Walnut Jam Scones

Here's another recipe from Huckleberry. Unusual looking scones I thought...more like very thick thumbprint cookies, but there's nothing cookie-ish about these scones...they're perfection: crumbly and light. Not overly sweet either, which is the way I like my scones and besides, the raspberry jam provides the perfect balance in your mouth. Don't be surprised to find your sheet pan very buttery after baking, which explains why these scones don't need any additional butter slathered on top. 

Isn't it great they can be frozen unbaked for a month or so? You can take them out of the freezer and in 30 minutes, a delicious breakfast is ready to go.

Walnut Jam Scones
From Huckleberry, by Zoe Nathan

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 1/2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, small cubes
6 tablespoons cold buttermilk
1 1/4 cups raspberry jam

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, walnuts, salt and sugar. Add the cubed butter and work with your hands until there are no chunks of butter bigger than peas or small lima beans. Lightly toss to distribute.
Dump the mixture on a clean surface and, with the heel of your hand, flatten out the dough and start gathering it in until it forms a dough. Do not overwork. There should be some small chunks of butter left.
Pinch off about 3-4 tablespoons of the dough (I filled an ice cream scoop) and place on an ungreased sheet pan. Make an indentation in the center with a spoon and fill with a teaspoon or two of the raspberry jam. Cover and place in the freezer for at least two hours. (Or up to one month, well wrapped.)

Preheat oven to 375. Place the scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Make an egg wash with 2 yolks and a couple tablespoons of heavy cream and brush the scones all over. Sprinkle with sugar and bake the frozen scones for about 30 minutes or until well browned.


Amanda Hesser's Winter Fruit Salad

This bright and unusual fruit salad would be fabulous to serve at a brunch along with Nancy's Roquefort Quiche. Or any quiche, for that matter. I used the original  New York Times recipe from an article by Amanda Hesser in 2001. She suggested it for Christmas breakfast along with some tangerine juice and a morning bread pudding.  Amanda Hesser was one of our Gourmet 50 Women Game Changer chefs and I made her ultra fabulous sheet pan mac and cheese for the series. She is amazingly talented.
At any rate.....I added some pomegranate arils for color as suggested by Deb from Smitten Kitchen when she posted the recipe. Quick to make, but it should sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld, so allow some time.

Winter Fruit Salad
By Amanda Hesser for the New York Times, December 19th, 2001

1 1/4 cup sugar
3 star anise
1 plump vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 2-inch long pieces lemon zest (peeled with a vegetable peeler), preferably Meyer lemons
3 firm Bosc pears
1 firm tart apple
8 dried Turkish apricots, cut in half
4 dried figs, quartered
Pomegranate arils for color

Fill a medium saucepan with 5 cups water. Add the sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, and cook until all the sugar is dissolved. Then shut off the heat. Meanwhile, peel and core pears and apple. Slice thinly lengthwise and place in a large heatproof bowl. Add apricots and figs. Pour hot sugar syrup on top, making sure all the fruit is covered. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; poke a few holes in plastic. Chill overnight in refrigerator.
The next morning, using a slotted spoon ladle fruit into a serving bowl and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.


Pain Pepin

Jacques Pepin's One Pan Bread really caught my interest a while back. Well, probably everybody's interest. But there were so many comments online about failures, it stopped me from trying it until recently, mainly because I saw a beautiful loaf of it on Pinterest, decorated with herbs and tomatoes. (Once you see that, the other loaves look boring!)
The trick to the "one pan" is the kind of pan you use. It won't work without the perfect pan. I was pretty sure I had one so decided to give it a try, preparing myself not to be surprised if it stuck to the pan when finished. (Mine is a Calphalon, 4 1/2 quart, 8 inches diameter, with a lid. Like THIS.)

As you can see, it worked perfectly! I took a photo of the pan just after baking so you can see how the bread drew away from the sides. (Bottom of post)  Also at the bottom of the post is the video of Pepin making the bread.
I did make some changes to the original recipe: I added sauteed and cooled garlic, onion and thyme to the dough before the first rising. After taking the dough out of the fridge the next morning to bake, I decorated the top with parsley, mint, chives, tomatoes and thyme.
Do try it.

Jacques Pepin's One Pan Bread

You need a non-stick pot and  an overnight rising in the fridge.

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast (If you've watched the video, Pepin is very vague about amount of yeast.)
4 cups flour

In a non-stick pot combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. (If you are adding onions or herbs, do it now.)
Place lid or cover on pot and proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes.

Deflate the dough, replace lid and place pot in the refrigerator overnight; 10 to 14 hours or so.

When ready to bake, remove lid and place pot in (preheated) 400º(F) oven ~ bake for about 40 minutes until deep golden brown. . 

Makes great toast, great sandwiches and you can add herbs, minced onion, roasted garlic, etc. to the dough.  THIS website is where I got the idea to decorate the top; she also added tabbouleh to hers. Check out her recipe.

Here's a photo of the pan I made the bread in...you can see it has pulled away from the sides.


Prune Cookbook: Sesame Biscuits

Have you ever been to Prune in NYC's East Village? Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner. I had read her book Blood, Bones and Butter quite a while back and truly enjoyed the story of her career...and her blunt honesty in telling it. It's a fun read. 
Prune is a smallish restaurant and Hamilton's food is a surprising mixture of innovation and simplicity. Put it on your restaurant list if you're going to visit NYC.

