Christmas Chutney
The holiday season means coworker gifts, and coworker gifts (to me) usually means edible gifts I can make a whole lot of, package up cutely, dole out, and subsequently hoard the leftovers for myself.
This year my mother bought a 20-lb turkey for Thanksgiving. This doesn’t necessarily sound weird, except: only three people at our family dinner eat meat. That means that I currently have between 7-8 pounds of leftover turkey in my freezer, and I’m still looking for interesting ways to eat it.
Enter the chutney.
I found a recipe on BBC Food, and it looked wonderful, so guess what? Happy holiday season, friends — here’s some stuff I made while thinking about what I myself might find delicious.
The thing about chutney is that you can’t really mess it up, short of letting it sit on the stove for only two minutes or upwards of three days. It’s a mix of vegetables and/or fruit you find interesting, sometimes sugary and/or vinegary and almost always spiced. Mixed according to taste, simmered down together. I can tell you I used probably twice the amount of dates it said to use, because I really like dates, and I added in some chopped dried cranberries because that seemed more Christmas-y to me. Keep tasting it. Keep adjusting it. Only pot it once you think it’s good.
As far as presentation: there is nothing better than giving a jar of preserves or pumpkin butter or something of that texture as a gift, because it is SO EASY to make it look adorable: a hermetic jar with a ribbon around the neck and a handmade gift tag, and you’re done. Toot toot, all aboard the Festive Express.
This is the jar I kept for myself. The other jars were bigger. You’re welcome, officefolk.

Christmas Chutney

The holiday season means coworker gifts, and coworker gifts (to me) usually means edible gifts I can make a whole lot of, package up cutely, dole out, and subsequently hoard the leftovers for myself.

This year my mother bought a 20-lb turkey for Thanksgiving. This doesn’t necessarily sound weird, except: only three people at our family dinner eat meat. That means that I currently have between 7-8 pounds of leftover turkey in my freezer, and I’m still looking for interesting ways to eat it.

Enter the chutney.

I found a recipe on BBC Food, and it looked wonderful, so guess what? Happy holiday season, friends — here’s some stuff I made while thinking about what I myself might find delicious.

The thing about chutney is that you can’t really mess it up, short of letting it sit on the stove for only two minutes or upwards of three days. It’s a mix of vegetables and/or fruit you find interesting, sometimes sugary and/or vinegary and almost always spiced. Mixed according to taste, simmered down together. I can tell you I used probably twice the amount of dates it said to use, because I really like dates, and I added in some chopped dried cranberries because that seemed more Christmas-y to me. Keep tasting it. Keep adjusting it. Only pot it once you think it’s good.

As far as presentation: there is nothing better than giving a jar of preserves or pumpkin butter or something of that texture as a gift, because it is SO EASY to make it look adorable: a hermetic jar with a ribbon around the neck and a handmade gift tag, and you’re done. Toot toot, all aboard the Festive Express.

This is the jar I kept for myself. The other jars were bigger. You’re welcome, officefolk.

3 years ago | Tags: week forty-nine project sixty end result edible gifts christmas chutney reusable food

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Know how to turn this bowl of deliciousness into a creepy doll? A sharp knife, time, and air.
Around Halloween when I was a kid, my mom used to have us make apple dolls. They are pretty much what they sound like — dolls made out of apples. 
My boyfriend and I went pumpkin and apple picking this year, and as usual I got a little too gung-ho and came home with more produce than I could use. I thought I’d wrench one more function out of one of my biggest apples.
So I peeled one, took a knife, and carved an old lady face into it:



And then soaked it in a bowl of salted, lemony water for 20 minutes. I took it out, patted it dry, and let it sit outside on my covered windowsill for about 2 weeks so it dried out. At the end it should be spongy but dry, like when you buy apple rings at your local health food store. And your apple face should have natural old-lady wrinkles.



From there, make a doll any way you see fit. I used a toothpick dipped in food coloring to make her lips and eye colors, but you can leave her natural if you want; I also used cotton batting for her hair, but you can use yarn or felt or wool roving or anything else. I also wound up gluing her onto a prefab doll body, but if you’re more ambitious than I am, you can sew your own; you can even dry a separate apple and cut hand shapes out of the dried fruit.

Know how to turn this bowl of deliciousness into a creepy doll? A sharp knife, time, and air.

Around Halloween when I was a kid, my mom used to have us make apple dolls. They are pretty much what they sound like — dolls made out of apples. 

My boyfriend and I went pumpkin and apple picking this year, and as usual I got a little too gung-ho and came home with more produce than I could use. I thought I’d wrench one more function out of one of my biggest apples.

