Classic Popovers

Ooooooh you guys, I can’t believe I ever forgot about how good popovers are. They are literally so simple to make and you can eat them with dinner, with a cup of tea, or several at a time while they’re warm and crisp right out of the oven. I came across this recipe from Zoe Bakes and sprang into action, immediately ordering a popover pan from Amazon. Naturally because I’m me, the pan sat on my kitchen table for several days after arriving before I did anything about it, but goodness am I glad that I did.

For those who are unfamiliar with popovers, they’re the lightest, puffiest little pastries, practically hollow on the inside (perfect for filling with jam and butter), with the most comforting crisp outside and eggy inside. They are typically baked in a pan made specifically for popovers (I bought this one here), but I have read that you can also make them in a regular muffin tin, you may just have to play around with the baking times and how much you fill each cup. They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, but I still found myself reheating a leftover until it was crisp in the oven because I couldn’t bear to let it go to waste.

On this particular baking adventure, I brought my dear friend Michelle, who I have known for years and often share a brain with, it feels like. We baked 12 popovers and then she introduced me to the world of Bon Appetit Test Kitchen cooking videos and suddenly they are the only thing I care about watching (Bon Appetit, if you’re reading this, hire me pls). It’s always so inspiring to watch professionals pulling together recipes as they go, and being able to hear about the thought process and reasoning behind certain flavor combinations or techniques teaches me so much. Also, everyone is so lovely and hilarious and I think I’ve gone through every episode of It’s Alive! with Brad Leone to exist. It’s in your best interest to head over to YouTube right now and maybe binge it, it’s better than regular binge watching because it’s informative, right?? Okay now that I’m done fangirling about that, we can get down to business, thanks for sticking with me.

Here are 5 things to be happy about today!
ONE. The half-light of evening.
TWO.
Postcard views.
THREE.
The green shoots of new plants.
FOUR. 
Frolicking.
FIVE. Cake mix.

Let’s bake!

MAKES: 12 medium (or 6 large) popovers
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
BAKE TIME: 35-40 minutes

 INGREDIENTS

5 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Softened butter, for pans

STEPS

ONE. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Blend together the eggs, milk, flour, salt, melted butter, and vanilla so that it’s totally smooth and a little bubbly.

TWO. Brush your popover pan with the softened butter and place in the preheated oven until the butter is melted and the pans are hot.

THREE. Pour the batter into each cup ¾ of the way full, and bake for 15 minutes, until golden and puffed up. At this point, decrease the temperature to 350ºF without opening the oven door. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the color is deep golden.

FOUR. Tap the popovers out of the pan immediately so that they remain crisp and don’t steam. Best served immediately.

*Tip: it’s pretty easy to change up the flavor of these, whether you stir finely shredded cheddar cheese and some green onions into the batter, or you brush the finished popovers with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon sugar, it’s totally up to you!! Pls note that if you’re going savory, remove the vanilla extract!

 

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BLT Pasta with Garlic Croutons

Hello friends!! For today’s recipe, yes, you read that right, it’s BLT PASTA!! One of life’s simple pleasures is a good sandwich, and in my opinion, nothing matches the near perfection of a good BLT in the summer. The crisp bacon, juicy tomato, fresh lettuce, it’s a classically delicious combination that one would not think could possibly be improved. HOWEVER, that was before you considered this recipe. Adapted from The New York Times (recipe here), this pasta has all the best parts of a traditional BLT sandwich, as well as the addition of peppery arugula and salty pecorino romano cheese. An added bonus? The sauce practically cooks itself! After frying the bacon, halved cherry tomatoes are cooked in the resulting bacon fat and reduced to a bubbling, rich but not heavy sauce, made even silkier with the freshly grated cheese and pasta water. All you have to do is stir it all together!

Enjoying these beautifully colored gems while I can!!

My own version of this meal includes one extra accent in the form of crispy garlic croutons because I just really love mixing bread and pasta. Is that weird? My all time favorite pasta dish is literally just pasta tossed with garlic breadcrumbs, sometimes with some sautéed kale and a fried egg, but also sometimes not, and it’s just SO delicious. So anyway, I figured, since this dish is adapted from a classic sandwich anyway, why not bring the bread back? And boy am I glad I did, because even just a small handful on top of your pasta swirl provides the most perfect and satisfying crunch and we quickly learned, as my mother remarked while eating this, “I could eat this pasta all night”.

I’ve been seeing fancy noodle swirls all over my instagram and quickly realized how challenging it is to get them all to cooperate with me. How’d I do?

Before we get started, I’m bringing you 5 more things to be happy about this week, are you ready? Let’s go!

ONE. The newly released Netflix movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – which is heartwarming, sweet, and impossible to watch just once.

TWO. Eating a cup full of cold, cubed watermelon and feeling instantly refreshed.

THREE. The immediate relaxation you feel when stepping into an air-conditioned space from the heat outside.

FOUR. Playing the same song over and over while driving by yourself, with no one to tell you not to.

FIVE. Dinners where everyone gathers around the table long after the food is finished, simply enjoying each other’s company.

Are we feeling happy? Hungry? Let’s get cooking!!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6-8 dinner portions (plus leftovers for tomorrow – or midnight!!)

Ingredients

2 boxes pasta of your choice (I used bucatini but any tube like pasta works!)
12oz. bacon, diced
2 lbs. cherry tomatoes, halved
10 oz. arugula, washed and dried
1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
½ loaf ciabatta bread, torn into bite size chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil
Kosher salt + pepper
Red pepper flakes

Steps

ONE. Bring pasta water to boil in a large pot. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions for al dente, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.

TWO. In a shallow pan (I used a cast iron skillet), heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add crushed red pepper flakes to your liking, depending on your spice preference. I used about ½ tsp for these croutons. Add in the torn pieces of ciabatta and stir so that every piece is coated with olive oil. Toast until the bread becomes golden brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

THREE. While the water is coming to a boil, crisp your bacon in a large skillet or pot on medium-high heat, then remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, taking care to keep as much of the bacon fat left in the pan as possible. Add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan with the bacon fat, and cook on medium heat until the tomatoes become soft and begin to burst. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate the browned bacon bits into the sauce as well. Season with salt and pepper, and after about 5 minutes of cooking, add half of the cooked bacon back to this sauce and mix to combine.

Look at these cuties doing their thing!!

FOUR. With the heat on medium-high, add the cooked pasta straight from the water into the skillet with the tomato sauce. Add in your arugula plus ½ cup pasta water and cook for a minute until the arugula begins to wilt slightly. Stir in the cheese and an additional ½ cup pasta water, mixing everything together until the sauce becomes smooth and almost shiny, and coats the pasta. Feel free to add more pasta water as needed, until you reach the desired consistency.

I almost dropped my phone into the pasta for this shot, you’re WELCOME

FIVE. To serve, pile a generous helping of pasta onto a plate or into a shallow bowl, add a handful of garlic croutons, a sprinkling of crisped bacon pieces, and a heaping snow shower of grated cheese. Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled white wine.

YUM!! xoxoxoxoD