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!