avocado toast

Avocado Toast With Eggs

Kids Eating Breakfast

My kids Bianca and Thomas, on a typical day, eating Avocado Toast with Eggs.

 

“Mom, can you make breakfast?” How about Avocado Toast with Eggs? At the turn of the year, this daily question made me think that pretty soon, my growing children will be going off to college. Like many professional urbanites, life gets too crazy, and it’s always a rush in the mornings. But over the years, I came to appreciate breakfast with them and for them. When I’m traveling for work, or leave the house before the crack of dawn, my kids get a breakfast sandwich at the deli. This experience, effortless and pleasurable in anticipation, is usually expensive, even when it’s at a theoretically inexpensive restaurant, like the local deli. And according to my kids, not always satisfying. So, we’ve incorporated this daily habit to our lives: breakfast at home. It takes all of 10 minutes to assemble this Avocado Toast at home. It would cost almost $12 at a restaurant or deli. The time we spend in the morning is precious; we talk about the agenda, our schedules and our immense to-do lists. In time, I came to recognize that preparing breakfast for my children is huge privilege, one that I’ll miss tremendously when they go off the college.

 

Avocado Toast With Egg

 

Avocado Toast With Eggs

 

Serves 2

2 ripe avocados, at room temperature

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 slices multi-grain bread

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

2 teaspoons chia seeds

4 eggs

 

Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Peel and place the avocado in a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork or a masher. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Pour the olive oil into a medium non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Working with two eggs at a time, crack each egg directly into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the bread to a light golden color.

Spread each bread slice with the avocado mash; as soon as the eggs are done, place them on the avocado toast (cut to separate the eggs). Garnish with parsley and chia seeds. Serve Immediately.

Chocolate Peanut Cake

Chocolate Peanut Cake

When it comes to matters of food and cooking for the holidays, I have high standards, which makes this recipe a perfect feature for the festivities.

Not all recipes are easy. Just so you know. Composed of 4 different steps, this cake comes together in a sheet pan and can be frozen up to 3 months ahead of time. Look at the photo again: stay here!

This is truly fancy restaurant style dessert, adapted from Johnny Iuzzini ‘s cookbook Dessert Fourplay. He is a rock star pastry chef who worked for many years at Jean George’s restaurant in NYC. I love his work.

This recipe is a true gem. Godsent. It makes any home cook appear to be better than he or she really is, elevating average baking skills into something that approaches alchemy. Tell no one how many steps this takes though. Make it sound like a breeze, especially since you’ll forget about all the work after freezing the cake. I promise.

If you feel intimidated by it, don’t. I’m here with you, and I’ll be with you every step of the recipe, holding your hand in the kitchen while you make this recipe, and you’ll hear my voice in the procedure.

I’ve made this recipe a few times, so by now, I made my own adaptations and I’ll share a few tricks (like using parchment paper for the sponge; add the peanut butter at the ganache after it is done).

About the feuilletine: this is really the secret of this dessert. If you buy it in a pastry supply store, you are bound to buy a 5lb bag. So, I found these cookies that are made of feuilletine; just crunch them up with your hands (be careful not to over crush them).

ingredients

Hunting for praline paste is also a little time consuming, so if you want to make life easier, just use almond butter and call that your praline paste.

Chocolate Peanut Cake
Serves 8

Chocolate Peanut Praline

1 cup (250g) smooth peanut butter

1 cup (250g) hazelnut praline paste

4 oz (105g) white chocolate

8 oz (230g) feuilletine

Hazelnut Peanut Sponge

½ cup (50g) hazelnut flour

½ cup (50g) peanut flour

8 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 cup + 4 tablespoons (250g) sugar

8 egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartare

8 tablespoons chopped peanuts and hazelnuts

Chocolate Peanut Ganache

10 oz (324g) milk chocolate, chopped

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup (250g) smooth peanut butter

Caramel Chocolate Mousse

2 cups + 3 tablespoons heavy cream

6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoon (50g) sugar

pinch salt

4 egg yolks

Cocoa powder to dust over the cake

  • Prepare the Chocolate Peanut Praline: Line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the peanut butter and praline paste in the food processor and pulse to combine, scraping the bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate over low heat in double boiler (without touching the water). At this point you can’t go anywhere or your chocolate will overheat. Use a rubber spatula and as soon as your chocolate is just melted, take it off the heat. Add to the food processor. Pulse to combine. Scrape into a bowl. Fold in the feuilletine and mix thoroughly, being careful not to break the pieces too much.
  • Feuiettine

