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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

This is my current go-to salad and I make it almost once a week. I'm sorry to my friends for the lack of diversity recently. But its so good!! Its crunchy and salty and tart and sweet. It's a winner. Try it out!

1 head lacinato kale
10-12 brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
handful of dried cranberries
2-inch cube of parmesan, grated

1 small garlic clove, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash, de-spine, and shred the kale and place in a large bowl. Trim the brussels sprouts, halve them, then shave them (cut thinly) and add them to the same bowl. Top with pine nuts, cranberries, and parmesan.

Mix together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and sugar in a jar. Add olive oil until its about equal parts above mixture and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, shake vigorously and taste for seasonings. Pour the dressing on the salad, mix well, and serve.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Butterscotch Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookies

These are my new favorite cookie. They are sweet and salty and the browned butter gives them a nice nuttiness. Crowd pleaser. Adapted slightly from Two Peas and Their Pod. Makes ~12-15 cookies.

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup (heaping) butterscotch chips

First, brown the butter in a medium shallow pan over medium-low heat, continually stirring/scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula. The butter will melt, then bubble and foam, then settle down and you'll notice brown bits beginning to come from the bottom of the pan and the butter will smell nutty and be amber colored. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to cool for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set side.

When ready, add both sugars and the browned butter to an electric mixer and beat together on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another minute. On low speed add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Add the oats and butterscotch chips and stir into the dough with a spoon.

Roll dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls and slightly flatten in your palm before placing on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Grandma's Vegetable Soup

My friend Sarah and I have been buddies for decades, growing up together in North Carolina, and both ending up in New York City years later. She recently left New York and moved to San Francisco to start a new adventure, get re-inspired, and make more art (check out her stuff here!). I miss her.

But when we both were in NYC we would get together for dinners, sometimes out at restaurants, but often at her apartment catching up over a good warm meal and bottle of wine. One night she made me this vegetable soup-- her Grandma's recipe-- and I've been in love with it ever since. Each time I make it I add or try something new and over the past few years have adapted it a bit, primarily making it less vegetarian (i.e., NOT vegetarian). Isn't it better to start every soup with bacon fat??? If you disagree, this can easily be made deliciously vegetarian by subbing the bacon fat with butter/olive oil and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It is filling, satisfying, healthy. A perfect lunch or dinner.

3 pieces of bacon
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1 large (28 oz) and 1 small (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth plus 2 cups water
2 red potatoes, chopped
1 cup canned (rinsed) red kidney beans
4 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
green beans, 1-inch chop
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped florets
a handful of fresh dill, chopped
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in the bottom of a large soup pot and cook until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and eat it (you just need the fat for the soup). Add a tablespoon or two of butter, along with the onion and fennel and cook, stirring regularly until softened. Add the flour and stir constantly for approximately 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes (with juice from the can) and the chicken broth and water and bring to a low boil. Add the potatoes and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the kidney beans and the celery, and continue simmering for a few minutes. Add the carrots and green beans and cook until all vegetables are cooked through.

Lastly, add the broccoli, dill, red pepper flakes (to taste), and salt and pepper. Don't be afraid to season liberally with the herbs and seasonings! Serve with parmesan toast.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

My mom has been making this cake for decades, usually in the fall or winter, often for Rosh Hashanah or Hanukkah. It is a great cake to make for a holiday or for any dinner party, since its so simple and quick to make and feeds 8-10 very happy people. People love this cake. The applesauce makes the cake incredibly moist and the cinnamon spice makes it warm and satisfying. No frosting needed, just a simple dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream and you're good to go. It also doubles as an wonderful breakfast with tea or coffee the next morning, which is how I prefer the leftovers. Adapted, ever so slightly, from Maida Heatter's recipe.

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons cinnamon
7 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour a bundt pan. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder).

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. 

Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate the dry ingredients with the applesauce in two batches, mixing as you add, just until incorporated (dry, wet, dry, wet, dry). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, just until a knife or toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake when tested. 

Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, invert the cake onto a large plate, and cut slices and serve. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

I made this recipe for the first time a few months ago and it instantly became my new favorite one-bowl dinner.  I've made it for friends and also a few times for a weeknight dinner for two. Also, its pretty rare that I gush about a vegetarian meal, so you know this one has an entire cup of grated parmesan in it is good. Serves 4 hungry people.

1 large head cauliflower, chopped into 1 1/2 in florets
6 cloves of garlic, skin on
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup bread crumbs (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup grated parmesan
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
16 oz short pasta (preferably one with curves or holes in it for the good stuff to get stuck in)*

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss together the cauliflower florets with the garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and spread on a large cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower gets nice and brown and caramelized, tossing once or twice while it cooks.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, parmesan, bread crumbs, and pine nuts and set aside.

Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook the pasta al dente, trying to time it so that the pasta finishes around the same time as the cauliflower. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Take the roasted garlic cloves from the cauliflower pan and squeeze the garlic flesh out of each clove, discard the skin and place in the bottom of the now empty pasta pot. Pour a little of the pasta water in and using a spoon/whisk/spatula mix the garlic water together so it distributes a bit. Pour the cooked pasta back in the pot, add the roasted cauliflower, and the butter/parmesan/bread crumb/pine nut mix. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients, adding extra pasta water if it looks too dry. Sprinkle in the parsley, serve and enjoy!

* Sometimes I make this with less pasta (10-12 oz) or sometimes add a bit more cauliflower. I like it with a LOT of cauliflower, which cooks down significantly as it roasts.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Spicy Pineapple Lime Spritzer

I recently moved into a new apartment and my new roommate dude has been experimenting with lots of craft cocktails. I, on the other hand, have been experimenting with craft mocktails (although I have not been shying away from taste testing his wonderful creations). This one is the best yet. Its summery and fresh and tingly and perfect. The bubbles in the water and the kick of the cayenne make it outstanding. Safe enough for a kid but made for an adult. And look, you didn't hear this from me, but adding a splash of tequila won't ruin it.

1 cup pineapple juice
1 or two juicy lime, juiced
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup seltzer water

In a cocktail shaker add the pineapple juice, lime juice, and cayenne pepper. Shake vigorously and taste to spiciness (you want it to have a bit of a kick, so if it doesn't, add a bit more cayenne and shake again). Pour over 2 glasses with lots of ice and top with seltzer water. Drink and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

A few things happened recently that led to these cooking being baked (and then blogged).

1) A few weeks ago I was at a brunch party and one of the guests (shout out to Megan!) brought these mystery shortbread cookies that tasted sort of savory-- and sort of like they had pepper in them-- and I couldn't quite place the taste-- and I kept wanting more-- and then she told me that they were made with dried tea leaves. WTF. They were wonderful, with such a lovely subtle flavor that keeps you reaching for more.

2) Fast forward a few weeks. I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days with a cold and have been drinking lots of tea, which, of course, reminded me of these cookies and so I thought: why not?

3) I am home sick from work and bored, so what else was I going to do? So, I baked*. And then I blogged. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

These cookies really are amazing and take only 20 minutes to make (TOTAL). They are not very sweet, but in a perfect way. I made a small batch today, which yielded approximately 15 2-inch round thin shortbread cookies. You could easily double the recipe, and/or cut them into different shapes and sizes. Recipe adapted from Food Network.

1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 (heaping) teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 bag of dried Earl Grey tea leaves

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the salt, flour, and tea leaves and mix to combine. Make sure all the ingredients come together well into a dough ball.

Remove the dough and roll into a 1/4 inch thick disk. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut into circles and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. You will know they are done when the edges are slightly browned. Let cool and then serve and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.

* Yes, cooking when under the weather means that other people don't really want to eat the food you make, but that kinda works in my favor-- because now the cookies are all mine.