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Friday, January 13, 2017

Damn That's Rye Rolls




Rye reminds me of a taste before my time. Eating rye bread takes my memory as far back as it is able and some atoms even farther than that. Like I'm knocking up against my great-great-great-grandmother's door in Sweden, even, standing next to a bay with a slice of sött svartbröd and a filet of smokey herring, watching a ship with sails turn into headwind for the new world. 


Also, let's be real, rye figures predominately in this blog's title. I'd thought to myself from the very beginning that Damn That's Rye should have a pan-ultimate, 100% rye bread récette. Do I have that? Not yet: figure these rolls as a step towards Damn That's Rye's destiny. For starters, I did not have a starter, and I feel that any definitive bread recipe needs that.  

I'm coming at you with this ready to get better, at rye, at posting, and other indoor sports.


*

While the dough was proofing the yeast and the molasses and the warm room... and January light! Let's start again, I thought to myself. Let's start again with something dark and full of heart. This year there will be a new kitchen, and it will often have bread, and it will have light, and we'll feed the warm pieces to each other.





** 

The crumb is not as porous as I would like, but the flavor is spot-on. Other things to work on: the crust. Perhaps baking the rolls in a lidded dish would make for something less un-giving. Once you get inside the roll, all is rye with the world, but the crust is a little much for a roll I would say. Inspiration for the rolls came from Root Simple and from Lemon and Anchovies, the latter more so for the rye/spelt combo, since a new year means better grains.



Rye Rolls
Makes 1 dozen

1 3/4 lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups rye flour
1 1/2 cups barley flour
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons caraway seed
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
zest of one orange or two clementines 
1 tablespoon olive oil
butter for brushing

Mix the dry ingredients together, including the yeast, in a generous bowl. Drizzle the molasses over the mixture. (This just looks super Pollack). Then add the seeds, zest and water. Mix until you get a wet dough, then allow to rest for 20 minutes. Return and mix, then let rest and repeat twice more. (That's one hour of intermittent mixing and resting). Add more rye flour and knead the dough until the round completely absorbs the moisture. Cover and let rise for 4 hours. 

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Form balls about the size of your palm and  place on the baking sheet. Score with a butter knife, cover and let rise 30 minutes longer. 

Bake 25-30 minutes. As the cool, brush with butter and sprinkle with salt.*

*I forgot to incorporate the salt into the mixture earlier, and I was all woe is me, but I actually like it on top better, and in any case, salt can affect proofing. 







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Monday, February 15, 2016

Lover's Borscht - Post Valentine's Day Edition



I think that Valentine's day is a good excuse to make red things, to get messy, to experiment, etc., etc. And he wanted soup. And I wanted red. We've made borscht before, and it went pretty well, but this.




This belongs in the recipe arsenal of every aspiring seductress. I think we managed to make borscht sexy. I think we may have proven ourselves capable of making something that rivals a reservation at a 4-star table. And where I tend to taste my meals with thoughts of "next time I'll [insert recipe modification here]", this time there was none of that. There was just pink stained porcelain, rich broth and a brilliant wine pairing.




 Lover's Borscht
Makes 4 settings

1/2 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 small onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock
1 cup grated carrot
1 1/2 cups diced beet
1 cup red cabbage, shredded (approx. 1/4 head)
4 cloves
pepper to taste
4 springs dill for garnish

Start browning the ground beef in a skillet over a low flame with the butter. As the red fades, add the onion and garlic to the skillet and continue browning the meat.

In a separate pot, pour in the beef stock and set the flame low. Add the remaining ingredients save the dill, transferring the beef/onion/garlic blend to the stock lastly. Fit a lid, one that lets out as little of the steam as possible is best, and let simmer for one hour.

(Options for the interim: sex. Game of Thrones, spelt crackers and wine)

Ladle the borscht into bowls and garnish with dill. And cheese, if that's your thing.



We'd been sipping on Les Hérétiques (one of Château d'Oupia's) and we highly recommend it, grudgingly, because you should know that this is our wine. This is a wine over which I told him that I wanted to translate, over which we plotted New York, over which we both tasted something that you could dip a pen in, to write something you'd only whisper.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon and Apple

(Mettant le "d" à la fin de "sautée" me semble un peu déjà-dit.)

But how else would it be said in English? Otherwise it looks like an instruction: "Sautée the brussel sprouts with the caramelized apple and bacon."

(And with that, I think you have a good idea of what's going to happen here.)

