Tag Archives: recipe

challah back y’all

Hello dear friends and happy 2015! It has been a LONG time :(

Since my last post, I started a new job that has kept me very busy, which i’ll blame for keeping me away so long. I now work for a company called Dinner Lab, which is a membership based pop-up dining club, currently operating in 24 cities in the US. So yes, Eating with Edie finally got a job in the food world!

Anyway, one of my new years resolutions was to start posting again, and I have so much great stuff to share with you, so here we go…

challah bread

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The great color on these comes from the egg wash you put on right before baking

For those who don’t know, challah is a special jewish braided egg bread eaten on Shabbat and during various holidays. I started making challah in college with an organization called Challah for Hunger and fell in love with it. We used to meet on Thursday afternoons and braid different varieties of challah: usually cinnamon sugar, raisin, and chocolate chip to be sold on campus the next day.

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Instead of mixing raising into the batter, I like to line them down the center of each strand and then pinch the sides together to hide them. Then braid normally.

 

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poppy seeds…yum

Over the years I’ve gotten to experiment with different recipes, fillings/toppings, and braids/shapes. My favorite recipe is from Amy’s Bread, an incredible bakery in NYC, which you’ll find below.

I usually decide between a 3, 4 or 6 strand braid. Even though I’ve done each a few times, I still find it helpful to look at a diagram or watch a video while I braid. This post from Tori Avey does a fantastic job of showing each braiding method step by step. IMG_3618

Sometimes you want to make a round challah (it is customary for Rosh Hashanah), and there are a few ways to go about it. First, you can take any of the regular braids you read about above and twist them into a circle, tucking the ends underneath (like the left challah in the picture below). IMG_3621

But there are other ways as well. I like to make 6 strands, put three facing in each direction, weave the center together like a lattice, then braid each side normally:challah2

Finally, tuck each side underneath and voila:IMG_3613

Most recently, I made a challah shaped wreath for a Christmas eve dinner party and it was a total showstopper! I used the recipe below, but instead of splitting the dough in half, I used the whole thing and created one very long 4 strand braid which I then wrapped around into a circle. Follow along here for some great visual directions. IMG_0510

I kept a bowl in the center of the circle while it baked (to help keep the shape), then put a round brie in the center and topped it with cranberry apple chutney. IMG_0520

Isn’t she beautiful?
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Without further ado, here’s the golden recipe:

Amy’s Bread Challah Recipe, courtesy of Amy Scherber

Yield: Two loaves

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup very warm water
1 cup warm water
4 tablespoons canola oil or other vegetable oil
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
1 yolk of a large egg
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 large egg for egg wash

Line two 12 x 17-inch sheet pans with baking parchment.

1) Combine the yeast and the very warm water in a measuring cup and stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes. Place the warm water, oil, sugar, egg, and egg yolk in a large bowl and whisk them to combine. Add the yeast mixture and whisk again.

2) In a large bowl add the flours and the salt and whisk together. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and mix with your fingers or a wooden spoon until the dough gathers into a sticky mass.IMG_3605

When all of the flour is incorporated, move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes. The dough should be sticky and wet. If it feels stiff or dry, knead in additional cool water, one tablespoon at a time. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20 minutes.IMG_3607

3) Return the dough to a very lightly floured work surface and knead it for 5 more minutes. The dough will go from being sticky to smooth and will become supple and stretchy. It should be soft, not firm. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it doubles in volume. A hole poked into the dough with a finger should hold its shape, and should not bounce back.IMG_6069

4) Separate the dough in half. Then split each half into as many pieces as you need for the braid you’ve decided on. Roll into long strands:IMG_6104

Create your desired braid from above and put it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then let the braid rise at room temperature for about 45 to 60 minutes or until nearly doubled in volume (I’ve done 15-20 before with great success). About 20 minutes before the dough is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425° F and position 2 racks in the center of the oven.

5) In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Gently brush the top and sides of the loaves, coating them evenly all the way around. Place the pans on the center racks in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom, and reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. If you have any egg wash left over, brush the rest over the loaves now. Continue baking for 10-15 more minutes. If your oven has a convection option, switch it to convection for the last 5 minutes of baking, to improve the browning of the crust. Watch the loaves carefully during the last few minutes. They can become dark very quickly. They should be golden brown but still slightly soft.IMG_6088

6) Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool before serving. This bread is best enjoyed a few hours after the loaves have been baked.IMG_6092

bon appétit,
edie

short ribs two ways

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I can’t get enough of short ribs.

If I see them on a menu, I always order them. And for many years, that was the extent of my short rib relationship.

