Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto

IMG_9629Happy New Year and apologies for the radio silence! There's really no excuse, but what with the flurry of the holidays and getting back into the swing of things with work and everything, it's felt like the last thing I want to do at night is sit in front of a computer. Otherwise, the new year is off to a good start–we're trying to eat healthier (at least for the month of January), so I can't say there have been a ton of exciting recipes here (lots of salads and variations on quinoa with vegetables and some protein). Have you made any resolutions? (Have you kept them?)IMG_9633I made these deviled eggs for a New Year's party, and I think they're my favorite variation on the recipe (basically, any combination of pork + eggs is genius in my book) but you could easily leave out the prosciutto for a vegetarian take. I could seriously eat a whole plate of these for dinner–but they make a great appetizer for any occasion. IMG_9634

Deviled Eggs with Prosciutto (adapted from Food & Wine)

12 large eggs

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

4 cornichons, minced

3 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature

2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallot or red onion

2 teaspoons snipped chives or scallions

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 ouncea thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces

In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 8 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice water bath until chilled, about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cornichons, goat cheese, mustard, shallot and 1 teaspoon of the chives. Peel the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Add the yolks to the bowl, mix until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Set the egg whites on a serving platter. Scrape the egg yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe the filling into the whites; alternatively, spoon in the filling with a teaspoon. Top each egg with a piece of prosciutto, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of chives and serve.

Crostini with Asparagus and Ramp Pesto

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I think I might have a problem. As you may have noticed, I kind of love asparagus. Until is goes out of season, I eat it at least once a week (as you can probably tell). But how was I supposed to resist it at the farmer's market last weekend? The bright green, plump stalks were calling my name. And then you add in the fact that ramps are now in season for a few short weeks, and there was no hope. I had to get them both -- and actually, thank goodness I did because now I can share this pesto with you. The ramps give it a garlicky bite, but the brightness of the asparagus mellows it out a bit. This would also be excellent mixed with pasta, or served with a mild white fish, or with boiled potatoes for a riff on potato salad -- whatever your imagination might come up with. Crostini with Asparagus and Ramp Pesto

1 loaf ciabatta or baguette, thinly sliced

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bunch ramps, ends cut off and roughly chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place asparagus, ramps, walnuts, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about a minute. While processor is on, pour in oil in a slow stream and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Slather over bread and serve immediately, garnishing with additional cheese if desired.

Chocolate Cake Part 2: The Buttercream

We interrupt today's normal "$10 Mondays" posts for something much more important: buttercream. I first attempted buttercream a couple of years ago, and it has since become my favorite frosting, although it is certainly more work than the usual method of creaming butter and sugar. However, I think it is worth the effort and in this case, the lightness of the buttercream offsets the dense and rich cake very nicely. I do, however, have a confession to make: I was so distracted on the day of Ari's party that I didn't even realize I had taken out the 1/3 measuring cup instead of the 1/2 -- thus, my total amount of sugar was 1 1/4 cup, rather than 1 1/2 cups, as specified in the recipe. I actually found that it was plenty sweet and didn't realize my mistake until later on, so I will include both measurements below. The recipe comes from Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller, probably my all-time favorite cookbook and a master of technique and instruction. I also think that next time I would make all Nutella buttercream, rather than dividing it into two batches, as the flavor wasn't discernibly different.

Chocolate and Nutella Buttercream (adapted from Ad Hoc)

1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)

6 egg whites

3 1/2 sticks (14 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces

5 oz milk chocolate, melted

3 tablespoons Nutella, softened


Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Combine the sugar and egg whites in a large metal bowl, set over the simmering water, and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (150-160 degrees). This will take about 10 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and using an electric mixer, whip on high speed until the whites are thick and hold stiff peaks and the whites and the bowl are cool to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.
Lower the speed to medium, and add the butter 2 to 3 pieces at a time, being sure each batch is incorporated before adding more.  If at any point the mixture looks broken or curdled, increase the speed to medium-high and beat to bring it back together, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Once all of the butter has been added, divide the buttercream into two batches (about 3 cups and 2 cups). Mix the smaller batch with Nutella, and the larger batch with the melted chocolate.
To frost the cake: place the first layer, top-side down, on a large plate. Using an offset icing spatula, spread 1/2 of Nutella buttercream on top, so that it is about 1/2 inch thick. Place next layer, flat side down, on top of frosting. Spread rest of Nutella buttercream on top, and place last layer on top of that. Begin spreading chocolate buttercream around the edges of the cake, filling in gaps and smoothing as you go along.
Repeat with the top of the cake and make as smooth as possible. Decorate as desired. (I piped melted chocolate for the lettering). Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Chocolate Cake Part 1: The Cake

Since this would be an incredibly long post if I wrote both the cake and frosting recipes in one, I decided to break it up into two separate posts. I actually love making layer cakes and really any excuse is a good one for me to make one -- birthdays, obviously being the best. Though they have a lot of steps, there is something incredibly satisfying in the end product, and I love all of the smoothing and decorating that goes into it. I know, I'm weird, I guess it's just the detail-oriented editorial assistant in me. Also, I always make the layers of a cake a few days ahead of time and freeze them, as frozen cake layers are much easier to work with than soft ones.  Anyways, on to the recipe... Chocolate Cake (adapted from Bon Appétit)

2 cups cake flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa power

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 cup lukewarm water

Measure out 3 9-inch rounds on parchment paper and cut out. Butter and flour 3 9-inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients in three additions each, beating well after each addition. Mix in water. 