So I peeled one, took a knife, and carved an old lady face into it:

And then soaked it in a bowl of salted, lemony water for 20 minutes. I took it out, patted it dry, and let it sit outside on my covered windowsill for about 2 weeks so it dried out. At the end it should be spongy but dry, like when you buy apple rings at your local health food store. And your apple face should have natural old-lady wrinkles.

From there, make a doll any way you see fit. I used a toothpick dipped in food coloring to make her lips and eye colors, but you can leave her natural if you want; I also used cotton batting for her hair, but you can use yarn or felt or wool roving or anything else. I also wound up gluing her onto a prefab doll body, but if you’re more ambitious than I am, you can sew your own; you can even dry a separate apple and cut hand shapes out of the dried fruit.

3 years ago | Tags: apple doll doll end result food week forty-seven project fifty-eight

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This recipe has been floating around the tumblrverse, and it is well worth it: limoncello macaroons.
Oh god aren’t they lovely? The crackles in the top, the light yellow glowing through? I am only a little bit ashamed to say that Andreas and I ate the whole batch in two days. The part of me that is not ashamed is the part that recognizes how hard they are to resist.
I’d seen the recipe and drooled over it and mentally filed it away. Then this weekend I went to the Italian Market for the first time in my life (I know, I know, bad Philadelphian), and when I saw cans of almond paste (NOT marzipan), I knew it was meant to be.
The hardest part of these is the stirring — almond paste is thick and sticky and I like to punish myself with hand-mixing — but the recipe is simple once you get past the first stage, and the flavors are few enough that each one really shines.
A word of caution: maybe it’s because of the alcohol? but I checked in on them a minute before the minimum recommended cook time, and the bottoms were BLACKENED. Just the bottoms. The cookie itself was still moist and light and delicious, but the bottoms were unsalvageably burnt. You can’t tell from the photograph, though; and we just ate them as if they were fruits with inedible rinds. We bit around them. I can’t imagine it’s not rectifiable, either if one were to just cook them for less time altogether, or for slightly more time at a slightly lower temperature.
Would be a GREAT gift or potluck offering.

This recipe has been floating around the tumblrverse, and it is well worth it: limoncello macaroons.

Oh god aren’t they lovely? The crackles in the top, the light yellow glowing through? I am only a little bit ashamed to say that Andreas and I ate the whole batch in two days. The part of me that is not ashamed is the part that recognizes how hard they are to resist.

I’d seen the recipe and drooled over it and mentally filed it away. Then this weekend I went to the Italian Market for the first time in my life (I know, I know, bad Philadelphian), and when I saw cans of almond paste (NOT marzipan), I knew it was meant to be.

The hardest part of these is the stirring — almond paste is thick and sticky and I like to punish myself with hand-mixing — but the recipe is simple once you get past the first stage, and the flavors are few enough that each one really shines.

A word of caution: maybe it’s because of the alcohol? but I checked in on them a minute before the minimum recommended cook time, and the bottoms were BLACKENED. Just the bottoms. The cookie itself was still moist and light and delicious, but the bottoms were unsalvageably burnt. You can’t tell from the photograph, though; and we just ate them as if they were fruits with inedible rinds. We bit around them. I can’t imagine it’s not rectifiable, either if one were to just cook them for less time altogether, or for slightly more time at a slightly lower temperature.

Would be a GREAT gift or potluck offering.

3 years ago | Tags: week thirty-six project forty-three end result food limoncello macaroons

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PICKLES. Who doesn’t love them?



No but for real. There’s kind of nothing better than a crisp, flavorful pickle, either if you’re actually looking to eat something or you just need to satisfy an oral fixation.
I didn’t know I wanted to make my own pickles until I saw these perfectly adorable Kirby cucumbers at my local farmer’s market:





I mean, would you be able to resist? No you would not. Especially if they were selling precious French clasp-top hermetic jars at the next stand over. Perfect storm for pickle-making.
It takes a bit of time to make pickles, but the steps themselves are pretty easy and are adaptable to what you want to make. First, soak your cucumbers in an ice water bath.





That’ll need to stay there for an hour. While that’s happening, you can boil your jar (or jars — I only made one) for about 20 minutes to disinfect it.





When the ice bath is done, chop your cucumbers into whatever shape you like your pickles to be. You could go with spears (like I did) or slices or you could pickle them whole; heck, if you wanted to be extra-adorable, you could cookie-cutter your pickles into fun shapes. That’s a bit twee for me. I like spears. Because I’m metal like that.





Then slip them into your jar, and pack them pretty tightly. Because I was trying to stand my spears up in the jar, I found it easier to turn the jar to the side and slide them in until they were densely packed enough to keep each other up.