That all changed this year when I started cooking my way through the Smitten Kitchen and Mad Hungry cookbooks, and both had short rib recipes that I had to try my hand at immediately.

Disclaimer: The pictures here are incomplete, because I ate the finished product before I had the chance to snap some. I promise that I’ll make these again (no hardship there) and fill them in later!

First up, Smitten Kitchen’s balsamic and beer braised short ribs. These will knock your socks off. Couldn’t be a more delicious and more perfect food to serve at your next dinner party. The marinade that you reduce into a thick glaze is addicting… 

5 lbs. bone-in flanken cut short ribs, at room temperature, trimmed of excess fat (i used boneless because that’s what i could find, and loved it)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 bottles (24 oz. total) dark beer, such as black lager
2 to 3 cups beef stock (i didn’t end up needing this)

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper. IMG_4577

Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat, and add olive oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, brown the short ribs on all sides, in batches. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.IMG_4578IMG_4580

Once all the ribs are browned, turn your heat down to medium-high and pour off all but one tablespoon of fat. Add the onion, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until softened and lightly brown, about 10 minutes. IMG_4581

Add the garlic cloves and saute 3 more minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for another couple of minutes, until thickened. Now add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and beer, scraping all the yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.IMG_4582
Return the browned ribs to the pot; try to place them in meatiest sides down. If not all will fit this way, put some in standing on their sides with the bones facing vertical. Add enough stock just to cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then turn off heat. Cover the pot tightly with foil, then with the pot’s lid.
Bake for 3 hours, or until the meat can easily be pierced with a knife, or pieces can be torn back with a fork. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes, uncovered. Skim as much fat as possible off the top. (Note: I let them cool slightly and put them in the fridge overnight. Before continuing, just warm them on the stove).

Preheat your oven to 420 F. Remove ribs from the braise and spread them out on a baking sheet (I greased mine with cooking spray first). Roast for 15 minutes, or until the edges start to crisp. Meanwhile, strain the braising liquid into a saucepan and simmer it over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, longer if you want a thicker glaze.

To serve, place a mound of parsnip puree on your plate, then top with 1-2 short ribs and ladle with sauce. When I made these for a dinner party, I used the parsnip puree, however in the picture below I served them with polenta which was delicious too.

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the meat is so moist and tender it literally falls apart

Next up are Mad Hungry’s oven braised red wine and soy sauce short ribs. These are much simpler and less hands-on to prepare because you marinate and cook the ribs in the same baking dish, and you don’t have to brown the ribs before braising!

1 onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 pounds short ribs
2 to 3 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters (optional)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients except the meat and potatoes in a 9- x 15-inch roasting pan.IMG_5200

Add the ribs and rub all over with the marinade. The meat should fit comfortably in a single layer in the pan. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight. Occasionally turn the meat over in the marinade. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Braise the short ribs for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, reducing the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit after an hour. Turn the ribs over. Add the potatoes in the last 40 minutes of cooking. Add water to the pan if too much liquid evaporates. You want to end up with glistening ribs in a reduced glaze.

[I don’t currently have any pictures of the finished product, but I promise I’ll take some the next time I make them!]

Conclusion: Both of these recipes are top notch. The Smitten Kitchen one is a bit more refined and the presentation is cleaner, so I’d make those if you’re looking to impress dinner guests. I made them for a dinner party of 20 and they were a hit. The Mad Hungry ones are much more laid back and perfect for a weeknight meal as long as you can be near the stove for 3 hours. Short ribs require little hand holding and are very forgiving because they’re hard to overcook. Bottom line, these will be your best friend in the kitchen.

turkish bride soup

While I was home for the holidays my mom and I made turkish bride soup, a combination of red lentils, bulgar wheat, vegetable broth, lemon and mint that is delicious, comforting and very healthy to boot!

I’ve made it at least four times since then because it makes a great dinner when there’s nothing in the fridge. If you keep a well stocked pantry, you should always have lentils, bulgar (i use it to make tabbouli all the time) and broth, and can make this soup on a whim! IMG_4848

turkish bride soup

1/4 cup butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups vegetable stock
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried mint leaves (no worries if you don’t have it)
4 slices lemon
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook the onions in the hot butter until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the paprika, lentils, and bulgur into the onions and coat with the butter.
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Add the tomato paste, vegetable stock, and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil and cook until soft and creamy, about 1 hour. Crumble the dried mint leaves into the soup; stir the soup and remove from heat.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint to serve.

