Caramelizing Onions

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen! The key is LOW & SLOW. Low heat, and occasional stirring with a rubber spatula. I probably cooked these a tiny bit too long given the fact that they were going to be baked in the recipe, but its all personal preference. You can also chop the onion in small pieces rather than rings.

When can you use caramelized onions? Pretty much on anything. They add great flavor to any basic rice or quinoa dish. Throw them in an omelette or on top of a salad.

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Instructions:

Cut onions to 1/4-1/2 rings or pieces. Add 1-2 tbsp oil (better to start with 1 and add more) and leave the heat on low-medium. Stir occasionally as the onions turn translucent, then caramel colored, and then brown. Whole process could take up to 20 minutes depending on the amount of onions and the pan.

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Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Zucchini Whole Wheat Galette

I’ve started working at a produce stand at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. Side. Hustle. It’s been so much fun, I’ve met some amazing people, and I leave with ingredients to make these beautiful summer treats! This recipe may include some unique veggies but the filling is interchangeable so don’t feel pressured to visit 3 grocery stores looking for “fairytale eggplant”. Special thanks to Three Springs Fruit Farm for growing these beautiful AND delicious ingredients. And, farewell summer 2016!

Galette crust:
8 tbsp butter, cold
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting & rolling
3 tbsp whole milk
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Inside (this is a total free-for-all! Have fun and use whatever produce you have that week. Here’s what I did):
– 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
– 3 heirloom tomatoes {different colors make it beautiful if you can find them, but can use any type of tomato year round}
– 2 fairytale eggplants
– 1 onion, sliced thinly and caramelized
– 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato & basil chevre
– 1/4 cup grain mustard

Caramelizing onions takes time, so I always start with this step. {Here is a detailed post on caramelizing onions.}

Slice onions thinly (1/4 inch). Put the sliced onions in a pan with some oil and THEN turn on the stove to low-medium. You won’t ever hear the onions sizzle, this is a slow process that yields richly brown and soft onions as opposed to black and still crunchy onions.

Slice and prepare the rest of your vegetables so they are ready for filling. Once the dough is made you must act quickly to put it in the oven, so ensuring everything is prepped will really help future-you.

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  1. Make the dough. Mix flours together in a food processor.
  2. Cut the butter into 1/4 in cubes and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add shortening and butter to flour and pulse.
  4. Add ice water and pulse until combinededited_Document Name_6
  5. Refrigerate ball of dough slightly to re-chill (15-20 min)
  6. Roll dough on floured surface into a flat sheet

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NOW is the fun part, “decorate” with spread/cheese, mustard, and veggies. Fold dough edges over the vegetables and cook at 350* until golden brown. I did 375* and the edges cooked but the bottom was slightly too soft.

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Finished product:edited_Document Name_14.JPG

 

 

Buttermilk Biscuits with Scallions & Goat Cheese

This delicious recipe only uses ONE bowl and ONE baking sheet. No awful sticky clean-up, and a fairly quick beginning-to-end process. The biscuits didn’t rise & pull as much as I had hoped. I think its because I made the dough round too thin, so I changed the recipe to say roll to 1 inch instead of 3/4. Despite being a little thin, these are flakey biscuits with the perfect herb flavor. Check out the epic breakfast sandwich I made with the fresh biscuits! This is my new favorite grocery find.

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Biscuit Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
3/4 cup  (one and a half sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg
1 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup scallions
1 1/2 cups goat cheese
1/2 cup bacon pieces (I didn’t use bacon this time, but it would definitely at a nice smokey flavor if you don’t have any vegetarians around!)
1 large egg for egg wash

Don’t have buttermilk? No prob.
Add 3 tsp white vinegar to every 1 cup whole milk, and set aside for 7-10 minutes. The milk should curdle and become buttermilk from the acidity.

