

Not pie (because only normal people look to make pie) but apple coffee cake.

The strange thing about this vision is that I had yet to find a recipe for apple coffee cake.  I had seen pear and rhubarb but never apple and I couldn't understand why.  Please explain to me what is more fall then apples nestled between cake and streusel and drizzled with icing (best eaten while wearing plaid.)   

And then the October issue of Bon Appetit arrived and there was the recipe for apple coffee cake.  It was dreamy looking and exactly what I had in mind.   

This cake is now a favorite in our apartment as it is everything you want to eat right now.  A yeasted cake/bread hybrid with the perfect amount of tang serves as the base for freshly picked apples.  And on top?  Streusel!  Not an overwhelming amount but just enough.   And then there is the dizzle of icing which takes the whole thing over the edge in the best possible way.   

Yeasted Apple Coffee Cake
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit 

I made some changes because I felt the recipe could be more fall.   So I swapped the orange juice for apple cider, added in some additional spices, and used a little more then 2 pounds of apples because you can never have too many apples this time of year.  Also - this cake freezes brilliantly.   

For the Cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled, plus more
1 ¼-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
⅔ cup (packed) light brown sugar, divided
1 large egg, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
⅓ cup fresh apple cider 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Streusel and Assembly

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
2 pounds firm baking apples (about 4 large), halved, cored, very thinly sliced
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (or more) apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Make the Cake: Butter a 13x9" shallow baking dish. Mix yeast, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, and ¼ cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let sit until it foams, about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg and remaining brown sugar, then stir in 1 cup flour and mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Sprinkle remaining 2 cups flour over top but do not mix in. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until mixture is visibly puffed and flour has cracks in places, 60–90 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, apple cider, baking powder, and salt to mixture and mix on medium speed with dough hook until smooth, elastic, and just sticking to the sides of bowl, about 4 minutes. Add 6 Tbsp. butter in 2 additions, beating well between additions; beat until a soft, slightly glossy, sticky dough-batter hybrid forms, about 4 minutes.

Using buttered fingers, pat dough into prepared pan in an even layer, spreading to edges. Cover and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until puffed and nearly doubled in size, 60–70 minutes.

Make Streusel and Assemble: Just before dough is finished rising, preheat oven to 350°. Pulse flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of salt in a food processor a few times to combine. Add butter and process in long pulses until streusel is the consistency of moist crumbs.

Working with several slices at a time, fan out apples slightly and arrange over dough, shingling rows in different directions; sprinkle streusel over top. Bake until apples are tender and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Whisk powdered sugar, apple cider, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl, adding more apple cider by the teaspoonful as needed, until icing is very thick and smooth and falls back onto itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon. Drizzle over coffee cake.  Serve immediately.  Can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.   

Thursday, October 6, 2016

martha's mac and cheese.

I tried to start this blog post a million different ways but at the end of the day all I have to say is that this is the absolute best mac and cheese around.   With October kicking off as the month of gloom comfort food is all I want to eat.  (I'm looking at you soup, cheesy pastas, and apple crisp. )

If you scour the web, a lot of people have waxed poetic justice for this particular recipe for cheesy pasta.  I didn't need to add my name to the list, but I'm going to but it's just that insanely good.   Yes it requires you making a bechamel and buying two types of cheese but the resulting dish is the definition of comfort food.   Incredibly rich and impossibly creamy whoever you make this for will be begging for you to make it again and again.  

Martha's Mac and Cheese
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Here are my notes.  This makes an INSANE amount of mac and cheese.  Unless I'm hosting a party, I always half the recipe.   I also find in the original recipe that the ratio of sauce to pasta is high so I upped it by 1/2 a pound.  In addition I've added in some extra flavorings (hot sauce and dry mustard) because that's how Mom made it growing up.   

Serves 12 (or even 14)

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs   
6 tablespoons (unsalted) butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 
5 dashes of hot sauce
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, dry mustard, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter Panko breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.