Archive | November, 2012

Whole Lemon Bars

27 Nov

If you are not already familiar with David Lebovitz’s blog- well, you should be. Growing up, I never really had a thing for lemon bars. But consider me a convert. I argue that this is the best recipe out there for them. The genius of it- is it uses a whole lemon- all food processed up- giving it super lemon flavor. I will not reprint the recipe here- but rather refer you to the original post on David’s blog. I had forgotten the deep shade of brown that the bottom crust turns- but was relieved to see David’s look the same—and they taste delicious and rich and not at all burnt.

The other part of the post is a DIY project and challenge. Can’t remember the blog that I found this on last spring. But you know you are traveling with a treat- that will need a last minute dusting of confectioner sugar- and you don’t have or want to bring a sugar shaker. Don’t you just hate that? (ha!). Well, instead you can take a mini-mason jar, a hammer and a nail. And just hammer out some holes in the lid. I could probably stand to make a few more than I did- just to get more sugar pour out. Admittedly, I could also just invest in a mini-mesh strainer, which would probably work better and those cheap drain ones are like $1. But this is cute- and so very portable. When transporting, I keep place a non-punched lid over the other, so won’t spill.

And here is the challenge. Because I am an over-user of mason jars- I think they are a great way to gift cookies. Anyone have ideas about good thing to gift bars such as these in? Looking for something as durable, portable and cheap as jars. Tins are great- but my stock ups from the Container store never last. And I’d love to repurpose something that is just laying around the house. Jess P. and I already starting discussing ideas of shirt boxes or cereal boxes— and my experimentation w. an egg carton was not so pretty. So I am asking you, dear reader.

One more quick note about David Lebovitz. I might have mentioned from a previous post- but seriously, every ice cream I make is from him. Buy his book Perfect Scoop. Most notably- some flavors I have made- but never published here- are a cookie dough ice cream- w. special dough just for it (sans eggs). A great chocolate base that I used for these s’mores sundaes (which i made in efforts to recreate this s’mores ben & jerrys ice cream sam and i ate too much of in high school. I can’t remember how i made the fluff- thats what i get for not posting sooner- but i think it was just a meringue base. yet another use of jars, shut up already tessa.)  And watermelon sorbet.

And while I am obsessing about him, love David’s egg salad too.

S’mores Sunday

Cookie dough ice cream

watermelon sorbet. photo courtesy of Jordan K. I got all martha stewart when jordan and her BF alex came over for dinner- i froze the watermelon rinds to use as dishes.


QuickPost: Peppadew Peppers w. Goat Cheese

18 Nov

Easily the easiest and tastiest thing you can bring to a cocktail party. Can buy these peppadew peppers from the whole foods antipasto bar. Stuff them w. goat cheese. Snip some fresh chives over and voila. Maybe 5 minutes work. Maybe. Never had a peppadew? me neither- before E peeples brought this tasty treat to a party at Jess P.’s house a while back. The fun part is- some are sweet, some are hot– it is a mixed bag- and kind of a surprise when you bite in. If you don’t have chives- i think any other green herb would work swell- but the color is pretty key to the presentation. Btws this gorgeous plate came from my former boss at the Brooklyn Museum- it is from the Tomaselli exhibition.

Moroccan-Style Braised Vegetables

12 Nov

I’ve wanted to make this recipe every since I stole/borrowed this Alice Waters book from Chrissy. The book In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart has some great very basic techniques- for example- it taught me the proper way to fry an egg. Or, there will be a whole chapter devoted to the mortar and pestle- as I mentioned in the post on  green tomatillo salsa. She has her friends- share recipes. This one is by Joyce Goldstein and it is called Moroccan-style Braised Vegetables. And the reason why I finally made it- is because I was able to use a lot of vegetable from my CSA. So very seasonable, very fall. I’d say this is closer to soup/chunky stew. And before you ask, yes, you should use dried chickpeas. Not only do they taste way better- but this broth you cook it in- is the base for the braise. And man, it was tasty, I will definitely use for future chickpeas. What always deterred me is that this recipe seems a bit overcomplicated. But put on some Netflix and just let it ride. Oh and yes, you should also use the whole spice seeds- toast and grind- you will get way more flavor out of it.

½ pound (1 cup) dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight [i left overnight because i had time, but could also do the speed up method Just the Tips #10]

1 small onion, peeled and halved

½ cinnamon stick

1 small dried red chile

2 tablespoons olive oil


Drain the chicpeas, put them in a medium pot, and add water to cover by 1 ½ inches. Add the onion, cinnamon stick, chile, olive oil, and generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook gently until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes [check, a forgot to time it but I think they might have taken less.] Taste for salt. Remove from the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid.

For braised vegetables:


½ pound carrots

1 pound baby turnips [1 used two small turnips and 2 parsnips]

1 ½ pounds butternut squash [I substituted acorn squash because I had it at hand- though next time would go w. butternut]

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

a pinch of saffron threads

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

One 14-oz can whole tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

[optional: i threw in some currants my leftovers, yum. golden raisins would also work nicely]

Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with generous amount of salt. Peel and halve the carrots and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch segments. Trim the turnips and cut into halves and quarters. Cook the carrots and turnips in separate batches until just tender, about 5 minutes. Spread the vegetables on baking sheet to cool at room temperature.

Peel and seed the squash and cut into 1-inch chunks. Put squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread the squash out to an even layer, season with salt, roast in the oven until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.

Lightly toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and saffron [in a dry skillet], and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Add the turmeric and cayenne, and stir to combine.

Warm a large [large- i used my 5 qt all-clad- this makes a ton], straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the onion, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the tomatoes and cut into ¼ inch dice. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the spices, garlic, and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chickpeas, and the cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Add the squash, carrots, and turnips. At this point there should be a nice amount of broth in the pan- like a chunky soup. If not, add water as necessary. Taste for salt, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Recommend to serve with buttered couscous or saffron rice (ask me for recipes- I haven’t tried yet) and pass a bowl of harissa at the table. I think this Moroccan couscous would work well too.

Harissa recipe- I didn’t make but would have if I had the ingredients so am including.

Toss 5 dried ancho chiles on a hot griddle until puffed and fragrant. Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with boiling water, soak for 20 minutes, and drain. Roast, peel and seed 1 large red bell pepper. In a blender or food processor, purée the drained chiles, and peeled pepper with 4 peeled garlic cloves, ¾ cup olive oil. 1 tsp red wine vinegar and salt to taste. Thin with water if desired.

%d bloggers like this: