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Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee & Matzoh Brei

26 Apr

Can I tell you what I sucker I am for this artisan coffee shit? Man oh man.  So I bought some Stumptown beans from union market. What I love is that it has the date roasted- just 4 days ago- and each roast comes w. its own little bio. It is ridiculous- but i buy into it wholeheartedly.  I prefer to buy whole beans and grind myself- I feel like it makes a difference. Coffee grinder- $20- is very useful. Great for spices etc. too.  Cold-brewed is super easy to make– you just mix coffee grinds and water, and then let it sit for 12 hours-no coffee maker required.  And yes, it is so much better than putting your coffee in the fridge- it does have its own particular flavor though.  And of course, as Emeril says, I had to kick it up a notch- or like Ina says, turn up the volume.  I did that by adding a little bit of vanilla powder (like a powdered vanilla extract) to the coffee and then making vanilla simple syrup- so good.  I do want to figure a way to add some chicory to this too- but I’ll let you know when I’ve got that one figured out. Special thanks to Chrissy for reminding me about this, and to Kara- for first making this for Beez and I last summer in Salt Lake City.

Cold-brewed coffee- a nytimes recipe. I quadruple it to have in my fridge for the week.
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup ground coffee, medium/coarse grind
Add water and coffee grounds into a jar. Stir, cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours.  Strain twice- pouring through coffee filters or a fine mesh sieve lined w. cheese cloth.  To drink, they say add one part this concentrated coffee w. one part water. I say false.  I like my coffee strong, so maybe 2/3 coffee to 1/3 water.  Add milk and serve w. ice, duh. Addendum- this shit is strong, just drank and am literally shaking, so maybe 1 to 1 is not a bad idea. Second addendum- I went to this coffee shop in the ‘hood- and they recommended cold brewing for 24 hours, because it reduces some of the bitterness. So I tried it- and it worked famously- if you have the time- i’d definitely definitely recommend it.

Vanilla simple syrup
Simple syrup is just 1 part water to 1 part sugar (can use more sugar for sweeter).  Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Will keep for a week.  For vanilla flavoring, can add vanilla extract, or I took half a vanilla bean, split that in half lengthwise.  Put in jar, pour warm simple syrup over. Cover and let that sit for the 12 hours while your coffee is sitting. [Addendum: As I have become too lazy to make simple syrup- just using agave syrup works well]

Maple Whirlpool
Maple syrup flavored milk. Ok, this doesn’t exactly fit in this post- though I am sure it would be delicious in your ice coffee.   I don’t remember how I thought of this- but it is delicious. Take a cup of milk, mix around w. a spoon creating a whirlpool. Slowly pour in some maple syrup- maybe a tablespoon per cup? Mix up and drink.  You won’t believe how good.  Works hot or cold- though I actually prefer cold.  Drink was named by anonymous.  By the by, i tried a vanilla whirlpool- adding the vanilla simple syrup to milk too- so good!

Matzoh Brei. Ok, I know this is a lot of posts in one- but I wanted to get this in before the end of passover and while the matzah is still on the shelf (unless it is too late already?)  Takes about 5 mins to make. This passover dish– need not just be for holidays nor just for breakfast.  In fact, I enjoyed it for dinner a couple times last week. Top with whatever you like. Personally, I like cinnamon sugar, strawberry jam and maple syrup.  Yup, all three together.

3 eggs
3 sheets matzah- i like egg matzah

Break up the matzah into a colander.  Run it under hot water for 10-15 seconds. Press to get out excess water. Crack eggs in a medium bowl, whisk up. Add salt & pepper.  Add matzah into egg bowl. Mix up.  Heat skillet. Add tablespoon of butter.  Add egg/matzoh. Flip after a minute or so. Flip again. Might fall apart but just scramble around until eggs look done- just takes a few minutes.


