I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Brunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brunch. Show all posts

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mushroom and Ramp Crepes

Spring conjures images of endless blue skies and warmth, yet in actuality it often brings along rainy, grey days. A peak out the window on one of these mornings reveals a seamless off-white sky, fog hanging around the edges of every building. As I step outdoors on my way to the park for my run the mist immediately coats my skin. Yet there is a warmth hanging in the air, a sense that the rains of spring are bringing me an offering: and then that gift drifts into my nostrils. The scent of green: fresh, new, and bright. Peering through the matte air around an almost empty park, I am enveloped by an emerald city. Shades pale, fluorescent, deep, all mix, mingle, and overwhelm every direction I turn. Seemingly overnight the rain has helped transform the landscape from the barren browns and greys of the long, hard winter, to the sea of new life promising relief.

The wet days also lend their hand in the growth of the season's crops. Ramps and green garlic finally hit the stalls at the greenmarket, leading the way before the onslaught of bounty. I take advantage of their appearance, preparing them simply, an offering of thanks for the rainy days that brought them to me.

Mushroom and Ramp Crepes
crepes: (from Ratio by Ruhlman)
(This will make more crepes than you will have filling for. You could always make more ramp filling, but I like to add a little sugar to the batter towards the end and use the rest for dessert.)
1 c. milk
4 large eggs
1 c. flour
pinch of salt

Mix together all of the ingredients, creating a smooth batter. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a 6-8" skillet over medium heat. Give the pan a quick brush with a bit of butter or oil. Pour in just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan after you have given it a bit of a swirl. Cook until set, about 30-40 seconds, and then flip. Cook the other side for about 20 seconds or so and then remove to a platter. Continue with remaining batter.

2 TB olive oil
1/2 lb. oyster mushrooms, chopped
1/4 lb. ramps, divided into whites and greens and chopped

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and once hot toss in the oyster mushrooms. Cook for a few moments then add in the chopped white parts of the ramps. Continue to saute until the mushrooms are browned all over, then add the chopped green parts of the ramps and toss together. Remove from the heat.

tarragon sauce:
4 TB butter
2 TB flour
1 c. heavy cream
1 TB fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

In a small saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Whisk in the flour, stirring for about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the heaving cream while continuing to whisk. After a few minutes the sauce should begin to thicken. Add the tarragon, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

To serve:
Fill a crepe with a few tablespoons of the mushrooms and ramp filling. Roll up and then drizzle with the tarragon sauce. Serve immediately.

serves 2

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

I don't know that there is any breakfast more comforting or that makes you feel more loved than cinnamon rolls. Especially when homemade, soft, large, and topped with just the right amount of glaze. Is this just the Midwesterner in me or is this a universal feeling?

This is another recipe  pulled from my childhood and my grandmother's recipe box. Cinnamon rolls are something that I only seem to crave in winter, remembering the warm treat offered up Christmas morning, or whenever we stayed the night with my grandmother, or alongside a bowl of chili (again: who else has this tradition? I seem to know some people who insist on the cinnamon roll and chili pairing and others who have never heard of such a thing). Since the husband shared the tradition of the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls in his family, it is one that we have made part of our small celebration every year as we hunker down in New York City, trying to ward off the homesickness of being far from family on this special day. To be honest, our first couple of years we popped open a refrigerated can the morning of to satisfy the craving, but the last couple of years, as my kitchen and bread skills improved, homemade rolls graced the table.

Doing our best to not look completely hung over on Christmas morning.
The best part of making a batch yourself is the ability to share and spread the love. This year I made a 1 1/2 sized portion and divvied it up to 3 pie pans to hand out to fellow friends stuck in the city far from family. A treat that hopefully made them feel more at home.

Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe is based off of my grandmother's dinner roll recipe. It creates a barely sweet, flaky, soft dough that is only improved by the addition of a bit of butter/sugar and glaze. This recipe makes 12 large rolls, but it never hurts to multiply the recipe to share a bit of winter cheer with those who may need it. 
photo courtesy of The Husband
for the dough:
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. warm water
4 c. flour

for the filling:
1/2 c. (8 TB) butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 TB cinnamon

