Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Not sure what it is, or why, but I can never seem to get enough green in my food.

I go through phases with ingredients (or entire cuisines) where I can’t come out of a grocery store without a certain thing.  I’ve been through avocado, poblano, blueberry, mushroom, kale, cauliflower.  There was the year or so I couldn’t stop cooking Indian-type flavors.

But the one thing I’m starting to think I’ll never grow out of is my yen — my need — for green things.

Red flavors?  Meh.  You can have your roasted red peppers, your cooked carrots, your marinara.  It’s all too sweet.  Gimme that green.  Talmbout parsley, arugula, asparagus, chard, broccoli, scallion.  If it’s got chlorophyll, I’m probably into it.

I spotted this beast of a sandwich on the delightful Lady and Pups, and I was super into it, even though I’d never peg myself for being into a Dagwood-type sandwich.  But come on: avocado, green sauce, sage pork?  It looks awesome, right?

We happened to be heading to a friend’s house for some cooking and Good Times (yay wine), and this looked promising.  A little deconstruction to make it gluten-free-friendly, and we were set.

green sauce with arugula & parsley

Overall, I was pleased, but that sauce!  Man, that sauce is a keeper.  It’s green from here to next week, but it’s also got enough anchovy in it to keep things interesting (yes it has a fair amount of anchovy and no you should not decrease it).

I made the sauce again a few days later, and tossed it with some roasted eggplant and sliced scallions.  Served it over quinoa, because protein.  The second time, I forgot to get capers, and please know that the capers are not optional.  It needs ‘em.

green sauce with arugula & parsley

 

Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Green Sauce with Arugula & Parsley

Adapted from Lady and Pups

This stuff is spicy, green, and deep. Don't muck about with the recipe too much. Yes, your herbs must all be fresh. Don't bring any of that dried stuff to the party.

No one's gonna tell on you if you don't weigh your ingredients, but how are you cooking without a gram scale?

Ingredients

  • 30 grams parsley leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 30 grams baby arugula (about 1 cup)
  • 5 grams mint leaves (about 1/4 cup)
  • 5 grams oregano leaves (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped green chili of choice (I used Serrano)
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained (no need to rinse)
  • A few healthy grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • A 4-second pour of nice extra virgin olive oil, more or less

Instructions

1. Pick the parsley, mint, and oregano from their stems (which are bitter and will only make you sad).

2. Cram all the herbs and the arugula into a li'l food processor (your big one is too big for this job, and will only make you sad).

3. Add the remaining ingredients, and give it all a whazz.

4. Scrape the sides as needed, and taste when it's all gotten pretty well mixed together. Does it need salt or maybe a squeeze of lemon? Add that. Want a thinner sauce? Add more olive oil.

5. Enjoy on darn near anything.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/?p=3392

I Believe This Might Just Be My Masterpiece: Birthday Cake 2014

Brown Butter & Lime Cake, with Strawberry Jam, Cornflake Crunch, and Corn Buttercream

Who makes the best cakes?  Momofuku Milk Bar makes the best cakes.  I am not being paid or otherwise compensated to say this.  It’s just the damn truth.

Here’s the logic: the best food texture is, obviously, crunchy.  Obviously.

What makes a good salad better?  Crunchy croutons (or crunchy bits of bacon).

Want your mac and cheese to go to 11?  Put a parmesan-breadcrumb topping on it.  Crunchy.

Best fried eggs ever?  Fry them on some panko.  You have unlocked achievement: crunchy.

What do you put on yogurt?  Granola.  Because crunchy.

What is lacking in 99.999% of cakes?  You daaamn right: crunchy.

pretty cake

I’m not a bakery connoisseur, but as far as I know, Christina Tosi is the only baker out there putting substantial crunchy in her cakes.  I’m talking serious crunch here.  Buckets of crunch.  Toasted nuts do not count, they are weak.  Other than the occasional dacquoise, which involves layers of dried meringue (and who makes those?), I’m not really aware of any.  Am I missing anything?

Crunchy layers will take a good cake to a friggin’ amazing cake.  Since I got my grubby hands on the Milk Bar cookbook, I haven’t made a layer cake without some sort of crunchy “crumb” layer.  You can never go back.

This year for my birthday, in imitation of Tosi, I made myself a Brown Butter & Lime Cake, with Strawberry Jam, Cornflake Crunch, and Corn Buttercream.

And hoo boy.

Hooooooo boy.

