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K for P

26 Mar

Happy Passover, kids.

I don’t generally repost things– but I thought– ’tis the season, everyone should have these recipes top of mind.

Rachel H.’s Flourless Chocolate Torte (originally posted November 2010)- but new pic! as just made it for tonight’s seder at the Weiner house.

flourless choc2

This is the fucking bomb.  Like seriously, one of the best.  If my memory serves me right, when we were kids- Rachel- the entrepreneur- would sell these for Passover.  So when Jess P. said this was her favorite cake– even though I haven’t had Rachel’s in over a decade probably- I knew just who to ask for the recipe.  The lovely Dolores lent me her springform pan for this- but it was so good- that after this, I went out and bought by own– so I can make this again and again.

1/2 lb. [2 sticks] unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
8 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
1-1/3 cup sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Grease 9″ cakepan or springform pan [springform works best], and place a circle of parchment or waxed paper  on the bottom that has been cut to fit.  If waxed paper is used, grease that too- parchment paper doesn’t need greasing.
2. Chop both chocolates and set aside.
3. Combine the water w. one cup of the sugar in a heavy 2-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook about 4 minutes, or to a temperature of 220 degrees.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and immediately add the chocolate pieces, stirring until they are melted and smooth.  The mixture may “seize,” but that is all right.  It will blend once the butter is added.  Immediately start adding the butter, stirring gently until it is all melted in
5. Place the eggs and the remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Start beating on high speed and continue until they are quite thick and pale yellow, and tripled in volume.  This takes about 15 minutes [watched some madmen to occupy myself through this]
6. Start mixing egg and sugar mixture at slow speed.  Add the chocolate mixture, stirring only until fully incorporated.
8. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan.  Set the pan inside a slightly larger pan, and pour boiling water around it.  Do not let the sides of the pans touch.
9.  Place in the oven and bake 25 minutes.  Insert a cake tester or point of a knife into the center of the cake.  If it comes out clean, the cake is done.  If not, continue cooking for up to 10 minutes longer.  Do not cook longer than a total of 35 minutes.
10.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and unmold onto a cookie sheet.  Invert a serving plate over the cake, and turn it right side up.

Dust w. confectioner sugar.

Note: This cake may be eaten warm or cold, w. whipped cream and fresh fruit, or w. creme anglaise.

The texture of the cake will change if left overnight.  It is still good- but firmer.


(i should probably take a sexier picture of this— but really– what’s sexier than matzoh brei??)

Original Post- April 2011: Matzoh Brei. 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.


Thanksgiving & The Greatest Sandwich that ever was

28 Nov

In junior high, my class went on a ski trip to Bolton Valley.  Dana C. and I were in the commissary at the Black Bear Inn, and she ordered a cinnamon bun the size of her face.  When she finished, she stood up and shook her hands in victory, as an imaginary crowd cheered on.  It was with such joy and sense of accomplishment, that I ate the most magical sandwich. Just as we come together with friends and family on Thanksgiving, so too do the fruits of many days labor, join in celebration– between two slices of seven grain bread.  To elucidate the layers: a delicate schmear of brie- adding just a touch of creaminess, a spoon of sweet/tart cranberry sauce, a slice of fresh roasted turkey breast, a heap of cornbread sausage stuffing— and back again- turkey, stuffing, cranberry, brie, toast- piled high.

The Turkey:
Call me crazy, but as Corcoran said I am probably the only person in America to buy and roast a turkey breast, the day after thanksgiving.  But as it was- I had all the fixings, but none of the meat in my leftovers, so I did what had to be done.
A turkey breast, about 2 1/2 pounds, boneless
2 tablespoons of butter
1 spring rosemary, chopped
Perhaps 6 small leaves of sage, chopped

Melted butter for about 20 seconds in microwave to just soften. Mix in herbs.  Take turkey, rinse and set in roasting pan.  A little trick I once learned, if you don’t have a roasting rack, you can take a big piece of tinfoil and roll it into a big S shape, creating a platform for your meat to sit on, allowing space for the drippings to fall down. Slathered the turkey in the herb butter, then sprinkled very generously with kosher salt & pepper.  Baked for an hour and half, basting with chicken stock about every thirty minutes.  I cooked until juices ran clear and internal temperature reached 150. According to FDA regulations or some such, they say to cook until 165, but in that class I learned about the S foil rack, I learned that anything over 145 for chicken is fine– and that if you actually go to 165 your bird will completely dry out. So do what you feel comfortable with, but I go 150.

