About Sarit Wishnevski

Posts by Sarit Wishnevski:

English Muffins

When I woke up Tuesday morning, before I knew that there was a disappointing amount of snow on the ground, all I could think about was making eggs benedict with smoked salmon. My day had been cleared in prep for the snow storm and it felt like a weekend, which made me think of brunch, which naturally led to daydreaming about foods covered in hollandaise.

On Monday morning, in the middle of the first blizzard panic of the season, the supermarket lines were out the door. I found myself in the crowd at a Citarella picking up fresh fish for my client’s dinner. As the checkout line slowly wound its way to the registers, I got pulled in by all the delicious foods we were passing. At the last second I grabbed a package of smoked salmon. (As you might know, from the title of this blog, I have a thing for smoked and cured fish.) So, as I lay in bed on Tuesday, I was all ready to pull together my Salmon Eggs Benedict.

The plan was to use regular bread, but now that I had an empty day, I decided to spend the morning baking English Muffins and enjoy my eggs benedict for a late brunch. Thankfully, the ingredients are all household staples for us, so I didn’t have to venture out into the, uh, couple inches of snow and um, cleared sidewalks. Is it cool if I just pretend we were completely snowed in? Survival English Muffins!

After reading a dozen different recipes for English muffins, I learned that there are two common issues. 1. The dough can be super sticky and a mess to work with and 2. Cooking methods and times vary greatly, and it’s hard to tell when the muffin is done baking.

I pulled from different recipes and made the adjustments that I thought would help with the stickiness. It totally worked! The dough definitely pulled and stretched much more easily than other bread doughs, but it wasn’t a mess to transfer or handle.

For the cooking times, I found a recipe that combined both the stovetop and the oven, and the results were great! I will say that I had a minor panic attack when I opened a muffin and the inside was still kind of soft and doughy. The nooks and crannies were there, but it felt a little raw.

As I stood there trying to figure out what I’d done wrong, a memory from childhood surfaced. I haven’t bought English Muffins in a very long time, but as a kid I remember trying to eat a Thomas English Muffin right from the package and hating the mushy texture and sour taste. I had completely forgotten about the step where you toast the muffin! I popped my freshly baked muffin it into the toaster for a few minutes, and there it was! The taste and texture of spot-on English Muffin. Winning!

This recipe made SO many muffins, which are now mostly in my freezer. And that’s awesome because homemade English Muffins are ridiculously good. Now I can have them when the mood strikes.

The next time the snow comes down outside, make it rain flour inside. Or just block off a morning and get to work on these!

Oh you were wondering what happened to the Salmon Eggs Benedict on my homemade English Muffins?

Right about when I was going to make my late afternoon brunch, I planned a date with a friend who lives a couple blocks away and we ended up making beautiful Benedict’s for dinner. Here’s a photo I took on my phone before we inhaled them. They were so totally worth waiting all day for. Brunch: The good-for-all hours-of-the-day meal.

English Muffins

Serves: Makes 16-18

Ingredients
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1¾ cup whole milk, warmed (to take the chill off - I warmed it in a saucepan until it wasn't cold and I could put my finger in without it being hot)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened but not melted
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 4½ cups of all purpose flour
  • Cornmeal, semolina, or farina
Instructions
  1. I made this in a stand mixer. You can make it in a bowl by beating all the ingredients together and kneading it at the end but I don't have the exact specifications.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warmed milk for a couple minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the cornmeal, semolina, or farina) to the bowl and mix, with the flat beater, on medium-high for 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth. I had to take breaks in the mixing to scrape down the dough as it creeped up to the gears at the top of the attachment. Keep an eye on it as it will move around. If the dough isn't where you want it, you can use the dough hook at the end for a couple minutes to finish the kneading, or knead it by hand just until it's smooth.
  3. Take the dough out and form it into a ball, or as close as you can get it, and place it into a lightly greased (canola or vegetable oil work great) bowl that has room for it to rise. Cover it with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours until it's at least doubled in size.
  4. Prepare 2 baking sheets. Cover one with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside. On the other one, generously cover the surface in cornmeal, semolina, or farina.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl, gently pushing the air out and place it on a work surface. (Use a little flour if it's too sticky.) You can divide the dough into 16 pieces or weigh out the dough to about 60g per servings. Roll each serving into a ball shape and place it onto the grain-covered baking sheet. Gently press it into the grain and then lift it up and press the other side into the grain. This will help keep your muffins from sticking in the next steps. As you dip each muffin, line them up on the grain-tray so they are resting on top of the grains. Let the muffins rest, covered, for 20 more minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 300°F
  7. Warm a cast iron pan or griddle on the stove on medium-low heat. If you know your pan runs hot, lower the temperature even more. This should be done low and slow.
  8. Working in small batches, place your muffins in the pan or griddle and let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side. You don't want too dark a brown on them but you don't want them too light either. They will puff up a little as you go. When each side is complete transfer them to your second baking tray.
  9. Place the muffins in the oven for another 10-12 minutes to finish cooking the insides.
  10. Let cool slightly before diving in and remember to toast them! For optimal nooks and crannies make sure to split them with a fork and/or your hands - a knife cut won't give you the same result!

