Guys, I am in a funk. And it’s not like James Brown’s funk, or the Isley Brothers’ funk. It’s a very non-awesome, kind-of toxic, super-blarghy-ultra-screw-up-expialidocious…funk. I’m making uncharacteristically dumb mistakes at work, my sleep schedule is out the window, and all I can seem to do right is binge watching Grey’s Anatomy in bed covered in cats who, at times, seem dubious about my hygiene (understandably). And I completely blame the weather- no, really. We’ve been having major snow on and off in Portland since December, and Portland just plain doesn’t know how to deal with snow in amounts over 1-inch, so my workplace keeps shutting down. Between myriad snow closures and holiday off-times, I haven’t worked a full 40-hour week since just after Thanksgiving. I flourish when I am rooted in a predictable routine, and, clearly, I wilt when I am not.
That said, I am majorly blessed to have been paid for each day (granted, it was with my vacation time, which I did have earmarked for actual vacations), to have a home to keep me warm when there were literally people freezing to death in the streets, and humans and cats whom I love, and who love me unconditionally even when I am a gooey, pathetic lump of lethargy and sadness. Until I am fully re-rooted into my beautiful, predictably boring routine, I will be over here clinging to gratitude for dear life.
Hey! You know what I didn’t screw up at all recently, though? My very first attempt at homemade lox. I know you’re skeptical, but making lox at home is completely idiot-proof. It requires no culinary skill whatsoever, or special ingredients of any kind. Even I, in my state of miserable incompetency outlined above, nailed perfect homemade lox on the first try. Whiz-bang!
Lox is, without a doubt, the sparkling jewel of the brunch world. It’s luxurious and beautiful, with silky texture and salty, briny flavor that just won’t quit. Whether you serve it with bagels and schmear, nestled into eggs benedict, or swaddled lovingly in an omelette or crepe- it’s a winner, it’s impressive, and darn it! It lives up to the hype. These are all really great reasons why you pay out the bum for mediocre lox at the store or deli. But what Big Lox doesn’t want you to know is that you’re good enough and smart enough to make it yourself for a fraction of the cost. Here’s what’s involved: First, buy some salmon- something with fatty-er stripes will yield the best texture, but this isn’t crucial. Stir together some salt, brown sugar, and a dash of liquid smoke (optional), and slather it all over the fish. Wrap in plastic and put in your fridge to cure. Five-ish days later, unwrap the fish, give it a thorough rinse and dry, and then eat your heart out. Presto… homemade lox!
So easy, even a gooey, pathetic lump of lethargy and sadness can do it!
- Salmon, skin on
- 1/4 c. kosher salt
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 t. liquid smoke (optional)
- Gently press the surface of the salmon to check for pin bones- remove any you find. Pat salmon dry with paper towel, sprinkle with fresh black pepper.
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt, brown sugar, and liquid smoke (if using). Lay out a long sheet of plastic wrap and set the salmon in the center, skin-side down. Scoop salt mixture onto the salmon and evenly distribute. Wrap the salmon up in the plastic wrap, but don't fold the ends of the wrap over- leave them loose to let the juice escape during brining.
- Place the wrapped salmon in a baking sheet or dish and cover with a lid or more plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 5 days, turning the salmon over once per day.
- After 5 days, unwrap the salmon and rinse under cool water until all traces of brine have washed away. Pat dry with paper towel. Use your sharpest knife to thinly slice the salmon across the grain, at a 45-degree angle.
Our first stop on this tour of everything-bagelization: soft pretzel bites. Have you made pretzel bites yet? Wowzer. They are every bit as incredible as typical soft pretzels (these taste just like Auntie Anne’s and I do not make that comparison lightly), but with a two-bite size that is made for Superbowl parties. Or movie nights, or days ending in y. Add some everything bagel sprinkle to this equation and you have yourself a truly next-level, transcendent snack food.
I know that you think that homemade soft pretzels are a pain in the tuckus. And I don’t necessarily disagree. Yes- you have to make yeast dough. Yes- you have to have enough clean counter space to roll out skinny dough snakes and shape them into pretzels. Yes- you have to boil them in baking soda solution before baking. The good news is that pretzel bites cut some corners. With this recipe (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction) there’s no rising time involved, and you can just hack the dough into haphazard, non-uniform lumps instead of meticulously shaping them. You do still have to make the snakes. Nay, you get to make the snakes- we all know that’s the fun part, anyway. All in all, these take around an hour total: about 30 minutes with the dough, and another 30 to bake the pretzel bites in batches.
