savories

Eggs In Purgatory

You know when you love breakfast foods, but you’re also really lazy? Um, hello, that’s me. In college, I got so used to scheduling all my classes at 11am or later, just so I could stay up until 2am but also get a reasonable amount of sleep (healthy, I know), but NOW, even after a full year of adulthood in the workforce, I am so unprepared for how tired I feel during the week. As a result, Saturdays are my sacred sleeping late days, and I take them very seriously thank you very much. With this being the case, I am not often awake early enough for breakfast, which is actually a real bummer given how many breakfast recipes I want to try. I’ve always wanted to be a morning person and have been trying to push myself not to sleep so late on the weekends, but it’s slow going for sure.

I was super proud of this presentation, I’m not gonna lie…

That being said, I think I may have just found the key. It all started when I got a copy of Cook’s Illustrated magazine for my birthday (thanks Anne!!). This particular copy was the “Special Collector’s Edition” of All-Time Best Breakfast & Brunch Recipes. A dream come true, right?? It had every recipe you could possibly imagine, complete with detailed notes on the testing of each one so that you could be sure you were getting the best results. However, the recipe that really caught my eye was the one for “Eggs In Purgatory”. Similar to Shakshuka, Eggs In Purgatory is essentially baked eggs in a tomato sauce, this time with Italian flavors. As a fake Italian, this was really what drew me in (for clarification, I’m not Italian at all but I just really wish I was).

The key to this recipe is cooking the eggs two different ways to ensure they are properly cooked without compromising the overall dish. This means that you first make the sauce on the stovetop, crack in the eggs, cook for a bit, and THEN bake, and the end result will be the breakfast dish of your dreams. An added bonus? Every step of this meal is cooked in one pan (not counting the toasting of the bread), so you can spend more quality time with your guests (or yourself, if you make this whole thing for you I will not judge, it’s called self care!!). *Disclaimer* The recipe technically serves 4 figuring that each person will eat 2 eggs, baked in a 12 inch skillet. However, I only have a 10.5 inch skillet, so I used 6 eggs. It still fed 4 of us, but I’ll let you decide how hungry you are. Let’s breakfast!

Serves: 4-5 people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Eggs In Purgatory Ingredients
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, by Cecilia Jenkins

1 loaf Italian bread, cut into thick slices
7 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup grated onion (about half a medium onion)
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more chopped for garnish
1- 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
6-8 large eggs (depending on your pan size and crowd)
Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Eggs In Purgatory Steps

1. Start by moving one of your oven racks to the middle slot. Arrange the sliced bread on a large baking sheet and brush each piece with olive oil. Flip to the other side and repeat so that both sides of the bread are oiled. In total, this should be about 4 of the 7 tablespoons of olive oil, but you can eyeball this as well. Broil the bread until the tops turn golden brown and crisp, turning each piece over to ensure even browning on both sides. Don’t wander too far while this is happening, things can go from lightly golden to very burnt in the blink of an eye with your broiler!! Set the bread aside and preheat your oven to 400ºF.

2. In an oven-safe skillet (I used a cast iron one, but it’s up to you!), heat your remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to brown it too much (browned garlic is very bitter). Stir in the grated onion, tomato paste, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano so that everything is well combined. Continue to cook this mixture until the tomato paste has turned rust-colored, or a deep, reddish-brown, as this will unlock the caramelized sweetness of the tomatoes. (It should take about 5 minutes.)

3. Toss in the basil leaves and stir, cooking for 30 seconds, or until they begin to wilt. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until it has slightly thickened. Remember to stir occasionally!

4. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to cool for 2 minutes before adding the eggs next. Crack one of your eggs into a small bowl. Using a rubber spatula, clear a large hole in the sauce, deep enough that you can see the bottom and wide enough to fit the whole egg without spilling over. Pour the egg in, making sure to keep the whites contained so that they don’t spread entirely over the surface of the tomato sauce. I found myself sort-of pushing some of the sauce up to create a little barrier if the eggs were large enough that some of the white was spilling over, and it worked out okay! Remember also that practice makes perfect, and even if some whites spill over, it’s going to taste SO. GOOD.