Now comes the pickle part! Prepare your pickling spice mix. This step is absolutely to your tastes. I can tell you that what I used for my mix included: sugar, kosher salt, mustard seed, peppercorns, crushed red pepper, diced garlic, and chopped fresh dill. I might be missing some stuff. But as I said, it’s entirely up to you.





Bring about a pint of white vinegar to a slow boil, and mix in your spices until they’re just dissolved. Then pour them over your pickles in your jar until they’re covered. (WARNING — the smell of hot vinegar is STRONG, and worse so if you’re standing directly over the fumes. Try not to breathe in through your nose.) At this time, if you want to pack anything in with them — like pearl onions or anything else — you can shove them in between your pickles. I am a garlic fiend, so I pushed a few peeled whole garlic cloves in around the spears, and a few fresh dill stalks.
Then seal the jar, give it a shake or two to make sure everything’s evenly coated, and stick it in the fridge.
Do not disturb for a week! They’re pickling. They need to concentrate.
But at the end, you have a lovely, crunchy, zesty batch of pickles to call your very own.





That is, if your kitten doesn’t try to steal them first.

PICKLES. Who doesn’t love them?

No but for real. There’s kind of nothing better than a crisp, flavorful pickle, either if you’re actually looking to eat something or you just need to satisfy an oral fixation.

I didn’t know I wanted to make my own pickles until I saw these perfectly adorable Kirby cucumbers at my local farmer’s market:

image

I mean, would you be able to resist? No you would not. Especially if they were selling precious French clasp-top hermetic jars at the next stand over. Perfect storm for pickle-making.

It takes a bit of time to make pickles, but the steps themselves are pretty easy and are adaptable to what you want to make. First, soak your cucumbers in an ice water bath.

image

That’ll need to stay there for an hour. While that’s happening, you can boil your jar (or jars — I only made one) for about 20 minutes to disinfect it.

image

When the ice bath is done, chop your cucumbers into whatever shape you like your pickles to be. You could go with spears (like I did) or slices or you could pickle them whole; heck, if you wanted to be extra-adorable, you could cookie-cutter your pickles into fun shapes. That’s a bit twee for me. I like spears. Because I’m metal like that.

image

Then slip them into your jar, and pack them pretty tightly. Because I was trying to stand my spears up in the jar, I found it easier to turn the jar to the side and slide them in until they were densely packed enough to keep each other up.

image

Now comes the pickle part! Prepare your pickling spice mix. This step is absolutely to your tastes. I can tell you that what I used for my mix included: sugar, kosher salt, mustard seed, peppercorns, crushed red pepper, diced garlic, and chopped fresh dill. I might be missing some stuff. But as I said, it’s entirely up to you.

image

Bring about a pint of white vinegar to a slow boil, and mix in your spices until they’re just dissolved. Then pour them over your pickles in your jar until they’re covered. (WARNING — the smell of hot vinegar is STRONG, and worse so if you’re standing directly over the fumes. Try not to breathe in through your nose.) At this time, if you want to pack anything in with them — like pearl onions or anything else — you can shove them in between your pickles. I am a garlic fiend, so I pushed a few peeled whole garlic cloves in around the spears, and a few fresh dill stalks.

Then seal the jar, give it a shake or two to make sure everything’s evenly coated, and stick it in the fridge.

Do not disturb for a week! They’re pickling. They need to concentrate.

But at the end, you have a lovely, crunchy, zesty batch of pickles to call your very own.

image

That is, if your kitten doesn’t try to steal them first.

image

4 years ago | Tags: week thirty-four project forty end result refrigerator pickles food

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Doesn’t this just scream “summer” to you?
My dad grew up in France, making me a French citizen, and we try to visit my family there about every two years. Usually, these trips fall in the summer, when my sister and I have no school and it’s easier to coordinate our schedules. There are a bunch of images that strike me about those trips — the crystal blue of the lake against the Alps, the patient teacup dogs in picnic baskets next to restaurant patrons, the crisp linen dresses on slender, healthy, simply dressed but stylish women. But a lot of my memories, let’s face it, are tied to food. The French know food.
And these fruit tarts, found in every pâtisserie in every little town, are so vivid and lovely. Homey but elegant.
And I wanted one.
They’re so pretty, I was a little intimidated at first, but I found the recipe through the Joy of Baking website and dove in. I hit up Reading Terminal Market for fruit and eggs, and fought my way through the crowd that had gathered for the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. (Upside of the Festival — really great local organic produce.)
Then I made my usual gluten-free pie crust, but added a touch of brown sugar for a slightly sweeter crisp. I laid it neatly into my tart pan, and ran a rolling pin over the top to cut the crust exactly at the edge of the tin. Prick with a fork to avoid puffing, fill with pie weights, and bake until golden. (You won’t bake it any more, so be sure to cook it completely.)