If Beyonce can find an hour in her day to theoretically make pretzel bites, so can you.
- 1 1/2 c. warm water
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 packet instant or quick-rise yeast (2 1/4 t.)
- 1 T. butter, melted
- 1 t. salt
- 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting counter
- 1/4 c. baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten
- everything bagel sprinkle
- In large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer combine warm water, brown sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for a minute or two.
- Meanwhile, melt butter and set aside to cool.
- Using a dough hook, mix together the dough: pour melted butter and salt into yeast mixture, then turn on mixer to low. Add the flour gradually one cup at a time. When flour is fully incorporated increase mixer speed to medium and allow to knead until dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in some extra flour as you go along, if needed.
- Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying with cooking spray. One will be to catch the bites after boiling, and the other for baking.
- While the dough rests, fill a large-ish pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, place dough on a floured surface and cut into 4 equal blobs. Roll each blob into a rope about 1-inch thick, then chop into roughly 1.5-inch segments (usually around 10 pieces each rope).
- Once water is boiling, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Add about 8-10 bites to the pot and boil for 20-30 seconds. When the bites become firm, use a slotted spoon to fish them out and set aside on one of the baking sheets. Repeat until all bites are boiled.
- Brush the bites with beaten egg, then sprinkle the tops with everything bagel mixture.
- Bake in batches for 15 minutes per batch, or until bites are golden brown. Serve piping hot with cheese sauce and hot mustard.
When you’re a true everything bagel aficionado, the bagel is not enough! Whip up a batch of this everything bagel sprinkle and get your fix at any time- the possibilities are endless.
Generally, I don’t give much attention to trending foods. It’s not because great ideas can’t be trending ideas, or that they become less great as they reach a wider audience- I’m not entirely sure. I think part of it is that there isn’t much room for creativity, and when I make something that I know has already been done before it precludes me from enjoying the self-satisfaction that results from introducing something totally unique and 100% mine. And honestly, the ubiquity and novelty just gets old after a while. Take the bacon trend, for instance. Bacon is one of the most outstanding and magical foods known to mankind, and yet, now when I see it haphazardly thrown into a perfectly good dessert just for the hell of it, I audibly groan. “Chocolate chip cookies… with BACON!” “Cinnamon rolls… with BACON!” “Pecan pie… with BACON!” I’m sure all of these recipes are delicious, but… it’s gimmicky, ya know?
Right now what’s trending around the food community is the everything bagel, and the infinite foods that can be enhanced by topping them with the bagel’s pantry-friendly blend of seeds and spices. I am totes on board. Everything bagels 4 lyfe.
This everything bagel sprinkle is, well, everything. It takes zero skill and almost no time at all to throw together, and you probably already have all of this stuff in the back of your pantry. Each ingredient brings its own texture to the mix, so it’s like a super cocktail of crunch! Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some different ways I’ve been using it. I hesitate to call it a “series” because that sounds like a lot of responsibility and I generally run from commitment of any kind. But I have several ideas swirling around in my brain, and they’ve probably all been done before a thousand times, but I’ve decided I don’t care about that right now. So prepare for things to get real gimmicky around here for a bit 🙂
And if I reeeeeally end up selling out, maybe I’ll add some CRUMBLED BACON! Kidding.
- 1/4 c. poppy seeds
- 1/4 c. sesame seeds
- 1/4 c. dried onion
- 1/4 c. dried garlic
- 3 T. caraway seeds
- 3 T. flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- Add all ingredients to a sealable container or jar, and shake!
This spiced grapefruit tea loaf has a tender crumb and is delicately scented with grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice- an understated way to bake for the holidays, with nary a peppermint stick in sight.
