Not sure what oil to buy in the supermarket for that saute? Here at Spoontang, we prefer to use either refined olive oil or vegetable oil due to the smoke point. Here's a rundown on some of the other types of oil available! Use this handy chart to get more familiar with the available cooking oils and their smoke points.
Pasta. Pasta is my one true love. I've recently been sick and all I've wanted to eat, day after day, is a big comforting bowl of pasta. It's warm and delicious, perfectly al dente and capturing the slick hearty sauce of whatever you've paired with it.
This version is no different. Or maybe a little different, with the intensity and richness of flavor. Have you ever had raviolo di uova? Get ready because I'm about to drop a bombshell on you. This version is homemade pasta, rolled as thinly as possible, filled with tarragon goat cheese and filled with a perfectly poached egg inside. It's like a treasure chest, cutting through the ravioli to reveal the gold within.
Since this is such an involved process, I thought an infographic might be helpful! Take a look and see if you prefer this layout of the recipe.
1 lb all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp salt
4 eggs + 4 yolks
1 oz goat cheese, whipped
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
fleur de sel to taste
pepper to taste
finishing olive oil
Setup your pasta roller. Make a pile of 1 lb ap flour with a well in the center. Crack four eggs in the center and
slowly work the dough together with your hands. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for one hour.
In the meantime, mix 1/2 cup goat cheese with 2 tbsp tarragon. Roll out the pasta with the pasta roller using the flat roller. Start on the largest setting and progressively work down to the smallest. Cut the dough if it gets too long to work with. Dust your work surface and lay out the pasta dough. Carefully spoon a roughly tablespoon sized dollop of the goat cheese mixture on the dough sheets.
Create a well in the mixture. Crack an egg and separate from the whites. Save the yolk and gently place in the goat
cheese well. Layer the second sheet of pasta over the first sheet. Be delicate. Use a round pasta cutter or the open
end of a glass to cut around the raviolis.
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Carefully lower the ravioli into the water and cook for 2 minutes - until pasta is fully cooked but yolks are runny.
Did you know that quick breads, such as banana and zucchini, date back to not terribly far ago? Approximately, in fact, to the Civil War and the invention of baking soda and powder, which are the chemical agents used in a quick bread to provide the rise. Unlike most breads, a quick bread has no yeast and therefore requires no proofing period, allowing it to go straight from your mixer into the oven. The rise is done with the engagement of baking soda and acid (or baking powder, which is baking soda and an acid which activates in the dough) releasing gas, which inflates those gluten pockets in the flour.
I have to confess to a sin - I like those terribly old, spotty, nearly black bananas. I like them soft and sickly sweet, long past any starchiness, long past their prime. So I nearly never make banana bread because bananas that are perfect for bread are also perfect for me. But here we are - this bread is particularly great. Not too sweet but sweet in that complex way from brown sugar and a bit of molasses, with an element of vanilla from the bourbon, and the pleasant hint of allspice and nutmeg hovering, ever so slightly, in the background.
3 very ripe bananas, smashed
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1.5 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and bananas in a stand mixer and mix until thoroughly smashed and combined. Mix in sugar, egg, bourbon, and vanilla. Combine. Add baking soda. Mix. Finish with adding the flour and mix completely until a batter is formed. Pour mixture into a greased and parchment-lined pan (approximately 4x8). Bake for 45 min - 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.
Fall. It's here, it's gloriously here and I'm no longer sweating to death simply standing around (nor baking in the overheated subway stations below ground). It's a time for warm things, cocoa and roasted vegetables, hearty potato dishes - and soup. Especially this soup.
I had it first during our Daniel Boulud session in culinary school. The groundings of this soup, in mirepoix and lardons, cream and a bouquet garni - is impossibly French. It's exactly what I think of when I think of Boulud in the kitchen. This is a soup Julia Child would have loved. It's rich and flavored with the delicate taste of artichokes, brought out by roasting the Jerusalem artichokes gently in the oven, and fades away to a backdrop of complex vegetable flavors.
