Category: Cookery (Page 1 of 2)

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Key Lime Pi Day

What do you do when you have a Pisco sour party and wind up left with an extra bag of adorable little key limes*? Obviously, you make a key lime pie. And what better day than 3/14/15 to share this incredibly simple recipe? This was not only my first time attempting a key lime pie, but it was also my first time making a graham cracker crust and a meringue, and it came out as close to perfect as I can imagine a key lime pie being. This recipe is legitimately fool proof.

*We found our key limes at Huong Vuong in Philadelphia.
Bottled key lime juice works just as well, or you can tart-up some Persian lime juice with lemon juice.

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Key Lime Pie

Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook

Ingredients

Crust

10 graham cracker rectangles (5 1/4 ounces)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest (from Key or Persian limes), preferably organic
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

3 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice (from about 20 Key limes), or 1/2 cup fresh Persian lime juice (from about 4 regular limes) plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 about lemon)

Meringue

3 large egg whites
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust assembly

God, this recipe is so easy I can’t even stand it. Okay, so first things first. Make that crust.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C)
  2. Pulse your graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Don’t try to mash them up in a plastic bag like I did. Just get out the stupid food processor and accept the fact that you’re going to need to clean it later.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, lime zest, and salt until combined.
  4. Press into a pie pan, flatten with the bottom of a clean glass, and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Filling assembly

  1. While that’s baking, beat you egg yolks with a hand mixer or immersion blender until they lighten a bit.
  2. While mixing, slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until it thickens.
  3. Add lime juice.
  4. After the crust has cooled a bit, add the filling then put it back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until set. It’ll have a slight jiggle but will retain it’s shape.

Meringue assembly

  1. Get out your stand mixer. I really don’t recommend doing this by hand, your arm may fall off.
  2. Beat the egg whites with salt until they start to get foamy.
  3. While mixing, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and beat until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Add the vanilla around medium-peak time.

Assembly-assembly

  1. Scoop the meringue onto the pie and smooth with a spoon. Get creative here if you want. Mound it up in the center or make it all the same height. You can even pipe the meringue on in designs. Just remember, the rougher the top the more yummy brown bits you’ll have when you broil it.
  2. I did this in a toaster oven so I could keep close tabs, because once this stuff starts to brown it has about a two second window before it burns, and a 5 second window before it flames up like a piece of paper. Keep an eye on it and when it starts to brown and smell like toasted marshmallows, you’re done. If you want to pretty it up even more, hit it lightly with a brûlée torch.

Happy π Day!

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Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Shakshuka

I’m really into eggs. Like, it’s borderline problematic. I am absolutely one of those people that goes ballistic when pretty much anything is topped with a soft egg, so the first time I had shakshuka a few years ago I instantly fell in love. Not only because it was delicious but because it seemed… attainable. And adaptable. After a few obsessive compulsive experiments I realized it’s also extremely forgiving, so much so that pretty much anyone with a standard pantry and a few eggs can whip up a big bubbling skillet of it in about 45 minutes. I tested this theory this week when I resolved to freestyle shakshuka for dinner without absolutely zero planning. The results were so good I’ve officially added it to our weeknight dinner rotation.

Ingredients

One 28 oz can of tomatoes, whole peeled or crushed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups feta
4-6 eggs
cilantro, basil, or parsley for garnish (optional)
salt to taste

So, about that ingredient list up there—it’s just a base, and even the base is pretty flexible. The only things you *need* are tomatoes, onions, eggs, and spices. You can play with the spices as much as you want. Don’t have cumin? Throw in some oregano and make an Italian spiced shakshuka. No feta? Go dairy-free or crumble in some goat cheese. Try this recipe with meat (lamb sausage works beautifully) by browning it in the pan before cooking up the onions and garlic. Throw in whatever veggies you have hanging out in your fridge, particularly peppers and leafy greens like chard. Roast a jalapeño, dice it up, and add that to the mix as well. You are the master of your shakshuka destiny.

Okay, on to the recipe.

