Archive for March, 2010

snows apple pie…

because it deserves its own post.

apple pie (adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum)

Rose makes the ultimate all-American Apple Pie. However, I for one feel a little uncomfortable at the idea of gelatinous apples (and America in general for that matter), so I’ve adapted this recipe to form my ultimate Apple Pie. Not sickly sweet! No blind baking needed! Flaky crust guaranteed! No egg glaze because Moon hates eggs! Apples to die for! Leftovers for breakfast!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: get your kitchen assistant (the most useful item in your kitchen is your kitchen assistant. If you don’t have one I recommend and will loan you my sister, who has 10 years of tray-greasing experience and is now an excellent baker in her own right, for a very reasonable rate) to grease a 9 or 10 inch pie tin, depending on how you like your pie/crust ratio.

FOR THE CRUST:

12 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen for ½ an hr

2 c + 3 tbsp all purpose flour (don’t overload your cups, keep it fluffy!), also frozen for ½ hr.

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

4.5 oz cream cheese

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

(OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp sugar, I don’t but you can. This is America, after all)

• cut butter into cubes & freeze for at least ½ an hr. freeze dry ingredients in a bowl for at least ½ hr

• rub together to form a crumb, add cream cheese and then vinegar.

• If needed, add 1-2 tbsp iced water.

• When mixture has come together and feels slightly elastic, shape into 2 balls, cover in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least ½ hr. (This picture is funny)

• Refrigerate for ~1/2 hr. roll out (I like to roll out onto the glad wrap cover as this makes it easy to pick up and put in pie tin)

FOR THE FILLING:

INGREDIENTS:
3 pounds apples, peeled, cores & cut into ¼ inch slices

1.5 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ c light brown sugar

¼ c granulated sugar

vanilla (nobody’s looking how much you put in)

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp + 1 tsp breadcrumbs

METHOD:

• Mascerate sliced apples, lemon juice, sugars, vanilla & salt for ½ hr- 1 ½ hrs

• Pour liquid from apples into a small saucepan, add butter & reduce for 5-10 mins, till liquid is thicker & a little sticky.

• Add breadcrumbs to apple mix and toss

• Pour liquid over apple mix & stir through

TO COMBINE:

• Set oven to 425 F
• Roll Pastry flat, line bottom of greased pie tin

• I like to add a very fine layer of breadcrumbs at this point to help separate the pie crust from the pie filling.

• Fill pastry with apples- I really like to overload, they will cook and soften so really go to town. Put a big baking tray on the rack beneath your pie tin to catch any juice if you’re worried

• Top with 2nd rolled sheet of pastry- I like to flute the edges.

• Cut a few slits in the top of the pastry, decorate any which how.

• Serve with ice cream/cream/assorted Americana

LEFTOVER APPLES/LIQUID MIX

• It’s already the most divine thing you’ll ever taste, but why not add a few raisins and cook for 10/15mins on low heat, making a kind of apple raisin vanilla butter compote. Great with anything, particularly oatmeal, yoghurt and mornings.

Sophie Delizio!!

THE AUTEUR’S: NYC correspondant Jo Schornikow, special assistance from Joseph Raite

from nyc with love…by snow

YOU GOT A FRIEND.

Winter, spring, summer or fall… all you got to do is call.

I’ll be there, Moon. And so will apples & carrots.

It’s spring for me in NYC, autumn for Moon in Melbourne. How can it be?
I don’t know; like daylight savings time (&/or Round The Twist), it’s both confusing and magical.

It can be difficult- while I’m dealing with winter longings for hot chocolate and kasespätzle (google this it’s worth it), she’s breezing about with a forkful of watermelon. When I’m looking for somewhere to store my winter coat for the summer, she’s got tons of closet space because she’s got all her winter layers on.

But some things, and by this I mean only Moon, the two recipes found below and Carol King’s friendship, transcend the very real seasonal/cultural differences we face. These are my constants, my life truths, the foundations of existence.

I give you Carrot Soup & Apple Pie. Like a Burberry trench (without the guilt seasoned with self loathing but that’s between me & my conscience), these get a year round, everyday ‘yes’.

carrot & coriander soup

Make this carrot soup. Freeze it for the cold times, if you need. Believe that sometimes, things add up to more than the sum of their parts. And perhaps, just perhaps, you can, too.