Vanilla Agave Granola

28 Mar

When you can’t find a recipe on the internet, it’s time to experiment.  This is sort of a melding of a Bobby Flay and an Epicurious recipe.  I am into the idea of making your own granola, but I hate that it can be so packed with sugar.  This uses agave nectar instead of some of that sugar- but still has the right amount of sweetness.  This recipe is very adaptable, so go crazy.  I enjoyed some w. milk- and some in a giant bowl w. greek yogurt, maple syrup, pomegranate seeds, bananas and raspberries- delicious. If you are having people over for brunch you could, as mrs. weiner suggests, make into pretty parfaits- layering the yogurt, berries and granola.
Let’s also talk for a minute about vanilla beans- which can add a great boost of vanilla flavor.  Unless you shop at the co-op, these can be pretty expensive [just to tell you how awesome the co-op is (again) i’ve seen them cost $7 for one bean, and at the co-op you get 3 beans for $1.44.]  Sometimes they come in glass viles, be sure to store beans in these or other air tight container, otherwise they dry out.  To use, run your knife down the bean, splitting it in half lengthwise.  Then run your knife down each side, scraping up all the little black specs onto your knife.  Add specs to whatever you are flavoring. You can put the scraped out bean in a little jar, fill with white sugar, close, wait a week- and boom- vanilla sugar.  Great to have on hand for things like this, french toast, baked goods etc.

4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil (maybe coconut oil would work too?)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
if you have it: 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar and vanilla bean

Optional add-ins.  If adding a cup or more of something else, I’d only use 3 cups of oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit such as raisins, figs, dates, dried cherries, cranberries or mango
almond slivers or other nuts
2 teaspoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons flax seeds
1/2 cup of any other seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower
shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. Whisk together honey, oil, agave, vanilla, cinnamon and sugars.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, salt and any seeds/wheat germ/nuts.  Add wet mixture to dry and coat thoroughly.  Spread on baking sheet.  Cook 25-35 mins- stirring once- until crisp and golden brown.  Put baking sheet on cooling rack, allow to cool slightly, then break into chunks.  Mix in dried fruit. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.  I think it could keep for at least a week, though mine disappeared much more quickly.

Green Salsa

17 Mar

I love green salsa.  And what I loved about New Mexico– when I was there, maybe 5 years ago? with my friend Justin– was that they have green salsa everywhere- to put on anything.  So feel free to use this on anything- with chips, fish tacos etc.  But what I especially love it with is eggs, breakfast burritos etc.  Man oh man.  So, when I saw this recipe in Alice Water’s cookbook  in Chrissy’s apartment- I expressed to her what good use the book would get in my kitchen– and she let me borrow it on extended loan 🙂  In this book- Green Kitchen- Alice has all her friends give very simple recipes.  This recipe– is in a whole section about how awesome a mortar and pestle is– and i’m sure it is- but i don’t have one. So instead, I basically took my clean plastic cutting board and a slotted spoon and continually mashed everything together on that- incorporating the tomatillos one at a time.  This recipe can also be done w. tomatoes- as red roasted salsa- which i’m sure would also be delicious.   I am generally reticent about adding cilantro or parsley- because I am not so into it- and I always end up buying a big bunch, using a little and the rest going to waste.  But, as I had some cilantro already- I added it in- and I would say yes, it really does make a difference- so you should spend the extra 87 cents (price at the co-op) and get it. Also, my salsa definitely had a little too much onion.  I had never heard this  before- but it suggests you rinse the raw onion under cold water to get out some of the bitterness.  Next time, I think I would start out w. maybe a 1/4 cup of chopped onion– and then add more from there– to taste.  I suppose maybe I used more of a medium than a small onion?  And since I had so much onion and heat from the jalapeno- I think I used an extra lime– again, start w. 1 lime and add more to taste.

2 Serrano chiles (get these if you can– small green hot peppers.  I didn’t have so subbed 1 jalapeno)
4 tomatillos (or tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
1 small onion (chop and rinse under cold water to remove some of the bite. see note above)
1 lime (may use more to taste)
handful fresh cilantro

Heat a cast iron pan over med-high heat (I dont have a cast iron so used a stainless steel skillet).  Put whole chile and unpeeled garlic in pan.  Remove tusks from tomatillos and cut in half. Cook 10 minutes until they are softened and browned.  Turn over to brown other side- about another 10 mins.  Squeeze garlic out of skin. Remove stem from chile  and cut. Grind chile and and garlic w. a motar and pestle– or as i did, grind it into cutting board w. back of a spoon.  Add tomatillos and mash. I did this- incorporating them one at a time  (they are so cooked they break down pretty easily). Peel and dice onion.  Stir in.  Squeeze lime and add cilantro.  May need a little water to thin out (mine didn’t need). Salt liberally to taste. Good served w. avocado.

