Un jour à Annecy !

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What I love about French cities and villages is their charm. All of them! So charming. The rooftops are always so quaint and the architecture stunning. The other thing? It’s pretty consistent here- there’s no random pockets of modernity. I hate that.

Two Sundays ago we travelled to Annecy, a city a bit north of Grenoble. There are farmers markets on Sunday mornings, where you can find the most exquisite produce. The colors are the most vibrant I’ve ever seen; it’s like a drawing. A good Vermeer still-life. There’s also local honey, candies, and anything you can imagine. It’s really magnificent. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy anything because I had no change. They seem to be particular about exact change here, and I didn’t think they would fancy me paying for a small 5€ of strawberries with a 50€ bill. Oh well. But, I won’t be forgetting the strawberries any time soon- they are vividly ingrained in my mind.

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We ate lunch at a restaurant called Le Freti and it was magnifique! The restaurant specializes in something called raclette, in which half a cheese wheel is melted by a large heating lamp. It’s poured on potatoes and is incredibly divine.

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After lunch we took a boat ride around Annecy Lake. It was very picturesque, and I saw two châteaux. One of them had been in the same family for…27 generations or something crazy like that.

We ended the day with…guess…yep, a stop at a pâtisserie. A pâtisserie that has, apparently, won the world championship of pastry?! It’s called Roses de Neige and is quite pink. I, personally, was tickled pink by all the pink.

Our next trip is to Arles and Camargue, two villages in southern France.

A bientôt!


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Ce que j’adore des villes française, c’est qu’elles sont très très charmantes. Toutes ! Les tuiles sont toujours jolies et l’architecture est vraiment belle et surtout consistante. Moi, je déteste les villes aux Etats-Unis où l’architecture n’est pas consistante. A mon avis, c’est moche.

La dimanche dernière nous sommes allés à Annecy, une ville au nord de Grenoble. Les dimanches matins, il y a un marché fermier ou on peut acheter les beaux produits frais et vif, la charcuterie, le miel, les bonbons, tout ce qu’on peut imaginer. C’est vraiment magnifique ! Malheureusement, je n’ai rien acheté parce que je n’ai pas du tout de la monnaie- et en France, on aime beaucoup la monnaie exact, de laquelle que je n’ai pas. Tant pis. Mais je ne vais jamais oublier les fraises que j’ai vues- elles étaient rouges vives- incroyable.

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Nous avons déjeuné au restaurant s’appelle Le Freti qui se spécialise en la raclette. J’adore la raclette; ça c’était la première fois que j’en ai eu et c’était délicieux. On a fondu une extrêmement grande demie-roulette du fromage et on l’a mangé avec des pommes de terre et de la charcuterie. Miam !

Après avoir déjeuné, nous avons pris un bateau sur le Lac Annecy. C’était incroyable- les grandes montagnes, l’eau turquoise, pas beaucoup des nuages… wow. Sur une des montagnes, il y a un grand château qui est très joli. Je crois que la même famille l’a gardé pour 27 générations !

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Nous avons terminé le voyage avec un arrêt à… devinez… bien sûr, une pâtisserie s’appelle Rose des Neiges. Vraiment jolie, très rose, sur une petite rue.

Et voilà. Annecy était merveilleuse, et j’ai hâte de voir plus de la France !

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Berry Pavlova

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I have spent the last two weeks as my mother’s main office minion, and therefore forwent Monday’s blog post. I beg forgiveness.

So, when I actually rummaged around the fridge, wondering what I should make, I remembered that I had too many egg whites in a Plentea bottle, nearly forgotten from the time I had made Audrey’s chocolate cake and used 16 egg yolks. Not all of the whites survived because there were some broken yolks, but by the time I was finished experimenting I still had around 6-8. They remained hidden in the fridge until I remembered them, which is actually ok because old egg whites will whip up better.