My daughter is a big fan, knows Gabrielle, eats there often and received a signed Prune cookbook for Christmas. I read it through, took some bad photos with my phone and decided to make a couple recipes for the blog. 

But first, I want to show you what the cookbook looks like, as it's quite unique and unexpected. The pages have punch holes in them looking as though they've been photographed directly from Gabrielle's personal loose leaf binder..they're splattered with food stains and handwritten notes are scattered throughout, with amounts for doubling and tripling the recipes in bold yellow strips. Take a look:

And look at this simple sandwich recipe...Bacon and Marmalade on Pumpernickel. To quote Ina: how easy is that? 

You'll find Gabrielle's book is filled with unusual offerings, some so simple you wonder why it was even included in the book (like the above recipe) and others so off the wall you'd never attempt them. But there are a lot of gems in there too. Altogether, an eccentric cookbook, much like the author herself.

I chose the Sesame Biscuits as I'd never seen a recipe quite like it. When I mixed the flour into the red wine mixture, it looked more like a mud pack for your face than dough. I nearly dumped it right then (how could this turn out well?) but persevered. And another puzzle: the amount of sugar in the recipe...is this 
an appetizer? A cookie?

After baking, I found they did taste slightly sweet, but interestingly, all those toasted sesame seeds are the predominate flavor. The cinnamon and wine are only slightly noticeable and I thought they were quite good. 
However, I think I would serve them with wine rather than tea. Especially since Gabrielle introduced this recipe alongside a milk punch recipe.

Sesame Biscuits
From Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton

3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups flour
1 cup sesame seed, toasted

Set oven to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and olive oil until dissolved and creamy.
Add the baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, cinnamon and red wine. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Stir in the flour and beat vigorously until the dough comes together, then knead by hand a moment to a smooth consistency.
Scoop 1 inch balls of dough and roll into perfect spheres between the palms of your hands, then press each cookie between thumb and forefinger to make a thick puck shape.
Dip in toasted sesame seeds to fully coat and lay on a parchment-lined sheet pan. If you have difficulty getting the sesame seeds to stick, mist them super gently with the water before tossing in the sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 minutes.


David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake


It's got to be chocolate for Valentine's Day, right? This was an awesome cake and yes, easy peasy. Because it's so good I'm going to ignore David Lebovitz's "idiot" in the title.  He could not possibly have been referring to moi. 

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake
Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed Press)   

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (ScharffenBerger chocolate if possible, if not, use a good one)
7 ounces butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar


Preheat the oven to 350F
Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Wrap the outside tightly with foil, making certain it goes up to the rim. Water leaking in will ruin the cake.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring each time you check, until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

You’ll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.

Storage: This Chocolate Idiot Cake can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.


Pasta Pie

Fair warning: this could not be classified as a quick and easy dinner. Not that it was difficult, but oh so time-consuming. If you've got some teens who like to cook, you've got it made. Or if you have more patience than I, go for it. Cathy at Noble Pig thought stuffing the rigatoni with the sauce was a "weirdly satisfying task". Hah!  Not so. Tedious and boring was my take.

What balances tedious out is the clever pasta pie idea and it's a fun presentation; I've been wanting to make this since I first saw it, so I'm relieved I got it out of my system. If I had made the whole recipe, I'd still be in the kitchen. I used my 6 1/2 inch springform pan, so I cut this recipe in half. Cathy calls for a 9 inch pan, which is the recipe below. The smaller pan would serve about 5-6 people, depending on the size of the wedges you cut, so the bigger one maybe 10. Let me know if you've ever made it....I'd love to know if you found fatter rigatoni; I could barely stuff my little finger in those holes! But if you have some smaller hands available for this chore, set them to work.! That's the answer. Little fingers. 

Pasta Pie
From Cathy at Noble Pig

1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef (I used ground sirloin)
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes
Butter, for pan
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella cheese

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together. When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more. 
Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.
Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up. (good luck with that)
Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold. 
Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.


Hot Farro Porridge with Blueberries and Toasted Walnuts

My daughter sent me a copy of  the Huckleberry cookbook. What a sweetie...she knows exactly what I like! 

FYI: Huckleberry Bakery & Café in Santa Monica is owned and operated by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. Zoe learned to bake at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, and also worked in the kitchen at Lupa in New York City and Joe’s in Venice. She took what she had learned and created the menu, both sweet and savory. Josh, who learned operations from working in local restaurants like Capo and Broadway Deli, used his knowledge to help create the space for Zoe to showcase her talent and creativity.

This gem of a cookbook has over 115 recipes and even more color photographs, including how-to sequences for basics such as flaky dough and lining a cake pan. The recipes range from sweet (rustic cakes, muffins, and scones) to savory (hot cereals, biscuits, and quiche). Most of the recipes feature whole-grain flours, sesame and flax seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, natural sugars, and gluten-free and vegan options. Such a pleasure to read and I've tagged several recipes to post for you.

Today I'm going to present a porridge made with farro. I do love farro...but sure never thought to make porridge with it! I think you'll love this combo for warming you up on a cold morning.

Hot Farro Porridge with Blueberries and Toasted Walnuts

From Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan

1 cup farro
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups water plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a small saucepan over high heat, toast the farro with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of the butter, until slightly fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and reduce heat to low. Simmer, with top off, until water is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the blueberries and saute quickly until tender, but not bursting. Set aside.
Add the milk and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the farro, increase heat to medium and and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes.
Serve the farro with the blueberries in two bowls and top with walnuts.

Note: This keeps well, refrigerated for up to three days. Add a little milk when reheating.


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