Savory

Mushroom Risotto

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Photo Credit: Emily Chao

Exciting news everyone! I am working with my friend Emily Chao to put some videos up on the blog. She is an incredible editor and you should definitely check out her website to see some of the amazing videos she’s shot and edited. If you’re in New York for the Tribeca Film Festival, be sure to check out one of the more recent projects she has worked on called Lemon.

We wanted to try something simple just to see how the lighting was in the kitchen, so I wasn’t super careful when I was making this risotto. Some of the more culinary savvy among you may notice that I added the wine before the rice (Quelle horreur!), but the risotto turned out quite nice anyway.

I used morel mushrooms in this dish because they were so beautiful at the green grocer, but any assortment of wild mushrooms will do. If you make this dish with vegetable stock, it can very easily become a great vegetarian dish, and I would even suggest adding some asparagus or fresh peas to the mushrooms while sautéing to make an even heartier meal.

You may not need all the liquid in this recipe, and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time. Risotto is one of those dishes that you need to practice. A good risotto is slightly soupy and the rice grains should be distinguishable with a good bite to them, like pasta cooked al dente.

Mushroom Risotto
serves 3-4

8oz ariboro rice, rinsed
24 oz chicken or vegetable broth
4 tbs butter
2 shallots, minced
½ c dry white wine
1 c grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese, plus  more to finish
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced (I didn’t have any, but it really could have used some garlic)
Parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring broth to a simmer and leave covered over low heat to keep warm.
  2. Over medium heat, melt 2 tbs of butter in a large sauce pan.
  3. Cook the shallots with some salt and pepper in the butter until they are translucent.
  4. Bring up heat to medium-high and add the rice, stir for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine and mix until it is mostly absorbed.
  6. Bring the temperature down to medium-low hear and add the broth one ladle at a time. Stir the mixture occasionally and wait until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding more, this should take about 30 minutes. Taste as you go to see if the risotto needs more seasoning.
  7. As the rice gets close to being done, sautee the mushrooms and garlic over high heat with the remaining 1 oz of butter until they are browned.
  8. When the rice has a nice texture, add the grated cheese and mushrooms. mix in and serve warm with a drizzle of good olive oil, a dusting of cheese and chopped parsley.

 

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.

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!