30 December 2010

orange-fennel risotto

This was a mostly-by-chance and with-food-laying-around success: risotto with sautéed fennel added halfway through cooking, some lemon zest and juice (cooked with the fennel), a pinch of mace, and orange zest. Finish with parmesan (in the risotto and on the risotto, of course). Used chicken stock.


Have loved Tartine's recipe for panforte since I first made it. Quinces, orange peel, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, medjool dates, Zante currants and a whole lot of spice (black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise) baked in a mixture of honey and sugar (cooked to 250ºF) with a little bit of flour and cocoa.

Once baked, it just begins to loose its sheen and puffs slightly. Cool for fifteen minutes or so, but not before it has glued itself to the pan.

Perfectly unmolded.

Finish with powdered sugar. Gets better after a few days and keeps forever: a medieval confection, panforte was one of the provisions crusaders took with them thanks to it keeping so well.

Happy 2011!

29 December 2010

canidied orange peel

Making panforte for New Year's Eve, and need candied orange peel. Nothing makes the house feel warm and relaxed like cooking oranges in sugar for three or four hours. (Will use quinces as well).

11 December 2010

poached quinces

I am always amazed at the miracle of quinces: they start off completely inedible, bland in color and taste with a dreadful tough, spongy flesh and cooking for a few hours with sugar turns them a bright ruby color. These three quinces were cooked with a lemon, 1½ cups of sugar and a sliced knob of ginger.

grapefruit marmalade

Red grapefruit marmalade. Start with 5 lbs of grapefruit, slice away the rind and some of the pith and discarde the inner pith. Section the fruit, separating sections from seeds and membranes. Do the same with three lemons. Start cooking the sections with the seeds and membranes tied up in a square of cheesecloth. In another piece of cheesecloth, tie 3 cloves and 3 pods of cardamom. Add to pot. Add 3 lbs sugar.

Meanwhile, julienne the grapefruit and lemon skins.

Cook until it starts to thicken, maybe an hour or so. Have a few saucers in the freezer. Sterilize 8 or so one-pint jars.

Remove the pectin bag (the one with the membranes and seeds) as well as the spice bag. Squeeze the pectin bag very well, or -- and this is so much easier -- pass the contents through the finest disc of a food mill. Add the squeezed/strained pectin back into the pot. Bring back to a slow boil and test the marmalade on a saucer from the freezer to see if it sets. If it does, ladle into jars (with a sterilized ladle and funnel).

Cover jars, unscrew ball top one quarter turn and process in a hot water bath for five minutes. Remove, then very carefully loosen screw tops once lids pop (to ensure the lids, and not the screw caps, are keeping it closed. This guarantees a vacuum). Let sit for 12 hours or so to guarantee setting/cooling/vacuum sealing.

14 November 2010

apple nougatine tart

This is another great recipe from Tartine, which has provided some great results in the past. I was actually amazed that I mentioned it in a post but have few details — I'm assuming we ate it all before I got to take photos.

It's a [pre-baked] flaky pastry crust filled with apples sautéed in butter and sugar (with a pinch of salt) that are tossed with lemon juice and zest. The tarts get covered with a mixture of egg white, sugar, salt and almonds, forming a delicious nougatine crust. The trick is for the apples to be cooked until not too soft, with some caramelized, some softer, some firmer. Once that all comes together the result is not to sweet with a brightness from the lemon. This was also one of my best pastry efforts crust-wise.

31 October 2010

lamb shanks with harissa

This is a fairly close following of this food-porn-adelic recipe on youtube. (Watch the video, it's amazing). The recipe calls for two shanks, I used four, but the stew would have been enough for six-to-eight people, so this could work for up to eight shanks. (Leftover, the stew is amazing with an egg poached in it — today's lunch. It's also great on its own, and works as a vegetarian meal).

I used white onion instead of red, didn't have orange flower water (but added some dried curaçao orange peel) and I finished the stew with ras el hanout, which makes everything more delicious.

Vegetables: whole.

And chopped. They get roasted for 45 minutes at 375ºF with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

That gets added to tomatoes, chickpeas (which I pre-soaked and then cooked in chicken stock). I added stock to the roasting pan to get all the fond.

Meanwhile, lamb shanks coated in harissa, my current favorite condiment (I might go as far as my new favorite food).

Plate with couscous. So incredibly good.

15 October 2010

braised shell and grean beans with parsnips

Bought some shell beans at the farmer's market and wasn't quite sure what do do with them. Made a bland pasta dish and realized they needed more to give them some kick. I sauteéd an onion (cut into eights, intact) with a bayleaf and some whole cloves of garlic (break the cloves up later, once they're soft) until they caramelize a bit. Add a roughly chopped leek and some salt. Add some more olive oil and toss in three peeled, coarsely chopped parsnips. Add some cooking water from the shell beans (probabaly 2 lbs before shelling) and break up the fond. Add mostly-cooked shell beans, a huge spring of thyme and some water or stock and cover. Cook until parsnips and beans are mostly cooked. Add a pound or so of green beans, each chopped in halves or thirds, for uniform size. Cover, cook until green beans are bright and still crisp. Remove thyme and add some fresh leaves. Finish with some butter, salt (if needed) and a generous bit of black pepper.

