Music: On Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz
We held our annual Holiday party this last weekend. The usual suspects attended with some new additions. Next year I’m going to need more chairs! (or a bigger apartment?). I spent some time with older Bon Appetit magazines and created a really lovely meal. We made Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork with Onions, Green beans with Pancetta and a Mushroom Potato Gratin.
What you’ll need for the spice rub:
1/2 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt (preferably gray crystals
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Stir peppercorns and coriander in small skillet over medium heat until spices are darker in color, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer toasted spices to mortar and pestle and grind finely.
- Place in small bowl; mix in remaining ingredients.
- This can be made 1 week ahead.
What you’ll need for the Pork:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds onions plus 2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup of water
1 7-pound pork shoulder butt with bone
Add water; cover and cook until onions are soft, about 15 minutes.
Uncover; continue to cook until onions are beginning to brown and water has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Roast pork and onions until onions are deep brown, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.
Transfer onions from pan to medium bowl.
Flip pork and continue to roast pork until very tender and thermometer inserted into center registers 165°F, about 2 1/2 hours longer.
- Transfer pork to platter. Keep onions aside and add to green beans.
Green Beans with Sage and Pancetta
What you’ll need:
2 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
10 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage
Fleur de sel
- Line baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.
- Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes depending on size of beans. Drain.
- Spread beans out on paper towels.
- Cut pancetta into small cubes.
- Combine pancetta and 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet. Sauté over medium heat until pancetta is crisp, separating pieces with 2 forks, about 10 minutes.
- Add sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add beans and sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Add pancetta mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl.
What you’ll need for the Gratin:
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for mushrooms
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional for mushrooms
1 1/4 cups (or more) heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or oval ceramic baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil.
Cut potatoes into 1/8″ pieces.
Arrange 1/3 of potatoes, slightly overlapping, in dish.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour 1/3 cup cream over; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering 1/3 of potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/3 cup cream, and 1/4 cup cheese 2 more times.
Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender, adding cream by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 45 minutes.
Remove from oven; maintain oven temperature.
Sprinkle thyme and garlic slices over gratin.
Toss mushrooms in medium bowl with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
Arrange mushroom slices atop gratin around edge of dish.
Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.
Continue to bake uncovered until mushrooms are tender and potato edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.
Music: Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
I’ve always wanted to try Madelieines. I always thought they were something too difficult to perfect in the home. But thank goodness for my trusty guide through Parisian pastry, The Sweet Life of Paris (and a thank you to David Lebovitz for moving to France). We recently purchased a Madeleine pan having always wanted one (does food that requires special tools intimidate you? – It intimidates me…).
There is a longstanding debate on whether or not to include baking powder in ones Madeleines (I did). It has nothing to do with affecting the taste, just the appearance. That signature “bump” is not necessarily historically accurate and when you speak with Frenchies, they might disagree about the bulbous shape an American Madeleine has taken on (I sense a social commentary brewing). It is entirely up to you if you want a pregnant Madeleine.
We made these little treats for our Massachusetts road trip. I was shocked by how good they were straight out of the oven – so spongy and sweet. Admittedly, they didn’t really taste the same a day later, but they were still good dipped in rich hot chocolate while sitting in a cozy 17th century home in New England (jealous?). Here are the sweet results!
What you’ll need:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of 1/2 a lemon
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Melt butter in a small pot.
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with sifted flour, tap off any excess, and place in the freezer.
- Let the rest of the butter cool to room temperature.
- Using an electric or hand held mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 6 minutes until frothy and thickened (seriously, that long)
- Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter.
- Add the lemon zest to the room temperature butter, then teaspoon the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time. Continue folding to incorporate the all butter.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
- This is kinda the tough part. Remove Madeleine pan from freezer and add enough batter in the center of each indentation to fill it 3/4 of the way. Do not spread it.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown around the edges nearest the pan.
- Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack.
Music: Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis
Growing up on the Great South Bay of Long Island, nothing defined my childhood more than the beach, the boat and the waterways of my home. In the summers when I was young one of my favorite culinary adventures was to go clamming with my cousin off Squaw Island. For anyone who does not know what Squaw Island is, well it is essentially a little mound of earth that is only visible during low tide about a ten-minute ride southwest from the Amityville Cut just past Snake Channel. For anyone who doesn’t know where Snake Channel is, well it’s just west of the Tobay Beach marina. Hang a right at The Four Corners and…OK, none of you know where any of this is but I can attest that is some of the most beautiful stretches of local beaches, marshes and bay I have ever seen.
Music: Hole – Rock Star
This is my mothers recipe for the cupcakes I posted a few weeks ago. It comes from McCall’s Cooking School published in 1973. They were legit the tastiest cupcakes I’ve had in a long time. We don’t have any of the “process” pictures but you’ll get the idea. Those little sugar flowers are only decorative and about 25 years old…kinda awesome? Kinda gross? My Grandmother made them for her cakes and used to put them in mason jars. She’d line them all up in her pantry and it was really pretty.
Music: Hope to Stay – The Mix
James and I have a collection of chicken soup recipes and are always searching for more. When I found Thomas Keller’s in Ad Hoc, I very much wanted to try it. He uses a pate a choux recipe for the dumplings which looked so delicious. He says it is “simple” but I disagree wholeheartedly. It was very complicated and time consuming but, in the end, delicious. Be prepared to spend some time on it…I trimmed some of the edges and made it less of a commitment. Here’s how:
Music: Love Will Tear Us Apart – Broken Social Scene
Maybe it’s the promise of Spring that’s got me thinking about lemons. My mom made lovely lemon squares growing up and I wanted to replicate them for our post lobster bisque dinner (made from leftover lobsters from Southampton!). I got the recipe from the trusty Tartine cookbook.
Music: Frank, AB – The Rural Alberta Advantage
All I’ve wanted to do since our San Francisco trip is eat Meyer lemons. Since my local grocery store isn’t fancy at all, I had to settle for regular lemons. We ate our fair share of lemon tarts in SF and I wanted to try to recreate each special moment at home. Lo and behold the Tartine Cookbook has their special recipe for their Lemon Cream Tarts. Woo Whoo! We ended up serving them in Southampton as part of the birthday celebration. Here’s what I did…