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp coriander powder (cumin powder, if you are moon, or ginger, if you are gma)

1 leek, washed (don’t forget, however much you wash a leek, you have to wash it some more) & finely chopped

CARROTS (how many you got? 2lbs? 1.5kg? 1 tonne? Ok! Peel & chop them.)

Vegetable Stock (I like Massel stock cubes, but also trust Knorr. Goya? Stick to painting!)

METHOD:
• Melt butter in the biggest vat you have

• Add chopped leek, sauté for a few mins

• Add powder of choice, season w. salt and pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes.

• Add carrots, sauté till covered in the leek mix.

• Add enough stock to cover carrots thoroughly, more if you like a thinner soup.

Simmer for as long as you can stand it, then puree and serve (I recommend a spoon of heavy cream or yoghurt, some pepper and a sprig of fresh coriander for good looks).

alternate ending – muffin topping

just to clarify a few points of contention arisen and aris from the previous muffin post and to preemptively clarify some contentious issues which will invariably result from this here post.

1. these muffins are not savory

2. muffins should never be allowed to sweat. id sooner over mix my mix than contain these in a plastic vessel

3. i dont believe in toppings on muffins and here, i personally believe it to be a travesty

4. i know theres many who stand against me on point three and so i have included it so as not to alienate my every diminishing readership

5. if you are going to be so destructive as to use a topping, this one with its seeds and savory (yet not at all savory) bent is the only acceptable kind

ingredients

50g butter in cubes

75g plain flour

25g brown sugar

50g oats

50g sunflower/pumpkin seeds..and poppy ones too if you are so inclide

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp honey


in a bowl mix together the flour butter and sugar. rub with fingertips until its all incorporated. then mix in the oats and seeds and then the water, honey and oil. stir it all together until it has a wet and sandy consistency. sprinkle on top of muffins and ruin them.

carrot, apple and walnut muffins

The muffins herewith are drawn, scavenger-like, from a number of muffins and muffin-related experiences of which I have been the fortunate (and, once in Agadir, not so fortunate) subject. In a secondary inspirational role is a small suite of muffin-centred dreams, dreams of muffins great and muffins good. Once upon an aimless day (are there other sorts of days? if so, where may I enquire further about them?) i happened upon a unique genre of muffin at baker d. chirico. In retrospect, I’m quite certain Fitzroy st cleft itself in twain beneath my feat that day. Revelation always strikes when you least expect it, and often when suffering from a particularly bad case of gout . Loaded though this muffin was with its constituent bits (carrot, apple, walnuts) it seemed out of place in a humble st. kildan bakehouse. But who am I to question the universe when it reaches out and taps me on the shoulder with a crumbly top and a moist centre like a whisper?
One day I’ll tell you about the Agadir-muffin debacle of 92. Till then, enjoy these.

ingredients

300g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp ground cinnamon

pinch salt

4 free range eggs

160ml sunflower/vegetable oil (i used 100ml oil and 60ml orange juice. because i can)

200g brown sugar

80g caster sugar

vanilla (vast amounts)

220g peeled grated carrot

200g granny smith

100g grated zucchini

100g walnuts

100g saltanas


preheat oven to 170 degrees. grease a muffin tray. but first get all your ingredients together, and realise you dont actually have said muffin tray and do swearing, see your life and your failures flash before your eyes and then run for your sad little life back to the shop from whence you came for a new fresh muffin tray. then, back to the grating task at hand.


sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix. then whisk eggs, oil, sugars and vanillas with the grated apple, carrot and zucchini. fold in the walnuts and sultanas and finally the sifted flour mix.


spoon mix into the greased tins and bake for 25 minutes.

this post was adapted by spoon after spoon and is a dedicae for snow who is possibly the greatest muffin lover and maker i know.

broccoli, chilli and garlic

spectacular though the last ottolenghi – schlepseleh chef d’oeuvre was, i felt it needed something more. and a spicy tomato sauce was good but not good enough. and long weeks of living life make us all weary…still not quite sure why its all so hard all the time. so a vegetable it had to be…broccoli because its green, chilli because its hot and garlic because as if you wouldnt. it works with all the rice and lentils because it cuts and brightens and texturises and when put together flavours mix in a very desirable way…one might even say its an stroke of inventive smarts to combine the two…not me though, that would just be indulgent self-congratulatory bollocks.

