Traditional recipes

Food Blog Chain: Ideas in Food

Food Blog Chain: Ideas in Food

Gobbling up the internet one food blog at a time.

The fourth link of the Food Blog Chain: Ideas in Food to The Amateur Gourmet.

You're on your favorite food blog, you scan the side and there's the list: "Recommended Sites," "Links," or just, "Blogroll." But why did those sites make the cut? Many links even go to dead sites — sometimes these ghosts of internets past just resemble a sad graveyard of quid pro quo. Who does everyone really read?

To find out, The Daily Meal has launched the Food Blog Chain, a feature inspired by Grub Street's Food Chain. Each installment asks a food blogger to name another food site he or she follows regularly. Blogger, critic, chef, everyone can play. They answer two questions that say a lot about the food blogosphere. What recent post on that site caught your eye? And does it have a feature you wish you'd thought of?

In the Food Blog Chain's last installment, FoodPlayerLinda of Playing With Fire and Water said Ideas in Food by Chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot was the site she reads regularly. (Check out Ideas in Food's recipe for Butternut Squash Cavatelli with Grilled Mushrooms en Papillotte.) In turn, Ideas in Food singled out The Amateur Gourmet by Adam Roberts...

Which food website do you read regularly and does it have a feature that you wish you had thought of?
Adam’s blog is one of the very first ones we found when we began looking into the idea of creating our own blog. We enjoy the fact that he approaches food from a totally different angle than we do as professional chefs. From the very beginning he wove music and video into what he was doing and that, especially the video angle, is something that we’ve talked about expanding on Ideas in Food but never made the time to pursue.

Which post did you find of particular interest recently?
The overriding theme on The Amateur Gourmet is enthusiasm. Everything he writes about he tackles with gusto. Even though he no longer qualifies as an amateur, as his recent post on The Question of Char proves, he embraces discussion, while clearly outlining and sticking to his position—in this case char is a good thing. He paints an entertaining picture of the conversations that took place over pizza and bounces from Adam Kuban to Jeffrey Steingarten and Molly Wizenberg to make his case.

Tune in next time to find out who Adam names...


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


Affiliate

Fried Egg Salad To Convert The Haters

January 27, 2005

I Know What Love Is

Something to brighten your day in the midst of Covid.

January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.


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January 27, 2005

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January 26, 2005

Chili Crisp Recipe

The very first time Alex tried chili crisp was at a dim sum place in San Francisco. We were there with a friend who used it liberally with his dumplings. Alex was instantly hooked on the idea of this spicy, crunchy, complex condiment.

Our recent New Year's Day ritual is to go out for dim sum. There is a pretty good place, less than an hour from home, that doesn't involve driving into Philly. This year we picked up the dim sum and brought it home. Fortunately, last year I bit the bullet and worked out a recipe for homemade chili crisp, that I never got around to posting here. This new year seems like a good time to share the recipe so everyone can make high quality chili crisp at home. I make mine with a lower proportion of oil than some because Alex eats likes a lot of crunchies when he uses it. If you like more oil, you can increase the amount in the recipe by 1/2 cup. I use roasted chick peas instead of roasted soybeans because they are easier to find and I like their flavor a little bit better. Once you have this in the pantry, you will discover that chili crisp can go almost anywhere you want some heat and crunch. If you like spicy it is a great condiment, so much better than the ubiquitous pepper mill. Fresh spices and good oil make all the difference.

Chili Crisp

1 head garlic, thinly sliced

2 cups sunflower seed oil (or other neutral oil)

2 inches fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 small pieces star anise

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 3-4 ounce jar crushed red pepper

½ cup roasted chickpeas, soybeans or peanuts

Put the garlic and sunflower seed oil in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Fry until the garlic turns golden brown, and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the shallots and fry shallots until they are golden brown. Transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Strain oil and return the oil to the pot and add the ginger. Fry ginger until crispy and then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Meanwhile pulverize spices, sugar and salt in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder. Put them in a medium pot and stir in the crushed red pepper. After frying the ginger, strain the hot oil over the spice mixture and stir to blend. Put the chickpeas, garlic, shallots and ginger in a blender and pulverize until they form rough crumbs. Stir into the chili mixture. Let cool and transfer to one quart or 2 pint sized mason jar(s). Store in the refrigerator.