Directions:

  1. Preheat to 400°F. Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cold butter cubes and use your hands to mix in with the dry ingredients until there are consistent butter pieces throughout the mixture.
  2. Create a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and add the cold buttermilk and egg into the well (a-la mashed potato and gravy volcano). Stir just until the egg and buttermilk are evenly distributed.edited_dsc_0045
  3. Add the scallions, goat cheese, and any other fixin’s you’ve chosen. Stir to combine until the biscuit dough starts clumping together into a ball. Be careful not to over mix.
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  4. Dump dough out onto a floured surface and pat into a 1-inch thick circle. Using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut biscuits out of the dough. Continue until all dough is used.
  5. Place the dough circles 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm.
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Succulent Watercolor Macarons

This is the most annoyingly trendy post, I know. And when I set out to make this recipe, I really intended on only painting “watercolor” flowers, but succulents are so darn cute I couldn’t stop! Anyway- still got about 20 inches of snow on the ground here in DC. I know other cities get this amount of snow on the reg, but the nation’s capital was NOT prepared for this. First snow plow sighting was 72 hours after the snow started…72 HOURS! Needless to say, I got a lot done in the kitchen this weekend.

This post is really about edible watercolor painting technique, but with it comes more learnings about “macaronage”. Some tips:

  • Using food coloring (gel or liquid) in macaron shells requires the baking time to be almost doubled. Totally doable, but if it is your first time I recommend sticking to the basics.
  • You’ll find slightly different recipes everywhere, but they are all the same. Pick a recipe that requires a kitchen scale, and stick with it.
  • Bang the shit outta those pans! Getting all the air bubbles out is imperative.
  • Let macarons cool completely before removing from the sheet.
  • If all macarons have cracked tops: you over whipped the merengue, or overmixed the batter. If only some macarons have cracked tops: that was from inconsistency in batter. It may have been unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl that weren’t incorporated. Make good use of those 30 folds- get all contents off the sides of the bowl and into your batter!

With that, here’s my go-to recipe:
4 ounces (115g) blanched almonds or almond flour
8 ounces (230g) powdered sugar
5 ounces egg whites (144g), give two days to breathe in the fridge, then bring to room temperature before using them.
2 1/2 ounce (72g) sugar
the scrapings of 1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 tsp (2g) kosher salt

The Shells

1. Measure the almond flour and powdered sugar, and place together in the food processor. Pulse on and off for a minute, or until the mixture is homogenous in color and there is no almond flour stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

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2. Sift the mixture carefully and you should end up with about 2 teaspoons of these sneaky little pieces of almond. Too big to go through the sieve, too small to get chopped by the processor. Dispose of the extra almond nibs. Leave the sifted mixture in a bowl and set aside.

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3. Place the aged room temp egg whites, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt in the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

It is VERY important there is no remnants of oil on the attachment or in your bowl. I’ve wasted dozens of eggs due to oil-in-the-merengue disease, so I actually bought a separate bowl and only use it for oil free recipes (a little bit crazy I know).

Whip according to the following steps-

SPEED 4 –> 3 minutes

SPEED 7 –> 3 minutes

SPEED 8 –> 3 minutes (after this step is when you add any food coloring or flavoring extracts)

SPEED 10 –> 1 minute

The mixture should look like a smooth, shiny marshmallow fluff consistency. If at any point you see the mixture start to break apart or get a bubble-bath-foam texture, stop right away and you may be able to salvage it. Foamy is okay, but when it starts to break apart instead of being a cohesive mixture… that ain’t good.

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hello, beautiful 🙂edited_12864. Unfortunately no pics of this step. Shake the merengue off of the whisk and pour ENTIRE dry mixture into the bowl at once. Now you are going to do the classic macaron fold. Fold for appx 30 strokes- alternating between folding the dry mixture with the egg mixture, and then mashing the mixture on the side of the bowl with your spatula. Fold, mash, fold, mash. Go slowly….check your mixture after every stroke…..and make sure to get every bit (even the edges of the bowl) mixed in.

The mixture shouldn’t be runny, but should be cohesive and smooth enough that when dolloped, the dollop takes 20 seconds to re-join the mixture.