    Feuiettine all crunched up

  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly into the pan. It’s not super easy as the feuilletine will present some force against spreading, but just have patience and it will spread. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and freezer until needed.
  • Prepare the Hazelnut Peanut Sponge: Center a rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat it to 350˚F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with grease, line with parchment paper, then spray grease again. (Warning: a silpat will not work well).
  • In a bowl, whisk the hazelnut flour, peanut flour, and all-purpose flour until is well mixed and light in texture.
  • Put the egg whites and a tine pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating the egg whites on low speed, slowly and gradually increasing the speed to medium and slowly adding one third of the sugar. Continue beating on medium until the whites develop more body. Add another one third of sugar and continue beating. Gradually increase the high speed as you add the remaining sugar and beat the whites at full speed until they are completely structured and looing shiny and glossy and at soft peaks. Remove from the mixer.
  • Carefully sprinkle the dry ingredients over the whites, and fold them with a rubber spatula. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth it out with an off-set spatula. Scatter the nuts on top.
  • Bake in the oven until it just starts to get golden, about 8 minutes. Be very careful here. You are looking for a sponge that is completely malleable after baking. If you over bake, even by a few minutes, the sponge might get too hard and become more like a meringue than a sponge—you don’t want that.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool for 3 minutes, then careful peel off the parchment paper off of the sponge. Let cool on a rack, then transfer to a clean baking sheet—this is the first layer of your cake.
  • Now we are going to start assembling the cake: on the bottom, the sponge. Then, take the praline from the freezer, and invert on top of the sponge, pressing down firmly to make sure you don’t have any air bubbles between the layers. Peel off the parchment paper from the praline layer, and chill in the fridge while you prepare the Ganache and Mousse.
  • Prepare the Chocolate Peanut Ganache: Put the chocolate in a medium bowl (glass or stainless steel). Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate (be sure it is finely chopped) and let it sit for one minute, to allow the heat of the cream to melt the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, start mixing slowly, from the center to the edges, until the ganache comes together beautifully. When it’s nice and smooth, add the peanut butter, and continue mixing, until it’s smooth again. Let it cool completely to room temperature. But not that long that the ganache is set. 20 minutes should do, and only then, spread over the praline layer, using an off-set spatula to make sure it’s nice and smooth. Every time you add another layer to the cake, place it back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the Chocolate Mousse: Place 4 tablespoons of the heavy cream in a small bowl to be used in the caramel. Place the remaining heavy cream in the mixer of an electric mixer and whip to soft peaks. Transfer whipped cream to a bowl and reserve in the fridge for just a few minutes. Warning: remove from the fridge a few minutes before mixing in the mousse as you don’t want the whipped cream to be icy cold when mixing with the chocolate.
  • Melt the chocolate over the top of a double boiler on low heat, without touching the water, until the chocolate is just melted, mixing with a rubber spatula. Remove from the heat and let it sit at room temperature.
  • Put the sugar in a small pan and moisten with a few drops of water to make it moist. You’re looking for the consistency of wet sand, so about 1 tablespoon of water should be fine. Cook the sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan as it begins to color, until it riches a golden amber color. Pour in the cream from the bowl and mix well. Let it cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating on low speed and gradually increasing speed. When the yolks have developed some structure (if the yolks are too little on your bowl, feel free to whisk by hand), carefully pour the caramel (should not be too hot) into the yolks, and beat now at high speed until it’s higher in volume, thicker, fuller and completely cool.
  • Fold the melted chocolate into the yolks, mixing well.
  • Then fold in the whipped cream, using a rubber spatula, and making sure the mixture is homogeneous. This mousse is easy to break; work fast as you are dealing with temperature sensitive components here.
  • Spread the mousse evenly over the ganache layer on the baking sheet. Freeze overnight.
  • Remove the cake from the freezer and dust it lightly with cocoa powder. Use a knife dipped in hot water to cut the cake, cleaning the knife between each cut. You want to cut the cake while it’s still frozen, but you don’t want to serve it frozen. Keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Cake can be served by itself, or, if you want to dress it up a little, serve with some chocolate sauce, or gold leaves, or some chocolate décor, or a caramel sorbet, or a chocolate sorbet… or anything that you might desire. You don’t need too much with this cake. It’s a lot of work, but worth it! Enjoy!
turkey salad recipe

Leftover Turkey Salad

Turkey leftovers? This unpretentious salad is simple, classic and makes a delicious lunch the day after. You can also use chicken instead of turkey.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb cooked turkey meat (preferably breast), cut into small cubes

½ cup diced Honeycrisp or Fuji apples, about ½ an apple

¾ cup diced celery, about 3 stalks (save some leaves for garnish)

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots

1/3 cup light Mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

½ cup almonds (or walnuts), lightly toasted

4 slices multi-grain bread

Procedure

  • In a bowl, place the turkey, apples, celery and shallots.
  • In a different bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the sauce into the salad and fold everything with a rubber spatula.
  • Add the parsley and almonds and fold again.
  • Toast a slice of multigrain bread and pour the salad on top. Garnish with some celery leaves.