I passed sophomore year under the tutelage of Fred, baking-boy extraordinaire, and picked up a thing or two hanging around him whilst he created his edible masterpieces. Mostly how to be creative and fun in the kitchen. So, this normally plain-Jane whipped out all the stops, as in, this project took me three days to complete. And, there’s rose water involved, just for kicks.

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First, we’re going to make the meringue. Egg whites and sugar are whisked in a double boiler to pasteurize the eggs. This is swiss-style meringue. Italian meringue is made by pouring boiling sugar syrup into egg whites whilst simultaneously whipping them at high speed. I feel that swiss meringue is a bit safer. Everything is cooked, and then whipped. No splattering 300-degree syrup. Using a piping tip and bag, create meringue bowls. The size is up to you.

This recipe could easily be made in one afternoon. While the meringues are crisping in the oven, start on the coulis. Coulis is a plant sauce; fruit is usually used for dessert, vegetables for savory dishes. Our farmer friends sent us strawberries, and as the fruit was looking overly ripe, I decided to make strawberry coulis, but any berry will do. If you want the coulis to set a bit, add some gelatin, or agar agar if you prefer.

Finally, whip the cream—by hand if you’re brave—and add a teaspoon of rose water. Don’t be tempted to pour in more; rose water is, while floral and heady, exactly that. Too much, and it’ll probably smell like rotting roses. Yuck.

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By this time the meringues should be high and dry. Try one. They are…ephemeral. Shatter the delicate shell, and it melts daintily in your mouth.

Choose a fun, swirly tip and transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag. Pipe generous swirls into the meringue bowls, topping with coulis and raspberries for decoration. Have some friends on had to help you eat the pavlova; I spent my afternoon frantically looking for takers. Cousin Ben will be saving the day.

Berry Pavlova

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1 batch meringue

I based mine off of The Boy Who Bakes, doubling the proportions. You’ll have enough for little meringue cookies, too. Cut in half if you wish.

6 room-temperature egg whites (BUT! Always separate a cold egg to prevent the yolk from breaking)

Scant 2.5 (480g) cups sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 225˚F. It is important that the temperature is precise! Meringue is very delicate and finicky.
  2. Using a hand or standing mixer, whip egg whites on high speed. When soft peaks begin to form, gradually add the sugar and whip until glossy and stiff. If you can hold the bowl over your head without dumping meringue on yourself, it’s ready.
  3. Using a piping bag and tip, pipe the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The bowls should be approximately 3” wide. Start piping from the center of the circle, making your way outwards, and then slowly build up on the last ring, creating a wall approximately 2” high, or whatever you prefer.
  4. Bake for 1-2 hours, allowing the meringues to crisp, and then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in the oven, allowing them to completely dry out.

Fruit Coulis

350g berries

0.25 cup water

3 tbsp sugar, or to taste

up to 0.25 tsp gelatin, to set

  1. In a saucepan, heat berries, water, and sugar until fruit becomes extremely soft. Gently mash with a spoon, breaking up the fruit. All the liquid to cook down; it should have the viscosity of smoothie.
  2. Pour the coulis through a sieve to remove seeds and skin. Allow to cool. Store in the fridge.

Whipped Cream

2 cups very cold heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon rose water

sifted powdered sugar to taste (optional, and I’d just go by the tablespoon)

  1. Using a standing mixer, hand mixer, or your actual hand/arm, whip cream and rose water until soft peaks form. Begin adding sugar, a tablespoon at a time, tasting along the way. Stop whipping when stiff peaks form. Go too far, and you’ll have rose-water butter.

 

Assembly

  1. Place whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice. I used an Ateco 807.
  2. Pipe generous swirls of whipped cream into the meringue bowls. Drizzle with coulis and top with raspberries.
  3. Serve immediately, or, if you must, store in the fridge for a few hours.

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Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake & Coconut-Lime Sorbet

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This summer I have eaten many life-changing foods. Lamb chops, panna cotta, olive oil and balsamic, coconut lime sorbet… I must say, working in a cooking store really does open your eyes to all the food possibilities.

