Oven Roasted Mushrooms

MushroomBakeA sleepy Monday on a long weekend calls for an easy-to-assemble brunch. T and I found that in a one-dish mushroom bake. We were inspired by the roasted maitake skillet we enjoyed this Saturday at Brooklyn Sandwich Society. While our version was delicious, theirs sang from the addition of a duck egg, crème fraiche, and a side of lightly pickled jalapeños. We will be sure to add those to ours next time.

Oven Roasted Mushrooms
(adapted from Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill)

Ingredients:
1 lb mushrooms, various (we used enoki, hen-of-the-forest, and wood ear mushrooms, which we had on hand from a recent trip to Mitsuwa)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pats (or 1/4 cup good EVOO)
6 sprigs fresh thyme + 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the mushrooms, garlic, butter, and pepper in a large roasting/baking pan, and stir to combine. Add the sprigs of thyme and roast in the oven until golden brown and all of the liquid has evaporated, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with lemon zest, salt, and chopped thyme.

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Italian Wedding Soup

T and I were recovering from a cough and cold that left us worn, so we looked to an Italian Wedding Soup to soothe our throats and bones. Rolling the little meatballs, swirling in the eggs and cheese, and finally, slurping up the hot broth was just what the doctor ordered.

Italian Wedding Soup
From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis, with minor edits and additions

Ingredients

Meatballs:
1 small onion, grated or finely diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or another hard aged cheese (we used Pecorino Romano)
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper

Soup:
12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound curly endive, coarsely chopped (we used baby spinach)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan or another hard aged cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 cup orzo or another small pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese, beef and pork. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons for each, shape the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet.

To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the orzo, meatballs, and curly endive and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the curly endive is tender, about 8 minutes (if you use spinach, add in the last minute, as it cooks quickly). Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin stands of egg, about 1 minute. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Finish soup with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Northern Catskills

This past weekend T and I headed upstate, where we rented a charming little cabin in the Northern Catskills. Have you ever been that way? It was so lovely; I can’t recommend visiting enough. Here are a few memories we made along the way.

On the drive up, we stopped in the town of Saugerties and shared a delicious shortcake overflowing with ripe strawberries at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen.

Okay okay. I didn’t really share :)

We made a few friends with manes…

…and maybe a few enemies with udders.

Speaking of animals, can you spot the black bear?

The Catskills and Hudson Valley are dotted with darling little towns that we loved ambling around in. We couldn’t make it to all of them, but a couple standouts were Tannersville (it’s got a cool hippie vibe and sits on the edge of Rip Van Winkle Lake, which is so fun to say!), and Hudson (it’s right on the river and seems to have six antiques shops on every block).

Tannersville’s Last Chance is a tavern, antiques store, cheese shop, and restaurant, all-in-one. They have a fantastic selection of beers and make some of the best pulled pork around.

I loved the little whales on Hudson’s street signs.

On Sunday, we went canoeing on North-South Lake.

During our walk to the boat launch, a couple of kids introduced us to a dinosaur :)

Perhaps my favourite part of the whole trip though, was admiring Haines Falls.

Do you have a favourite getaway memory? I’d love to hear!

Spaghetti with burrata, parmigiano, and butter

Yesterday was one of those perfect New York spring days, where the entire city seems to come out of hibernation: flowers peek out from buds, and buds from branches; whole families take to the parks and streets to stretch their legs, stripping off layers as they walk; even the air feels like it’s testing out new wings, first with cool breezes, then easing into a still warmth that flushes your skin.

I spent most of the day basking in the sun on my friend’s rooftop, sipping sweet hibiscus tea over ice; it was glorious.

By the early evening, when I returned home, I wanted nothing more than to collapse onto my couch, contentedly worn out from doing absolutely zilch. ZeroNada. Yet, somehow, I threw together a few ingredients I had on hand and made what is now, quite possibly, my new favourite ‘school night’ meal. Simple, easy, and restorative — just like spring.

Spaghetti with burrata, parmiagiano, and butter
Serves 4

This is a one-pot-wonder that you may customize this any way you please. I tossed in some broccoli florets, spinach, and a couple of canned roma tomatoes, roughly chopped, just to get some veggies in there — but the beauty of this meal is that you can add just about anything you’d like. Feel free to experiment with pastas and cheeses, too. Next time, I think I’ll try orecchiette and pecorino.