Divide batter among prepared pans, and smooth tops. Bake cakes until a tester comes out clean in the center, about 22 minutes. Let cool on a rack, and invert onto plates or cardboard rounds. If making ahead, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and tinfoil and store in freezer for up to a week.

$10 Mondays: Mushroom Crostini

For today's $10 post, I will be continuing the party-themed appetizers (more this week + cake!) You may have already noticed these mushroom crostini in pictures from my earlier party posts and wondered what they were. Well, to answer your questions, these make a great winter appetizer and with a simple green salad also make a cheap dinner. Even though NYC's temperatures may reach 70(!) degrees this week, the produce selection is still decidedly wintery, so these are a good option until more exciting tomatoes and zucchini are available. Mushroom Crostini (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 lb mushrooms (I used baby bellas)

2 tablespoons butter

2 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

1/2 baguette, cut into very thin slices

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Clean mushrooms well and chop into very small pieces.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and reduce for 5 minutes more. Stir in cream and cook until most of the liquid has reduced 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Top each with a tablespoon of mushrooms.

Asparagus Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Today, I need to once again give credit to the ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon. If you haven't checked out their blog already, you definitely should. They always have excellent (and usually whimsical) recipes, as well as gorgeous food styling and photography. When I came across this recipe for asparagus fries with different dipping sauces, I knew I had a winner. As you may have noticed (as evidenced here and here), I have somewhat of an affinity for asparagus which is only matched for my love of french fries. And dipping sauces. For time's sake, I only made the roasted garlic aioli, but I can assure you that the asparagus were no less loved for that. Asparagus Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli (Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon)

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

For aioli:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 head garlic, top cut off

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic on a small piece of tinfoil, drizzle olive oil over, then season with salt and pepper. Loosely pack tinfoil around and roast until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool.

Mash garlic into a paste, then whisk in mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare three shallow bowls: 1  of flour, seasoned, 1 of eggs, lightly whisked, and the last of the panko bread crumbs. Working in batches of 4-5, coat asparagus completely in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with aioli.

Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

To continue the party-themed posts this week, I give you Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze. I have made this recipe a few times now, and I only love it more and more. I would eat this over rice for an excellent and simple dinner, or on a sandwich or with a spoon. Or as an appetizer at a party, as it was served here. It also makes a great dish for entertaining since you can mix up the meatballs and sauce several hours ahead of time, leaving you only with the task of sautéing the meatballs themselves. They are also still quite good a room temperature. Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze (adapted from the New York Times)

For sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup white wine (they recommended mirin, which is a bit harder to find so I used what I had on hand)

1/4 ginger, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

4 black peppercorns

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground turkey

6 scallions, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 egg

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce


Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For sauce: In a small saucepan, bring sugar and 1/2 cup of water to boil, mixing to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve. Discard ginger, coriander, and peppercorns. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Store, covered, in refrigerator).

For meatballs: Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Coat a large sauté pan with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Form turkey mixture into balls by the teaspoon, then drop into oil when hot. Turn every couple of minutes, until all sides are browned and they are cooked through, about 8 minutes per batch. When all meatballs have been cooked, place on a large plate, spoon sauce over and serve with toothpicks.

Throwing a Party + Artichoke Dip

Last weekend, Ari turned 25 and rather than going out to dinner, we decided to throw a party. I, of course (voluntarily) was in charge of the food. Rather than hosting a sit-down dinner party which limits the number of guests and  the host's ability to interact with them, we opted to have a bunch of appetizers and dessert. Ari left it to me to come up with the menu, with only a couple of requests. I will admit it was kind of a challenge to make all of this in one day (the only thing I made ahead of time were the cake layers), but particularly if you have a willing sous chef it is definitely possible. My requirements for dishes were as follows: I could do some of the prep work in the morning, that they had similar cooking temperatures so I could have more than one thing in the oven at once, and third, that they could sit out for a while and still taste good.

With these requirements in mind, here is the menu I came up with:

Artichoke dip

Turkey meatballs with soy-glaze

Homemade ricotta crostini with honey

Simple winter salad

Creamed mushroom crostini

Crispy asparagus fries with roasted garlic aioli

Antipasti (purchased)

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Nutella Buttercream

I will be posting the recipes throughout the week, but for the first one, I give you artichoke dip. Inspired by the lovely ladies of Spoon Fork Bacon, this recipe comes together very quickly and makes for a low-maintenance but crowd-pleasing appetizer. Although definitely not low-fat. But hey, you only turn 25 once, right?

Artichoke Dip (from Spoon Fork Bacon)

1 head garlic, top sliced off

1 tablespoon olive oil

1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup mozzarella, grated

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

2 tablespoons hot sauce (I used sriracha)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

For topping:

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon parmesan, grated.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic on a sheet of tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap foil around garlic and roasted until golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. When cool, squeeze into a large bowl and mash into a paste, discarding the peel. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper. Scoop mixture into a medium-sized baking dish and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Unfortunately, as you can see I didn't get any prep pictures because I was running around like a crazy person trying to finish all of the other dishes. So alas, there are only a couple of pictures of the final dish. Stay tuned for the rest of the menu this week!