If you are left, as I was, with a lots of burnt stuff on your pan- check out Just the Tips #7- for a quick clean up trick.

Boozy Baked French Toast

21 Jan

This french toast is just too good.  For many years- I have loved the french toast at Jane. And this dish- I think I explains how they get that melt in your mouth middle part.  The key- like the breakfast casserole- is to let it soak overnight.  Doing it the night before also leaves less to worry about in the morning- and you don’t have to deal w. making it in batches and keeping them warm.  This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen.  For flavoring, I used 3 tablespoons Bailey’s and 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract.  I was tempted to scrape a vanilla bean in there- I didn’t- but next time definitely will.  SK uses 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s and 3 tablespoons of Cointreau.  She also says Frangelico, Chambord, Creme de Cassis, Grand Marnier or a teaspoon or two of vanilla or almond extract work would.  And, that you can add some zest, chopped nuts (almond or pecan), raisins or some such if you want.   Now, I didn’t serve it with this- because i didn’t think of it- but I am including the Clinton St. Baking Co. recipe for Maple Syrup Butter (cribbed from the cookbook Mara got when she hung out w. Stavros- the greek shipping heir who used to date Paris Hilton).  This syrup is also the first thing I’m putting on here that I haven’t actually made- but how can it be bad?  This french toast doesn’t really require syrup- but because it just sounds so damn awesome, I wanted to include it.  Throw those balsamic berries on it while your at it.  Would be a killer brunch.

1 loaf supermarket Challah bread in 1-inch slices
3 cups whole milk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
cinnamon sugar
+whatever booze/flavor combo you want.  I did 3 tablespoon Baileys + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

SK says:
1. Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish [i used a smaller one] with salted (my choice) or unsalted butter.
2.  Arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan.  Cut one slice into smaller pieces to fill in gaps.  If using a thinner-sliced bread, you might wish for more layers, though I find that over three, even baking can be difficult. If you are using any fillings of fruit or nuts, this is the time to get them between the layers or sprinkled atop.  [Now, mine did not nearly make two layers, and sensing tightly packed would be important- I ended up using a slightly smaller pan- with only one layer.  And it still worked great!)
3. Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt and booze or flavorings of your choice and pour over the bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
4. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all of the milk custard while you sleep.
5. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. This will take longer if you have additional layers.
6. Cut into generous squares and serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or all of the above.
Serves 6.

Maple Butter from Clinton St. Baking Co.
1 cup maple syrup
2 sticks cold unsalted butter (cut in cubes)
Heat syrup over medium heat.  Whisk in butter one cube at a time.

Breakfast Casserole

7 Jan

This is a dish from Roey- who has known my parents since back in their fire island share house days. Roey makes a killer brunch- best served on the deck of their beach house.  This egg casserole is so golden- because it tastes almost like super eggy french toast with bacon on top- best of all breakfast worlds.  Leftovers freeze surprisingly well. And yes, it is important to soak it overnight- this is what gives it the bread pudding type texture.  I love that aspect though- less prep work in the morning.

12 eggs
Italian bread cubed- or just ripped apart (seedless- like a crusty round loaf- i wouldn’t really use sliced bread, the other day I used a baguette and that worked too)
One and a half cups milk (i like to use whole)
Bacon cooked and crumbled (see note below) I’d say 3/4 a pack is more than enough. I used about 7 slices for 3/4 of the casserole (needed to leave a space open for vegetarian)
Cheddar cheese one package shredded (or if you are shredding your own, that’s 8oz or two loosely packed cups)
9×14″ baking dish

Place cubed bread at bottom of glass baking dish
Mix eggs and milk well, add salt and pepper, pour over bread
Sprinkle cheese over top
Sprinkle bacon over cheese
Place in refrigerator covered w. foil overnight
Bake next morning at 350 for one hour-covered for first 50 minutes then uncover for 10 mins.

