Monday, September 27, 2010

Hot toddy birthday cake

pretty much exactly this

1/2 stick butter
1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 c milk
1/3 c fresh lemon juice (one lemon plus a bit)
grated lemon zest of one lemon
2.5 oz bourbon
3 eggs, separated
3 T honey
1/3 c sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Microwave the butter in a little bowl and let cool for a bit. Use the wrapper to butter a casserole dish. Stir together flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, lemon juice and zest, and whiskey in the 2-cup pyrex; the milk will curdle but it seemed to be fine. When the butter is warm but not hot, stir in the honey and egg yolks (putting the whites in a large bowl). Stir the milk and honey mixtures into the flour. Beat the egg whites until frothy, and keep beating gradually add the sugar, until the surface is glossy and it forms stiff peaks. Stir a bit of whites into the batter to lighten, then fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the buttered dish. Make a water bath by putting the cake dish in a 9x13 pan and putting some hot water in the pan. Bake for 45 min until puffy, golden brown, and cooked through (mine was browned but not at all cooked through after 30 min; cover with foil in that case). Take out of the water bath to cool, and eat when warm.

Happy birthday Lester!

Variety fritters

1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 can garbanzos, drained
~2 c Laura's leftover roasted garlic & rosemary mashed potatoes (no recipe, sorry!)
3 T flour + a bit more
pepper and/or other seasonings to taste
enough canola oil for frying

Steam cauliflower until tender. While it's steaming, dump the can of garbanzos into a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher, leaving some chunks. When the cauliflower is ready, dump it in the bowl and mash it up a bit too. Add the mashed potatoes, 3 T flour, and pepper (and any other seasonings you fancy if your mashed potatoes didn't start out as exciting as Laura's) and mash together.

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a heavy frying pan, and put a bit of flour on a little plate. When the oil is nice and hot, form three (or your pan's capacity) 2 by 1/2 inch patties, dip them in the flour on both sides (helps with browning), and gently put in the hot oil. Fry until brown on each side, pressing down with the spatula on each side to help with browning. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate while you fry the rest.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Okra cornbread pie

based on this

Preheat oven to 400F, and get out a 9-10" springform pan and the food processor.

generous amount of oil
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 c chopped okra
handful baby arugula
1 T cornmeal
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high. Add sweet potato cubes and fry for a while on medium until done on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Lift the sweet potato out of the pan and into a mixing bowl, leaving the hot oil in the pan. Add garlic and onion to the oil, then the okra, then the cornmeal, then the arugula, sauteing on medium for several minutes between additions. Keep cooking until the okra is done and the arugula is wilted, then transfer everything to the mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 T baking powder
3/4 t salt
6 T stick cold butter, sliced
1/2 c small-curd cottage cheese
2 T milk

Combine dry ingredients and butter in the food processor, and process until the butter is incorporated. Add wet ingredients a few T at a time, processing in between, until the dough is firm and sticky.

to finish:
>1 c grated cheddar
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Press the crust dough onto the bottom and sides of the springform. Pour the filling into the pan and top with half the cheese. Densely tile the top with tomato slices, then top with the other half of the cheese. Bake at 400F for 35 minutes, until the crust is done and the cheese and exposed veggies are nicely browned.

Possible modifications: add a layer of tomatoes and cheese in the middle of the filling; add some herbs or lemon or vinegar to the filling; crack a couple eggs on top before adding the last round of cheese.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


possibly not the most traditional version, but what I felt like for lunch

some garbanzo olive oil (reserved from this)
a few shakes of paprika
1 large crimini mushroom, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
1.5 good-sized heirloom tomatoes, diced
salt and pepper
2 eggs, or portions thereof reserved from various steps of making challah

Heat oil in a small frying pan. Saute mushroom, red pepper, and paprika. Add tomatoes and simmer until they start to get saucy, stirring and squishing large tomato bits with your wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs on top and keep simmering, stirring gently around the edges, until the eggs are poached. Eat with challah.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sourdough Rosh Hashanah challah

based on the La Brea sourdough book

morning 1, make the sponge:
1.5 c boiling water
pinch saffron
1 4-oz-single-serving-cup applesauce (very handy for baking since I never get through a whole jar)
1.5 c white bread flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c starter

Pour boiling water over saffron and let cool until it will warm up the starter but not kill it. Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave on the counter until evening.