Then you “seal” the crust, so that if there’s any drippy fruit juice from the filling, it won’t be a soggy mess. You can either do this by coating the bottom and sides of the crust with a thin layer of melted chocolate (!!), or by brushing it with an apricot glaze and letting it dry. I was already making an apricot glaze for the top of the tart, so I used that. It’s very simple: just 1/2 cup of apricot jam and a couple of tablespoons of water heated until melted together, and then strained.
Then you make a custard! For the life of me, I can’t make a smooth, pretty-looking custard. I guess I add the milk when it’s too hot, or I’m not whisking fast enough, but the eggs always seem to cook a little and make it gloppy. Well, whatever — it was still delicious.
After the custard cools, spread it over the bottom of the sealed crust. (My cat Jovie is inspecting to make sure it’s spread evenly.)



Here’s the artsy part! Chop up your fruit — pretty much any kind you like, although berries are probably the most standard.



Then, start to arrange them in concentric rings in whatever order you like, starting from the outside in.



And finally, reheat your apricot glaze and brush it lightly over the top. Just enough so that your fruit is shiny — not so much that it looks like it’s encased in resin. And chill until it solidifies a bit. (Here it is in my fridge.)



And voila! Your perfect summer tart. Light enough to be refreshing, heavy enough to be substantial.
Note — you WILL have a lot of leftover fruit. Be prepared to make something else out of them — or just to be nibbling on a lot of berries in the succeeding days.

Doesn’t this just scream “summer” to you?

My dad grew up in France, making me a French citizen, and we try to visit my family there about every two years. Usually, these trips fall in the summer, when my sister and I have no school and it’s easier to coordinate our schedules. There are a bunch of images that strike me about those trips — the crystal blue of the lake against the Alps, the patient teacup dogs in picnic baskets next to restaurant patrons, the crisp linen dresses on slender, healthy, simply dressed but stylish women. But a lot of my memories, let’s face it, are tied to food. The French know food.

And these fruit tarts, found in every pâtisserie in every little town, are so vivid and lovely. Homey but elegant.

And I wanted one.

They’re so pretty, I was a little intimidated at first, but I found the recipe through the Joy of Baking website and dove in. I hit up Reading Terminal Market for fruit and eggs, and fought my way through the crowd that had gathered for the Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. (Upside of the Festival — really great local organic produce.)

Then I made my usual gluten-free pie crust, but added a touch of brown sugar for a slightly sweeter crisp. I laid it neatly into my tart pan, and ran a rolling pin over the top to cut the crust exactly at the edge of the tin. Prick with a fork to avoid puffing, fill with pie weights, and bake until golden. (You won’t bake it any more, so be sure to cook it completely.)

Then you “seal” the crust, so that if there’s any drippy fruit juice from the filling, it won’t be a soggy mess. You can either do this by coating the bottom and sides of the crust with a thin layer of melted chocolate (!!), or by brushing it with an apricot glaze and letting it dry. I was already making an apricot glaze for the top of the tart, so I used that. It’s very simple: just 1/2 cup of apricot jam and a couple of tablespoons of water heated until melted together, and then strained.

Then you make a custard! For the life of me, I can’t make a smooth, pretty-looking custard. I guess I add the milk when it’s too hot, or I’m not whisking fast enough, but the eggs always seem to cook a little and make it gloppy. Well, whatever — it was still delicious.

After the custard cools, spread it over the bottom of the sealed crust. (My cat Jovie is inspecting to make sure it’s spread evenly.)

Here’s the artsy part! Chop up your fruit — pretty much any kind you like, although berries are probably the most standard.

Then, start to arrange them in concentric rings in whatever order you like, starting from the outside in.

And finally, reheat your apricot glaze and brush it lightly over the top. Just enough so that your fruit is shiny — not so much that it looks like it’s encased in resin. And chill until it solidifies a bit. (Here it is in my fridge.)

And voila! Your perfect summer tart. Light enough to be refreshing, heavy enough to be substantial.

Note — you WILL have a lot of leftover fruit. Be prepared to make something else out of them — or just to be nibbling on a lot of berries in the succeeding days.

4 years ago | Tags: week thirty-three project thirty-eight summer fruit tart food end result

Comments
We recently got back from a trip to North Carolina, and all the sweet tea and pancakes and barbecue and honeyed ice cream — while all crazy delicious! — were bogging me down. So I decided to try some feathery-light potato gnocchi for our first meal back at home.
I’ve tried gnocchi once before. It didn’t go well. They were like dense little potato rocks, flavorless, without texture enough to speak of. But I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. I was armed with a sexy and powerful new tool:



…my POTATO RICER.
This dude is indispensable for all your potato-making needs. In one press it ruthlessly smashes your potatoes into an airy, delicious cloud of starchy goodness. Not sure how I ever lived without one before.
ANYWAY.
I read a bunch of recipes online and here’s what I ended up doing:
Peel two pounds’ worth of russet potatoes, cut them in thirds, and boil in a pot of salted water for about 45 minutes, until fork-tender.



