YIN & YANG VIENNOISE BREAD

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here

During difficult times we often see the best coming out of people. Acts of kindness, generosity, and love try to counteract the fear and uncertainties that surround us. This bread, with its dual nature of darkness and lightness brings this image to my mind. I enjoyed the process of making it, and hope you consider baking a batch in your kitchen, trying to focus on all the positive things we do have.

 

YIN & YANG VIENNOISE BREAD
(slightly modified from Bake-Street)

300 g bread flour
200 g all purpose flour
3 g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular instant dry)
255 g milk
40 g egg (whisk one egg and weigh the amount needed)
50 g granulated sugar
75 g butter, at room temperature
10 g salt
20 g cocoa powder + 15 g brown sugar
1 egg, beaten + pinch of salt

Add the flours, yeast, egg, salt, and 3/4 of the milk to a KitchenAid type bowl.  Using the dough hook, mix until the ingredients are incorporated, then decide if you need to add the rest of the milk. Once the milk is added, with the machine still running, add the sugar in two additions. Knead for about 4 minutes at low-speed, then add the butter, one tablespoon or so at a time.  Wait until each  piece disappears into the dough before adding more butter. Knead until you get good gluten development, probably 4 to 5 minutes longer. The dough should stretch smoothly without tearing.

Divide the dough in two portions, one weighing 40 g less than the other. To the smaller batch, add the cocoa powder and brown sugar and knead by hand or in the machine until the cocoa is fully distributed. It will take a little time and effort. Place both balls of dough in separate oiled bowls, and allow them to proof at room temperature for 2 and a half hours.

Divide each dough in five portions, each between 90 and 95g. Form each as a little ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each as a long oblong shape about 4mm thick. Place different colors of dough on top and bottom, form as little loaves, seam at the bottom.  Use a very sharp blade to make slashes on the surface, being very determinate. Any hesitation and the cut won’t be sharp enough. You need to see the different color of dough showing underneath. Place the shaped and cut loaves over parchment paper and let them proof at room temperature for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400F.  Paint each loaf with an egg wash, and bake for about 16 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The most interesting aspect of this bread is how the cocoa powder affects texture and resulting oven spring. The white dough is very smooth, stretches easily, and wraps around the dark dough like a soft blanket. The cocoa-containing dough resists rolling a lot more and has a dry feel to it. When it is inside, it will have less oven spring, so the outer dough is not going to open as dramatically as when the dough placement is reversed. As far as taste goes, it will depend on your goal for the bread. If you will enjoy it plain or with a little butter, the light dough inside is the way to go. But if you toast it and enjoy it with jam (orange jam would be awesome according to Eva from Bake-Street), the cocoa kind will be hard to beat.

 

Yin and Yang. Focus on the positive. We know how to deal with this pandemic. Imagine what it was like on the times of the Black Death, when not only people were dying left and right, but nobody knew why. Nobody knew what to do. Focus on the positive. Do everything you can to maintain social distance and to keep your personal environment clean.

The bread is soft, the cocoa crust slightly harder than the lighter version, but not much. These little loaves would be perfect for a brunch on a Sunday morning, or with a nice cup of tea as the sun sets. Focus on the positive, we will beat this.

I am very fond of Eva’s blog Bake-Street, having made quite a few of her recipe over the past few years, they are very detailed and always work as expected. Make sure to stop by and subscribe, you will be glad you did!

ONE YEAR AGO: Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Kamut Sourdough

THREE YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

FOUR YEARS AGO: Auberge Pecan-Walnut Bread

BICOLOR CROISSANT AND PAIN AU CHOCOLAT


For the past few months, I could not get bicolor croissants and their close cousins – pain au chocolat – out of my mind. As you may already know, I tend to get obsessed about things. That means that two bad batches in a row did not prevent me from trying again. They were heavy and doughy, with almost no lamination.  You probably won’t find a detailed recipe in cookbooks, but youtube videos (some not in English) promise to show you how to succeed in a home setting. Keep in mind that for the most part, these are made in patisseries by bakers who have those incredibly efficient rolling machines (sheeters) at their disposal.  Fear not, I am ready to share a recipe and a method that worked well for me. My main advice: do not rush it. This is not the type of recipe to try and adapt for a tent-baking situation. Take your time. Keep the dough and yourself cool at all times.

