Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, August 9, 2010
Simple, quiet, unassuming: the first glance belies its rich, tart complexity. It is at once cold, tangy, creamy. I smear it on one half of a prune plum, layer it under granita, serve it with bread, eat it from a spoon.
So effortless, yet so decadent. I vow to always keep it around.
Start with whole milk Greek yogurt.* I had a large container of Fage Total in my fridge so I used that. Use as much as you’d like, but I’d recommend that you use as much as you can. This stuff; it is a drug.
Take your yogurt and place it in a cheesecloth- or unbleached paper towel-lined fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Make sure the strainer balances over the bowl. Dump your yogurt into the lined strainer, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. I think I let my sit about 12 hours and that seemed sufficient. Perhaps you can get away with less time.
Once the manna is thick, thick, thick (think barely whipped cream cheese), remove and place in a sealable container. Eat with everything possible.
*If you can’t find or can’t afford Greek yogurt, you can certainly use knock-off strained brands, or you can start with plain yogurt (the straining step will just take longer). And remember, this is cheese, not diet food, so stick with the full-fat good stuff.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
So this blog turned one and I let it be. I moved to Boston, threw a going-away pie-party and didn’t tell you. I took a real person job (in! cookbook! publishing!) and let it slide. So I’m sitting here drinking tea in the Northeastern heat wave thinking about my kitchen and how to catch up.
My new job has blessed me with an abundance of extra food. Some days it is leftover chili, pie, chocolate cake, and (ugh) slow-cooker meatloaf. Other days it is extra produce from a photo shoot: shitakes and basil, habanero peppers and half-cut onions. I lug what I can carry home during a 30-minute stroll to my (hot, hot) 3rd floor walk-up, and lay it all out. On Thursdays I stop by the Coolidge Corner farmers’ market and buy the rest of my week’s groceries: local squash, carrots, early heirloom tomatoes, and the last of this mixed-up season’s blueberries.
My fridge is bursting at the seams, and spoilage is my mortal enemy.
So I’ve been spending my Saturdays getting to know my freezer and practicing the awesome art that is pickling. Using Momofuku as a guide, I’ve pickled carrots, ginger, jalapenos, asparagus, onions, radishes, and so many cucumbers. Quick vinegar carrot pickles go quickly, and sliced on the bias taste great in salads with walnuts and butter lettuce. The pickled ginger has been thrown in (another) salad with leftover work salmon, a spicy okra sauté, and straight into my mouth when I get home from work with a bellyache. My pickled asparagus is quite ugly: I made a soy sauce brine, and the thin spears shriveled up upon contact with the hot/salty/sweet liquor. But they sure taste good.
Here’s my recipe, but change it at will (a fruit puree would be a great addition; I’ve been eating my berries and stone fruit fresh, and quickly, so none of it makes it into these projects).
serves 1 for a week of desserts, or 4-5 all at once
1/3 cup honey
1 ½-inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch disks
a few basil leaves
juice from ½ lime (about 1 teaspoon)
Stir together honey with 1/3 cup water. Add ginger slices and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the ginger softens and the syrup has become spicy, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add basil, cover, and let steep for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and let syrup cool for 10-15 minutes. Pour syrup into measuring cup and add water to measure 1½ cups. Pour into a shallow pan or Tupperware container and freeze for 30-45 minutes, or until mixture begins to freeze. Break up frozen chunks with a fork and stir. Return to freezer for another 30-45 minutes, and stir again with a fork. Repeat freezing and stirring steps until the mixture is completely frozen and flaky. If you forget to stir, don’t fret. You’ll just need to stir more aggressively once you remember.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I finally made it out to the Korean superstore a couple weeks ago, buying practical goods like somen noodles to mix with ginger scallion sauce, palm sugar, aji chiles, and Pocky
(apparently men only can enjoy dark chocolate).
I showed uncharacteristic restraint when faced with less edible
Monday, April 5, 2010
Some meals are best left to restaurants. Long, multi-course affairs with wine pairings and a different amuse bouche for each diner or conceptual, intricate dinners decked out with foam and exploding truffles are beyond pleasurable, but not something most of us would want to make ourselves or even enjoy on the fly. And, much of the time, these are not the meals I crave, dream about, or plot to put together on a long Saturday.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
It's been quite nice spending two weeks with you and all of your friends.
I'm glad I learned your almond butter secrets; you taste pretty good.
It is time, however, for you to find some new homes.
Anyone want one?
Better Than The Bakery Cranberry-Nut Muffins
3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon non-iodized table salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at slightly-cooler-than room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons creamy almond butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
2½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped in half (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Spray the top of the pan as well as the inside of the cups.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer until lightened in color and well mixed, about 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the almond butter. Return the mixer to medium speed and cream until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.
Gently fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk, until the flour just barely disappears. Fold in another 1/3 flour and then 1/3 buttermilk, and repeat once more, again, just until you can no longer see the flour. Do not over mix. Gently fold in the cranberries and walnuts just until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup so that it mounds slightly over the top of the cup. The batter should fill 12-18 muffin cups, depending on the size of the cup.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the tops are mounded, smooth and deeply golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
Remove pan to a cooling rack. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes to set, and gently remove to a cooling rack for another 3-5 minutes. Eat while still warm.