2.5 lbs Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes), scrubbed and diced
8 cups chicken stock
3 oz pancetta or slab bacon, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1 potato, diced
1 leek, sliced thinly
1 fennel bulb, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig parsley, 1 sprig thyme, tied up)
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the Jerusalem artichokes out and toss with canola oil. Season with salt. Roast until tender and lightly browned. In a large stockpot, heat butter over medium heat till hot. Add the diced bacon and render until all fat has melted. Remove from pot. Add 2 tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot) and a pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the leek and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant. Add stock, potatoes, roasted Jerusalem artichokes, bouquet garni, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and skim the top often. Cook 20-25 minutes, adjusting seasoning as necessary. Remove from heat, discard bouquet garni, and carefully pour the hot liquid into a blender, puree until smooth and creamy. Add cream and adjust seasoning.
I'm not sure if there's anything more indulgent than tearing into a freshly baked roll - the soft, pillowy white interior and that golden brown crust. I like my rolls warm from the oven and basted in butter, topped with a light shower of sea salt or fleur de sel. Nothing excites me quite like bread - taking such basic forms as flour, salt, and water and turning it into something life-giving and delicious. And Parker House rolls are the best of the bunch - bright and soft, like tearing into a cloud. Dripping with melted butter and that little bit of salt that just sets everything off.
6 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups milk
8 tbsp unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, beaten
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sea salt or fleur de sel
Bring milk to simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add sugar and butter, stir until incorporated. Add yeast to warm water and let it become bubbly. Combine milk, yeast, eggs, kosher salt, and three cups flour in a stand mixer with dough hook. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Slowly add remaining flour until a smooth ball forms. Knead on low for five minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size - about 1 hour. Flour your surface and punch down the dough. Roll into ball shapes and place on a greased or parchment-lined sheet tray. Allow to proof an additional 30-40 minutes to allow the dough to relax. Preheat your oven to 350. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and top with sea salt.
What's the point of opening a restaurant if you're not opening the best damn restaurant in the world? Why go halfway? This is what I've been asking myself lately as I draw out sketches and ideas for the eventual form of the restaurant. I want this to be an immersive experience - I want the guests to come away from the meal feeling like they've just experienced a great film or book - a sense of beauty, being uplifted, loss at the end.
I've suddenly been taken with the idea of starting Taiga as a series of pop-up restaurants across NYC. Learn to develop my craft more, get my name out there, practice, practice, practice. This is one of those dishes I've been practicing. That delicate cod, the sweetness and acidity from the vinegar-soaked beets, that umami punch from the anchovy aioli, crisp salt from the soaked carrot and sea beans. Bitterness from the radish. It's all about balance, about touching every flavor at once.
1 cod fillet
1 golden beet, sliced
1 candy cane (or red) beet, sliced
1 carrot, shaved
1 black radish, sliced
2 oz champagne vinegar
2 oz canola oil, divided
1 white anchovy
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. In a foil wrapper, toss beets with 1 oz oil and champagne vinegar. Add salt to taste. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, in a bowl of salted water, soak the black radish slices and carrot for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, salt, and white anchovy. Mix until fully incorporated.
In a metal skillet, heat 1 oz oil over high heat until shimmering. Add seasoned cod, top side down, and cook 2-4 minutes, or until halfway opaque and it releases from the pan easily. Flip and repeat. Plate as desired and serve.
1. Sear your meat and finish in the oven
First things first - preheat your oven to 350. Dry your meat off with paper towel and season liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Heat a metal pan on high and add canola oil. Let oil become hot, loose, and shimmery. Add meat, top side down, and cook until it's achieved a golden brown crust and releases easily from the pan. Flip and repeat. Shove the entire (oven-safe or place meat on a foil-lined baking sheet) thing in the oven until it reaches your desired temperature. Remove and let rest for five minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve.
2. Make a pan sauce
Once your meat has been removed from the pan, remove from heat and deglaze (add a liquid to a hot, previously used pan with fond in it) the pan with 1/2 wine (usually red) and 1/2 stock. Replace over heat, add minced shallots, and cook until reduced by 1/2. Add about an ounce of butter and slowly stir it in until fully incorporated. Season with kosher salt and add a dash of lemon juice for brightness. Cook until it coats the back of a spoon easily and you can draw a line through it.