evening 1, make the dough:
3 whole eggs + 2 yolks, stirred together a little bit
1 packet active dry yeast
3 T canola oil
1 T barley malt syrup
1/4 c sugar
1 T salt
4-6 c white bread flour (book says 2 c bread flour + 1 c semolina + 1 c durum)

Add everything except the flour to the sponge and stir to combine. Add 3-4 c flour a cup or two at a time, stirring and/or kneading in the bowl until the dough is heavy and coherent. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes, incorporating quarter or half cups of flour judiciously, until the dough is pliable and smooth (but stodgier and less tight than a good just-white-bread dough), and still slightly sticky. Spray-grease the largest bowl that will fit in your fridge and put the ball of dough in it, turning the dough to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, let sit on the counter to get some extra warm-time if your house is on the cool side, then put in the fridge overnight.

morning 2, shape and bake:
2 parchment-lined, semolina-dusted baking sheets
2 egg yolks + <1 T water, stirred together

Remove the dough from the fridge as soon as you can drag yourself out of bed; the dough should have about doubled in size. Dump the dough onto a floured surface, cover with a cloth, and go back to bed until the dough warms up to closer to room temperature. Cut the dough into three equal-sized pieces for each loaf you want to make. You probably want two big loaves, so cut the dough into six equal pieces. I made one huge round double-decker loaf, i.e. half the dough on the bottom (3 pieces each 1/6 of the dough) and a quarter of the dough on top (3 pieces each 1/12 of the dough), and two small loaves with the rest (2 x 3 pieces each 1/24 of the dough). Cover the pieces of dough with the cloth, and let rest until they've warmed up a bit more and are nice and stretchy.

Roll each piece into a good-sized rope--it needs to be rather long and thin for round braided loaves, but shorter and fatter for normal braided loaves. Line up three matching pieces of dough parallel and close to one another. Starting in the middle and working toward each end, braid the three strands together. For straight loaves, braid up to the ends, and smush the ends together into a rounded tip. For round loaves, leave little tails at each end, curve one end to the other to form a loop, and smush each tail on one end into a matching tail on the other end; if the side you're looking at after this smushing looks a bit odd, flip it over and the other side may magically be more aesthetically pleasing.

Place each loaf onto a semolina-ed spot on a baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room between loaves. If you're making a double-decker loaf, put the smaller top-layer braid on top of the larger bottom-layer braid now. Cover with a cloth again and let rise. Now is a good time to start preheating the oven to 450F, and for extra warmth you can put the baking sheets on top of the stove, or on top of large level pots on top of the stove if your stove gets extra-hot spots when the oven is on.

When the bread is about doubled and the oven is toasty, brush the top and sides of each loaf with the egg wash. Put the baking sheets in the oven (on racks in the middle but with enough room between for rising), turn the oven down to 400F, and spritz the sides of the oven with water if you have a spritz bottle handy. After 15 minutes, check for uneven browning and rotate the baking sheets. Bake for 10-20 more minutes, shorter for smaller loaves and longer for larger loaves, until evenly browned on the sides, top, and bottom, and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a cooling rack for a bit, but start eating pretty much as soon as you want. If you've reserved the egg whites and have some egg yolk left over, make shakshuka and eat some challah with it. If it's Rosh Hashanah, eat a round loaf with apples and honey and friends.

Tomato season lunch

1 good-sized heirloom tomato, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cubed
1/4 red pepper, squared
couple T chopped fresh mint and cilantro
drizzle of garbanzo olive oil (reserved from this)
1 capful lemon juice
salt and pepper

Place veggies and herbs in a tupperware, drizzle with oil and lemon, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently invert a few times to mix. Stop by La Farine on the way to work and pick up a petit pain and whatever sweet thing that catches your eye. Eat salad and bread for lunch, eat sweet thing whenever you want it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mediterranean eggplant spread

1 large eggplant
1 shallot, minced
1 T garbanzo olive oil (reserved from this)
1/2 t paprika
2 t lemon juice
couple T each chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and dill
1/2 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
salt and pepper

Roast the eggplant at 400F on a foil-covered baking sheet until very squishy. Let cool, peel off the skin, and chop/smush the insides a little bit. In a smallish frying pan, saute the shallot and paprika in the oil for a few minutes. Add the eggplant and cook on low for several minutes, stirring and smushing any clumps with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is smooth and not liquidy. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the balance to taste. Stick in the fridge for a few minutes to set, and serve on fresh bagels with heirloom tomato and cucumber slices.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Roasted garbanzos and chard

half of this, makes two dinners and two lunches

roast the garbanzos:
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a large knife
1-2 shallots, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 t fennel seeds
a bit more than 1/2 c olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a glass 9"x5" loaf pan, cover with foil, and roast for 45 min until the garlic is done. Drain, reserving the oil and discarding the bay leaves.

