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."


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: