End-of-Summer Peach Galette

IMG_3613Summer is my favorite season. I love the sweltering days leading into still-warm nights, the smell of sunscreen, and of course, all of the incredible produce summer has to offer. And my favorite of all of those wonderful fruits and vegetables are peaches. In New York, peaches had a pretty short growing season (July and August) and I would eat one pretty much every single day. IMG_3605I'm still getting used to the idea that here in California, there aren't really seasons--at least, not in the way that I'm used to them. The idea that it could be around 60 degrees in January boggles my mind (what do people talk about when they can't walk about the weather??) But one thing I will definitely be able to get used to is the amazing produce all year-round--and I can't say that I'll miss only being able to buy apples and root vegetables for six months of the year.

IMG_3614I made this galette last week when Ari's family came over for dinner--I love galettes because you get all of the flavor of pie but without the hassle of making a double crust or worrying about shaping the dough exactly right (plus, I don't have a pie tin.) I'm loving our new kitchen too (and the fact that it's a separate room! And there's a DISHWASHER! If you've ever lived in New York, you know that's not something to be taken lightly.) We're still getting settled into our new little cottage, but it's really starting to feel like home.

Peach Galette (Adapted from Home Made Summer, a truly beautiful cookbook)

For Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

9 tablespoons butter, very cold and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 (or more) tablespoons ice cold water

For Filling:

3-4 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

 

For Crust: Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or a large mixing bowl. Add butter and finely pulse or mix by hand until the butter is about pea-size. Slowly mix in apple cider vinegar and drops of water until dough comes together but isn't too sticky. Form a disc and wrap in plastic, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Combine sliced peaches, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl and let sit for half an hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from fridge, then roll out crust on a lightly floured surface until it's about 14 inches in diameter. Place on parchment paper on to pot a baking sheet, then pile fruit in the center and fold up the edges around the fruit. It's ok if it's not perfect! Bake for about 35 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly, then serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream.

Sesame Noodles

IMG_3548Oh, hello there. It's been a while. And a lot has happened since my last post–I'm officially a California resident (not used to it yet), we moved into an apartment and bought a car (my first!) All very exciting, but one of the things I was most excited about when we found our place (which was a process, as anyone who's looked for housing in the Bay Area recently knows) was the fact that I could cook again. After staying with very generous family and friends for more than six weeks, you can bet that I was anxious to get back in the kitchen, and the first thing I made when we were moved in were these sesame noodles. IMG_3549

Sesame noodles were my go-to order from our local Chinese takeout in Brooklyn, and I haven't found a place in Oakland (yet) that makes the same kind–so when I found this recipe from the New York Times, it seemed to perfect to pass up.

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These noodles come together in minutes and satisfied my craving for takeout Chinese exactly–now I just have to learn how to make scallion pancakes and I'll be all set.

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Sesame Noodles (modified from The New York Times)

1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets

2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash

3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar

tablespoons tahini

tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste

Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts.

Salmon with Anchovy Butter

IMG_3096I've never been a big fan of anchovies–I think it stems from a childhood aversion to all things "fishy." But like many other things I've grown to love (pickles, brussels sprouts, eggplant), I was intrigued by the salty, complex taste of anchovies after having an amazing Caesar salad at a recent dinner–so when I stumbled across this simple recipe using some of my other favorite ingredients I couldn't wait to try it. IMG_3099

 

IMG_3097I've since made it twice and it's officially a winner–simple with only a few ingredients and hardly any prep time–and any leftover butter is just as delicious soaked up by some crusty bread.

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Salmon with Anchovy Butter (from The New York Times)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened4 anchovy fillets, minced1 fat garlic clove, minced (or 2 small ones)

½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry

½ lemon,

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mash together butter, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper.In a large ovenproof skillet, melt about half the anchovy butter. Add fish, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes over high heat to brown the skin, spooning some of the pan drippings over the top of the fish as it cooks. Add capers to bottom of pan and transfer to oven. Roast until fish is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.Remove pan from oven and add remaining anchovy butter to pan to melt. Place salmon on plates and spoon buttery pan sauce over the top. Squeeze the lemon half over the salmon and serve immediately.

 

Strawberry Cake

IMG_2453Thank goodness for long weekends. Mine was spent at my college reunion (how has it already been five years?) and picnicking in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Monday, with plenty of ice cream and sunburns and (warmish) beer–overall, a perfect kickoff to summer. How was your holiday?IMG_2446 IMG_2438Strawberries aren't quite in season just yet, but I couldn't resist a giant box of them on sale at the grocery store–you know when you bite into a strawberry that summer can't be too far away. I had been wanting to try out this cake recipe for the past few summers but never got around to it, so this (and an extra day off) seemed like the perfect excuse.IMG_2440

marble plate & knife: katy skelton c/o / napkin: h&m (old) / forks: vintage

Strawberry Cake (adapted very slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

6 tablespoons  unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon table salt 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 large egg 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.

Pour into prepared cake pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a rack.

 

 

Kimchi Fried Rice

IMG_2122I've spoken before about my love for fried rice as an easy weeknight meal, but lately I've been wanting to spice it up a little. Believe it or not, I had never had kimchi until relatively recently (there aren't a ton of Korean restaurants in Minnesota, unfortunately) and the first time I tried it, I wasn't so sure if I liked it or not. IMG_2117

But after trying it a few more times, I'm officially a convert–plus, fermented foods are supposed to be very good for you. Ari is still a little wary of the funky, spicy fermented cabbage, so I've been making this fried rice in the meantime–you still get all of the spicy goodness of kimchi, but cooking it for a few minutes tones down the taste.

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Kimchi Fried Rice (adapted from Food52)

1 to 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil1 package tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used peas, carrots and broccoli)

4 to 5 scallions, whites only, finely sliced

1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

4 cups cooked rice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pinch salt, to taste

Fried eggs (1 per person)
Heat canola or vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add tofu and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides. Add vegetables and sauté until just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Add the scallion whites, and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add kimchi and kochujang, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes until the kimchi begins to soften.Add the rice and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. (You can always add a little bit of the briny liquid from the kimchi jar if it seems like there’s not enough color or spice for all of your rice!)

Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for just a few more minutes until the rice is warmed through. Season with salt, to taste.

Serve topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with scallions greens.

Pimiento Cheese

IMG_1714    On last week's episode of "Better Call Saul" (which, if you haven't watched it yet, is great–but watch "Breaking Bad" first), Mike Ehrmentraut calls pimiento cheese "the caviar of the south." Having just made pimiento cheese for a dinner party, I thought this description very apt–with a similarly salty but creamy–and much lower price point–pimiento cheese is makes an excellent appetizer for your next party (seriously, it will be the first thing to disappear). IMG_1712

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It's traditionally served with saltines, but pretty much any cracker will do, or I've also known people to spread it on bread for a pretty ridiculous take on grilled cheese. Just don't tell anyone what's in it.IMG_1711

Side note: Ari (my darling boyfriend) is currently trying to raise money through Kickstarter to fund the next season of his podcast, Off Campus, which focuses on graduating from college and navigating the real world. Check it out (and donate) here, if you feel so inclined.IMG_1713

knife / board from Paris (similar) / bowl

Pimiento Cheese (adapted from Southern Living)

4 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated yellow onion
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (7-oz.) jar whole peeled pimiento, drained and roughly chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Soba Noodle Salad

IMG_1062 We've been eating a lot of soup lately. Winter, unsurprisingly, usually makes you crave hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food, like stews, baked pasta and occasionally Shake Shack. But when you are tired of lasagna, sometimes a cold and light noodle salad will do the trick, even when it's 5 degrees outside. Cucumber and radishes add excellent crunch, and thanks to buckwheat soba noodles, you can eat a heaping plate and not feel too full (all the better to save room for dessert.)

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IMG_1068I probably shouldn't be writing this now considering we likely have at least two more months of chilly weather, but I for one am looking forward to spring. I love squash and apples and potatoes as much as anyone, but you know, one can only eat so much. We're leaving for Paris(!) in a week, and I'll be back in March with pictures (and of course, where we ate–I have a running list of approximately 50 places right now.)