 

5. Repeat with the rest of your eggs, evenly spacing out the pockets around the perimeter of the skillet, with the final egg right in the middle. Season all the eggs with salt and pepper, then cover the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes, until the whites are just setting but still a little watery. Remove the lid and carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes for runny eggs, or 6 for soft yolks, rotating the skillet once during cooking.

6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parmesan and chopped basil, then serve with the toasty bread and just TRY to keep yourself from scooping up every last bit of sauce with that bread.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoD

sweets

Funfetti Layer Cake!

Happy Tuesday friends! Today I’m back to talk about cake and Molly Yeh, but first, let’s talk about berry picking. I know this is quite unrelated to the recipe at hand, but I gotta tell you, I spent Saturday doing some classic summer activities and oh my it was good. We drove out east to Greenport and Orient on the North Fork of Long Island and all I can say is that I am moving there as soon as possible. Driving along the road scattered with family farms and vineyards, we stopped to pick blue and blackberries, had sweet corn ice cream at 10am (SO delicious), and found the Four and Twenty Blackbirds pop-up pie shop where I definitely added to my cookbook collection. It was everything I ever wanted and I can’t wait to live a wrap-around screened-in porch by the beach lifestyle thank you very much.

But anyway, back to today’s recipe. Who here has heard of Molly Yeh? For those of you who haven’t, she’s a food blogger, cookbook author, and now Food Network chef and honestly, I aspire to be her. Her recipes are thoughtful and beautiful, and often include a healthy dose of sprinkles. Now, anyone who knows me knows that baking cakes distresses me, so I approached this one cautiously. While babysitting last week, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire for a slice of cake, and couldn’t think of anything else until I made some. You know how it goes, right? My sisters came downstairs at 7:30pm expecting dinner to be on the table and only to realize that I hadn’t even STARTED that yet because dessert over everything. To my relief this recipe went just swimmingly. The secret? Clear, imitation vanilla!! I know, I was skeptical too but since I trust Molly I went for it, and the result? A homemade, buttery, moist cake with the nostalgic taste of those funfetti box mixes that were a staple of childhood birthday parties. An added bonus? This cake baked up perfectly flat on top so they stacked beautifully with no trimming required and it turned out to be the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made. I tried to leave this recipe as close to the original as possible, although I did find myself playing around with frosting. However,  you can also find the original recipe here on her blog, My Name Is Yeh, or her cookbook, which you can buy here. Anywho, let’s bake!

 

Makes: One 9-inch 2-layer cake

Funfetti Cake Ingredients

2½ cups flour (all-purpose)
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1½ cups sugar
4 egg whites
¼ cup canola (or other flavorless) oil
1 tbs clear imitation vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup rainbow sprinkles (the cylinder ones, not nonpareils)


Funfetti Cake Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. (This recipe could also be used to make 24 cupcakes).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder to combine. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, or about 3-4 minutes. Carefully add the egg whites one at a time, and mix after each addition to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Add the oil and mix until combined.

4. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the whole milk and add the extracts to it. Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture with the mixer on low speed, starting with the flour mixture and alternating so that the flour is added in 3 batches and the milk mixture in 2 (flour, mix, milk, mix, flour, etc…), until all is added and mix until just combined.

5. Add the sprinkles and mix with a rubber spatula until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Fill the cake pans so that there is an equal amount of batter in both. Bake for 25-27 minutes on the lower rack of the oven, testing with a toothpick or a cake tester for doneness. Allow to cool  for 15 minutes in the pan before removing and placing on a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.

Classic American Buttercream

7 cups powdered sugar
1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp clear imitation vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
6-8 tbs whole milk


Classic American Buttercream Steps

1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the powdered sugar and butter- be careful when you turn the mixer on, the powdered sugar tends to fly everywhere!