This cake… this cake was special.  It did not last long.

This is my new favorite cake trick: flavored buttercream.  And it’s stupid easy!  Figure out what flavor you want.  Buy some freeze dried whatever-that-flavor-is.  Me, I used corn.  Grind some to a fine powder in a spice/coffee grinder, and add it to your favorite buttercream.  Wham!  Corn Buttercream.

You’re welcome.

Brown Butter & Lime Cake, with Strawberry Jam, Cornflake Crunch, and Corn Buttercream

Yield: 1 friggin amazing cake

Brown Butter & Lime Cake, with Strawberry Jam, Cornflake Crunch, and Corn Buttercream

All right, let's do this thing.

The cake was Rose Levy Beranbaum's French Génoise. I made the Rich Variant, doubled the recipe to make 2 cakes, and rubbed the zest of 1 lime into the sugar until it looked like wet sand and smelled incredible. In the syrup, I used Bourbon.

For the strawberry jam, I sliced up a shy quart of farmers market strawberries, put 'em in a pan with a sprinkling of sugar (maybe a couple of tablespoons), and a hefty squeeze of lemon. I measured nothing. It cooked on medium-low until thick and jammy, which took it at least 30 minutes, probably more. And buddy, it was intense.

The cornflake crunch was based on Chef Tosi's Corn Crumbs, but I swapped cornflakes for the indicated Cap'n Crunch.  It didn't really work as expected.  It needed waaay more white chocolate at the end to make it come together.  It did the job, though.

The buttercream was based on the same recipe as this one, sans rum. I made only a half recipe this time, and it was the perfect amount for a 10" four-layer cake. I added 60 grams of finely ground freeze-dried corn to the finished buttercream.

Ingredients

  • (links to recipes in the headnotes)
  • Brown Butter and Lime Cake
  • Bourbon Syrup
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Cornflake Crunch
  • Corn Buttercream

Instructions

1. Slice the cakes in half horizontally, and trim any domed tops until things are nice and flat. Place the bottom of one cake on a cake plate or serving platter. (Reserve the other bottom for the top of the cake.) Slide four strips of wax paper under each side of the cake to protect the platter from over-frosting.

2. Brush the cake with the Bourbon Syrup until well-moistened.

3. Spread one third of the Strawberry Jam in a thin layer all the way to the edge.

4. Crumble an even layer of Cornflake Crunch over the jam, and press until mostly even.

5. Spread a dollop of Corn Buttercream evenly over the top of the Crunch layer, as evenly as possible.

6. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting, and gently press into place.

7. Repeat the layering process. Brush the cut side of the last cake layer with syrup before stacking it syrup-side-down onto the cake.

8. Place a very large dollop of frosting on the top of the cake. Smooth it across the top and down the sides of the cake in a thin, even layer. Don't worry about crumbs at this point, just make it look even. This is called a "crumb coat". Use additional frosting as needed, but make this coat a thin one. Don't get crumbs in the bowl of remaining frosting.

9. Once the crumb coat is finished, chill the cake and any unused frosting for at least 1 hour.

10. When the crumb coat is firm and well chilled, repeat the frosting procedure with the remaining frosting. No crumbs should be showing.

11. Decorate however you want to, with piped frosting, leftover Cornflake Crunch, or whatever.

12. Chill the cake at least 1 hour, or until frosting is firm and well chilled. Now remove the wax paper from under the cake. Admire how clean your platter looks.

13. Serve at a party with candles and friends to sing "Happy Birthday". Champagne, Bourbon, you know the drill.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/?p=3371

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Kale, Lentils, Hazelnuts, Manchego

I made a salad.  It was kale, these cool blond lentils I saw at the store, celery, red onion, hazelnuts, a mountain of manchego, and a spicy dressing of piri piri oil + hazelnut oil + sherry vinegar.

iiiiiit's a salad

Chickpeas in Coconut Milk; or, Turmeric for Dummies

chickpeas in coconut milk

If there’s one food people should eat more of, it’s turmeric.

