September 16, 2013

Peach and Raspberry Crumble

I made this a few weeks ago. It was perfect for the last BBQ of the summer!

Peach and Raspberry Crumble
from Martha Stewart
serves 8

For the filling:
2 pounds peaches, sliced into wedges
1/2 pint raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping:
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Combine all ingredients for the filling in an 8x8 baking dish.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Rub in flour and salt with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle evenly over filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, then cover loosely with foil before baking an additional 10-20 minutes until center bubbles. Serve warm.

September 6, 2013

An Ode to Summer: Plum Tart

It didn't strike me until two days ago that summer is ending. The weather has been noticeably cooler the past couple of days, and the sun is setting sooner. This summer has certainly sped by, and I for one am glad to usher in the fall. This plum tart is the perfect thing to bid the summer and its bounty adieu. Bring on the brussels sprouts, the winter squashes, apples, and root vegetables! I see a lot of curries and stews in the upcoming months.

Of course, I had to fiddle around with the recipe a bit. I added some almond flour as the nutty flavor works so well with stone fruits, and I had some chilling in the freezer. I'd actually increase it the next time I make this, or experiment without regular flour altogether. I swapped out milk for coconut milk, and halved the original half cup of sugar when I realized what a criminal amount of sugar that was as I was sprinkling it over the tart.

Plum Tart
adapted from Joy of Cooking, 5th edition, Bobbs-Merrill, 1963
6-8 servings

7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, separated, plus more for pan
2/3 cups flour, plus more for pan
1/3 cup almond flour or meal
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 pound plums, pitted and sliced into eighths
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease an 8" x 8" baking pan with butter and dust with flour.

Mix together flour, almond flour, two tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add four tablespoons of the butter to flour mixture and rub with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. In a separate bowl, mix coconut milk, vanilla, and egg. Stir into flour and butter mixture until just combined.

Spread dough evenly onto the bottom of the baking pan and arrange plum slices on top. Mix together remaining sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over plums. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over plums.

Bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

June 23, 2013

Homemade Filmjölk

I recently bought a few bottles of Siggi's filmjölk since they were on sale and enjoyed them so much that I wondered how hard it would be to make my own. I've always wanted to make my own Greek yogurt, but I didn't want to spend money on a yogurt maker or figure out how to keep the fermenting product between 108-110ºF. Filmjölk is perfect since not only is it super easy to make, the culture ferments at room temperature.

Just mix one tablespoon of filmjölk for each cup of milk in a clean jar, cover with a coffee filter or cloth to let gas escape, set in a warm area of your home, and presto! you'll end up with filmjölk 12-18 hours later. Just refrigerate for about six hours before eating to stop the culture from further fermenting the milk. I made mine with full fat milk which resulted in a very clean and fresh tasting yogurt that was noticeably less tangy than Siggi's, which uses skimmed milk.

October 1, 2012

Ruis Bread

I came across a stand selling Finnish rye bread at the Union Square Market a few weeks ago.  They were giving out samples served with zucchini and cheddar, and I was sold after the first bite.  They were also quite lovely paired with some tomatoes I picked up in the market and a few thin shavings of Manchego I had at home.

August 2, 2012

Thirsty Thursdays: Raspberry Lime Spritzers!

An ice cold drink is the perfect antidote for the dog days of summer.  This summer feels more brutal than the past one, though I feel like I end up saying that every summer.  A berry spritzer is crucial to surviving the heat while waiting for the random cool days.

Raspberry Lime Spritzers

Raspberry (or other berries)
Mint leaves, roughly minced
Lime, thinly sliced
Sparkling water
Simple syrup or sweetener of choice, to taste
Vodka, optional but a shot of never hurts

Mash raspberry with mint leaves, then add water, simple syrup, and vodka. Garnish with slices of lime and mint leaves.

July 3, 2012

Ginger Coleslaw

This coleslaw is the perfect side dish for summer.  Seriously, I've made this three times already within the past month. The cabbage and carrots are nice and crunchy, and the ginger/vinegar/sesame oil dressing adds a great sweet and tangy flavor.  It tastes great with some grilled chicken or pulled pork, or just with the addition of some diced avocado.

Best of all, there's no cooking involved!  It also keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

Ginger Coleslaw

1-1/2 pounds raw red cabbage, shredded
5 medium raw carrots, shredded
6 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
6 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine cabbage, carrots, scallions, ginger, and cilantro in a large bowl.  Whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and pour over slaw.  Toss to coat and refrigerate for two hours before serving, mixing once or twice while chilling.

