Sunday, August 16, 2009


well, we did it. we ate the most summery meal on the most wonderfully summery weekend. it started with a trip to the green city market, where i picked up rolls from bennison's, fresh chives, teardrop and grape heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn, some cheese... and, oh, gosh, i don't even know what else. this was all in preparation for LOBSTER ROLLS. next we went to dirk's fish market, where we spent about twenty minutes debating the strength, meatiness, and size of each lobster. we decided on these two. both are fairly average in size, but if you'll notice, one has GIGANTIC CLAWS!

after dirk's, we had to stop at harvestime for some final items, and for a gigantic stock pot. this 24 quart fellow is actually a tamale steamer:

we then had to wait nearly one hour for the roughly 22 quarts of water to come to a boil. with the water sufficiently salted ("make it taste like the ocean," i read over and over), in went the lobsters. after about 15 minutes, we pulled them out, cooled them off, and extracted all the meat. for this part of the process, we did not use kitchen shears, OR lobster crackers. this was done entirely by hand!!

our lobster roll filling consisted of:
meat of two lobsters, diced
3 celery stalks, very small dice
3 T parsley, chopped
3 T chives, chopped

mayonaisse, salt, and pepper to taste

i made a garlic compound butter which i spread on the toasted buns... et voila!

Monday, August 10, 2009

quick pickles

i have been really into pickles lately. the best part about these is that, although they obviously get better with age, they are pretty darn good right away. no waiting required! last night as i was putting them in the jar, i realized they weren't all going to fit... so i ate two! after 2 hours sitting in the brine (i usually do that step in a big bowl), they already tasted more than decent. this was adapted from a recipe from epicurious, which recommends letting the pickles sit in the brine for 10 days before eating. this is maybe my sixth time making these, and i have yet to make it that long!

6 pickling cucumers, quartered
1 c water
1 scant c white vinegar
1/4 c fresh dill
1/4 c sugar
4 smashed/chopped garlic cloves
1 T coarse salt
1 T pickling spice
1 T dill seeds

combine all ingredients, and let stand two hours. put pickles in jar, and pour brine over. mmm!

zucchini soup

this is so delicious, easy, and simple!! so simple, in fact, that i almost didn't trust the recipe. creamy? impossible! cheesy? but how!? you guys, please try this. i won't go on and on about it, but just trust me!!

2 1/2 lb zucchini
1 large spanish onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c packed basil leaves

saute onion in 2 T olive oil until almost translucent. add garlic, salt and pepper, and continue to saute until fragrant. meanwhile, cut the zucchini into large chunks-- mine were around 1 inch. add the zucchini to the onion and garlic, and saute until softened. season with salt again. add enough water to cover the zucchini, bring to boil, then let simmer until tender. add basil, then puree. season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. (i also added a splash of cider vinegar at the end.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

cinnamon rolls

I HAVE CONQUERED CINNABON, EVERYBODY. these cinnamon rolls are deeeeeeelicious. i took a few photos of them as they were doing their final rise (to be posted soon, of course)... unfortunately we started eating them before i could get a good picture of the final product.

adapted from dorie greenspan

2 1/4 t yeast (1 packet)
1/3 c warm milk
2 scant cups of flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 eggs
1/8 c sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature, but still firm, cut into 2 T chunks

1 stick butter, melted
1 c dark brown sugar
2 T cinnamon

put yeast and milk in stand mixer. stir until yeast is dissolved.

add flour and salt. cover with towel, so you don't get flour all over, and pulse a few times to dampen the flour. increase the speed to medium, and mix a minute or two until a dry shaggy mass forms. you may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl in the process.

on low, add eggs, then sugar. increase speed to medium, beat until a ball forms.

reduce speed to low, and add butter in chunks, waiting until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. the dough will be very soft and a little sticky, but not unmanageable.

cover and let rise 40-60 minutes. punch down, cover, and put in fridge. slap down every 30 minutes for about 2 hours, then leave in fridge overnight.

roll out into a rectangle, a generous 1/4" thick. spread melted butter over dough-- leaving about one inch "clean" at the bottom edge. sprinkle with 1 cup of dark brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. roll, starting at the edge furthest from you, rolling toward your body.

cut into 1 inch slices, and put into two greased pie dishes, leaving one inch of space between each roll. let rise 90 minutes until rolls are puffy and touching.
bake at 350 for 40 minutes, until rolls are golden brown.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

well then:

i just joined the daring bakers!

