2012

broiled mushrooms with mozzarella

Because my commute to and from the office is just over two miles, I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my favorites is the Spilled Milk Podcast by food writers Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton. Tasty recipes usually make an appearance, but  most importantly, plenty of bad jokes and giggling are guaranteed. I recommend you listen in.

This recipe is from a recent episode. I listened to it on my way home from work and had to immediately go to the store and get the necessary ingredients because it sounded so good. Cheesy, earthy and under 15 minutes to prepare, this dish is perfect for a weeknight (or a lazy night). We had it as a main course with plenty bread and a salad, but it would also be a solid appetizer.

Broiled Mushrooms with Mozzarella, from the Spilled Milk Podcast
2 cups cremini mushrooms
4 oz fresh mozzarella (You could also use regular mozzarella if you didn’t want to spring for fresh)
2 t fresh thyme
olive oil, salt and pepper

Slice the mushrooms thinly, about 1/4″ thick. Place them on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil.

Tear the mozzarella into quarter-sized pieces and sprinkle over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.

Broil 5 – 8 minutes, until the cheese is bubble and golden in spots. Serve with bread.

-Emily

christmas cookie time!

Last Sunday I had some lovely ladies over to bake Christmas cookies. And boy did we do it up … sugar cookies, chocolate cookies, chocolate and vanilla pinwheels, lemon-ricotta cookies, biscotti, two types of mexican wedding cookies, black and whites, plus peppermint bark and chocolate-pumpkin truffles. It was six hours of baking awesomeness. Here are some photos from the day. Recipes might come if I’m feeling frisky over Christmas.

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Hope you’re enjoying your holidays so far!

-Emily

pasta bolognese

I’d never made pasta bolognese. We weren’t sure if we’d ever even eaten a true pasta bolognese. The closest we’d ever gotten was marinara sauce with ground beef, which as we found out in our recipe research, is not even close to a pasta bolognese.

This recipe is from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook and was cross-referenced with a Mario Batali recipe so we’ve got on pretty good authority we’re approaching authentic with this one. We had to make a few minor modifications (bacon in place of pancetta), but good golly pasta bolognese is good! Meaty comfort in a stock pot, real pasta bolognese kicks Ragu‘s ass.

Pasta Bolognese, adapted from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook
4 oz bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
salt
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 1/2 cups milk
3 T tomato paste
1/4 cup cream
pepper
parsley and parmesan for serving

In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, add the bacon. Once the bacon has released some of its fat, add the vegetables. Saute the vegetables until they have softened and add the garlic. Remove the vegetables and bacon from the pan and set aside.

Brown the beef and pork in the same pan. Cook 10 – 15 minutes, until the meat is browned. Add the wine, herbs and vegetables to the meat. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and let the liquid evaporate.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, deglaze with the stock and milk. Add the tomato paste. Simmer until the sauce is thickened, 30 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Before serving, add the cream and simmer for a few minutes.

Serve over pasta garnished with parmesan and parsley.

-Emily

soft eggs with herb-gruyere toasts

Because we’ve both been swamped with work, we’ve been all about easy meals and there’s nothing like eggs and toast for a quick dinner. The recipe for these cheesy toasts is from Smitten Kitchen and like all of Deb’s recipes, it does not disappoint.

Soft Eggs with Herb-Gruyere Toasts, from Smitten Kitchen

16 sourdough bread batons
4 T butter, melted
1 t smooth dijon mustard
1/3 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1 T parsley, chopped
1 t thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
4 eggs

Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bread into batons. Mix the melted butter, dijon, cheese, herbs and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss the bread with the cheese-herb mixture.  Place in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat a medium pot of water until boiling. Cook the eggs for six minutes for a perfectly soft-boiled egg.  Serve with the toasts and enjoy!

we’re alive! just busy!

It’s been a really crazy few months.

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Jordan is getting his psychology nerd on, studying lots, running lots of experiments, plus selling lots records at the Amoeba Music, bike riding like a fiend, learning how to surf, and decimating the mold infestation in our formerly-leaky bedroom.

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I’ve working hard in the Joby webiverse, launching new products (camera straps and smartphone tripods – woot!), pulling together three holiday campaigns (gift guide, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, 12 days of Christmas giveaways), plus some cooking, learning to surf, and snuggling with Willow and Jordan to keep my sanity. Bottom line, spending more time on a computer to blog just hasn’t been on the menu.

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Willow is very ready to be a surf dog. Still, her main aim in life is to find the most comfortable spot in the house and snuggle up.

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With any luck, we’ll be back with more tasty porktastic recipes. Probably more sporadic than the good ole days, but back nonetheless.

Hoping your holidays are off to a wonderful start! Maybe a few French bulldogs in your stocking this year? I sure wouldn’t mind one of those lil peanuts on Christmas morning.

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Ps. Last Saturday we went to see Thomas Keller speak. He was humble, honest and really darn smart. And then we got to meet him and have all of our cookbooks signed!!! If it isn’t obvious from this super nerdy photo, I was on cloud nine.

-Emily

savory gougeres

Posted on October 2, 2012

There are so many wonderful pastries in the Tartine Bakery Cookbook that it can be hard to choose which one to dedicate your Sunday to. I decided on these savory gougeres because I had all of the ingredients on hand, and they didn’t seem impossibly difficult. (Jordan and I have an outstanding bet to see who attempts Tartine’s croissants first).  As it turns out, the gougeres were easier and faster to make than I expected.

