Recipe

Summer Veggie Salad

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Asperge Sauvage, absolutely stunning both visually and in taste

I came across some wild asparagus at the green grocer’s this weekend and I couldn’t help but buy it. Wild asparagus tastes vaguely of the kind that is usually found in stores, but it is much more delicate, and needs to be prepared carefully so as not to mask the flavor. If you aren’t lucky enough to get your hands on wild asparagus, young asparagus stalks will work perfectly in this recipe.

This bright summer salad goes great as a side with seared fish, chicken or as-is for a vegetarian/vegan meal. The recipe is very versatile and can be done with a variety of ingredients. The lightness of the salad means that the flavors of the vegetables stand on their own, so be sure to select the freshest ingredients you can. I usually don’t make measurements for my dressings, so don’t hesitate to add seasonings to taste as you need, you can also make a bigger batch of dressing to keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Summer Veggie Salad Recipe:

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Dressing:
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ lemon juiced
2 tbs whole grain mustard
4tbs of good quality olive oil
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1-2 tbs basalmic vinegar (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Veggies:
2 large zucchinis peeled into strips*
1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1” pieces, blanched
2 cups fresh fava beans or English peas, blanched
½ 14 oz can of garbanzo beans**
Crumbled feta***

  1. Mix together dressing ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Peel zucchini into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler, and place in a bowl.
  3. Blanch asparagus and fava beans or peas for 1-2 min in salted water, drain and shock in ice water in order to maintain a vibrant green color.
  4. Mix everything but the feta together and let sit for 30 min.
  5. Toss in feta and serve as is, or over a bed of greens.

*In place of zucchini you can also use any summer squash variety

**I always keep homemade garbanzos ready for use in salads. To make your own check out this recipe.

***To keep the recipe vegan, omit feta and make sure you use a plant-based mustard.

How to Fix those #bakingfails.

These croissants came out very dense, but will be cut, frozen and used for a decadent bread pudding!

Baking requires a lot of invested time and it can be really easy to get frustrated when it doesn’t work out. Instead of taking failure as a reason to give up, stop and consider what went wrong. It could be the temperature of your ingredients, your technique could need refining, it could be something as simple as your mood.
This baking-fail was a result of impatience on my part, and while I wish I was able to enjoy some homemade croissants this morning, I’ll have to settle for some from the boulangerie on the corner.

Remember that when you begin to bake, your failures can sometimes outnumber your successes. Don’t be discouraged, and above all, if they still taste good, do not throw out your failures!

Food waste is a huge problem. In 2016, The Atlantic reported that not only does the U.S. lead the world in the most food wasted, Americans waste about 50% of food that is produced. While a huge portion of this waste is the result of supermarkets throwing out undesirable products, consumers also have a responsibility to make sure they use the food they buy. Throwing out baked goods that still have a good flavor is completely unnecessary. Just because you didn’t get the result you wanted, it doesn’t mean that it needs to end up in the trash, unless you’ve made the grave mistake of confusing salt for sugar.

Here are a few tips on how to give your own baking failures a new life:

  1. Freeze your failures: If you don’t have time to use up your baking-fails right away, prepare them for use later by freezing them. Since you do not plan on using the baked goods as is, you don’t have to worry about the freezer drying them out. Frozen baked goods usually keep for 1-2 months. When you’re ready to use them, just defrost overnight for use the next day.
  2. Cookie dough: If you are making a cookie dough for the first time, test a small portion to see how it turns out. Cookie dough that spreads out too much can be spread out in a pan and made into cookie bars, just bake at 350 degrees F until set. Alternatively, already baked cookies can be crumbled and mixed with melted butter to make a cookie crust for pies and cheesecakes.
  3. Cake/Quick-Breads: If a cake or quick-bread comes out too dense, or crumbly, fear not! Crumble the failure and toast it in the oven for about 5 min at 350 degrees F to use on top of ice cream, or as a way to decorate the sides of a cake (you can also do this with cake trimmings). Toasted cake crumbles can last for about a month if they are stored in an air-tight container. You can also take un-toasted crumbles and use them to make a bread pudding, or cake pops.
  4. Yeasted Breads: If your bread is savory, you can cut it into cubes and use it for a savory bread pudding. This is a perfect breakfast dish for large groups! If the bread is on the sweeter end of the spectrum, it is a perfect candidate for a dessert bread pudding.
  5. Pie: Did your pie filling ooze out, resulting in a soupy mess? Just serve it in a nice bowl with a scoop of ice cream, pie is delicious in any iteration. If you want to up the plating game a bit, you can always place individual servings in oven-safe ramekins and top with meringue.