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I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

bon appetit,

E

 

baked chicken meatballs

since this is a blog of all of my favorite foods, i couldn’t believe it when i realized that i had never posted these chicken meatballs. i can’t get enough of these, and i’m not surprised, considering the recipe came from Smitten Kitchen. these are the perfect “i don’t know what to make for dinner” or “i want to impress my dinner guests with minimal effort” meal. if i haven’t convinced you yet, i’m going to stop trying, but please for the love of g-d, just make these, okay?!

Beauty, right?

Beauty, right?

baked chicken meatballs

while you could certainly serve these with pasta, as is tradition, i prefer a simple side of sautéed spinach or a big salad.

Serves 4

3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped (you can swap in Canadian Bacon if you can’t find pancetta, which i have done many times, or leave the extra meat out altogether)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided (i like tomato paste so i usually use more)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley.

ready to be mixed

ready to be mixed

Form 12 meatballs and arrange in a 4-sided sheet pan or roasting dish. Stir together remaining tablespoon or two of tomato paste and oil (i usually use less than a tablespoon) and brush over meatballs (i usually just spoon a drop over each and smoosh it down).

oven ready

pre oven

Finally, bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (though mine took a good 5-10 minutes longer).

Beauty, right?

fin.

i know what i’m having for dinner tonight.

bon appetit,
e

happy thanksgivukkah!

happy thanksgivukkah my dear readers!photo 2

thanksgiving and hanukkah fall at the same time this year, and rumor has it that this won’t occur again for another 77,000 years, so we’re taking advantage of it and combining the two.

thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, a chance to cook delicious and comforting food, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on everything that we have to be thankful for.

last year i shared a whole list of recipe ideas, which i’ve drawn inspiration from again this year.

some highlights from last year:

sweet tea and citrus brine

sweet tea and citrus brine

popovers

popovers

mmm pumpkin cheesecake

mmm pumpkin cheesecake

sneak peak of this year’s menu:

to start:
artichoke olive crostini
parsnip potato latkes with cranberry applesauce
cranberry orange old fashioned cocktail

for the main course:
manischewitz brined turkey
challah apple stuffing
balsamic glazed pearl onions
roasted brussels sprouts
sweet potato casserole with half marshmallow, half crumble topping

to finish:
pumpkin chocolate tart (filling from here and crust from here)
pear cranberry and gingersnap crumble

my plate

last year’s plate

stay warm, blast some tunes, and enjoy this wonderful holiday!

i’m signing off to make my pumpkin pie,

bon appetit!

muffins and mimosas: a foolproof guide to brunch, part two

A long time ago I posted a foolproof guide to brunch part one. I didn’t mean to wait so long before following up, but I recently hosted a birthday brunch for a friend, and made a few new dishes that were so delicious I couldn’t wait to share them with you. IMG_3801

For this brunch I relied entirely on Smitten Kitchen, which you all know is my favorite food blog. I decided to have an egg component, a carb component (or two) and an fruit component for the perfect balance.

baked ranchero eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime crema

i was told by a close friend that this was “the best thing i’ve ever made”, so i think that speaks for itself. this recipe is outstanding. it would make an amazing dinner too. the eggs, cheese, lime scented sour cream and the crispy tortilla strips…YUM.

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Recipe from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” by Deb Perelman

For the ranchero sauce:
1 jalapeño, or to taste
1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups cooked black beans, drained

For the tortilla strips:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small corn tortillas
Salt, to taste

12 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded jack cheese

For the crema:
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

For garnish:
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

To make the ranchero sauce, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Quarter and seed the jalapeño, if desired, and toss into a blender. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic and several pinches of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.IMG_3781

Pour into a 12-inch oven proof skillet, add the black beans and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce has reduced slightly.

Meanwhile, make the tortilla strips. Brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cut the tortillas into 1/2-inch wide strips and arrange them on the oiled tray. Brush the tops of the strips with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp.

Make the crema by stirring together the lime juice, crema and a pinch of salt.

Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from the heat and break the eggs across the surface of the sauce, distributing them as evenly as possible. Return to heat, cover the pan and simmer eggs gently in sauce for 10-12 minutes, or until the whites are nearly but not completely opaque. Sprinkle surface of the tomato and egg mixture with the cheese and broil until the cheese is bubbly and a bit blistered – just a few minutes. Garnish with dollops of lime crema, broken pieces of tortilla strips and cilantro.

cinnamon toast french toast

because this can be assembled ahead of time it is a hostess’ dream. it’s rich and eggy with an amazing crunch, and it was great with vanilla greek yogurt dolloped on top.

