Wednesday, March 27, 2013

red lentil soup .with kale.

how was your day? i had an okay day.
i tried to drink more tea than coffee. i didn't spill anything on myself. i roasted a head of cauliflower and ate the whole thing off the pan, standing in the kitchen zoning out.
and i have soup leftovers.
this is life.

and this lentil soup is one of my most favorites.

Red Lentil Soup with Kale

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
 1 cup carrots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp hot curry powder
pinch cayenne
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs red lentils
3 quarts vegetable stock
lacinato kale, a small bunch, stems removed and roughly chopped
black pepper
lemon or lime juice

heat oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. saute the onion and garlic for a couple minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, curry powder,  celery and carrots, and cook stirring for a few minutes longer, until everything is sweated and fragrant. stir in the tomatoes, bring to simmer and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes, add salt. stir in the lentils and stock. stir in the lentils and stock and bring to a boil. reduce heat, add the kale and cover, simmering for about 30 minutes. add more salt to taste. add black pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon. stir in a tbsp or two of lemon or lime juice. serve. 
i like it with some diced red onion, siracha, and a scoop of yogurt. and flatbread. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

salted caramel + chocolate tart

mb post.
normally loud and bustling.

the same building where my parents would go to buy stamps and send letters,
and here i am, thirty years later.
in that same building,
rolling dough and making bacon brittle.

i drag myself from my heat-blasted car to the front doors.
i stand outside wait for craig to come let me in.

that light coming from the back, that's where i'm headed. it's still and silent, peaceful, and approximately FAR too early.

sometimes i am ready, coffee in hand and ready to seize the fucking baking day.

other times, i am absolutely no-no please not now no Not Ready. i just woke up 17 minutes ago, and my body should not be trusted to operate a vehicle, oven, or human sized kitchen aid.

and the lists.. jesus. they're daunting to look at in the morn.
i secretly hope a pot will fall on my head so that i can go back home to my bed.
but that never happens. so the bread and tart making continues.  

salted caramel tarts are a thing. a classic thing. a simple thing. a thing that people love, adore, and gush over. 
we worked on perfecting them for a week, so they have been very much on the brain.

i made one at home, the way i like it, heavier on the caramel with a thin sheet of ganache. 

so while this isn't exactly the one i make at work everyday, the classic construction is the same.
the pate sucree crust, buttery and crunchy, more like sugar cookie than flakey pie crust.
thick and glossy caramel.
ganache. deep and shiny.

and salt.
the flakey kind. lots. 

Salted Caramel + Chocolate Tart
adapted from all over. martha stewart, saveur, work

for the tart dough:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp heavy cream

for the caramel:
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
6 tbsp water
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp (2 g) kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped*
6 tbsp (90g/3 oz) unsalted butter
6 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp creme fraiche

for the ganache:
3/4 cups heavy cream
6 oz 55%-65% dark chocolate 

make the tart dough: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and confectioners' sugar. mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. add egg yolks, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. add half of the flour, and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. add remaining flour along with the salt and cream, and mix just until flour is no longer visible, about 1 minute. turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flattened disk. wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 
when ready to use, roll out dough on a floured surface, about 1/4 inch thick. drape over the tart pan of your choice (round, rectangle, square, mini round tarts) and gentle press into corners. using a sharp paring knife, trim away excess dough. prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes (or the freezer to cut down on chilling time)
preheat oven to 350 degreesF. line the tart shell with a piece of parchment leaving an overhang, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. bake until edges are just golden, 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your tart(s). remove parchment and weights. return to oven and continue baking until golden brown, 10-15 minutes more. cool completely. 

make the caramel: in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. cook undisrupted until the caramel turns a rich amber color, then remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla bean seeds, and cream. the mixture will bubble up. whisk until smooth and beautiful. pour caramel into cooled tart shell(s) and let cool slightly; refrigerate until set 3-4 hours. 

make the ganache: bring heavy cream almost to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream. let sit for a moment, then stir around with a rubber spatula and whisk until smooth. pour ganache evenly over tart. 

the amounts and ratios of caramel to chocolate is completely up to you. with that, you might have more or less leftovers of caramel and chocolate ganache. 