ingredients

2 heads broccoli

4-6 garlic cloves finely sliced

1-2 red chillies finely sliced

handful of toasted flaked almonds

olive oil

first, par boil the broccoli florets in a pan full of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. remove with a slotted spoon and put into some iced water to refresh. in a bowl mix the broccoli, the garlic and the chilli with a few tbsp’s of olive oil. then either transfer this to very hot griddle pan or throw into a fry pan on the stove. cook until the broccoli is softened but still biteable through. sprinkle over some toasted flaked almonds or chopped whole almonds depending on what you have on hand at the moment of inspiration. serve over the rice and love it.

lentils and rice: kosheri

i found this recipe for kosheri in the ottolenghi cookbook which is beyond words in its goodness. and i made some minor adjustments – eg. halving the amount of lentils for fear of what it would do to delicate, western, non-lentil lined insides. and before putting the vermicelli noodles in the butter with the rice i sweated one white onion because its not like you can go wrong. thats about all because its spectacular as it is, and as the smartest, tiredest person i know says “there comes a point when you just have to stop fucking around with it”…eloquent as ever.

ingredients

300g green lentils

200g basmati rice

40g unsalted butter

50g vermicelli noodles broken up

400ml chicken stock

pinch ground cinnamon

salt and pepper

4tbsp olive oil

3 white onions (2 finely sliced, 1 minced)

first run the lentils under cold water and drain. then put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes. drain again and set aside.

then in a saucepan melt the butter, add the onion and cook until softened. then add the vermicelli, stir and continue to fry until the vermicelli turns golden brown. add the rice and mix well until it is coated in the butter. then add the stock, cinnamon, salt and pepper. bring to boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins. once finished cooking remove from the heat and cover with a tea towel and put lid back on for a few minutes…this makes for fluffiness.

finally heat olive oil in a pan, add onions and saute for about 20minutes until brown.

then assembly: add the lentils, and the onions to the rice. season if needed.

theres not many words for a thing like this. its best eaten. so i suppose the most appropriate description i can give, if youre into ambiguation and obfuscation, is: “ive never tasted anything like this before” – the fluffhead across the way.

asparagus frittata

as many of you maybe aware, i dont care for eggs. but suddenly there was 8 and they had to be used. the line “ill use them, i promise” gets bandied about way too much these days. so i thought and thought and for a long time, all i could come up with is “i dont like eggs”. but then i realised this isnt about me, this is about eggs. and an opportunity to cook. and learn new things. and add to my ever expanding list of reasons why i dont like eggs. snow will testify to this (following the great egg and lettuce sandwich incident of 1997) who has, on many occasions, spoken of this ardent distaste to disinterested parties. so here it is…my first and, save for some great unforseen egg influx, last foray into the world of eggs.

ingredients

8 eggs

1 knob of butter (dont snow, its infantile)

salt & pepper

1 shallot finely chopped

1 bunch small asparagus

goats cheese

parmesan

first cook the asparagus in a little butter with salt and pepper until softened but still retaining bite (oh what a wanker ive become). remove from heat and put on a plate for photographing if you have a blog. set aside if you dont…if you look, most of you will find that you dont.

beat eggs with some sea salt and black pepper and throw in a handful of parmesan. heat oil and butter in an oven proof frying pan (or one which is not oven proof in anyway and hope for the best). sweat the shallots for a few minutes until soft. add eggs and cook for 3-4 minutes until set on the bottom. while this is happening lay the asparagus out on top in whichever way you like and dot (it gets worse) with goats cheese and finally sprinkle with parmesan. then put under the grill for another 5 minutes and bake until golden.

apple and almond cake.