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recipe from Smiten Kitchen

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
16 slices (from a 1-pound or 450 gram loaf) white sandwich bread
1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (710 ml) whole milk
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Whisk the cinnamon and sugar together in a small dish. Line two large baking sheets with foil. Place the bread slices on the baking sheets in one layer. Spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of butter, then sprinkle each slice with one teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.IMG_3775

Toast the trays of bread in the oven until the bread is golden, and until the cinnamon-sugar makes a caramelized crunch on top, for about 7 to10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and let the toast cool slightly.IMG_3782

Generously butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. (You might have a little butter leftover but I wanted to build in some leeway in case, understandably, you weren’t buttering your bread with precise teaspoon measurements!) Cut two slices of the cinnamon toast in half horizontally. Arrange the cinnamon toast down in two rows along the width of the pan. Begin with the bottom half of one slice of toast, then fan 7 more slices in a row, finishing with the top half of the slice. This ensures that those served the end pieces of the baked French toast are not stiffed with thin slices! Repeat with another 7 full slices and 1 halved slice of cinnamon toast in the second row.IMG_3785

Whisk the milk, eggs, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl and pour evenly over cinnamon toast in baking dish. Let sit for 15 minutes (or overnight, if you’re preparing this ahead of time) so that the custard absorbs a bit.IMG_3786

Before baking, if you’ve got any extra cinnamon-sugar (you’ll likely have a tablespoon or two), sprinkle it over the French toast. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden and until no liquid seeps out of the toasts when they are nudged about in the pan. Cut into squares and serve plain, or with a dollop of plain yogurt and fresh berries, or maple syrup.

plum poppyseed muffins
i have always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, so when i saw the recipe for these i knew that i had to try them out. i love that they’re filled with fresh plums, whole wheat flour, and greek yogurt which keeps them moist. delish!
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Recipe from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” by Deb Perelman
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark or light brown sugar
¾ cup sour cream or a rich, full- fat plain yogurt
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all- purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about ¾ pound Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter twelve muffin cups.
Whisk the egg with both sugars in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour- cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums.
Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.IMG_3794
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely.
breakfast apple granola crisp
classic dessert with a few tweaks that made it great for breakfast. this was great served with vanilla greek yogurt and berries. and it was even better the next day.
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Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

3 pounds of whatever apples, or mix of apples, you like to bake with, peeled, cored and cut into medium chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, as you wish; I used unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix apple chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a 9×13-inch baking dish until apples are evenly coated.IMG_3773

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the honey. Stir in the flour, oats, almonds, coconut and another pinch of salt until clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are softened and bubbly.IMG_3774

Should the granola brown before you wish it to, cover the baking dish carefully with foil for all but the last few minutes of baking time, when removing the foil will help the granola recrisp. Cool to room temperature and then stash in the fridge to eat with your morning yogurt.

i know this was a long one, but now you have all of my favorite brunch recipes in one place!

bon appetit.

hoisin glazed salmon with tropical salsa over black rice

Is this not the most gorgeous plate of food you’ve ever seen?

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I first made this dish for my mom’s birthday many years ago and always reminisced about how delicious and beautiful it was. Then recently, when my roommate’s mother overnighted us these gorgeous salmon fillets that she had caught in Alaska, I knew that I wanted to go all out and I dug up this recipe again! It’s so good that I knew I had to share it with you.

I love how the bright pink salmon and tropical salsa look that much brighter against the black rice. This is an easy going dish, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have everything on the list of ingredients. You can use a store bought marinade for the glaze. The salsa can be made with whatever you have around. In this recipe I included mango, avocado and strawberries, but it would also be great with pineapple and bell pepper.

hoisin glazed salmon with tropical salsa over black rice

recipe adapted from here

Glaze:
3/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4-8 (6-ounce) pieces salmon fillet (best quality you can afford)

Salsa:
1 mango, chopped fine
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
10 strawberries, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 green onions (green part only) chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Siracha sauce

Chinese black rice (i found it at a local asian supermarket), cooked according to package directions.

For Glaze: Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

For Salsa: Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place salmon, skin-side down, on a foil lined baking sheet. Spoon glaze over salmon.Bake in oven about 20 minutes (internal temperature of salmon should be 135 degrees). Allow salmon to rest 5 minutes, covered with foil.

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Using a spatula, lift salmon to separate from the skin and place on each of the dinner plates. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the salsa atop each of the salmon fillets. Serve with Chinese black rice.

This is seriously a great meal, one to remember.

Bon appetit!

seeded whole grain no knead bread

If you’ve never tried baking your own bread before, you’ll be out of excuses after you discover the no knead bread phenomenon. After reading dozens of blogs and articles about it, I decided to dive in, and I haven’t looked back. I’ve experimented with cranberry walnut bread, olive bread, lemon rosemary bread and a seeded whole grain bread, each one coming out even greater than the last. The best thing about no knead bread is that you can throw in any filling you want, with just about any mixture of flours, and it will come out perfectly.