Hey internet buddies! I’m going to be posting super sporadically until after this nutty holiday season is over, but I’ll be in periodically. Winter in general is such a buzzkill for me, especially with blogging. For one, there’s just too much life going on to maintain any sense of routine (don’t ask me how the gym’s going. Just… no.). And by the time I have managed to plan, and shop, and clean my 64-square foot kitchen (hahaha not really, that’s Ben’s job), and cook something interesting… there’s no sunlight left for photography! Curses! My life is so hard…
If all of this sounds like I’m making pathetic excuses it’s because I absolutely am. But when I get down on myself about it I remember that nobody’s paying me to do this. So HA! Anyway, I’m here today and that’s just ducky. So, it’s about time to start with the holiday baking, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not going to lie to you- I am not into that sort of thing. Cookie exchange, while lovely in theory, is clearly a construct that discriminates against those of us with 18 inches of workable countertop space (which is, in my case, literally a large IKEA cutting board situated over my two right-hand stove burners, which are long-defunct, by the way). And frankly, there’s a limit to how much peppermint and red and green sprinkles I can eat, year after sugary year.
What little holiday baking I actually do, I prefer to be a little more nuanced in flavor, and a lot less on-the-nose [pretend I made a hilarrrrrious Rudolph joke here]. Enter, today’s recipe: spiced grapefruit tea loaf. Flavors of citrus and spice are thematically, undeniably “winter”, and they work so well together in this context. The body of the cake is just delicately scented with finely grated grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice, with a texture adjacent to pound cake. A simple syrup with grapefruit juice gets poured over the cake after baking to give the edges a tart-sweet finish, and then a thick layer of simple icing (topped with more rind, if you like) sits on top. Basically, if holiday treats can be equated with holiday pop songs, then candy cane marshmallow m&m fudge is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”, while this grapefruit spice tea loaf is Joni Mitchell’s “River”, minus all the sadness and self-loathing (oh, Joni…).
This recipe is based largely on Ina Garten’s very highly-rated lemon yogurt cake, which is one of my longtime favorite recipes and is ultra-dependable and worth trying out, if you haven’t yet.
- 1 t. butter
- 1 1/2 c. flour, plus extra for dusting pan
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground cardamom
- 1/8 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 c. full fat greek yogurt (I love Fage the best)
- 1 1/3 c. sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 T. freshly grated red grapefruit zest
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 c. vegetable or other neutrally flavored oil
- 1/3 c. freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1-2 T. red grapefruit juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease the bottom and inner sides of a loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle in a small handful of flour. Tip and shake the pan to distribute the flour around evenly, then tap out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 c. flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Separately, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Whisk into the dry ingredients. Fold in the oil until mixture is smooth and even.
- Spread batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes.
- While cake is in oven, heat remaining 1/3 c. sugar and 1/3 c. grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
- After cake has cooled, remove from pan and transfer to a wire baking rack. Slowly pour the grapefruit simple syrup evenly over the top and sides of the cake, glazing the entire surface as well as possible. Allow to drip.
- Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 1 T. grapefruit juice and stir until combined. If needed, add more juice a couple of drops at a time until icing reaches a thick but spreadable consistency.
- Spread over the top of the cake, then grate some more zest over the top if desired.
Memorize this simple formula for chicken or turkey gravy from drippings and you’ll never have a gravy-emergency again!
You’ve done it: you’ve roasted the most picturesque, succulent chicken or turkey. Don’t let those savory drippings go to waste! Gravy from drippings is the best tasting gravy since the flavors have just spent hours developing and caramelizing in the oven- you just can’t get that from a jar or packet. And guess what! It’s just as easy. You’re just a few steps and a few minutes away from the perfect gravy.
The recipe that I’m sharing with you was published by kitchn in 2014. I tweaked the cooking method somewhat and I also put the ingredients and quantities in terms of parts, rather than strict measurements, to allow for more flexibility depending on yield of drippings. Plus, it’s easier to memorize! All you need to remember is 1:1:4:4. 1 part fat, 1 part flour, 4 parts drippings, 4 parts broth. So for example, the beautiful and succulent thigh you see above comes from a 6 lb. chicken, which yielded about 2 T. fat and 1/2 c. drippings. This informed me to use 2 T. flour and 1/2 c. broth when making gravy.