These keep 2-3 days before they start to harden or you can freeze the remainder for on-demand English Muffin eating!

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

Farro Risotto by Herring and Potatoes

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

The first time I heard about farro was on a cooking show like Chopped or Top Chef where the contestants are thrown unfamiliar ingredients for their challenge and have to create something brilliant. I remember googling farro then and not finding a ton of information about what it was. Now you can google “farro” and find out way more than a few years ago but it’s still not the most popular of grains.More and more I’m seeing it on menus and on shelves in grocery stores. In the past year, since I’ve started cooking with it, we’ve had it in stuffings, salads, and now (finally!) risotto. It’s a nutty grain that’s toothsome and hearty. It complements fall and winter flavors so well and I have a feeling it will do very well in the summer with light cheeses and fresh fruits. Farro is also high in protein, fiber, and iron, making it a great substitute for rices and other grains.

Most recipes will recommend soaking your farro before cooking it to help soften it and cook it faster. One night, in a stretch of being supremely lazy, I decided to try making a risotto without soaking it first. Not that I mind extra steps, but in order for it to qualify as a quick weeknight meal, it needed to have as few steps as possible. It took a few minutes more to get to the consistency that I wanted it at, but my supremely lazy self was victorious! And then, to celebrate, I ate too much risotto.

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

Risotto wasn’t a food I was familiar with until a few years ago. I honestly didn’t eat a lot of rice dishes growing up, mostly because I thought rice was super bland. This bizarre prejudice lasted many years, and carried over to Risotto. I thought, ‘Why would anyone want to eat a big bowl of mushy rice?!”. I can’t remember when I had my first taste but it immediately changed everything I thought I knew about the dish. It was cheesy, creamy, and perfectly filling.

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

The first time I made a risotto I was nervous about how it would come together. I labored over every step and double, then triple, checked recipes to make sure I was doing it right. Would it not get creamy? Would I add the stock too soon? How will I know when it’s done? The final dish was super delicious and since that first stressful experience, I’ve created many risottos on the fly, because as it turns out, risotto is a pretty easy dish to pull together.

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

Another bonus about making a risotto is that it’s a solid way to use up produce in the fridge. My other two favorite ways are frittata’s and big bowls of pasta. They make great ‘anything goes’ sorts of dishes.But this version – this is my ideal bowl of winter food. Portobello mushrooms, squash roasted until it’s spreadable, dark leafy greens, fresh herbs, and generous amounts of parmesan cheese make it what I want to eat too much of on a cold night.

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

If you’ve never made a risotto, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t difficult. You will not mess it up. It will be delicious. You don’t need fancy one-time-use ingredients to win at this dish and it won’t take up hours of your time. Once the farro exists in your cupboard start browsing online for all sorts of recipes and tips on how to dress it up differently, or just swap it out where you would normally use rice or barley. I’m seriously crushing so hard on farro these days. After you make this, let me know if you want to start a farro fan club….I have this idea for T-shirts…

