Roasted Brown Butter Radish Toast

Brown Butter Radishes
I had A LOT of leftover radishes from when I made farro salad Saturday night, so I did what any sensible person would do: I roasted them.

I’ve always wanted to roast radishes but I never have. I think it’s because in general, I get sick of radishes. I buy a bunch, slice half of them into a salad on onto a piece of toast, and then I either forget about them or I decide I’ve had enough. A good, fresh radish from the farmers’ market doesn’t need much. It’s delicious on its own. But the grocery store kind can get kind of boring.

Which brings me to these roasted brown butter radishes. I decided to improvise a recipe. I set the oven to 450 degrees, I tossed some radish halves in olive oil, and I laid them sliced-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then I sprinkled some salt on top.

While they were roasting, I browned butter to put on top of them when they were done. Browning butter is an art, one that I’m still mastering. There’s the freak out point when you’re pretty sure you’re going to burn the butter and you feel like stopping, but I’d urge you to keep going. As long as you read the cues, you probably won’t screw it up.

First, the butter will melt. Once it’s liquid, it will start crackling a little, When the crackling subsides, it will start to brown. You’ll want to watch it to make sure it doesn’t cook too quickly. Once it turns a nice, golden brown color and there are little browned bits floating around, you’ll know that your work is done.

I put a poached egg on this toast, because why not. I’d also recommend using the best bread you can find. Toast is a simple thing but it shines when you have good, hearty bread. I used a piece of multigrain bread from Companion, a local bakery, and it was perfect.

Here’s a song to get you started on your roasted radish journey.

Roasted Brown Butter Radish Toast

Ingredients

1/2 a bunch of radishes, tops removed and sliced in half
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
juice from half a lemon
poached egg, goat cheese, and a piece of toast for serving
ground black pepper and more sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Wash the radishes and make sure that all the grit is rubbed off. Toss them in a small bowl with olive oil. Spread them on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down, and sprinkle with salt.

Roast the radishes for about 15 minutes, or until they softened but still crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it melts, it will begin to foam. Then it will crackle a little. Swirl the butter around occasionally. Once it’s golden brown and there are dark brown flecks, remove the saucepan from heat and pour the butter into a small bowl to cool slightly.

Toss the radishes in the brown butter. Add the juice from half a lemon and toss again.

Spread the radishes on a piece of good, crusty bread, and top with a poached egg, goat cheese, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper and salt. Enjoy!

 

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Farro Salad with Arugula and Chickpeas

Farro Salad
I usually go out for dinner at least one night during the weekend but this weekend, I cooked the whole time. It’s okay, though, because this farro salad with radish and parm was worth it.

I made the salad Saturday night for me and my boyfriend. We both felt like we should eat more vegetables because he’s been traveling a lot and I’ve been eating chocolate chip cookies for two weeks straight. This salad was the perfect solution.

You can get creative with toppings but I like the mix of flavor and texture components in this dish. You have crunchy radish and sliced almonds, slightly tender, chewy farro, sweet grape tomatoes, spicy arugula, fragrant basil, and salty parm. There’s a lot going on in the salad but it all works together to create a delicious and filling dish.

I added canned chickpeas in at the last minute because I thought the salad would benefit from some extra protein. White beans would also work well.

If you have some extra time and you feel like taking it to the next level, I’d recommend tossing the chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them in the oven for about 20 minutes. I think the salad would taste even better with crunchy chickpeas.

I sort of improvised on dressing so I didn’t include a recipe for it below. All I did was squeeze juice from one lemon on top of the salad and drizzle on olive oil. I sprinkled the salad with salt and pepper and I drizzled about a capful of balsamic vinegar on at the end. I think it’s good to have a subtle dressing with this salad because there’s so much going on with it already.

Some salad ends up looking and tasting like a swamp on day two, but that’s not the case with this dish. If you put the leftovers in tupperware or an airtight container and stick them in the fridge, they’ll still be good for lunch the next day. In fact, it almost tasted better because the apple flavor in the farro had time to marinate.

