All posts by Evan

Earl Grey Tea Shortbread

Buttery complex cookies with a hint of smoky bergamot flavor from Earl Grey tea.
About 32 cookies
Shopping List

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 TBL Earl Grey tea

In a medium-sized bowl, cream together

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces, 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

with a mixer or by hand. Add

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBL Earl Grey tea (about 6 teabags if you don’t have loose tea)

and blend until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Form the dough into a long roll, 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter, cover with wax paper or parchment paper, and freeze until very firm.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice the roll into cookies no thinner than 1/4 inch and prick each cookie twice with a fork. Bake on ungreased baking sheets for about 25 minutes. Watch the cookies carefully–when the bottoms are a light sand color, take them out of the oven and put them on a rack to cool completely.

You’ll find that shortbread improves with a little age. If you can resist eating them all.

Adapted from a recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

Roasted Beet & Garlic Linguine with Walnuts & Feta

Even if this weren't so delicious, it would be worth it for the color alone.
Clothing-staining dinner for four
Shopping List

4 medium red beets
4 garlic cloves
2 TBL olive oil
Thyme sprigs, a few
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans (see note)
1 TBL red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
3 TBL cremè fraîche
1 lb linguine
1/41/3 lb feta cheese
1/3 cup walnuts
parsley or dill

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Scrub well

  • 4 medium red beets

and cut them into wedges. Place the beets and

  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves

in a roasting tray and toss them with a little olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and some fresh thyme leaves. Roast 30-40 minutes, until beginning to caramelize.

Take out of the oven, trim any tough, darker bits from the beets. Put in a food processor. Squeeze the garlic from the skins into the food processor too. Add

  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained (see note re dried beans)
  • 1 TBL red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 3 TBL cremè fraîche

and pulse, adding water by the tablespoonful as needed until you have a smooth paste. You’ll probably need +/- 1/2 cup of water.

Cook the linguine & drain it. While the linguine is cooking, toast

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

in a toaster oven or skillet. Crumble

  • 1/41/3 lb feta cheese

Return the drained pasta to the still-warm pot and stir in the beet sauce.

Serve topped with toasted walnuts, a little crumbled feta and chopped parsley or dill.

Note: 1 cup of dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (about 25-60 minutes, depending on how old the beans are) will yield about 3 cups, the equivalent of 2 cans of beans.

Inspired by a recipe from chowhound.com.

Pasta with Carrot Miso Sauce

Looks like perfect M&C, but it's vegan and umami-ful.
Dinner for 2, sauce for 4
Shopping List

8 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta
2 shallots
4-6 garlic cloves
3 medium carrots
1/4 cup raw cashews
3 TBL while miso paste
1/2 cup carrot tops &/or parsley
1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup panko

Heat a little olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute

  • 2 shallots, rough chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, rough chopped

until fragrant and starting to turn lightly golden, but they shouldn’t brown. Add

  • 2 heaping cups carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste

and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the carrots are fork-tender. Stir in

  • 3 TBL white miso paste

The miso doesn’t have to dissolve completely. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

While it’s cooling, start cooking

  • 8 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta

in well-salted boiling water. Make a gremolata: Chop together finely (by hand, food processor or mini-chop)

  • 1/2 cup carrot tops &/or 1/2 cup parsley
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove (center sprout removed if you want it less sharp)

Mix in some olive oil (it should be moist but not runny) and add salt to taste.

Now’s also as good a time as any to brown

  • 1/4 cup panko

tossing it few a few minutes over medium heat in a small skillet. Set aside.

Spoon the carrot-miso mixture into a blender and blend it until creamy and silky smooth, about 60-90 seconds starting on a low speed then high.

Drain the pasta and toss it with about half of the carrot-miso sauce. Save the other half of the sauce for another day; it freezes well.

Divide into bowls, sprinkle on some toasted panko and top with some gremolata.

Inspired by a recipe from feastingathome.com.

Biscotti

Perfect for dipping in vin santo or coffee
40 medium biscotti
Shopping List

280 grams all-purpose flour
120 grams sugar
150 grams mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, blanched hazelnuts)
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix

  • 2 eggs
  • 120 grams sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Add

  • 280 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

and knead with your hands to get a homogeneous mixture.