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

Farro Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Kale

Serves: Serves 3-4

Ingredients
  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (1 for roasting, 1 for the risotto)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine (a dry wine, like a Pinot Grigio)
  • 6 cups of stock, I used all vegetable stock for this but a mix of mushroom and vegetable is delicious too
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼-1/2 cup roasted squash (if using a sweeter squash like a Butternut use less, I also recommend a less sweet Delicata squash for this!)
  • 1 Portobello mushroom cap, roasted or grilled and sliced into small cubes
  • ½-3/4 packed cup of shredded kale
  • 6-8 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Halve a squash and place on a lined baking sheet, skin side down. If roasting the portobello, clean and place on the baking sheet as well. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them. After 20 min check on your vegetables- the mushroom will cook faster. Depending on the squash you are using it can take anywhere from 25 min - 1 hr to fully roast. You want the flesh of the squash to be like a puree, and spreadable. You will be mixing it into the risotto later and it needs to be completely soft. You can also blend it up to give it that consistency.
  3. Pour your stock into a pot and get it hot. Once heated through, lower the heat to a simmer and ;eave it on the stove. You'll need your stock hot as you add it to the risotto.
  4. Place a pan (sauté or cast iron or any large pan with higher sides) on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the minced onion and garlic and sauté 3-4 minutes until slightly softened and fragrant.
  5. Add the farro and continue cooking 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The goal is to lightly toast the farro. If you were using Arborio rice you would keep going until the rice became translucent, but the farro won't do that.
  6. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the wine evaporates.
  7. Now you can begin adding your stock. Start with 2 cups of stock added to the pan. Keep stirring constantly until most of the stock is absorbed. Going forward add an additional 1 cup of stock at a time, stirring until mostly absorbed between additions. This is a great time to call your parents. It will take 35-45 minutes of stirring and adding stock.
  8. Taste the risotto towards the end of the stock in the pot. Farro will not lose it's bite entirely, but it will soften a lot. When the consistency is where you want it, lower the heat. I usually have about ½ cup of stock left but it's not an exact science.
  9. Stir in the cup of cheese until it is well incorporated. Add the squash and do the same. It will take a little careful maneuvering but the squash should distribute nicely, and just sort of melt into the risotto.
  10. Add in the kale and carefully mix it in, allowing it to wilt into the risotto. Stir in the mushrooms and sage. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes to your liking and salt/pepper to taste.
  11. Serve and eat immediately; risotto is best when eaten right away. (Which is great if you're like me, and aren't very good at waiting!)

Clementine Olive Oil Cake

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Just about now, when the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables dwindle or feel uninspiring, and I start craving warmer-weather flavors, big boxes of these perfect little oranges start showing up.

Very quickly there’s a crate of clementines sitting in our fridge. We eat them for days and the pile somehow doesn’t grow smaller. It’s not a bad thing, but after a while I start to wonder what else I can do with all this citrus goodness. This year there were about 1/3 left when I committed to baking a cake. After days of brainstorming I came up with a way to say “I love you” to clementines, and used them in three ways in one cake: candied, juiced, and as zest.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

The cake itself is bold but simple, and as a bonus, it’s dairy-free! Putting the cake together isn’t a long project but it does take some time to candy the clementine slices. Yes, you could skip them but they are a beautiful addition both visually and texturally to the final product. You can also make them ahead of time and have them ready to go for last minute decorating.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

To candy the slices, it takes about 4.5 hours of cooking- first on the stove, then in the oven. Transforming this fruit is a low and slow process.

It is so worth it. I candied three clementines and carried them with me throughout the week sharing slices with friends who were so surprised at how good they were. Truthfully, I was really surprised at how good they were! I am not a fan of candied oranges and the only reason I convinced myself to make this was because I’ve never tried them homemade, and my curiosity won out. They don’t compare to store bought. The sweetness is deep but not cloying. Isn’t it great when things taste real?!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Next, I needed to decide on the cake itself. I waffled between pound cakes, white cakes with chocolate frosting, and Sephardic almond and orange cakes (Ottolenghi has an incredible recipe I’ve made before) but ultimately decided on one of my favorite citrus cake recipes to edit.

The cake is an olive oil lemon cake and I make it a few times a year. It’s a perfect end to a big meal. It’s not a heavy dessert, but still has all the qualities I love in an after-dinner sweet. It also pairs so well with homemade whipped cream. Mmmwhippedcream.

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

If you’re looking for something to brighten your winter this might just be it.
Also, if you’re slowly making your way through boxes of clementines consider this recipe to shake things up!

