Posts Tagged ‘recipe


yummy summer breakfast

One peach and one tomato, chopped; a bit of dried mint, crumbled; a drizzle of red-chile honey.


Omnivore cookie contest January 29

Omnivore books, at Church and Cesar Chavez, is having a cookie contest from 3 to 4 on Saturday, January 29, and you should come. The $5 cover gets you a taste of every cookie entered in the contest–including mine.

The Cookie of the Month Club will convene at my house around 1 that day to bake an improved version of Cooks Illustrated’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies from Jan/Feb 2009. Improved how? With the addition of cayenne, cinnamon, and dried cherries. I tested these earlier this week, and they were a big hit.

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar*
  • 4 ounces dried cherries

*Cooks Illustrated specifies dark brown sugar. I happened to have light brown. It worked just as well.

Yields 16-20 large cookies.

Put racks in middle positions in the oven. Heat to 375 F. Grease two large cookie sheets. Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon in a bowl.

In another container, whisk together corn syrup, egg white, and vanilla.

Beat softened butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and dried cherries, mixing until just incorporated.

Chill dough 30 minutes. Divide chilled dough into 1 1/2-inch diameter balls. Coat in granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake two sheets at a time, reversing position (top to bottom) halfway through baking. Bake until cookies are puffed and cracked and the edges have set but the centers are still soft (they will seem underdone), 10-11 minutes. Cool on sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool to room temperature.

Besides Cooks Illustrated, credit is due to Michael, for his chocolate-cherry bread, and to John, for his early devotion to cayenne in things chocolate.

If these cookies win the day, the Cookie of the Month Club promises to plow the winnings (half of the door) back into sugar, butter, and more cookie research for you! And we’ll party afterward at my house regardless. So come on down to Omnivore on the 29th.


pear and tomato cheese

When Julie was over with her green tomatoes, we made pear and tomato cheese. Think something between a jam and a fruit leather.

pear and tomato cheese

The recipe is from Oded Schwarz’s Preserving, which is the first preserving book I ever bought and is full of pretty pictures and sometimes crazy notions. J-P and I made pear and tomato cheese for the first time about six years ago in Boston. It was delicious, but we did a lot of things wrong: we used whatever tomatoes came in our CSA, we made a double batch, we cooked it down in a stock pot rather than something with more surface area… It took more than seven hours of simmering to get it to the right consistency. We’ve been shy of it ever since, but finally got up the courage for another go this past Sunday.

Here’s how to do it right. Yields about 2.5 pounds, and that is plenty. Please don’t try a double batch.

  • 2 lbs Roma tomatoes (really important to use a dry variety of tomato)
  • 1.5 lbs pears
  • .5 lbs apples
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Coarsely chop tomatoes, pears, apple, and lemon. Put in pot with water and bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes, until the fruit is mushy. Pass the mixture through a food mill or sieve. Measure the resulting puree and add 1.5 cups sugar for every 2 cups of puree. Put this mixture, with the spices, in a roasting pan or something with similar surface area that you can set over two burners. Return to a boil, then simmer forever (about 4 hours), stirring frequently. (We returned it to a stock pot after a couple of hours, out of fear of burning it.) It’s ready to be poured into oiled pans (we used two pie plates) when it plops/heaves rather than bubbles, and you can draw a clear line through it with your spoon. Let sit in the oiled pans for at least 24 hours, then turn out and coat with granulated sugar. Use a cold, clean knife (which you will clean frequently) to cut squares, which you will roll in more granulated sugar and store in tins between layers of waxed paper.


fried green tomatoes

Julie came over today to make, among other things, fried green tomatoes. We’ve had poor luck with batters for fried vegetables, but today we hit on something that really worked.

1. Dredge the tomato slices in flour (seasoned with salt, black pepper, and cayenne).
2. Dip the floured slices in a wash of egg, buttermilk, and the same seasonings.
3. Coat with coarse cornmeal and the same seasonings.
4. Fry in vegetable oil, drain on paper towels–the usual.

The buttermilk (left over from the picnic chicken of a while back) added a nice tang to the tomatoes’ sweetness, and the coarse grind of the cornmeal gave good crunch, though it did mean that we had to change the oil after each batch.


piggy peach risotto

Not even vaguely Tex-Mex, but still what we had for dinner last night. J-P decided to try the peach-and-pancetta version of this watermelon-and-pancetta risotto recipe that Eric Asimov posted in the Diners’ Journal a few weeks ago. It was good, but next time we will salt the rice as it cooks (we relied on the pancetta for salt this time), use more basil, and use a stronger stock (we used the powdered veggie broth we usually use for risotto, but a good chicken stock is clearly the way to go here). The flavorful bits were very flavorful and quite nice together, but the risotto itself lacked a little oomph.


Momo’s chicken soup

PJ’s “small and beautiful”* celery soup from a couple of weeks ago made me want my grandmother’s similarly delicate and unassuming chicken soup.

Yields about 3 quarts

Phase 1

  • 1/2 pound chicken scraps (backs, necks, wingtips, whatever)
  • water to cover
  • salt to taste

Put the chicken scraps in a stockpot with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Phase 2

  • 1 medium potato, chopped large
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped large
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, quartered
  • 3 small stalks celery, chopped large
  • 1 medium jalapeño (seeded and deveined if that’s your thing; I don’t), chopped large**
  • 1/2 pound bone-in, proper cuts of chicken (I prefer legs and thighs); remove skins and excess fat (there’s already plenty in there)***
  • juice of half a medium lime
  • more salt
  • a generous dash ground cumin
  • lots of fresh ground black pepper
  • about 3 cups more water


While Phase 1 is simmering, prepare the ingredients for Phase 2. Skim the gunk off the top, then add everything on the list above. Return to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the freshly added chicken is done (another 20-30 minutes).

Phase 3

  • 1 ear corn, hacked into rounds that will just fit on a soup spoon to be nibbled at****
  • 1 double handful cilantro*****
  • maybe some more salt, pepper, cumin and/or lime juice, to taste


Fish the chicken out of the soup and put in the ingredients listed above, returning to a covered simmer for while you shred the proper chicken parts. Discard the bones and the chicken scraps from Phase 1. Return the shredded chicken to the pot for 5 minutes or so, and you’re done.


* Small and beautiful, as opposed to aiming for the TV chef goal of “bigass flavor.”

** My grandmother has ulcers and has been told not to eat spicy foods, but at least one chile always makes it in. When I asked her to describe what she put in this soup, the jalapeño was an afterthought. “Oh, and a pepper.” For flavor, of course.

*** I used boneless this time and relearned the important lesson that it cooks too fast and gets rubbery. Bone-in is the way to go. Can’t get it falling-off-the-bone tender without a bone to fall off of.

**** I may help my diners by shredding the chicken before serving (my grandmother certainly doesn’t), but the rounds of corn are non-negotiable. Nibbling them is half the fun. (For a non-summer version of this soup, just leave the corn out.)

***** Every time I rake a fork through a handful of parsley or cilantro to get the leaves off the stalks, I think of John Kraemer, who taught me that quick and easy technique.


Southwestern-style heap of veg


To use up the leftover filling from the corn and tomato tart earlier this week, I added okra, three tomatoes, another jalapeño, more salt, a little cumin, and three cloves of garlic, minced and browned in olive oil. I covered the whole thing and let it simmer for about 20 minutes–just enough time for most of the goo to leak out of the okra and into the sauce, but not long enough to ruin its crunch. Very easy, very tasty.

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