for the glaze:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 TB milk

Add all the dough ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until well combined--dough will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Then place the covered bowl into the refrigerator to cool the dough about 30 minutes-1 hour.
Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Lightly flour the counter and dump the dough onto it. Roll out into a 9x15" rectangle (you want the dough to be about 1/2" thick). Spread with the butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough fairly tightly. Once rolled, pinch the seam to the roll to close off the roll.
Use a sharp knife or a long piece of string to cut the log into 12 rolls (you may want to slice off the very end pieces first to make for more even rolls). Place 2" apart in a 9x13" baking dish. Cover and rise for about 30 minutes-1 hour. (Note: at this point you can also cover the rolls and then place in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight to bake off in the morning. OR you can place the rolls on a sheet pan in the freezer at this point. Once frozen, wrap carefully in wax paper and place in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, place the frozen rolls 2" apart in a 9x13" pan and let rise and thaw for about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed below.)
Heat the oven to 350.
While the rolls are rising, make the glaze. Mix together the ingredients, adding more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken or more milk if necessary to thin.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy. Cool slightly, then drizzle with glaze.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eggs in Purgatory

In my younger days my life goals included skydiving. The thrill of jumping out of a plane and falling through the air invigorated me. Yet as I edged closer to my 30s and still hadn't checked it off my list, I found the idea less and less captivating. A fear of the prospect settled in that hadn't been present before. I started doubting whether I'd ever have the courage to actually step foot out a plane door so far above the earth's floor.

Fear is a funny thing sometimes. It truly is incredible to me to look back on my early 20s and see how carefree and how fearless I could be. Living it you can't see it, the clarity of self truly only comes with age, along with the knowledge and understanding of your own mortality. So often now I am thankful for this comprehension when I make smart decisions, yet there are other times where I miss the spontaneity and the dive-head-first-into-anything approach of my youth. 

Right now is one of those times. I am staring over the edge at a new career direction. I believe in it, yet doubt and fear are making me step back and rethink the leap that I must take to get there. It feels almost impossible, especially when turning back just means returning to the comfortable life I currently have around me. Why risk shaking that up? Why put myself through the hassle of change? 

Yet the rewards offered by making the jump are enormous. A career I can feel proud of. A job I look forward to everyday--even kind-of enjoying the bad parts. Being my own boss and my own employee--because I know no one will work harder. Expressing my creative side through my work, yet also having an opportunity to exercise the left side of my brain through the business aspects.  

I'm channeling my 20 year old self as I step to the door of this plane. My (almost) 32 year old self is double checking every strap and lever before I go, ensuring safety measures are in place, but my toes hover over the edge, I take a deep breath, and I get ready to let go.

Eggs in Purgatory
Far from being scary, eggs in purgatory is an easy dish that is nice for brunch, but I find to be a perfect simple weeknight dinner. Vary the flavors simply by changing the herbs you use, but I personally would never leave out the chili flakes since the heat is what gives the dish its kick. If you can find good quality canned tomatoes, it really does make a difference in the flavors, but even I sometimes make it with the store brand if that's all I have on hand. Diced or whole stewed both work--if you have larger tomato chunks just break them up with a wooden spoon as you cook the sauce.

serves 2
2 TB olive oil
2 TB chopped shallot or onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14 oz) cans San Marzano tomatoes 
2 TB fresh oregano (or 2 t. dried oregano)
1/4 t. crushed red chili flakes (or more to taste)
salt and pepper
4 eggs
crusty bread for serving

Heat the olive oil in a 12" pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and chili flakes, breaking up any large tomato chunks with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Break the eggs into the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the egg whites are set and the yolks are runny, about 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately, with toasted bread for dipping. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fava Bean and Shitake Saute

Growing up in small-town Kansas I knew all of my neighbors. They all knew me. They all knew all of my business (and weren't afraid to tell my parents that business even when I thought it should be private, such as when they saw me kissing a boy who dropped me off after school). I always imagined that part of the draw of moving to New York City would be not knowing the neighbors. Being able to live in a private bubble of sorts without gossip-catching eyes following me around. Being able to come and go without stopping for long bouts of small talk.

Imagine my surprise then, when last week I ran into some of my neighbors who were finishing loading the moving truck to head back to the Midwest to be near family and open a restaurant and my heart cracked a little, feeling pain at the loss of those familiar faces down the hall.

