My parents recently moved, so coming “home” for Thanksgiving this year brought me to a brand new house in a brand new place. Gone was the familiar bed of my childhood, the weird behavior my sink faucet, the comfort of memories. Since I’ve returned, things feel different.
My baby brother is officially taller than me (sigh). My dad is on a new healthy diet that he likes to call “rabbit food.” My forever-leaky faucet of the past has been replaced by a shiny, nicely-behaving counterpart. So not all bad things 🙂
With all this new, I thought I’d introduce my family to a Cambridge favorite of my own. Bread pudding is a food I hadn’t discovered until college, but since my first bite, I was in lust. Thank you, Flour, for fueling my obsession. This recipe, adapted from their cookbook, is all the things I knew my family would love: fruity, substantive, and the perfect companion to a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Not everything has changed, though. My dad still tells the worst/best jokes. I’m still capable of spending hours on the couch with my siblings watching movie marathons. And I still always call dibs on the last bite.
Adapted from the Flour cookbook.
Berry Bread Pudding (makes one 8 inch baking dish)
5 cups of bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks, then slowly add 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon.
2. Stir in bread cubes and mix until completely coated. Put mixture in 8 inch baking dish.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
5. Sprinkle evenly with raspberries, blueberries and remaining sugar.
6. Bake until barely set, about 1 hour.
7. Let cool for 2 hours and serve room-temperature or cold.
Sometimes you just want to hold on to summer as long as possible and what better way to do so than with fresh strawberries. Tired of the same plain strawberry flavor I had been having all summer I decided to make this strawberry flavor more lively by mixing balsamic vinegar with the strawberries to make these shortcakes.
Start off by making the shortcakes first so that they have time to cool before layering.
While the shortcakes are in the oven stem the berries.
Then toss them with the balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and sugar and let them macerate for about 30 minutes. The sugar draws out moisture from the strawberries forming a delicious syrup flavored with lemon and balsamic vinegar, making super juicy strawberries.
Layer the shortcakes with strawberries and whipped cream.
350 grams (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter, chopped
120 grams (1/2 cup) heavy cream
2 pints (600g) strawberries
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
2 tsps lemon zest
6 tablespoons (75g) sugar
300g (1 1/4 cups) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt and then beat with butter until mixture is mealy
3. Whisk 2 eggs and cream until mixed and slowly pour in the egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture until it comes together
4. Press dough out onto floured work surface and use a biscuit cutter to cut out 3-in circles of dough and place them on a baking sheet
5. Whisk remaining egg and brush tops of dough circles and then sprinkle with sugar
6. Bake until light golden brown, about 35min and then let cool
7. Stem and slice strawberries lengthwise. Then toss them with vinegar, lemon zest, and sugar, and then let macerate for 30 min.
8. Whip the cream, 1 tbsp sugar, and vanilla until it holds soft peaks
9. Split shortcakes, layer bottoms, strawberries, whipped cream, and then the tops together on a plate
I recently purchased a copy of Nigel Slater’s Tender, which is more or less a love epic about his garden and some recipes to go along. Needless to say, I’m obsessed. I’ve been contemplating crazy gardening schemes as a means to get around the fact that I live in Massachusetts. Can carrots grow on a windowsill? Can anything? What if I set up a greenhouse in one of my desk drawers? Yeah…probably not.
Even if you’re without access to fresh garden produce – like myself – you can still drink the Nigel Slater kool-aid! What I like best is how he balances vegetables with proteins, carbs, and sweets. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that Tender is a “vegetable” cookbook. Slater does a great job of showing how vegetables pair with meats and other dishes – he is not hyper health-conscious by any means! And that’s good because if I’m eating my daily portion of carrots, why yes, I do expect it to come in cake form.
Okay, granted, this cake only requires about a carrot and a half. Regardless, it is exceptional. Not too sweet, just the right amount of nuttiness, and a perfect cream cheese frosting. I could eat this forever. If only it actually counted as a vegetable.
Adapted from Tender. This recipe is perfect – we made only the subtlest changes by adding nutmeg and vanilla.
Carrot Cake (makes one 9 inch cake or around five 2 inch cakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 cup light brown sugar
5 ounces (150g) shredded carrot
juice of half lemon
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of lemon
handful of walnut halves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter two 9-inch cake pans.
2. Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
3. Beat the oil and sugar in a stand mixer until well beaten, then add the egg yolks one by one. Add the carrots, then lemon juice, then walnuts.
4. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and slowly fold into the wet mixture.
5. Fold the egg whites into the mixtures using a metal spatula.
6. Divide into the two cake pans evenly and bake for 45 minutes, testing for texture with a toothpick.
7. While cake bakes, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
8. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool from 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.
9. When cake is cool, you can assemble it as is, or make mini-cakes, as we did. Take a cup about two inches in diameter and cut cake pieces using it as a stencil. Sandwich two halves together with frosting, then cover the tops a sides. Garnish with walnut halves.
We had our first snowfall yesterday. Yes, it is not even December – it’s not even halfway through November – and there was snow. That’s just not fair.
I’ve been on somewhat of a fresh food kick (trying to buy local ingredients, that whole jazz – yes, I’m a hippie), so this was a reminder that time is dwindling and I need to start cooking while things are in season. Lucky for me – and for you if you’re into veggies – I recently joined a CSA and literally have pounds of produce that I need to consume at an alarming rate. Watch out world!
When I saw this recipe, I knew it was the one. Squash? Got it! Pasta? Got it! …that’s all I need? Aw yeah.
I felt like Hercules after I cut this thing. Seriously, where is my gold medal for conquering giant squash?
Inspired by The Sprouted Kitchen. Please use your imagination when it comes to herbs and spices. The original recipe calls for paprika, pesto and parmesan – which also sounds delicious! Really, I would just recommend using what you have on hand.
Roasted Butternut Penne (serves 4)
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
8 ounces penne
1 sprig of cilantro
salt and pepper, for taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450 and boil a large pot of salted water.
2. Place butternut squash on cooking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until starts to brown.
3. Cook the pasta according to directions, keeping about 1/2 cup of cooking water.
4. Toss pasta with remaining olive oil, remaining butter and cilantro. Combine with butternut squash.
5. Garnish with pepper and serve.
At any time, at any season, there are moments when you want to make comfort food – something warm, sweet, and filling. For me, comfort food is chocolate chip cookies.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to add more “comfort” flavor to these cookies by browning the butter before using it. Browning butter gives it a wonderful caramel flavor that tastes delicious with oats, resulting in spectacular cookies.
Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup oats
3 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 cups chocolate chips
1) Brown the butter over the stove and let cool
2) Cream the sugar and butter together
3) Add vanilla extract, eggs, baking soda, and salt and mix
4) Add in oatmeal and flour slowly and mix until combined
5) Mix in chocolate chips
6) Refrigerate so that dough slightly hardens
7) Spoon onto a parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 375F until edges just start browning, about 12 min
Gastroneering (gastrological engineering)
Browning the butter necessitates adding more liquid to the dough in the form of milk. Butter consists of 80% fat, 2% milk solids, and 18% water. Butter browns above the boiling point of water (since the Maillard reaction happens around 154C) so all the water has evaporated from the butter by the time it reaches the cookie dough, resulting in a drier dough. Since we lose about 41g of water, we add this back in in the form of 3 tbsp (equivalent to 42g) of milk.