Tuesday, August 30, 2011

brown sugar shortbread with bourbon and currants

summatime, it's hanging on by its toes. just one week til its official end.

i'm very much in the having-trouble-letting-go department. summer is done??! Hold Up. i haven't been to nearly enough barbecues.

i need more lemonade and potato chips.

i'm not tan enough. i can't go into fall with this pigment.

not yet peas and plums! don't leave me in this limbo, not summer but not yet fall month.

sunday night was a barbecue feast, a last hoorah of summery eats.

we ate mexican grilled corn on paper plates. there were green tomatoes and nectarines and strawberries. there was cheese and bread and dip.

what more could you want? manly meats off the grill. duh. pile it on there. c'mon..work through it, its the last summer barbecue and it can't be over yet. eat more food. we're celebrating summer, we're outside and we're gonna eat more food.

food coma. unbutton the top button of yer pants. lay on the couch or floor or someone.

ready for dessert? of course you are my little sweet freaks.

CUBES. cubes of sweet buttery dough.

brown sugar shortbread with currants and a splash of bourbon. bowlfuls of little nuggets, nutty and crisp!

we can toss them in the air and catch them in our mouths!

or we can scrabble it up.

and all the rest we will munch with vanilla gelato, snuggle further into the couch, and kiss summer goodbye. 

parting is such sweet sorrow...give me another cube.

Brown Sugar Shortbread with Bourbon and Currants
adapted from Alice Medrich's whole wheat sable recipe in her cookie bible

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, or 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 cup whole wheat flour
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp bourbon
a handful or two of dried currants

line cookie sheet with parchment. combine the flour(s) in a bowl and whisk. in a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt, vanilla, bourbon, and currants until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about a minute. add the flour and mix until incorporated. scrape the dough into a mass..you may need to knead it a little with your hands to get all the flour incorporated. form into a log (for slice and bake) or round, wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 
preheat the oven to 350. can either slice and bake or make cute cubes by rolling the dough out to a little less than 1/2 inch thickness and cut into whatever size cubes you prefer. i felt like making them tiny and bite size. arrange on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are light golden brown at the edges. 
delicate lovers.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

strawberry peach banana smoothie

1. i have come down with a stomach bug thing
2. mad men and six feet under
3. all i feel like consuming: smoothies and grape juice and english muffins. 

i made this one today and i think i would be happy to drink it just about anytime. 

Strawberry Peach Banana Smoothie

5-6 strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 peach, cut in chunks
a frozen banana
a scoop of greek yogurt
almond milk

blend. drink. feel better. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

gingered red lentil dal and garlicky naan

i have been living in total distraction world.
this is the first time in weeks that i've been able to sit down and breath and jot things down.
so hey. hi. this feels good.

i've had visitors come and go. i went to an island 2 hours away. i've eaten hoards of sushi and coconut cupcakes and gone up to griffith park thrice.
mojitos and i have gotten pretty close.

pretty much i've been in dreamland. dreamland has completely distracted me from getting stressed about my life and what the heck i'm going to do in it.
and now all my lovely travelers are gone. my vacations and staycations and excursions have ended. my room is empty but still very much in shambles. sunblock..empty gum packets..receipts...get them away!

segway to indian food. when i was a wee las i always thought i didn't like it.
what a fool i was being. indian food is messy dig-right-in-deliciousness.
i made this last night for this boyfriend i have.
it was a good way to jump back into things, and into myself.
i've been so distracted by people and fun i forgot what normal life is.

in my normal life i want to make indian food. i wish to go on more aimless walks and i wish for more anderson cooper giggling. and garlic naan, there must always be garlic naan around me. it's the most deliciously edible silverware in the world.

gingered red lentils with a nice kick in the face from fresh and dried chilies. a scoop of cool yogurt and avocado and hot garlicky naan to sop the whole mess up.
major thumbs up.

as wonderful as dreamland has been, i'm a bit looking forward to being back in the groove of things. when a night to relax and sit on the floor eating indian food with someone you like is all you really need to make you happy. 

Gingered Red Lentil Dal
adapted from a Raghavan Iyer reciped featured in Food and Wine's Best of the Best vol 12

1 cup split red lentils
1 small red onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (each 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/8 inch thick), coarsely chopped
2 fresh green thai or serrano chilies, stems removed
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red thai or cayenne chilies, stems removed
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
a few handfuls of spinach
a few handfuls of chopped fresh cilantro

place the lentils in a medium size saucepan. fill the pan halfway with water and rinse the lentils by rubbing them between your fingertips. the water will become cloudy. drain the water and repeat 3-4 times until the water is relatively clear. drain. now add 3 cups of water to the lentils and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. skim off any foam that forms on the surface. reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 18-20 minutes. 
while the lentils are cooking, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and fresh chilies in a food processor. mince the ingredients, using the pulsing action. 
heat the ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat. add the cumin seeds and dried chilies, and cook until the chilies blacken and the seeds turn reddish brown and smell nutty, just about 10 seconds. immediately add the onion blend, reduce the heat to medium, and stir-fry until the mix is light brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes. stir in the tomato, salt, and tumeric. simmer uncovered, until the tomato softens and the ghee starts to separate around the edges of the sauce, 3-6 minutes. stir in the cilantro and spinach. stir the sauce into the cooked lentils, cover the pan and simmer over medium heat 5 minutes more to let the flavors mingle. 