It’s one of those “aw geez how can this be so good for me” kinda foods.  It’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and there’s research going on to study turmeric’s effects on loads of diseases, like: Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart trouble, digestive problems, liver disease, and (most interestingly to me) cancer of all sorts.

onion

onion before

onion before

See, my sister and I are the next links in a maternal chain of breast cancer (three generations running! go team!), and I’d really rather avoid having to deal with that.  Sure, treatments have improved hugely between my grandmother’s first mastectomy and her second (forty-ish years apart), but holy crap does it still suck.

onion after

onion after

In pursuit of dodging that bullet, I’ve adopted a few habits, including pitching a little curry powder into my usual weird-ass lunch of brown rice, edamame, miso, gochugaru, and nori.  It’s not any kind of guarantee, but I’m so convinced of turmeric’s efficacy that I try to eat it more days than not.

garlic

Look, I’m not here to preach at you, or tell you how to live your life.  We’re all just here for the food.

I’m just saying it wouldn’t hurt to eat some turmeric now and again.

spicy onion

spicy onion

Obviously there’s no point eating something unless it tastes good.  Lucky for us, turmeric tastes awesome.  It’s a little bit like saffron, but it’s earthy where saffron is floral.

chickpeas in coconut milk

look at it go

And if you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t like curry?  You can add turmeric into any number of dishes, like deviled eggs or chicken pot pie.  But it’s impossible to sneak.  Turmeric will stain the crap out of things.  Fair warning.

weird herbs

spicy globe basil

One of the simplest dishes involving turmeric I know of is Chickpeas in Coconut Milk, from an early Dinosaur Comics.  (If you aren’t familiar with DC, get to reading.  You’ve got over 10 years of awesome to catch up on.)  As far as I know, it’s the only recipe on the site???

chickpeas in coconut milk

The original recipe is very simple: combine everything in a pan and cook it.  You can certainly do it that way.  Me, I like to build flavor.  Sauté the onions until they get a little color.  Bloom the spices in the oil.  Add some herbs.

couscous

Bonus: this dish isn’t so outrageously foreign that you have to make a special trip to the local International Specialty Market.  Other than the turmeric, you can find everything in your local grocery.

chickpeas in coconut milk

So there’s one way to get more turmeric into your life.  Easy, fast, delicious, healthy.  You’re out of excuses.

never forget

don’t forget the hipster ketchup

Chickpeas in Coconut Milk

Yield: 2-3 servings

Chickpeas in Coconut Milk

Adapted from Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics

I'ma say it again: turmeric stains. Don't drop this on the couch. Don't wear white while eating this. Don't use white plastic utensils to prepare this, and don't store this in anything plastic, unless you really like yellow plastic.

And hey, if you leave out the fish sauce, did y'all notice this recipe is vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free? Of course you did.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored vegetable oil (or other fat of choice)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cans chickpeas (15.5 oz each, or about 4 cups), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can coconut milk, well-shaken
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional, to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh herbs (such as cilantro, basil, mint, parsley, or a combination)
  • Salt & black pepper, as needed
  • Cooked rice or couscous, to serve

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the onion has softened and begun to brown.

3. Add the garlic, turmeric, cloves, cayenne, and a grind or two of black pepper. Stir, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste.

4. Add the chickpeas and a scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pour in the coconut milk. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. If it thickens too much, add a little water to thin.

5. Stir in the fish sauce, if using, and the herbs. Taste, and correct seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Serve at once over rice or couscous.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/?p=3327

 

 

The Trick to Awesome Lentils; or, Two Reasons I Keep Cooked Lentils in the Fridge and You Should Too

awesome lentils

Y’all all need to start keeping cooked lentils in the fridge.  Why?  Two reasons:

1. Dinner

2. Fast

I’m referring to firm lentils, like beluga or du Puy.  Brown lentils are too mushy for this, and red lentils are right out.  Save those for soup.

Lentils aren’t really a thing people get excited about, so I know you’re dismissing my advice right about now.  It’s okay.  I mean, if that’s how you want to live your life.

But lentils are kitchen heroes.  They can be a side dish.  They can be the main event.  Hell, put ‘em in a food processor with a can of chickpeas and some tahini (and whatever else).  Lentil hummus!  You can have that idea.  That one’s free.

awesome lentils

they’re under there

Aside from being cheap, lentils are ridiculously easy to make.  Can you make pasta?  You can make lentils.  Same process, but about 18-25 minutes cook time, depending on how fresh they are.  Make a big ol’ batch.  It’ll take about 10 active minutes of your life, including the washing up.

If you have cooked lentils in the fridge (or freezer), you’re never at a loss for a fast, healthy meal.  They’re not leftovers.  They’re an ingredient.  They’re an ingredient you were smart enough to make in advance.  Look at you being all smart.