BICOLOR CROISSANTS & PAIN AU CHOCOLAT
(adapted from many sources)

for main dough:
490g all-purpose flour
36g sugar
10g osmo-tolerant yeast (or regular instant  yeast, same amount)
16g salt
300g full-fat milk
70g butter, melted and cooled
for butter block:
340g butter cut in pieces, cold
(unsalted Land O’Lakes *see comments)
35g flour

Batons of chocolate
1 egg for egg wash
simple syrup (water and sugar, equal amounts by weight, dissolved by boiling and cooled)

Make the dough the day before.  Add all ingredients except butter to the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer with a dough hook. Process for about 3 minutes, then add the butter, and mix for about 4 minutes longer, at low-speed. The dough should feel smooth and elastic.

Remove from the machine, knead by hand a few times, place in a bowl coated with a little butter, cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove 110g of dough and add a few drops of red gel dye. Wearing gloves, knead the color into the dough, adding more if necessary. It will take a little while, the color will resist mixing at first. Make sure it is totally incorporated throughout the little ball of dough.  Reserve both doughs in separate bowls, covered, and place in the fridge overnight.

Make the butter block. Add cold butter and flour to the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer fitted with the mixing blade. Process for about 2 minutes. Make an envelope for the butter using parchment paper. Fold 24-inch length of parchment in half to create a 12-inch rectangle. Fold over 3 open sides of rectangle to form 8-inch square, creasing the folds very firmly.  Unfold parchment envelope, add the butter/flour and refold the envelope. Roll gently until the butter is uniform in thickness and forms a perfect 8-inch square.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll the main dough (with no color) over a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 9 x 16 inches, so that you can set the butter square in the center and fold the top and bottom parts over it, with a seam in the exact middle of the butter square. Gently glue the open sides of the dough so that the butter is all cozy inside. Turn the dough so that the seam is vertical now, perpendicular to you.  Roll again to the same general dimension (9 x 16 inches).  Make the first fold: divide the dough in three pieces (eye-balling is fine). Bring the top third down, and the bottom third up, in what is known as the envelope fold. Place the folded dough in the fridge covered with plastic for 45 minutes, transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough again to the same dimension (9 x 16 inches). Make the second fold, exactly like you did the first. Place the folded dough in the fridge, covered with plastic for 45 minutes, transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough again to the same dimension (9 x 16 inches). Make the third and final fold. Bring the top part down and the bottom part up to almost meet at the center, leaving a small space between the edges, so that you can fold the dough right there in the center.  That is known as the “book-fold.”  Refrigerate for 1 hour and freeze for 20 minutes.

While the dough cools, it’s time to roll out the red dough. You need to make it thin and a little bigger than the dimension of the folded white dough, so that it sits on top of it. When the dough is out of the freezer, moisten it very lightly with water, place the rolled out red dough on top, and gently roll them both together (you can flip the dough to place the red one at the bottom after rolling a few times).

Roll both doughs together to a final dimension of 9 by 20 inches. Ideally, roll slightly bigger than that, then cut neatly to that final dimension. If for some reason some parts near the edges do not have the red dough on it, do not worry. Just proceed with cutting the pieces, it will not hurt the final look.

I used half the dough to make croissants and half to make pain au chocolat.  To make the croissants, I cut a 9-inch square from the dough and eye-balled triangles from it. With the rest of the dough I cut rectangles that were about 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches.  Shape croissants and enclose two chocolate batons per pain au chocolat, placing the red dough at the bottom in both cases.

Right after shaping the pain au chocolat, make parallel cuts with a razor blade on the red dough to expose the plain dough underneath. Some scraps from the dough I used to shape as a little flower. Allow the shaped pastries to proof for 2 and a half to 3 hours.

