Saturday, September 12, 2015

green tea swag

Matcha pancakes. Matcha anything, really. Yes, I'm that girl.

But these pancakes are really good, and, if I may be shallow, super pretty. They're not overwhelmingly grassy, which I find to be most people's complaint about matcha flavored things, and the coconut oil gives it a sweet richness that made the butter on top almost unnecessary.

However, I do have to admit that snuggled between each pancake is my new favorite discovery, Srikaya Coconut Egg Spread, which is on Amazon, but I found at another new favorite discovery, the Indonesian restaurant-grocery Simpang Asia. It's the stuff your Kaya toast dreams are made of, and now, your matcha pancake dreams can get in on the action, too.

Matcha Pancakes
slightly adapted from Diane, A Broad
serves 2

1 egg
1/3 c. almond milk
2 T. coconut oil (plus more for skillet)
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. flour
1 T. matcha powder
1 1/2 t. baking powder
pinch salt

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, almond milk, coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the flour, matcha powder, baking powder, and salt, and whisk just until no dry spots remain. The batter may still be lumpy.

2. Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Brush with coconut oil. Using a 1/4-cup measure, dollop circles of pancake batter onto the skillet. Wait until bubbles appear and pop on the surface, then flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so. Stack pancakes and serve hot with good butter.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

hot, sticky, sweet

I've had this recipe bookmarked for ages, but one elusive ingredient has prevented me from ever making it.

Yuzu kosho. A strange, spicy, tart paste that, for all I know, has been right under my nose the whole time because nothing is marked in English. I'm pretty sure I've never seen it, though, and I frequent a lot of Asian grocery stores. But after years of staring at the recipe on my Pinterest board, I gave in and ordered it on Amazon.

Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. No, in that it hardly came through for all the miso that was in the marinade. Yes, in that it's an incredible marinade regardless of how much yuzu kosho you could taste. And we all win because this takes little to no time on the grill, which is the only way to cook in this heat.

If you're looking for more spice, I'd go to a full teaspoon (as indicated below). Otherwise, just enjoy that miso-brown sugar salty sweetness with your carb and vegetable of choice (brown rice and green beans sauteed in coconut oil for us).

Miso- and Yuzu Kosho-Marinated Short Ribs
slightly adapted from Food52

6 T. red miso
1 t. yuzu kosho
1 t. mirin
1 t. rice wine vinegar
1 T. brown sugar
1 lb. Korean-cut beef short ribs (not pre-marinated)

1. In a small bowl, combine the miso, yuzu kosho, mirin, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

2. Coat the ribs evenly in the rub and allow to rest, covered, for at least one hour in the fridge. Grill until cooked to desired doneness. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

let's chill

I have so much catching up to do on this blog, but as I was sitting here trying to come up with adjectives for baked lamb ribs and a farro salad that involved roasted cauliflower, I figured I'd spare you the sweat, and talk about something you might actually want to make in this godforsaken heat wave.

Now, I'm not generally a fan of chilled soup. Gazpacho? Sounds like an excuse and a trick to charge me $10 for the privilege of eating salsa for dinner. No thanks. But for some reason, this Chilled Cream of Basil Soup called to me. Some of it was the excitement of being able to use 1 1/2 c. of basil from the first plant that's ever allowed me to collect that many leaves from it. Actually, that was probably most of it.

But I'm also a sucker for cashew cream, and the combination sounded unbeatable. It's fresh and light, and works equally well for dinner (Matt paired it with some leftover grilled salmon) and brunch (I had it the next day with a topping of corn fresh off the cob, diced bell pepper from the garden, and more basil and a side of avocado toast).

A little goes a long way as the cashews make for a filling serving, which means you get to share this deliciousness with more people!

Chilled Cream of Basil Soup
slightly adapted from With Food + Love
serves 4-6

2 c. raw cashews, soaked
2 c. filtered water, plus more for soaking
1 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
1 c. lacinato kale
1 garlic clove
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. ground pepper
corn, bell pepper, and/or cucumber for garnish

1. In a large bowl, combine the cashews and enough water to cover them by an inch. Soak for four hours, then rinse and discard the soaking liquid.

2. In a blender pulse together the cashews and 2 c. water. Add the basil, kale, garlic, salt and pepper and blend until totally smooth. Transfer the blender jar to the refrigerator, and chill for at least one hour.

3. Divide the soup into 4 bowls for serving. Garnish with the chopped summer vegetables of your choice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

nice and airy

You have a sneaking suspicion that something is up with these muffins. They're not your regular banana muffins. There's a tiny bit of grit in there. Is this gluten-free, you ask? You don't trust gluten-free. It just doesn't taste right to you - you can always tell.

But then you start thinking about how this might be the softest, airiest, most delicious banana muffin you've ever had, and you eat it so fast it gives you the hiccups after. You know what I mean?

This is truly the best use of 3 over-ripe bananas I've ever come across. Totally amped up with coconut oil, peanut butter, honey and cinnamon, and everything breakfast (or a 4:00p tea time nibble, midnight snack...) should be.

A couple tricks:

- Just use one bowl, a fork, and some arm strength to mash and combine everything. No need to dirty up an electric mixer.

- Measure out the coconut oil first out of all of your liquid ingredients. Honey has never exited a Tablespoon quite so fast after you use it for oil first. Same with peanut butter.

