Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two loaf pans. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt thoroughly in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment), beat the sugar, olive oil and orange zest on high speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 0ne-third flour mixture; beat just until combined. Add half of the sherry. Beat just until blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, followed by the remaining sherry, and then the remaining flour.
Scrape the batter into the pans. Bake until the cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a rack for about 15 minutes before unmolding.
Slide a thin knife or spatula around the sides to release the cake. Invert the cake onto a rack. Turn the preferred side up before cooling the cake completely. Wrapped airtight, the cake keeps well at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
and there, on the hand-written blackboard, i saw my dream meal.
20 vegetable side dishes. pick four. there's your dinner:
artichokes hearts with parmesan
roasted grape tomatoes with garlic
beets with goat cheese
mixed mushrooms with leeks and herbs
i was in heaven.
and i've thought about recreating this dish
or one like it
for many meals since.
there's just one problem.
a very agreeable, thankfully adventurous, rarely complaining problem:
i have a husband.
one who, puts up with tofu, my love for lime juice and avocado and a recent obsession with
seaweed. who brings me to restaurants that specialize in vegetables and who actually finds it
amusing when i spend an afternoon experimenting with different sweet potato sandwich recipes.
but, one, who really, really, really just wants
so every time i feel myself sliding toward a side dish supper,
i stop somewhere short of making a plate that looks like
i just ransacked the farmer's market. and instead, try to make
it look like a meal. sort of.
which brings me to last week.
i had my heart set on roasted parsnips
but then i remembered the purple potatoes and the onion
sitting not-so-patiently on the counter.
in the grocery store
i stared at the seafood counter,
the chicken and the turkey
i had a carton of eggs in the fridge.
i'm telling you, when faced with a lot of veggies and no plan,
poach an egg,
toss it on top
and call it dinner.
this time i used parsnips (they are so sweet and delicious, when you let them brown for a while), a sweet onion, purple potatoes and cremini mushrooms. but, the options are endless: a bowl of garlicky swiss chard, grilled asparagus, sauteed tomatoes, just to name a few. it couldn't be simpler, you just cut them all up into somewhat similar-sized pieces (obviously, i don't care if they look identical, but it is important for them to be the same size so that they cook evenly), put them on a roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil, some kosher salt and pepper. and then wait for them to shrink, brown and sweeten. use the last ten minutes of the roasting time to poach the eggs. i sprinkled the finished plate with chopped chives and a few drops of admittedly-decadent truffle oil -- both completely up to you.
and please, don't be scared to poach an egg.
believe me, i understand. there's boiling water,
in a shallow saucepan,
and the whole thing seems so freaking delicate. but it's easy.
and it's by far, my favorite way to prepare and enjoy an egg.
Roasted Root Vegetables
4-6 parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut into thirds
1 sweet onion, peeled, halved and sliced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) purple peruvian fingerling potatoes, brushed and quartered
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cremini mushrooms, rubbed clean with a paper towel and sliced
6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
cracked black pepper
Heat oven to 400˚F. Coat foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray or a thin coating of olive oil. Place parsnips on left side (or whatever placement makes sense to you). Drizzle with oil or spray; sprinkle with salt and a few cracks of black pepper; toss with your (clean) hands. Repeat with onions and potatoes. Sprinkle garlic cloves on baking sheet. Repeat with mushrooms on a separate foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 20-30 min., or until vegetables are golden brown and tender, turning once or twice. Toss together; divide mixture among two plates. Gently place poached egg over vegetables. Sprinkle egg with chopped fresh chives and add a few drops of white truffle oil, if desired.
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
Crack each egg into separate extra-small bowls. In medium saucepan, heat 2" water over high heat until just starting to bubble. Stir in vinegar and salt -- they both help the egg set faster and prohibit the white from fraying and spreading. Wait until the water bubbles again, then gently dip the rims of the bowls into the water and let the egg slip out; lower the heat to about medium. As soon as the egg starts to set, slip a spatula underneath to loosen from the bottom of the saucepan. Next, very gently flip the egg. Let cook about 2 min., more, or until the white is reasonably firm and the yolk is still runny (it will appear slightly wobbly if you give the egg a small shake). Using spatula or slotted spoon, remove the egg from pan and let the water drip off; blot with paper towel, if desired. Using scissors, cut frayed edges.*
*I never do this, but if you want a prettier presentation, this is how they make it happen in restaurants.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
drizzle non-runny drops of basil oil onto the rim of a dish
conceptualize and execute a gorgeously composed dessert.
i never became especially good at any of that.
but i didn't fail out.
when we wove lattice crusts onto pies,
trimmed black bass into rectangles
and used our pastry bag to pipe perfect rosettes onto cakes
i tried (hard) not to cry when my pastry strips were uneven,