On the weekends, sometimes we’ll do a demo, and one of these weekends happened to be an ice cream demo! Can I get a HOORAY! ? And, as the title of this post suggests, the demo involved coconut lime sorbet. At first, I was skeptical. You would not be surprised to know that my favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. Plane Jane, and I like it that way. But, as I am wont to do when I am in charge of a demo, I tasted it.

The bright, tart, citrus of the lime beautifully complimented (and was also mellowed by) the subtle, light, sweet coconut milk. The pairing worked, and I was surprised. Usually, if I want to be “adventurous,” I go for a fruit sorbet or chocolate ice cream. No toppings, no mix ins, and of course, no funky flavors. Ever. But, gosh darn, one taste of this sorbet and I was hooked! It took an obscene amount of self control to not eat all the samples. I feel like I should receive a medal or something for restraining myself.

A couple days later, I made Padre buy me some limes at the grocery store, and off I went to re-create the recipe. I used a little more cream than I ought to have, so it’s not essentially a sorbet, more like an ice cream.

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What I discovered was that the cream really mellows out the lime, which I did not like. The recipe I present now cuts the amount of cream in half. But really, the cream is just there to help with the texture, not the flavor. Coconut milk and lime juice alone make for somewhat of an icy texture, so the cream smooths it out. At most, you should only require a fourth of a cup.

As far as the olive oil cake is concerned, about a year or two ago I was pursing Food52 and stumbled across a recipe for Maialino NYC’s olive oil cake. It was one of the site’s most popular recipes, next to the one for chocolate cake, which remains my go-to recipe, despite the number of blogs that I read the number of cookbooks I have amassed. The olive oil cake has been on my “to make” list for a while, and after being introduced to some mighty fine olive oils at the cooking store, I took the plunge, bought a bottle, and whipped up (in one bowl, no less), this cake.

If you do not like the taste of olive oil, you’d be better off with the sorbet alone, although you needn’t be a connoisseur to appreciate the cake. Savor the light fruitiness of the oil, and tight, soft crumb, and the delicate crust. Food52 describes the cake as almost pudding-like, and they’re about right. Try it, even if you feel skeptical. And if you do like it, don’t be Padre, who cut himself a hunk and crammed it in his mouth. That is not the proper way to enjoy such a dainty, delicate dessert.

Paired together, the cake and sorbet make a good match. I would, however, highly recommend adding the lime zest to the sorbet (I skipped this to save myself from washing another utensil) and scaling back on the cream. The coconut milk and olive oil combined really can overpower the lime. I admit, the strength of the olive oil and its ability to mask other flavors surprised me, as it is generally unassuming if you aren’t looking for it.

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Here is the cake recipe. Instead of 1.25 cups of milk, you could substitute for 1 cup of creme fraîche. I did this because that is what I had on hand.

Coconut-Lime Sorbet

2.5 cups coconut milk

0.5 cup cream

0.25 cups lime juice

2 tbsp lime zest

1 cup sugar

  1. Make sure to freeze the ice cream bowl the night before, per manufacture’s instructions.
  2. Zest limes and place in a large bowl. Microwave limes in 10-second increments until slightly warm. Using the palm of your hand, roll limes on a hard surface to release the juice. Juice the limes and add juice to the bowl.
  3. Add cream, coconut milk, and sugar. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze per manufacture’s instructions. Approximately 20-30 minutes.
  4. Eat or freeze immediately.

Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts

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Three days ago, it was blisteringly hot outside and I was laying on my floor, trying not to die of heat stroke and to keep up with my Italian lesson. Dad waltzed in, and said, “DOUGHNUTS!”

“OOOOOOOO, really?” I exclaimed. I was down for a Krispy Kreme or two. “Downstairs?”

“Nope,” he grinned. “We’re gonna make ’em!”