Do you have any baking-fails that you were able to save? Comment below with your own tips!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Video Credit: Emily Chao Music Credit: Generationals

Looking to use up some of the malt syrup you have left over from making bagels? Try adding 1tbs malt syrup to this recipe!

A great chocolate chip cookie has chocolate chunks, not chips. In fact, the original chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in the 1930s completely by accident when she put chunks of chocolate in a cookie batter and hoped that the chunks would melt into the batter as it baked, ultimately resulting in a chocolate cookie. Instead, the result was what she termed the Toll House Cookie, named after the Toll House Inn that she owned at the time. Today, the variations on this cookie are numerous, just look at the cookie aisle in the supermarket. However, it is my personal opinion that a proper chocolate chip cookie should be devoured within 10-15 minutes of coming out of the oven while the chocolate is still melty and the center is still slightly gooey and warm. The edges of the cookie should be crisp enough that they crunch when you bite into them and there has to be a touch of salt to round out the flavor As with most things food-related, this is all a matter of preference, but I suggest you test out this recipe for a transcendental cookie experience.

Cookies require care when making them. You have to pay close attention to the way you prepare your dough and ingredients. For starters, have your butter and eggs at room temperature, this will ensure that the dough stays at a constant temperature while you make it and that all the ingredients can blend together harmoniously. The second, and probably most important thing is to pay attention to how you cream your butter and sugar. I will refer you to this excellent article on Cookie Science by Stella Parks. If you watch the attached video, you can see how much lighter the butter and sugar is after the creaming process. I like to cream my butter and sugar on low until it no longer looks sandy and then bring it up to medium/medium-high speed until it begins to have a pearl-like sheen. If you have read at Parks’ article, you will see that she also advocates scraping the bowl throughout the dough making process. This is absolutely key to making a great cookie dough. There is nothing worse than realizing that there are pockets of flour or uncreamed butter and sugar at the bottom of the mixing bowl when you are done mixing it.

Another CRUCIAL step in making chocolate chip cookies, or any cookies really, is letting your dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the freezer, or overnight in the fridge if you have time. If you bake off the dough straight from the mixing bowl, the dough will be too warm and will melt into cookies that are sad and flat. Since I really only like my cookies warm, I let my dough rest, weigh it all out, and keep the portioned cookie-dough balls in the freezer so I can have warm cookies whenever I want. Ok, enough from me, go forth and bake!

 

Salted Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Note: I use sel guérande which a type of fleur de sel that has a bit of clay in it from the salt ponds it is harvested from. A large grain kosher salt, or sea salt would work well too but if you can get your hands on some sel guérande, buy it, it is absolutely beautiful as a finishing salt.

Ingredients:
8oz or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ c white sugar
¾ c light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract, or ½ of a scraped vanilla bean
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp large grain sel guérande/fleur de sel (alternatively, 1 ½ tsp kosher or 1 tsp fine sea salt)
200g 72% dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

  1. Sift flour and baking soda together, mix in salt and set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping bowl occasionally to ensure that the mixture is even.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time allowing each egg to incorporate fully and scraping the bowl in between each addition.
  4. Slowly add dry mix, scraping the bowl occasionally to ensure an even mixture.
  5. Add chocolate chunks and mix on low until incorporated.
  6. Refrigerate dough overnight, or for at least 30 minutes in the freezer.
  7. Portion dough into 1 ½” balls and place them 2” apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you love salt, sprinkle just a little on top of the cookies.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375°F or 190°
  9. Allow cookies to cool at least 10 minutes before eating and enjoy!