And here I'll admit that I made this before the holidays were in full swing, and I've forgotten the exact quantities. The rough outline is more or less:



Sautéed Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon and Apple
makes 2 settings

2 cups brussel sprouts
1 apple
3 slices of thick smoked bacon
3-5 garlic cloves
2 oregano sprigs

Steam the brussels sprouts for approximately 10 minutes, or until they start to soften. As the sprouts are steaming, slice the apple, bacon,  garlic and oregano. Crisp the bacon in a skillet over medium heat, then set the bacon to the side, keeping the drippings for the brussel sprouts and the apples. 

Put the sprouts in the skillet first, give them a head start, and when they're starting to brown, add the apple slices and garlic. Once the apples are soft, add a generous dash of cinnamon and immediately remove the skillet from the heat. 

Divide between two bowls. Garnish with oregano and the bacon. I also shaved some Asiago cheese on top.

....

Holidays came and went, along with my favorite piney color. I've my hungry eyes peeled for green. Early January has hit Brooklyn like Long John Silver's frozen breath. My own little room is creaking in the wind and water is starting to seep through the ceiling. 

(That last bit is actually true.)

O Tannenbaum. Vous me manque. 







Monday, November 2, 2015

Whole Wheat Fusilli w/ Sage and Crimini Mushrooms



When I dropped my bags and lifted my arms towards the general direction of the East River, I envisioned afternoons enjoying the tall windows, shaping gnocchi, coring apples, sifting spices into chai and perfecting my poached egg.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) I don't have the leisurely (usually) to engage with my more ambitious recipes. My internship is more or less full-time, and I started bartending weekends. So I've been eating a lot of toasted sourdough, stir-frys, Amy's soups and pasta. But I thought I should tell you that even if there's no time for homemade pasta, (I think this speaks to most of us), there's still that 10-12 minutes before al dente. Enough time to slice some mushrooms, garlic and sage.

This is simple. Too simple to be a recipe. This is a basic flavor combination that will make a 15-minute dish feel more decadent. I found myself slowing down, despite myself, the moment the sage filled the airspace with it's wonderful, rain-on-old-wood, parfume.




Whole Wheat Fusilli w/ Sage and Crimini Mushrooms
makes 2 settings

1 cup dry fusilli
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine
7-10 garlic cloves, minced
6 large (or 8 small) crimini mushrooms, sliced
2-4 sprigs sage for garnish

Start the fusilli according to package instructions. (Or, if you've the time, I found a recipe for homemade fusilli on Made With Love.) In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar, slowly adding the wine to made a fragrant paste. Add the garlic and mushrooms, stirring occasionally to ensure everything gets coated. Once the garlic shifts from white to translucent, take it off the heat.

Drain the pasta. Pour it back in its pot and incorporate the savory mushrooms. Serve, and garnish liberally with sage.

Bon App' my busy friends.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Simple Egg Drop Soup with Bok Choy


Fall means this. Flowers heavy with their most passionate colors, farmer's markets bracing beneath their golden delicious, honey crisp, gala, fuji baskets. A light that seems to be made of a million candles, leaves above and below exhaling an earthy musk. That's me with my eyes closed in the middle of the market looking as if transubstantiated. And it means soup, at last, at long last, rich broths and translucent onions. I'd envisioned an egg drop: there will definitely be garlic, and there will definitely be lemon. 

To market! My favorite? Prospect Park's Saturday market is far and away my favorite, but last week I needed a Sunday option. And a chance to explore my new haunt. (Damn That's Rye! I'm a Greenpointer now!) Turns out, McGolrick Park has a pint size market with producers that I'd yet to meet. 


As you've guessed, I settled on bok choy, though I think that this recipe would be very successful with watercress. As with most soups, there's room to play with the ingredients, but what ties the flavors together here is the herbal cruciferous, the caraway and garlic. And though grating lemon is always an extra step, extra work, it is well worth it. (Aside: I've started bartending again to keep the student loan woes at bay on Sundays. I was reminded how lemon, most incongruously, is the answer to every cocktail garnish).

(Like cocktails, soups get a garnish.)

(I love soup.)





Simple Egg Drop Soup with Bok Choy
makes 2 bowls

1 tablespoon butter
10 cloves of minced garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 heads of bok hoy
1-inch knob of ginger, grated and minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon caraway
2 egg yolks
approx. 2-3 teaspoons grated lemon rind (garnish)

In a small saucepan, fry the butter and garlic on low heat until the garlic starts to loss it's white white. Add your stock to the pan, then the bok choy, ginger, pepper and caraway seeds. Cover and let simmer for ten minutes.