- 1 part turkey or chicken fat
- 1 part flour
- 4 parts pan drippings
- 4 parts turkey or chicken broth, plus extra to reach consistency, if needed
- salt and pepper
- After roasting your bird, transfer to serving platter and cover loosely with foil to rest. Using a rubber spatula, scrape as much of the pan drippings and browned bits as you can into a clear glass measuring cup or dish.
- Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to allow fat to collect and float to the top (or just use a fat separator).
- Skim the fat from the top using a metal spoon and figure out how much you have to work with- compare to the basic gravy recipe, and adjust the other quantities accordingly. Heat the fat in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add an equal amount of flour to the pan and stir to form a paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add your pan drippings- this should be roughly 4-times the amount of fat you used for the roux, but you can compensate with broth in the next step if you have more or less. Whisk the pan drippings into the roux and continue whisking until thickened.
- Gradually whisk in broth- starting with an amount equal to the drippings you used. Whisk until thickened. Add more broth if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.
The classic roasted chicken and potatoes dinner has never been easier or more delicious! Spatchcock-ing the bird reduces cooking time and makes for a coveted, crispy skin all over while fingerling potatoes caramelize in the juices. And it all takes place on one sheet pan.
Blessed mother of crispy skin- I am SO EXCITED to share this recipe with you today. I’ve done it. I have conquered the roasted chicken, and it is crispy, and juicy, and perfect, and EASY. For a long time, I avoided roasting my own chicken- I just didn’t see the point when I could buy a fresh rotisserie chicken and call it a day. I still have great respect for the rotisserie chicken as a shortcut to things like chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup. I guess I just didn’t know how good a homemade roasted chicken could be. Now I do, and it took every ounce of marital devotion I have within me to not eat all of that beautiful skin myself in 8 seconds.
This all-in-one dinner has so much going for it. I went for a rotisserie-style rub featuring a large heap of one of my favorite-favorite secret ingredients, smoked paprika, which gives the insanely crispy skin its deep flavor and color. Lemon slices under the spatchcocked chicken keep the undercarriage moist during roasting and the flavor bright and mouth-watering. Halved fingerling potatoes are added to the sheet pan midway through roasting the chicken, and caramelize in the tantalizing pan juices. It all happens on one pan, which makes cleanup a snap. I love that part.
So, what the heck is spatchcock? Well, it’s a bit creepy, really. What you do is set the raw chicken on its belly and snip out the entire spine along both sides using kitchen shears. Then you roll that baby open, breast side up, and press down to flatten. Why on earth should you do this? Because in doing so, it increases the surface area, which has three incredible benefits: A) no truss, no fuss B) all of the skin faces up, so all of the skin gets crispy, C) cooking time is vastly reduced, which D) keeps the meat moist as heck. Here’s a step-by-step:
It’s mid-November and so I know what you’re thinking- can I do this to a turkey? Yes, yes you can! Some great tips on cooking times and carving a spatchcock turkey can be found here, on Serious Eats.
Now, I am decided that this chicken is perfectly perfect without gravy…BUT, you will have just enough pan juices after roasting to whip up a quick and easy pan gravy. It’s not needed, but it really takes it over the top. So there it is! My new favorite family dinner, my gift to you, just in time for your weekend grocery shopping (and Thanksgiving!).
- 5 to 6 lb. whole roasting chicken
- 3 T. olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 2 t. smoked paprika
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon, sliced in 1/4" rounds
- 1 lb. fingerling potatoes (or other small yellow or red potatoes)
- Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Combine smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Rinse chicken with cool water, inside and out, and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Lay breast-side down on a clean surface (I cut up a paper grocery bag so it lays flat, and then throw away after prepping chicken). Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, snip along one side of the spine from end to end. Repeat on other side of spine, then discard spine or save for stock. Flip chicken over, breast-side up. Use your hands to press down on the breasts until the chicken lays flat.
- Drizzle chicken with 2 T. olive oil and spread around entire outer surface of chicken. Season chicken evenly with salt and pepper, then apply spice mixture evenly all over the skin (don't forget the arm-pits).
- Arrange lemon slices in a circle (roughly the size of your chicken) in the middle of a rimmed sheet pan or cookie sheet. Transfer seasoned chicken on top of lemon slices.