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
makes 12 muffins

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 T. liquid coconut oil
1 T. honey
4 T. peanut butter
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
2 oz. dark chocolate chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the coconut oil, honey, peanut butter and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Add the eggs, and mix until combined. Add in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix again until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and remove each muffin from the tin to let cool before serving.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

an apple a day

I am quite comfortable admitting that I don't like apple pie. But in taking a survey of my wedding guests to inform my pie-making decisions, apple pie was the 2:1 favorite over the runner-up, pecan pie (which I would take over apple any day of the week). There is just something about cooked apples I can't get into.

But, I am not here to disappoint my audience, so recipe-testing this weekend consisted of bringing 2 different pie recipes, in 4 different formats to a friend's barbecue.

I do have a hands-down preference, and it was the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apple Pie that I decorated with hearts up above. It was wonderfully caramel-y, strongly cinnamon-y, and just delicious. 

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apple Pie

2 balls of your favorite pie dough

For the filling:
4-5 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. kosher salt
juice of half a lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your apples and toss them with your sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Set aside.

2. Generously flour a work surface, then roll out your favorite pie dough, large enough to fit inside of your pie dish. Cut off any excess dough, then use your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough around the dish. Pour your apple filling into the prepared pie crust. 

3. Roll out your next ball of dough. Make the top crust of your choice - rolled out for a full double crust, cut into strips for a lattice, or punched out into different shapes for a fun topping.

4. Place the pie in the oven, then turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are bubbling. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving.

However, the experiment wasn't only for the filling. I also need to figure out if there were any better ways to transport pie than via 15-20 individual pie plates. I'm usually not the kind of person who is a sucker for anything in a Mason jar via Pinterest, but when I found photos of pies in Mason jars, I freaked out. So, you're saying I can bake a pie in a glass jar, which basically makes it individualized, and then put a lid on it, and stack them in any sort of flat carrying case (cases which I can then continue stacking into the back of my vehicle)? And I can potentially also freeze the pies unbaked, and stick them in a cold oven to come to temperature at the same time the oven does, and continue baking? What is this miracle? (I have yet to experiment with the straight-from-the-freezer option, but I have 3 pies waiting for me when I get home).

There were many jars involved. The top 3 are small 4 oz. straight-sided jars with the cutest gold lids. The bottom 2 are 8-oz. Ball and Kerr jars, respectively - one a little too deep (but hello tons of filling - too bad I don't like apple), and one wide-mouth which was actually perfect size-wise, but annoying to press crust into. All things one needs to know way in advance of one's wedding.

This pie recipe was fine - just not as interesting the last. Less brown sugar (although more sugar, period) and less cinnamon. This recipe also required pre-cooking the apples, which I found to be tedious, especially since I didn't see or taste any discernible differences in texture. 

Wedding apple pie, check.

Sauteed Apple Pie
from KCRW

2 balls of your favorite pie dough

For the filling:
7 medium apples
3 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
juice of half a lemon
pinch of salt
2 heaping T. of corn starch
3 T. cold water

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add water to cornstarch and stir and set aside.  

2. In a large pan, melt 2 T. butter with sugars and spices. Add the apple slices and cook until “al dente.” Add the cornstarch and water mixture on high heat, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 T. butter. Set aside to cool.

3. Roll out our pie dough into two circles. Line the pie tin with one of the dough circles. Fill with the apple mixture. Lay the second dough circle on top, and press down the edges. Trim the excess dough. Cut vents in the top, and crimp or pinch the edges as you like.

4. Place the pie in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, July 17, 2015

c is for cookie

I must admit that I don't have much to say about this cookie because it was a moving-out gift for our dear friend Chet, and I burned the little cookie I made as quality control.

His actual gift was the skillet - I hold him responsible for giving life to our infrequently-used one, and reminding us how great it is, and reminding us to use it more - so I figured he needed his own for his apartment.

And what I may not have been able to provide in a quality-controlled cookie, I hope I got to send him off with the same joy I got out of BJ's Pizookies in high school, and have total trust that he had his favorite ice cream to top this all off with.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
from Martha Stewart
makes one 10-inch cookie

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 t. pure vanilla extract
9 oz. chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; mix until they are fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

2. Transfer the dough to a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, and press to flatten, covering the bottom of the pan. Bake until edges the are brown and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't overbake; it will continue to cook a few minutes out of the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges.

Monday, July 13, 2015

what summer brings

Gorgeous, bountiful summer.

After a major move, the herb garden is doing better than it ever has. I wish I could lay claim on that stunning heirloom tomato in the caprese salad, but that honor goes to the farmers market, and I can only brag about the basil, and the mint in the pasta dish, but brag I will.

I have killed every single basil plant that has ever crossed my threshold, usually within days of its arrival. This one nearly looked like it wouldn't be an exception, but some careful pruning, and a lot of strong wishing and hoping, it's growing into something that might even allow me to make pesto at the end of summer!

And the mint. Mint is insane. We literally transplanted three sprigs, and it's now spread like wildfire. Why not throw it in with some handmade pasta and crab (and some jalapenos, also from the garden)? No reason at all.

Garganelli with Crab, Chile + Mint
slightly adapted from Serious Eats
serves 4

12 oz. garganelli
8 oz. crab meat
1 jalapeƱo, stemmed and finely chopped
1/4 c. minced red onion
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 T. butter
1/4 c. mint leaves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the jalapeƱos and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for three minutes, or until tender.

3. When the pasta is done, scoop it over to the skillet. Turn the heat to high, and add the crab meat. Cook for a minute to warm the crab, and then add the mint and lemon juice. Add some pasta cooking water if it seems dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.