Quickly take the saucepan off the heat. Crack an egg, save the white elsewhere (for meringue later perhaps?) and drop the yolk, whisking immediately to incorporate. Repeat for the second.

Pour into two bowls and garnish with the lemon rind. Cheers to fall.




Sunday, August 23, 2015

koffie / kaffe / kaffi / kahve

Damn That's Rye has been kitchen-less all summer. I mean, if we're going to take complete advantage of the resources at our disposal while traveling, I did have a kitchen for the two weeks I was cat-sitting in Paris, and my host's kitchen in Copenhagen was very Kinfolk, but I found myself out, wandering, tasting, the sweet and bittersweet of errancy and solitude. In fact, that's more or less my status still though I'm back in Brooklyn, but the dust is settling from my trek and I can now look back at what I tasted.

I tasted a lot of coffee.

Not so much in Paris. (A moment please: Paris. You do wine and chocolate so well. How is it possible that the coffee was always so sad? So bitter? But a suspension of dark silt in a tiny cup?) Granted, there have been some coffee places in Paris that have been getting press and accolades from third-wave, but the vast majority of what's close and available on any given rue is middling. (I would later write a long letter to my sister in which I said that prior to my visit I had been contemplating looking for work as a translator in Paris, but have since reconsidered. It turns out coffee is more important to me that even I was willing to admit.)

Café Zouk - Amsterdam



I was going to try Screaming Beans, but I took a wrong turn (in the preliminaries, you know, making sure that the location I'd choose was actually open... it was not) and so I settled at a sunny table at a place two steps away. This iced latte was sweetened with a very floral simple syrup, and the milk float was so grassy-fresh, it was perhaps the most euphoric iced latte I've ever had. And let's be clear: this was a simple spot, but it easily made up for what Paris had imposed upon my palate for two months. (I'm sorry Paris. But seriously.)

The Coffee Collective - Copenhagen


Overall, Copenhagen was too good to be true. I've made a solemn vow to return for noma, my budget at this point meant my meals were more food-truck variety (which, in Copenhagen, means braised pork shoulder and fresh crab cakes...) but I found myself here, at the Coffee Collective, several times, at their location in Torvehallarne. Look at that foam! It's like a heavy cloud over a sea refracting a golden sunset! And I can't get too technical because the shop was very busy, and I was but one in a line of twenty, but I do know that their philosophy is one that I can get behind, "Ultimately, our dream is for a coffee farmer in Kenya to obtain the same status and living conditions as a wine grower in France."

Icelandair



How dare I follow a latte from The Coffee Collective with airplane coffee?

(Maybe I just photographed willy nilly. Maybe I didn't actually have a chance to taste the coffee in Reykjavik. Maybe, when I asked the stewardess for coffee, I didn't expect it to be so tasty. Nor did I expect the creamer to really be cream. Maybe this just owned every other coffee I've had on an airplane ever.)

The cup included a little lesson in Icelandic. And the twisted donut tasted like a less-sweet, less crumbly, Little Debbie. I may or may not try to recreate this twisted donut when I have my own kitchen again.

Little Rascal - New York City


Pictured here is my future, and I'll let those who have a knack for reading cups to have their hand at it. What Idil told me will remain my secret. 

Turkish coffee is so bitter that it feels more like dragging on a homemade cigarette. The sediment at the bottom had me remembering Paris, except Turkish coffee is much more aromatic. The grind, as anyone whose purchased Turkish coffee can attest, is about as fine as they come. I added sugar. I wonder if that affected my reading. 

I like my coffee:

Darker. I like the roast to be a slow revolution towards toast. When I worked as a barista, I'd dress my espresso with a lemon rind. To fill it out, if it's standing in for breakfast, which yes, happens often, I'll cut it with goat's milk. If I have time to press it with other flavors: cardamon, orange rind, and cinnamon are the first things I reach for.

Stick close: I'll have a coffee log for Bushwick soon. But first, a song for Copenhagen.





Sunday, March 8, 2015

Castella of Spelt and Matcha



This has been on my Pinterest board for almost three years. My rotation of dry goods (matcha, spelt...) had never aligned and the recipe was perhaps doomed to be unrealized except that three days ago, wandering through the aisles for pancake mix, I noticed that spelt flour was on sale.

