deweyfood

Cheesy Broccoli

My new favorite way to eat broccoli, this preparation would also suit any number of other green vegetables: thinly sliced zucchini, halved brussel sprouts, or chopped kale would all taste great.  Thanks to Virginia Newton for the recipe.

Serves 1-2

2 cups broccoli florets, sliced with a big chunk of stem still attached
1-2 tablespoons yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraiche
1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of herbes de provence (optional)
clove of garlic, minced (optional)
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

YOGURT NOTE: see that Market Basket yogurt? Best deal around: $1.69 for a quart, and some of the yummiest I’ve tasted.  Get the whole milk one, you won’t regret it.

Quickly sauté the florets in a bit of olive oil until they begin to brown.  Add the salt and pepper, and the garlic and herbs if you’re using them.  After a few minutes throw a couple tablespoons of water into the pan and shake it around, allowing the steam to cook the broccoli.  When the water has evaporated and the stems have softened, turn the heat off, add the yogurt and parmesan, taste for salt and pepper, and serve with a big squeeze of lemon juice.

Comments

Caesar Dressings

I have had the good fortune of growing up with friends whose families travel, and whose parents have invited me to accompany them on various adventures.  When I was in middle school my best friend Grace spent summers in a rented house in rural Vermont, and for a number of years I spent a week visiting and swimming, playing cards, and making up games with her and her brother.   Grace’s mother, Maureen, is an excellent cook who was always willing to let us help in the kitchen.  Her recipe for mock-Caesar dressing was one of the first “grown-up” recipes I learned how to make, and one that still always receives praise when served at dinner parties.

Just recently I spent a week in France with my friend Landon and her parents Rick and Virginia, who are living in a dreamy house on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence for the year.   We had a number of drawn out, decadent dinners, and at one of them Landon asked me to make a Caesar salad.  Inspired by our hedonistic vacation lifestyle I decided to attempt a traditional version, raw eggs and all.  It was so much easier than I expected, and so delicious.  My only tip is to not skip the anchovies.  I thought I hated them, too, but then I tasted good-quality ones: splurge on a fancy imported jar and use them with abandon.  You won’t regret it, I promise.

And so, in honor of friends and of travel, two recipes today, for two versions of rich, decadent dressing.  Enjoy!

Mo’s Caesar Dressing

1-2 cloves garlic
1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Mince the garlic as small as possible, then sprinkle with about ½ a teaspoon of kosher salt and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Use the back of a chefs knife to crush the garlic into a paste.

Mix the garlic into the mayonnaise and stream in the olive oil, whisking to combine.  Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

If you hold the dressing, be sure to taste it before serving: the garlic flavor will strengthen over time.  If it’s too spicy add more mayonnaise and olive oil.

Traditional Caesar Dressing 

1 whole egg
Juice of ½-1 lemon
½-1 cup olive oil
4-8 anchovies, minced to a paste
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the egg with the lemon juice until combined, then slowly begin streaming in the olive oil, whisking constantly.  The trick to a beautiful, creamy emulsion is to add just a couple tablespoons of olive oil at a time, whisking vigorously until the dressing thickens, before adding more.  Mix in the minced anchovies and season with salt and pepper, then taste and add more lemon or olive oil.  Stir in the parmesan and serve.

Comments

Flour Bakery’s Corn Muffins

Flour is one of my very favorite bakeries in Boston and the owner just came out with a cookbook. These muffins were the first recipe I tried and they blew my mind: delicate and not-too sweet, somewhere between cakey and crumbly.  I didn’t put the raspberry jam in the center like she suggests because I was in a rush, but I wish I had.  The ingredients may sound extravagant but the results are totally worth it.

A note on crème fraiche: you can buy expensive crème fraiche at most fancy grocery stores, but it’s really easy (and inexpensive) to make your own.  All you do is take 4 cups of heavy cream, mix in ¼ cup buttermilk, and let it sit for 24 hours. It will thicken up so that it looks like a loose sour cream and get slightly tangy.  Refrigerate and it will keep for about 2 weeks.  No need to buy buttermilk to make a second batch: you can just mix ¼ cup of the prepared crème fraiche into heavy cream and the bacteria will do their thing.     