3. Get out that cooking thermometer
Nothing's going to consistently give you good results than the reliable method of cooking to temperature. Get a good digital meat thermometer and insert into the middle of the thickest part of your meat. Cook until it hits five degrees lower than desired, as it will continue to rise in temperature as it rests (for example, the safe cooked temp for chicken is 165. Pull at 160 to get a perfect cook.)
4. Use a kitchen scale
Not sure why recipes, particularly baking recipes, are failing? Are they coming out too flat, too cakey, too dense? Use a kitchen scale for more precise measurements than tablespoons and cups and get a consistent, perfect result everytime.
5. Get new spices
Restaurants go through bulk spices in a matter of weeks - at home, we generally get through them in years - leading to stale dry spices that lose potency and take up space. Try buying small amounts from a bulk spice store if you can, if not, buy the smallest amount available and replace every six months.
Now that I'm planning to create my own restaurant, I've been toying with concepts of dishes so much more. It's like a revelation, spreading my wings to become artistic again, stretching myself to play with contrasts of flavors and textures. This, for example, is a play on the classic pairing of cod and potatoes. It comes up everywhere - fish and chips, the Swedish casserole of jansson's temptation, chowders. In my iteration, the flaky, gentle fish is paired with sea-salty sea beans and salmon caviar and hit with acid and crunch in the form of thin, baked vinegar potato crisps.
Every dish should have balance, should confuse and delight your tongue, should bring to the forefront a vision or a memory - should, in fact, teach you a little something for the chef who created it. This dish, for me, is the flavor of the ocean. It's leaning into the wind, the spray of the surf in your face, in your mouth, that brininess. The brightness of the sun in your eyes. The solid feel of the wooden boat beneath you.
seaspray in my eyes, my mouth
1 cod filet
1/2 cup fingerling potatoes, sliced thinly
handful of sea beans
1 tbsp salmon caviar
1 lemon, sliced
2 tbsp cuttlefish ink
1 tbsp white vinegar
.5 oz + 2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 400. Toss potato slices with olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper and place on a foil lined sheet tray. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 10" skillet over high heat. Get super hot. Add seasoned cod, top side down, and allow to cook 2-3 minutes or until golden crust is achieved and it releases easily from the pan. Flip and cook until opaque and flaky. Swipe cuttlefish ink on plate and top with cod, add potato slices next to it. Top cod with sea beans and caviar. Squeeze lemon juice on top.
I'm very excited to announce the concrete plan to open a restaurant of my very own in the next few/several years here in New York City. Taiga will cook the food of the Scandinavian diaspora, the Swedes who came to Iowa and Michigan, the foods I grew up with - but elevated and transformed. Unrecognizable and new, exciting. I want this to be art, to be poetry in your mouth. I want to give an entire artistic experience, from walking through the door into the entire meal, I want you to come away feeling satisfied and excited and like you uncovered something new about the artist. I want to express myself to you through food.
I'll be sharing the experience of putting together Taiga over the next several years here on Spoontang - dealing with menu creation, hiring a team, finding investors, crafting a business plan, and finding a space - among so much more. But never fear - you'll always find Spoontang's classic cooking tips and recipes right here.
This dish is a simple one but one I'm toying with for Taiga. Faintly sweetened by beets and carrots, salty crunch of sea beans playing off the creamy tang of the goat cheese, your tastebuds delighted by the unexpected texture of olive oil powder - it's the perfect summer vegetable salad.
1/4 cup baby lettuces
2 carrots, sliced
1 chioggia beet, sliced thinly
1 black radish, sliced thinly
1 tbsp sea beans
2 tbsp wasabi microgreens
2 tbsp frozen goat cheese, cut with melon baller
1 stalk celery, sliced in thirds
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp squid or cuttlefish ink
fleur de sel
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp tapioca maltodextrin
pinch kosher salt
Soak beet and radish sliced in rice wine vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables and mix half the vinegar with squid ink. Slowly beat in 2 tbsp olive oil until an emulsion is formed.
In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp olive oil and tapioca maltodextrin, adding maltodextrin until a powder consistency is achieved. Push through a chinois or strainer to achieve a fine powder, dust plate.
Arrange sliced carrots standing and baby lettuces around. Arrange soaked beets and radishes next to carrots. Top with microgreens, sea beans, goat cheese balls, and celery. Dust with fleur de sel. Drizzle dressing on top.
