Kale Caesar Salad Remixed

  IMG_3687Kale salad has become pretty ubiquitous recently (I blame it on Bon Appétit calling it the best restaurant dish of the year a few years ago) but I still love it. My current favorite iteration is a take on the traditional Caesar, with plenty of crunchy greens, a lemony dressing with lots of umami flavor from the anchovies, and (the best part) a runny poached egg instead of mixing the eggs in the dressing.

IMG_3690Since kale can be a little tough to swallow (literally), I love cutting it in ribbons like a slaw to make it easier to grab with a fork and bite. You could also easily add a different protein like chicken or salmon for a heartier meal, but as-is, this makes a pretty lovely lunch.

IMG_3684Also, some news! Ari and I are leaving for Bologna, Italy (where we both studied abroad in college) and Nice, France this afternoon! It's the first time I'm going back to Italy since studying there, and I can't wait. We'll be back on the 26th, and I'll report back on restaurants, gelato, and all of the pizza–and I'm planning on writing a bit more about moving across the country and adjusting to a new city. IMG_3692

Kale Caesar Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 3 or 4 tablespoons, divided
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 eggs
1/2 baguette or other crusty bread, torn into bit-size pieces
14 ounces  kale, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)

Combine lemon juice, anchovy fillets, garlic and dijon mustard in a blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add 3/4 cup oil, drop by drop, to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. (Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Heat remaining olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until bread is golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool.

Bring a small pan of water to boil, then add vinegar. Carefully crack 1 egg directly into pan, then quickly move egg so it stays together with a slotted spoon. Let cook (water may boil over) until egg is just set, 2-3 minutes, then remove egg with spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Toss kale and dressing in a large bowl to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, croutons and poached eggs.

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.

 

 

Cocktail: Margarita

IMG_2089In case there were any doubts that global warming is happening, it hit 90 degrees in New York this week. 90! After what felt like a week of beautiful spring weather, I guess it's already summer. Which is why you need this margarita in your life.IMG_2096 I made these a few weeks ago when it was still feeling rather wintery and after the first sip, said to Ari, "These should be drank on a beach." (And not in a small first-floor apartment.) While I still agree with that sentiment, margaritas taste equally good after a long day at work when you need something not too sweet that goes down easy–preferably accompanied by some guacamole.

Margarita (Makes 1, very slightly adapted from PUNCH)

1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila

3/4 ounce orange liqueur (preferably Cointreau, but I used triple sec)

3/4 ounce lime juice

Salt (to rim the glass)

Prepare a coupe, cocktail or rocks glass with a salted rim if desired (to do so: rub a lime wedge around edge of glass. Pour coarse salt onto a small plate, then twist glass rim in salt until evenly covered. Tap off excess.) Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into prepared coupe or cocktail glass, or over ice into prepared rocks glass.

Charred Eggplant Dip

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWith temperatures on the rise (finally!) in NYC, I'm looking forward to summery dinners–lots of salads and vegetables, fruit so juicy it doesn't need to be baked into a cake, dreaming of the day when I have a grill...you get the idea. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I made this eggplant dip the other day for my book club and it would make a perfect start to any spring or summer dinner party (whether or not you have a grill) and is an unexpected alternative to the same old hummus and carrot sticks.

Make sure to char the eggplant thoroughly, it gives it this amazing smoky flavor you don't get from just roasting.

IMG_3273platter c/o Katy Skelton / napkin from Birdkage

Charred Eggplant Dip (adapted from Food & Wine)

One 1 1/4-pound eggplant

2 large shallots, halved lengthwise

3 large garlic cloves

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

2 tablespoons minced mint

Preheat the oven to 375°. Roast the eggplant over an open flame until softened and charred, 12 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish. Add the shallots and garlic to the eggplant, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper; roast for 35 minutes, until very tender. Let cool completely. Scrape the eggplant flesh into a colander to drain for 15 minutes; discard the skin.

Mince the eggplant, garlic and shallots; transfer to a bowl. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice and herbs. Season the dip with salt and pepper and serve.

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.

Boulevardier

IMG_2074Crocuses and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom, and it's finally beginning to feel like spring. But since the nights will still be chilly for at least a couple of months, I love nothing more than kicking back to watch Netflix (we're currently burning through Deadwood) with a good cocktail. IMG_2078 This classic drink, which I first had at my favorite neighborhood spot, Long Island Bar, is a slightly bitter take on the Manhattan (my other favorite). I wasn't a big fan of Campari until recently, but now I'm loving the bitter, complex notes it adds.

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Boulevardier (makes one, recipe from PUNCH)

1 1/2 oz whiskey or bourbon

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet red vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake well, about 10 seconds. Strain into a coupe or over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with orange peel.

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