while the garbanzos are roasting, cook the chard:
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1-2 shallots, sliced
1 bunch chard, stems and leaves chopped
1 cube not-chicken bouillon in 1 c hot water

Cook garlic, bay leaf, and shallot in oil until the shallots are tender. Add half the chard, stir for a few minutes until wilted, then repeat with the other half. Add broth and pepper, cover, and cook until chard is done. Drain, discarding the liquid and the bay leaves.

put it all together:
Combine garbanzos and chard in the chard pot with 2 T reserved garbanzo oil; heat if needed. Add more reserved oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with quinoa. Save the leftover oil and use it in lots of things!

Sourdough egg bagels

based on the La Brea Bakery sourdough book, which I highly recommend

1.5 c cool water
1.5 c sourdough starter
1 packet active dry yeast
2 egg yolks (or zero for plain bagels, or I'd add more next time for eggier bagels)
1/4 c = 4 T sugar
2 T barley malt syrup
6 T nonfat milk powder
1 T salt
~6 c white bread flour + 6 t vital wheat gluten (or use high-gluten flour if you have it)

Kitchenaid, semolina flour, parchment paper, baking sheets, pot for boiling water

Get out the Kitchenaid and put on the dough hook. Dump all the wet ingredients plus 4 c gluten-enriched flour into the bowl and mix on low to combine, slowly adding the rest of the flour. When the dough looks combined, turn up the speed to medium and mix for several minutes or until the dough is pretty much climbing out of the bowl.

When the Kitchenaid can do no more, turn the dough out onto a clean *not floured* surface and knead firmly for several more minutes. By the time you're done kneading, the dough should be firm, smooth, and supple, and will begin to feel slightly moist on the surface. You want as much gluten development as you can get, so the more kneading the better. Roll the dough into a smooth sphere, cover with a cloth, and let sit on the board for 10 min. Cut into 18 equal-sized pieces, roll each into a little ball, cover with the cloth again, and let sit for 15 min.

Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment and sprinkling the parchment with semolina. With each little ball of dough, roll it on the unfloured board into a rope of uniform thickness, about the length of the spread of your hand (thumb-tip to pinky-tip) or a bit longer. Gently hold one end between your thumb and the base of your pointer finger, and loop the rest around the back of your hand and onto your palm; the two ends should overlap by an inch or two on your palm. With the dough looped around your hand, seal the ends together by lightly rolling them between your palm and the board until the whole bagel is of uniform thickness. Take the bagel off your hand and place it on the prepared baking sheets, keeping at least an inch between bagels. Cover each baking sheet with a cloth and put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, take out of the fridge and let warm up a bit. Start preheating the oven at 450F and start boiling several inches of water in a large pot. When the water is fully boiling, gently remove three bagels from the sheets and drop them into the water. They should float; mine didn't, which means they were too cold and/or not risen enough, but maybe it's just fine because they turned out beautifully. If floating, hold them under the surface for 10 seconds, then let float for 10 seconds; if sinking, detach from the bottom after a couple seconds, then let boil for about 20 seconds. Sprinkle more semolina on the parchment while the bagels are boiling. Lift each bagel out of the water with a slotted implement and place onto a re-semolina-ed spot on the parchment. Let the water return to a boil and repeat with the rest of the bagels. Turn the oven down to 400F and bake for 20-25 min until golden brown, rotating the sheets half-way through and moving up or down in the oven to control the browning on the bottom. (You can roast an eggplant for this at the same time!) Transfer to cooling racks, eat when warm or room temperature, and store the rest in a plastic bag.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jill's sourdough coffee cake

as seen at Jill's blog

Preheat oven to 375F and butter an 8" or 9" pan.

Stir together to make cake batter, and scoop into pan:
1 c fed sourdough starter (thanks Jill!)
1/3 c oil
1 egg
1 cup flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamom
1/2 t cloves

Rub together with your fingers to make topping, and sprinkle on top:
1/4 c cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c oats
1/2 t cinnamon

Bake for about 35 minutes.