It’s a conundrum, my loves. Short weeks just seem longer. Why is that?
What’s getting you through hump day?
It’s a conundrum, my loves. Short weeks just seem longer. Why is that?
What’s getting you through hump day?
When is a pancake not a pancake? When it’s a bona fide dessert. Like this cherry clafoutis. See, I was feeling bad about sharing another oven-baked pancake. I’m a little obsessed with them. But this pancake is really a custard and fresh cherries are so juicy right now that I can’t resist.
The French serve it at dinner parties with the pits intact! Talk about a buzzkill. Supposedly the pits enhance the cherry flavor. This is one situation in which I’d willingly sacrifice flavor to keep my teeth.
I used fresh, pitted cherries and followed this recipe. First I made the batter then sauteed the cherry halves briefly in butter and sugar in a cast-iron skillet.
Next, I poured the batter over the softened cherries and placed the skillet in a preheated 425 oven.
20 minutes later we had a puffer ready to be powdered. I’ve read that clafoutis can be made ahead and served room temperature, but doing it that way detracts from the whole effort. You want to see it puffed, smell the warm cherries and watch the powdered sugar and cherry juice thicken to a sweet syrup.
Would you serve pancakes for dessert?
It’s hard to imagine this glaze- a fragrant mix of maple syrup, butter, rosemary and garlic- not working with any kind of squash or root vegetable. Feel free to play. Our addition, delicata with the skin on, added bits of green to that mountain of golds.
The veggies roast for a hour, and you can chop them and reduce your glaze the day before. Simply toss, roast and add your marconas twenty minutes before the squash is done. Serve warm or room temp with a sprig of rosemary on top.
So easy and so special with the hot butter and rosemary smell of the glaze and the thick, salty marcona crunch of your marconas. Regular almonds will work too, but marconas make the dish holiday special. I’ve already added this one to my Thanksgiving file.
Here’s what Elan and I made for breakfast Sunday. Taking her cue from Denny’s and other classic “skillet” houses, Elan used a seasoned cast-iron skillet to sear a crusty brown edge on a mixture of roasted sweet potato, sauteed onion and green pepper. We stirred in cubed corn beef – from the deli – then scooped the hash warm into a lightly-greased ramekin.
We gently broke two eggs on top and slid the ramekin under a hot broiler just long enough for the whites to set, about 3 minutes. You could actually hear them blister and spit under the heat. A sprinkle of parsley, chives, sea salt and black pepper finished it off. And then we did. And then we baked another.
Next week we’ll make hash from barbecue leftovers: steak, red onion, Yukon golds and our favorite peppers- poblanos- for a smoky heat. Heat, we’ve decided, is essential to our hash.
What are your must-have ingredients? Also, does food always look better in individual bakers?
We were invited to a brunch where the hostess made crêpe after crêpe in a 20-year old cast iron pan while we sipped juice from her orange tree and snuck spoonfuls of nutella. Her crêpes were perfectly round and an even, buttery brown. We all acted like it was no big deal but inside I was panicking.
The nonchalance, the fruit tree, the ability to flip lacy pancakes while chatting! All things I lack. I follow these recipes, make the crepes ahead- they’re easier to flip than pancakes- and stack them between parchment paper for rolling and reheating.
There you have it. The secret to making crêpes for a crowd. Start early and have plenty of parchment on hand. Sure, no one will be blown away by your epic coolness, but no one will get cranky hungry and double dip in the nutella jar either.
Stuff, roll and reheat in a warm oven or microwave. Freeze leftover crepes for up to a month.
The kitchen has its own dirty word. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, have said it or felt it hanging in the air.
Please say you are as guilty as I am. That you’ve tossed a rotting piece of fruit you forgot was in there. Or shoved wet, wilted greens deep into the trash so you wouldn’t see them and feel bad about not taking the time to saute them.
It’s the greens that get me. They are so hearty and alive until they just aren’t anymore.
No more. Rescue your greens! Do it quickly before they turn. Freeze them or make a quick frittata, green smoothie 1, green smoothie 2 or this basic green soup. Creator Anna Thomas calls the best tasting medicine in the world.
Forget “eat to live or live to eat.” Liven it up with a Parmesan snowfall and a drizzle of good olive oil and you’re doing both. Not to mention keeping your mouth clean.
Do you have any tips for saving greens?
You know how everyone and their mother (us included) recommend you read a recipe in its entirety before starting? Well, I did skim Five and Spice’s Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Puffers recipe. I knew what ingredients I needed and what steps I had to take. But I didn’t bother with the headnote and I didn’t think through the recipe. Five and Spice, I’m sorry. You and your puffers deserve better.
I knew enough to set aside time for browning melted butter to give the batter a nuttier flavor.
And Anjali preheated the oven and buttered the muffin tin. But here, my friends, is where confusion set in. The word puffer, to me, suggests sweet rounds of light, eggy dough ballooning with hot air, but a muffin tin does not a round doughnut make. To make matters worse, the batter, although sweet and buttery with a little hit of citrus in the form of Meyer lemon zest, was too dense to inspire confidence. Would it even puff? Doubtful. Best-case scenario, it might attempt to rise and emerge a thick half-muffin.
We soldiered on: melting the butter and prepping the cinnamon sugar for dunking. 18 minutes in the oven and, as we suspected, out came 12 stunted muffins. Having come so far, we went ahead and dunked them hot in the butter and rolled them in cinnamon sugar until our fingers were greasy and gritty with warm sweetness. That part was fun.