Here’s a song to play while you’re making this salad. It came on in the car this morning and it reminded me how much I love it.

Farro Salad with Arugula and Chickpeas

Ingredients

1 cup quick-cooking farro (I used the Whole Foods brand)
1 cup apple cider
2 bay leaves
5 oz fresh arugula (or more if you’re feeding a lot of people)
2 oz fresh basil leaves, torn
1 container grape tomatoes, sliced
2 oz sliced almonds
1/2 bundle of radishes, sliced thin
1 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
shaved parm, salt, and pepper for topping
juice of one lemon, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil for dressing

Directions

First, make the farro. Combine the farro, two cups of water, bay leaves, and one cup of apple cider in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until most of the water has dissolved. Let the pot sit with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, drain the farro if there’s any water remaining, and place the farro in a bowl. Allow it to come to room temperature while you make the rest of the salad.

Toss the arugula and basil in a large bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes, almonds, radish, and chickpeas. Toss again and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top and a couple drizzles of olive oil. Then drizzle on a capful of balsamic vinegar.

Serve with shaved parm and more salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

 

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

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Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

It’s still winter weather in St. Louis and I’m still over it. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though. The weather is supposed to get warmer later this week. I’m holding out for Thursday, when it’s supposed to be in the high 60s and at least partly sunny.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing lots of things to distract myself from the less-than-ideal weather. I’ve been reading a lot and writing lyrics. I also started watching reruns of “The West Wing,” which for some reason I never watched when it was actually on TV. I’m not going to lie: I mostly watch it to pretend that the administration in the show is the one that’s currently in office. It’s cheaper than multiple therapy sessions though, so I allow myself the luxury of delusion.

Whatever you are doing to distract yourself from a long winter and even longer dystopian presidency, I hope you’re enjoying it. I would recommend many cups of tea and coffee, lots of reading material, good TV, and, of course, delicious food.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

More and more restaurateurs are calling on Hollywood set designers to create interiors for their spaces. This article in Bloomberg reads as elitist and obnoxious in parts, but it’s also interesting. At one point a set designer compares a restaurant to a theater preview with “hundreds of scripts acted out in the dining room.” For larger spaces with lots of moving parts, this seems to ring true.

I lived in Chicago for a while during and after grad school, so I experienced the perks and downfalls of the CTA. I came across a story in Reader earlier this week about a community organizer in the city who is floating the idea of making the CTA free, or at least more affordable for people who need discounts to ride it. I know it won’t happen soon but it’s fun to think about. A similar system is already in the works in Paris, as the article points out.

When I lived in France, I used to love stopping by my local boulangerie and picking up a freshly baked baguette. I don’t get to enjoy this luxury often enough in the U.S. I went Saturday to Union Loafers, one of my favorite bakeries in town, to pick up a baguette for dinner that night. It was fragrant and still warm in my hand as I carried it out of the store. I ate a piece on the sidewalk, as one should.

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Speaking of France… I really enjoyed this story in The New York Times about a bakery in Paris that’s serving a new French/Middle Eastern pastry. Maison Aleph makes 1001 Feuilles, or a layered pastry that’s a hybrid of a mille-feuille and baklava. It sounds divine. I want to try it in Paris but I can’t make the trip now. Luckily, the article includes a recipe for the pastry so I’m going to make it at home soon.

Earlier this week I wrote about two brothers in St. Louis who started their own gourmet duck company. Davi and Josh Reznick are so kind and charming, and their business, DUCKCHAR, is an inspiration to anyone who loves food. Davi tried Moulard duck while he lived in France but he couldn’t find it when he came back to the U.S. He and Josh had always wanted to start a business together so they decided to invest in duck. You can read more about their journey in my latest story for St. Louis Magazine.

If you find yourself sitting at your desk Monday morning wishing that you were eight hours closer to going home, you should check out this article. The LA Times published a piece on California zoo babies and I’m in love. I spent waaay too much time staring at pictures of Sumatran orangutans.

