Saturday, February 26, 2011


oil and salt at various points
1 large eggplant
2 onions
4 c water
1 head garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
generous pinch saffron
generous grating of pepper
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t allspice
1 head cauliflower
2 small potatoes
2 c long-grain white rice, uncooked

Prep the eggplant: peel it and cut into small cubes. Toss with salt, put in a colander, cover with a plate weighed down with a can of something, and let drain for a while (I left it for 2 hr but less is just fine). Rinse off the salt and let dry.

Prep the onion: cut into slices or thin wedges, and caramelize in a bit of oil over medium-low heat for 45 min.

Prep the stock: peel and crush the cloves of garlic (but don't chop). Simmer the garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf, saffron, pepper, cardamom, allspice, and 3/4 t salt in the water for an hour or more.

Prep the veggies: cut cauliflower into florets and potatoes into half-moons. Heat 1/4 c oil in a large pan and separately fry the potatoes, eggplant, and cauliflower until lightly browned but not yet cooked through, transferring to a plate (or just to the pot, see below) when done and adding more oil as necessary.

Prep the whole thing: grease the bottom and sides a large pot (I used earth balance). Line the bottom with potato, then layer on the eggplant, then onion, then cauliflower, then the garlic from the stock, then the rice. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the stock, and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Pour the hot stock over the pot and add extra boiling water if needed to cover the rice plus a cm or so. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 30-40 min until the water is absorbed, then turn off the burner and let sit covered for another 10-15 min. Carefully invert onto a large enough serving dish (which for me had to be a baking sheet) and serve.

Friday, February 25, 2011

White chocolate and ginger cinnamon rolls

Because Lindsay said so.

1/2 c skim milk powder
1 c water
2 T butter
1/3 c dark corn syrup
1 egg
3 c white flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 c wheat flour
2 t yeast
1 t cardamom
1 t salt

Microwave together milk powder, water, 2 T butter, and corn syrup until the butter is melted (2 x 40 sec, stirring in between and afterward). Stir in the egg. Put the dry ingredients in the kitchenaid, add the wet ingredients, and stir/knead with the dough hook until everything is well incorporated. (As I often find with the kitchenaid, this involved a fair bit of scraping down of sides, making the kitchenaid seem not entirely worth it.) Dump some more flour on a surface (I used 1/2 c more) and knead by hand until the extra flour is mostly incorporated. Put in a spray-greased bowl and let rise until doubled.

6 T butter, softened
a few handfuls brown sugar (sorry didn't measure)
1 T cinnamon
10 cubes crystallized ginger, minced

Brush some butter in two 8-9" glass pans, and sprinkle with some brown sugar--this will make tasty caramelly bottoms to the rolls. Roll out the dough on a barely floured surface until ~10" wide, maybe half a cm thick, and as long as it gets. Brush with the rest of the butter, cover with brown sugar, and sprinkle on the cinnamon and ginger. Roll one long side toward the other, cut into 1" slices, and place in the prepared pans. Cover the pans tightly with greased plastic wrap or greased plastic bags and stick in the fridge overnight.

1/4 c white chocolate chips
1/4 c milk
3/4 c (12 T) powdered sugar

In the morning, get the rolls out of the fridge as soon as you can get yourself up, then go back to bed for a bit. When you're a bit more ready to be up, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 23 min, switching racks halfway through. Meanwhile, make the glaze by microwaving the chips and milk for 30 sec, stirring until smooth, then stirring in powdered sugar a couple tablespoons at a time. Let the cinnamon rolls cool, then drizzle with glaze and enjoy! Not too bad for a Friday morning. Also, take pictures with my new smartphone :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lemon almond yogurt cake

based on this

1/2 c sliced almonds
1/2 c greek yogurt
1 c sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 c olive oil
1 T lemon marmalade
1 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 c juice from 3 backyard meyer lemons
1/4 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F, and butter 9" springform and cover the bottom with foil to prevent spillage. Grind almonds in the food processor, and use 2 T almonds+1T flour to dust the pan. Mix together yogurt, sugar, egg yolks, oil, and marmalade in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, the rest of the ground almonds, and any surplus almonds and flour in the pan. Whip egg whites with the salt until they hold soft peaks. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten, then fold in the rest. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 min until set and a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 min, while stirring together lemon juice and powdered sugar to make the glaze. Poke the cake all over the surface, then spoon the glaze over the cake. After all the glaze has been absorbed, remove the sides of the springform and finish cooling. Bring to Pat's to celebrate the occasion of him finally having us over! I may dust it with powdered sugar later, or maybe serve with some creme fraiche or lavender whipped cream or something nice like that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gianduia puffball cookies

based on a combination of Wes's chocolate puffball cookies and these guys

1 c hazelnuts
6 oz dark chocolate (14 squares of a TJ's pound plus bar)
6 cubes crystallized ginger (or more, I couldn't really taste it)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 + 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c earth balance
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 t amaretto (frangelico if you have it)
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T cocoa powder
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease two cookie sheets. Grind hazelnuts in food processor, then grind in chocolate, then ginger, cinnamon, and 1/2 c sugar. In a large bowl, cream together earth balance and 1/2 c sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and liqueur. Mix in chocolate-hazelnut mixture thoroughly. Combine dry ingredients and mix into batter gently.