Heat the oven to 350F (higher temperatures will affect the red color).  Brush the pastries very lightly with egg wash, and place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the butter to solidify a bit. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a rack. If desired, brush the surface with a simple syrup while they are still hot for a little shine.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used all-purpose flour and American butter, not the fancy 82% or higher fat butter than many recipes recommend. American butter has slightly more water, it resists better the rolling and pounding without incorporating into the dough, and it laminates well too. Particularly with the two-color dough, I felt it gave a lighter and better laminated final product. European butter made the croissants doughy and a lot of butter leaked during baking. It is possible that I need to improve my technique before using a higher fat butter with the two-color dough. If it works well for you, go for it. Freezing the dough before baking is a nice additional step that I learned in Artful Baker and decided to incorporate in the recipe. 

In theory, there are two ways to incorporate the red dough on the plain one. You can do what I did, or you can roll both doughs to the final dimension (9 by 20 inches) and place the red on top at that time. I tried both ways, and prefer the method I shared here. It is quite tricky to roll the red dough by itself as a large sheet and it is not as efficiently “glued” to the main dough since you simply place it on top and proceed to cutting the pieces. I should also mention that Philip, Baker Extraordinaire, makes a colored dough that does not contain yeast and it works very well. Check his method here. I am going to try that next time.

On shaping. As you roll the croissants or the little pain au chocolat, it is important to make it tight, by stretching a bit, generating tension as you roll. I was a bit worried about the layer of red dough and got too gentle with the shaping, so the pain au chocolat was not as tight as it should have been. Most were already unrolling during proofing. So that is definitely a detail to keep in mind.

Overall I am pretty happy with these babies. My previous attempts were  heavy and dense, with no open structure at all inside.  These had a nice crumbly crust, good butter flavor (even using American butter), and felt pretty light when handled. All I need to do next is optimize the shaping. And perhaps explore a different color scheme… Orange? Black?

ONE YEAR AGO: Lemon-Blueberry Entremet Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Walk Strong3: A review of Jessica Smith’s latest workout program

THREE YEARS AGO: Pork Medallions with Black Berry Compote

FOUR YEARS AGO: Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach

FIVE YEARS AGO: Curry Cardamon Cookies

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EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chickpea Salad

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SOUS-VIDE OVERNIGHT OATMEAL

Let me get this out right away: I don’t care for oatmeal. At all.  Growing up in Brazil it was not part of my breakfast, in fact I only learned about it when I was 26 years old and arrived in the US for the first time for a post doc. I thought the texture was unpleasant, the taste very bland, unless you dump a ton of brown sugar and heavy cream and this and that on top. What would be the point then? However, oatmeal is very popular, considered a healthy option to start the day, keeping you full until lunch time with good amount of fiber, the right carbs, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. None of this would make me look forward to a bowl of oatmeal to start my day, especially considering I am not a breakfast person. But hubby loves it. And that was enough to make me try a sous-vide version. I had no idea it would be a game-changer for me. It’s really tasty. So, if you are an oatmeal hater who owns a sous-vide gadget, I urge you to give this recipe a try. If you don’t have a sous-vide, I heard that crock pot versions can be excellent too, but I have no personal experience with it.

OVERNIGHT OATMEAL SOUS-VIDE
(adapted from several sous-vide sources)

jars:
8 jars with 4-ounce capacity
or
4 jars with 8-ounce capacity

for each small (4oz) jar:
2 tablespoons steel-cut oats
70 g water
pinch of salt

for each bigger (8oz) jar:
4 tablespoons steel-cut oats
140 g water
pinch of salt

Using sous vide circulator, bring water to 155°F.  Fill the jars of your choice with the appropriate amount of oats, water, add the salt. Seal jars. If they have screw-caps, don’t tighten them too much. Lower jars slowly in the prepared water bath until fully submerged. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 hours.

Remove jars from water-bath. Stir oats and serve with the toppings of your choice. If using the small jars, you’ll need two of them to make a single portion.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I now realize that texture was my main issue with oatmeal. For some reason, even after cooking for so many hours, the sous-vide results in oats with the exact amount of bite for my taste. I still prefer to have them later in the day with a fried egg on top. I call it light lunch. The jars, once ready, can sit in the fridge for a few days. When you are ready for breakfast (or any other time of the day you feel like it), pour the contents in a bowl and warm very very briefly in the microwave. Add the toppings you love and you are done.  Golden raisins and a touch of brown sugar is a nice combination, and yes, I’ve had that for lunch more than once.