I've made some major life decisions in the past week - namely deciding that I do want to pursue my dream of opening a restaurant to express myself, to express my style of cooking. Food is art and I've always had a thing for the arts, I just happened to pick up a knife instead of a paintbrush. I want to put myself, that girl from the north country, on a plate - with venison medallions and spruce sorbet and things that really surprise you while being true to my Scandinavian Midwestern roots. True to my history as the Army's child, raised with one foot in every state.
This one's inspired by Hawaii.
I remember my first taste of Chinese black vinegar at a Chinese supermarket in Honolulu- strangely aromatic, full of star anise and acid, sweet and bright. I thrilled to the strange taste, my tongue trying to discern this new flavor. And then, just like that, it was gone again from me for over twenty years until I picked it up by chance in New York's Chinatown. Once I opened the bottle, the flavor and memory rushed back to me in waves. This was it, this was that complex flavor I'd tried so long ago. It pairs perfectly with fish, cooked to perfection with a crispy skin and crust, flaking beneath your fork. That gentle sweetness of the fish balances the complex earthiness of the vinegar, the salt of the soy sauce, the brightness of the lemon. All food should have balance and this, this is it.
1 salmon filet
2 tbsp canola oil
1 oz soy sauce
1 oz black vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp scallions, sliced on the bias
Preheat oven to 350. Pat salmon filet dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in 10" skillet over high heat. Once oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add fish skin side down and cook several minutes or until fish, skin and all, easily releases from pan. Using a fish turner or spatula, flip filet over and cook top down until crust is achieved. Place entire pan in oven for 3-5 minutes or until fish is opaque, flaky, and registers 145 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, vinegar, and lemon juice. Heat in a small pan for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half. Remove salmon from oven and top with sauce and scallions.
One thing that I love about summer is summer produce - like yellow squash. Lately we've been getting a lot of it in our Blue Apron deliveries and this bounty has me like a kid in a candy store. You just can't squash my excitement. But when we had a recipe for couscous and squash, it brought to mind another recipe I remembered from module five of culinary school - Mario Batali's Two Minute Sicilian-Style Lifeguard Calamari. I couldn't help but blend the two into this delicious, summery creation. It's bright with squash and parsley, with the delicate flavor of shrimp, a heat from the red pepper flakes, and that secretive depth of flavor that only the trio of red wine, tomato paste, and butter can give you.
1 cup of Israeli couscous
1 summer squash, sliced and quartered
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chiffonaded
2 tbsp caperberries
1 oz tomato paste
1 oz vegetable stock
1 oz red wine
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Bring 1.5 cups of salted water to a boil. Add couscous, bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook until water has been absorbed and couscous is fluffy.
Meanwhile, in a saute pan, add oil and heat over medium high. Saute squash until softened, add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque. Add caperberries, currants, tomato paste, and parsley (reserving some to finish). Stir and cook 1-2 minutes. Add wine and stock. Add butter and red pepper flakes, stir and cook until fully incorporated. Add couscous and stir. Finish with reserved parsley.
Lately, nothing excites me more than meringue. It's like magic - watching egg whites grow to multiple times their original size and become stable and glossy with the addition of sugar. There are several different types of meringues and the one we'll use here is a standard version. However there's also Italian meringue, where the sugar is first heated with water to become a simple syrup. There's Swiss meringue, where the egg whites are whipped over a double boiler with sugar. And then there's French meringue, which incorporates the egg yolks as well. These are all cooked meringues, which means they're ready to be used as is. Here, as we plan to bake our meringue cookies, we'll use a standard meringue, which does not precook the egg whites but leaves that dirty business to the oven.
But these cookies! They're light and crispy, like angelic crackers of delicate vanilla sweetness. They crumble on your tongue, perfectly formed and fragile. They're easy to make and great to keep around for a pop of something sweet at only 10 calories apiece.
3 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 250.
Whip egg whites with vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. While whipping, slowly add sugar until mixture becomes smooth and glossy and holds stiff peaks. Fill piping bag with meringue and pipe in desired shape on a silpat or parchment-paper lined sheet tray. Bake for 40-40-45 minutes or until dry to the touch. Turn off oven and allow to cool in oven for 1 hour.