Before adding

  • 150 grams mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, blanched hazelnuts)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

to the mixture, break the walnuts in half. Incorporate everything into the mixture.

Divide the dough into two 9″ x 2″ rectangles; they’ll be about 1/2-inch high. Beat

  • 1 egg yolk with a little water

Place each piece of dough on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush each with the egg wash. Bake about 15-20 minutes, until the dough swells and has turned golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven, reduce the temperature to 275 F. Let the logs cool a few minutes then slice each into about 20 pieces. A sharp knife and decisive cutting (not sawing) works best. Lay each slice back on the baking sheet, without the parchment paper.

Put the biscotti back in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 275° F, flipping them over halfway through so they cook and dry thoroughly.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Inspired by the flavors from a recipe in the “Polpo” cookbook, with technique from thefoodellers.com.

Onion Caraway Shortbread

Savory rather than sweet, and quite buttery.
Makes about 36 cookies

Shopping List

13 Tbl (about 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbl powdered sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 large egg white, slightly beaten

In a medium frying pan, melt

  • 2 tsp butter

over medium heat. Add

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)

and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and the edges are brown. Put aside in a bowl to cool thoroughly.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a 9x9x2-inch square pan.

Sift together

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbl powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, put

  • 12 Tbl (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

and mix on low for 15 seconds. Add

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

and the cooled onions, and beat on medium-high for one minute. Scrape down the bowl. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until the dough holds together and all of the flour is incorporated. Press the dough evenly into the buttered pan. (Dipping your fingers in flour will help keep the dough from sticking to them when pressing it into the pan.) Brush the top of the dough with

  • 1 large egg white, slightly beaten

(You won’t need all of the egg white.) Sprinkle

  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

evenly over the egg white.

Bake about 25 minutes, until the top is pale golden and the edges light brown. Remove from the oven and cut into 6×6 rows (or sizes or your choice), cutting through to the bottom. Cool the shortbread thoroughly in the pan.

from “125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble, and Savor” by Elinor Klivans

Sesame Seed Cookies

Makes 36 cookies
Shopping List

1 3/4 cups sesame seeds

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

1 scant cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbl milk, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbl baking powder

4 cups all-purpose flour

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast

  • 1 3/4 cups sesame seeds

This will probably be easier to do in two batches. Set aside in a pie plate or similar.

In a stand mixer, beat

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 scant cup granulated sugar

until smooth and pale, about one minute. With the mixer on low, one at a time add

  • 2 eggs

Add

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbl milk

and mix a few seconds to incorporate. Add

  • 1 Tbl baking powder

and mix. With the mixer running, gradually add

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky. Use a little more flour as needed.

Dust a board or your counter with

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Scrape the dough onto the floured board, knead it a couple of minutes, cover and let rest 15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 375ºF and place a rack near the top. Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 36 even pieces. You can use a one-ounce scoop if you wish — I cut it into quarters, then each quarter into thirds, then pinch off thirds from each third. Whatever works for you. Roll each piece between your palms to form 36 balls. Pinch off bits from the big ones and add them to the small ones and re-roll if you want to to get them about equal in size.

Pour

  • 1/3 cup milk

into a small bowl. Take one dough ball at a time, coat it with milk then roll it in the sesame seeds. Pick up the coated ball and form it into a rectangle with your hands (try shaping it between your thumb and forefinger), getting the height between 1/2 and 3/4 inch. Place it on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Repeat for all 36 balls, 18 per cookie sheet, trying to keep the height about the same throughout. They don’t spread much, but do leave a bit of space between the cookies. After the first tray of rectangles is shaped, bake on a high oven rack for 14-15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Meanwhile shape the next 18 balls into rectangles.

With a spatula, slide the baked cookies onto a cooling rack.

Adapted from afamilyfeast.com

Pumpkin Seed Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

Shopping List

2 cups pumpkin seeds, toasted

2 large garlic cloves

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbl Dijon mustard

1/2 cup rice vinegar

3/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil

Place in a food processor or a blender

  • 2 cups toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 large garlic cloves

Pulse until uniformly ground, scraping down the sides as needed. The mixture will be rough and sandy looking.