White Bean Stew

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As a kid, I hated leftovers. I knew that as soon as I heard the ding of the microwave, I was sentenced to a bowl of a sadder, soggier version of the dinner I had eaten the night before. The flavors were sure to be muted, and the center of the bowl was most certainly going to be just lukewarm. I was a child with very high standards.

I wasn’t picky, I would eat almost everything (except Chicken Cacciatori, sorry mom). I just valued food diversity. So, when my mom told us that it was “fend for yourself night,” I would experiment in the kitchen to avoid leftovers. This meant that I only had the contents of the fridge and pantry to work with, and really forced me to be creative.

As an adult, I don’t have the same aversion to leftovers, because no one truly has the time or energy to cook a full meal every day. So, I have learned how to make dishes that actually improve with age. I have found that braising is the best technique to produce a dish like this, and although it takes time to cook in the oven. It can always be made the night before, and be gently reheated in the oven for a relatively quick weeknight meal. This dish is one of my favorites, and is a perfect alternative to the more traditional braised dishes that tend to be very heavy and hard to eat as the weather gets warmer.

I also like that I can make this as a vegetarian meal, but I usually add swiss-chard, spinach or kale. This recipe is pictured with a saffron tagliatelle that I found at a local Italian market, but it can be served with your favorite pasta, or some crusty bread and a light green salad. The dried white beans can also be substituted for 2 14oz cans of white beans if you are in a rush, but I really urge you to use dried beans.

White Bean Stew
with Garlic Sausage, Fennel, Onion and Carrots

8 oz dried white beans (preferably Cannellini or Great Northern)
1 clove garlic, whole
1 bayleaf
4 tbs olive oil
1 lb Italian or Toulouse sausage*, crumbled
1 onion, sliced ¼”
1 bulb fennel, sliced ¼”
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1″
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c dry white wine
3 c bone broth and 1 c water**
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley, chopped (optional)

Soak Beans:
Boil 4 c water with whole garlic clove and 1 bayleaf Rinse dried beans and add to boiling water. Turn off and cover for 1 hour.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°f, with rack in the middle.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven until it is shimmery and add the sausage, cook until just browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and add the onion, fennel, garlic , and carrot. Cook until the onion is just barely translucent.
  4. Add the wine and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, reduce heat to low.
  5. Drain beans and discard the garlic clove, be sure to keep bay leaf. Add soaked beans and bay leaf to the pan, mix together.
  6. Add the sausage, or greens if you are making a vegetarian version.
  7. Pour in the broth, water, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  8. Place dutch oven in the middle of the oven, and let cook uncovered for one hour.
  9. Stir and let cook another 30 min- 1hour, or until the beans are finished.
  10. Serve with chopped parsley over buttered pasta or crusty bread.***

To reheat: place in a 350°f oven until warmed through (about 30 minutes) or bring to a simmer on the stove.

*To make the dish vegetarian omit the sausage, and coarsely chop 1 bunch of spinach, swiss chard, or kale

**For vegetarian version use 4 cups vegetable stock. If you don’t have bone broth use 4 cups chicken broth.

***Try quinoa or brown rice pasta for a gluten free alternative or use a nice olive oil instead of butter to keep the dish vegan.

Sourdough BraveTart Bagels

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Bonus puppy shot of Archie hoping that I’ll drop this bagel.

This recipe is an adaptation of Stella Parks bagel recipe that replaces the commercial yeast with a wild-yeast/sourdough starter. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, use this King Arthur tutorial to get started! If you want to read about how I adapted this recipe check out this post. As this is a bread recipe, I am using gram measurements. If you don’t have a scale, I suggest Pebbly scale, or a similar flat-surface digital scale.