Clementine Olive Oil Cake by Herring & Potatoes

Clementine Olive Oil Cake with Candied Clementines
Ingredients
Candied Clementines
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 clementines sliced very thinly with the rind still on
Olive Oil Clementine Cake
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp clementine zest
  • 4.5 Tbsp clementine juice
  • Powdered sugar for serving
Instructions
Candied Clementines
  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the clementines and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  2. To help keep the clementines submerged place a piece of parchment paper over the clementines and liquid. Let it simmer for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, remove them from the heat.
  4. Preheat oven to 250°F
  5. Remove the clementines from the syrup and reserve the syrup for other uses (mixing drinks, baking, etc..). Place the orange slices, in a single layer, on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or other mat) or parchment paper. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the orange slices and, on top of that, place a second baking sheet. The pressure from the second baking sheet on top of the clementines will help with the candy process.
  6. Bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and when cool enough peel the slices off the sheet. Store in airtight container - I found lining whatever they were in with parchment paper helped reduce the sticking to things part.
Olive Oil Clementine Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease and flour a 9" cake round and set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar together on a high setting. Keep going until the mixture is pale, fluffed up, and thick - about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Slowly pour in the olive oil and clementine juice and mix it in with a rubber spatula.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and zest. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it is all well incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into the greased and floured cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges aren't too browned. My oven cooks it quickly and I start checking around 35 minutes.
Assembly
  1. Let cake cool in pan slightly before inverting onto a plate or serving dish. Dust with powdered sugar and top with the candied clementine slices. I served it with a homemade almond whipped cream which was pretty amazing but this cake is also wonderful all on its own!
Candied Clementine Recipe from the NYTimes 

Soba Noodle Soup with Miso Dashi

Coming home to cold NYC from beautiful New Zealand, with temperature highs near 70° and sunset after 9pm, was a little hard. We had the most amazing time and filled our days with exploring, hiking, biking, and, of course, eating. It was wonderful and relaxing, but boy did I miss my kitchen! Sometimes when we travel, we’ll have a “home base” apartment and a complete kitchen. It’s fun to hit the markets and cook in a new place with unfamiliar ingredients. This trip we drove around the country packing up every couple of days to see something new and so it was a few weeks without chopping, roasting, sautéing, or baking for me.

Oh, we did just fine on the food front. So. Much. Good. Food. (And wine!) But towards the end of our trip I was already making grocery lists and planning meals. Now I’ve been back a week, am finally past jet lag, and very happy to be back on the blog.

Right before we left I decided to try my hand at making a soba soup with a dashi base. It’s definitely not hard to make but because I hadn’t ever tried to do it before, it was daunting. I’ve tried my hand at miso soup before but because I didn’t make a dashi it always lacked the depth that I’ve tasted (and crave) at Japanese restaurants.
Dashi is typically made of kombu (dried kelp) and dried fish. Once that broth is prepared it can become the base for tons of Japanese dishes and soups. It has an umami flavor that’s unique to Japanese cooking.

Our kitchen is kosher and it was hard to find a package of kombu that I could use, let alone the bonito, dried fish. After reading a ton about kombu and making dashi I decided to leave off the fish and make it only with the dried kelp. I made the dashi by soaking kombu in water and simmering it with a few pieces of ginger and garlic. After the broth was strained, the miso paste was whisked in and transformed it into a deep, flavorful broth.

Picking out the toppings was loads of fun and this is really a dish that you can tailor to your tastes. I went with shiitake mushrooms, scallions, bok choy, sesame seeds, tofu, seaweed, some Japanese yams that were steamed and sliced, and the all-important soba noodle – star of the dish.
Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and there are many different varieties you can buy. They can range in thickness and sweetness but I prefer a simple, thin noodle. I love the nutty texture and heartiness. It’s filling, warm, and does wonderfully in a big bowl of soup. The noodles are cooked beforehand and added to the bowl at the end with the soup poured on top.

I’m so happy to have learned how to make this because I often crave soba soup and usually have to venture far to get a fix. While these aren’t ingredients you might have in your kitchen right this minute, once you buy them they last a long time and will make for many warm bowls of soup this very cold winter.

Soba Noodle Soup with Miso Dashi
Ingredients
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 piece of kombu (You can probably find kombu at your local health food store and it runs about $10 for a bag of around 10 pieces or more)
  • 2-3 pieces of ginger/garlic cut in large pieces
  • 2-2.5 Tbsp of miso paste
  • Soba noodles (or your noodle of choice)
  • Toppings: Whatever you like (I used bok choy, japanese yam, scallion, shiitake mushroom, tofu, seaweed, and toasted sesame seeds)
Instructions
  1. Kombu needs to be gently wiped off before using it. Take a damp paper towel and run in across the top and bottom. Do not scrub or press too hard - you don't want to wipe off all the white powdery stuff. Place your strip of kombu, along with the garlic and ginger, into a pot with 4 cups of cold water and let it soak for an hour.
  2. Turn a burner to a medium-low heat and place the pot. Let it come very slowly towards boiling but immediately remove it as the water starts to boil. If the kombu sits in boiling water it will make your broth bitter.
  3. Strain the kombu broth into a clean pot. I used a cheesecloth for a very fine strain. This is now your dashi.
  4. Prepare your noodles. Cook them according to the package directions, and if you're using soba noodles follow this next step! As your noodles cook, set a large bowl of cold (not ice) water on the side. Once your noodles are done, drain them, and immediately slip them into the bowl of cold water. Now wash your noodles! (Yup!) Using both hands, gently rub the noodles together to help remove excess starch and providing stickiness prevention. This step should take a minute or two at most.
  5. To add your miso, whisk the 2 Tbsp first with a small amount of the kombu dashi in a separate bowl to make sure you won't have clumping in the big pot. Once it's all blended and broken down, add the contents of miso/dashi bowl into the larger pot and stir it together. Taste. If you need more miso add it now by using the same small bowl to big pot method.
  6. Now you can begin adding your toppings. Things like boy choy and mushrooms can go in raw and wilt/cook in the broth.
  7. When you're ready for a bowl of soup, add the noodles first and then pour/ladle soup over. Artfully sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. Admire it. Eat it.