Makes 12 large muffins

2 3/4 cups (385 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) medium-coarse yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56 grams) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (165 grams)packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (240 grams) milk, at room temperature
1/3 cup (70 grams) canola oil
3/4 cup (180 grams) crème fraiche, at room temperature
3/4 cup (255 grams) raspberry jam

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, coat with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until it forms a thick slurry. In a second large bowl, whisk the eggs until well-blended. One at a time, whisk the milk, then the oil, then the crème fraiche, and finally the butter-sugar slurry into the eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold carefully, just until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. The batter will be thick and pasty.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon jam on top of the batter in each cup, then top off each cup with another 1/4 cup batter, making sure the cups are evenly filled. They should be filled to the rim.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the edges of each muffin are golden brown and the center springs back when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.

Comments

Grapefruit Curd

I love grapefruit.  In college I would get a 15-pound bag at Costco whenever I went home for break, then hide it in my room and not share any of them.  I think the bags usually lasted about two weeks.  I also love lemon curd, and so when I had some extra egg yolks around the house I put two and two together and decided to try making a grapefruit curd.  Heavenly.  I imagine that this is the nectar upon which citrus gods subsist.

If you’ve never had lemon curd, it’s a rich, sweet-tart English spread traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea, or used as a tart filling.  It fills the same role as jam and has a texture similar to custard, but is so much more decadent than either.  Try it over pancakes or stirred into yogurt, or eat it straight from the bowl.  Happy Mardi Gras!

Recipe adapted from here.

Makes about 2.5 cups

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
½ cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (from ½ of one giant grapefruit)
finely grated zest of half a grapefruit
1 cup sugar
 8 egg yolks
large pinch salt
1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into pieces

Mix the lemon and grapefruit juices, zest, sugar, and yolks in a saucepan, whisking to combine. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly (don’t forget to scrape the sides and the bottom!), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the bottom of your spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the curd from the heat and stir in the butter one piece at a time, whisking after each addition.  When all the butter is melted, strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin forming.  Refrigerate until chilled and set.

Comments

Cauliflower Soup


I’m a big fan of soup.  It’s great to make ahead of time and have around the house, because it often gets better as it sits and because it makes an instant meal when you are just too tired to cook (or chew, for that matter).  With the addition of salad and toast you can even use it as a guest dinner.

This soup is my newest favorite, born of necessity but now with a permanent space on the stew rotation.  It’s creamy without any dairy and a beautiful light orange color.  I used cumin, but you could also shake in some curry powder with the roasting vegetables and, if you like, squeeze in some lime juice at the end. If you add curry powder, omit the nutmeg.

makes about 4 servings

1 cauliflower, florets separated (I used a precut bag from Trader Joe’s)
1 onion, cut into wedges
cooking spray or olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth (or water and bouillon)
1 large sweet potato
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place the cauliflower florets in a large baking dish and spray them with cooking spray, or toss with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Add the onion wedges and sprinkle the vegetables with the cumin, tossing to coat.  Bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the onions are beginning to brown around the edges and the cauliflower has softened.

While the vegetables are roasting, dice the sweet potato and bring the stock to a boil.  Simmer the potato in the stock until quite soft, about 20 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and onions to the broth and potato and cook for five minutes, until the cauliflower is very soft.  Puree the soup until smooth, return to pot, and taste for salt and pepper.  Add a large pinch of nutmeg and serve.

Comments

Tofu Scramble

I have been eating an absurd amount of tofu scramble recently, but when I told my sister that I was working on a post about it she turned her nose up in disdain.  I think that part of the problem is that scrambled tofu is often presented as an alternative to or imitation of scrambled eggs, instead of as a dish in its own right. I’ve found that if I look at it more as a veggie sauté with some tofu thrown in than as a sad simulation of eggs, I enjoy it much more.  Other selling points: it reheats better than scrambled eggs, so you can make a big batch and eat it throughout the week; it’s endlessly adaptable and full of healthy protein; and I’ve found that when I eat tofu scramble in the morning I can skip my usual 11am snack because I’m full until about 2pm.  And that never happens.