Summer's half over. Where did it go?
I've mostly been working on the house lately - putting curtains up, digging out closets from under piles of junk tossed there from when A and I moved in March. It's slowly coming together to look like more than just an apartment but an actual home. I find myself wandering through the rooms, cup of coffee in hand, just appreciating everything. Grey and clean-lined with molding everywhere. It's perfect.
To go with this picturesque setting, I of course need a pie. And what better pie to make than with blueberries from the height of the summer, sweetened by sunlight and heat. This pie is classic, full of tangy blueberry flavor and a rich, buttery crust that flakes on your tongue - just the way I like it.
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, chopped
1 cup cold water (all won't be needed)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3 pints blueberries
1 oz lemon juice
1.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse, slowly adding water, until chunky but incorporated. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer for thirty minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar and cook over medium-high heat until blueberries begin to break down and become liquid. Whisk cornstarch with water until no lumps remain and stir into blueberry mixture. Bring to boil and reduce to medium high, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken and a spoon can almost stand up in the mixture. Remove from heat.
Remove crust from freezer and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on a flour-dusted surface. Fold in fourths and place on a greased pie pan. Unfold and tuck dough into pie pan, trimming off hanging pieces. Crimp edges. Place beans or pie baking weighs in the bottom. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes or until just beginning to brown and lightly dry to the touch. Remove from oven.
Remove beans from crust. Pour filling into pie crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Eclairs. Is there anything quite so decadent than a good eclair - that crinkly shell, that rich, shiny chocolate, the smooth vanilla cream on your tongue when you bite in?
Pate a choux is a miracle. The same basic dough, cooked in a pan and then rapidly whisked with eggs, brings you cream puffs and gougeres, savory and sweet. This time, with a strong urge to practice my pastry skills, it comes to us in the form of eclairs. I've made them once before, in my pastry module for culinary school just over a year ago, but that was probably the last time I'd tempered chocolate or made pastry cream and it was time enough again.
The real trick here is the tempering of chocolate. What you're doing is encouraging the regular formation of crystallization to occur. At high temperatures and low temperatures, the formation is irregular, causing the chocolate to be soft and dingy. However, between the temperatures of 88 and 90 degrees, the crystals formed are smooth and even, snapping together easily for a hard, shiny surface. Here, I've chosen to employ the classic technique of seeding, that is adding well-tempered chocolate pieces to liquid chocolate, which seems to encourage the formation of these even crystals.
pate a choux (pastry shells)
1 cup water
8 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 425. Heat water, butter, and salt in medium saucepan. Once fully melted, remove from heat and add flour all at once. Stir and replace on heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture smooths and begins to form a ball. Add to mixer and allow to cool until warm but able to be touched. Mix with paddle, adding 1 egg at a time, until mixture smooths out and forms a velvety paste. Add to pastry bag and pipe 4-5" logs on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and insides are dry and hollow.
1 lb. chocolate, 60% cocoa
Prepare a double boiler. Melt 1/2 of the chocolate in the double boiler to 115 degrees. Remove from heat and stir while adding pieces of the remaining chocolate. Continue to do so until mixture has come down to 81 degrees. Replace on heat until mixture is at 90 degrees. Remove from heat and continue to stir for five minutes. Dip pastry shell tops in tempered chocolate. Allow to cool and set.
1.5 cups whole milk
1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla
Heat milk in saucepan to just under boiling. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly, while mixing, add heated milk to mixture. Once fully added, return mixture to pan over medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened. Strain into separate bowl. Spread out on silpat or parchment and cover with plastic wrap to prevent forming a skin. Once cooled, place in pastry bag and pipe into eclair shells.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients, adjust as necessary with additional milk or sugar until desired pourable consistency is reached.
There's little more exciting to me than bread. Michael Pollan, in Cooked, talks about the amazing fact that we can take three ingredients that we cannot survive on - flour, salt, and water - and miraculously turn it into this life-sustaining food. Bread signifies a home, the smell of it baking, the look of the browned crust sitting on the countertop. It's what we turn to as a cornerstone of most meals - rolls and biscuits with dinner. Particularly fruitful areas of the country are referred to as the bread basket due to the bounty that a plethora of bread represents. It is also my favorite thing to bake.