Add

  • 2 Tbl Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in

  • 3/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil

Drizzle in

  • 1/4 cup hot water, or more if needed

processing until it is the consistency of thick hummus. Season to taste with

  • salt and pepper

Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cranberry Walnut Buckwheat Shortbread

Tasty, simple, and quite delicate. Also vegan and gluten-free.
Makes about 30 cookies

Shopping List

1/2 cup coconut oil (or substitute Crisco, vegan margarine, etc.)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350º F and lightly grease five 4-inch tart pans (see note at end).

In a stand mixer, combine

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix until the dough is smooth. Add

  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

and mix on low to incorporate. Press the dough into the tart pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until starting to get dark around the edges. Slice each into 6 triangles while still warm, then let cool completely.

Note: The original recipe (adapted from Gluten-Free and Vegan Holidays by Jennifer Katzinger) calls for one 9-inch tart pan, sliced into 10 triangles. These light, fragile cookies break easily which is why I suggest smaller pans and cookies.

Curried Cauliflower & Potato Soup

Roasting the cauliflower first adds depth. Some tomato and coconut milk give the broth a rich, silky texture.
Makes about 3 quarts

Shopping List

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

11/2 tsp cinnamon

11/4 tsp turmeric

pinch cayenne pepper

1 small head cauliflower

2 TBL olive oil

1 large onion

1-2 carrots (for 1 cup diced)

3 large cloves garlic

11/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp red chile pepper flakes

1 (14-16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, or no-salt tomato sauce

4 cups vegetable broth

2-4 russet potatoes (3 cups diced)

2-4 sweet potatoes (3 cups diced)

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1 large lime

1 bunch cilantro

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

In a small bowl, combine

  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 11/2 cinnamon
  • 11/4 tsp turmeric
  • 11/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, toss

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 TBL olive oil

Sprinkle with 1 TBL of the spice mixture and toss again. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower until the edges are browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the remaining

  • 1 TBL olive oil

over medium-high heat. Add

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrot

and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook a few minutes more, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add

  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 11/2 tsp grated (or minced) fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp red chile pepper flakes
  • the remaining spice mixture

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

Stir in

  • 1 (14-16 ounce) can whole tomatoes, or no-salt tomato sauce

scraping up any browned bits and breaking up the tomatoes, and simmer for 1 minute. Add

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups diced peeled russet potatoes (1/2-inch)
  • 3 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes (1/2-inch)
  • 2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 TBL lime juice

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, partially cover and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Stir in

  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • the reserved roasted cauliflower

Return to a simmer to heat through. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Hazelnut Sticks

Crunchy with a strong hazelnut flavor. And they're easy: the nuts don't have to be toasted or skinned.
Makes about 40 cookies

Shopping List

2/3 cup raw hazelnuts

11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

scant 1/2 cup sugar

6 TBL unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Line the bottom and sides of a 9×5 loaf pan with foil. (See note at the end of these directions for how to do this painlessly.)

In a food processor, combine

  • 2/3 cup raw hazelnuts (with skins still on them)
  • 11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pulse until the hazelnuts are finely chopped. Cut

  • 6 TBL cold unsalted butter

into 1/2-inch cubes, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Combine

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBL cold water

and drizzle into the processor bowl. Pulse just until the mixture resembles damp crumbs – it shouldn’t be a smooth mass, but it should stick together when pressed. Dump the mixture into the lined loaf pan and spread it evenly. Press it very firmly and compactly. Fold the foil over the dough and wrap it tightly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Grease two cookie sheets.

Unwrap the dough and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch (or thinner if possible) slices. Use the knife to transfer each slice to the greased cookie sheets, placing the slices 1 inch apart. The slices will be fragile and require the support of the knife in transit.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the cookies are golden with golden brown edges. Rotate top to bottom and front to back halfway through for even baking. With a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.

Variation: Almond Sticks

I just substituted 2/3 cup raw almonds for the hazelnuts. But I didn’t think the almond flavor was strong enough; next time, I’m going to use almond extract in place of the vanilla, or half almond/half vanilla.

NOTE: ATTN To line pan with foil: Invert the pan, cover it with a piece of foil 4 inches longer and wider than the bottom of the pan, and with your hands press down on the foil around the sides and the corners to shape it like the pan. Dampen the inside of the pan slightly. Without tearing, press the foil into place in the pan.

