Saturday, December 28, 2013

Maple Coconut Granola

This is the best granola. Ever. It's based on a Melissa Clark recipe from the times (that she based on another recipe) that I've modified over the years. I don't think it can be improved further: as it stands now, everyone who's tried it has become hopelessly addicted. Luckily, it's not too bad for you. It's certainly better the the obligatory crack I was about to compare it to. The only problem is it's expensive to make and you burn through it in about 4 days (if you're lucky). 


3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and drained

1 cup coconut chips

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

+2tbs coconut oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. 

2. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup and olive oil in a large measuring cup. Pour evenly over the dry ingredients and mix well. 

3. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Allow to cool. 

2. Transfer granola to jars, tossing to combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.

Yield: About 9 cups

Monday, June 11, 2012

Grilled Pizza Bonanza

So, I've made a ton of food since I last posted, but nothing has compared to the grilled pizzas I made a few weeks ago.

I made my own dough for the first time, using The Sullivan Street Bakery recipe, and it came out amazingly well and was much easier than I imagined. It's one of those no-knead deals where you let the dough sit overnight on your counter, and when you wake up you've got twice as much dough. I incorporated some finely chopped garlic scapes into the dough, and topped the pizzas with an assortment of goodies from our garden (basil, arugula, oregano), the farmers' market (more scapes, goat cheese ricotta, portobello mushrooms, scallions) and the met (fresh mozzarella, canned tomatoes, grilled onions and prosciutto).

Man, that dough was delicious and way easier to work with than the frozen stuff from the supermarket, and much cheaper to boot. I highly recommend trying it if you've got the time: it's really easy and will make you feel like you've accomplished something ethereal and elemental.

Pizza Dough (via Sullivan Street Bakery)

3.75 cups all-purpose flour
.25 teaspoons dry-active yeast
2 teaspoons salt (fine sea salt or kosher)
1.5 cups water
3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic scapes

Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1.5 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature (about 72°F) in a draft- free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, about 18 hours (time will vary depending on the temperature in the room).

Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 4 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions. Add garlic scapes to top of each ball.

Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in plastic wrap and chill. Unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2-3 hours before shaping.

Hand-shape each ball into an amorphous approximation of an pizza crust. It won't be round and it won't be even, but it'll have character.

The key to great grilled pizza is having everything ready in arm's reach before the dough hits the hot grill. Seriously. It's important.

To grill the pizzas, brush them with plenty of olive oil on one side. Throw them on a very hot direct-heat grill and brush the tops with olive oil. Then close the top quickly and let it go undisturbed for 3-5 minutes. Check the bottom and if there's a nice char developed flip and top with whatever you like, holding the greens and herbs until they're fully cooked. My favorite combination this time was tomato sauce, grilled mushrooms, mozzarella, ricotta, and basil and arugula tossed on at the last second. Delicious.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu 2011

After much thought, and even more shopping, I've figured out what I'm making for Thanksgiving. It's pretty traditional this year, flavor wise, but there's no turkey and the focus is definitely on autumn vegetables. I'm excited to cook it all and eat with my family.


Roasted ginger-squash soup

Salad with pears and blue cheese

Mashed celery root and potatoes with chives

Roast sweet potato purée with bourbon

Green Beans with breadcrumbs and lemon

Mushroom walnut bread stuffing

Roast chicken with sage


Cranberry sauce

Julia's Dessert (via four and twenty blackbirds):
Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Pretty delicious sounding, right? I'm also going to brine the chicken for the first time. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Fall Soup: chickpea, leek and potato

This is a delicious, hearty soup, and endlessly adaptable. I used what I had on hand, but you can use all sorts of different vegetables, and even replace the spelt with barley if you like. It's really all about the pressure cooker and building up a base of flavor with onions, leeks, garlic and chickpeas. Don't get freaked out by the long ingredient list, it's pretty easy and doesn't require much chopping, plus you cook it all in one pot. Perfect for when it starts getting cold, and it improves overnight in the fridge.


Olive oil
1 large leek, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 cup spelt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried dill
2 bay leaves
10 fingerling potatoes, in small equal pieces
4-5 stalks bok choy, leaves separated from stems and chopped
Zest and juice of one lemon
Chopped parsley
Grated asiago or parmesan


Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in pressure cooker. Add onion, leek and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant.

Add all spices and chickpeas. Stir for 1 minute add salt and pepper.

Add 8 cups water. Bring pressure cooker to full pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

Quick-release open cooker, add spelt, stir, and season with salt.

Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes.

Quick-release open cooker, add potatoes and bok choy stems.

Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.

Quick-release open cooker. Add zest, parsley, lemon juice, bok choy greens, and a bit more salt and pepper.

Cook for 5-10 minutes more.

Serve with additional chopped parsley and grated cheese.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zucchini Overload!

This weekend, I finally found a way to use all the squash and zucchini we've been getting from our CSA. I sauté some onion and garlic, then thin slices of the aforementioned bounty, and bind it all together in a simple, delicious egg wrapper. It's amazingly good, especially when you've got some fresh corn and squash blossoms to round it all out. Most importantly, you'll avoid the bane of all summer cooks: soggy, waterlogged zucchini. This Frittata is both crisp and creamy, and the addition of corn gives it a sweet pudding-like aftertaste.

Olive oil for sautéing
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4-6 medium sized squash and zucchini, sliced into 1/8" rounds
2 ears corn
12 squash blossoms
7 large eggs
1/8 cup milk
Freshly grated parmesan or grana padano
Salt and pepper

1) Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat in a large pan or small wok until it starts to brown slightly, about 10 mins. I add a little salt at each step, which vastly improves the flavor.

2) Add squash and/or zucchini. Sauté for another 5 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Remove garlic cloves.