As I was riding the subway back home, my heart was telling me that I'd just, perhaps, stepped closer to Pinterest perfection. The recipe in question is adapted from Angie's Recipes. The modifications to follow were due to the constraints of my arsenal. Just a good excuse to make this again. While I still have the spelt.

Castella is a traditional Japanese sponge cake, light from the beaten egg whites and sweetened with honey and sweet wine, and often served with tea. (I paired it with white). The matcha gives it a stunning, herbaceous, green tint and a shot of antioxidants that green tea is so celebrated for.



Castella of Spelt and Matcha

1 cup spelt flour
1 tablespoon matcha tea powder (I used Harvey & Son's Matcha Jobetsugi)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
5 egg whites, room temperature
5 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet white wine
1 1/2 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 320º F. Sift spelt, matcha and salt together in a large bowl. In a bain marie, (easily make-shifted with a bowl holding hot water and another small bowl sitting inside) melt the honey and stir in the white wine. Set both dry and wet ingredients aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch until foamy. Add the sugar in three parts, beating the eggs until thick peaks begin to form. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and add in the egg yolks, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Slowly add the dry ingredients, with mixer still on low, and finally the honey/wine mixture.

Line a tin cake round or casserole with parchment paper. Pour batter into the pan, smoothing over any batter bubbles. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove cake from the oven and let sit for five before peeling away the parchment paper.




 

Oh. It was snowing:



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jam Filled Almond Cookies



The richness of almond flour has me always looking for excuses to use it. I'm a fan of la richesse... at least in taste, at least in sense. Two of these cookies are almost too much. I've resigned myself to eating but one at a time, what a change, and savoring each little bite. Because, let me tell you, it turns out the blueberry jam and almond cookies are just about to two most delicious things you can combine. It's good for the same reasons that peanut butter and strawberry jelly (never grape; I'm sorry) is good really, but the contrast of textures here... just LOVE.

I also needed an excuse to break out these adorable cookie cutters. There was a fish, a duck, some pigs, a fox, a rabbit and what I think is a donkey but cannot be sure. Essentially spring on a cookie, and has spring been ever flirting with me.



 Jam Filled Almond Cookies

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Blueberry jam for filling

Preheat oven to 325º. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. I found that using my hands to "knead" the cookie dough was the most efficient way to combine the ingredients completely. Form the dough into a ball and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Press the ball flat and sprinkle some more almond flour on top. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll dough to about a 2 centimeter thickness. 

Cut out 20 round discs with a cookie cutter. Place 10, or half (whatever your count my be) on a cookie sheet. Using a smaller cutter (bitty hearts? woodland creatures? stars?) cut the centers from the discs left behind, then place these on the cookie sheet as well. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from the sheet. Spoon approximately 1/2 tablespoon on each cookie acting as bottom, then complete by setting the decorative peer on top. 
 






 Jam on.



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blood Orange Curd

Mmmmmm morning. Sweet morning. Sweet-smelling tossed blue sheets sunshine streaming Innocence Mission kisses fleeting morning.

A morning that calls for a celebration, if only that celebration celebrates living. Praising citrus season, I'd stopped at our little co-op the evening before and filled my basket with blood oranges and lemons, and thinking perhaps that this morning would indeed be such a morning, set out to find a dessert-for-breakfast-esque experience.

(Being a chef sometimes means that you must prep ahead for the morning after.)

Partial to curds (curd is to England what crème brulée is to France in terms of MUST HAVE culinary tours of the respective regions and genres... both heavy on the eggs and sugar. Both a giggle of delight at breaking the crust with a spoon) I searched around for a recipe, and found a concise, simple version on Lavender and Lovage. The recipe below has been tweaked to suit my tastes (bring on the tart!)



Blood Orange Curd

3 medium blood oranges
2 large lemons
1 1/4 cup cane sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter

Ready a bain-marie (double boiler) over low heat whilst you:

Grate the blood orange and lemon peel into a dish. Taking a second dish, squeeze the juice from recently-grated oranges and lemons. Strain seeds. Beat eggs into the juice, then add the sugar and butter. Pour mixture and grated peel into the bain-marie, stirring well. 

Minding that it doesn't heat too quickly, slow cook curd until the consistency tips from liquid to creamy. (This should take approximately ten minutes).

Transfer curd to clean jam jars and seal. Place in fridge with enough time to set (overnight) before breaking in.