That’s nice.  But y’all just want the trick to Awesome Lentils.

awesome lentils

The trick to Awesome Lentils is to toss them with some sort of dressing while they’re still hot.  They soak it up like sponges.  They turn awesome.  A basic dressing would involve a clove of garlic microplaned into a big bowl, a healthy pour of olive oil, and half a lemon squeezed in.  Salt and pepper.  Add hot lentils.  Stir.  Profit.

If you want to get fancy (you do), add a ground spice.  Cumin goes with damn near anything.  Mustard is zesty.  Allspice is okay if you’re serving the lentils with pork, but probably no other time.  Don’t be afraid to get intense with the flavors; lentils can handle it.

That’s the basic plan.  From there, you are only limited by however boring your imagination is.

awesome lentils

If you’re serving them as a side dish, you can add some sautéed onion and chopped parsley.  If you want to practice your knife skills, cut some mirepoix into fine dice, sauté it in butter, and toss some lentils in at the last minute.  Serve next to your favorite roasted chicken part, or whatever.

If you’re serving them as an entrée, make it a salad.  Add chopped vegetables and a ton of herbs, maybe some cheese, maybe some chopped-up meat.  Serve over quinoa or rice, or don’t.

Put a fried egg on ‘em.

Here, I’ve served one of my all-time favorite salads on top of some Awesome Lentils: Molly Wizenberg’s Roasted Radicchio with Anchovy Vinaigrette and Preserved Lemon.  It’s like a really sophisticated warm Caesar salad.  That vinaigrette is ridiculous (and was used to make those particular Awesome Lentils).

awesome lentils

awesome lentils topped by awesome roasted radicchio salad

The other dish pictured is a house specialty called Leftover Surprise.  It’s all the compatible leftovers heated up in a pan together.  This one involved Awesome Lentils, brown rice, couscous, celery, green onions, parsley, and a quick tahini-lemon sauce (meaning I poured some tahini in the pan and squeezed some lemon juice in).

awesome lentils

awesome lentils with a bunch of other stuff

Okay guys if I’m honest, I don’t always have cooked lentils in my fridge.  I should.  When I don’t, come dinner time, I often find myself standing in front of the fridge wondering what the hell I can cobble together out of whatever’s in there.  This is never the case when Awesome Lentils are on the scene.  You’ve been advised.

Awesome Lentils

1 pound of lentils is about 2 cups, and will make 4-6 main servings, or maybe 8 side dish servings. This, of course, all depends on what you do with them. This recipe will work no matter how many lentils you have.

When making lentils, I don't measure anything, mostly because I get lentils from the bulk bins at a Certain Upscale Grocery Store (it is Whole Foods). Sometimes I get fancy and add some chicken stock to the cooking liquid. I always add a bay leaf or two, but it's not mandatory.

The dressing is important, but it doesn't particularly matter what goes in it. The simplest thing is plain ol' olive oil and lemon juice (emulsification is not necessary). Microplaned or pressed garlic cloves are excellent here. Get fancy, or keep it simple. Please do not use a purchased salad dressing, unless you think it is the most incredible salad dressing you've ever had and probably god made it and also it cures cancer.

Ingredients

  • Firm lentils (such as beluga or du Puy)
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • Optional: bay leaf, chicken or vegetable stock
  • Flavorful dressing of choice (involving some sort of fat and some sort of acid, like olive oil and lemon juice)

Instructions

1. Rinse the lentils, and check for any stones. It can happen!

2. Put the lentils in a pot, and add enough water to cover by two inches. Add salt, about 1 teaspoon for every cup of lentils, and bay leaf, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat.

3. When the liquid boils, set a timer for 18 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, or however low it takes to maintain a brisk simmer.

4. While the lentils cook, get out a large bowl. Make the dressing in this bowl.

5. When the timer goes off, taste to see how done the lentils are. If they need more time, give them 3 to 5 more minutes.

6. Remove the cooked lentils from the heat. Drain well, and immediately dump them into the bowl with the dressing. Toss, and let stand for a few minutes to soak up all the lovely dressing. Eat as is, or jazz them up in one of a million different ways. Awesome!

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/?p=3301

Park Sammiches

park sammiches

It’s still Summer!  I don’t know why, but this year, I’ve been expecting the balmy weather to give out aaaaaany minute now.

But enough about that.  I made sandwiches, designed especially for eating in a park.

park sammiches

a park

The main ingredients: some quality meat, some bitchin’ mustard, and arugula.