I'm not sure where the change started, perhaps it is a little bit growing older, a little bit about the fact that we've lived in the same apartment for more than four years and feel a deep love for our neighborhood and the community that is building around it. Over the years we constantly bump into the same people over and over again. You learn the names of those on a similar schedule as you or who shop at the same stores. With Lindsay and Derek (and their two cute sons), the ones who just moved away, we met on Thanksgiving a few years ago when they were moving into their apartment on our floor during the holiday so I couldn't resist inviting them to join our gathering.

We were never especially close: we always talked about making time for drinks or exchanging batches of homemade ice cream.  Life and work ate up time and left months slipping away without a meet-up, but it was always reassuring knowing that if we were in need of something there were friends down the hall. The little boys' laughter floating through our front door as they scooted towards the elevator never failed to bring a smile to my face. Lindsay always seemed happy to see me when we crossed on my way to work and her way home. These neighborly pleasantries will be missed.

Of course we know other families and individuals on the floor and in our building and we even met the new tenant moving into Derek and Lindsay's place just days after they left. Our little community will shift and change as time edges on, but now I appreciate and look forward to being part of my building mates' lives and having them as part of mine.

This fava bean and shitake saute would welcome any neighbor for a friendly meal. You could share the labor of shelling the fava beans and trimming the mushrooms. By using the plastic wrap method of poaching eggs there's no need to spend too much time by the stove, cooking them all at once instead of one at a time, leaving more time to get to know one another.

Fava Bean and Shitake Saute
serves 3-4
2 lbs. fresh fava bean pods
1 lb. shitake mushrooms
1 TB baking powder
2 TB butter
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 eggs, poached*

Shell the fava beans. Then peel the skins from the individual beans. A simple way to do this is to bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 TB baking soda. Add the shelled fava beans and boil until the skins split, about 2 minutes. Then drain the beans and place into an ice bath for a couple of minutes. You should now be able to just squeeze the beans quickly and easily out of their shells.

Remove the stems from the shitake mushrooms and discard. If the caps are large, cut into half inch slices. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over high, add the butter and once melted toss in the shitake caps. Once slightly browned and cooked through add the fava beans to toss for about 30 seconds. Stir in the salt and pepper. Place on a platter and top with the poached eggs to serve.

*The plastic wrap method of poaching eggs is a great one when you need multiple eggs at one time. Here' a video how-to from Chow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs

Every once in a while I pull off a dish that, as I set it on the table, I think, "I wouldn't be ashamed to serve this in a restaurant." It's that combination of attractive plating and flavors that combine to sing to the taste buds, having that special little something that feels a little fancier than your own home kitchen.

This simply prepared spring meal was one of those times. It isn't a fancy, charge $30 for an entree kind of restaurant meal, but one of those that you imagine being served over the lunch hour at a locally driven, homey neighborhood place. The eggs (of course from my local greenmarket) are cooked slowly, possibly in too much butter, but in a way that makes them oh-so-creamy and then mixed with tomatoes to lend a bit of acidity to cut the richness. These get topped with a flavorful cheese and green garlic stems that have also been cooked slowly to a tender perfection. Served on top of toasted country bread the whole shebang becomes a satisfying lunch or light dinner, combining lots of simple flavors into one complex dish.

If you can't find green garlic or it is out of season use small leeks instead, but they may need a bit more cooking time to achieve tenderness.

Green Garlic Toasts with Soft Scrambled Eggs
serves 4
5-6 stalks green garlic (the light green and white stems only--reserve the bulb and the dark green leaves for other uses)
2 TB olive oil
salt and pepper
5 large eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 TB butter
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 c. grated gruyere or raclette cheese
4 large,thick slices of country bread (or 8 smaller pieces), toasted

Slice the green garlic stems as you would a leek: slice in half lengthwise then chop into half inch semicircles. Place the stems into a fine colander and then place the colander into a large bowl. Fill with water and use your fingers to rub the green garlic to help remove some of the grit. Drain, empty the bowl of water, and then repeat about 3 more times to be sure the garlic is clean. Pat dry.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green garlic and stir constantly until it reaches a soft, creamy texture, about 15 or so minutes. If the garlic begins to brown too quickly, lower the heat. Taste and season with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Beat the eggs with the heavy cream in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Heat 2 TB of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly with a spatula, scraping the sides often. Slowly add the remaining butter, 1 pat at a time, continuing to stir until the eggs reach a soft-curd consistency, about 10-12 minutes or so. Right at the last minute stir in the tomatoes so they have just a moment to heat through.