I was skeptical at first, because doughnuts usually entail frying, and I am not the biggest fan of the processes. Honestly, a Krispy Kreme doughnut would have sufficed.

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But, BOY OH BOY AM I GLAD THAT DAD HAD A DOUGHNUT EPIPHANY. These doughnuts are delicious. Sugar-y, soft, airy, slightly spiced with cinnamon. I have been looking for this brioche recipe for years. I exaggerate not. For the past few years, I have been enticed, mystified, and frustrated with the brioche recipes that I have tried. The crumb was too tight. It was a little dry. The dough didn’t rise as much as expected.

Zoe Nathan strikes again with her brioche and her doughnuts. I’ll be referring to this from now on. A note, though: This recipe requires overnight refrigeration. A good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Not great for procrastinating, forgetful, unplanned bakers (me), but great for everyone else. And if I could pull this off, you can, too.

The recipe makes one brioche loaf (perfect for french toast, bread pudding, sandwiches, pain aux rasin, and other glorious creations) or these doughnuts. Can’t go wrong either way, although I’d like to see how it turns out as the pain in pain aux rasin. 

Back to the doughnuts, though. Here’s what the dough looks like after you’ve taken it out of the fridge and cut out the circles:

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Very flat.

Here’s the dough after one hour in a warm(ish), draft-free place (the oven, turned off):

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Pillow-y, squishy, (cute!), and puffy. Perfection? Yes.

The frying time varies; the book said two minutes per side, but we had very well-done doughnuts. 15 seconds worked for us.

You can roll them in cinnamon and sugar, glaze, or fill the doughnuts…if you’re feeling un-lazy and curious (not me), try all three. At the same time.

Brioche Doughnuts

(from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan)

3 tbs whole milk (we used cream)

2 tbsp active dry yeast

1.75 cups (215 grams) all-purpose flour

1.75 cups (215 grams) bread flour

0.25 cup + 1 tbsp (55 grams) sugar

1.5 tsp kosher salt

5 eggs, beaten

1 cup (220 grams) unsalted butter, softened

Sugar & cinnamon, for coating

  1. Gently heat cream until warm. Mix with yeast and set aside.
  2. Place flours, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the eggs. Add yeast mixture. Beat on low speed until combined.
  3. Add butter in 1-2 tablespoon increments, mixing on low speed. The butter will not incorporate right away. After all the butter is added, turn the mixer to medium high speed and mix for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl from time to time.
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  5. In a stainless steel pot or dutch oven, pour in 3 inches of canola oil. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, and heat to 375˚F.
  6. Transfer dough to a heavily floured work surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, press until 1.25” thick. Cut out doughnuts (we used the rim of a glass jar and a piping tip). You should have 10-24, depending on the size you choose to make the doughnuts.
  7. Fry the doughnuts 15 seconds per side, or long enough to obtain a golden brown color. Prepare the cinnamon sugar mixture and immediately toss the doughnuts after frying. Eat!
  8. These will keep for a few days, tightly sealed.

Audrey Hepburn’s Chocolate Cake

Update 7/9: Seized chocolate will indeed cause a dry cake. New texture is mousse-y, almost creamy, but not ganache creamy.

Today Haley and I had our quintessential meet-up, which consisted of the usual: Watching an Audrey Hepburn movie and baking something sweet! We decided, after deliberating, to try Audrey’s chocolate cake recipe, in honor of our our second friendiversary and in commemoration of our first official hangout. The hangout, you may have guessed, involved baking (cream puffs by Joy the Baker!) and and Audrey movie. Roman Holiday was my first Audrey film, and I haven’t looked back. So thanks, Haley! It’s always fun with you 🙂

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The recipe for this cake comes from Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen, written by her son, Luca Dotti. It’s equal parts memoir and recipe book, in which Dotti combines anecdotes from his mother’s life with a beloved dish that held significant memories of the time. This cake in particular evoked memories of the liberation of Holland after WWII. According to Dotti, chocolate was one of the first things his mother ate after a long period of starvation. Chocolate and condensed milk brought by the brand-new United Nations.

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Just some notes before you start-

You absolutely must combine the cream and chocolate together before melting the chocolate. Otherwise, the chocolate will seize, and the chocolate will become grainy. To simplify the processes, I would heat the cream and then pour it over the chocolate to melt it. It’s easier than melting everything over a bain-marie or double-boiler.

There may or may not have been too much meringue in the recipe. I will be revisiting this with new results. Egg whites give structure to baked goods, and the cake came out a bit dry as opposed to creamy, so I suspect that, if the seized chocolate was not the problem, then the egg whites were.

Finally, you can serve this cake with whipped cream or ice cream. Really, you could serve it with whatever you fancy. I went with a simple Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream: Cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla. If your torte come out dry like mine, the topping will add a little moisture and cut the intensity of the chocolate.

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Audrey Hepburn’s Chocolate Cake

(From Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen by Luca Dotti)

Cake

11 ounces (300g) unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped

0.25 cup whole milk (I substituted cream)

1 stick/0.5 cup (120g) unsalted butter

8 eggs, separated

1 cup (200g) sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Heat cream until just below a simmer. Place chocolate in a bowl. Pour cream over and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently whisk to create a ganache. Add butter and whisk until combined. Whisk in egg yolks.
  3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add all the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until still and glossy.
  4. Place 1 cup of the beaten egg whites (meringue) into the chocolate mixture and use a spatula to fold gently. This will lighten the batter. Continue adding in 1-cup increments until all the egg whites are combined.
  5. Buter and flour a 10- or 12- (25- or 28- cm) inch pan (I used a springform pan). Pour batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and cool for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Ice Cream

This ice cream is very soft and melts quickly. Eat immediately after serving.

1.5 cups cream

1.5 cups whole milk or half-and-half

1 cup (200g) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Freeze your ice cream bowl overnight.
  2. Heat cream and milk/half-and-half until just warm. Whisk in sugar and salt to dissolve.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pour into ice cream bowl and churn for 30 minutes. Transfer to container and freeze for at least 1 hour. Serve.

 

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Despicable Me 3: Minion Cupcakes!

Despicable Me 3 was released today and can I just yell, I AM SO EXCITED! Partially because the plot looks good, and mostly because there will be MORE MINIONS. I love the minions. They’re so happy all the time, it’s impossible to be sad when you see them. And, I dearly love a good laugh!

In honor of movie number three, I decided to go all out with minion mini cupcakes. This is a testament to how much I adore these guys; I pulled out all the stops: Fondant for the eyes and food dye. So much dye. More than I’d care to admit. I wouldn’t have done this for any other character, movie nor otherwise. The minions, however, are super worth it.

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I went with mini cupcakes because regular cupcakes just won’t do. Minions are mini, after all. To color them, I used Wilton food gels in golden yellow and azul. I decided to forego the cupcake wrappers so that the wrapper color would not impede the minion aesthetic.

Yes, I’m a little bit obsessed.

The eyeballs were also pretty easy. (Believe me, I wouldn’t have tried if they were difficult to make. Maybe I would, because, minions, but then again, I am lazy.) I made some cheater-pants fondant out of marshmallows, and drew the eyes using Americolor edible pens.

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I had some serious thoughts about dyeing my fondant blue and then drawing Gru’s symbol on top, but by the time it came to actually executing the idea, I was overwhelmed with too many cyclops eyeballs and no will to continue on. Fondant is messy, and I didn’t care to scrub powdered sugar from obscure places in the kitchen.

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This was an all-day affair…but do it for the minons! I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself for coming up with this on the fly. Maybe it’s time to revise and make a few tweaks!

I smashed a bunch of recipes together to create these minions, so here they are:

-Despicable Me 3: Minion Mini Cupcakes-

Fondant

Make the fondant the day before, then wrap tightly in plastic and foil to seal.