Ingredients:
3/4 pound of spaghetti, or other dried pasta
1/2 pound burrata cheese, halved, creamy filling scooped out (reserve the firmer exterior for another use)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of fresh, coarsely ground pepper
2 cups broccoli florets (optional)
2 cups baby spinach (optional)
10 oz canned roma tomatoes, roughly chopped or diced (optional)
salt to taste
zest of one lemon

Directions:
Cook spaghetti in lightly salted water until just tender, but firm to bite (al dente). I threw in the broccoli with the pasta during the last two minutes of boiling time, and the spinach in the last 30 seconds — no sense using a whole new pot. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid. Drop the butter, cheeses, and pepper into the pasta, tossing until well combined. Add reserve liquid if dry. Salt to taste. Spoon the spaghetti into bowls. Dot the pasta with the creamy burrata filling. Garnish with lemon zest.

Today, I am…

I returned to a mild and sunny city this morning, after spending a leisurely long weekend with family and friends up north. The skies were clear on our descent, as were the roads into Manhattan, and my world felt calm and steady for the first time in weeks.

To fete this small act of grace, I treated myself to an apple butter bombolone from Sullivan Street Bakery, slung my headphones over my ears and played the best Sade cover, ever, and finally purchased the gorgeous Lizzy Stewart illustration that I’ve been eyeing for ages.

Here’s to more Tuesdays like this. xo

Lemon poppyseed ricotta cake

Oh dear.

This past weekend, I caught a good case of the Wintertime Blues.

I woke up on Saturday morning mopey and peevish, and generally felt like a house off its foundation. The cold weather and short days tend to do that, don’t they? Do you ever feel that way, too?

Normally, a long walk outside helps, as does a long hug from a friend.

You know what else comforts me? Baking.

The intoxicating smell of butter and brown sugar whipped together. The movement of batter, undulating, and folding into itself. The clash of colours and textures: powdery white flour; bright, bold yolks; deep, dark vanilla pods.

So, after lacing up my boots for an urban hike around the city, I went home to take some proverbial lemons and make…lemon poppyseed ricotta cake.

I can’t tell you how therapeutic it was to grate that lemon rind into tiny, fragrant flakes of yellow. How consoling it was to watch, almost trance-like, as my mixer beat those ingredients into submission. How gratifying it was to take that first slice, and bite into a warm, tart, sweetness that my two hands made.

Oh dear indeed.

Lemon Poppyseed Ricotta Cake From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, shared by @carolinekell *cook’s notes are starred

Serves 8-10

Tools One 3.5 x 7 inch loaf tin with 3 inch sides Sifter Electric mixer

For the sponge 7 oz (14 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 7 oz (7/8 cups) flour, plus extra for dusting 7 oz (7/8 cups) caster sugar // *caster sugar is superfine sugar — I improvised by grinding granulated sugar in my blender 3 large eggs 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 4 tbsp poppy seeds 2 tbsp lemon zest // *equivalent to 4 lemons 2 tbsp whole milk 3 oz (6 tsbp) ricotta cheese

For the soaking syrup Juice of 1 lemon 1.75 oz (3.5 tbsp) caster sugar 3.5 fl oz (~1/2 cup) water

Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F, then grease the loaf tin with butter and dust with flour. 2. Using the paddle attachement on your mixer, cream together the butter and caster sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. 3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix in the poppy seeds and lemon zest. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar in three stages and on a low speed, mixing well between each addition and adding the milk after the second batch of dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until the batter is smooth and even, then mix in the ricotta cheese. 4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, with no uncooked batter sticking to it. 5. While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil, allowing the syrup to reduce by about half. 6. When the cake is cooked, pour the syrup over it while it is still hot. allowing it to soak into the sponge. Leave the loaf to cool a little before turning it out of the tin on a wire rack to cool down fully before serving.

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Galette des Rois

 

One of my favourite bakeries in New York is Épicerie Boulud. One day, I’ll tell you how delicious their almond croissants are.

But for now, I’m just going to show you how delectable their galettes des rois are, and encourage you to try them — quickly. These buttery, flaky, frangipane-filled pastries are only served during the month of January to celebrate the Three Kings’ journey to see the baby Jesus — hence the name, “Kings’ Cake”.

Special thanks to Agatha for introducing me to this wonderful winter treat.

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