Last but certainly not least, Emmanuel Macron is speaking franglais and a lot of people in France are upset about it. I speak as much franglais as the next person, but apparently Macron is using it too ostentatiously. You can read more about the situation in this op-ed in The Guardian.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started. It’s an old favorite.

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Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies
A word about these cookies: ……

Sorry that was me trying to find words. It’s difficult when something is as delicious as these cookies are.

I made these for my boyfriend because he said that I never make anything for him and only him. He’s not wrong. Whenever I make cookies or cake, I usually have a couple, save a few for my family, and then I bring the rest in to work. A colleague came by my office the other day and thanked me for bringing things in.

“If I baked as often as you, I wouldn’t share it,” he said.

I share what I make partly because I don’t want to be the one eating all of it, and partly because it makes me happy to see people enjoy what I’ve made. It feels like I’m moving one step closer to my dream of opening my own bakery.

These double chocolate cookies are very, VERY rich. They have dutch-process cocoa powder, lots of sugar, butter, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. They remind me a lot of one of my favorite cookies in the world: The double chocolate chip cookie at Levain Bakery in New York.

Whenever I’m in the city, I stop by to get one. My friend Allison, being the good friend she is, went with me to get one in the pouring rain the last time I was visiting. Levain cookies are huge and dense, more like small cakes than cookies. I’ve seen people split them but I could never be so generous.

The trick to making Levain-like cookies is chilling the dough overnight in the refrigerator. I’ve talked to my chef friends about why bakeries do this and the response is varied.

Some say it’s because it gives the dough time to firm up, which creates more compact cookies later. There’s nothing worse than when a cookie flattens out in the oven.

Another one of my friends said that chilling the dough is just the bakery’s way of prepping a bunch of cookies at once. You don’t *really* need to chill the dough, but it helps when you want to make a number of uniform cookies later. Whatever the reason, I’d recommend doing it.

To make these double chocolate chip cookies, you take an ice cream scoop and get enough dough to form golfball-sized rounded lumps. They should be about three ounces, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can just eyeball it.

Then you place five balls on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Make sure you space them far apart because they will spread a bit in the oven.

The smell when these cookies are baking is HEAVENLY. Picture a brownie, a flourless chocolate cake, and melted chocolate, all dancing through the air in waves, and you’ll land somewhere close to these cookies. I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it.

These are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. I know I always say that, but it’s true. They are slightly crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the center, and somehow, despite how dense they are, they still melt in your mouth. If you eat one after it’s had a few minutes to cool, the chocolate chips are still melty. It’s one of life’s sweetest pleasures.

ANYWAY. I’d recommend making these cookies as soon as possible, if not to get a pesky boyfriend off your back then to satisfy your own sweet cravings. If I’m going to be honest, I made them for myself as much as for him.

Here’s a song to get you started. Gemini Rising has some good jams.

Double Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
10 Tbso unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand-mixer, mix together the room temperature butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Then mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated, stopping and pushing down the batter from the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Set the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Place saran wrap over the dough and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The dough is best after its had a chance to sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, form the dough into 3-ounce round balls, a little large than golfballs.

Place the five balls on each cookie sheet. Place the sheets in the oven and bake for about 18 minutes, or until the cookies are just set but still soft in the middle.

Place the sheets of parchment paper with the cookies on cooling racks. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature. Store them in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake Bread

Carrot Cake Bread
I don’t know how I missed this, but carrot cake is an Easter thing. I mean, I don’t celebrate Easter so I guess it’s not *that* much of a surprise that I didn’t know. But when I started seeing carrot cake everywhere this weekend, I put two and two together.

I love carrot cake anytime of year but I crave it most when it’s cold. Maybe it’s the reassuring blend of ground spices. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s slightly healthy. In the winter, I tend to eat more unhealthy because some of my favorite produce isn’t available.