A note on Bacon- for this purpose- I think it’s easiest to cook the bacon in the oven.  This time, I decided to use a cooling rack above a cookie sheet so the grease could drip down. But, I think it would be fine just on a cookie sheet.   Line the sheet with foil! And you  put the bacon in while oven is cold- don’t need to preheat ahead. I did it from maybe 17-20mins mins at 350.  But next time, I’d go up to 400 and cook for 10-12mins.  Keep a close eye on it towards the end.  When done, blot w. paper towels- or put on a plate lined w. paper towels.

*Appendix. 2 questions come up- does it work vegetarian? And do I really have to leave it overnight?  I made it the other day w. spinach and ricotta- and that worked. Instead of overnight, I let it sit in the fridge (at least 1 hour) and w saran wrap and a heavy object like a book or boxes of sugar on top. Not quite as good as overnight- but in a bind, it works

Coffee Cake

13 Dec

I wanted to make a coffee cake- like the kind they sell at Cromer’s out by the beach.  This recipe was pretty on point.  A few stipulations from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen.  “Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake.”  If you don’t have buttermilk, they say you can use an equal amount of plain-low fat yogurt.  As I didn’t have either- I made sour milk- as I learned in Maine- add 1 tsp lemon juice to 1 cup milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes (in this instance 1/3 tsp to 1/3 cup milk).  This seems much more efficient to me anyhow because I always buy a big carton of buttermilk, and only use a cup and the rest goes to waste.  [I don’t understand why they don’t sell buttermilk in 8oz cartons like heavy cream.]  Test kitchen also says you can double this recipe for a 9×13 inch pan, increase baking time to about 45 mins.  But really, unless you are having 20 people over, the 8×8 is plenty. The only ridiculous part of the recipe, is actually forming all the topping into individual pea-sized crumbs (roll between thumb and forefinger).  This took a bit of time– Rach Weins was a superstar crumb-maker. She and I did a test corner- with just a willy nilly sprinkling- to see if  the individual crumbing was worth the effort- and it definitely is.  Also, this is surprisingly a pretty legit cake- not just a holder for the crumbs.  As with most brunchy treats, it really tastes best same day.

Crumb topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk (see note)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Cake: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish. [this is just so you can pull out of pan easily]
3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer.  Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Cheddar Biscuits & a California Scramble

5 Nov

Some days you are just off your A-game- and screw up every recipe.  And sometimes those days coincide w. inviting your friends (Charlotte & Phil) over for brunch.   Last time I made these biscuits- they were gorgeous- looked exactly like Ina’s.  This time- not as much- I had apples baking on the upper rack so I put these on the lower and ended up burning the bottom- even my parchment paper burned.  So I’d recommend the middle rack.  The apples, which for some un-caffeinated reason, I thought would be fine cooking about 100 degrees over suggested temperature- became applesauce. Interesting mistake w. the scramble.  So, by logic that at omelette stations you see them throwing in the ham before the eggs, I thought I’d do this w. my sausage- sauteing them in the pan before adding eggs.  But for reasons I don’t understand- maybe someone can explain?- this seemed to shift the properties of the eggs- rendering them an entirely different texture.  So the next time- and for the photo- I had to try it again- frying sausage in a separate pan- and adding in once eggs had started to cook.  Scrambles, it should be mentioned, are my favorite brunch item– I love that they have everywhere in SF– and I don’t understand why more NY places don’t have it.  I don’t want an omelette, I want a scramble- and yes, they taste totally different.

Cheddar Biscuits. A Barefoot Contessa recipe.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra-large egg
1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk
Maldon sea salt, optional

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used a food processor w. a dough blade). With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.

Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 10 by 5 inches. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, if using, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.

The California Scramble
Chicken apple sausage
Jack Cheese

In a separate pan, saute sausage.  Maybe throw in a (hot?) pepper. Mix eggs w. a small amount of milk (Do you know that apparently eggs w. less liquid are more creamy?).  Add salt & pepper.  Heat other pan (Another trick- your supposed to cook them over low heat), add butter.  Add eggs. Start to scramble.  After they take shape, add sausage and cheese.  When done, take off heat, and quickly mix in avo.

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