As I mentioned, you can find plenty of recipes for overnight oatmeal using a slow-cooker.  I imagine they will please all oatmeal lovers, but if you are part of my team, sous-vide might be the real winner. Plus, I am always happy to find new uses for my beloved Anova gadget.

One last thing: many recipes using sous-vide call for longer cooking times. I prefer to keep a maximum of 12 hours, but 10 hours worked better for us. After 12 hours of cooking the texture got a tad too soft for our taste.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Valentine’s Day Opera

TWO YEARS AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

THREE YEARS AGO: Walnut-Cranberry Sourdough Bread

FOUR YEARS AGO: Ottolenghi in Brazil?

FIVE YEARS AGO: Roasted Winter Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

SIX YEARS AGO: 2012 Fitness Report: P90X2

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Caramelized Bananas

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

NINE YEARS AGO: Whole Wheat Bread

SOUS-VIDE EGG BITES

Disclaimer: I am taking liberties with the term sous-vide, which means under vacuum. Obviously, not the case when using food placed inside a glass jar. But Sous-vide egg bites sounds better than “Water-Bath-Precision-Cooked Egg Bites”  

😉

Whenever we travel, we need to get our Java fix at Starbucks. Not our favorite coffee shop (we are partial to Peet’s or smaller, family operated joints), but sometimes it is the most convenient option. In one of these trips a few years ago, I noticed in their menu “sous-vide egg bites.” Seemed like a perfect option, not carb-loaded as most items available. Because we usually cannot cook during trips, I’m always trying to find ways to moderate the carb intake while away from home. I was intrigued and ordered one. Loved it. Now, whenever we find ourselves at Starbucks, I get my sous-vide egg fix. But what is even better than that? I can make them at home, six at a time, and grab them from the fridge whenever I want. A super brief encounter with microwaves and I’m all set!

SOUS-VIDE EGG BITES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

6 (4-ounce) jars with screw caps
6 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup cream cheese
¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon salt

add-ons:
12 cherry tomatoes, roasted
or
pieces of cooked bacon
or
diced ham
or
caramelized onions
or
smoked salmon

Heat the sous-vide water-bath to 185ºF.

Combine the eggs, heavy cream, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Put the additions of your choice in the bottom of each jar and then fill the jars with the egg mixture. Screw the lids on, only fingertip tight. Do not screw them tightly.

Place the jars into the sous-vide water bath and cook for 45 to 60 minutes.  Remove the jars very carefully from the water-bath (use tongs, they will be very hot). Enjoy warm or refrigerate for a few days.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Most exciting part of this recipe is dropping the little jars in the sous-vide bath. What can I say? I am easily amused. It is very important not to tighten the lids too much, but of course if you don’t fully close them it will be a very messy situation. So what I do is: I tighten them well, then unscrew just a little bit.

You can adapt this method to your taste, using the add-ons I suggested, or anything else you might like. Perhaps cooked broccoli, sautéed spinach, grated carrots. Very flexible recipe. I normally make a batch in the weekend and enjoy a couple of these as a light lunch during the week. A little Ak-Mak cracker on the side, and I am a very happy sous-vider.

ONE YEAR AGO: Paul Hollywood, The Weekend Baker

TWO YEARS AGO: Texas Sheet Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, September 2015

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sour Cherry Sorbet: A Labor of Love

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

SIX YEARS AGO: Raspberry Sorbet at Summer’s End

SEVEN YEARS AGO: When three is better than two  (four years with Buck!)

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Grating Tomatoes (and loving it!)

NINE YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny Day

 

 

 

BLACK OLIVE TAPENADE AND DEVILED EGGS

Tapenade-flavored deviled eggs! A great departure from the classic, this was a recent blog post by my dear friend Karen. We love deviled eggs so I was quite excited when she shared her version that included a hefty dose of black olive lusciousness to make them even more special. At first I thought we had one of those convenient ready-made jars from Trader Joe’s sitting in our pantry, but of course, the moment I had a very important use for it, they were nowhere to be found. I had to take matters into my own food processor. You know what? Home-made is infinitely better. There’s a fresh taste to it, plus I could customize it adding a bit of orange zest. Total winner!

