Friday, December 30, 2011

Apple turnovers

When I saw a picture of extremely tall, extremely flaky "blitz biscuits" in my new copy of Crust & Crumb, I immediately thought of making turnovers with them instead. Having now made the dough into both biscuits and turnovers, I can report that it is a splendid turnover dough, but actually too flaky for optimal biscuits. If you want to try the biscuits though, the procedure is all the same, but cut your preferred size and shape of biscuit out of 1/2"-tall dough instead.

Also, the bread book is excellent, as anticipated. I've been working on the baguette recipe and I'll post it when I've gotten the crumb to be a bit less gummy, which will hopefully be soon!

2 + 1/3 c flour (12 oz)
1.5 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 sticks cold salted butter (or increase the salt if using unsalted)
1 c cold buttermilk

2 tart baking apples (1 lb total)
3/4 c sugar
1.5 t lemon juice
1/4 t salt
cinnamon sugar for topping

Combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a bowl. Cut each stick of butter in half length-wise, then slice into thin-ish slices. Toss the butter into the flour and rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips to break down the butter into small but not too small pieces (the book says "dime-size"). Stir in the buttermilk until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a 1/2"-tall rectangle. Fold in thirds like a letter, roll out again, and fold in thirds the other direction. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Peel the apples and grate them in the food processor, then combine the apple with the rest of the ingredients (sugar, lemon, salt). Place in a colander and squeeze out all the excess juice. (I didn't save the juice but I'm sure there's something good you could do with it.) Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Take the dough out of the fridge and place it back on the floured surface. Roll out to 1/2" and fold in thirds as before. Roll out into a rectangle again, but thin this time, about as thin as pie dough (maybe 1/8" high?). Cut into ~18 ~4"x4" squares with a sharp knife. Place a spoonful of dry apple filling in the center of each square; don't overfill the turnovers even if you have extra filling. With each pastry, fold one corner over to the opposite corner to make a triangle, and press the seams together with your fingertips. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Position one rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 500F. When the oven is very hot, quickly put one pan of turnovers on the rack and turn the heat down to 450F. You want it to be very hot both above and below the pan so the butter goes into making flaky pastry layers instead of melting out into a little sizzling pool around each turnover, but some meltiness is probably unavoidable. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on all sides. (If you have two pans, let the oven get back up to temperature before putting the second one in.) Transfer the turnovers to cooling racks and eat while warm.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


This is very similar to Indian restaurant chai: not too spicy, not too creamy, just flavorful and balanced. Also great with a shot of espresso, a la Trabant's chai coffee drinks (which I suddenly started craving when it got cold this fall). (Although, looking at their website, maybe it's a good thing I haven't been able to go there in ages, it looks disgustingly hipster now. Sad.)

3" piece ginger, peeled and sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
at least 10 each of whole cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and cardamom pods
4 c boiling water
6 bags black tea (eg PG tips)
4 c dairy (I did 3 c 1% milk + 1 c cream, but less fat would work too)
brown sugar to taste

Put the spices and water in a large pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tea bags and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea bags but leave in the spices, and add the dairy and sugar (or let people sweeten their own). Keep warm and covered during brunch.


It's a lot of borscht! It's quick and easy and made of vegetables!

2 large carrots
3 large beets
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
8 crimini mushrooms
1/2 head cabbage
3 small potatoes
1 T oil
1.5 not-chicken cubes in 6 c water
1/2 c parsley
yogurt and bread for serving

Peel the carrots and beets, then put all of the veggies (carrots through potatoes) through the grater blade on the food processor. Heat the oil in a large (really large) pot, then dump in all of the grated veggies and saute for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for half an hour. Turn off the heat, stir in the parley, and serve with a dollop of yogurt.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Irish coffee ice cream

Inspired by Laura's new Irish coffee making skillz. Pretty much like my other coffee ice cream, but with more booze and less chocolate—a fair trade-off in this case. The brown sugar is key here for darkening the flavor and color.

3/4 c 1% milk
3/4 c coffee beans
3 egg yolks
2/3 c brown sugar
2 t flour
1/2 t salt
2 c cream
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 c Jamesons

Put the milk and coffee in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then cover, turn off the heat, and let steep for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt together. Strain the coffee-milk into another bowl, then slowly stir it into the egg-sugar mixture. Pour it all back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low, stirring continuously until thickened. Strain into a bowl, stir in the cream and vanilla, and put in the fridge for a while. When it's cool, stir in the whiskey, then churn until done.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beet and pomegranate salad

Much more exciting and meal-like than my previous pomegranate bulgar salad. This makes a fair bit of food—about 6 side or lunch servings.

2 medium-size purple beets
2 medium-size golden beets
1 pomegranate
6-8 oz spinach
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 c bulgar
1 c slivered almonds
2 c broth
3 oz (at least) crumbled chevre
juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Roast the beets (wrapped in foil at 375F until tender), peel (by rubbing the skins off under warm water), and cut into large dice. Meanwhile, get all of the tasty seeds out of the pomegranate. Also meanwhile, saute the shallot in the oil, then add the bulgar and almonds and toast for a few minutes, then add the broth and simmer/steam until the bulgar is tender (10-20 minutes). Put the beets and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl, and put the spinach on top. Top with the warm bulgar and toss to combine until everything is nice and pink. Cover the mixing bowl and let sit until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. At serving time, toss with the chevre, lemon, and salt and pepper.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pumpkin coffee cake

When I got my coffee at Elmwood Cafe yesterday morning, they had these huge thick slices of delicious-looking pumpkin bread. I managed to resist getting one by deciding that I'd make pumpkin bread today. This is nice and moist too, just a bit spicy, and the streusel is great. Equally good for brunch before showing Jara around Baker Beach, Land's End, and inner Richmond; or after dinner at Jaime and Alan's new place.

3 T melted butter
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1/2 t cinnamon

Mix together and set aside.

pumpkin bread:
3 1/3 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1/2 heaping t each: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger
1.5 t salt
1 c canola oil
2.5 c sugar
4 eggs
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin
2/3 c water
1 t vanilla
1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F, and butter a 9" round (cake or springform) pan and a loaf pan.

Mix together dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar, then whisk in the rest of the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla) until smooth. Gently but thoroughly stir in the dry ingredients until smooth (mine still had a few little lumps when I gave up).

Pour half the batter into the round pan, and sprinkle the streusel topping to evenly cover the surface of the batter. Stir the pecans into the other half of the batter, and pour that into the loaf pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean: 55 minutes for the round pan, xx minutes for the loaf.