Gouyeres are a French pastry made with a pate a choux base. To that eggy cream puff dough, you add gruyere cheese and plenty of fresh thyme and black pepper.  They’re often served as an appetizer in miniature form, but I made large dinner-roll-sized gouyeres—mostly because I didn’t feel like piping dough. You can serve the large ones on their own, or, because they are an incredibly light and airy, you can fill them like a pita.

Gougeres, from the Tartine Bakery Cookbook
1 1/4 cup nonfat milk
10 T butter
1 t salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs
3/4 cup gruyere cheese
1 t freshly ground pepper
1 T fresh thyme, chopped

For the topping 
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
gruyere for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, butter and salt. Place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil. Add the four all at once, stirring vigorously. Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Pour the paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed. When all of the eggs have been added, the mixture will be very smooth and shiny.

Add the cheese, pepper and thyme by hand with a spoon.

Spoon 3 inch rounds of dough onto the lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and top with a sprinkling of salt and cheese. Bake 35 – 45 minutes, until browned.

When you remove the gougeres from the oven, poke them with a toothpick to release some of the steam to prevent them from collapsing completely. Enjoy warm from the oven or re-crisp by warming them in an oven for 10 minutes.

-Emily

raspberry napoleon

This was my first napoleon. I made it for a dinner party with friends. It was delicious and even road public transit (though I’d probably recommend serving it at home – wrapped securely in plastic wrap it does travel, but only ok). Easy to prepare once you’ve mastered pastry cream, this napoleon is summery and delightful. Like a pie, but better! You can make it a few hours ahead and just take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Raspberry Napoleon 
1 sheet puff pastry (I used store-bought and it was just fine)
2 T corn syrup
2 cups pastry cream
1 pint raspberries

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Cut the puff pastry sheet into thirds. Place on a baking sheet and poke with a fork all over. Cook 15, until just browned. Brush with corn syrup and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Cook until golden brown.

For the pastry cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 T corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 T butter
In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, vanilla bean and salt until just under a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the corn starch, sugar and eggs. Temper the eggs with the hot milk by slowly ladling the milk into the egg mixture.

Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan. Heat over low heat until it thickens, whisking constantly. It can over cook very easily so be sure to pay close attention to the custard. When the custard can coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and pour through a mesh sieve back into the bowl.

Once the custard has cooled slightly, add the butter one tablespoon at a time making sure to mix completely before adding the next tablespoon. Once all of the butter has been added, let the cream cool and place in the fridge or assemble the napoleon.

To assemble the napoleon

Place a layer puff pastry on a plate and top with a layer of pastry cream. Top with another layer of puff pastry and then another layer of pastry cream.

Place the raspberries in rows in the pastry cream and top with another layer of puff pastry dough. The napoleon can be assembled up to six hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring up to room temperature before serving and cut deliberately with a serrated knife.

-Emily

corn chowder with tomato salsa

Posted on August 25, 2012

It might be chilly and foggy here in SF, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying summer produce. Those 100+ degree days in the Sacramento valley are good for something, and that something is corn and tomatoes. Nothing tastes more like summer.

This soup combines both of those flavors, plus a little southwestern flare thanks to a tomato and corn salsa. It is great for a summer day because it is quick to make and doesn’t require turning on your oven. I haven’t lived in San Francisco long enough to forget what that is like.

Corn Chowder with Tomato Salsa
For the soup

1 small onion, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 T butter
4 ears of corn, removed from the cob
1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups broth (we used vegetable, but chicken would also be good)
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onion, leeks and carrot and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the corn, thyme and bay leaf and saute two minutes more.

Add the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Bring back up to a simmer and add the cream. Season well with salt and pepper.

If you find that your soup is too runny once you’ve pureed it like I did, make a quick roux in a small saucepan. Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add two tablespoons of flour. Stir to combine.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is light brown. Whisk into the simmering soup to thicken.

For the salsa
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ear corn, removed from the cob
zest and juice of one lime
chipotle or cayenne pepper – we used dried
salt and pepper

If you’re feeling up to it, grill the corn (or char it over your gas burners) before you shave it off the cob. The smokey flavor of charred corn plus the chipotle pepper would be great in contrast with the sweetness of the soup. In a small bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, lime juice and zest. Season with a pinch of cayenne or chipotle. Season with salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of the salsa. We also made a grilled cheese on some of my sourdough. Soup and grilled cheese is a special type of satisfying.

-Emily

zucchini banana bread

Posted on August 22, 2012

This is what you make when you have bananas going bad on your counter and zucchini lingering in your refrigerator, but not enough of either to make its own cake. Adapted very liberally from the Tartine Bakery cookbook, this breakfast bread turned out surprisingly well. It is balanced, not overly sweet and the flavors got along with one another just fine.

Zucchini Banana Bread 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 1/1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

In another bowl, mash the bananas. Combine with eggs, vanilla and salt and stir.

In the bowl of a mixture, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the banana mixture. Scrape down the bowl and then add the zucchini and walnuts. Mix until combined. Fold in the flour mixture and pour into a loaf pan.

Sprinkle the batter with 2 tablespoons of sugar for a crunchy top crust. Bake about one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

-Emily

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