February 2011

bi-rite sandwiches

Jordan and I enjoyed a sunny afternoon in the Mission. We went to Bi-Rite Market – an awesome market full of artisanal and local yummies – to grab a little picnic to enjoy at Dolores Park. We chose two sandwiches and a few of their famous cookies.

I enjoyed the Neiman Ranch ham sandwich with swiss cheese, mustard and mayo on a sour baguette. Jordan had the salami sandwich with romanesco.

And boy, was that ham good. I took my first bite and was transported to a very porky, very perfect place. I actually had to take a moment. I loved this sandwich – a simple combination of high-quality ingredients – and could eat another one right now.

Jordan loves Bi-Rite’s romesco and so he was also stoked on his sandwich. The salami was awesome and paired nicely with the slightly-spicy romesco. Their chocolate chip cookies are also quite good. They are on the crunchy side and we think they’d make perfect ice cream sandwiches.

-Emily

our csa box from eatwell farms

As we described a few weeks ago, Jordan and I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) group. We’ve been enjoying our boxes of super seasonal and fresh produce and trying new recipes like pasta with kale and portobello, leek bread pudding and blood orange olive oil cake. Our farm is Eatwell Farms and I want to share the beautiful produce we just picked up!

This week we received: lemons, navel oranges, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, spring onions, collards, green garlic, carrots, pink lady apples and butternut squash.

Another awesome thing about receiving a CSA box that I didn’t expect is that it really motivates Jordan and I to plan ahead. We plan our week of meals and shop for additional ingredients on Sunday night, trying tofit each of these delicious edible pieces into our meal puzzle. This culinary problem solving has been really fun – it removes a lot of the I just got home from a long day at work and I have no idea what I’m eating tonight stress and we eat healthier because we’re planning dishes around vegetables. Win-win-win!

-Emily

a confession

What did I, Miss Butter, Miss Baking, make for my dear sweet Jordan on his birthday?

Rice crispy treats. Yep, that’s right folks. Rice crispy treats.

Just in case you need the recipe, here it is …

Rice Crispy Treats

4 T butter
6 cups marshmallows
8 cups rice crispy cereal

Butter a baking dish and set aside. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows. Stirring constantly, melt marshmallows into a super-sticky paste. Add rice cereal and stir to combine. Pour into baking dish and press evenly into dish using wax paper or buttery hands.

And you know what? Rice crispy treats are delicious. I love Jet-Puffed marshmallows, despite the fact they are made entirely of high fructose corn syrup – my enemy in most other contexts.

Happy Birthday to Jordan, “the butter to my bread”, the bacon to my mac & cheese, and my absolute favorite.

With any luck and more butter, he’ll get a more adventurous birthday treat this weekend.

-Emily

baking therapy: blood orange olive oil cake

I’ve never made or eaten an olive oil cake, but I generally like all things in loaf form and this recipe from Smitten Kitchen was absolutely irresistible. A special thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen for doing all of the legwork and finding the most perfect olive oil cake. This cake is delightful, moist, citrusy and balanced with a delicate olive oil flavor – a wonderful dessert or breakfast. Without a doubt, I’m adding it to the permanent repertoire.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake with Citrus Compote, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the cake:
Butter for greasing the pan
2 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Whipped cream and orange-honey compote,  for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Grate zest of 2 oranges into a bowl. Add sugar and mix with your hands to evenly distribute zest.

Halve one of the oranges and juice it into another bowl. Add buttermilk. Pour mixture into the sugar-zest mixture and whisk well. Whisk in olive oil and eggs.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ones. Mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes and then unmold. Serve with orange-honey compote and whipped cream.

For the compote:
2 blood oranges
2 navel oranges, tangelos, or other citrus fruit
1 – 2 T honey

Supreme the 4 oranges. Cut off bottom and top of fruit so it sits upright on the cutting board. Cut away the peel and pith following the curve of the fruit. Cut the orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Drizzle with honey and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir and serve with cake.

-Emily

the best thing …………….. in the world

First, this post is dedicated to my good friend Miykaelah because without her (and her obsession with a tiny cafe called Baked & Wired in Washington, D.C.) I would have never consumed the life-changing pastry I’m about to tell you all about.

What is this magical pastry, you ask. It is the donut-muffin!

Donut + muffin = Life-changing, cinammon-sugar-coated deliciousness.

Like I mentioned previously, my first and only (up until this weekend) donut-muffin was from Baked & Wired. Jordan and I had to wake up early and trudge down to the cafe in order to get our hands on two of their famed donut-muffins. So delicious are these donut-muffins, they sell out before 10 am! But boy am I glad we did! These pastries are beyond good. The perfect crumb, a crunchy-donuty exterior, 360 degrees and 3 dimensions of cinnamon sugar heaven. WOW was pretty much all I could think at the time. And then I moved 3,000 miles away from the delicious donut-muffin bakers, doomed to never eat a hybrid pastry so perfect again.