There are so many variants of bread - basic ones like French bread (which is little more than flour, salt, and water) and more complex ones like this brioche. Brioche is an enriched dough, meaning that it includes fat. Fat interrupts the formation of the gluten strands, which is why you'll never see a loaf of brioche with large air holes. Instead, the gluten forms small air pockets resulting in a denser and tender crumb. This is a delicious loaf - dense and rich with butter and egg yolks, lightly sweetened - perfect for eating alone, made into French toast, or smothered with jam.
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp instant yeast
8 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
4 eggs + 1 yolk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer and paddle to incorporate. Add eggs and mix to incorporate. With mixer on low, slowly add the butter one chunk at a time. Turn mixer to high until the butter is evenly distributed. Grease a large bowl and place dough in. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm space for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size. Punch down dough and form into preferred shape (here we've shaped into a boule or circle-shaped). Cover and allow to rise again, about one hour. Grease a dutch oven (or oven safe pan) and heat oven to 400F. Whisk the egg yolk and paint the top of the loaf. Allow to bake 40-45 minutes or until browned. When you tap it, it should sound hollow to the touch.
It's amazing how formative your early years are - taste trickles down from tongue to memory, creating those comfort foods that carry you through the rest of your life. Mine are a mixture of American middle-class standards and the foods I was reared on in Hawaii as a child. My comfort foods are scallions and bonito, pickled ginger and poke.
This is not really my recipe but is instead a traditional recipe for the Japanese savory pancake of okonomiyaki - just the way I ate it twenty-five years ago on a school lunch tray. The pancake is crispy and browned on either side, the top covered in crunchy, salty bacon. Bright notes of scallion and cabbage run through the soft middle, punctuated by crisp bits of tempura flakes. To add a rich umami flavor, I like to add bonito flakes and furikake to mine.
This is a bit of a kitchen sink type of dish. The word, okonomiyaki, means as you like it and the recipe can be adjusted to your exact preferences. The only true measures of the dish include the flour, egg, bacon (or pork), scallions, and cabbage. Try adding some Chinese sausage in, or shrimp, for another delicious variant.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
5 oz water
2 scallions, sliced
1 cup sliced napa cabbage
1/4 cup tempura flakes (optional)
2 tbsp bonito flakes (optional)
4 slices bacon
pinch of salt
1 oz canola oil
tonkatsu or okonomiyaki sauce (optional)
furikake or shredded nori (optional)
Mix flour and water until all lumps are dissolved (by hand with a whisk to avoid developing gluten). Whisk eggs in a separate bowl until whites and yolks are completely mixed. Add eggs, scallions, cabbage, tempura flakes, bonito, salt, and furikake to flour mixture. Fold to combine. Heat a 10" skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add half of mixture and cook 2-3 minutes or until bottom is able to pull away from the pan to flip. Add two slices of bacon on top in one layer and flip pancake so bacon side is down and cooked side is on top. Cook 4-5 minutes. Cover, cook additional 4-5 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Flip so bacon is top side and serve. Makes two pancakes.
It's becoming beautiful here. I don't mind the fifteen-minute walk to the subway during my commute from the Upper East Side to the bakery in Williamsburg. I put on some headphones and walk through blue skies, past rows of storefronts, businessmen in suits and women in skirts and heels. I was once one of them. I don't miss it.
I recently started on the 140 qt station at the bakery. This is a station primarily concerned with mixing huge batches of cookies and cakes. We start with the signature truffles, follow with 200 kilos of cookie dough, and finish with a giant batch of birthday cake. There's something to be said for the sweet life - I have a finer point of view on mixing and taking care to remove all dry pockets. I'm growing as a baker and chef, which is the entire reason I'm there in the first place.
This recipe is a celebration of Milk Bar, adapted from Christina Tosi's incredible crust for her Crack Pie. Ever since I ate that delicious, milky, custardy pie, I craved more of that salty-sweet crust. Now that I've finally managed it in cookie form, I'm bringing that to you - crunchy with oats, sweetened just enough with brown sugar, and delightfully slightly salted.
adapted from momofuku milk bar
2 sticks butter, room temperature
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup flour
3 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add egg and beat on medium high. Stop, add flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat on medium until just combined. Spoon onto parchment lined sheet pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges have browned and top begins to turn golden brown. Cool.