2. Add in the salt and the extracts and mix to combine. Add the whole milk a tablespoon at a time with the mixer on medium speed until the desired spreadable consistency has been reached. Makes enough frosting to fill the inside layer, crumb coat, and second coat one 2-layer cake.

Funfetti Cake Assembly

1. To assemble the cake, place one cake flat side down on your cake stand. Spread about a ½ cup or so of the frosting on top of this layer, and place the second cake on top, this one upside down so that the bottom of the cake is on top, as this will create a flat top of your cake.

2. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then, use the rest of the frosting to generously frost the entire cake, using an offset spatula to spread, and a bench scraper or long spatula dipped in hot water to smooth the edges.

3. Now the best part- DECORATING!!! You can do whatever you want here; more frosting to pipe around the edges, marzipan cutouts, or the classic, more sprinkles. This is the approach I took as you can see, as it was approaching 10pm and everyone just wanted to eat!

Now go forth and enjoy your masterpiece (and probably take a lot of pictures)! Xoxoxoxox

 

savories

Orecchiette with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Welcome to my first dinner post in so so long! I’m terribly sorry for the delay, it just seems like every good recipe I’ve had recently has been a dessert, but that ends NOW! Last week, I played Mom for my three younger sisters while my parents were away and honestly, I don’t know how anyone does it. Props to you working Moms and Dads! There just didn’t seem to be enough time (or coffee) in the day for me to get things done. I’m not even joking, there was a point in the week where I woke up with a weird pain in my right side and my first thought was “wow, I don’t have time for appendicitis, who will make dinner?”. ????? HM okay Deirdre calm down. But also it turned out to be nothing I think and I’m just going to roll with it!

ANYWAY back to food, when I’m in charge at home, I tend to use my siblings as taste testers for things that I wouldn’t normally try to make during the week, and thank goodness for them. This time it was an adaptation of one of my favorite Smitten Kitchen recipes, Baked Tomato Sauce. Best in the summer when tomatoes are at the height of ripeness, Deb’s recipe brings out the incredibly rich sweetness of the cherry tomatoes and perfectly compliments it with the slight crunch of the toasted breadcrumbs and the lightness of some fresh basil. It’s the epitome of summer in one dish and mark my words, it’s just about perfect as is. But, since I can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to see what else I could do with it and so was born this Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.

Part of the draw of this recipe is its simplicity, after accidentally spending 2 hours making a Funfetti Cake instead of dinner (post on that coming soon!), I was thrilled at how I could get everything in the pan and into the oven in under 15 minutes. So, the challenge was tweaking the recipe in a way that wouldn’t tack on another 20 minutes of prep time, and didn’t distract from the main flavor players here. In the end, I was incredibly pleased with how this came out and so were my taste testers, and I just know you’ll feel the same way too. Let’s get cooking!

 

Ingredients
adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Baked Tomato Sauce

Olive Oil
3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼-½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
4 tbs grated pecorino romano cheese
½ tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1½ lbs. dried orecchiette or large shell pasta
Handful of fresh basil, chiffonade
8oz. Bocconcini or Ciliegine (mozzarella balls!)

Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Drizzle olive oil in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, enough to almost cover the bottom entirely. Toss in the halved cherry tomatoes, sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and mix with your hands so that everything is evenly mixed and lightly coated in olive oil. Note: the red pepper flakes measurement is variable, adjust however you’d like based on your tolerance to spicy foods!

Look at the COLOR!!

2. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, cheeses, and oregano. Sprinkle this mixture evenly and generously over the tomatoes in the baking dish.

3. Top with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons more olive oil- it doesn’t have to be exact, you just want the breadcrumbs to get a golden brown crispness!

4. Bake the tomatoes for 25-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are burst and bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

5. While the sauce is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Drain.

PEAK crispy roasty bubbliness right here.