Flash forward to last Thursday. I was walking home from work and listening to the Spilled Milk Podcast. The theme of the episode was muffins. I was causally listening and laughing along with Matthew and Molly when I heard the words donut and muffin in quick succession. My recipe brain was on high alert! And, in a matter of seconds, I learned the secret key to making the donut- muffin!!! My baking life was changed! I stormed into the apartment happier than I had been all week and shared my discovery with Jordan. His life was also changed! Donut-muffins have special powers. You’ll see once you eat one.

Without further adieu …

Nutmeg Donut-Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Crust, borrowed from Molly Wizenburg of Orangette with tremendous gratitude

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

Scant 1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

¾ cup plus 1 Tbs whole milk

2 Tbs buttermilk

1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and set a rack to the middle position. Butter a standard-size muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, and whisk to mix them thoroughly. Set aside. (I followed her recipe here, but Jordan and I both think that next time we’ll also throw a little cinnamon in the batter).

Combine the milk and the buttermilk in a cup or little dish, and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for a few seconds, until the butter is soft and creamy. With the motor running, add the sugar in a steady stream. Continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the mixture increases in volume and lightens. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined.

With a wooden spoon, mix 1/4 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Continue to add the dry and wet ingredients alternately. Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, but do not overmix. This batter has more flour than typical muffins – it is a muffin/scone/biscuit batter hybrid. So many converging pastries!

Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin tin. My muffin tins were overflowing, but it all turned out just fine. Bake until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

AND NOW FOR THE SUPER SECRET TRICK THAT TURNS AN EVERYDAY MUFFIN INTO A MAGICAL DONUT-MUFFIN …

Melt 4 T butter. In another bow, mix 1 t cinnamon with 4 T sugar. Using a pastry brush, one by one brush the still warm muffins all over with butter. Toss in the cinnamon sugar. TAH DAH! You have a fresh and delicious donut-muffin!!!! That easy!!!  I’m not a science whiz or anything, but there is some perfect chemical reaction going on between warm muffin, warm butter and cinnamon sugar that cannot be missed. WOW.

Make this recipe. They are so good, it is *almost* beyond words.

-Emily

P.S. I had one for dessert, and then breakfast, and then dessert again. Rarely do I eat that many portions of my baked goods. THEY ARE THAT GOOD.

fideos with mussels and shrimp

The first time I had fideos was at Jaleo in Washington D.C over 3 years ago. Those little worm-sized noodles were incredible – just like pretty  much everything else on the menu – and I’ve been wanting to enjoy them again ever since. Sadly, San Francisco lacks a Jaleo. You can imagine how stoked I was when I found dry fideos at the Middle Eastern market just down the block from us for $1.49! I figured they were one of those specialty import products that sell for $13 at Williams Sonoma, but no. Hurray! I poked around on the internet for recipes and combined two (one from Jose Andres and one from Mario Batali) for this meal.

Fideos with Mussels and Shrimp

1 lb fideos

1/4 c olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 cloves garlic, diced

1-16 oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 quart vegetable stock

1 t spanish paprika

1 bottle clam juice

1 cup white wine

1 pinch saffron,

1 bay leaf

salt, pepper

1 lb mussels, rinsed and debearded

1/2 lb shrimp

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add dry fideos and brown over medium heat until golden. Remove fideos from pot and set aside.

In the same pot, heat a bit more olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrot and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add can of crushed tomatoes and the paprika and turn the heat up to high. Cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the mixture, stirring often. I’m pretty sure this is called a sofrito.

In a large stockpot heat stock, clam juice, wine, bay leaf and saffron. Add shellfish and cook until the mussels open and shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, pick out seafood and set aside. Add this seafood broth to the sofrito. Add the fideos. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the noodles are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the seafood back into the mix. Top with parsley and a squirt of lemon to serve.

When I had this dish at Jaleo, the noodles had a delightfully crispy top crust. I’m pretty certain you could attain this under the broiler for a few minutes, but we were starving after a long day at the office and so we just dug in!

-Emily

over the weekend

We …

… enjoyed the company of Noah and Ayla. And feasted.

And lost power for about 12 hours.

And so we slept in.

And ate lunch at Dolores Park. And fell in love again with our beautiful city. I mean, look at her!

And tried out three new recipes! Coming soon!

And lounged in the spot of sunlight trickling into our apartment. (How beautiful is this photo that Jordan took? I absolutely love it)

I hope you all had a beautiful long weekend.