Place the toasted country bread onto 4 plates, top with the soft-scrambled eggs, sprinkle with gruyere or raclette cheese and then top with the green garlic to serve.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pine Tar Press Round-Up

Prepping for Turkey Day has kept me busy and away from the blog. Promise I have some posts on the way for you soon! Until then, check out what I've been up to over on Pine Tar Press:

Pumpkin Muffins

Radishes in Miso Butter

Cheesy Dip

Edamame Dip

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream

Despite the hot summer that we've been having, I had yet to pull out the old ice cream maker. I decided this week it was high time to take advantage of this handy little tool and whip up a batch. The blueberries at the greenmarket last weekend were so gorgeous I couldn't resist, so decided to try to come up with a way to utilize them in my recipe.

Obviously one of the main things we do with fresh blueberries around here is turn them into pancakes. I figured why not turn this breakfast favorite into a creamy dessert? Using maple syrup and turbinado sugar plus a little vanilla extract does just the trick! The bourbon adds just enough rich depth to finish it off. This ice cream actually tastes just like a big stack of syrup covered pancakes. I've had to resist the temptation to pull it out for my breakfast all this week...

Blueberry Pancake Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

1 c. half and half
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. turbinado sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
1 TB bourbon

2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 t. lemon juice

Mix together the half and half, heavy cream, turbinado sugar and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the mixture reaches 170 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and bourbon. Allow the mixture to cool for a bit and then cover and refrigerate for about 8 hours or so.

Mix together the blueberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly for about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and use a fork to smash the blueberries to a chunky consistency. Stir in the lemon juice and refrigerate until ready to use (the mixture will probably turn into a solid, jelly-like consistency in the fridge, but just give it a good stir before stirring into the ice cream mixture).

Add the cream mixture to the ice cream maker and churn as the directions call for with your machine. With about 5-10 minutes left in the churning, mix in the blueberry sauce. Then freeze the ice cream for a few hours before serving.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The perfect way to start out your St. Patty's day festivities: with a "beer bloody mary". My favorite brunch cocktail, the michelada, over on Pine Tar Press.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Zucchini Flower Tart

I think fall has finally hit for good. Despite my grumbling about hanging onto the summer in the last post, this does make me happy. I love the crisp air and bundling up in the light layers and scarves and that perfect smell that autumn has.

Every year around this time, I vow to pull out my knitting needles. It seems like the ideal way to pass a cool afternoon: knitting while sipping on a warm beverage, perhaps sitting side-by-side with a good friend. Here's my big secret, though: I have never even finished the first scarf I started knitting, so haven't been able to move onto subsequent projects. I love the idea of knitting, but then never can bring myself to actually sit down and work on it for a significant amount of time. There's so much else to be done! I think I feel bad just lounging around (even though it's much more productive than my obsessive checking of the Internet: Facebook, Serious Eats, other blogs, Runner's World. And repeat). Then the next thing I know it's spring and I feel like "knitting season" has passed and my knitting needles rot away in my nightstand drawer.

Perhaps this year will be different. I will grasp the season by the horns and become a knitting fool. I will finish my scarf and the one I promised the husband a couple of years ago. And perhaps even move onto the really cool projects in the fun knitting book I have. I will become a knitter extraordinaire--knitting on the train on the way to work and while standing on line at the movies. I will knit while watching TV and knit while my stews are bubbling away on the stove top and the bread is rising on the counter.

Perhaps finishing my knitting projects will help push me to finish the other things I am working on...the life things that I keep procrastinating on. This winter (my 30th...) will be the one where I finally put the pedal to the metal and stop making excuses and focus on what I want to be doing. Time to stop wasting so much energy on things I am not passionate about.

What does all this have to do with this tart? Not a lot. But, you do need to jump now to grab the last of the zucchini flowers before they disappear until next year. And perhaps while it is baking you can grab some knitting needles and begin a project of your own.

Zucchini Flower Tart
2-3 servings

3 eggs
1/2 c. cream
1 TB fresh chopped thyme
1/2 c. grated aged cheese (Gruyere, Gouda, etc)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
8-10 zucchini flowers

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Form the crust into a 9" tart pan.
In a medium bowl beat the eggs and then add the cream, thyme, cheese, salt and pepper. 
Place the zucchini flowers into the tart shell. Carefully pour in the egg mixture. 
Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the egg is set. Allow to cool for around 8-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This tart can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or snacks. A great all-day meal.