3) Add corn and sauté for another few minutes.

4) Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper. Add vegetable mixture and fold in gently.

5) Sauté squash blossoms briefly in pan to reduce moisture. Add to egg mixture, reserving 4-5 to top Frittata.

6) Add a little olive oil to pan and return to heat. Add egg mixture, flattening into a pancake shape. Add reserved blossoms to top of eggs, then cover with a thin layer of parmesan.

7) Preheat broiler.

8) Cook on medium heat until the edges solidify. Slide a thin, flexible spatula around the bottom of the Frittata to release from the pan (it should come off quite easily).

9) Transfer to the broiler and cook until golden brown and bubbly on top. Allow to cool in pan for several minutes. In the meantime, I usually prepare a quick salad with a lemon dressing.

10) Enjoy. This makes a really big Frittata, so there will leftovers if you have fewer than 3 people eating with you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

latkes: our best weapon against anti-semitism?

There are very few foods which inspire more excitement among my friends and family than latkes. I've had several people tell me that their favorite part of the holidays are eating latkes with a big group of friends. Vegetarians, omnivores, jews, gentiles, agnostics, and even quakers all agree that these are some damn tasty treats. They also make your clothes and furniture smell like onion rings for a few weeks, so it's probably good that we only make them once a year.

They seem like such a simple food to prepare: very few ingredients, some hot oil in a pan, and you're there. Unfortunately, "there" can often be a dense, gummy, soggy mess if you take shortcuts and don't know the proper techniques. There are 3 keys to latkes: don't over grate/pulverize the potatoes and onions, squeeze out as much liquid as you can before mixing the shredded potatoes with the eggs and dry ingredients, and keep the oil at a medium to medium high heat throughout the cooking process. Screw up any one of these tenets and you'll be left with less than satisfying potato pancakes. Some people prefer denser, overmixed latkes because that's what they grew up with, but these people just don't know how much better they can be if you treat them like hash browns.

I won't weigh in on the endless debate between applesauce and sour cream devotees: I like to have a little bit of both, so I get the maximum salty/sweet/fatty flavor. There is room at the table for both sides, as long as there are enough latkes.

Classic Potato Latkes
serves 4-6 people

6 large russet potatoes
1 small onion
1/2 cup flour or matzoh meal
3 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
oil for frying (corn or canola in my house)

1. Peel the potatoes and coarsely grate in a food processor. chop onion separately.
2. Put potato shreds in a large kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (over the sink, of course).
3. Put 3/4s of the potatoes in a large bowl. Put the rest back in the food processor with the chopped onions.
4. Pulse the mixture several times so the onions and potatoes are finely chopped but not pasty.
5. squeeze the liquid out of this mixture as in step 2 and add to bowl with flour, eggs, salt and pepper. mix well.
6. Heat 1/2" oil in 2 large frying pans over medium high heat. I use a 1/4 cup scoop to add latke batter to the pans, then flatten each with a spatula.
7. When the edges of latkes get brown, flip once and flatten again.
8. When the pancakes are well-browned on both sides, transfer to wire racks to drain (over newspaper or brown bags). Do not drain on paper towels: steam will get trapped between the latkes and the paper and make them soggy.

Try to eat some before they disappear. I've tripled this recipe and never had any leftovers. If by some miracle you do end up with uneaten latkes, you can freeze them on wax paper then store in plastic bags in the freezer. Reheat in a 350° oven until they recrisp and heat through, flipping once. It should take about 15 mins or so.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

two words: rutabaga greens

That's right, everyone's favorite underdog root vegetable has the most delicious, mildly bitter, and flavorful greens I've had in a long, long time. Unfortunately, there are almost no recipes for rutabaga greens on the interweb: you can basically use any spinach recipe you like, and I think you'll find it's even better with rutabaga.

I bought some rutabagas and turnips, both with the greens attached, at the farmer's market in fort greene yesterday. I asked the man running the stand if you can eat the greens, and he said "some people do," while making a face like "some people eat all sorts of disgusting things, I'm not judging." They didn't look especially appetizing, I admit, but they were green, and in December that's enough. I planned to make a roasted root vegetable puree with the rutabaga, turnips, sweet potato, and onions, but that's not exactly a meal. So, I decided to top the puree with a classic tomato, chickpea, and greens sauce, and tie the whole thing together with a healthy hit of smoked paprika for both (which is a great substitute for bacon if you're cooking for a vegetarian. Not that anything can replace bacon, but it adds a layer of smokey, peppery deliciousness that's pretty damn good).

An hour later, I had roasted vegetables in the cusinart and a spicy tomato sauce on the stove full of rutabaga greens. They reduce a lot, like most greens, and I recommend removing as much of the stems as you have the patience to do before cooking. The flavor is vaguely herbal and spinach-y, and way better than collards or most kale. Plus, apparently these greens are freakishly good for you (turnip and rutabaga greens have almost the same nutritional value). Enjoy.

Pureed Roasted Root Vegetables
1 bunch turnips
1 bunch rutabagas
1 sweet potato
1 medium onion
olive oil to coat
salt and pepper (more than you think)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk (you may need more)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop all vegetables into small, evenly sized cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Roast vegetables until tender, tossing every 15 minutes or so. They should start to caramelize about 10 minutes before they're done.
4. Put all the ingredients in a cusinart and puree till smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spicy Chickpea, Rutabaga Green and Tomato Sauce
olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches greens (I used Turnip and Rutabaga), chopped
1-2 dried red peppers, minced
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. In a large pan (I used a wok) heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté garlic
2. Add red pepper and greens. sauté until greens have wilted. add salt and pepper
3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas, simmer over medium low heat for around 30 mins. covered. stir occasionally. Serve over puree in wide bowls.