Whatever it is, when temperatures drop below freezing, I need carrot cake in my life. Yesterday, the weather in St. Louis went from a cold spring day to a winter apocalypse. There was ice coming down from the sky that I’ve never seen before. I’m not exaggerating.

To make myself feel better and distract myself from the impending gloom, I made this carrot cake bread. It came together quickly and it made my house smell like the best scented candle. I stood over the loaf for a couple minutes after it came out the oven. It made me feel the same way I would standing under a heat lamp, but better because it smelled good and I could eat it.

I thought about adding some ingredients to the bread such as golden raisins or pineapple. Carrot cake is a good canvas for additions. Shredded coconut would also be delicious mixed in the batter.

Still, I think this loaf speaks for itself. You could add things to it or you could just enjoy it as is. I brought some into work but I also saved a slice for myself to have with tea later this morning. I need some Monday motivation.

In other news, Kacey Musgraves’ new album is really good. I already talked about it a little yesterday in Dimanche, but I wanted to devote more space to it here.

I read an article Friday where the writer gave the album a mostly good review, but also complained about it being jarring. The songs are different than Musgraves’ earlier work, more whimsical and eccentric, the writer said, so it took some adjusting.

I don’t know what album they were listening to but the one I heard is nothing short of a masterpiece. Yeah, it’s different in tone and content than some of Musgraves’ earlier work. But at the end of the day, can you really call yourself an artist if you don’t evolve? The answer to that question is, no. I applaud Musgraves for her bold departure from earlier work and her commitment to creating music that isn’t meant to please everyone. We have enough artists like that already.

Here’s another one of my favorite songs from the album.

Carrot Cake Bread

Ingredients

6 oz unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 whole milk
1 1/4 cup grated carrots

Directions

Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

Melted the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. The butter will crackle and then it will go silent, which means that it’s browning. Swirl it in the pan as it cooks. Once it turns a golden brown color and smells nutty, remove the butter from the heat and pour it into a small bowl to use later. Make sure you watch the butter as it cooks: It can burn easily.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir together the eggs, vanilla extract, milk, carrots, and cooled butter in a medium bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and fold them together until they’re just mixed. Make sure you get the extra flour that tends to hide at the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix.

Place a sheet of parchment paper in the middle of the loaf pan to make it easier to remove the bread later. Scoop the batter into the pan.

Bake for about an hour, or until a pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then invert the loaf and allow it come to room temperature on a wire rack.

Tightly wrap the leftovers in saran wrap to make sure the bread doesn’t dry out. Enjoy!

 

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

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Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

I have this thing where I never remember Jewish holidays. The only reason I knew it was Passover this week is because my best friend Rachel came into town to celebrate with her family. Sometimes I think if it weren’t for her, I’d never remember them.

I’m not very religious and so left up to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t celebrate Passover at all. But now that I’m back in town and most of my family is here, I get roped into celebrating. Last night I had a seder, or a Passover service/meal, with my grandparents, my mom, and my sister.

We had some lively debate at the dinner table because my grandma said she didn’t believe the story of Passover and didn’t feel like celebrating, and my mom argued in favor of accepting the story verbatim. There’s never a dull moment at our seders.

Today I’m going to take it easy before I meet Rachel and my boyfriend for dinner. I’m also planning on making a loaf of carrot cake bread because I’ve been craving it lately. I keep seeing pictures of carrot cake everywhere for Easter and it’s making me want to bake something ASAP. I also satisfied my craving Friday at one of my favorite local bakeries (more on that later).

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

In a semi-shameless plug, I had my first print article published this week and I am pretty excited about it. It’s a Q&A with Lynn and Martin Weber, my friends who own Edelbrand Pure Distilling. If you’re in St. Louis you can pick up a print version of the article at most food-related venues. If you’re not, check out a teaser below.

A story about a French waiter getting fired in Canada for being French got a lot of air time this week. Apparently the waiter was rude to customers, which led to him getting the boot. Then he filed a complaint against the restaurant that fired him and said he was just being French. You can read more about the situation here.