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 02:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Fried Egg Salad

We've spent a lot of time thinking about egg salad. Mostly about the cooking and peeling of eggs. We have our favorite method, steaming for 13 minutes and then peeling, but it's still kind of a pain. So, Alex decided to find a way to crack the eggs and this salad was born.

For our first run through, he made ham and egg salad. We do a gentle steam/fry until the eggs, and, in this case, ham and onions, are just cooked through. Cut or chop up your eggs, along with whatever else you've cooked with them, and add your mayo and other seasonings and/or cold vegetables. I like finely diced celery and onions in my version. Gently mix it all together and you’ve got egg salad to make anyone happy.

*Special bonus, warm egg salad is extra delicious.

Pasta Carbonara

Cooking with cream is kind of our thing and one of the best cream-based recipes out there is for pasta carbonara. It's not quite breakfast for dinner but it's close enough to satisfy Alex and far enough away to make me happy. Marriage is all about balance. And it's a pantry dinner that comes together quickly, which is always a good thing. We're serving four these day and this made plenty for everyone, with leftovers to make into a frittata the next morning. You need a pasta pot and a large saute pan. Yes, you have to keep the toppings separate and let people mix them in on their own, it's just better that way. It keeps the flavors separate so you can taste each ingredient and it keeps the peas from turning into mush. Best of all, everyone can add as much or as little as they would like and eat it however they want to.

Pasta Carbonara

8 ounces long pasta (we used Barilla Collezione bucatini above)

1 cup +1/4 cup heavy cream, separated

1 cup grated parmigiano, plus more to finish the dish

1/2 large onion, finely diced

1 green onion, finely sliced

Cook the pasta in boiling, generously salted water for one minute less than the time on the box. Meanwhile whisk together 1 cup of cream, egg yolks, the parmigiano cheese and a few shakes of Lottie's sauce, if using. Reserve. Put the remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large skillet or saute pan and add onions, ham, a pinch of salt and a dash of Lottie's sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, cover and keep over low temperature as the pasta cooks. Two minutes before the pasta is done, add the frozen peas to the ham mixture in the skillet, season with salt, stir them in, and re-cover the pan. Increase the heat to medium low. Drain the cooked pasta when done, leaving about a quarter cup of cooking water in the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the reserved cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. Taste for seasoning and add salt or more cheese as needed. Once the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the saute pan. Plate the pasta and sprinkle it with more cheese and the sliced green onion. Spoon the ham and vegetable mixture over each mound of pasta and serve immediately.

Thumbprint Cookies

There are certain cookies that I only seem to make at Christmas time. There's no reason for this, other than the fact that I must keep chocolate chip cookie dough stocked in the house at all times for Alex and we can only eat so many cookies, so my motivation to make other kinds is low. Biscotti and shortbread make more appearances than any other cookies simply because they take well to the cookie jar and don't need to be eaten quickly.

This year I decided not to wait to start making cookies. I am starting with the thumbprints and plan to make one alternate cookie a week and enjoy the hell out of them. Normally we gorge ourselves on cookies for a week or two around Christmas but this year I plan to draw out the pleasure and make my cookies last. Instead of struggling over which to pick to, I am going to space them out and savor each one.

This thumbprint recipe is a riff off of the one in Mrs. Field's Best Cookie Book Ever! My copy is literally falling apart, so it seemed a good time to jot down my changes and preserve the recipe in the cloud for Amaya. One day she may want to make these for herself. I used a hand mixer to make this batch and the dough is a little rough around the edges. I'll probably knead the rest of it a little bit to smooth things out for the next batch. Still delicious, just a little rustic in appearance.