Starter:
I use whole wheat in the starter because it helps with yeast production, and I like the flavor. You can replace it with an equal measure of bread flour.

60g (~2 oz) mature 100% hydration starter
60g (~2 oz) room temp water
30 g(~1 oz) whole wheat flour
30 g (~1 oz) bread flour

Mix all the ingredients for the starter and let sit until it has reached peak activity, this can take anywhere from 8-12 hours depending on the activity of your starter and the temperature in your kitchen. If I am in a rush, sometimes I will place my starter in a warm place, or in the microwave with a mug of hot water. This can bring the time down to 5-6 hours. As with all things sourdough, patience is key.

Yukone:
100g bread flour
170g cold water

Mix the flour and water in a 10” skillet and mix over medium heat until enough moisture has evaporated so that it looks like mashed potatoes (roughly 2 minutes). Allow to cool for 30 minutes before making the dough.

Bagels:

295 g bread flour
15 g sugar
9 g salt
40g room temperature water
180g prepared starter
Yukone
1 oz malt syrup, for boiling

  1. Mix bread flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix water and starter together, mix in with the flour-sugar mix and the yukone. Mix until the dough is mostly hydrated but still slightly shaggy. Sprinkle salt over the top and let rest for about 15 minutes.
  2. Mix dough in the bowl with a sturdy spatula until the dough loses some of its shaggy texture. Then turn out on a clean and un-floured surface to knead with your hands.
  3. Knead dough for 5 minutes, it will be pretty sticky at first. After about 2 minutes of kneading, wash your hands so that there are no dough remnants on them and you will find that the dough will begin to regain its structure.
  4. Divide dough into 6 pieces for larger bagels, or 8 pieces for smaller ones. If you want to relive your childhood, you can even follow these directions to make mini bagels for bagel bites.
  5. Shape pieces into tight balls by rolling them on the counter, you can look at the original recipe for a video tutorial. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.
  6. Perform the final shaping on your bagels, either using the stretch-and-poke or roll-and-loop method. I would recommend roll-and-loop, but it is entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
  7. Place shaped bagels on a well-greased, parchment-lined half sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic and leave in the fridge overnight for 8-12 hours. Allow the bagels to rise at room temp for 2-3 hours before boiling.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425F(218C) and make sure the rack is in the lower-middle position of the oven.
  9. Fill a large stainless steel pot with about 3 inches of water and add the malt syrup. Bring water to a boil and add the bagels into the pot, two or three at a time. Your bagels should float, if they do not give them a little nudge to make sure they haven’t stuck to the bottom of the pot and they should rise right up. Boil for 30 seconds on each side. Pat briefly with a paper towel, and pace on a parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  10. If you want to add toppings to your bagels (sesame seeds are my favorite), you can fill a bowl with your preferred topping and dip the top of the bagel in. The toppings should stick right to the bagel.
  11. Bake bagels until they are blistered and browned, 20-25 minutes, cool for 15 minutes before breaking into them. Top with your favorite condiments and store the leftovers in a paper bag for up to 48 hours.

Enjoy, and feel free to message me with any questions or problems you encounter.

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Bagel on, my friends.

Sourdough Sunchoke Latkes, and Why You Should Use Wild Yeast

 

My very active wild-yeast starter, King Arthur Flour has a great recipe for your to start your own, too!

It has been a year since I abandoned my sourdough adventures, but I am back at it again. I originally started using sourdough after having trouble digesting bread. I wanted to test a theory that the slower fermentation of wild-yeasted bread would result in lower levels of gluten, and therefore make it easier for my body to process. This is a theory that Michael Pollan has also expressed, but I haven’t found any real science to back it up. I hope there is someone out there that will look into this. The more commercialized our food has become, the less compatible it is with the way the human body is able to process it, and this is something that needs to be properly  and seriously examined.