Recipe

  1. In a cast iron skillet (or any wide, deep skillet you have laying around), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add onion. Cook 10 minutes or so until soft, then add the garlic.
  2. Add your can of tomatoes, liquid and all. If you have whole tomatoes you can dice them before or simply break them apart right in the skillet with the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Add vinegar, honey, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. I recommend adding the red pepper flakes a little at a time as some brands are hotter than others and everyone has their own heat preference.
  4. Let simmer about 20 minutes until tomatoes begin to reduce. Stir in feta.
  5. With the back your spoon, make a little nest in the sauce for each egg. Gently crack them into the pan, spacing as evenly as you can. Carefully drag a spatula through the whites a bit to help them mix slightly with the sauce.
  6. Keeping the sauce at a gentle simmer, cover the pan and let cook 8-10 minutes so that the whites cook through and the yolks remain runny.
  7. Top with fresh herbs and serve with crusty bread. Extra points if you bake your own.
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Un-Valentine’s Day Pizza

Kevin and I may not be big on Hallmark holidays, but we are big on pizza. So it seemed only appropriate that we un-celebrate with a homemade pie. Kevin was on dough duty, and after reviving an almost-botched tomato sauce, we added fresh basil and burrata. I am being perfectly serious when I tell you that this pizza refused to NOT be heart-shaped. I swear to you, I tried to make it round and that little dough wound at the top just would not heal. So we decided to roll with it, but in keeping with the Un-Valentine’s Day theme, got a little creative with the pizza cutter.

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Happy Un-Valentine’s Day!

 

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Friendsgiving 2014

  • Is Nicole's dining room gorgeous, or what?

Being in that awkward tiny-family-20-something space, the majority of my Thanksgivings are spent with my fellow Philadelphia holiday-orphans. This year the festivities took place at Nicole‘s lovely new home in Fishtown, and although the turkey was a bit late (we forgive you, Anthony), it was a fabulous success.

The menu

Anthony’s famous (totally worth the wait) grilled turkey
Green bean casserole – From scratch, of course. Put that soup away and make a roux, will ya?
Twice-baked sweet potatoes with chipotle pecan streusel – AH-mazing. I love when sweet potatoes go savory, but the heat and pecans take this to a new level.
Chorizo cornbread stuffing – Don’t be afraid to double the chorizo. Or triple. It’s Thanksgiving, go crazy.
Hasselback potato gratin – 1000x yes.
Cranberry sauce with walnuts and pears – My favorite cranberry sauce in the world. I use this recipe but substitute Applejack for the brandy and use pecans instead of walnuts.

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French Tomato Tart

With tomato season rapidly coming to a close in Pennsylvania, it seems like the right time to share one of my new favorite summer brunch standbys. It takes just a few ingredients (Even less if you cut corners like I did and use a frozen pie crust. Don’t judge! I’m still mastering the homemade version.) and has a surprising zing that comes from whole grain mustard. It’s fresh, summery, and portable. This tart works from breakfast to dinner, fresh from the oven or chilled.

I made this for the first time for a small event I organized with a few of my girlfriends. It seems like we’re so busy these days it seems like we only really see each other in large groups, often by chance. When we do see each other we’re often accompanied by significant others or male friends. I love my guy friends, but I require girl time. So I decided to organize an event that no men would try to weasel their way into—a potluck picnic brunch.

This recipe is adapted from a David Lebowitz recipe that he adapted from Kate Hill’s book, A Culinary Journey in Gascony. Most notable change was a reduction in the temperature of the oven.

Ingredients

1 uncooked pie dough, homemade or store-bought
Whole grain mustard
Enough heirloom tomatoes to cover your tart—I used a single enormous tomato
Olive oil
Chopped fresh herbs of your choice
8 oz fresh goat cheese
Honey (optional but highly recommended)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out your tart dough and fit it into your pan. Dock the dough into the pan by making indentations with your fingertips. You can also make a freestyle tart by rolling the dough out about 14 inches then laying it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. No need to dock the dough if you take this route, just be sure to leave a 2 inch boarder around your filling so you can fold it up before baking time.
  3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of mustard on the bottle of the tart dough evenly, then let set about 10 minutes.
  4. Slide your tomatoes into pretty rounds and arrange them on top of the mustard-coated dough. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Add your herbs, goat cheese, and some more herbs for good measure, then drizzle with a touch of honey.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the crust so it doesn’t burn. If it starts to burn before everything looks good and cooked through, take it out and gently wrap some tin foil around the outer edge to protect the crust.
  8. To brown up the cheese more after cooking, hit it with the broiler. Just be sure to watch it like a hawk to make sure you don’t over-do it.

Happy baking!

 

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