*you can still make perfect beautiful caramel without vanilla beans! 
so if you don't have a vanilla bean, don't fret. make it without it. 

suggestions for leftover caramel: ice cream, caramel can transform ice cream. 
this is what i want: olive oil ice cream + caramel+ toasted peanuts + sea salt. done deal. 

 just follow the caramel principle: chilled for thick caramel. room temperature caramel will be less thick. heated caramel will be thinner and saucy. ..and you can pretty much include it in any dessert. 

suggestions for leftover ganache: heat until thick, glossy and pourable, then pour onto a tall bundt. banana? yes. i've also been eyeing this pecan molasses one. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

pistachio olive oil cake. cream. bloody citrus

she is disappointed. there is cake but no frosting...(seriously?) she definitely seems disappointed. she is not so subtle. she expected frosting.

but, whipped cream and citrus! come on, mom. no one should be bummed here.

except maybe my callous fingertips. cracking/shucking/prying open enough pistachios to get one cup of little gems was...super fun.

alas, shells or not, i adore baking with nuts. o the textures and flavor!
each one has a different personality. like members of a family.

almonds are the moms.
walnuts are the dads.
pecans are the grandmas. they'll bring the pie, y'all.
chestnuts are the grandpas. all warm and wise.
peanuts are all the kids running around everywhere.
pistachios are the teenage daughters. curiously purple and bright green on the inside, and difficult to deal with sometimes.
brazil nuts are the weird cousin that no one wants around. leave brazil nut, go away.
hazelnuts are the sassy aunts with low cut tops. nutella: always a good time.
macadamia nuts are the random exchange students.
sunflower seeds are like, the pet mice.
i don't know who cashews are, but i know they are nice and noncontroversial. maybe they're introverts.

anyway. the cake is simple and grand. with the whipped cream slooping over the side, it is my favorite type of "composed plate", imperfect and crummy, kind of composed, but so not composed.

keep it together, nuts.
the teenage daughters are running rampant!

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake
adapted from ming thompson via design sponge

this recipe comes from ming thompson. she has a website called ming makes cupcakes. i am not typically the biggest cupcake person, but i'm completely smitten. 

1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice

preheat oven to 350 degreesF. grease an 8 inch round or square baking pan with olive oil. 
place pistachios in food processor. pulse until they resemble the texture of small gravel. remove half of it and then pulse the rest until the texture of coarse sand. 
in a bowl, combine finely ground pistachios, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. stir until well combined. in the bowl of an electyric mixer,  combine the oil, milk, yogurt, lemon juice, and eggs and beat with paddle attachment until combined. add in the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. stir in the coarsely ground pistachios with a spatula. 
pour into greased cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. let cool. 

To Serve. Whip up 1 cup heavy cream with 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar and a splash of vanilla extract until soft peaks form. top wedges of pistachio cake with dollops of cream and some citrus segments. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

this is not about food.
this is about life.

occasional moments of clarity and inspiration. can make everything feel so right.
the rest of the time feels dull. i feel dull. people probably think i'm dull.(..fuckers.)

i am walking down my street, down the steep hill, i appreciate the slight chill, the sun is creeping up into the day.
random giddiness comes rushing back through my brain, a genuine excitement for all things.

this feeling, is everything.

with freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

.oscar wilde

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

roasted sweet potato salsa

take a shower julia.
shave your legs julia.
don't try to start watching netflix for only an hour julia.
don't eat rice cakes with bananas and peanut butter for dinner julia. or do. whatever, i can deal with that.
write a blog post julia.
get your shit together julia.
don't buy 4 kinds of salsa from trader joes julia.
make salsa. it's easy. you'll feel better about it.

charred and sweet, little chunks of roasted sweet potato are welcomed with open arms and loving unawkward smiles into the salsa party.
i want this on my chips and on a quesadilla and perhaps some black bean soup with a scoop of rice.

if you didn't know, sweet potato and avocado make quite the match. i want to be the millionaire matchmaker for fruits and vegetables. what should i be called?..

the fregetable* matchmaker
the patchmaker. millionaire minus a lot.
miiiiiilllion dollar vegetable girl!.
person who truly needs to get a life.

*celebrity names of fruit and vegetable: fregetable + vruit (vr-OO-t)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa
slightly varied from Martha Stewart's Meatless

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1 red onion, diced small
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium tomato, diced small
1 avocado, diced small
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 small jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
coarse salt

preheat oven to 450 degreesF. on a rimmed baking sheet, toss together sweet potato, 1/2 of the diced onion, and olive oil. roast until sweet potato is tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes. transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely. 
add tomato, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice. season with salt, toss to combine. taste and adjust salt and flavors to your liking. 
eat with chips. stuff it in tacos. top salads with it. put it on black bean soup.