In commercial bread processing, commercial yeast and additives are introduced into the dough which is  then agitated rapidly to create more heat and gluten production which allows for a faster rise and therefore higher rates of production. In the UK this is referred to as the “Chorleywood Method.” A slow-fermentation method uses the naturally occurring flora in the air, water, and flour that make up a wild-yeast starter, and allows for natural fermentation to dictate the rise of the dough. The wild yeast slowly consumes and breaks down the gluten in the bread dough over a long period of time. It can take 8-24 hours to make a loaf of bread this way, but the actual hands-on time is about 15 minutes and the result is a bread with better texture, flavor, and digestibility. This may just be my opinion, but it is something to consider the next time you are out buying bread.

I should note that I do not have Celiac’s, I have not had any real problems with pastas or other gluten-containing items, but bread would leave me feeling unsettled and uncomfortable. After making my own bread, I realized that I was able to eat the slow-fermented product without the same kind of discomforts I had previously felt after ingesting commercially produced bread.

In France, most of the bread is made with a slow-fermentation method, and as a great baguette only costs about one euro, it isn’t really cost effective to make one’s own bread, but I restarted my wild yeast adventures because I also really like the process of bread-making. However, when you have to feed your starter you end up with a lot of waste, and as a result I have been experimenting with other ways to incorporate it into recipes like this one that I whipped up for a midnight snack.

Sourdough Sunchoke Latkes
makes about 8 medium latkes

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½ tsp salt
3 large sunchokes, grated
1 large potato, peeled and grated
½ onion, grated
slice of lemon
½ c sourdough starter, 100% hydration
2 tbs flour
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix the grated potato, sunchoke and onion together and toss with ½ tsp salt and the juice from the lemon slice. Place in a colander over a bowl and let sit for 10 min or overnight. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible, otherwise you will end up with very mushy latkes.
  2. Mix starter, flour and egg together with a little pepper, and fold in potato-sunchoke-onion mixture.
  3. Heat a pan over medium high-heat with 3 tbs canola oil, and place ¼- ½ c portions of the latke mixture into the pan, allow to brown on either side, about 3-5 min per side.
  4. Serve warm with your favorite toppings. Sour cream and apple sauce are traditional, but I found that cherry jam and caramelized onions went very nicely with this dish. (Shout out to Bonne Maman’s Cherises Girottes, that stuff has changed my life)
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Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, or in French as topinambours,  are purple or light brown tubers that taste like a mix between potato and artichoke heart. They are high in calcium, iron and Vitamin C and add a great crunch to these latkes.

Banana Coffee Cake with Mexican Chocolate Streusel, ft. Mexican Chocolate Donut Glaze


Baking is a source of meditation for me. When I begin to feel overwhelmed, I drop everything, dive into a baking project and emerge, fully refreshed. The problem is that my husband and I can only eat so many pastries, so I have to find somewhere to send all the baked goods when I am done.

This recipe, like many that I come up with, was a result of feeling the need to use up ingredients I didn’t want to go to waste. I had received some cast-off bananas and had a surplus of chocolate donut glaze from trying to refine my donut recipe, so I decided to come up with something to bring to my fellow MA candidates who were facing a similar level of paper-writing induced stress rather than toss them out. We have some nut allergies in the group, so I wanted to find a way to bring the crunch of nuts to banana bread without killing my colleagues. Luckily, my experiment succeeded, and the result was a delightfully moist coffee cake with a nutty (though nut free) Mexican chocolate topping.

A few notes on the ingredients:

When I say butter, since I am in France, I am using European butter. I do not think this is necessary for the recipe. However, European butter has a much higher fat content than American butter, and I feel it is necessary to let you know that it might change the recipe a bit.

Also, the cinnamon I am using is Ceylon cinnamon because it is all I can find here. I do recommend using it for this recipe as the flavor works much better with chocolate than the cinnamon traditionally used in the States. I have found Ceylon cinnamon in whole sticks at Mexican markets in the States, but if you do use a “regular” cinnamon I would suggest reducing the amount by ¼ tsp.