Left the bread untoasted, because good crusty bread is difficult enough in a sandwich without turning the crust into jagged shards that destroy the roof of your mouth.

park sammiches

I happened to be out of mayonnaise, so I used butter instead.  It’s a British thing.  Still feels kinda weird.

park sammiches

YES you need a fat-based moisture barrier and NO i don’t care if you hate mayonnaise or butter

The order of things in a sandwich is crucial to me.  Vegetables never go under meat.  Meat is the anchor.  Cheese goes in between.

park sammiches

anchor cappocolla

However, in the case of this arugula, I had to put one layer of meat on top to hold it onto the sandwich.  This almost killed me.

park sammiches

park sammiches

no no no no NO NO NO

At picnics, the squished-to-death sandwich at the bottom is always the best.  Wrap your sandwiches well, and press them.  Let them rest under a heavy cutting board for a bit.  Squeeze them.  Step on them.  Whatever it takes.

park sammiches

Remember that quality bread (like this) will resist being squished.  Less-ideal bread will give up the ghost almost immediately.

park sammiches

pre-squish

In a perfect world, I would’ve also put a li’l olive salad on this sandwich, ersatz muffaletta style.  It is not a perfect world, and it was getting dark.

Still, it was just right.

park sammiches

post-squish

 

Park Sammiches

Yield: Sandwich

Oh my god, do you really think I'm giving you a recipe for sandwiches? You do not need a recipe for sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • Bread
  • Sandwich filling

Instructions

1. Put the sandwich filling on the bread.

2. Sandwich!

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/?p=3290

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Some Boring Salmon with Maybe the Best Carrots Ever

salmon 'n' carrots

For dinner: coho salmon with oregano pesto breadcrumbs that aren’t browned enough.  Boring.  Alongside: Ottolenghi’s Spicy Carrot Salad, with couscous mixed in (regular and Israeli, because Ottolenghi).

I finally broke down and bought myself Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book, Jerusalem.  I got all starry-eyed over the first recipe I looked at: a recipe in the way, way back of the book, with all the other weird sub-recipes you need to make half the items in the book.

It’s a spice paste called pilpelchuma, and involves a quarter cup each (each!) of cayenne and paprika, along with 20 cloves of garlic.  Y’all, it is intense.

salmon 'n' carrots

This Spicy Carrot Salad uses a single tablespoon of this spice paste.  (Someone posted the recipe here, which uses the suggested double amount of harissa instead of pilpelchuma.)  With the couscous, I got about 7 servings out of that salad, and the spice level was not messing around.  From one tablespoon.  You will see more of pilpelchuma.

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Bahn Mi

Lunch today: a bahn mi with pork and pâté, from a local place.

bahn mi

Enjoyable, but just okay.  Not the best bahn mi ever.  But I don’t think there exists such a thing as a bad bahn mi.

bahn mi

Hipster ketchup on the side.

bahn mi

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Arugula + Cherries, Peas + Orzo

Two recent dishes: first, a little salad of arugula, fresh cherries, and some fancy-pants blue cheese.  Lots of black pepper.  Looks like I served it with some soup or whatever.

arugula salad with cherries and blue cheese

Such a lazy salad.  I couldn’t be bothered to pit the cherries, so I went full-lazy and left the stems on too.

arugula salad with cherries and blue cheese

Second, orzo with peas, cooked mostly in the style of Frank Restaurant’s Spaghetti Limone.  Thing is, I had some action left over from cooking chicken recently, in the form of chicken drippings (schmaltz and jus, mind) infused with fresh herbs.

So I went ahead and used that instead of the cold butter indicated in the recipe.  Added some grated Parmesan too, just before stirring, for an extra-luxe sauce.  Toasty breadcrumbs on top because crunchy is the best texture.

orzo limone with peas and breadcrumbs

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Noodle Times

Two recent noodle dishes, very dissimilar in character:

First, some Sesame Noodles with Chili and Scallion.  This is one of my new favorite recipes.  I added peas because, hey, peas.  Also appearing are soba noodles, because soba + sesame = luuurve.

sesame noodles with chili and scallions

I’ve made this with shrimp added to the mix which is also luuurvely.

sesame noodles with chili and scallions

Next up: Linguine Limone.

linguine summut

This dish could not be simpler.  And oh my goodness is it fantastic.

I added a small mountain of parsley and pecorino romano on top.  Totally unnecessary, but totally awesome all the same.

linguine summut