According to Wikipedia, “No-knead bread is a method of bread baking that uses a very long rising time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough.”

The best part about it is that you mix the dough and then forget about it for 24 hours. I like to put my dough together on Saturday morning, then dump it out on Sunday morning, shape it into a ball, let it rest for a few more hours, bake it, and then slice it so we have bread for the week. The crust is crisp and crunchy, and the interior of the bread is holey and light – perfection.

seeded whole grain no knead breadIMG_3355

recipe inspired by Makin’ it with Frankie

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaping tbsp honey or molasses
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds

Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Whisk it together until it starts to foam. Then sprinkle the kosher salt in, followed by the olive oil and honey. Whisk them all together until mixed. Using the scoop and level method, dump in the three flours. Using a wooden spoon, fold it all together until the flour is all mixed in. It won’t be very pretty, but don’t worry. Cover the bowl with saran wrap or a plastic bag and put in in a warm corner of the kitchen for 24 hours.

The next day it should have risen a bit and look like this:IMG_3340

Dump in the sunflower, flax and caraway seeds and mix together with a wooden spoon. As you can see, I also dumped in some poppy seeds. IMG_3343

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Pour the entire mixture into a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or buttered and floured. Smooth out the top with a rubber spatula. Let it rest. (Alternatively you can bake it in a dutch oven lined with parchment paper. For this bread, I find it easier to slice and toast in the loaf pan shape)

Place a baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle the top of the bread with any additional flax seeds, caraway seeds, and oatmeal if you desire. Then slash a thin line through the middle of the bread. 

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When you’re ready, pour one cup of water into the baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven, and put your bread on the middle or top rack.

Let it bake for 50 minutes without opening the oven door (to avoid releasing the steam), and when you take it out, it should look like this:IMG_3353

I like to slice it thinly and freeze it, so that it stays fresh and can be easily toasted throughout the week.

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Stay tuned for the other no knead bread recipes that I made!

roasted eggplant with yogurt-tahini sauce and cumin-crisped chickpeas

One of my favorite finds in New Orleans so far has been the Hong Kong Market on the West Bank. It’s an awesome asian supermarket that fills my chinatown void and has some of the best produce in all of nola.

They have the most awesome selection of eggplants. Baby italian and indian eggplants and the long and slender asian ones. Whenever I make the trip over there, I always pick up an assortment of eggplants and run home to make this Smitten Kitchen cookbook recipe.IMG_3118

The combination of the roasted eggplant, thick and creamy yogurt tahini sauce, fresh parsley and crispy chickpeas is nothing short of perfection. It would be an awesome appetizer for a party, or a nice light dinner.

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1- 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, drained, patted dry on paper towels
5 tablespoons olive oil
Course or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 pounds small italian eggplants

yogurt-tahini sauce

1/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup thick plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup cold water
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

crisp chickpeasIMG_3116

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and toss the chickpeas with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and ground cumin. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them on the top rack for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking it every now and then until they are browned and crisp.

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Brush a large baking sheet with a generous tablespoon of oil. Halve the eggplants lengthwise, arrange them, cut side up, in one layer on oiled sheet. Brush the cut sides lightly with a little additional oil, and sprinkle them with generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes and then flip them over and roast them for another 15 minutes.

while those are roasting, make the yogurt-tahini sauce

Whisk together tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt. The mixture will become very thick, so add water a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is smooth but thick.

to serveIMG_0014

Arrange the eggplant cut side up and dollop generously with yogurt-tahini sauce. Sprinkle with crisped chickpeas and parsley. Eat immediately. IMG_0013

bon appetit!

 

the meatball shop’s veggie balls

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Okay so I know that veggie balls may not sound that appealing to most of you, but  I have made these three times now and I have to admit that they are REALLY good. The NY Times featured the recipe in an article about The Meatball Shop in NYC, and said that the restaurant staff eat these around the clock which isn’t surprising now that I know how tasty they are.

The first time I made them we put tomato sauce on top and had sautéed greens on the side. The second time I made an impromptu cilantro pesto and I put that on top. Both were good, so experiment as you please! 

Lentils, parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts, fresh parsley, sautéed mushrooms – what could be bad?

the meatball shop’s lentil veggie meatballs

2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool.

2. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.

3. Add the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts to the cooled vegetables and lentils and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.IMG_2515

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

5. Roll the mixture into round golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the balls and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.
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6. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

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Yield: About 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs.

Bon Appetit!