Put some powdered sugar on a little plate, and put some water on another little plate. Dip your palms in the water (and repeat after every few cookies just before the dough starts to stick irreparably). Grab a bit of dough with the fingers of one hand, roll it into a 1" ball between your palms, dip it in the powdered sugar and roll it around a little, brush off any excess powdered sugar with the fingers of the other hand if you're running low on powdered sugar like I was, and place powdered-sugar-side-up on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the other ~3 dozen cookies. Bake for 14 min, switching the pans between racks halfway through. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately.

Pasta e fagioli + sausage and veggies

2 chicken whiskey fennel sausages from the butchers, sliced
smidge of oil
1 leek, white parts sliced
1 medium-small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into 1-cm cubes
2 carrots, sliced in semicircles
6 criminis, coarsely chopped
6 oz spinach, chopped
1 T spicy Italian mix
1 can diced tomatoes + juice
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
6 c broth (water + 2 not-chicken cubes)
1/2 c red wine
2 c macaroni

Brown the sausage in a large pot, adding just enough oil to prevent/reduce sticking. Working in order down the ingredients list, chop each vegetable in turn and add it to the pot, stirring after each addition. Add everything else, bring to a simmer, and cook until the macaroni is ready; at that point the celeriac was ready too. Serve with some baguette and the wine. Super easy and super tasty--happy valentines!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gingerbread pancakes

based on this after I saw it on the menu but didn't try it at La Note

1/2 cup coffee, cooled
2 eggs
1/4 c earth balance, melted
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c brown sugar
1 T molasses
1.5 c flour
1.5 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves
3 cubes crystallized ginger, minced

Whisk together wet ingredients in a bowl (including sugar). Sift together flour and spices, and gently stir dry ingredients and minced ginger into the wet ingredients. Let sit for 15 min, preheating a greased pan during this time. Cook like pancakes, 1/4 c batter per pancake, to make 10 cakey pancakes. Serve with Christina's lemon marmalade, maple syrup, and greek yogurt.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Salmon cakes

similar to this

2 TJ's salmon burgers
1 c cooked couscous (1/2 c couscous + 1/2 c water)
1.5 small zucchinis, grated
1 T mayonnaise
1/2 t chili powder
1 egg
1-2 T minced onion
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
canola oil

Stir everything together with a fork and stick in the fridge for a little bit. Heat a bit of oil in a little cast-iron pan over medium heat. Form salmon mush into patties in the palm of your hand and plop them into the pan. Fry for a few minutes on each side until browned, flipping carefully so they don't fall apart. Made 9 slightly bland patties, which were much improved by a dab of yogurt mixed with lemon, cayenne, and mustard.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grilled leek, mushroom, and brussels sprout pizza

This is based on a delicious brunch sandwich I had last weekend at Bar Tartine (happy anniversary me and Lester!), which featured thick slices of King Trumpet mushrooms, lots of leeks and cheese, and some secret ingredients (including something a bit spicy). I haven't come across great-looking mushrooms in the last week, so I just used criminis here, but I'm sure it would be even better with fancier mushrooms. This was also my first experiment with our bbq, and it worked great; oven cooking would be quite satisfactory as well.

1 recipe pizza dough (equivalently half of this dough)
olive oil
1 t spicy Italian mix
2 leeks, white parts sliced and washed
6 medium crimini caps, sliced thin
1.5 c shredded brussels sprouts
2 T dry vermouth
6 oz grated gruyere
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

Get the pizza dough ready, if you haven't already, and stick it in the fridge in the form of two balls.

Heat oil on medium-low and stir in spices. Add leeks and saute until done, then add mushrooms and saute until done, then add brussels sprouts and saute until done (a few minutes each). Drizzle on vermouth and cook until liquid evaporates and it doesn't smell too much like alcohol anymore. Let cool.

Take the dough out of the fridge. Line the backs of two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and put a handful of semolina in the center of each one. Put one dough ball on each pile of semolina and press into a round (don't bother to stretch yet). While the dough warms up, go out and light the coals in the bbq. While the bbq warms up, form the dough by letting each round stretch out by placing it on the back of your fists, then pulling gently with your fists, then putting the dough back on the parchment and stretching around the edges with your fingertips. (If it's being uncooperative, just roll it out with a rolling pin). Each round should be almost as large as the cookie sheet it sits on. Spread half the veggies evenly around each pizza, leaving room for a crust, then sprinkle on the cheese. Grate on salt and pepper to taste, and add some chili flakes too if you want.

With the first pizza, slide the parchment+pizza off the cookie sheet and onto the grill. Cook until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is crispy but not burnt, rotating as necessary. Slide the parchment+pizza back onto the cookie sheet, and repeat with the second pizza.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brussels sprouts, garbanzos, and quinoa

1 c red quinoa
2 c water
generous earth balance
1 red onion, sliced thin (shallots may work better)
1 can garbanzos
>2 T port
>1 t soy sauce
2.5 c shredded brussels sprouts (a dozen or maybe a couple more; use the food processor)

Start cooking the quinoa in the water. In a large pan, melt some earth balance and saute onion for 10 min. Add garbanzos and saute for another 20 min. At this point some of my onions still were barely soft when I was hoping for caramelized, but the garbanzos were nicely browning a bit and I was getting bored of stirring, so... Add the port and soy sauce to the pan and cook for another couple minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts and cook for 5 min. Stir in the quinoa and add more port, soy sauce, and pepper to taste. It was tasty but a bit bland; much as it pains me to say so, it may have needed some bacon.