6. When the sauce is finished, if there is room in your baking dish, toss the cooked pasta, basil, and bocconcini straight in with the sauce and mix until everything is incorporated evenly and the mozzarella is just starting to melt. If this isn’t possible, transfer your pasta back into the large pot that you cooked it in, add the sauce, mozzarella, and basil, and mix to combine that way. Serve with a sprinkling of basil and a glass of good wine.

YUM! xoxoxoxoxoxoD

sweets

Summer Fruit Galettes

Hello and welcome back! I apologize for being M.I.A. last week, in the midst of spending time with friends I don’t get to see a lot, I realized I had nothing to share with you all and rather than throw something together last minute, I figured I would take some time this weekend to bring you something extra nice. SO, for today’s post, you get not one, but two summer fruit galette recipes!! I went to the farm on Saturday with no recipe ideas or direction and hoped that something would jump out and tell me what to bake, and lucky enough, I immediately found some ripe peaches, blueberries, and the most beautifully colored sweet cherries I’ve ever seen!  To my dismay, the cherries lost a lot of their vibrant color during the baking, but it was still SUCH a good combo. However, if this bothers you, you can use dark sweet cherries, or substitute with tart cherries and add a few tablespoons more sugar to compensate.

We have finally hit peach season, and I could not be happier about it. In my humble opinion, peach season might be the greatest time of the year, you know?? Naturally, this means that peaches are the star of both of these galettes, which truly could not be simpler. For those who have never made or seen one of these before, a galette is a type of french tart (it can be sweet or savory), where the bottom crust folds up the sides and keeps all the juices ad flavors inside, WITHOUT a pie plate! That’s right, this is a pie that can be baked on a sheet pan! It is the ultimate combination of fancy and rustic in all the right ways.

As if it couldn’t get any better, this is also probably the quickest pie/tart dessert, since there’s only one crust, a simple filling, and no fussy crimping of edges. Not counting dough chilling time, this galette could be warm out of the oven in less than an hour to satisfy your pie cravings at any time, day or night. Without further ado, let’s get baking!


Makes: 
2 galettes, 6-8 servings each
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: ~2 hours


Galette Dough (makes 2 galettes)

2½ cups all purpose flour
2 tbs white sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
16 tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup ice water

Galette Dough Steps

1. Using a food processor, blend together the flour, sugar, and salt to incorporate evenly.

2. Cut the butter into relatively even cubes and add to the processor as well, pulsing 8-10 times until the butter is mixed in and resembles the size of peas in the flour.

3. Slowly drizzle in the ice water while pulsing another 8-10 times, until the dough is crumbly, but still comes together when you pinch it. If your dough seems to dry, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water gradually. Divide the dough in half and form 2 discs, slightly flattened on top for easier rolling out later. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

 

Peach-Blueberry Filling Ingredients

3 peaches, peeled and cut into thin slices
½ pint blueberries
Splash of vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
1½ tsp cornstarch

 


Peach-Blueberry Filling Steps

1. Combine peaches and blueberries in a large bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the sugar and the cornstarch. Add this mixture to the fruits and stir until everything is evenly coated. Let sit for 15 minutes or until the fruits start to release their juices.


Peach-Cherry Filling Ingredients

3 peaches, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 rough cup cherries, pitted
Splash of vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar (1/3 cup if using sour cherries)
1½ tsp cornstarch


Peach-Cherry Filling Steps

1. Combine peaches and cherries in a large bowl.

2. Like above, mix together the sugar and the cornstarch, then add this mixture to the fruits and let sit for 15 minutes.

 


Galette Assembly Extras

1 egg
1 tbs water
Demerara sugar

Galette Assembly Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

2. On a floured surface, roll out one of your galette doughs into a rough circle about ¼ inch thick.

3. Carefully transfer this dough to a piece of parchment paper on your baking tray. In the center of the dough, carefully mound your fruit filling, leaving plenty of room on all sides for folding of the crust. If you’re worried that your fruit filling will be too runny, use a slotted spoon to transfer to control how much of the fruit juices are added in.