Important Banana information: If your bananas don’t look like this: they do not belong in any type of banana bread/cake. The bananas must be over ripe and have developed enough sugar (the black spots indicate increased sugar levels) in order to work, otherwise they will dry out what you are making. If you need to ripen bananas quickly, you can place them in a brown paper bag near a heat source. Also, don’t puree the bananas, it may just be a matter of preference, but I feel that mashing the bananas gives the bread/cake a better texture

 

Mexican Chocolate Donut Glaze

1 can condensed milk
5 oz semi-sweet or 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground chipotle
1/8 tsp salt

Heat condensed milk over medium heat, stir constantly until boiling. Remove from heat, add chocolate and spices and mix until all the chocolate is melted and it is smooth. Keep warm to glaze donuts or cakes with.

Banana Coffee Cake with Mexican Chocolate Toffee Streusel

Streusel

½ c butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 ¾ c flour
1 c packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
¼ tsp clove
¼ tsp chipotle
½ cup cold Mexican chocolate glaze, in tablespoon-sized portions reserve
½ c glaze to drizzle over the top of the cake

  1. Mix the flour, brown sugar and spices together in a bowl.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, food processor, or using a pastry cutter place all the ingredients together. Make sure to separate the Mexican chocolate into tablespoon-sized portions.
  3. Mix the ingredients until they resemble this picture:

Note: you may need to use your fingers to break up some of the butter, I would recommend using the pastry cutter method, it takes longer, but I was worried about over mixing the streusel when I used my stand mixer. Because the addition of the Mexican chocolate glaze, you run the risk of the mixture clumping up together very quickly. You need to be very careful when making this, but the toffee-like crunch it offers to the cake is worth the trouble!

Banana Coffee Cake

2 ¼ c flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt ½ cup (4 oz) butter, softened
1 ½ c sugar
½ c maple syrup
2 eggs
1 c yogurt
1 tsp Mexican vanilla (traditional vanilla will work too)
3 ripe bananas

  1. Grease and line a 9”x13” pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher, and then mix in the maple syrup, vanilla, and yogurt, set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, scrape bowl and then add the banana mixture.
  6. Scrape the bowl again, and make sure there are no large chunks of butter and sugar that have not been incorporated.
  7. Slowly add the dry mix and mix until incorporated. Be sure to mix briefly by hand to make sure the batter is even.
  8. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle 1/3 of the streusel over the top, pour the remaining half of the batter over the top, and then sprinkle the rest of the streusel over the top.
  9. Bake for 50- 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 c of glaze over the top of the cake.
  11. Allow to cool and enjoy!

This cake is very moist and if it is wrapped in individual pieces it maintains its freshness for 2 days after baking, provided you can resist eating it all!

Simple Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables.

So, the new year is upon us, and my husband and I are trying really super hard to kick our delivery habit. The other day, I drooled as I watched an UberEATS cyclist go around my block 5 times before they finally delivered my lukewarm Lebanese food. It was, honestly, not worth it.

So, this morning I woke up late and thought, “Well, rough start to those resolutions, but we’ll pick this up by the end of the day.” I shook off the defeat and decided that I was going to make dinner tonight.

I coaxed the slumbering lawyer out of bed and we went on a walk with our dog to the local butcher. It was great. The sky was grey, per usual, the snow turned to rain, so we put the dog’s ridiculous raincoat on him, which was hilarious, and it wasn’t as cold as it was yesterday.

We got to the butcher, and I was like “Oh, I have to speak French now.” Which I totally did, and I even learned how to ask the butcher to disembowel my chicken, which I promptly forgot, but I will ask again. Then, with disemboweled chicken in hand, I went home and got ready to make this beautiful dinner.

Unfortunately, the outdoor market wasn’t open, and the Monop’ has a sad selection of produce, so I wasn’t able to find parsley, but I love this recipe because it is easy to make, and is easily adaptable to everybody’s tastes.

