April 23, 2014

Dinner a la Plancha (steak and vegetables)

I've been eating a lot more steak ever since I found out about this cooking method. I blame you, Eric Ripert! You know him... handsome (but not in an icky he's going to use it for evil way) chef who's a meat-eating Buddhist and owner of Le Bernadin in New York. One of the glossy food magazines ran a piece on him last summer and he made a steak using this method on a piece of slate. I improvised and used my cast iron griddle and I've never gone back. 

Why is this method great? You get a super hot flat surface that sears meat to perfection with no flare ups, great crust and no smoking up the kitchen. What more do you want? Vegetables, you say? No problem. Throw those on too—and you don't have to worry about them falling through the grates. Perfect for burgers too.

You can use a heavy frying pan, a piece of untreated slate from a home improvement store or, bite the bullet and get one of these great griddles. I use mine on the stovetop too—for pancakes, grilled cheese, quesadillas. It's a worthwhile item to have if you cook for more than one and you like a nice brown crust on things. 

April 16, 2014

Mocha Dirt Cake

Mocha Dirt Cake

mocha dirt cake

You can find the recipe for this mocha dirt cake over at Minnesota Monthly, where I've been writing about all things coffee for the past week. This alluring sweet has coffee grounds in the "dirt" layer and espresso in the creamy filling. It's an addictive combination of crispy, creamy, sweet but not too and would be a show stopper on your Easter table. Check it out here. 

April 14, 2014

For better iced coffee, back away from the drip-pot...

cold brewed coffee

I'm writing over at Minnesota Monthly today about how to make delicious cold-brewed coffee. Turns out, I was doing it all wrong. Check it out here

This is the nice woman from Caribou who set me straight. Thanks Liz!

April 11, 2014

Blueberry Tart

Blueberry Tart

My tart pan is a long rectangle that I fell for over at Tartlette. She's figured out how to shoot it so the whole thing fits in the camera frame. I have not, so please forgive the extreme close-ups. Plus, I wanted you to see the tiny flecks of vanilla in the whipped cream. Can you spot them? 

Fruit desserts are my favorite and I like them really packed with whatever fruit they're showcasing. Tarts are fun because they're like boxes you can fill up with anything your heart desires, in this case tiny wild blueberries I've had in my freezer for a month. The challenge is to see how many you can fit in without spilling over. I think I could've squeezed in another half cup so I've accounted for that in the recipe. Fruit always shrinks during baking, unlike dough which gets bigger, so you have those two elements slugging it out while you wait for the kitchen to smell sweet. 

The vanilla whipped cream was a flourish that is completely unnecessary but rather delicious. Requires some planning ahead because you need to steep it, then cool down before whipping. Regular whipped cream would be just fine too, or nothing at all. 

April 4, 2014

Feta "Crackers"

Feta crackers

I don't have much to say about these other than I realize they look more like a biscuit than a cracker.  It's been one of those happy hectic weeks with little sleep and today, I'm out of words. These are just damn good teeny tiny flaky flavorful bites. The inspiration comes from Dorie Greenspan—she calls them Cheez-It-like. I agree insomuch as the crispy, layered texture is concerned. After that the flavor and, well, frankly, aftertaste kicks to patootie off the red box. 

Easy too, as long as you have a food processor. I should call this blog "Me and My Newest, Bestest Buddy and Big Toe...Food Processor" given how much I rely on this piece of equipment. 

Note: This recipe makes 20 but they're small. Plan on at least 5 per person for an appetizer. 
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