-Emily

leek bread pudding

One of our favorite things is a nice loaf of fresh sourdough.  Another one of our favorite things is how versatile the leftover bread is when it gets stale.   Normally we just make toast with it, but I was inspired by Thomas Keller’s leek bread pudding from Ad Hoc at Home.  My sister and her boyfriend Kyle gave Emily and me this book as a gift.  After my sister confessed to reading the entire thing, she turned to page 213 and informed me that I must make this beautiful side dish.  The recipe calls for brioche and serves twelve, so I made a few minor changes.  With about half of an Acme sourdough batard leftover and leeks from our CSA box, I got to work.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the leeks and clean them in a bowl of cold water; the grit will fall to the bottom and the leeks will float.  When you’re confident that they are grit-free, add them to a dry saute pan over medium-high heat.  Season and stir until they release liquid (it won’t be much), then lower the heat to low, add about two tablespoons of butter, and stir to create an emulsion.  Cover and stir occasionally until the leeks are very soft.  Once they are done, taste and season with salt and pepper.

While the leeks are getting soft and sweet, cut your bread into one inch cubes and place in the oven and brown on both sides.  When the bread is toasted and the leeks are done, mix the two in a bowl and add a tablespoon of chopped chives and a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves.

Now that you’ve got your bread and your leeks, you need some pudding, right?  Kinda.  It’s a custard and while that sounds difficult, it’s actually really easy.  Whisk together one egg, one cup of whole milk, and one cup of cream.  Add a very small pinch of nutmeg and a generous pinch (maybe a half teaspoon) of salt and some fresh pepper.  That’s it.

Next, you need some cheese for extra decadence.  The recipe calls for comté or emmentaler, but any semi-soft, flavorful cheese will work.  I had some cave-aged emmentaler on hand, so I used that.  I shredded it all and got about half a cup.  Butter an appropriately sized baking dish (I used a medium sized, round casserole) and put about a third of the cheese on the bottom.  Then place about half of the bread mixture and top with another third of the cheese.  Then add the last of the bread and pour in the custard until there’s about half an inch of bread poking out of the top; you can push the bread into the custard a little bit if it looks like there’s not enough custard.  Here, the recipe says to let the bread pudding sit to absorb the custard for about 15 minutes, but Emily and I don’t really like a super gooey texture, so I just topped it with the rest of the cheese and threw it in the oven.  Bake until the center has set up and the top is browned, about 45-60 minutes.

Conclusions:

It was very tasty, you don’t have to be very precise with it, you can switch thing out if you need to, and it make a great side dish.  The cookbook says it can be a main course, but that seems like a bit much.  It would be fantastic with any hearty fall or winter meal, but it may overshadow the main course.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember what we ate this with.  I guess that means it was a winner, right?

-Jordan

crispy roasted potatoes

Last Sunday we enjoyed an awesomely American dinner of steak and potatoes. These potatoes are great – crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and salty – almost like french fries, but without the fry-o-lator.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes, adapted from the Spilled Milk podcast

3 – 4 mini red or yellow thin-skinned potatoes per person

olive oil

salt

Boil potatoes until tender in a pot of salted water. Drain potatoes. Smoosh the potatoes in between clean dish towels (so you don’t burn your hands – hot potato!) until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Now, I’ve tried crisping these two different ways and both work well. Either – coat a baking sheet with olive oil, lay the potatoes on the sheet, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes. Or – heat some olive oil in a nonstick skillet and pan fry the potatoes over medium heat for 10 minutes or so per side, until brown and crispy. Sprinkle with a bit more salt to taste. Now, who doesn’t love a good crispy, salty potato!

To state the obvious, the steak (chateaubriand – a cheap, but decent cut offered at our local Whole Foods) was also very good.  Jordan slow cooked it at 200 degrees until the internal temperature reached 140 degrees (about 45 minutes) and then seared it quickly on each side in a skillet. This cooking method, which we stole from Jose Andres, is great for making less prime cuts of beef pretty darn tender and delicious.

-Emily

cinnamon sugar cupcakes with tangelo glaze

I made these cupcakes for a coworker’s birthday last week. I had high hopes for them – cinnamon + sugar + cake = awesome, right? Well, sadly, Martha failed me this time. The cupcakes were a little too dense, a little too dry and only tasted good the first day. However, the tangelo glaze that Jordan improvised to replace the meringue frosting recommended by Martha was awesome. I’ll post that recipe instead and you all can go glaze your hearts content.

Also, I took all these photos to make a cute photo recipe entry for the blog. I think the photos turned out pretty well, so I’m going to post them even though the recipe was less than stellar.

Tangelo Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 t citrus zest, we used a tangelo, but you could make this with any citrus

3 T fresh citrus juice, we used a tangelo, but you could make this with any citrus

Whisk together all ingredients. Use immediately.

-Emily

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