 

Simple Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

4-5 lb Chicken
4 tbs Butter, melted
1 tbs Dried herbs (optional)*
2 tbs Kosher salt
1 tsp Cracked black pepper
1 Sweet onion (red, or yellow)**
2 cloves Garlic
Assortment of Root Vegetables, peeled
(parsnip, beets, and carrots are really nice)
3 medium-sized red potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
Chopped parsley

  1. Pat your chicken as dry as you can, this helps the skin get crispy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F
  3. Mix together the salt, dried herbs, and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture all over the chicken and rub inside the cavity of the bird, you may have some left over. Allow the chicken to rest on a rack in a roasting pan until it comes to room temperature, about 1 hour.
    Note: You can also leave the chicken like this overnight and uncovered in the fridge for an even more flavorful chicken tomorrow!
  1. Cut the peeled root vegetables and potatoes into 1-2” pieces.
  2. Mince the garlic, dice the onions and add to root vegetable mix. Mix this with the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. When the chicken has come to room temperature, arrange vegetables in the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour any liquid over the chicken.
  4. Rub the butter into the skin of the chicken, and inside the cavity. Place the chicken breast side up, and put in the middle of the oven.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes and then flip the bird over, so it is breast-side down. Bring the temperature down to 375 and roast the chicken for another 30 minutes.
  6. Carefully flip the bird over one additional time and roast for another 10 minutes, or until done.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Carve the chicken, and toss the vegetables in the roasting pan so that they are dressed with the pan drippings, add the chopped parsley.
  9. Serve with a light green salad and maybe some cornbread!

 

*Fresh herbs can also be used, but chop them finely. I used thyme on my chicken, but rosemary, sage, or any herb blend you like will work.

**You can also use young green onions but, if you do, use spring onions not scallions. The green onions will have a larger bulb. Use 4, cut off the dark green parts (save to make Bone Broth)and halve the onion lengthwise.

Edit: I forgot to tell you guys the best part about this recipe! The leftovers make a great lunch just shred the remaining the meat (save those bones for Bone Broth too) and mix it with the leftover veggies. Wrap butter lettuce around a 1/4-1/2c of the mix with any sauce of your choosing. I prefer mustard, but I know there are weirdos out there with a vendetta against it. These are perfect to brown bag to the office, or send with the kids to school! 

 

Winter is Coming, so make some Bone Broth

 

Archie, begging for trash soup.

As many of you may have noticed from my overreaction to the cold a couple of weeks ago, temperatures are dropping in Paris.

I honestly have no concept of how winter works. Los Angeles winters are when everyone breaks out their sweaters, but have to take them off by noon because it is too hot. Sandals are still an acceptable footwear option. Scarves and hats are accessories, and puffy jackets are too hideous to be considered.

I broke out the puffy jacket. I didn’t care that it was shapeless and transformed me into a human marshmallow. I put it on and realized that it is the warmest thing I own, and there are about 6 more months of cold weather to come. Now is not the time for vanity.

My solution to this is to make bone broth. The glorious trash soup that hipsters will pay a stupid amount of money for.

The recipe for bone broth might as well be pour water over trash and herbs, bring to a simmer and forget about it. This may not sound appetizing, but it is delicious.

Now would also be a good time to fess up and admit that I make my dog’s food. This involves skinning and boiling 2 chickens, and then adding veggies, rice and lentils. It also means that I have a lot of chicken carcasses that I am loathe to throw away without using them first.

So, after I have stripped the chicken from the bones, I roast them and boil them with the skin from the chicken, vegetable scraps, herbs and a few spices. It is by no means glamorous, but bone broth shouldn’t be.

You can always go out and buy the ingredients for your broth, but I find it best to save up scraps from the week (either in the freezer, or in the fridge). This way you are saving money, and cutting back on food waste.

Also, don’t feel like you have to drink the broth straight. The flavor can be a little overwhelming, but it can also be used like a broth concentrate. If I am cooking anything that calls for chicken broth, I simply dilute my bone broth with water, the flavor is far superior to anything store bought.