Garlic Naan
recipe from the kitchy kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup warmed buttermilk
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup yogurt 
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp grated garlic
handful of chopped cilantro

sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. combine the yeast and buttermilk until it foams a bit. add the yogurt, lemon, and buttermilk/yeast combo to the mix. knead dough until it becomes soft and elastic. to test it, pull off a golf sized ball of dough and pull it thin. if you can pull it thin and it doesn't tear. its ready, if not, knead for another minute or two. (can use the dough hook on your kitchen aid to help your arms out) Put a wet paper towel over the bowl and leave for 2 hours in a warm location (preferably a 100 degree oven). after 2 hours, the dough will have risen. now take dough and make small balls. create oval shaped dough with a slight thickness. rub garlic and cilantro on both sides of the dough. slightly oil a skilled and add some rounds. cook until one side is slightly brown and then flip. brush the hot naan with melted butter and eat right away!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

bills coconut bread with raspberry cream cheese swirl

we're gonna discuss things that are perfect.. and taint those things. 

bill granger, i put cheesecake in your bread...
are you offended? don't be. 
think of things that are perfect. add cream cheese into the mix. is it even better now? yeah.

pesto. i think pesto is perfect and i want it on most things. with cream cheese? on a bagel!? heck yes. 
a beach bike ride in the summer. perfect. with a cheesecake in the basket. yessir, yep
ryan gosling. good lord. you stop it ryan gosling. you and your face. oh my god, you brought me cheesecake ryan gosling?!
why did i bring him up...now no one is gonna care at all about this bread. 

(but in keeping up with the theme, you should, its perfect!)

ahh what a delight. i think i have a new fave. 

Coconut Bread with Raspberry Cream Cheese Swirl
adapted from Bill Granger's famous coconut bread

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

for swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp flour
a few handfuls of raspberries

preheat oven to 350. in a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. 
in a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. add sugar and coconut, stir to mix. make a well in the center and pour in egg mixture. gradually mix with dry ingredients, until just combined. add melted butter, ad stir until smooth. don't overmix!

for swirl: with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese til smooth. beat in all the ingredients but the raspberries, scraping down the bowl. fold in the raspberries.  (i did this before mixing the wet and dry ingredients of the bread so everything would be ready to go)

oil and flour an 8 or 9 inch loaf pan (the original recipe calls for an 8 inch pan, but with the added cream cheese layer it would overflow. i had enough for a 9 inch loaf and a mini loaf). pour half batter into loaf pan, followed by the layer of cheesecake, and topped with the rest of the batter. bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1-1 1/4 hours. cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a cooling rack. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

carrot cake madeleines

oh dear heavens it's almost been a week! this week flew. i went to catalina, ate tons of calamari, and now my wisdom teeth are growing in causing me severe mouth pain.

i'm gonna complain again. my lips are so chapped. i feel like everyone is staring at them when i talk to them. stop looking at them.
they itch. it's weird to itch lips.
this has absolutely nothing to do with madeleines.

sometimes you just get it right. this time i did. booyah.
carrot cake madeleines.
they are so adorable, i'm in love. with their lightness and delicate crumb. also with their soft bellies.

every time i eat carrot cake i remember how much i'm obsessed with carrot cake.

oh hey carrot cake madeleines. you're slim and sexy like most french things.
they scream for a cup of coffee or tea. they would like to be eaten by a windowsill. and they demand a little bowl of cream cheese frosting on the side..because..come on, it's carrot cake.

Carrot Cake Madeleines
adapted from Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg, cloves, ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup grated carrots (2-3 carrots)
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. working in a bowl with an electric mixer, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips. add the eggs to the bowl and beat with the sugar on medium-high speed until thick and pale, 2-3 minutes. beat in the vanilla and then the carrots. with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. the long chill period with help the batter form the classic madeleine hump in the oven. 
when you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 400. butter 12 full size madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out excess. spoon the batter into molds, filling almost to the top. bake for 11-13 minutes until golden and the tops spring back when touched. 

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional, but so mandatory)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar

beat cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer. add vanilla and then sugar. bam. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

white chocolate chunk cookies with orange zest and nutella

who wants cookies??????????

me meme
i do!

let's pretend we are sitting indian style eating them together while they're still warm and gooey from the oven.

White Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Orange Zest and Nutella
adapted from Bill Yosses's chocolate chip cookie recipe in the Perfect Finish

some things about making these..i was going to add hazelnuts to the dough, but i didn't have any. if you have some, throw those in there. also. the difference between good white chocolate and not good white chocolate is major. make sure your white chocolate contains cocoa butter and is ivory not white! callebaut, valrhona, guittard, and lindt are all great kinds. even if you're one of those folk who "doesn't like" white chocolate, the good stuff is luxurious. use a bar and give it a rough chop. no chips! it makes all the difference. totes, man. 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup nutella
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 orange
8 oz white chocolate, chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
sea salt for sprinkling

preheat oven to 375. line a few baking sheets with parchment. sift the flour, baking soda, salt. in a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. add the nutella and beat until smooth. beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and zest. gradually add the flour mixture on low speed until the dough comes together. stir in the chocolate pieces. drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets, flatten them slightly, and sprinkle each with sea salt. 
bake until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

stuffed poblanos

truth or dare?
truth. always truth.
did you just go to the gym?
no. i'm just running errands here in these work out clothes so i didn't have to think about dressing myself.
i woke up, my hair looks dumb, my eyes are still puffy from the jalapeno juice i somehow managed to rub into them after washing my hands ten times, and now i really really just don't feel like dedicating my brains to clothing choices. gym clothes. i win.

holy jalapenos. they are rude to the max. no matter how hard i try, my fingers will burn. then a part of my nostril. then probably my eyeball. this has seemed to set off some evil kind of chain reaction. now both my eyeballs are watery and lame, my nose is stuffed.
good heavens. i'm even wheezing a little. i had to bust out the inhaler.

and yet, for you, stuffed poblanos, it was all worth it. scrumptiously awesome, i want more now.

i felt cool at the market buying a giant bag of poblanos.
does that make me seem tough, sir?
do you fear me a tad now that you know i walk around with big bags of peppers?
i'll swing it at you.

no i won't, i'm totally polite in real life.

so here's what you'll do. you will slice them in half and get out all those seeds and junk. now you take that pepper, look it in the eye, and stuff it with everything good.
black beans. fresh corn. spinach. lima beans. zucchini. two cheeses. yes!
now, snuggle them up in some simple sauce and top those babies with cheese. more pepper jack and cotija. heck yes i want that.
bake it up til its melty, pour some wine, slice up some avocado and bread, and serve them to your pajama pant wearing guests.
who are, most definitely, the best kind of guests.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
adapted from Everyday Food

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves
coarse salt and pepper
1 19 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh corn
1 cup lima beans, fresh or frozen
1 zucchini, finely chopped or shredded
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
a few handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup pepper jack, shredded
1/2-3/4 cup cotija cheese 
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4-5 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed

preheat the oven to 425. set the zucchini in a strainer with a pinch of salt to strain out some of the water, set aside. in a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, 2 garlic cloves, a handful of cilantro, and half the onions. season liberally with salt and pepper. pour sauce into a 9x13 baking dish. 
in a big bowl, combine the rest of the onions and chopped garlic clove with black beans, lima beans, corn, zucchini,  1/2 cup of both cheeses, cilantro, spinach, cornmeal, spices, and 3/4 cup water. season with salt and pepper. stuff each pepper half with the mixture and arrange in the sauce. top them with the rest of the cheeses and cover dish with aluminum. bake for about 45 minutes, until the peppers are tender. then remove the foil and bake 15 more minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

hello august

the kitchen smells sweet and warm. it's a nice place to be.
i've been making things. muaha.

Monday, August 1, 2011

white nectarine and plum pastry handkerchiefs

i love fruit so much. i want to hug it. since i'd probably have some awkward explaining to do if someone walked in on me hugging my fruit, i made little hugs out of pastry instead.

little pockets of fruit hugs. love love love.
they get oober caramelized and jammy in the oven.

pastry studio. her blog is the bomb. ah how i envy her craft and mad skillz. it's where i first saw these and needed to sprint to my kitchen to make them. 

White Nectarine and Plum Handkerchiefs
from here

2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 salt
1 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup sour cream
4 ripe plums, peaches, or nectarines
3 tbsp sugar
pinch of ground cardamom
1 egg + 1 tbsp water for egg wash

make the pastry: combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. add the chopped butter and process until it resembles coarse meal. add the sour cream and yolk and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. don't overmix. gather the dough and portion it into 2 discs. wrap each tightly in plastic and chill. 
place one of the things of chilled dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment and let it warm a bit. dust lightly with flour and roll out a rectangle. trim edges. cut the dough into about 12 4"x4" pieces. chill those while you repeat the process on the second thing of dough. 
cut the fruit into thin slices. whisk together the sugar and cardamom. combine the egg and water to make the egg wash. remove half the dough squares. to create little pockets, place a square of pastry on your work surface with the corners in the shape of a diamond. top with 3-4 slices of fruit on the upper half of the diamond. moisten the border with egg wash. sprinkle generously with sugar on the whole surface of the pastry. fold the two sides of the dough into the center and then bring the bottom half up. they should look like little envelopes. place on baking sheet lined with parchment. continue with all the squares and chill for another hour.
preheat the oven to 375. brush the pastries with remaining egg wash and sprinkle the whole surface with remaining sugar. bake for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the pastries are crisp and golden.