Friday, April 17, 2009


spacca napoli last night
mercat a la planxa tonight

ending passover in style.

Monday, April 13, 2009

braised brisket

this. was. so. good. i cooked it until it was practically falling apart... leftovers will be delicious as pulled brisket sandwiches. on matzah. until thursday, when they will be put on bread.

1 4 lb brisket
2 large onions
1 bay leaf
1 T tomato paste
1 T paprika
2 T ketchup
1 c diced tomatoes
beef stock

heat heavy pot (cast iron is best) over medium heat. season beef with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. reduce heat and add oil if pan looks a little dry. add onions, with salt and pepper to taste, and caramelize 10-15 minutes. add bay leaf, tomato paste, paprika, ketchup, and saute 2-3 minutes until aromatic. add beef back to pot, along with diced tomatoes and enough beef stock to cover. simmer over low heat, or in a 350 degree oven, 3-4 hours, or until brisket is very tender.

dinner club #3

braised brisket with caramelized onions
sauteed zucchini
roasted pearl onions and grapes
mushroom tart
roasted fingerling potatoes with leeks

homemade marshmallow peeps
chocolate macarons
matzah "toffee"

definitely the best dinner club to date, if i do say so myself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

macarons, continued.

well, that was not an entirely satisfying endeavor. while some of my macarons came out perfect, some of them came out larger, craggy, and lopsided. i know that this batter needs to be mixed lightly and carefully, but maybe i underdid it? or, despite my efforts, maybe i overdid it... i also skipped the step of outlining identical and consistent 1" circles for piping the batter. next time, i'll do it. the sadness of some macarons turning out larger than others is too much to bear!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


tonight i shall make macarons-- these lovely ones from david lebovitz. and i will take pictures too!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

salmon en papillote

yum, yum, yum. i've never done fish in parchment at home before, but i think it's going to become a staple. the fish was so moist and tender it was almost creamy... and so, so flavorful!

salmon, cut into portions
dijon mustard
brown sugar
salt, olive oil

cut out circles of parchment paper, one per each portion of fish. place one fish filet in the center of each parchment circle. drizzle each piece with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and rub with about 1 teaspoon each of dijon mustard and brown sugar. fold the parchement circles so that the edges meet, and crimp/fold the edges so that the package is neatly sealed bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until the salmon feels firm.

**you can also use foil in place of parchment.

i made this with a parsley, celery root, and fennel salad with a mustardy vinaigrette. mmmm! celery root makes me so happy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

pie crust

this is a recipe for the pie crust used in the lemon ricotta tart a few posts down. if you are looking for a good, basic, versatile pie/tart dough, this is it. it makes enough dough for one double crust pie, or two tarts. it's nice to always have this in your freezer...

2 c flour
1-2 T sugar (optional)*
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
1/4 c cold shortening
1/3 c cold water

*if using the crust for a savory dish, you may want to omit the sugar, or just add 1 tablespoon. for a sweet dish, feel free to up the ante!

cut butter and shortening into 1/2" cubes. keep in freezer or fridge until ready to use. whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. using a pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the dry mix until the mixture is crumbly. you want your largest pieces of fat to be no bigger than pea-size. drizzle cold water (don't pour it all in right away) into dough, and mix until the dough JUST comes together. on a work surface, shape the dough into a ball. cut in half, and shape each half into a disc. wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least several hours before using. dough will keep several months, well-wrapped, in the freezer (thaw in fridge overnight before using).