Cake

(From Georgetown Cupcake’s Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne)

1 stick (0.5 cup/113 grams) softened unsalted butter

1.25 cups whole milk, room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature

1.75 cups/347 grams sugar

2.5 cups/240 grams flour, sifted

2.5 teaspoons baking powder

0.25 teaspoon salt

2.25 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Gently mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Combine milk and vanilla.
  4. Beat butter and sugar until pale, 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed.
  5. Add eggs and beat until fluffy, 1-2 minutes
  6. Add half the flour mixture and beat on low speed, then add half of the milk. Repeat.
  7. Line cupcake tins with liners or butter and flour (or spray with nonstick spray and flour). Fill tins two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed.
  8. Cool completely before icing.

American Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter (1.5 cups/226 grams), softened

1.5 pounds powdered sugar, sifted (kinda optional)

0.5 cup whipping cream or milk (water ok)

1-2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Wilton food gel, “golden yellow”

  1. Beat butter until pale, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar and pulse to combine. After sugar is completely incorporated, turn mixer to medium high speed for another 2-5 minutes.
  3. Scrape down bowl. Set mixer to “stir” and slowly add whipping cream until you reach the desired consistency. Add vanilla and whip at medium high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  4. If using, add food coloring, a drop at a time, until you achieve the desired shade.

 

ASSEMBLY

  1. Roll out your fondant with a generously-dusted (with powdered sugar) rolling pin to 0.25 inch. Using a 1-2 inch cutter, cut out rounds for the minion eye.
  2. Use an edible marker to draw the minion eye and goggle outline. You can also do two eyes using a smaller cutter.
  3. Pipe round blobs of frosting onto the cupcakes. I used an Ateco 807 tip. Top with minion fondant eye and press gently to adhere.
  4. Take lots of pictures. Eat. Maybe don’t eat the fondant.

Polenta with Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Eggs

Last year I raved about Huckleberry, Zoe Nathan’s little gem in Santa Monica. I finally bought the book. Glorious, I say. Glorious. On this episode of #domesticwithdad, we decided to make her recipe for polenta with roasted asparagus, prosciutto, and fried eggs. Need I say it again? Glorious.

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I am a super-fan of roasting vegetables. Salt, pepper, and maybe a seasoning or two if you’re feeling fancy. It’s a nice alternative to sautéing vegetables or heaven forbid, boiling them. Grilling is also an option … if you have a grill.

The recipe isn’t difficult, but team #domesticwithdad needs to work on its time-management skills. A few tips based on our test-run:

  • Sprinkle the cornmeal into the water a tablespoon at a time. Yeah. You read that right. Tablespoon at a time. Trust me, it definitely beats mashing out all the lumps after your cornmeal seizes. Yuck.
  • Blanch your asparagus! We forgot … and our asparagus were a little too soft. Blanching will stop the asparagus from cooking and keep them firm.
  • Please don’t scramble the eggs. Fry the eggs. Over easy is good, over medium, still good. Over … hard? At your own risk.

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You may be wondering, what’s the difference between grits and polenta? What even are grits?!

Please don’t ask what grits are. Southern food staple. I’ll leave it that. Go try some and report back.

According to one of my favorite cooking sites, grits and polenta are made with different types of corn, which also yield different textures. I prefer polenta, which has a firmer (and therefore better) texture, over grits, which are softer or mushier. Also note that grits are (as aforementioned) Southern, and polenta is an Italian dish.

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Also, please use prosciutto … don’t sub for bacon; it’s not the same. Prosciutto, like the lamb chop, has been one of the more formative foods on my foodie journey. Eat it. Like it.