3. Gently fold the sides of the galette up over the fruit, as if you’re pleating the dough. This can be as messy as you like, I promise it will look beautiful no matter what!

4. Once you’re happy with the look, beat the egg with the water and brush onto the dough and sprinkle generously with the sugar. This will give the crust a nice golden brown color and a beautiful crunch.

5. Bake the galette for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and thickened, and the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

6. Allow to cool, at least slightly, before serving. Best eaten with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a good cup of tea.

YUM! xoxoxo

sweets

Blueberry Slab Pie

Welcome back my friends, I hope you haven’t all melted into puddles on the floor in this heat, I know I was certainly close. Leaving the house when it’s 100 degrees outside can be daunting, but if I was going to do it for anything, it would be for margarita ingredients you know? Yes, I realize that this recipe is about blueberry pie, but this is crucial. Last week, I somehow managed to injure my hand while juicing limes, which seems like an achievement even for me, so guess whose electric citrus juicer arrived on Saturday?? Naturally I had to test it out, and used this recipe, which is quite possibly the easiest and most foolproof of margarita recipes. It’s worth noting that my mom thinks this is a little too strong so we add some simple syrup to sweeten hers up, but I’ll leave that decision up to you.

But anyway, let’s talk about slab pies. For those who have no clue what that is, a slab pie is a pie baked in a large sheet pan (with raised sides, of course), resulting in a giant rectangular pie with all the buttery crust and jammy filling of a regular pie, but with THREE TIMES THE SERVINGS. If a regular 9″ pie can serve 8 people on average, a slab pie can serve up to 24 people depending on how big you slice it. If that isn’t your dream come true, then I don’t know what is! And, while we’re on the subject, this would be the perfect dessert for a July 4th BBQ- cut it into large squares, break out the vanilla ice cream, and  BOOM, you’re the star of the party.

This recipe uses my favorite pie crust recipe from Queen Ina Garten, and is filled with a blueberry filling so summery and perfect that it will bring tears to your eyes. While I am awaiting an August trip to Maine for my favorite blueberries, the ones at home worked out just splendidly. One word of caution that I have is in the transfer of pie crust from your rolling mat to your sheet pan. You’re maneuvering a large piece of dough, so I found it helpful to make sure it’s properly floured and folded in half twice to transfer, eliminating the risk of ripping the dough in too many places. Remember to breathe, stay calm, and know that rips, tears, and imperfections are ALSO beautiful! Let’s get baking!!

Serves: 16-24 people
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Total Time: ~2 hours

Pie Crust Ingredients (1 full recipe for top crust, 1 full recipe for bottom crust)
adapted from Ina Garten’s Perfect Pie Crust 

12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into cubes
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs white sugar
1/3 cup cold shortening
½ cup ice water

Pie Crust Steps

1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt, and sugar, then pulse 3-4 times to mix. Add in the cubed butter and shortening and pulse an additional 10 times or so, or until the butter is the size of peas and is evenly incorporated.

2. With the food processor on low, slowly add  in the ½ cup ice water and process until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Repeat for the top crust.

 

Blueberry Filling Ingredients

5 pints blueberries
1¼ cups white sugar
½ cup flour
Kosher salt
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon


Blueberry Filling Steps

1. Easy-peasy, toss all the above ingredients together in a large bowl, set aside while you roll out the pie crusts.

 

Slab Pie Assembly Extra Ingredients

1 egg
1 tbs water
Demerara Sugar


Slab Pie Assembly Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. On a large silpat mat or floured surface, roll out your first batch of pie crust into a large rectangle- make sure you have an extra inch on all sides compared to the size of your sheet pan, so that it can cover the sides. For reference, mine was roughly 10″ by 16″.

2. To transfer the bottom crust to the baking sheet, carefully fold the crust in half vertically, then again horizontally, and place in one corner of the tray. Unfold veeeeeeery carefully, and gently pull into place as needed so that the bottom and sides are covered. Pour in the filling.