Kiwi, Sheep, and Middle Earth 

Kia ora! We’re off to explore New Zealand (!!) for the next few weeks, so my kitchen and blog will be quiet until 2015. Since this is my first year blogging, I’m letting myself off the hook for not posting any holiday recipes. I promise loads of new stuff when I get back, and maybe even a vacation food post along the way!

Happy Holidays and looking forward to cooking with you in the new year!

Pssst! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s up next when we’re back:

Carrot, Feta, and Herb Salad

After spending Thanksgiving week unplugged and mostly in kitchens (mine, clients, my folks, and restaurants) roasting all sorts of food in the holiday spirit, it seemed like a good time to shut off the oven and eat lighter foods.

Truthfully, I’m finding it very hard to convince myself that raw carrots beat out stuffing (oh, the stuffing!). And in all fairness, I’m not comparing them because if I did, stuffing would always win. Instead, I’m remembering the amount of stuffing I ate and the need to keep a balance (you might remember my last balancing act). Woman cannot live on stuffing alone…right?

Aside from all the amazing food and gatherings the past week, I’ve also been royally distracted with a trip Ari and I are planning to New Zealand! There’s been so much research and excitement filled afternoons at coffee shops while we pour over books and websites trying to plot the most exciting route for our adventure.

Because of all these (awesome) distractions and regular scheduled work stuffs, I haven’t had so much time to dedicate to personal meal planning, so I’ve been throwing together quick dishes. It’s worked out very nicely! It’s also been a good break from the heavy, big meals that November-December undoubtedly throw our way.

Not only is this salad beautiful to look at with its vibrant colors, it’s hearty and full of flavor. Sometime it feels impossible to coax flavors out of raw fall/winter vegetables but it can be done! Also, the right dressing can work miracles.
This salad was inspired by what was in the fridge at the time. In my refrigerator you can almost always find scallions, herbs (parsley, cilantro, and mint), and lemons. I like going into my fridge and playing the “what should we eat today” game.
Tossed up together this salad had crunch, creaminess, and an earthiness from the abundance of herbs and onions thrown in the mix.  It made an excellent breakfast, which wasn’t its intended meal, but when you have a perfectly delicious salad hanging out ready to be eaten who cares what time it is?
Carrot, Feta, and Herb Salad
Ingredients
  • 3 carrots, sliced thin on the mandoline or with a peeler**
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced on a bias - dark and light green sections only
  • ¾ cup (lightly packed) parsley
  • ¼ cup (lightly packed) mint (I tossed the mint in with the parsley and it looked to be about one cup)
  • ¼ lb. feta cheese, crumbled (I used a less salty/more creamy French feta)
  • 1.5-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to tase
Instructions
  1. Soak the sliced red onion in hot water for 5 minutes, drain, and let sit on paper towels to dry. This will remove some of the sharpness you get with raw onion. I recommend doing it with this salad because you'll also get the onion-y flavor from scallions.
  2. Chop up half the herbs and reserve the other half as whole pieces.
  3. Combine the lemon juice, zest, honey, and olive oil and whisk (or my preferred method: shake in a jar) to combine. Salt and pepper to tase.
  4. Toss together the carrots, onion, scallion, and herbs. Lightly salt the vegetables.
  5. Crumble the feta over the salad.
  6. Dress the salad. Marvel at the colors. Instagram it. Eat it.
Notes
**A peeler would make these very thin and part of what works so well in this salad is the meatier/thicker slices of carrot but either way would work!