5. Place in a piping bag fitted with a wide tip (I didn’t use one this time). If you’re not used to controlling a piping bag, I would fill halfway and do a few batches.

edited_12886. Pipe small symmetrical circles by keeping the piping bag still and pushing until your circle is a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Do not move the piping bag in a circle while you pipe or your macarons will look like snail shells. Your macarons will expand so give them space- I got a little impatient below.

7. Now the fun part- take your pans immediately and BANG them against the counter 4 or 5 times. You should see tiny little air bubbles escaping from the top.

8. Let sit for 30 minutes before baking.edited_1289

9. Bake at 300* (some ovens need 315*, know your oven!) for 18 minutes. LET COOL before you even try to touch these puppiesedited_1291

The Filling

I did a basic buttercream for the frosting and then used homemade blackberry jam that a co-worker made and canned this summer! Thanks Dave!

8 tbsp butter

4 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp whipping cream

1/2 cup jam

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The watercolor- use small NEW paintbrushes and use drops of gel food coloring as your paint. Mix plenty of water with each color and experiment from there! At first, my colors were too vibrant so I continued to add water. Here’s my “canvas”:

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Roommate even helped paint some! She lived in Paris and has a deep love for three things- baseball, french macarons, and cheerios.

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I’ve made french macarons many a time and continue to learn new things/tips every time. I was super happy with these because they passed all of the french macaron criteria: the perfectly smooth top, exactly the same size (thanks to my new silpat), and they grew beautiful little feet at the bottom. Can’t wait to play with some valentines macarons!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Incredibly humbled and honored to be reviewed by DC’s finest chocolate chip cookie blog, Cookies With Stephen. Although I’ve never met him, Stephen clearly has an unparalleled palate for the craft of chocolate chip cookies.

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BROWNED BUTTER is the secret to this cookie. It’s what gives the dough a rich dark color, adds a little extra crunch to your bite, and leaves a sweet toffee-like taste in your mouth until you grab the next cookie!

So, the most important step to this recipe: brown the butter. Here are the five steps to browning butter. I don’t use exact times because its different depending on your stove, pan, and butter.

  • use good butter
  • melt on low, then turn heat to medium-low
  • ‘sautee’ the butter, stirring constantly while it simmers
  • as soon as you see the first sign of golden flakes at the bottom of the pan, remove from heat
  • if you’re feeling daring and think the butter needs a bit more darkening, put back on low heat. It’s better to remove the butter prematurely- as soon as one gold flake turns to black, the butter becomes burnt and you sadly have to throw it away.

Ingredients:

– 6 oz browned butter, cooled in the refrigerator

– 1 cup brown sugar

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

-2 teaspoons cornstarch

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-2 1/4 cup flour

-1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugars in a bowl with a fork or rubber spatula
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  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla
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  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined- do not over-mix.
  4. Add chocolate chips. At this point, I ditch the rubber spatula and mix with *clean* hands
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  5. Roll dough into a log, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes
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  6. Scoop the dough into 1.5 inch balls. Flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup, and sprinkle sea salt on the top. If you want a rougher look to your cookie, rip pieces from the dough log rather than scooping, and don’t flatten.
  7. Bake at 325* for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.edited_1241edited_1242edited_1219

 

Winter Marketplace @ Work!

Once a year, Discovery holds a Winter Marketplace at the headquarters for employees to showcase and sell their handmade products. It’s such a cool event and opportunity to see the talent that is hidden within the building. Also my favorite place to shop for holiday gifts! There is a huge variety of goods being sold- from jewelry, to ornaments, to art and letterpress cards [oh my!], and of course- dessert! Here is my menu from the day:

  • toasted coconut marshmallows
  • peppermint marshmallows
  • hot chocolate on a stick
  • salted caramel cakepops
  • peppermint bark cakepops
  • nutter butter chocolate cakepops
  • peppermint bark
  • dog treats!

A few behind the scenes shot:

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And a few of the finished product!