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Soba Noodle Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

Chile-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 star anise pods

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

½ cup vegetable oil

Noodles And Assembly

12 oz. soba noodles

tablespoons soy sauce

tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

scallions, thinly sliced

½ large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

Chile-Scallion Oil

Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar and cover until ready to use.

Noodles And Assembly

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.

Toss with cucumber, radishes, and cilantro and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.

Entertaining: The Perfect Cheese Plate

mg_9276Though I sometimes love making complicated appetizers, when hosting a dinner or holiday party you can't ask for an easier (or more crowd-pleasing) option than a cheese plate. Of course, cheese plates are nothing new, but putting a little thought into it can take a mediocre plate of cheddar and turn it into an impressive spread.mg_9273 mg_9270

For starters, choose a variety of cheeses (the advised amount is about 2 oz of cheese per person–unless you're just planning on having cheese for dinner, in which case, it's at your discretion. Not that I've ever done that.) I like to go with something soft (such as Camembert or the very lovely Jasper Hill Harbison), something hard like Manchego or Comte, and something funky or blue like Époisses or this super creamy Gorgonzola Cremificato. If you want more than three types, you can branch out from there–just try to keep a balance between textures and how strong the flavors are. (Note that this is in no way sponsored by Murray's, I just find them to be an excellent resource when looking for cheese.)mg_9268

After that, I like to add a few varieties of pickles and jams (I usually go for pepper jelly), like mini cornichons and if you're feeling ambitious, watermelon rind pickles. Then just add toasted baguette slices and a couple of kinds of crackers, and serve with wine (obviously). Perfect for holiday entertaining or a fancy night in.

White Bean & Chorizo Soup

_MG_7448 It's been a tough couple of weeks around here, hence the lack of posting. But things are slowly starting to feel more normal (booking flights to Paris for early next spring definitely helped), and I always find that in times of stress or heartache, cooking makes me feel better. Something about the routine of chopping onions, simmering broth and de-stemming kale lets me know that things will be all right, and that sometimes, a bowl of hot soup really can help._MG_7449

Maybe it's the definite smell of fall in the air, but I've been wanting chorizo in everything lately. Versions of this soup have been on almost weekly rotation for the past month or so, and I think it makes a perfect, hearty meal that you'll be able to make through the winter. _MG_7455

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White Bean & Chorizo Soup (adapted from Condé Nast Traveler)

3 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and medium diced 2 medium carrots, peeled and medium diced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 1 tablespoon tomato paste 6 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced 1 medium Russet potato, peeled and medium diced 3 cans (15-ounce each) cannellini beans, drained

1/2 bunch kale or chard, de-stemmed and chopped 4 cups chicken stock Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat a medium cast-iron pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion and carrot. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste, chorizo, and potato and stir to incorporate all flavors. Add the drained beans, kale and chicken stock, then stir and bring liquid to a simmer over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Tomato Lobster Pasta

_MG_6657Though autumn in New York City is reportedly the best time of the year, I can't exactly say that I'm happy about summer ending. Beachgoing, sipping cold rosé, picnics outside, bonfires, all the peaches I can manage to eat...summer is my favorite. So I'm soaking up the last few weeks of warm days as much as possible, and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It  helped that lobster was on sale (and I only needed one lobster for four very large servings). But it did mean that I had to kill it–but I'm happy to say, there was minimal screaming and Ari only helped a little bit._MG_6654 _MG_6652

That said, if you aren't so inclined to kill a lobster of your own, you can easily use shrimp instead–just peel and devein, and throw in the pan with tomatoes to quickly cook._MG_6665

In any case, hope you are all enjoying the last week of summer to the fullest, and have a wonderful long weekend! Any big plans for Labor Day?_MG_6663

Tomato Lobster Pasta (adapted from Bon Appétit)

12 ounces spaghetti

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound cherry and/or Sun Gold 
 tomatoes, halved

1  lobster, boiled (approximately 12 minutes), shelled, and picked through 
(or 1 lb. cooked large shrimp)

Freshly ground black pepper

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges (for serving)

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

 

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are soft and juicy, 5–8 minutes.

 

Add lobster meat to skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and top with zest.

 

Serve pasta with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over (and plenty of crusty bread for soaking up the sauce).