Bone Broth Recipe

Bones from 2 chickens (skin too, if you have it)
Vegetable scraps (or whole vegetables)
-Carrot peels
-Onion  and garlic skins (I used some leftover leeks for this batch)
-Celery leaves
-Parsley stems
2 Bay leafs
3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
10 peppercorns
2 tbs vinegar of your choice
Salt to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place your bones on a foil lined tray. I generally don’t boil my bones first because they are coming from boiled chicken, but if you are using raw bones, boil them first. Put tray in the oven, for 15 min.
  3. turn the bones over and roast until they are a nice golden brown. I usually check every 5 minutes.
  4. Place the bones in a large stock pot, along with the rest of the ingredients. Cover with water, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer, and let simmer for up to 12 hours. Your broth should congeal when it is cold.

Enjoy!

 

Nectarine Hand Pies

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The produce in France is incredible. The outdoor markets are lined with stalls of vibrant fruits and vegetables that taste the way they actually should. My problem is that I speak French like a five year old.

In the states, I can browse the farmer’s market for hours. I’ll make a minimum of three passes, carefully assessing the stands, and when I’m finally ready, I know exactly how to ask for what I want. It’s all a little harder in French. Now, I browse these gorgeous markets, but instead of focusing on the bounty in front of me, I am anxiously trying to filter between the three languages in my brain.

Try to speak three languages, its like having a world war in your brain every time you try to access a word. The other day, the sentence ,”Je trabajé en una cocina y necessité hablar español, ahora estoy en un ecole y necessito hablar français,” actually came out of my mouth when I tried to speak Spanish to the guy at the half-way decent Mexican restaurant. It’s a struggle, be nicer to people who try and speak multiple languages.

You can imagine the amount of courage it took to finally ask the vendor for “Quatre nectarines jaunes,” and to specify that I wanted them,”pas trop mûrs, s’il vous plait.” To my delight, he understood what I wanted, and since he didn’t have four slightly unripe nectarines, and it was the end of the day, he gave me extras for free!

These nectarines were originally intended for snacking and to be put over my morning yogurt, but I was suddenly faced with a bag of ripe nectarines that I had to use before they became mush. So obviously, I bought some beautiful figs and decided to make some pie.

Recipe

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Ingredients:

Enough pâté brisée for a double crusted 9″ pie
5-6 slightly ripe, yellow nectarines, cut into 1″ pieces
5-6 mission figs (or your preferred type), cut into 8ths
3/4 c white sugar
1/4 c instant tapioca (or 3 tbs cornstarch)
3tbs honey
2tbs balsamic vinegar
dash salt
dash cinnamon
egg yolk for egg wash
turbinado sugar for dusting
3 tbs butter, cut into small pieces

I will post a tutorial for pie crust soon, but this is a great recipe. Divide your dough into 8 disks before chilling.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut nectarines and figs and place in a large bowl, set aside
  3. Mix sugar, instant tapioca (or cornstarch), salt and cinnamon together, set aside.
  4. Mix honey and balsamic vinegar, set aside
  5. Toss fruit with the sugar mixture, and then add the honey-balsamic mixture until evenly coated. Be careful, you don’t want to break up the figs. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Beat egg yolk with 1/2 c water to make egg wash, set aside.
  7. Roll pie crust disks out on a lightly floured surface to 6″ and place 1/4c of filling in the middle, leaving at least 1″ of pastry around the sides.
  8. Brush clean space with egg wash, and place a piece of butter on top of the filling.
  9. Carefully fold up the sides of the pastry around the fruit. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
  10. Carefully transfer pastries to the baking sheet, leaving 3″ between each pastry. Refrigerate for 20 minutes
  11. Place trays in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

You can leave these at room temp for 1-2 days, or in the refrigerator for one week. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. Also, totally acceptable breakfast option, because fruit, and things.

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