Insane Birthday Cake {Momofuku Mashup}

Kate – Best friend, roommate of 4 years, and dessert-loving-seattlite of 25 years celebrates a big birthday this week! I was fortunate enough to take a class at the brooklyn Momofuku Milk Bar kitchen. Everything about the place was inspiring- the intoxicating smell of cereal milk mystery, the MASS amounts of butter and dough and industrial kitchen tools, and the overall energy of the employees (calling them employees doesn’t do it justice…magicians?). It was that day, looking at all the recipes and creativity at Milk Bar, that I decided the birthday cake I’d make for Kate this year. Here it goes…

Brown Butter Cake

  • momofuku recipe here

Chocolate Stout Soak

  • just chocolate stout beer lightly painted onto the cake. enough so you can see it start to seep through.

Salted Dulce de Leche Buttercream (dulce de leche to remind her of her time spent in south america)

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk [boiled for 1.5 hours to become “dulce de leche”]
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Malted Pretzel & Chex Mix crunch (chex & pretzels = our saturday nights)

  • 2 cups pretzels, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup malt powder
  • 2 cups corn chex cereal
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Chocolate Stout Ganache (she loves chocolate and beer, so this was perfect)

  • 1 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate stout

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Just a little food porn…

We had a small happy hour at our apartment this past week that turned out really nicely. I was in way too much of a rush to take pictures (always my problem!) but it was too cute to not post. First things first, THESE TOMATOES. As delicious as they are pretty. edited_860

This is a go-to quick recipe my mom used to make for dinner parties. It is always such a hit, I’m embarrassed to say how effortless it is. 8 oz cream cheese + 1/2 cup raspberry chipotle sauce!edited_861

Second on the menu was prosciutto & goat cheese toasts with a blackberry ginger balsamic. I picked up the balsamic this weekend while I was in St. Michaels, Maryland. It was super rainy so there was nothing to do but shop!edited_865 edited_867edited_872edited_877

Third, I made rosemary parmesan foccacia bread. The bread flour is a necessity in my pantry lately. Also, pantry is a loose term- more like hoarding space where I fit as much as I can into a cabinet without causing a food avalanche.  The dried rosemary didn’t flavor the bread as well as I hoped, but I didn’t have any fresh. Never again!edited_874

Our wonderful landlord sent us this cookie delivery from Captain Cookie and the Milkman in DC. Wish I could say I made these beauties, but I just ate them instead 🙂edited_876

Lastly- onion dip with veggies!edited_879

Strawberry Balsamic Jam with Vanilla & Bourbon

YES. This recipe is one of my new favorites. It started out with a wonderful strawberry picking adventure Saturday morning, and then I set out to make a small batch of strawberry jam. Since it was a low pressure little project, I just started playing around with flavors….and it worked! I woke up this morning {cheated, went to the store and bought more strawberries} and tripled the recipe. For the past 24 hours we’ve put this on cheese and crackers, toast, in yogurt, and made a quick smoothie with it. On top of angel food cake or marinating chicken is going to be my next move.

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Ingredients: Makes three half-pint size jars

– 2 lb strawberries

– 1 1/4 cup sugar

– 2 tbsp lime juice

– 1 tbsp bourbon

– 2 tsp vanilla

– 2 tbsp balsamic {the good, quality kind. not balsamic vinegar! I used pomegranate balsamic from my favorite oil store…could that sentence sound more annoying?}

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1) Sprinkle 1 1/4 cup sugar over the strawberries and toss. Let sit for 10 minutes. Note: this recipe requires more sugar than others because it is pectin-free. I prefer to use real sugar because just a pinch too much pectin and you’ll have something closer to jell-o! edited_low546

2) Mash the strawberry and sugar mixture and let sit for 2 hours. Add vanilla. edited_low548

3) Put lemon juice at the bottom of a medium to large saucepan and heat on medium-high.

4) Add strawberry mixture, bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium.

5) After 15 minutes, add bourbon.

*now is a good time to prepare your jars*

5) Cook until the spoon test yields the texture you’re looking for.  My first batch was done in 30 minutes, my second batch cooked for 45 and was still a little runny. So totally depends on the batch you’re making!

6) When its ready, add the balsamic. edited_low549

Made some new recipe cards to give out with the jars of jam!edited_low534

Final product!

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