RICE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM. It’s easiest to do this while they’re still hot.



Spread them out on a cutting board to let them cool for 10-15 minutes. They don’t need to be completely cool; they just need to be hot enough that when you drizzle egg on them they’re not going to cook.



While they’re cooling, crack two large or jumbo eggs into a liquid measuring cup — (it should come to a little less than 1/2 a cup) — and beat them vigorously. The object is to use about 1/4 cup of egg, but because the dough-making process is so touch-and-go, it’s good to have some extra on hand to balance out the dough if it feels too dry. Then measure out about a cup of flour. I have celiac disease, so I’ve got to find gluten-free alternatives; I used about an equal mix of white rice flour and tapioca flour.
When the potatoes are cool, gather them into a pile and drizzle 1/4 cup of the egg on top, then sprinkle about 3/4 of a cup of the flour on top of that. 



Fold lightly until combined, then gently knead into a dough, adding more flour or egg as necessary. (Don’t overwork it!) Neither of the gluten-free flours I used is particularly gummy, so the dough was a little crumbly and I think I wound up using about 3/8 cup of egg all told in order to hold it together. When the dough is finished, cut into 8 pieces.



Roll each piece into a snaky tube about 1/2 inch diameter, then cut the tube into pieces about the 3/4 inch long.



Press each piece against the tines of a fork with your thumb, then roll off. (I found that it made the prettiest shape when I pressed the sides that had been cut, rather than the outsides of the tube.)



Put everything on a parchment-paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. You’ll get a nice little potato-pillow phalanx going.



Here’s the decadent part: melt about 2 tbsp of butter (mmmmm) and drizzle it over the gnocchi, then sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400° oven.
Baking gnocchi is a little unconventional; the traditional means is to boil them in water until they float. But take a risk, and ohhhh, the payoff —



Lookit those crisped golden underbellies. Ooof.
Here are the four things that I think made this attempt worlds better than the last one:
I used a ricer instead of hand-mashing the potatoes. I’m sure that you can make perfectly fine gnocchi by hand, but I suppose at least MY mashing doesn’t make it as whipped and light as the ricer does. The little pieces allow for more surface area and more evaporation of moisture while the potatoes are hot, and prevents the pieces from being overly dense and heavy.
I used a mix of gluten-free flours instead of a gluten-free flour mix. Explanation: I sometimes get lazy and swap in a prefab baking mix for “flour” in a recipe, which gets me into trouble because the baking mix includes things like baking powder, which react with the other ingredients in ways I’m too absent-minded to anticipate. If I take a little bit of time to figure out a mix of specific flours that suit the needs of the recipe (what’s light? what’s nutty? what’s at least a little glutinous?), it works a little bit more like I hope. (Which, in this case, was less like bread and more like gnocchi.)
I baked them. Because the key to light, billowy gnocchi is not having too much moisture, it seems counterproductive to then dunk them back in boiling hot water to cook them. By cooking briefly at high heat in a dry oven, you get even more evaporation and you’re left only with fluffy potato nuggets.
I indulged in butter and salt. Because gnocchi is made only with potato, flour, and egg, it can be a little bland. Giving a little bit makes a world of difference in the taste. Plus, baking them with the butter drizzled on made that golden-brown crisp on the bottoms. So good.
Serve and eat them any way you like. (We made up a red sauce with garlic, onions, and sweet peas.) And remember to stake your claim. Andreas already put a reservation on the leftovers for his lunch today, and now I am gnocchiless and jealous.

We recently got back from a trip to North Carolina, and all the sweet tea and pancakes and barbecue and honeyed ice cream — while all crazy delicious! — were bogging me down. So I decided to try some feathery-light potato gnocchi for our first meal back at home.

I’ve tried gnocchi once before. It didn’t go well. They were like dense little potato rocks, flavorless, without texture enough to speak of. But I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. I was armed with a sexy and powerful new tool:

…my POTATO RICER.

This dude is indispensable for all your potato-making needs. In one press it ruthlessly smashes your potatoes into an airy, delicious cloud of starchy goodness. Not sure how I ever lived without one before.

ANYWAY.

I read a bunch of recipes online and here’s what I ended up doing:

Peel two pounds’ worth of russet potatoes, cut them in thirds, and boil in a pot of salted water for about 45 minutes, until fork-tender.