3. Repeat the rolling and folding process for the top crust and place into position. Fold the bottom crust over the top crust and crimp all the edges using a fork or your hands. Cut several slits in the top of the pie to release the steam, and brush the entire top with egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbs water). Sprinkle generously with demerara sugar.

4. Bake at 400ºF for the first 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350ºF and bake for an additional 40 minutes, checking every 15-20 minutes or so to make sure the edges aren’t browning too much. If you find that the crust is getting too dark for comfort, cover the dark areas with tinfoil to prevent burning.

5. Cool completely to allow the filling to set, but it can be warmed again for serving! Serve with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

xoxoxoxoD

savories

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caper Brown Butter Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Hello! So as promised, I’ve returned with a recipe that’s NOT dessert.  This is one of those recipes that I tried on a whim a few years ago, and it worked out SO well that it keeps coming back. Believe it or not, it was inspired by a recipe from a cookbook we once bought in Disney World. The book is called Kitchen Magic With Mickey (hilarious, I know, but once you try this you’ll see they really weren’t lying!), and it features foods from the Disney locations. As a family in love with Disney World, buying this cookbook was a no-brainer, and it has paid off handsomely.

This dish is a perfect combination of flavors- slightly sweet from the potatoes and honey, savory and rich from the brown butter, with just a touch of acidic kick from the capers. It’s a full meal in just one dish and when you make this for your friends or family, I am telling you they’ll be so impressed.

This meal was much needed comfort food this weekend following the emotional hangover of seeing the love of my life (Harry Styles) in concert on Thursday night. For anyone who doesn’t know who that is, 10/10 would recommend looking him up. For those of you who do know who that is, you’ll understand why I needed to retreat into my pajamas and brown butter sauce to recover for two days straight after standing 20 feet from him!!!! But I digress, we’re here to talk about food and that’s what we shall do. Without further ado, let’s cook!!


Serves: 
8-10 people
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes
2 egg yolks
4-6 cups all purpose flour
1½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 tbs honey
4 tsp capers, drained
1 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


Steps

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, and allow the potatoes to cool completely before removing the skins. *If you have a potato ricer, this step isn’t necessary, just peel and dice your potatoes, steam them until soft, then put through the ricer until smooth.

2. For those not using a ricer (like me), pull the skins easily off the cooled potatoes and grate them using the smallest side on your cheese grater (I love this trick borrowed from Smitten Kitchen!!!) into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and add the egg yolks, the first 4 cups of flour, and salt.

3. Starting with a spoon, mix the dough until it starts to combine and get sticky, then, switch to your hands and begin kneading the dough until completely incorporated, adding the remaining 2 cups of flour as necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

4. Working in sections, cut off pieces of the dough and roll into long, thin ropes. Slice the ropes into 1 inch pieces and toss with flour to keep the pieces from sticking together. Spread the gnocchi on flour lined baking sheets and chill for at least 1 hour.

5. While the gnocchi are chilling, preheat your oven to 425ºF. Spread the sliced brussels sprouts and mushrooms onto a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are roasted on the edges.

6. To make the sauce, melt the 2 sticks of butter in a pan on medium high heat. Stir, cooking for 5-10 minutes until the butter is golden brown and smells rich and nutty. Add the honey and capers, and toss in the cooked vegetables, turning the heat down to low to keep everything warm while the gnocchi cooks.

7. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches for 5-6 minutes, then add them directly to the sauce. The beautiful thing about boiling gnocchi is that they rise to the top of the water and remain there when they’re done cooking, so there’s no guess work!