…apple almond and ginger cake if youre so incline. i however, am not.

this cake made me realise a number of truths, to which i was previously either ignorant, oblivious, or indifferent. the first and most important is that chaos, complications and fuck-ups are necessary on the way to achieving greatness. the second, if you have foresight and do a little advanced planning (even over-planning such as buying 800g of almonds when you only need 300g ‘just to be on the safe side’ and having to make two extra almond recipes on account of a nut glut) is a good thing and in a recipe such as this a lack of forethought can be devastating (those prone to frontal lobe syndrome-like tendencies will fall horrendously flat on their face unless they get it together). finally, apples and almonds make for one hell of a cake. in the words of snow…’holy mother of god’. what this cake reaffirmed for me is the following a) butter and sugar, melted, creamed, or simply eaten as is, are good. b) the oxymoronic fact that experimental cooking should only be done after its been tried and tested and c) a cake made with love, especially love for a grandparent, makes for not only a better tasting cake, but so too a self-gratifying experience for its maker. so here it is, the king of cakes.

ingredients. (ive divided them into sections of making…because its a big ol mind fuck when done otherwise)

2 granny smiths

1 royal gala

30g butter

50g caster sugar

100g raisins

this is the first stage which is cooked in a pan on the stove. first peel and core apples and cut them each into 8. melt the butter in the pan, add the apple and sugar and toss to coat the apples. cook til soft (about 5 minutes), then add the raisins and cook for another minute. finally remove from the stove and let cool.

260g almond meal (dont think your clever by avoiding the saw-dust like stuff called almond meal and substituting it for ground almonds because that would not make you clever, it would make you and your cake very very stupid.)

220g almonds

2tsp baking powder

4 eggs

230g caster sugar

145ml maple syrup (i for one cannot tolerate maple syrup. most of the world would disagree the ‘most of the world’ section of my readership should ignore this parenthesis. but for those who have a similar weltanschauung i would suggest replacing the maple syrup with 100ml melted butter and 45ml orange juice.)

in a processor (or for those lacking in such fundamental kitchen aids use a bowl and pound) pulse almond meal, almonds and baking powder together.


whisk eggs and sugar and maple syrup until pale and doubled in volume.

add nut mixture and cooled apple mixture and fold to combine. pour into a greased 26cm tin.


finally and foremost, the topping. that which takes this from cake to something so much more

2 royal gala

50g roughly chopped almonds

30g butter melted

50g sugar (25 demerrera, 25 brown)

core and thinly slice the apples. if you find royal galas intolerable use granny smiths. if you only decided you find royal galas intolerable when you are at the topping stage, use what granny smiths remain, curse yourself and maybe those around you for not being more attentive at the preparatory stage to both your quantities and your emotional state as well as the potential for a sudden and unexpected change of heart resulting in the need for 5 granny smiths instead of the original 3. arrange over the top of the cake. scatter with the chopped almonds. drizzle with butter then scatter with sugars.


bake for 60-75 minutes. its beautiful and i think im ready to say, in full recognition of the profound weight this statement will bear and in full acknowledgement of maureens chocolate cake which was my first glorious foray into the world of baking, this is the greatest cake on earth.

feelin empty: spiced nuts

Could have been a free form apple and peach tart. but snow was having tea and scones. so i decided to fill the ever expanding void with a version of union square cafe spiced nuts a la nigella lawson. toast nuts in olive oil, sea salt, cumin, hot paprica, maybe a bit of brown sugar and chilli…coat nuts therein thereof until they look like you want one.

Finished product.

Void remains…with occasional stabbing pains in the stomach but mainly thirstiness…All for you ralphie.

spanish salted almonds

once upon a time on a beach in alicante an old woman asked i could help her in the water. she didnt know how to swim and wanted someone aimless and with a significant amount of time on their hands to hold her hands while she kicked about. an offer i couldnt refuse. her gratitude came in the form of some severely and sublimely salted almonds. the gift economy at work. they tasted like spain, the mediterranean, the sun and well-being (which apparently, for those wondering, tastes very salty.) here is the closest i can get to the little golden, oval shaped nuggets of happiness…flowery rhetoric maybe but they taste like paradise.

ingredients.

500g blanched almonds

olive oil

best sea salt

put almonds on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. its more of a smattering than a sprinkling. cover is probably the best words. toss to combine and put in pre-heated oven at 180 degrees until golden brown. it will probably require a second or third salting when you take it out of the oven and then lay flat on paper towel to remove any excess oil. heaven.