Carrot Cauliflower Soup and Roasted Chickpeas

Carrots and radishes are two vegetables that I can’t walk by in a farmers market without wanting to buy them all up and bring them home with me. They’re always stacked so beautifully, and their rainbow of colors against green leaves make me all sorts of happy. What happens next, of course, is that I end up with these large bunches of radishes and carrots and no plans of how to eat them.

This recipe is great way to put a big bunch of carrots to use and is, scouts honor, incredibly easy to get together. (For finishing up radishes, my personal favorite is on a open faced sandwich, thinly sliced and salted, on top of thick buttered bread.)

I know talking about the weather is all sorts of boring, but it really does play a big part in how I eat. I, and many of you I’m sure, eat with the seasons. Light salads and fruits for snack in the summer; carb/comfort food loading in the winter. Fall is for apples, warm spices, roots, and squashes. But the weather has been super wonky lately, leading me to fluctuate between summer and fall foods. 80 degrees in October is just mean. Pfth.

So, instead of a squash based soup, which would be my typical fall go-to, I went with carrot and cauliflower but brought in all the warm fall spices. It’s a soup for all seasons!

One of my pantry staples is canned chickpeas. They’re great for quickly mixing up some chummus, adding something extra to a salad, or just warmed with black pepper and salt (a classic 1930’s Lower East Side street snack). For this soup, I wanted a topping that would add texture AND be a vehicle for more spice. I’m not typically a fan of roasting chickpeas, but with enough time in the oven these turned out really well. Such a good snack! I had to stop myself from finishing them before the soup was ready.

Carrots and cauliflower are delicious vegetables, but when they’re sitting in a stock, simmering away, they lose some of their flavors. To kick this soup up, you’ll need to break out your spice arsenal and really pack a punch. This is no time to be spice shy!

This soup has the right balance of spice with a creamy (and cream-less) texture. Plus you get to break out the immersion blender (or whatever blender you use) to pull it all together. When I was growing up my mom didn’t use an immersion blender and now as an adult, it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances; I still get giddy watching soups transform under its magical powers.

While writing this post, and feeling grumpy about the weather, I peeked ahead and saw all the “right” temperatures coming up later in the week. Doing a happy fall dance now and going to go make myself a bowl of soup.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup and Roasted Chickpeas

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
Soup
  • 1 Bunch of carrots (about 1 pound)
  • 1 Small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) (both my carrots and cauliflower were a little over a pound)
  • 1 Small to Medium sized yellow onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • ¾ tsp Ground cumin
  • ½ tsp Curry Powder (I use a mild curry)
  • ¼ tsp Ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cups Stock (I used a vegetable stock but chicken would also be great here)
  • 1½ Tbsp Honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Plain Greek yogurt (optional)
Chickpeas
  • 1 Can of Chickpeas (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala**
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne (If you like heat add another ¼ tsp!)
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the carrots into half inch discs or chop into small cubes. Break the cauliflower down to small florets. Put aside.
  2. Place a soup pot on the stove over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Dice the onion and garlic and add it to the pot when hot and sauteé them until they are translucent and soft - about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the carrot and cauliflower and the spices (including a little kosher salt and fresh pepper but not the honey!). Stir so that the spices are distributed over all the vegetables in the pot. Add the stock and bring to a boil. When it boils cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes.
  4. While the soup is cooking make your chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400°F
  5. Toss chickpeas with the olive oil and spices and spread them out in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes and turn the chickpeas over at the 20-minute mark. They'll be done when they have a little crunch on the outside but still a little soft on the inside.
  6. Test the carrots in the soup. If you can break them easily with a spoon or fork you're ready to blend it. Use an immersion blender (or your favorite blending method) and blend all the contents of the pot. Halfway through add the honey and continue to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish with your favorite greens and herbs and a dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle the chickpeas on the top. I dare you not to Instagram this.
Notes
**Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that has turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, and cumin. It's an awesome versatile spice but if you don't have it on hand make a little mix of these individual flavors or similar ones. Seriously, you can't go wrong when making this soup.

Quick Dinner Rolls with Fresh Herbs

Putting fresh baked bread on the table is a “WOAH” moment, as in: WOAH, you made this? Which is usually the last you’ll hear for awhile because warm homemade bread is being devoured.

While these rolls don’t have the same deep flavors you can achieve through the hours of love and patience that traditional breads require, they are amazing last-minute and impressive dinner rolls.

