Saturday, January 28, 2017
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
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbs) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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
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
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
I recently moved into a new apartment and my
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
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.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
So, its been nearly forever since I posted a new recipe on this thing. To be honest, I've been thinking more about the blog recently... missing the time I used to dedicate to my kitchen, missing the motivation to try new recipes, wishing I could get back into it. This, combined with the fact that I was (sort of) holed up in my apartment all weekend due to snow storm Jonas (25 inches in NYC!) AND that some of my dearest friends from grad school were visiting (who were major tasting partners during my prime blogging days), made me decide to snap a few photos of my kitchen creations this weekend and write a post or two.
I made this soup under the tutelage of my lovely friend Erin. Her whole family is Italian and she is one of my best experts on all foods within this cuisine. It reminded me how much I have missed cooking with her. The soup was wonderful. Warm and rich and perfect for a cold and snowy day. It was also incredibly easy and fast to make. I highly recommend it.
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
6-7 cups chicken broth
2 (14oz) cans cannellini beans
8oz ditalini pasta (or other small tube pasta)
In a large soup pot cook the pancetta over medium heat until it is lightly browned and has rendered much of the fat. Remove the pieces of pancetta, save for later. Add the chopped onion, celery, bay leaf and some salt to the pot with the pancetta fat (add olive oil if needed) and cook until softened and just lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add some white wine to deglaze the pot. Add the crush tomatoes, 1 can of beans, and a few cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Using a blender/stick blender puree some of the soup-- this helps to thicken it up. Return to pot, add the remaining chicken broth, some crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper (to taste) and the other can of beans and boil for about 20-30 minutes until the soup tastes really great.
Meanwhile, boil some water with salt and cook the pasta until al dente. When it is ready, add the pasta to the rest of the soup, give it a stir, let it cook another minute or two and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls topped with pancetta, parsley, and parmesan cheese. And it goes really well with a piece (or two) of quick parmesan toast (baguette cut in half length-wise, add a bit of olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic powder/grated parmesan and bake in 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned).
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Just last week I was telling a friend that I was done blogging. I explained to her that I hadn't felt inspired recently and didn't feel like taking pictures of food anymore. And then, 36 hours later, I made these. Silly me. I guess all it took was one bite of these cinnamon-sugar-vanilla-butter-donuts to get me back in the game.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/14 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
seeds of 1 vanilla bean
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients. Fold together and do not over-mix.
Pour into donut pan and fill each mold approximately 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for ~10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, then remove donuts from mold and let cool.
Once cool enough to handle, prepare the topping by blending together the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean seeds. Dip each donut in the melted butter (on all sides) and then coat with the cinnamon vanilla sugar. Let the topping set, then serve and enjoy!