- Roast chicken for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the fingerling potatoes in half and toss with remaining 1 T. olive oil. Pull the chicken out of the oven after 30 minutes. Use a pastry brush to baste the skin with rendered pan juices. Arrange potatoes on the sheet pan, cut-side down, around the chicken. Roast for another 30-35 minutes, or until chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving platter and cover loosely with foil and rest 10 minutes before serving.
Classic and comforting creamy mushroom soup gets an update with the addition of roasted mushroom, plenty of white wine, and brie.
Today I share with you a soup recipe that is an adaptation of a recipe published by Closet Cooking back in 2014. It’s incredible.
A really sad thing happened to me recently- strolling through Pinterest for ideas I happened upon a promising-looking roasted mushroom and brie soup. I made it twice and was so happy with it that I took to leaving an absolutely glowing and ecstatic review on the food blog where I found it. Afterward, a few days ago, I stumbled across another roasted mushroom brie soup on Closet Cooking, which had the exact same ingredients and quantities and cooking methods- but it was posted an entire year earlier than the version I had seen first. I returned to the first recipe that had received my accolades, for comparison and to check for credit, and it immediately became clear to me that that blogger, who shall remain nameless because I am kind, ripped off Closet Cooking without giving credit where it was due, and passed it off as their own work.
It really buttered my biscuits. Because I am still relatively new at this, I look to established food bloggers as examples of best practices. And I guess that I naively imagined that we are all rooting for one another, tied harmoniously by our love of food and our shared efforts. It was kind of like learning Santa isn’t real. Not to mention that Kevin Lynch over at Closet Cooking has been working tirelessly for years to create and post over 2,000 recipes for our free enjoyment, and I think he deserves a lot of credit for carving out such a vast place on the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with Closet Cooking, please go pay him a visit! I have been following his blog on and off for many years, and if someday down the road I ever have forged enough of a presence as a blogger that it came to my attention that he had even visited my blog, I would be just tickled to death.
When it comes to recipe blogging, there is so much gray area with this stuff. While I strive hard to create totally new and unique recipes, sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t- the truth is that pretty much everything has been done before. And we bloggers, like you, mine for recipes and inspiration from other bloggers. In fact, most recipes you’ll find on cooking blogs like mine have been adapted from someone else’s work- it’s all part of a greater and fundamentally lovely and open-source conversation about home cooking. It connects us by our shared passion, and it’s a good thing! However, the hope is that each blogger has enough integrity to credit and link to the creator, but the sad truth is that bloggers rip each other off all the time, passing things off as their own. Sometimes, they even profit from it. The realm of food blogs is so over-saturated that it is just an internet-version of the old, wild west- this kind of sad, cheating behavior is to be expected, I have come to learn. All of the recipes that I post that are adapted from other bloggers’ recipes will have a statement saying so at the bottom of the recipe card, and a link to the original. But maybe I should start being even more obvious about it!
That’s all the righteous idignation I have for today. Let’s talk about this soup because I am cold! I love this roasted mushroom and brie soup- it is so creamy and satisfying without being heavy, and it is even better the next day as leftovers. How often does that happen? If you’re a longtime fan of mushroom soups like I am, then you’re going to fall in love with the addition of the white wine and melty, funky brie- it tickles the taste buds and gives the whole thing an undeniable air of luxury.
The thing I find the most unique about it is the added initial step of roasting the mushrooms- it gives them a satisfying meaty chew, and the caramelization that comes from roasting them first gives the overall flavor oodles of depth and complexity. It’s a step that you most definitely do not want to skip!
Adaptations that I made to this soup include doubling the quantities of the white wine and the brie (hello…native Wisconsite, here), and tweaking a few other amounts. Also, instead of blending all of the roasted mushrooms up into the soup, I reserve half of them to leave intact and add at the end. I like to have something to chew on!
That’s it for this week- hope you’re all enjoying your life and being affectionate toward your loved ones and eating delicious things!
- 1 1/2 lb. cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 T. olive oil
- 2 T. butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 t. fresh thyme leaves, chopped once or twice
- 2 T. flour
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 4 c. low sodium vegetable broth
- 7-8 oz. brie, cut into chunks
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss the quartered mushrooms with olive oil in a large bowl, then spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss, then continue roasting for another 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are firm and caramelized.