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Polenta with Roasted Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Eggs (from Zoe Nathan’s book, Huckleberry)

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed

8-12 slices prosciutto

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tsp

1 cup (160g) cornmeal

4 tbs (55g) butter

1/2 cup (50g) grated Parmesan

4 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 500˚F. Roast prosciutto until crispy, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Set aside a bowl of ice water. Cook asparagus until tender (should not be super squishy/soft). Blanch asparagus  for 2-3 minutes to stop cooking. Important if you do not want squishy asparagus in the final product.
  3. Place asparagus on pan lined with parchment or foil. Drizzle with (good!) olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for approximately 15 minutes, until browned.
  4. In a saucepan, bring water, garlic, and salt to a boil. Gradually whisk the cornmeal into the water. I recommend 1 tablespoon at a time. Otherwise, your polenta will horribly lumpy.
  5. Fry eggs. Over easy or medium, but please don’t scramble or cook the yolk through.
  6. Toss (or plate nicely) everything into a bowl, top with parmesan, and serve.

Happy cooking, friends!

Marissa

Sesame-Mozzarella-Cilantro Salad

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I have a friend (hi, Fred!) who can look in his refrigerator, size up his ingredients, and make something on the fly. It’s an amazing skill, and even more impressive to watch him in action. I wish I had the same ease and confidence in the kitchen.

In an effort to clean out the fridge, I found myself pulling a Fred, as I looked at the odds and ends. Spinach, cilantro, fresh mozzarella, green onions, mandarin oranges … Honestly, I was a little skeptical as to how this would all play out, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything played together. The main star is definitely the cilantro, with the spinach solely providing fluff and nutrition(?). The mozzarella mellows the cilantro’s sharpness, and I like fruit in my salad to give a contrast to whatever savory components I’ve thrown in.

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I believe that salads are to taste, and I also believe that recipes should be done by weight. However, this I made this salad on the fly, so I measured nothing. I confess. Here’s the basic ingredients you need, but it’s on you to figure out the proportions in which you would like everything.

-Sesame-Mozzarella Cilantro Salad-

Spinach

Cilantro

Fresh Mozzarella

Sesame-Ginger Dressing and/or Sesame Oil

Mandarin Oranges (drained)

Crispy onions

  1. Using your hands, gently rip cilantro into large chunks. Add cilantro and spinach to a large salad bowl.
  2. Cut mozzarella into bite-size pieces. Drain mandarin oranges. Add both to bowl. Top with crispy onions and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of dressing and/or oil.
  3. Cover with another bowl and shake to coat.
  4. EAT.
  5. Feel like Fred. AKA feel like a genius in the kitchen.

 

Happy cooking, friends!

Marissa

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (Anything Dough)

Hello, friends! Today we’re making an easy pizza dough. It’s almost an everything dough. Right now I’m reading Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish, so maybe if you’re a bread nut like him, this isn’t an everything dough. But for novice bakers like you and me, it does the job! It’s pizza dough, dinner roll dough, cinnamon roll dough, focaccia, basic white bread…see? It’s everything.

I swiped this recipe from Sur La Table. The kitchen was making pizza one night last summer and it was divine. Pizza crust, summer vegetables, and an olive-oil drizzle. Yum.

Let’s bake! First, you’ll need to prepare the yeast. Make sure the water’s not too hot, or you’ll kill ’em off! Then you’ll be sad, and I’ll be sad for your un-fluffy bread.

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Some directions will say to sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it sit. I like to give mine a quick, gentle stir in the sugary water to make sure all the yeast is activated.

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After you let it sit for around five minutes, it’ll become nice and poofy. It’s a major transformation from the water-y mixture you started with! It will also smell like…bread. If your yeast doesn’t look like this after the five-ish minutes, it’s probably too old and you’ll want to buy a fresh jar.

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I like to pour the mixture into a small well in the flour. You could do this without a standing mixer; it’ll just take you a little bit longer.

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This dough is particularly wet. DO NOT add more flour! Only add so that you can roll out your dough at the end of the process.

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After mixing, transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl so that it can rise. For easier handling, either oil or wet your hands with water (but not too much). After an hour an a half, your dough should have doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your room, though, it could take less or more time.