RICE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM. It’s easiest to do this while they’re still hot.

Spread them out on a cutting board to let them cool for 10-15 minutes. They don’t need to be completely cool; they just need to be hot enough that when you drizzle egg on them they’re not going to cook.

While they’re cooling, crack two large or jumbo eggs into a liquid measuring cup — (it should come to a little less than 1/2 a cup) — and beat them vigorously. The object is to use about 1/4 cup of egg, but because the dough-making process is so touch-and-go, it’s good to have some extra on hand to balance out the dough if it feels too dry. Then measure out about a cup of flour. I have celiac disease, so I’ve got to find gluten-free alternatives; I used about an equal mix of white rice flour and tapioca flour.

When the potatoes are cool, gather them into a pile and drizzle 1/4 cup of the egg on top, then sprinkle about 3/4 of a cup of the flour on top of that. 

Fold lightly until combined, then gently knead into a dough, adding more flour or egg as necessary. (Don’t overwork it!) Neither of the gluten-free flours I used is particularly gummy, so the dough was a little crumbly and I think I wound up using about 3/8 cup of egg all told in order to hold it together. When the dough is finished, cut into 8 pieces.

Roll each piece into a snaky tube about 1/2 inch diameter, then cut the tube into pieces about the 3/4 inch long.

Press each piece against the tines of a fork with your thumb, then roll off. (I found that it made the prettiest shape when I pressed the sides that had been cut, rather than the outsides of the tube.)

Put everything on a parchment-paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. You’ll get a nice little potato-pillow phalanx going.

Here’s the decadent part: melt about 2 tbsp of butter (mmmmm) and drizzle it over the gnocchi, then sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 400° oven.

Baking gnocchi is a little unconventional; the traditional means is to boil them in water until they float. But take a risk, and ohhhh, the payoff —

Lookit those crisped golden underbellies. Ooof.

Here are the four things that I think made this attempt worlds better than the last one:

  1. I used a ricer instead of hand-mashing the potatoes. I’m sure that you can make perfectly fine gnocchi by hand, but I suppose at least MY mashing doesn’t make it as whipped and light as the ricer does. The little pieces allow for more surface area and more evaporation of moisture while the potatoes are hot, and prevents the pieces from being overly dense and heavy.
  2. I used a mix of gluten-free flours instead of a gluten-free flour mix. Explanation: I sometimes get lazy and swap in a prefab baking mix for “flour” in a recipe, which gets me into trouble because the baking mix includes things like baking powder, which react with the other ingredients in ways I’m too absent-minded to anticipate. If I take a little bit of time to figure out a mix of specific flours that suit the needs of the recipe (what’s light? what’s nutty? what’s at least a little glutinous?), it works a little bit more like I hope. (Which, in this case, was less like bread and more like gnocchi.)
  3. I baked them. Because the key to light, billowy gnocchi is not having too much moisture, it seems counterproductive to then dunk them back in boiling hot water to cook them. By cooking briefly at high heat in a dry oven, you get even more evaporation and you’re left only with fluffy potato nuggets.
  4. I indulged in butter and salt. Because gnocchi is made only with potato, flour, and egg, it can be a little bland. Giving a little bit makes a world of difference in the taste. Plus, baking them with the butter drizzled on made that golden-brown crisp on the bottoms. So good.

Serve and eat them any way you like. (We made up a red sauce with garlic, onions, and sweet peas.) And remember to stake your claim. Andreas already put a reservation on the leftovers for his lunch today, and now I am gnocchiless and jealous.

4 years ago | Tags: week twenty-eight project thirty-three food potato gnocchi end result

Comments
Not pie, but following in the trend of fake-“healthy” foods…
I’d bought a huge head of cauliflower at the local farmer’s market to roast with some broccoli and potatoes. It was very good, but I needed nowhere near that amount of cauliflower. BUT; I’d just come home from vacation with a friend who hails from India, who’d told me how amazingly simple vegetable pakora was to make at home. In the end all you need is chickpea flour and some spices. I knew what to do!
Actually, I kind of guessed. I’ve never deep-fried anything in my life. Ever. So, considering I had no clue what I was doing, these turned out pretty deliciously!
For the pakora, I used about a cup of garbanzo bean flour, and about 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon each of chili powder, garam masala, coriander, and turmeric, plus salt and pepper and a bunch of crushed garlic, and water enough to make it into a thick, pancakey batter. Then I just chopped up the raw cauliflower, dunked pieces in to coat, and dropped them in hot oil until they looked appetizingly golden.
I’m terrified of oil splashes, so while I was told to use a quart of oil, I said FUNK DAT and probably used just about a cup at the bottom of a big pot. Some of the larger pieces didn’t submerge all the way as a result, but I kept turning them and it seemed to work out fine.
These were super yummy with tamarind sauce.
If someone could furnish me with an idea of what to do with leftover deep-frying oil, shoot it my way. I realized too late I had no idea, and wound up letting it cool and pouring it right back into the bottle it came in (which, thankfully, no longer had any fresh oil in it). Do you save yours? If not, how do you dispose of it?