The Cranberry Sauce: See Mom’s Cranberry Chutney recipe

The Stuffing:
I decided to go cornbread stuffing this year and used a recipe by Anne Burrell.
extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, small diced
3 ribs celery, small diced
kosher salt
1 pound spicy sausage, removed from casing, broken into bite-size pieces
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 leaves of sage, finely chopped
3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional- i left out)
10 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups dried cranberries (I only used 1 cup- didn’t want it to overpower- as some aren’t crazy about dried fruit in savory dishes)
3 or 4 cups of chicken stock

Preheat to 350.  Coat a large saute pan w. olive oil.  Add onion and celery and saute over medium heat.  Season w. salt and cook until vegetables are soft and very aromatic.  Add sausage and cook until sausage begin to brown. Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the walnuts, sage and rosemary and cook for another minute and then remove from heat.
In large bowl, mix together cornbread, cranberries, and sausage mixture. Add some stock and knead w. your hands until the bread is very moist, actually wet. Taste for seasoning and season w. salt, if needed and transfer to ovenproof dish.
Bake stuffing until hot all the way through and is crusty on top, about 30 to 35 minutes.

The Cornbread:
As a base for the stuffing, I wanted to make my own cornbread- and used a recipe from Silver Palate.  To ensure 10 cups, I made two batches of the recipe below.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal (coarse)
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced crisped-cooked bacon (optional- I left out b/c i thought w. sausage in the stuffing, this might be overkill)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat to 400, grease a 9×9 inch pan. Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then stir in buttermilk, bacon, butter ad egg, mix gently. Pour into pan, set in middle rack. Bake for 25 minutes. Cornbread is done when edges are lightly browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cooled for a few minutes, then flipped onto cooling rack to finish cooling.
If want to make muffins: spoon into 10 greased muffins and bake for 20 minutes.
In order to get stale for stuffing, I cut into 1 inch cubes, and left spread out on baking sheet for 2 nights.  Then toasted for a few minutes in oven to further dry out.

The Bread: Bread Alone 7 grain bread

The Brie: From the co-op. $1.76 for a wedge, I’m just saying.

Sweet Potatoes:
These did not make it to the sandwich as there were no leftovers. After much deliberation, I decided to go the classic marshmallow topped route, with a recipe from Barbara Haynes. You can do totally prep this all the night before, then just heat the day off in oven- add marshmallows and toast.
5 sweet potatoes, of varying sizes, but when roasted and mashed, this produced 5 cups
The recipe is written as for every cup of sweet potatoes allow the following– so I multiplied each of the following time 5… except for the orange juice times 4, because I didn’t want it too overpowering
1 1/4 tablespoon butter (multiplied by 5)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (multiplied by 5)
3 tablespoons of orange juice (multiplied by 4)
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest (multiplied by 5)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (multiplied by 5)
mini marshmallows, half a bag

Preheat oven 375. Prick the potatoes with a fork.  Place directly on rack in over- no baking sheet. Cooking 1 hour (few minutes more or less depending on size of potatoes) until they are soft.  Wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle.  Skins peel off quite easily.  Mash with fork (or potato masher if you have, I don’t.)  While hot, mix in all other ingredients.  Put in baking dish.  If re-heating cook for about 30 minutes to heat through. If potatoes already hot might take less time. Add a layer of marshmallows, and turn oven to broil for a minute- until toasted. Watch closely they will burn!


18 Oct

I am so thrilled to have my first guest blogger— Mara Sprafkin!!  This gorgeous recipe- and charts– I am beyond impressed.  Though of course, nothing less would come from this talented artist— check out her site Mara Sprafkin— and her assistant Paul’s blog.

Without further ado… Mara’s post:

I was very excited to guest blog this recipe for Tessa. I tend to use her recipes quite frequently as I have been cooking more and more. I set out to learn to bake bread in September and started with Challah. This may seem complicated but Challah is a relatively easy bread to make by hand. You don’t need bread pans and you probably have all the ingredients already in your house. It is a perfect thing to try if you are stuck in the house for a while. And in the end you get freshly baked bread. And that is it’s own reward.This Challah recipe comes from my mother. It is dated January 15th, 1966 and came from the Temple her family attended when she was a kid growing up in Southern California.

I have adapted slightly for the High Holidays by substituting honey for the sugar, adding raisins and doing a fancy crown braid.
1 packet of yeast (if you have jar and not the packets you can use about a tsp and a half.
1 cup very warm water
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. honey (you can also use sugar)
1/2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. oil (veggie or canola)
3 1/2  cups of flour (plus more for kneading)
raisins (optional)
1 egg yolk
sesame seeds (optional)
Put the yeast in a large bowl. Add the cup of VERY WARM water, the whole egg, honey, salt and oil and the 3 1/2 cups of flour.
Mix well with spoon and by hand.
Once the dough seems well mixed sprinkle your work surface with flour and knead dough. You probably only have to do this for about 10-15 minutes. You will know when it is done when you have a smooth roundish ball that is not too sticky. If your dough is too sticky (probably will happen) add more flour as you knead.
Wash out the bowl you were using to mix the ingredients with some warm water and dry it.
Place the dough ball in the warm bowl with a little oil rubbed all over it and in the insides of the bowl and cover the bowl with a wet cloth. (I like to wet the cloth with some warm water but you can use whatever is coming out of your faucet.) Let this sit for 2 hours or till the dough pretty much doubles in size.
If you are going to add raisins to your bread you will now need to soak the raisins. Please note that you can use as much or as few as you want. I tend to use about 3 oz. or a pretty large handful. Put the raisins in a small bowl and submerge them fully in water. You might as well just let these sit till the dough is ready. This keeps the raisins from drying out while the bread is baking in the oven.
2 hours later…
Take out the dough and punch it to get out the air bubble.
You can easily divide the dough into 6 parts and make 2 small regular braided loafs or divide the dough in 3 parts and make one big old braided challah.
Or you can get all fancy and make a round crown braided loaf by following my step by step instructions. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
If you are adding raisins you need to then drain the raisins.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour
Then one piece at a time roll out the dough flat with a rolling pin or the ever handy wine bottle. Sprinkle a quarter of the raisins all over the flattened dough. Starting with one end roll the dough back up into a coil or snake. You can then squeeze the dough to get the coil longer. It should be between 12 and 24″ long]
Do this to each of the 4 pieces so that in the end all 4 coils are about equal in length. (if they are not exact don’t sweat.)
If you are not using raisins you can just skip to here.
Arrange your 4 coils in a criss-crossed pattern like in the first photo.
Moving counter clockwise take the under piece in each ‘set’ and place it over it’s partner directly to the right.
Now moving in the opposite direction take the under piece again in each ‘set’ and place it over it’s partner directly to the left.
Do this until there is nothing left to braid. You might have to pull the dough a bit but that is ok.
When you run out of dough to braid pull all the ends up and pinch them all together.
Flip the whole braided dough over carefully and surprise a beautiful seamless round braid!
Spray a cooking sheet with non stick spray and place the loaf on the cookie sheet.
whisk up the egg yolk and brush it over all of the bread.
If you want to add sesame seeds after the loaf gets brushed with egg yolk you can sprinkle them on top.
Preheat your oven to 350 and place the cookie sheet on top of the stove. (This will just provide a little warmth for the last rising.)
While your oven preheats let your uncooked loaf of bread rise for about 30 more minutes.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 min to an hour.

Thanksgiving Spread

6 Dec

An ode to Jenna- for making the most delicious Thanksgiving Dinner.

The menu included: 2 turkeys- slaughtered by the chef herself, 2 kinds of stuffing- Porkbelly cornbread [maybe the best think ever] and butternut squash and chestnut stuffing, red onions roasted w. pomegranates and orange, brussel sprouts w. apples and a mustard vinaigrette, beats w. a marjoram infused whipped cream and a sweet potato souffle made by Hildy.  Dessert was a pumpkin flan, a derby pie, and almond custard tart w. port soaked prunes.  Beyond delicious.

Mom’s Cranberry Chutney

1 Nov

Thanksgiving comes a couple weeks early in Brooklyn.  I love this recipe- so as soon as I saw cranberries on the shelf at the co-op, I thought I’d make it.  I’m not sure where my mother got this recipe– I couldn’t find it last year when I looked in all her cookbooks- but luckily one of our family friends, Randi, had it.   Very fast and easy- takes about 15 minutes. Keeps for a while in the fridge.  Oh, and I am going to add this to the category of a– not just for holiday delight- can also use on the aforementioned chick, cran & brie sandwich, w. some turkey cutlets, in yogurt, or on its own.    It is that lovely combination of sweet & tart.  Colorful, beautiful and delicious.  Cranberries, at least the Ocean Spray kind, come in packs of 12oz.  So I think it is a bit more practical to have the recipe in those terms– see parenthesis for reduced amounts.

***Addendum: Last time I made, used only 3/4 cup sugar and still good. Perhaps yielding a more tart than sweet result. Would recommend starting at 1 cup sugar and can add more sugar as desired/to taste. Also made the sub of fresh ginger, chopped finely instead of ground and liked it very much.

16oz fresh cranberries [120z]
2 cups sugar [1 3/4 cup]
1 cup orange juice [3/4 cup-  about 3 oranges]
1 cup raisins [3/4 cup]
1 cup chopped celery [3/4 cup- about 3 stalks of celery]
1 cup red apple [any apple is fine] [3/4 cup- less than 1 apple]
1 tablespoon grated orange peel [3/4 tablespoon, approximate]
1/2 tsp. ground ginger [3/4 of a 1/2 tsp. approximate]

simmer first 3 ingredients for 15 minutes.  Add rest, refrigerate.

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