These cookies are softly sweet and buttery, with a crisp-tender texture that makes me happy. As with all cookies, there are very few ingredients, so quality matters. If you wouldn't slather the butter on bread or eat the jam with a spoon then don't put them in the cookies. And that's all I have to say about that. These are excellent breakfast cookies, but then again, at my house all cookies are excellent options for breakfast.

"Thumbprint" Cookies

3 dozen cookies

8 ounces (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon (3 grams)  baking powder

½ teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla paste or extract

2 ½ cups (375 grams) all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line your half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Use a stand mixer with a paddle or a hand mixer to cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

Use a purple cookie scoop (just over 1 ½ tablespoons) or a or a spoon (roll it into balls) to scoop out the dough and set it on the prepared baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie. Use a ½ teaspoon to scoop out the center of each portion of dough. Press the open end directly into the center of the portion and then rotate it in a circle (as you would use a melon baller) to scoop out a small ball of dough. You can reuse these portions of dough to make more cookies. You can press the back of the spoon into the indentation if it seems too shallow. Use the ½ teaspoon to fill each indentation with jam. Bake for 22-24 minutes until the cookies are a light, golden color. Cool completely before serving.

*We have a very slow oven at the moment, so the cookies took me 28 minutes. Don’t be concerned if they take longer than expected. I have had them finish in the time listed above in many other ovens, so just keep in mind that cooking times are relative…also, the darker the cookies, the deeper the flavor. Impatience usually makes my first batch the palest gold, rather than a deep golden brown.

**And, I had the oven temperature wrong. Edited above. I still have a slow oven but not quite as slow as I thought. I did not bother to knead the cookie dough because the texture was perfect the first time around and I didn't want to mess with them.

Through the Doughnut Hole

Here's the latest artwork to celebrate our life in doughnuts. Yes, that's fifteen individual doughs that we make every day at the shop. We're a little crazy like that. It's because you deserve the best and so do we. So we make it happen. Happy Friday!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sharing a Solo Meal

We have meals that we like to eat alone. Dishes that are so visceral and specific that they don't lend themselves well to company. Things that we crave with an unreasonable passion, because they feed something deep inside of us that is hungry.

I had a craving like that recently. It's a pasta dish that I created many years ago when I was working as an au pair in Brussels. I had little time off and almost no time on my own (there were no rules back then about days off or regular paychecks) but one evening the family went out to dinner and left me home alone. I made my dinner from a box of pasta and some odds and ends and then watched tv, none of which I understood, and reveled in my freedom. It was a glorious evening.

These days, thanks to the pandemic, I never seem to get a meal alone. My mom is with us for the duration, so the evenings when Alex and Amaya go off to the climbing gym, which used to be my me-time, are now spent with my mom. My special pasta is a pantry dish. Sliced onions and anchovies, stewed down in olive oil with a fat pinch of crushed red pepper. When the onions are sweet and translucent I add a generous serving of angel hair with a splash of its cooking liquid and toss everything together with some grated parmigiano. The finished dish is sweet and salty and spicy and deeply satisfying.

I knew mom would like the pasta. Although I would have preferred to eat alone. I couldn't cook for myself and not offer her any, so I turned it into a meal for two. She thought it sounded delicious. Then as I was tossing the pasta she grabbed a handful of basil and asked me to tear it into the dish. I declined. Then she headed over to the fridge and starting pulling out bottles of hot sauce and asking me which one would be best? I gritted my teeth and suggested that she taste it before adding anything and then she could season it as she wished. She chided me for being too sensitive but left the hot sauce in the fridge. We sat down to dinner. She loved it. Ate every bite with no additions. It was one of the best versions I'd ever made. Something was missing for me though. Next time, I'll wait until I'm on my own to make it again.