 

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Thanksgiving Biscuits

Thanksgiving Biscuits

Once a year I make these biscuits. I found this recipe at one of my favorite sources, The New York Times Cooking. Here on my blog, I take you step by step, action by action, and together we perfect this recipe to obtain the best results ever with these incredible recipe.

The great secret of this Biscuit recipe, moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside, is not to overwork the dough. You want to treat the dough just like puff pastry, turning over and over. The result shows; several layers form during baking time, making this recipe a mixture of bread and puff pastry like no other!

 

Yield: 3 dozen 2-inch biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups (480g) all-purpose flour, sifted (more to dust)

¼ cup (40g) baking powder

¼ cup (50g) sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

1 stick (120g) salted butter, cold and cut into pieces

3 sticks (360g) salted margarine, cold, cut into pieces

1¾ cups (420ml) buttermilk, cold

PROCEDURE:

1- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Turn the machine on and mix everything up for 15 seconds.

2- Add the butter, margarine, and buttermilk all at once. Turn the machine on at low speed and count to ten. This step goes very fast; you want to add the ingredients all at once and do not overwork the dough. You will have large pieces of butter and margarine quite visible—that’s ok.

3- Scrape the dough and pour over a generously sprinkled surface with flour. Warning: dough is soft and wet. With a roll, open the dough by making a vertical rectangle, about 2-inches thick. Work the dough as you work with puff pastry: fold the bottom of the dough bringing it to the center and then fold the top covering the bottom. Make a rotation of 90˚, and open the dough again, always dusting flour all over, and maintaining the same thickness, bringing the lower and upper part of the rectangle to the center. Continue repeating this process of opening, turning, and re-opening a few times ( at least 5 times) until the dough is drier, and margarine and butter begin to integrate more into the dough—but not completely. You will notice trails of butter and margarine even after opening the dough several times— it is normal.

4- Put a handful of flour in a small bowl. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, dip cutter into the flour, then cut dough into rounds. It is important to make the movement only from top to bottom, without turning the round cutter, as we all tend to do. As you cut the rolls, gather the dough again, open with the same thickness, always being careful not to overwork the dough, and continue cutting more rolls.

Let's bake them!

5- Put them on a tray and freeze them. Once frozen (about 2 hours), transfer to a sealed plastic bag. Biscuits may be frozen for up to 2 months.

6- For baking, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Use muffin tins and place each bun inside a cavity. Let it thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking. In batches, bake until the crust is golden and beautiful, about 25 minutes. Remove from muffin tins and let them cool. Serve with butter and /or jelly.

Biscuits, nice and golden

 

Pumpkin Mousse in October

Pumpkin Mousse in October

What do I love most about October? The impeccably crisp smell of fall in the air, the turning leaves, apple cider at its best and pumpkins are all around us. With Halloween and Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s time to get in the kitchen. Let’s set the stage for the extraordinary to happen…

 How tired are you of pumpkin pie? If you’re looking for pumpkin recipes but need fresh ideas, I got you covered on this post (and the next one coming up, stay tuned). Yes, this recipe is an oldie, adapted from the NYTimes   and it’s worth revisiting it.

 My ardent health orientation was put aside when preparing this recipe, as I confess I did take a a few bites. But living a healthy lifestyle is not about total deprivation. It’s about balance. Plus, in cooking, no less than in writing, I feel that I am well positioned to help readers negotiate the passage from fat to fit. Bake, have fun, listen to music while doing it, take a few bites—just a few—and hit the gym the day after.

This pumpkin mousse is a breeze to make. Own it’s own, it is absolutely fantastic. It can be the starting point of many other recipes. Can’t wait for you to try it. As always, please share comments and photos as you make the recipes in your kitchen.

 

Pumpkin Mousse Adapted from the New York Times

Serves 6

 

Ingredients: 

¼ cup cold water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

3 eggs separated

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy cream

Caramelized Pecans for garnish

 

Procedure: 

  • Fill a medium pot with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.
  • In a small pot, add ¼ cup of cold water, sprinkle gelatin over the top, and let soften for a minute or two. Place on stove and stir over low heat to liquify, being careful not to boil. When gelatin is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a medium stainless-steel mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and ½ cup sugar.
  • Add the pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and milk and whisk to blend. Set the bowl over the pot of simmering water on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes custard-like, about 5 minutes. You are looking for a mixture with a similar consistency of vanilla sauce, not too thick, not too thin.
  • Add the gelatin into the now pumpkin custard. Pour and scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl and let the pumpkin mixture cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks and slowly add the remaining sugar, beating until the whites are firm and the sugar has been fully incorporated. Beat half of the whites into the pumpkin mousse. Add the remaining whites, folding gently.
  • Beat the cream until it is stiff and fold it into the mousse. Divide prepared mousse among glasses or into a trifle bowl. Chill until set, at least 2 hours, or up to a day.