- After flipping the mushrooms and returning them to the oven, melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and stir for 1 minute, then sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
- Pour in the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Stir and scrape continuously until wine thickens. Pour in the broth.
- When mushrooms have finished roasting, add just half of them to the pot of broth. Set the rest aside. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat again to low. Add brie chunks and stir until melted. The bits of rind will not melt, but will float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to remove them and discard.
- Puree the soup using a stick blender (or transfer to regular blender) until texture is even. Add the remaining mushrooms and the cream and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This jalapeno cheddar cornbread whips up fast and easy- it’s the perfect savory/sweet accompaniment to all your soups this season!
I’m not sure how clear I have made this in the past, but I really really hate Winter. SO much. I am a huge weiner, about it too, despite having spent the first 26 winters of my life in Wisconsin, where the struggle is REAL. And as for Fall… Fall would be great if it didn’t lead right into Winter- it’s basically the Sunday afternoon of seasons, if you think about it. All of this is to say that, if you need me, I shall be face-down in a steamy bowl of soup for roughly the next five months. It’s going to be a lot of soup.
As mentioned last week, I finally bought myself a cast iron skillet– it has been working really hard in my kitchen ever since and aside from producing fajitas, apple crisp, steak au poivre (that brought tears to mine eyes), and several dutch babies, it has also renewed my vigor for cornbread! So today I’m posting this ultra-comforting Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. Tender, fluffy, buttery- it’s totally got that savory/sweet thing going on, which means it goes with everything. It is to soup what taupe ankle boots are to fashion this season- best friends.
That’s it- get on it! Stay tuned next week for a great new soup!
- 6 T. butter, divided
- 6 T. honey, divided
- 1 1/4 c. cornmeal
- 3/4 c. flour
- 3/4 t. baking soda
- 3/4 t. salt
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 1/4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place 4 T. butter and 4 T. honey in small saucepan over low heat. Allow to melt while you prepare the batter.
- In a mixing bowl combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, sugar, chopped jalapeno, and cheddar cheese. Stir together to combine.
- Separately, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs, then gradually whisk in the melted honey and butter. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
- Pour into a 10" cast iron skillet or greased cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes, then cover loosely with foil to prevent over-browning. Continue baking another 10 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cornbread.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 T. butter and 2 T. honey on low heat. Stir to combine fully.
- When cornbread comes out of the oven, brush melted honey-butter over the top of the crust.
It’s easy, it’s made of things you have in your fridge, and it’s on the table in 30 minutes. This dependable Cardamom Apple Dutch Baby recipe is sure to become a weekend breakfast favorite!
Hey there, guess what I finally bought for myself? A cast iron skillet! Girl, you write a food blog and you didn’t even have a cast iron skillet until now? Yes. Alright? It’s true. It’s one of those kitchen items that I always knew I wanted, and didn’t really have any reason not to buy, except for that I kept forgetting. Over and over. For years. Other items in this category include tongs, a meat thermometer, ice trays, a salad bowl, waffle iron, and one of those forky noodle scoops.
I managed to do without the skillet for so long because I do have a cast iron grill pan (which I have, admittedly, baked weirdly-shaped focaccia in, with surprising success) and an enameled cast iron dutch oven which does pretty much everything well. Everything, except, be photographed well with an apple dutch baby inside (too deep for that).
So I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you for practically ever, and now I finally am checking it off my list! Let’s talk about it. Dutch baby, which also goes by German Pancake (less cute), is a crusty, eggy, puffy, custardy delight that is a snap to whip up any weekend morning. It’s just a simple egg-milk-flour batter, which is poured into a hot pan of melted butter, and then baked in the oven for about a half-hour. It poofs like a souffle while the edges crawl up the sides and form a beautiful crispy crust, and then it deflates when you take it out to cool. Just like any pancake, it’s dreamy with just about any fruit, though I think it lends itself to apples the best. Adding fruit to the equation inhibits rising to the middle somewhat, and instead forms a sort of custard around the fruit, kind of like clafouti. I love that part.
I flavor the apples with cardamom as they soften in the skillet, but go ahead and use cinnamon if you’d rather. Or nutmeg. Or both!