The recipe is incredibly flexible. This is a version I’ve been eating a lot of recently because it’s made up of the vegetables I had around my house, but feel free to omit or add whatever you’d like.  Basically you want to sauté some veggies (start with your onions, then add garlic, and end with the more watery veggies, like tomatoes, zucchini, or greens), add spices, then crumble in the tofu.   So simple.  You really can’t go wrong.  Finish with some lemon juice and a squirt of sriracha, if you’re so inclined.

Serves 2

3 leaves kale
¼ white onion, chopped
2 big cloves garlic
red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
about 10 ounces of firm tofu
½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon thyme
big pinch of salt
juice of ½ a lemon

Saute the onions for about 3 minutes, then add the peppers and garlic.  Cook for a few minutes more, until the peppers begin to soften.  Add the kale and stir until it just begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the spices and the salt and cook for thirty seconds, then add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to loosen any stuck bits.  Crumble in the tofu and mix everything together, then step back from the stove and allow to steam and hiss and burn a bit on the bottom, about 7 minutes.  Now is when you make the coffee and put your bread in the toaster.  Go back to the stove and give the scramble a stir, making sure to scrape up any browned bits (those are the tastiest part!), and then allow to cook for another 5 minutes.  Get your toast out of the toaster and pour your coffee.  When everything is heated through and looking good, squeeze in some lemon juice, taste for salt and pepper, and serve. 

 

Comments

Tahini Cookies: with photos!

Apparently my hand-drawn diagram was not sufficient to explain how to make these cookies, so my friend Kristine came over and took some photos while I made a batch.  I hope that her pictures make the recipe easier to follow!



makes 12-16 large cookies

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg plus enough warm water to equal 1½ cups
(break the egg into a 2-cup measuring cup and then fill to the 1½ cup mark)

1-2 cups tahini
1 cup sugar

First, make the dough:
If you have a food processor, this is a great time to break it out.  Put all the dry ingredients in, give them a whir, then stream in the liquids.  Run for 30 seconds or so, until everything is well combined and smooth.

If you don’t have a food processor it’s still easy: combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, pour in the wet ingredients, and knead until the dough is nice and smooth.  

Roy makes the dough the night before and lets it rise overnight in the refrigerator in a lightly oiled plastic bag.  I have also had luck letting it rest for an hour and then proceeding, but he’s the expert.

Then, roll out the cookies:

Clear off a nice big space where you can roll it out the dough.  You’ll be rolling it very thin, so make sure you have enough room.  Divide the dough into two halves, and pat one half into an even circle.




Use a rolling pin to begin roll the dough.




Roll the dough very thin—it will end up measuring about 2 feet across.



Now, take the tahini and spread evenly across the dough.  I used my fingers because I was at the end of the jar and it was quite lumpy, but ideally you’ll be able to use a spatula.





Sprinkle the sugar over the tahini-covered dough.  I ended up using about ¾ of a cup.



Now comes the slightly tricky part. Make a small hole in the center of the dough, and carefully roll from the inside out, making sure to roll evenly.





Roll all the way to edge and pinch shut.





You should now have a thick round rope of tahini-pizza roll.



Let the rope rest for ½ an hour or so and then slowly stretch it, so that you end up with about 10 feet of dough.  If you’re having trouble stretching, let it rest a bit longer.





Cut the rope into about 8 even lengths.





Roll each length into a snail shape, then roll each snail into an 8-inch pizza.





 Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake at 350ºF until crisp and just golden, about 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool before eating (they’re crispier and flakier after they’ve cooled, so it’s worth the wait!).

Thanks for the photos, Kristine!

Comments

Garlicky Kale

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, but people avoid cooking it because it seems so laborious.  Au contraire! This recipe takes 5 minutes, max, and is so delicious. I like serving garlicky kale as a side dish to round out vegetable-deficient meals, or as an accompaniment to soup or beans.  Any leftovers are beyond delicious warmed up and topped with a fried egg and hot sauce for breakfast.  In fact, this recipe is so fast that you could even make it for breakfast morning of.

Almost a non-recipe, the directions for this dish are adapted from Heidi Swanson’s awesome natural food blog, www.101cookbooks.com.

Serves 2-3

1 large bunch of kale
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
crushed red pepper flakes

Separate the kale leaves from the main stalk and tear into bite-sized pieces. Wash the leaves in a big bowl of clean water, rinsing and swishing to loosen any bits grit or dirt. Drain, rinse again, and set aside (some water will still cling to the leaves).