 

Pâte Sucrée

Shopping List

16 ounces (about 15/8 cups) all purpose flour

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter

5.5 ounces granulated sugar

2 eggs

11/2 Tbl heavy cream

1 Tbl vanilla extract

This is a sweet tart dough. Makes 2 tart shells. Use one, freeze one to use later.

Sift

  • 16 ounces (about 15/8 cups) all purpose flour

and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
  • 5.5 ounces granulated sugar

on high speed until light and fluffy, stopping regularly to scrape down the sides, bottom and paddle, about 8 minutes. One at a time, add

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

and beat well between additions. Scrape one more time, then give it a good final mix on high speed. Add

  • the 16 ounces of sifted flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 11/2 Tbl heavy cream
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract

Mix on low until the dough comes together. Finish mixing by hand with a large rubber spatula. Divide the dough into two flat, round disks. Double wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

One hour before baking, roll out the dough on a heavily floured surface, until it is just shy of 1/4-inch thick. Roll the dough back onto the rolling pin, then gently roll it out over the tart pan. Press the dough into the pan to shape it, then cut off the excess, leaving 1/4-inch of overhang. Chill for one hour.

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the tart shell from the fridge, trim the overhang off of the edge of the tart, patch any thin parts or cracks with excess dough. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with weights or beans. Place the tart in the center of the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove the weights and foil, and continue to bake until the bottom is golden brown, about 15-20 additional minutes. Cool the shell completely before removing from the pan or filling.

 

 

Fig and Hazelnut Tart

Shopping List

1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted

1/3+ cup granulated sugar

scant light brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks

1 Tbl Frangelico

1 Tbl vanilla extract

about 15 fresh black figs

In an 8- to 10-inch tart pan, make

  • 1/2 recipe for Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough), blind baked and cooled

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. In a food processor, combine

  • 1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/3+ cup granulated sugar
  • scant TBL light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pulse until the mixture is sandy and there aren’t large pieces of nuts left.  Add

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbl Frangelico
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract

and pulse until the eggs are smooth but chunks of butter are still visible, about 15 – 20 short pulses. Scrape the sides of the food processor and pulse an additional 5 times. Scrape the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Arrange

  • about 15 fresh black figs, stems trimmed and cut in half

cut side up on top of the filling.

Bake 20 minutes at 375°F, then rotate the tart 90 degrees on the rack. Lower the oven to 325°F and bake until the figs begin to bubble and caramelize and the filling turns golden brown all over, about 45 additional minutes, turning again halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.

Cabbage with Mustard Seeds and Coconut

Makes 2-4 servings

  • 1 TBL mustard oil
  • 1 TBL black mustard seeds
  • 2+ curry leaves
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 4 fresh hot green chilies, cut into long thin strips
  • 1/31/2 cup grated desiccated coconut, unsweetened
  • ground coriander + turmeric as desired

Heat the mustard oil in a large frying pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds turn gray and start popping (a few seconds), add the cabbage, salt and sugar.

Toss the cabbage quickly in the oil until it’s lightly coated with oil. Add the coconut, green chili, pepper flakes, coriander and turmeric. Stir 2-5 minutes until the cabbage turns bright green and slightly wilted; it should remain somewhat crunchy.

Serve with Basmati rice.

 

Chestnut Honey Shortbread

 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted, cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 TBL chestnut honey

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Pulse together the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and honey and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess. The result will be like powdery crumbs when done, not at all like dough.

Press the “dough” into an even layer in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan, pressing fairly firmly to compact the dough. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Cut into bars, ATTN while still warm.

Based on a recipe from Melissa Clark.

Carrot and Turnip Slaw with Dill

This is simple but surprisingly tasty and refreshing. It looks especially good if you happen to find turnips with purple flesh.

Peel and grate 1 lb. of carrots and 1/2 lb. of turnips. Toss with 2 TBL of chopped fresh dill. Whisk together 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 2 TBL olive oil, 1/4 tsp cumin, 2 small garlic cloves finely grated, 1/2 tsp dried red pepper, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss until the slaw is evenly coated, cover and chill 1 hour or up to 2 days.

This is based on a recipe from Matt Lee and Ted Lee.