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At this point, I sprinkled my dough with a little flour to help me ease it out of the bowl, but I would have used oil or water again. You can store it in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake whatever you’re dreaming up. Mine’s in the fridge, waiting to be turned into pizza with yellow squash, zucchini, and spinach!

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Happy baking! Here’s the recipe:

Easy Homemade Pizza Dough (from Sur La Table)

2 ounces (1/4 cup) warm water (110˚F-115˚F; I microwaved mine for a little under a minute)

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast)

16 1/4 ounces (3 1/4 c) flour

1 1/2 tsp sal (kosher or sea salt, not iodized table salt, please)

8 ounces (1 cup) water

1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) olive oil

  1. Dissolve yeast into 2 ounces warm water mixed with a pinch of sugar. Let sit for around five minutes until yeast are activated.
  2. Place flour and yeast mixture into a bowl, and either mix using a dough hook for approximately five minutes until tacky and cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl, or kneading by hand for around 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl and place in a warm spot. Let rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and store in the fridge overnight, or continue on and bake at 350˚F. Don’t forget to roll the dough out onto a floured surface. It makes four personal pizzas.

French Onion Soup

#domesticwithdad is back with the first project of the summer: how to make French onion soup!

(Also, can I put a couple grammatical questions on the table? To Oxford, or not to Oxford? Do you capitalize after a colon or leave the proceeding letter lowercase? These little inconsistencies with AP Style and other styles…I need everything to be on the same page!)

College friends, I will be frank: T/this soup is time intensive! Caramelizing the onions takes around 30 minutes, and then the soup must simmer for 45. BUT, I am a super-fan of multi-tasking (another debatable concept), so sometimes, I babysit my simmering vegetables while doing my homework next to the stove. Do what you gotta do.

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Anyways, first things first: C/croutons! I think 75 percent of the reason I eat this soup is to eat the croutons covered in melted Gruyère. YUM. You could make the croutons while you’re waiting for the soup to simmer; whatever floats your boat. I wanted my bread to be super-stale because it was going to be sitting in soup later!

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Croutons are easy and unfussy. Buy a baguette or sourdough (or make your own), slice to desired thickness, butter, and salt & pepper it. You could alternatively do an olive oil drizzle in place of the butter … whatever makes your socks go up and down. We went the butter route.

As for the onions, cut to the desired size. We went with larger chunks, just because we didn’t think small pieces would hold up very well. For comparison, this is what the raw onions look like:

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And after they had been reducing for a bit:

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And the final, caramelized product:

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Mom used to make a batch of these every week and pull them out of the fridge as needed. That’s also an option, if you fancy it.

The recipe we’re using calls for four cups of beef stock and four cups of chicken stock. We went rogue (because we don’t usually play by the exact rules) and did eight cups of chicken stock, because that’s what we had and we’re cheap. Everything turned out delicious.

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If you don’t have ramekins, you technically don’t have to throw the soup in the oven, but it does seal the deal. I guess microwaving your soup + cheese would also work. Please do not microwave the crouton.

-French Onion Soup (courtesy of Dad’s favorite place…FoodNetwork!)-

Soup

4 yellow onions

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

1 overflowing cup white wine

4 cups beef broth

4 cups chicken broth

4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

Croutons

French bread/baguette

olive oil or butter

Gruyère cheese, thickly sliced

-Directions-

  1. Chop onions to desired size. Slice bread for croutons. (As much or as little as you’d like.)
  2. Melt stick of butter in large pot. Add onions, stir to coat. Cook until soft and translucent. Add wine and cook until caramelized (a deep golden brown). Add broths, Worcestershire sauce, garlic. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Either butter both sides of the bread before placing on baking sheet, OR lay bread on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Bake at 350˚F until deep golden brown.
  4. Ladle soup into ramekins and top with crouton and Gruyère. Broil until cheese is bubbling and brown. OR, grate the cheese over soup, microwave to melt, and top with crouton.
  5. EAT.

 

Happy cooking, friends!