I first discovered this recipe when making some chicken in BBQ sauce in the slow cooker. When it was done cooking I shredded the chicken and realized how much sauce was leftover in the pot. I thought how great it would be to have something to soak up all the BBQ sauce goodness.
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Rice probably would have been great but, and this is the truth, I am really bad at making rice. It is rare that my stovetop rice adventures turn out well. So sad.

This might not sound super normal but my thought process was: I’m going to screw up making rice so let me try making bread. After some quick internet searches under “quick dinner rolls”, a recipe came up and it was a winner.

Since then I have whipped these rolls up often. Every time the recipe changes a little and this is my favorite iteration so far.
In under an hour you can go from “I would love some fresh hot bread”, to actually having it at the table. Promise.
The addition of fresh herbs, olive oil, and whole wheat flour helps to transform the simple white bread roll (which is also delicious) into something more hearty and rustic.
These rolls can double as hamburger buns if you make them a little bigger, or keep ’em small and use them for sliders. The only downside to making them is that they are best when they’re fresh. So while these might not work for Thanksgiving if they’re going to have compete with the turkey for oven time, they would be great for the day after! Mini leftover turkey sandwiches anyone?

Quick Dinner Rolls with Fresh Herbs
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast**
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water (110° to 115°)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg (+1 more if you want an egg wash)
  • 1 overflowing tsp salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups half whole wheat/half white flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast (yes, 2 tablespoons) in the warm water. Whisk in oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg and salt and whisk. Add enough flour to form a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Incorporate more flour if it feels too sticky. Halfway through kneading add in your fresh herbs and knead so they disperse throughout the dough.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll them into round shapes. Place them a little bit apart from each other on a greased baking sheet or a lined baking sheet (my preference is for parchment paper).
  5. If you'd like an egg wash, beat one egg and brush over the tops of the rolls. I also sprinkled a little salt.
  6. Let them sit for 10 minutes before popping them into the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until their tops turn golden brown.
  8. Let cool slightly before diving into them.
Notes
**The reason this recipe works is because it uses a lot of yeast. If you buy jars of yeast you can easily measure out the 2 Tbsp. Otherwise, if you buy the packets of yeast you'll need to open up three packets and measure out the tablespoons (you'll have a little extra leftover). Each packet has 2.5 teaspoons in it.

Adapted from this Taste of Home Recipe 

Pan Roasted Chicken with Curry, Grapes, and Rosemary

There are typically two types of NYC renters during cold months. The ones who keep their windows open because there’s uncontrollable heat blasting from the radiator, and the ones who are in epic fights with their landlords to get the heat turned on.I am thankful that our heat goes on at a (usually) comfortable temperature when the numbers drop.  Though our apartment stays somewhat cool because it’s in an old building with lots of big shady trees around it. This means I get to wear loads of layers (which is totally fine by me), and have an excuse to have the oven running and cooking warm and delicious foods at all hours of the day.

This also means: ’tis the season for stretchy pants.

Last week a friend, and guest at one of our EatWith dinners, brought beautiful fresh herbs picked from her garden. Not many people I know have such a green thumb as this friend, and I wanted to make sure her gift was used in the most delicious ways possible. Some went into the easiest and yummiest dinner rolls (recipe to come next week) and some went into this chicken dish.What I wanted to make came to mind immediately. It’s a twist on Deb Perlman’s (of Smitten Kitchen) recipe for Harvest Roast Chicken. Even though you don’t cook with the rosemary, its addition at the end produces the most mouth-watering of aromas and transforms the dish.

I promise this photo isn’t a plug for Fairway (even though it’s a great supermarket) but a instead highlighting this spice that I use heavily in this chicken dish. I haven’t yet found its equal and at the rate we use it, I wish it came in larger containers. It’s the flavor of curry without the heat, which is good if you want to use a lot of it without setting your tongue on fire. We use it on so many things like to flavor rice, in tuna salad, on meats and fish, and roast vegetables.You don’t need to have this exact spice to make the recipe – any curry powder will do (just adjust to avoid tongue fires).