April 24, 2012

Harvest Cake with Vanilla Cream

This might be the healthiest cake I've ever made, based on almond flour and chock full of zucchini, carrots, and apples.  The cake turned out delightfully moist and delicately nutty, and the cashew frosting was surprisingly creamy.  The cake and frosting were sweet enough from the apples and medjool dates that I might actually do away with the honey altogether the next time I make this.

Harvest Cake with Vanilla Cream
via Roost Blog

Harvest Cake
3 cups almond flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup melted ghee
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup chopped apple

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl and then stir into the dry ingredients to form a batter.  Pour into cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Vanilla Cream
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon honey
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Soak cashews in water for 3 hours, then discard water.  Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container and about a week in the fridge.

April 2, 2012

Beef Pot Roast

 I've been cooking a lot of chicken lately and frankly, I've become bored of eating it.  This pot roast is the perfect dish for using cheaper cuts of beef.  I love cutting into a good steak every now and then, but there's something about digging into a piece of braised beef that's so tender it falls apart under your fork.

I added the parsnip and the accidental turnip as an experiment.  I was originally aiming for a rutabaga since I'd never had one before, but Whole Foods had them right next to the turnips, which I've never cooked before either.  They looked so similar that I assumed they were the same thing, except one side looked cleaner.  Naturally, I grabbed a cleaner piece.  And that's how I ended up with a turnip.  Which wasn't bad, but it's not something I'd toss into a pot roast again, hence its omission from the recipe.

The parsnip was delicious, though.

Beef Pot Roast

5 tablespoons butter, divided
4 lbs boneless beef shanks (or other braising cuts, ie. chuck roast)
salt and pepper
2 large onions, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into 1" chunks
1 parsnip, cut into 1" chunks
1 cup red wine
2-3 cups beef stock (veggie or chicken will work in a pinch)
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
5 sage leaves
1 bay leaf

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot over high heat.  Salt and pepper the beef shanks and then sear on all sides.  Make sure to get them good and dark brown, a bit burnt, even.  Once done, remove to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium and add remaining butter to the pot.  Add onions, carrots, parsnip, and turnip and saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly browned.  Pour in a bit of wine to deglaze the  pot, scraping to release the bits of beef and vegetable goodness stuck to the bottom, then add the remainder.

Add beef back into the pot and pour in enough stock to partially cover the beef halfway.  Toss in herbs, about 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil.  Then lower heat, cover, and simmer for at least five hours until beef is tender enough that it falls apart under a fork.

March 26, 2012

Cashew Brioche

I've been trying to eat better lately and cutting back on grains and legumes and processed foods .  (Tackling my sugar addiction is a Sisyphean task and a different demon altogether.)  I wanted alternatives to cakes and breads and other delectable desserts made from wheat, and I luckily stumbled upon Roost by the inspirational Caitlin.  There were all these lovely treats made with nut flours to go along with all of the beautiful photography.
I've previously only used almond flour to make frangipane filling for tarts, but I never really imagined that you can make cakes and breads with nut flours.  The brioche was surprisingly light in texture despite my difficulty in folding egg whites into anything.  It was delicately nutty, and a little goes a long way. 
I love mine served with thin slices of manchego cheese and a dab of membrillo.

Cashew Brioche
slightly adapted from Kendall Conrad's Eat Well, Feel Well via Roost

3 cups raw cashews
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Grind cashews in a high speed blender or food processor until you end up with a fine flour.  Add in baking soda, salt, egg yolks, vinegar, and coconut milk.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and soft peaks have formed.  Carefully fold into cashew batter.  Do not over mix!

Pour into a buttered non-stick 9-inch loaf pan.  (I used a slightly larger pan.)  If not using non-stick, line pan with parchment paper and grease.  Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, remove brioche from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Brioche stored at room temperature in an airtight container will last for a few days, longer if in the fridge.

March 25, 2012

Spring cleaning with a new look

I decided What the Fig was in dire need of a new look after four years (four?!).  I'm not 100% enamored with this template--while there are things that I love about it, namely the landing page with all the images laid out, there are features I wish I had more control over.  I'll keep it for now and see how I like it.  What do YOU think? 

March 23, 2012

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Spring is here!  I think the weather has finally made up its mind after several false starts, though every year it seems spring lasts for a week before blinkyoumissedit, the relentless heat and humidity of summer is upon the city.  So celebrate the end of the cold season with these chocolate pots de creme!  Just don't accidentally add more hot water to them than the recipe calls for.  At least, that's what I think I did.  Mine never gelled after a night in the fridge and was more chocolate sauce than anything, although the top quarter inch did firm up a bit after I stuck them under the broiler to caramelize the sugar.  They were still divine--you can't ruin anything with the addition of heavy cream!