Not pie, but following in the trend of fake-“healthy” foods…

I’d bought a huge head of cauliflower at the local farmer’s market to roast with some broccoli and potatoes. It was very good, but I needed nowhere near that amount of cauliflower. BUT; I’d just come home from vacation with a friend who hails from India, who’d told me how amazingly simple vegetable pakora was to make at home. In the end all you need is chickpea flour and some spices. I knew what to do!

Actually, I kind of guessed. I’ve never deep-fried anything in my life. Ever. So, considering I had no clue what I was doing, these turned out pretty deliciously!

For the pakora, I used about a cup of garbanzo bean flour, and about 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon each of chili powder, garam masala, coriander, and turmeric, plus salt and pepper and a bunch of crushed garlic, and water enough to make it into a thick, pancakey batter. Then I just chopped up the raw cauliflower, dunked pieces in to coat, and dropped them in hot oil until they looked appetizingly golden.

I’m terrified of oil splashes, so while I was told to use a quart of oil, I said FUNK DAT and probably used just about a cup at the bottom of a big pot. Some of the larger pieces didn’t submerge all the way as a result, but I kept turning them and it seemed to work out fine.

These were super yummy with tamarind sauce.

If someone could furnish me with an idea of what to do with leftover deep-frying oil, shoot it my way. I realized too late I had no idea, and wound up letting it cool and pouring it right back into the bottle it came in (which, thankfully, no longer had any fresh oil in it). Do you save yours? If not, how do you dispose of it?

4 years ago | Tags: week twenty-three project twenty-eight food vegetable pakora leftover material question end result

Comments
Told you. Pie-making CRAZINESS.
I’ve been meaning to try my hand at a lemon meringue pie for years. I’m a native of South Jersey, land of the 24-hour diner, and lemon meringue was my go-to fake-tasting pie choice for years. I wanted to know how much different it would taste if I used real ingredients at home instead of prefab pie filling with artificial colors and imitation lemon extract.
I was absolutely amazed by this, as if it were some science experiment in a chemistry lab instead of just following a recipe; everything I used was fresh, and still the texture was as smooth and gelatinous as the stuff in the pie cases guarded by polyester-suited waitresses, except this had the added kick of delicious strips of lemon rind I’d coaxed off with a microplane zester.
The filling was just sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and zest; the meringue topping, light and fluffy and amazing, was just egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. (By the way, big ups to the recipe I used for using the exact same number of egg whites as egg yolks. I HATE when they’re off by one or two.)
The meringue scooped out fairly smoothly, so I made those peaks manually with a spatula so that they’d crisp and brown (I love the look of that). So gratifying at the end.
I can’t believe there’s any still left, honestly.
Some in-process shots below!
The lemon filling bubbling and thickening in the pot (corn starch is magic!):



Poured into the crust:



The meringue, beaten until glossy (check out the accidental heart shape in the upper-right hand corner!):



Being glopped onto the lemon filling:



Spread out to the edges:



BAKING. Look at those little peaks starting to bronze over!



Even my cat is interested in this.



All sliced and ready!



OM NOM NOM. If you come to my house by tomorrow, there MIGHT be a slice left. No guarantees.

Told you. Pie-making CRAZINESS.

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at a lemon meringue pie for years. I’m a native of South Jersey, land of the 24-hour diner, and lemon meringue was my go-to fake-tasting pie choice for years. I wanted to know how much different it would taste if I used real ingredients at home instead of prefab pie filling with artificial colors and imitation lemon extract.

I was absolutely amazed by this, as if it were some science experiment in a chemistry lab instead of just following a recipe; everything I used was fresh, and still the texture was as smooth and gelatinous as the stuff in the pie cases guarded by polyester-suited waitresses, except this had the added kick of delicious strips of lemon rind I’d coaxed off with a microplane zester.

The filling was just sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and zest; the meringue topping, light and fluffy and amazing, was just egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. (By the way, big ups to the recipe I used for using the exact same number of egg whites as egg yolks. I HATE when they’re off by one or two.)

The meringue scooped out fairly smoothly, so I made those peaks manually with a spatula so that they’d crisp and brown (I love the look of that). So gratifying at the end.

I can’t believe there’s any still left, honestly.