BLACK OLIVE TAPENADE
(adapted from many sources)

1 + 1/2 cups pitted black olives
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
juice of half a lemon (taste and add more, if you like)
chopped fresh parsley to taste
olive oil to desired consistency
salt and pepper
orange zest

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, except olive oil, salt, pepper, and orange zest. Process until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle olive oil until it gets to the consistency you prefer, I added a bit less than 1/4 cup.  Season with salt, pepper, and add orange zest at the very end.

BLACK OLIVE TAPENADE DEVILED EGGS
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup full-fat yogurt
1/2  tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping tablespoon (or more to taste)  olive tapenade
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

Peel and slice the eggs in half, lengthwise. Place the yolks into a bowl and mash with a fork. 

Add the yogurt, mustard, and cayenne pepper, and mix until smooth. Add the tapenade and salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Place the yolk mixture into a piping bag and pipe into the egg white cavities. Sprinkle with paprika and chill until ready to serve. You should chill too, it’s an easy recipe, perfect for entertaining.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: Confession time. I gave you the recipes with more or less precise measurements, but I did not use a single measuring cup or spoon to make them. Because I’ve been baking so much, I get pretty tired of measuring and weighing items. When it comes to a savory recipe, I want freedom. So I pretty much eye-balled everything. And used my taste buds to judge if I needed more capers, more lemon, more parsley. I advise you to do the same, it is quite liberating (wink, wink). Yes, no two attempts will be exactly the same, but isn’t that part of the charm of cooking? Now, of course baking is another story, your goal is to reach that perfect mousse emulsion, the cake with correct structure and moisture, the macarons with the perfect mixing of almond to meringue. Precision rules.

These turned out delicious! I made a batch on a Saturday morning while The Man was playing golf and the plan was to surprise him with the platter ready and waiting. But he finished the game early, and arrived while I was piping the filling. So there you go, you got to see a picture of the process.

I like to use yogurt instead of mayo, as mayonnaise does not enter our home, but you should go the more authentic route if you prefer.

Karen, thanks for constantly inspiring me, as you know I have a huge list of recipes to try from your site, but I jumped on this one like Buck jumps on a snake in the backyard. Sorry for the image, but it’s accurate.

ONE YEAR AGO: Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

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FOUR YEARS AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

SIX YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

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EIGHT YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

NINE YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin

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RASPBERRY PUFFS

This recipe can be super simple if you buy puff pastry at the store, or quite a bit more involved if you make it yourself. I don’t want to sound snobbish – although probably it will be the case – but homemade will be a lot better. It is hard to get as many flaky layers from a store-bought puff pastry, and the version made at home definitely feels lighter. But particularly during the summer, I see nothing wrong with opening that package and going at it with your rolling-pin. Working with all that butter, performing the foldings, is quite tricky when the weather is warm and humid. Once the pastry is done, the preparation of these raspberry squares is very simple and the end result… oh so very cute! I made my own puff pastry and a link to the recipe is included below. But for simplicity (it’s a very long recipe), I am sharing a simplified version using store-bought.

RASPBERRY PUFFS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 package of puff pastry, defrosted
to make your own, follow this link
fresh raspberries and blackberries (5 per pastry square)
8-ounce block cream cheese
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Roll the puff pastry and cut into 3 to 3.5 inch squares. Using the packaged pastry, one sheet will be enough to make 4 squares. Leaving a thin border, make cuts along the edges of the square. Use either a small rolling pastry cutter or a very sharp knife, so that you don’t squish the layers of the puff pastry. Place a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling in the middle of the square, then top with 4 raspberries. Take one of the edge flaps and fold it towards the center, looping over the raspberry. Repeat with the other flaps. Place a raspberry in the center, on top of where all the flaps overlap. Repeat with the remaining pastry squares.

Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and puffed. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  If you like, you can brush the top of the loops with a little egg wash for extra shine, but I did not do that this time. Blueberries could be fun to use too, although they tend to bleed a lot more during baking. Don’t  be afraid to bake them until the pastry is very dark, because the filling tends to make the pastry a big soggy. In retrospect, I think I should have baked mine longer. But, as I like to say often, there’s always next time… live and learn…

They do have similarity with a Danish pastry, and go perfectly with a nice steamy cappuccino. One of these babies will be more than enough to satisfy any cravings for sweetness. They are fun to make and delicious to savor…  I hope you give them a try, with homemade puff or not.

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NINE YEARS AGOA Perfect Sunday Dinner

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INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR: MAY 2018

Time to showcase recipes that are so simple they hardly qualify as such.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

CACIO E PEPE

Hard to believe I had never made this dish until now. It is such a classic, but for one reason or another I only had it in restaurants and not even that often. Guess what? After inaugurating it, I enjoyed it three more times over the following month. It is so simple and so delicious!  You must make it. I tried it with zoodles a couple of times, works wonders too. I was inspired by Geoffrey Zakarian in a recent Kitchen episode.

CACIO E PEPE

pasta of your choice
Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground (coarse) pepper (or to taste)
grated Pecorino-Romano cheese to taste
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Two genius touches: first, you will cook the pasta in a pan just large enough to hold it, with about 1 inch water from the bottom. Add a little salt to the water. Cook without closing the pan until al dente.

Second: toast the pepper in a small skillet until fragrant, just a minute or so.

The pasta will be cooked with just a little water left, a water full of starch from the pasta.  Turn off the heat, add the pepper and cheese. Stir well, adjust seasoning with salt.

Serve and enjoy!

to print the recipe, click here 

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH RICOTTA, TURMERIC & ZA’TAR

Another non-recipe for you. This simple concoction was my lunch more often than I care to admit. I tend to have these “phases” in which I might enjoy the exact same recipe over and over and over, not getting tired of it. Amazing what a little ricotta does to add creaminess to a simple scrambled egg. Add a couple of crackers, and I am a happy camper. For those who eat breakfast, this is a must-try. In a way, it’s my breakfast too, I just happen to “break-my-fast” a lot later than most people…

Heat some oil or butter in a non-stick pan. Don’t let it heat too much, add 2 eggs, slightly beaten, immediately drop in the center about 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, season with salt, pepper, and 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Cook, stirring gently over low-heat to your liking. Sprinkle za’tar when it’s almost ready to serve. Enjoy with bread or crackers.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

AIR-FRIED NEW POTATOES

Cut new potatoes in half. Add to a pan with a little cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, cook for about 8 minutes. Drain. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, and Herbes de Provence. Place in the air-fryer, cook at 390 F (or as high as your machine will go) until crispy, 15 to 20 minutes maximum. Shake occasionally. The pan, not necessarily yourself, but depending on what’s playing I say go for it.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #4

RICE WITH TURMERIC AND CARDAMON

We eat rice often, usually plain. But every once in a while it’s nice to guild the lily a bit. I love the color of turmeric and the flavor of cardamon. Together they make a simple bowl of rice shine. Literally.  Inspiration came from the newest book by Nigella Lawson, At My Table.

RICE WITH TURMERIC AND CARDAMON

1.5 cups of rice, rinsed and drained
2.5 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cardamon pods, crushed

Add all ingredients to a pan. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat close tightly the lid.

Simmer for 20 minutes without opening the pan. Turn off the heat, open the lid, add a tea towel on the surface of the rice, close the lid again.

Let it rest for 10 to 30 minutes if you have the time, but it’s still nice if served right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I hope you enjoyed these simple recipes. It’s nice to have a bunch of quick choices that you can make without even thinking too much. The scrambled egg, for instance, I don’t even measure anything. I sprinkle some turmeric, I add ricotta until I feel it’s going to be creamy enough, sometimes I add za’tar, sometimes Herbes de Provence, it’s never exactly the same twice in a row, but whatever you do it will be delicious.

New Potatoes: if you don’t have an air-fryer, you can still do the same on top of the stove or even roasting them in a super hot oven. The texture I get with the air-fryer is pretty unique, though, and allows that fried aura without too much fat. Love it.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tangential Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel

TWO YEARS AGO: Fakebouleh

THREE YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

SIX YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread