07 February 2016

Make-Ahead Pumpkin Muffins



It goes without question that I prefer not to operate machinery or measure ingredients pre-coffee. I like to wake up to something there. Maybe if my kitchen were bigger, I'd feel that common pajama-wearing, batter-making, buttermilk-spilling on flannel urge on Sundays, but I want mornings to get going even on the weekends without sacrificing homemade baked goods. Therefore, I have learned, I'm a make-ahead batter kinda girl. We've discussed this over scones. And you should be too, because you can be. This pumpkin muffin recipe, barely adapted from Thomas Keller is an absolute winner. Not too sweet, perfectly pumpkin-y, and ready to go when you wake up. I'm starting to work through the pumpkin puree I made and froze in the Fall from a giant Long Island cheese pumpkin I was given (money in the bank!) and knew I'd need to tell you about these.

24 January 2016

Coconut "Macaroonies" (Grain Free)



Every time I post a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free or all-of-the-above-free recipe, I question why it might get attention. Why not post about regular blondies? Well because, these "coconut blondies" are just so much more interesting. And I am always proved wrong...you like alternative stuff. As bakers, I feel we are most fresh when we are playing around, continuing to grow and working with different ingredients. You all seemed to love my almond flour scones and muffins and my coconut flour brownies. I continually turn to the coconut brownies in fact, even often over normal ones (gasp!). And so here I am today with another coconut flour win that comes from none other than Saveur's Ben Mims this month. He described them as a macaroon, in blondie form, but without all the coconut strands. And he is exactly right.  And we liked them so much I made them twice in a week.

17 January 2016

All we need



I posted a photo on Instagram last week of my kitchen countertop (which is more like a station, a patch of work space) before and after I KonMari'ed it. I am a proponent of her method, though admittedly find the folding techniques a bit too much. Nevertheless, I've been enjoying the Internet chatter over her latest installment, which advocates keeping kitchen counters completely clear. Nearly impossible for many of us. Laughable, even for frequent home-cooks (Kondo doesn't cook much). But. There was something here. I wondered what would happen if I pared down what I kept out in the open, and, as if by magic, my entire cooking life transformed.  Well...not exactly : ) But I can't help but think a few things went differently after I addressed this...


06 January 2016

Hip and Down-Home


A few months ago, Ed and I grabbed a pre-concert bite with my brother-in-law at a burger bar 30 seconds from our apartment. To his surprise we'd never been before, even though it's been bustling for the past year or two with folks waiting outside. Man, people and burgers...(?!) Nevertheless, it was good, the scene just the right mixture of hip and down-home...and I just had to opt for the house beef blend even though I don't do much beef. After we went back a few times and I found myself about $4 too deep into curating my toppings--smashed avocado, smoked gouda and spicy aioli please!--I decided it was dumb I was not making burgers at home more.

28 December 2015

A little more enterprising



I take comfort in the fact that enough can manifest itself when you have building blocks. In a perfect holiday time-off lunch world when you are not dashing off to some afternoon boozy pizza friends gathering, there happens to be just enough cooked protein left over from last night's dinner, or even enough to divvy and supplement with a couple of eggs on the side, a sharp wedge of cheese and a pile of greens, resulting in my favorite type of midday smorgasbords. But sometimes, you are cooking from zero, and you have to be a little more enterprising. I came across a technique for roasting split skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts over on Serious Eats a year ago or so and forgot about it until the summer when it was so hot I wanted to throw a bunch of things in the oven in the hour I could deal with it being on, and eat them cold, later. But in the winter, some slightly warm roast chicken at lunch is just the ticket. And, you'll have leftovers...for tomorrow's dinner.

15 December 2015

68 degrees



Even though here in NJ, I'm second-guessing any polar vortex-oriented Christmas gifts I've ordered, it doesn't mean soup can't take the stage. Ideally, I think a good warming, refreshing, brothy soup can be enjoyed at 28 degrees in December or 68 degrees, like on the afternoon we slurped this particular soup. 

Little did I know, a shortcut chicken soup could exist. And not the kind you open from a can. The kind that's made similarly to my lazy roast carrot soup, but doesn't even involve roasting anything. The secret is boneless skinless chicken thighs, which can withstand a little simmer nicely, and chicken stock or chicken-veggie stock, that you already have on hand. 

09 December 2015

Best apple crisp



An ideal apple crisp, to me, includes something important: crispiness. It also includes soft, but not mushy, apples that maintain their shape, sweetened just enough and spiced just so.  Apple crisp (which I probably should have posted about in October) falls into the category of desserts that are increasingly my favorite: rustic but incredibly good and slightly up-the-sleeve/shoot-from-the-hip. Despite the Christmas rush unfolding before our eyes, apples and cinnamon are a still abundant in my book, and at the farmer's market too. Complimented with a dollop of creme fraiche, it's a perfect chilly evening sweet ending. Best of all, it can be made in one bowl.

30 November 2015

Waiting for it


One of the things about this time of year that comes up more often than not, is the odd time of eating at holiday gatherings. Your main meal and time dedication to eating for the day is over often by 7 pm, the time that you'd normally eat dinner. Hence the need for an after-the-gathering snack.

Unless you're the type who hits the hay at 9 pm, and we are most definitely not, I suspect it's a commonality. Growing up in my family, it was cereal. Our cereal cabinet was stocked like Jerry Seinfeld's and was the learned go-to if such noshing was to occur.

I've begun taking this question of 'what's for snack' as an opportunity to make something I love but don't make nearly enough: popcorn!