Any way you make it, be sure to top with all the usual pancake-suspects: maple syrup, powdered sugar, and plenty of butter! On its own, this will feed two people happily, but if you side this with some bacon and hashbrowns or other breakfast-delights, it’ll feed four.
- 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4" thick
- 4 T. butter, divided
- 1/4 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 c. milk
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
- Melt 1 T. butter in a 10" cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof skillet) over medium heat. Add apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- When the apples have begun to soften, add the cardamom and toss to distribute. Drag apples to the edges of the pan, leaving space in the middle. Add remaining 3 T. butter and melt. Toss apples to coat with butter, then arrange evenly on bottom of skillet.
- Pour batter over apples and place skillet in preheated oven. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until center is puffed and set.
I am not the first to sprinkle sugar on top of some yogurt, torch it, and call it breakfast creme brulee- in fact the concept is kind of having a moment right now. I first ran across bruleed yogurt on pinterest and it was easy enough to try out for myself a few times, but each time I found it a bit lacking in body and richness. Even the thickest Icelandic yogurt cannot compare to the custardous luxury of true creme brulee in its traditional dessert form, that is true, and I had no delusions that it would fool me to begin with. I am very good at knowing what is dessert and what is not dessert. So I started to think about what could be combined with the yogurt to give it a little extra oomph. I first tried whipping in some whole milk ricotta, which gave it the body that I was looking for but also added a slight grittiness to the texture that I found a bit off-putting after a couple of days.
I forgot about it and moved on with my life for a while. But then, last week, tired of eating the same unsatisfying instant oatmeal at my desk every morning, I thought about how much more I would relish ignoring the first few work emails of the day if I were tapping my spoon onto a crisp, deeply caramelized crust, and scooping burnt shards and creamy yogurt (and what else?) into my face.
And then I thought about mascarpone cheese. Of course, mascarpone! The dairyous hero of tiramisu! Thick and silky, with a concentrated dairy cream flavor. So I tried it, and I was glad to discover that not much mascarpone needs to be added to the yogurt in order to add juuuust enough suggestion of dessert to an otherwise responsible yogurty concoction. It is very good.
If you have been reading along for a while you likely have noticed by now that I am a bit of a make-ahead fangirl when it comes to breakfasts and lunches, in particular. In the evenings, I love nothing more than to slow down and unwind after work via a home-cooked meal, but in the mornings I am all about convenience. If this sounds like you then you’ll be glad to know that this breakfast creme brulee recipe has the make-ahead built right in, and these little heroes are perfectly packable and ready to come with you to work if need-be. Your workmates will be j-e-a-l-o-u-s, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I gathered some 8-ounce Weck jars, which I love for their tight seals and mega-cuteness (you can buy them at World Market), but you can use Ball jars or any other sealable glass or ceramic ramekin-like vessel that will stand up to heat from a culinary torch. I began by spooning some apple butter on the bottom of each jar, because it’s Fall now (ugh), then topped with the yogurt-mascarpone concoction. At this point the jars are sealed and stored in the fridge until ready to use. To prepare one breakfast creme brulee, just unseal, top with a generous sprinkle of sugar, and torch until a deeply caramelized crust forms. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then gobble it up or seal it to take to work!
- 3 c. vanilla Greek or Icelandic yogurt
- 4 T. mascarpone cheese
- 8 T. fruit compote, jam, honey, or apple butter
- 4 T. granulated sugar, divided
- Either by hand or with an electric mixer, whisk together yogurt and mascarpone thoroughly. Set aside.
- Drop 2 T. of fruit compote/jam/honey/apple butter in the bottom of each of four (roughly 8-ounce) jars or ramekins. Top with yogurt-mascarpone creme, distributing evenly. Spread the tops flat, cover or seal, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To brulee: When ready to eat, sprinkle 1 T. sugar over top of yogurt-mascarpone creme, shake gently from side to side to even out, then brulee with a culinary torch until entire surface is deeply caramelized. Allow to cool undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- If you don't have a culinary torch, you can try using your oven's broiler. If you do go for the broiler instead, use oven safe ramekins for this recipe, instead of glass jars, and be sure to watch carefully!