I generally respect The New York Times’ reporting but sometimes, they drop the ball. I thought it was funny earlier this week when the newspaper published a story about French people being the new optimists the same day French civil servants and railway workers went on strike against President Macron’s new reforms. You can read the story (in French) in French Morning.

I really enjoyed this story about a Missouri honey maker in the latest issue of Feast MagazineGiofre Apiaries, which is located about 20 minutes away from Columbia, Missouri, is fighting the global honeybee crisis by running hives and educating consumers about the issue. They also make delicious honey ice cream and sell it at local shops. I need to pick up a pint soon. You can read more about their work here.

When you’re a food writer and you take an extreme stance against one food, be prepared for backlash. That’s what happened earlier this week to Tim Carman, the food critic for The Washington Post. He wrote an article saying that bacon is over-used, which probably has some truth to it. Unsurprisingly, bacon loyalists were PISSED. Check out the story for Carman’s take on the situation.

Have I mentioned how much I love Jeff Goldblum? Probably. I find him so fascinating as an actor and human being. I think we’re kindred spirits. I spent waaay too much time watching his videos Friday afternoon after I read this story in Indiewire.

Sugaree is one of my favorite bakeries in St. Louis. I hardly ever go though because they’re only open for retail on Friday and Saturday, and I don’t live close to where they’re located. I was in the neighborhood Friday though so I decided to stop by to get some dessert. I bought a container of their carrot cake cupcakes, which came in the cutest egg container. I shared them with my boyfriend but I could have eaten them all myself.

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Last but certainly not least, I enjoyed reading this story about food writers covering chefs who have been accused or convicted of gendered violence. The story initially focuses on Texas food writers who either have or haven’t covered Chef Paul Qui since he was accused of domestic violence against his former girlfriend. Then it makes the very good point that media, including food writers, can’t exist in silos during the #MeToo movement. Yeah, we already knew that to some extent. But it’s always a good reminder that food, politics, and, most importantly, ethics, are intertwined.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started. It comes from Kacey Musgraves’ new album (I’m obsessed).

 

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Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal

Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal
I make a lot of oatmeal for breakfast. It was getting to the point where I thought I was in an oatmeal rut and I would never find a new recipe again.

Then, I invented this oatmeal yesterday. It’s a variation on the oatmeal I usually make. I combined some oats, almond milk, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a pinch of sea salt in a pot, mixed in half a mashed banana, and let the mixture cook until it was thick and creamy. Then I added some banana slices, blueberries, chia seeds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

The oatmeal was so good that I decided to make it again this morning. I was out of blueberries, though, so it wasn’t quite as good. Still, I know I’ll be coming back to this recipe again and again. It’s easy and quick, AND it makes your kitchen smell heavenly while it cooks. Picture banana bread mixed with maple cinnamon spice cake, and you’ll land somewhere close to this oatmeal.

You could get creative on toppings. I bet walnuts and hemp hearts would also be good on top.

I didn’t really use a recipe to make this but I’ll include one below, just in case you want to try it at home.

In other news, I got my haircut last night and I’m pretty amped about it. I always have aspirations to grow my hair long, and then once it gets past my shoulders, I get sick of it and give up. I got a couple inches off so my hair is lighter and more curly. It will be a good cut to have this summer when it’s sunny and warm…whenever that happens.

Here’s a song to play while you’re making this oatmeal. It’s also good for rainy days when all you want to do is get in bed with a book, a cup of tea, and your laptop so you can watch “West Wing” reruns.

Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup, or more if you like your oatmeal super sweet
pinch of flaky sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 a banana, mashed
sliced banana, blueberries, chia seeds, ground cinnamon for topping

Directions

Combine the oats, almond milk, maple syrup, sea salt, mashed banana, and ground cinnamon in a saucepan over high heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce the heat and cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens. This will take about 10 minutes.

Top the oats with sliced banana, blueberries, chia seeds, and ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

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