8. Once all the gnocchi are cooked and added to the sauce, toss everything together and serve immediately. Yum!!

xoxoxoxoxD

sweets

New York Cheesecake with Roasted Blueberry Sauce

Hello! I’m here to talk about cheesecake. Before this weekend, I’ll be honest, I had never made a cheesecake in my life. For some reason, I had it in my head that it would be so difficult and it kept me away for years. But then, after quite some begging from my sweet sister Clare (who’s favorite dessert is a good cheesecake), I obliged for her birthday weekend. I followed a recipe from my newly purchased “Vanilla Bean Baking Book” by Sarah Kieffer, and WOW how cute. There’s an entire page in the back for music to listen to while baking!! Anyway, I used her “Classic Cheesecake” recipe as my guide and got going. To my surprise, it was SO simple and SO rewarding. It bakes up smooth and creamy, with a crisp and buttery graham cracker crust, and it’s perfectly offset by the tart, citrusy blueberry sauce that I added. All in all, a perfect combination for a summery dessert, and I am quite pleased with myself.

I think we’re just about in summer now, and the idea of going to the farm and getting fresh corn and watermelon and greens is almost too much to bear. I feel some corn chowder in my future and I’ve never been more excited. But I’ve also hit a kind of inspirational roadblock, so if there’s anything that any of you feel like seeing, by all means, let me know!

But for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet, and let’s get to the baking!

Makes: 1 9″ cheesecake, serves 10-12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 5 hours (for chilling)
Total Time: 6.5 hours

Cheesecake Ingredients:
adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 14 whole graham crackers, pulsed in the food processor)
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 tbs unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature


Cheesecake Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF. If you’re using whole graham crackers, pulse the pieces in the food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. Add to a medium mixing bowl. If starting with pre-made crumbs, start now!

2. Whisk together the crumbs and the granulated sugar until combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are coated and pack together if you squeezed them. Pour into a 9″ springform pan and pack down the crust firmly using the bottom of a measuring cup or other flat utensil. I spread most of the crust on the bottom and some up the side of the pan, but if you like a thicker crust, feel free to put less on the sides. Bake the crust for 10 minutes until slightly crisped and golden.

3. Once the crust has cooled, wrap the sides of the pan with aluminum foil (shiny side facing out) to keep the sides of the cake from browning during baking.

4. Meanwhile, whip the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl 2 or 3 times during the process to make sure that everything is completely smooth.

5. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl down 2-3 times as well. Then, add in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until incorporated. Drizzle in the melted butter on low speed.

6. With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs and the egg yolk one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. At this point, scrape down the bowl again to make sure that the bottom and sides are all evenly mixed.

7. Pour the filling over your cooled crust and smooth out the top if necessary. Tap the pan on the counter until all the air bubbles rise to the surface- it will take a few tries, there are a lot of bubbles!

8. To bake, place the tin foil wrapped pan in a large roasting tray. Create a water bath by pouring boiling water into the roasting tray so that it reaches about halfway up the springform pan. This will keep the cake moist and prevent any cracks during baking. *Tip- it’s easiest to place the roasting tray on the rack of the oven with the springform pan already in it, and pour the water in then, so that you’re not juggling a tray of boiling water and cheesecake batter into a hot oven!

9. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour without opening the door. After 1 hour is up, check the cake. If the outer 3 inches or so are set and the middle is still slightly jiggly, then you’re finished. If this is not the case, bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, turn the oven off and open the door just slightly, and allow the cake to cool here for 30 minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Run a thin knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the pan before cooling, then allow to cool completely. Once the cake is cooled, cover the top with a piece of parchment paper and chill in the fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.

11. To remove, run your knife around the edges once more, then carefully remove the outside ring of the springform pan. Slice the cakes into desired sizes and top with a generous portion of the roasted blueberries (recipe immediately below). Yay!


Roasted Blueberry Sauce Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries
3 tbs granulated sugar
Zest of ½ lemon


Roasted Blueberry Sauce Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Place the blueberries in a shallow roasting dish and sprinkle the sugar and lemon zest over the top. Mix to combine.

2. Roast the blueberries for 15 minutes until they are just beginning to burst. Stir the berries around 2-3 times during the roasting to make sure everything is cooking evenly.

3. Allow to cool slightly before serving. This would also be delicious on top of ice cream, pound cake, cocktails, you name it!

xoxoxoxoxoD