I have, my friends, three glorious days off. Three days to wear real clothes, to paint my nails, see friends, to do absolutely nothing. One of the perks of the bakery is that we work four ten-hour days a week only, leaving these three days off like a long weekend every single week. This sort of schedule is perfect for me. I like not working 9-5, Monday-Friday. Office life was difficult for me, I like to get my hands dirty and have surprise days off in the middle of the week.
But the heat is encroaching on us. I can already feel the New York summer humidity starting to creep in the air, warning me of another brutal summer where sweat drips down your back and all you can dream about is an ice cold drink and central air. It's time for gazpacho, but a new one, full of fresh green vegetables and spicy kick from hot sauce and chili powder. It's balanced with creamy avocado and the acidity of white wine vinegar, all topped off from the natural sweetness of the shrimp and brightness of the lime zest.
4 green tomatoes, diced
1 chayote, diced
2 tomatillos, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 english cucumber, sliced
2 bunches green onions, sliced
2 green peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 white onion, diced
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp piri piri (or hot sauce of your choice)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp honey
2 cups raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp hot sauce (I used piri piri but Cholula would be a good match)
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 lime, zested
1/2 oz lime juice
For the shrimp: Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add shrimp. Cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is pink and opaque. It should be just beginning to curl in on itself. Remove from heat and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and whisk to incorporate. Toss shrimp.
For the gazpacho: Combine tomatoes through onion in a food processor and puree until smooth. Turn out into a bowl and mix in remaining ingredients. If an immersion blender is available, puree until as smooth as possible.
Serve chilled with shrimp arranged on top.
Just as I finally started to get comfortable on the bread station, I'm now moving on to cakes. I'm excited to learn something new, to be crosstrained, after only a month at Milk Bar. I'm excited to mix that delicious rainbow-sprinkled birthday cake in the giant, 140-quart Hobart mixer. Each day, I feel like I'm growing stronger, both physically and professionally. My arms ache from hours of repetitive rolling of doughs into formed balls. My legs ache from standing for ten hours - but I'm happy. I'm meant to be in a bakery with flour on my shoes and in my hair.
I tend to bake even on my days off - like for the housewarming party I recently threw. So I made brownies for it - these brownies. I'm not so sure about you but, to me, the best brownies are rich and dense, moist and not overly sweet. That's what we've got here - something wonderful like dark chocolate. I want the cake to easily break in half when I try, I want small air pockets - not too much like bread and not too much like fudge but just perfectly right. And that gently sweet dark chocolate taste.
2 eggs + 2 yolks
1.25 cups sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 oz melted butter
1.25 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs with a stand mixer until frothy. Add sugars and mix to combine. Add all other ingredients. Turn out into a greased baking pan of approximately 8 inches. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
I keep some abnormal hours at the bakery. Most tend to start very early in the day - between 4 and 6 am - whereas I start my ten hour shift at 8:30 am and finish at 6:30. After my hour long commute from Williamsburg to the Upper East Side, it's 7:30 and the absolute last thing I want to do is make dinner. That's where this 20-minute chicken piccata comes in.
Chicken piccata is a classic Italian preparation, piccata meaning to dredge something in flour and serve with a wine, butter, and lemon sauce. You can use any protein and veal is a classic preparation. Here, we've used a chicken breast and I've added capers for a hit of bright brininess and herbal tarragon. (It's a thing of mine, really, to throw tarragon in everything I can.) It's fast as hell - going from raw ingredients to your plate in less than twenty minutes - and easy to throw together.
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp tarragon, minced
Preheat oven to 350. Mix salt with flour. Dredge chicken on both sides in flour mixture. Heat a 10" skillet over high heat. Add oil and allow to get very hot. Place chicken, top side down, gently in the pan. Cook until it forms a golden brown crust and comes away from the pan easily, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat on opposite side. Remove pan from heat and place in oven. Remove when chicken is 160 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to rest for five minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the oil out of the pan and add wine, lemon juice, capers, and tarragon. Reduce halfway. Mix in butter, one tbsp at a time, stirring constantly. Serve chicken with pan sauce drizzled on top.