anchovy fennel flatbread

oh. my. god.... at first i thought two sheet-tray-sized flatbreads was too much for dinner club. oh, was i wrong. these are amazing. the dough, from mario batali, is a dream. really smooth, soft, and easy to work with. the toppings you can obviously play around with, but i really recommend these!

for the toppings:

1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/8" thick, fronds reserved
1 c freshly grated parmesan
12 anchovies-- soak in 1/2 c milk for 30 minutes prior to using

saute fennel in 3 T olive oil, stirring often, until soft and golden brown-- 10-15 minutes. remove from heat, and stir in fennel fronds. add salt and pepper to taste.

for the dough:

1 1/2 c warm water
1 T active dry yeast
1 t salt
1 t sugar
4 c bread flour
1/4 c olive oil

put the water in a large bowl (bowl of stand mixer). stir in yeast and let stand until foamy and aromatic. add the salt and sugar and stir to combine. add the flour and olive oil and mix until a loose dough is formed. transfer to a lightly dusted work surface, and knead the dough until very smooth and firm- about five minutes. place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and put it in a warm spot. let rise until double in size, about two hours. punch the dough down and divide it in two. shape each into a ball, and then let rise for thirty minutes more. preheat oven to 450, and lightly oil two baking sheets. place each piece of dough on a baking sheet and spread with your fingers (or with a rolling pin, until it fits the baking sheet. poke indentations in the dough with your fingers across the entire surface, then drizzle with olive oil. bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.

ricotta lemon tart

this is a yummy, not very sweet dessert!

for the filling:

2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs

mix all ingredients together

preheat oven to 375 degrees. pour filling into pre-baked tart shell. bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is set (not jiggly).

some thingamabobs

chocolate swirl cheesecake

apple pie




peanut brittle!

world peace cookies!

gifts to be sent!

...anyone want a package of treats?

baby coconut

michael and i ate TWO baby coconuts yesterday. it. was. heaven. it made me feel like i was on "lost-" hacking, sawing, pummeling till we could pour the juice out, and then scrape the jello-y inside. living on an island wouldn't be half bad!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


i have not been a very good blogger lately!

because of the great sourdough starter project (, my interest in bread has (re-)piqued. i started feeding mine monday night, and it seems to be off to a strong start... i just am so impatient! that's why i made beer bread last night. i used a recipe from, of course, the bread bible. i used guinness, which gave it a great flavor. and it had suuuuuuuuuuch a good crust! i love a good crusty bread. this would be great with farmer's cheese, or with a little bit of good mustard. i've just been eating it plain.

in other news, i recently bought a pasta roller, in anticipation of dinner club (and many delicious meals to come). i've actually already used it several times this week to make crackers. it works like a dream for the frequent cracker-maker... it's almost just as easy rolling crackers by hand, but you can get them a liiiittle bit crispier with the roller. i've been using spelt flour, but recently ran out and switched to whole wheat flour last night.

i don't really have a recipe, but: mix about 1 c flour with 1/3 c water. mix. continue to add water slowly until dough comes together. knead for a few minutes, adding more water or flour if necessary. roll as thin as possible, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with desired toppings. our favorites: dried onion and herbes de provence (not together, but i guess that wouldn't be bad). gently press the toppings into the dough, and bake at 400 until light brown and crispy!

well, that turned into a lengthy post on carbs, didn't it?

Friday, January 16, 2009

more sugar

well, i abandoned caramel corn in favor of kettle corn, and shouldn't i have known... next time, more sugar.

sigh. isn't that always the answer?

Friday, January 9, 2009

caramel corn

methinks i will make some tonight.

Monday, January 5, 2009

dinner club #1: success
dinner club #2: in the works. i'm thinkin' italian!

also, more marshmallows! jenny, should we start a marshmallow blog?