Hold off cooking the greens until just before heating.  Then, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the greens and a couple big pinches of salt.   They should hiss when they hit the pan.  Stir continuously until their color gets bright and they just barely start to collapse—two, three, maybe four minutes. Thirty seconds before you anticipate pulling the skillet off the heat, stir in the garlic. Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat, and serve topped with Parmesan and a big pinch of red pepper flakes.

Comments

Tahini Rolls

When I was in high school, my friend Cameron’s dad Roy used to make these giant tahini cookies and we would eat them in the afternoons while drinking tea and (theoretically) doing homework.  They’re amazing: flaky and rich, sweet but a little bitter from the tahini, crispy in some places and soft in others. Her parents have since moved to France and I’m on my own to satisfy my cookie cravings. They’re quite simple to make, although they do take a little while, mostly because you have to let the dough rise and then roll it out.  Definitely worth the investment.

Boston friends: if you need to try one before you put the effort into making them, Roy recommends going to the Armenian stores on Mount Auburn Street in Watertown. You can buy whole bags of professionally-made rolls. Yum!

Makes 12 8-inch cookies

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg plus enough warm water to equal 1½ cups
(break the egg into a 2-cup measuring cup and then fill to the 1½ cup mark)

1-2 cups tahini
1 cup sugar

First, make the dough:
If you have a food processor, this is a great time to break it out.  Put all the dry ingredients in, give them a whir, then stream in the liquids.  Run for 30 seconds or so, until everything is well combined and smooth.

If you don’t have a food processor it’s still easy: combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, pour in the wet ingredients, and knead until the dough is nice and smooth.  

Roy makes the dough the night before and lets it rise overnight in the refrigerator in a lightly oiled plastic bag.  I have also had luck letting it rest for an hour and then proceeding, but he’s the expert.

Then, roll out the cookies:
Clear off a nice big space where you can roll it out the dough.  You’ll be rolling it very thin, so make sure you have enough room.   Flour the counter and use a rolling pin to flatten out half of the dough into a circle about 2 feet across.  It will be very thin.

Use a rubber spatula to cover the top of the dough with a thin layer of tahini. Start with ½ cup and then increase if you need to.  Sprinkle the sugar on top.


Now, make a hole in the center of the dough.  Begin rolling from the inside out, making sure to roll evenly.  Go all the way to the edge and pinch shut.  You should now have a thick round rope of tahini-pizza roll.  Let the rope rest for ½ an hour or so and then slowly stretch it, so that you end up with about 10 feet of dough.  If you’re having trouble stretching, let it rest a bit longer.

Cut the rope into about 6 lengths, and roll each into a snail shape.  Roll each snail flat into an 8-inch pizza.

Bake at 350º until crisp and just golden. 

Comments

Tassajara Whole Wheat Bread

I discovered the Tassajara Bread Book when I was living in Hopkins during my last year at Smith and baking bread all the time, and it changed everything.  The recipes always come out well, and the tone of the book is encouraging enough to make even the most nervous baker feel confident.  As another bonus, a number of Tassajara breads contain 100 percent whole-wheat flour, tend to last for a number of days before going stale, and are very adaptable.

makes 2 loaves

3  cups lukewarm water (85 to 105 degrees), or a combination of water and milk
1½ tablespoons dry yeast (2 packages)
¼ cup sweetening (honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
4 cups whole-wheat flour
4 tsp. salt
⅓ cup oil or butter
3 cups additional whole-wheat flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour for kneading

Mix together the yeast and water in a large bowl. Stir in the sweetening and then the 4 cups of whole-wheat flour.  Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a thick batter (100 strokes).  Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

Stir in the salt and the oil, then add the additional 3 cups of flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on a floured surface until the dough is very smooth (about 10 minutes), using the additional cup of flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.  Let the dough rise for another 40 to 50 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Shape the dough into loaves and place in 2 loaf pans or a single heavy baking dish. Let rise for 20 to 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush the tops of the loaves with an egg wash (a egg beaten with a few tablespoons of water or milk) and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, or until golden-brown. Remove from the pans and let cool before slicing.

Comments