The biggest difference between my version and the original recipe is the amount of spice. Originally the recipe called for only salt and pepper. While it’s a really great recipe, it was lacking in “oomph”. So I set about editing it to my taste. My favorite part about the added seasoning is not only how it affects the chicken but the pan sauce as well. Oh…the pan sauce.
Have you roasted grapes yet? Because if you haven’t yet, please get on that immediately. Under high heat the grapes burst and caramelize, while somehow retaining a crunchy texture. They’re definitely the perfect foil to the savory and salty parts of the rest of the dish.
With a small salad and maybe some smashed potatoes, this makes a phenomenal and easy weeknight meal. Spice the chicken in the morning and throw it together in under an hour when you get home. I would say make it for the amazing smells alone but then you’d be missing out on how ridiculously good it tastes. So make it for both reasons. Soon.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Curry, Grapes, and Rosemary
Ingredients
  • ½ Tbsp mild curry powder (or any curry powder you like)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • A few turns of fresh black pepper (or to taste)
  • 4-6 pieces of chicken with the skin on. I prefer dark meat and used 4 thighs but could have squeezed in a couple drumsticks too.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 2 small shallots thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
Instructions
  1. Make the dry rub by mixing the first six ingredients together and season the chicken very well. I like to take my time when seasoning and making sure to go under the skin. I made it with 4 pieces of chicken and had enough leftover rub for 1-2 small pieces more. Cover the chicken and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or for the day before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F
  3. In an ovenproof skillet (cast iron if you have it!) warm olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. If you have a lot of chicken work in batches here. Once the oil is shimmering place the chicken skin side down to brown. Don't move the chicken! The skin will release itself once it's ready and if you want that beautiful golden brown and crispy texture let it be in the pan. Give it about 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Shut the heat under the pan. Place the chicken skin side up back into the skillet and surround it with the shallots and grapes. Place in the oven for 2o minutes or until the juices run clear.
  6. Once finished in the oven, remove the chicken, grapes, and whatever shallots get picked up along the way and place them on a serving plate. Place the skillet back on the stovetop and add the wine and stock to the pan juices and bring it to a boil. Make sure to scrape up all the browned bits and onions at the bottom! Let sauce reduce 15-20 minutes or until a desired saucy thickness is achieved.
  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken and grapes and sprinkle the whole dish with the fresh rosemary.
  8. If eating with other folks, make sure to sit down to eat when the chicken hits the table because otherwise, and I've witnessed it, you might return to an empty serving plate. On your mark, get set....

Adapted from Deb Perlman’s recipe in “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

This past week I wanted to make a dessert for a client but she didn’t want something too sweet because her kids had probably just eaten their weight in candy over Halloween weekend. So I went with a cookie that was half dessert and half sorta healthy (well, maybe just half “not total junk food”).When I baked them the first time it was without icing and walnuts. Then later in the week, when I was sitting having my morning life-fuel (coffee), and desperately wanting something to dip into it, I thought about these cookies and how to jazz them up with a little more sweetness.
I never know how to answer the question “what do you love most to cook or bake?”. Honestly, I love preparing almost anything that comes out delicious regardless of time or effort spent. But I will say that pie, cookies, and certain other baked goods are up near the top of my (nonexistent) list.It’s easy to find a recipe that’s quick to put together, yields delicious results, and produces enough product that you can share with friends and family thereby making you the most popular person in town. Which is always the goal, right?
Aside from this being a fast cookie to make, it could also help you use up a couple of the apples from the 20-40 pounds that you got from the pick-your-own farm a few weeks back.  Technically, you only need one apple for these, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you could make your own applesauce (which the recipe calls for).
I recommend throwing these together this weekend and then passing them out at all group gatherings. If there’s anything left, I bet the office would love to have something to dunk in their coffee come Monday morning.

Chewy Apple Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Icing

Serves: Makes about 2½ dozen

Ingredients
Cookie
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (a 4oz snack cup is the perfect size)
  • 1 apple, medium sized, chopped into small ⅛ sized pieces (I used a Macoun but any good baking apple will work)
  • ½ cup walnuts - toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
Icing
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In one bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the melted butter together with the sugars until incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth and then add the applesauce and incorporate.
  3. Switch whisk for spoon or spatula and slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine. Add in the apples and walnuts and give it one last stir.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour. The oats will absorb some of the liquid in the batter making it firmer and ready for baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F
  6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mat. Drop the batter by the tablespoon. Bake until cookies are golden brown on the edges, about 15-17 minutes. (In one oven it took 15 minutes and in another in took 17-19 minutes.)
  7. While cookies are cooling and baking, make icing in a separate bowl using a spatula or spoon to stir. Mix the confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla together first and then begin adding the water until your desired consistency. I wanted a thicker icing and only used 1 tbsp of water. Once you have the icing where you want it, stir in a pinch of cinnamon.
  8. Drizzle the icing over the cookies and let set.
  9. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers. These cookies were best on day 1 but still delicious (more chewy less crunch) on day 2 and beyond.

Slightly adapted from this Serious Eats Recipe