16 September 2010

chicken, stewed with tomatoes and capers

Finally setting into a new apartment (a studio with a decent kitchen and dining area) in Chicago. Here's one of my first real meals made, which is chicken legs (leftover from a whole bird bought for the breasts) stewed with "fire-roasted" tomatoes, onions, capers and an anchovy. I started by sautéing an onion, then adding a whole anchovy and two whole garlic cloves (the break up during cooking and won't burn this way). The legs were added, whole, and then the tomatoes with jalapenos were added and this was covered and cooked on low for about two hours. Then the meat and skin was pulled off the bone and coarsely shredded. I ate this with a whole boiled golden potato that soaked up the broth. So delicious.

Stock made with the rest of the carcass, leeks, onions, etc...

14 August 2010

lemon-meringue cake

Baking with the Tartine cookbook always leads to success. I am very excited about the "Lemon Meringue Cake" — four layers of chiffon filled with caramel and lemon cream (lighter and more buttery than lemon curd) draped in a meringue and then torched. The lemon cream is so delicious I could eat it by itself.

miso- and orange-roasted pork belly

Another fine recipe from the Jennifer McLagan's Fat. Here pork belly is skinned, scored and roasted at 425ºF for 30 minutes, then basted with a miso-orange-honey-ginger glaze and roasted at 325ºF until tender and unctuous (160ºF). So delicious.

03 August 2010


A simple salad with wheat berries from Four Star Farms, purslane and cute tomatoes from my friend Kate, all tossed with oil-packed tuna, avocado and olive oil. Finish with salt and pepper. Purslane's tart character alleviates the need for vinegar and is buttery with a nice fruity olive oil.


Local peaches, marinated with Luxardo Maraschino, some oil, sugar, mace and a pinch of salt. And grilled. Summer perfection.

14 July 2010

Japadog, Vancouver

Okonomi dog at Japadog — Kurobuta sausage, Japanese mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and fried cabbage.

Amazing. Simply Amazing.

09 July 2010


I found local buckwheat flour at the farmer's market and knew it was a sign to make crêpes, or galettes bretonnes, those wonderful Breton crêpes made with buckwheat that go perfectly with a wheat beer. These are filled with sautéed fennel, a year-old chèvre from the Hillman's and topped with fennel greens. Most satisfying.

26 June 2010

sour cherries!

Sour cherries were something I had only heard about — I assumed you needed to live in France, Hungary or California to even imagine finding them local. I was wrong.

I found these local sour cherries with a "try me" sign at a family market in town. They are, hands down, the most delicious cherries I have ever eaten. In a perfect world, I'd have had a duck to roast and would have made Canneton Montmorecy.

What I did make was a cherry shortcake of sorts. I made biscuits from Jennifer McLagan's Fat cookbook — I baked her suet biscuits for cobbler on a sheet pan and they turned out amazing! I soaked pitted cherries in Luxardo Maraschino Originale (which, as far as I know, is the only true maraschino liqueur produced) and some sugar, split the biscuits, placed the mascerated cherries and juice on the biscuits and topped with cream whipped with more Luxardo (no additional sugar needed).

The biscuits hold up to the tartness of the cherries while having a savory lightness that only comes with suet (I figured I needed a no-hold-barred biscuits for the cherries and maraschino) and the combination is truly stellar. We didn't even pause for a photo.

08 June 2010

ume boshi noodles

I bought some incredible, pink ume boshi noodles at Uwajimaya in Seattle and was waiting for the perfect use for them (my beau and I love those pickled plums). I boiled them as I would soba, tossed them with sesame oil, (freshly!) toasted sesame seeds, garlic-infused rice vinegar (leftover from garlic tsukeomono), ginger pickled with shiso, mirin and finely julienned asparagus (save those tips, though!).

This I served with the reserved asparagus tips, quartered harukei turnips, halved radishes and a spread made from tahini, homemade miso and leeks (puree in a 3-2-1 ratio or so, to taste).

eggs florentine

Go in to work late today so I made myself a nice breakfast — a version of eggs florentine.

...with a side of Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon (I bought an uncut piece and sliced ¼-inch slices.)

Between sautéed spinach from a local farm (I can't remember their name at the moment) and the hollandaise sauce (with cute, small eggs from the same folks, and using Julia Child's formula in Mastering the Art...), I probably consumed a half-stick of butter.

But it was well worth it. Skipping english muffins and having toasted ciabbatine rolls was most definitely a great idea.

15 May 2010

rosemary-rhumarb-cucumber salad

Made this recipe (via Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn) and it was pretty amazing. And I'm not one who eats gelatin salads regularly. Perfect for a 1950s cocktail party, especially when you want to skip mayonnaisey gelatin salads.

08 May 2010


This is a new favorite for a quick and very satisfying meal. I started with a french bâtard from the Hungry Ghost, drizzled it with olive oil and placed some Dodoni feta on top. This went under the broiler until the feta started to brown and I topped it with Alshark sardines "in spicy oil." I've done this closed in ciabbatine, with or without mustard, and it's always great. The asparagus were tossed in olive oil and salt and broiled until sizzling.

grapefruit bitters

Straining grapefruit bitters — this is my third bitters attempt and the least traditional (the other have been heavy on gentian and other herbs, a bit like Angostura, the most recent heavy on hibiscus, cardamon and pomegranate molasses as well). This was gin (New Amsterdam for its vanilla notes and affordability), grapefruit peels, sweet cinnamon, cloves and star anise. It's very bright and I goes great with gin (in the tradition of Pink Gin) or (!) with brandy on ice.