Dismayed by their hunky appearance, I chewed on a test puffer without paying it much attention. In fact, I did so while running out to the garage to grab a juicer for making OJ. It was there in the yard, hands full of equipment, mouth full of puffer and with, I’m sure, a little cinnamon on my chin, that I actually got it. Maybe your grandmother didn’t bring you fresh-baked spice doughnuts wrapped in steam-damp cellophane from the local Jewel, but mine did and I know you would have loved them too. There are 15 years of food memories to cross, so I can’t be sure, but these little cake bombs of cinnamon sugar joy taste stunningly familiar.
Word to the wise: don’t tear up thinking of your grandmother when you’ve got cinnamon sugar sticking to your fingers.
In the headnote I failed to read, Five and Spice describes these as “a hybrid of spice cake, muffins, and cinnamon sugar donut holes.” Accurate and totally tantalizing. So forget the puff part and eat these sturdy darlings hot with coffee or tea. You’ll love them. Recipe found here.
Made this for Thanksgiving and it’s now a given that I’ll make it every Thanksgiving from here on out. It’s that foolproof and a perfect combo of sunny Meyer lemon sweetness and rich shortbread crust. Lemon and butter, smooth and crumbly. Clearly a winner.
If you’ve never seen a Meyer lemon, here you go. They are smaller, rounder and sweeter than regular lemons with a smoother skin and a much softer body. Takes very little muscle to give ’em a good squeeze. A gentle person’s lemon!
According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), chefs from Chez Panisse were the first to cook with Meyer lemons and Martha, knowing a good thing when she tasted it, promptly introduced them to the mainstream by using them in her recipes when no one else was doing so. It’s fitting then, that this recipe is taken straight from her November issue of Living but isn’t an original Martha. It comes from pastry chef Lindsey Remolif Shere’s Chez Panisse Desserts. Hey, Martha finds what works and sticks with it.
One more gossipy tidbit about Martha and lemons. Rosie O’Donnell asked Martha what she missed most from the outside world while she was incarcerated. Precise as always, Martha responded, “the flavor of lemons.” Make of that what you will, but they do taste and smell awfully nice.
Meyer Lemon Tart
For the crust:
1 cup AP flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely-grated Meyer lemon zest
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the lemon curd:
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest plus 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter. cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Make the crust: Whisk together flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon zest in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the dough begins to hold together.
Stir together water and vanilla, then mix into dough. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using your fingers, press the cold dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removeable bottom. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Bake tart shell until golden, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time.
Pour filling into cooled tart shell. Bake until filling is browned, slightly puffed and set, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Tart can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
There are two schools of egg lovers: those who like a soft yolk and those who want theirs cooked to a yellow chalk. Only one of those schools-the soft yolk one- counts in my book. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, soft yolk lovers can enjoy a hard-boiled egg. They just have to learn the 9-minute method of preparation so that their egg retains a little of the undercooked velvet of a real yolk. The secret is cold water. Here’s how:
Fill a medium pot with cool water until your eggs are just covered.
Bring water to a gentle boil. Immediately cover your pot and remove it from the heat.
Set your timer for 9 minutes and let the eggs steam, covered and off the heat, for exactly that long.
While your eggs steam, prepare your ice bath. Start with ice.
Then add cold water.
When your 9 minutes are up, immediately transfer the eggs to your ice bath. The cold water shocks the eggs, halting the cooking process and preserving your slightly soft yolk.
The ice bath does one more magical thing. It separates the shell from the albumen, that thin, clingy membrane that refuses to pick a side when you try to separate egg from shell. You can blame the albumen for all those times you’ve taken off chunks of white with your peel and ending up with a sad, pockmarked egg.
After its ice-water dip, your peel will slip off easily and in large pieces. Congrats, you’ve freed your alabaster prize from its jealous, jagged shell.
How pretty are those yolks? Farmer’s market eggs are the way to go when possible. You won’t find that color anywhere else. Or if you do, let us know!
All we’ve left is a chunk of turkey, a pomegranate, goat cheese and pistachios from cocktail hour. Oh, and a little honey shallot vinaigrette. Add in our favorite grain and some peppery greens and we got ourselves a sweet and crunchy, high-protein quinoa salad that looks nothing like Thanksgiving leftovers.
Winter Quinoa Salad
Serves 2 as an entree salad
For honey shallot vinaigrette:
1 medium shallot
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked according to the package directions and cooled to room temperature
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 pomegranate, de-seeded (see how here)
1 cup roasted and salted pistachios in their shells
2 cups arugula
4 tablespoons goat cheese
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mini cusinart.
To make the salad, combine your cooled quinoa, meat and pomegranate seeds in a large mixing bowl. Pour in enough dressing, about half the total amount, to thoroughly moisten the quinoa. Reserve the rest to add in just before serving. This can be done up to a day in advance. Keep chilled.
Just before serving, shell your pistachios and lay them out on your cutting board.
Use your chef’s knife as a weight to crush your pistachios. Lay the blade flat -the edge facing away from you- over the nuts and press down gently with your palm.
A little pressure crushes the nuts slightly and separates them from that stubborn, purple skin.
Stir the arugula into the salad and add more dressing as desired. Top with your crushed nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Taste then add more salt if necessary.
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