Some in-process shots below!

The lemon filling bubbling and thickening in the pot (corn starch is magic!):

Poured into the crust:

The meringue, beaten until glossy (check out the accidental heart shape in the upper-right hand corner!):

Being glopped onto the lemon filling:

Spread out to the edges:

BAKING. Look at those little peaks starting to bronze over!

Even my cat is interested in this.

All sliced and ready!

OM NOM NOM. If you come to my house by tomorrow, there MIGHT be a slice left. No guarantees.

4 years ago | Tags: week twenty-three project twenty-seven food lemon meringue pie end result

Comments
If you end up doing some kind of fancy design on your top pie crusts (and even if you don’t!), there’s often a heck of a lot of leftover dough.
DON’T THROW IT AWAY. Eat it!
You can mix the dough with cracked pepper and sprinkle it with cheese if you want something savory and cracker-y; you can blend in some cinnamon sugar if you’re after a buttery cookie type snack.
Ball up your leftovers, roll them out, and use a cookie cutter. Bake ‘em on a cookie sheet for just a few minutes, until they’re golden brown (you can even do this while your pie is baking), and then you have a little something extra along with the amazing dessert you’re having. (The savory ones are GREAT alongside a soup.)

If you end up doing some kind of fancy design on your top pie crusts (and even if you don’t!), there’s often a heck of a lot of leftover dough.

DON’T THROW IT AWAY. Eat it!

You can mix the dough with cracked pepper and sprinkle it with cheese if you want something savory and cracker-y; you can blend in some cinnamon sugar if you’re after a buttery cookie type snack.

Ball up your leftovers, roll them out, and use a cookie cutter. Bake ‘em on a cookie sheet for just a few minutes, until they’re golden brown (you can even do this while your pie is baking), and then you have a little something extra along with the amazing dessert you’re having. (The savory ones are GREAT alongside a soup.)

4 years ago | Tags: protip week twenty-two food scrap snacks

Comments
Got into a serious pie-making frenzy when I got back from vacation—ironically, as a result of my wanting to eat better.
Ha.
What happened was: I ate a lot of fast food while I was out, which I don’t normally do. Once I got home, I was desperate for some fresh vegetables and fruit, so I headed over to Reading Terminal Market for all kinds of local, organic produce and specialty foods. The strawberry and rhubarb were right next to each other, so really, what was a girl to do?
This was my first time making anything with rhubarb in it (I kept worrying that I’d chosen underripe stalks, or that they were going to be too bitter to bear); and also my first time making a classic lattice crust (previously I’d done cheeky little cutouts in lieu of a top crust).
Here’s what I learned:
pair rhubarb with strawberry and use some sugar and you don’t have to worry about too tart. Tart is the point anyway.
I can’t decide whether it makes sense to weave the lattice first and then put it on top, or to lay strips on the pie then weave other strips through them (as I did); either way, I know next time I’m going to use a pizza roller instead of a serrated knife to cut the strips, because their edges were ragged and they weren’t quite as attractive as they could have been. 
Pie was GREAT, though. My boyfriend ate most of it himself, in a matter of three days. (And it only took him so long because he was trying to be polite and save some for a friend who didn’t get around to picking up a piece of her own.)
Some in-process shots:








And the aftermath!

Got into a serious pie-making frenzy when I got back from vacation—ironically, as a result of my wanting to eat better.

Ha.

What happened was: I ate a lot of fast food while I was out, which I don’t normally do. Once I got home, I was desperate for some fresh vegetables and fruit, so I headed over to Reading Terminal Market for all kinds of local, organic produce and specialty foods. The strawberry and rhubarb were right next to each other, so really, what was a girl to do?

This was my first time making anything with rhubarb in it (I kept worrying that I’d chosen underripe stalks, or that they were going to be too bitter to bear); and also my first time making a classic lattice crust (previously I’d done cheeky little cutouts in lieu of a top crust).

Here’s what I learned:

  1. pair rhubarb with strawberry and use some sugar and you don’t have to worry about too tart. Tart is the point anyway.
  2. I can’t decide whether it makes sense to weave the lattice first and then put it on top, or to lay strips on the pie then weave other strips through them (as I did); either way, I know next time I’m going to use a pizza roller instead of a serrated knife to cut the strips, because their edges were ragged and they weren’t quite as attractive as they could have been.

Pie was GREAT, though. My boyfriend ate most of it himself, in a matter of three days. (And it only took him so long because he was trying to be polite and save some for a friend who didn’t get around to picking up a piece of her own.)

Some in-process shots:

And the aftermath!

4 years ago | Tags: week twenty-two project twenty-six food strawberry rhubarb pie lattice crust end result

Comments
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