Gislaine Murgia’s Best Honey Cake

Gislaine Murgia

Gislaine Murgia

 

Gislaine Murgia came to the U.S. 11 years ago. Her kitchen in Queens, New York is strongly connected to her homeland—and mine— from the cakes and snacks like empadinhas (empanadas) and coxinhas (chicken fritters), to brigadeiros and other confections from Brazil. But the sweet she craves the most is pão de mel, or honey cake. And so she decided to give life to the recipe, here in New York City.

Contrary to what the name indicates, there is nothing bready about pão de mel(pão means bread in Portuguese). Gislaine’s honey cake is based on her mother’s recipe, baked in a sheet pan, soaked in syrup, cut into small squares, and dipped in chocolate.

Gislaine was born and raised in São Paulo and immigrated to the U.S. following the footsteps of her mother, who had done the same 20 years ago. Determined to restart her life after becoming pregnant with a baby daughter, Gislaine left a drug addict and alcoholic husband behind, losing 75 pounds in the process.

In Brazil, Gislaine worked as a sales associate in different home décor stores, but when her family bought a pizzeria, she joined the party and acquired a liking for cooking.

Since Gislaine arrived in New York, she has been taking a step-by-step approach to life, not afraid of knocking on people’s door offering her delicious confections. “Everyone who tries my honey cake (pão de mel), wants to buy more”, she says happily.

Mercifully, this style of classic Brazilian pastries has proven remarkably resistant over the decades, and because tolerance is such a strong Brazilian trait—for good and bad—it also got carried over food. Brazilians became so immune to dried versions of pão de mel, that a good one has become an emblem of a particular culinary skill. If one can make a marvelous pão de mel, then one can truly cook.

Gislaine’s pão de mel, moist and perfumed with cinnamon and cloves, reveals the prefect balance between sugar and spicy, chocolate and honey. It caught me by surprise since I wasn’t expecting to find a version as good as this, in New York City, of all places.

Honey Cake

This is just one of the reasons why I love to meet Brazilians who live here. We are immigrants, and we are here not by birth, but by choice. Behind every recipe, there are beautiful story, and the more recipes I discover, the more I realize how strong Brazilian people really are.

Back in Brazil, pão de melis frozen in the past; at best it is home-made classic, at worst, and most often, it is dried cake, overly coated with hydrogenated chocolate. Gislaine’s pão de melrepresents the past at its best. Even thousands of miles away from home, it brought me back to Brazil, and reminded me of my own past and childhood, sweet and unforgettable.

To know more about Gislaine’s work, visit her facebook page

To order Gislaine’s honey cake and other treats, please get in touch with her: [email protected]

Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

There are occasions in life that have a simple majesty. A birthday. Anniversary. Graduation. Birth. This recipe for Best Carrot Cake is witness to boundless passion for cooking and it doesn’t just fit the occasion. It creates the occasion. You have to click on this, because this recipe will fit so well in your kitchen!

Carrot Cake

 

 

Best Carrot Cake

Makes 1 cake, serving 12- 14 people

 

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted

1 lb grated carrots (grated by hand on the largest whole of a grader)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 ½ cups buttermilk

2 ½ (368g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

¾ tsp baking soda

4 large eggs, room temp

1 cup (205g) sugar

¾ cup (118g) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup vegetable oil

For the Frosting:

12 oz cream cheese, room temp

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter room temp

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup powder sugar

 

Topping (optional): Corn Flakes

  • Prepare the Cake:pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Spray two cake pans (9”- diameter) with grease, line with parchment paper and spray again.
  • In a bowl, combine the carrots, ginger and buttermilk.
  • In another bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the two sugars on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating.
  • Change the attachment to a paddle attachment, reduce the speed to low, and start adding the oil.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until blended.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the pecans and fold well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
  • Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes, rotating half way through baking time.
  • Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes and invert onto a wire rack. Be sure to peel off the parchment paper and cool completely. Cakes can be done up to 5 days ahead of time and kept wrapped in plastic film in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare the Frosting:in the bowl of an electric beater fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat in the vanilla and mix well.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the powder sugar. Carefully increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting looks light, fluffy and creamy, about 4 minutes.
  • Assemble the Cake:place one cake, domed side down on a platter. Using an off=set spatula, spread ¾ cup of the frosting on top. Place the remaining cake (domed side down) on top. Use the remaining of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake, making decorative swirls.
At Home With Natalie Morales

Natalie Morales: What You See Is What You Get

 

It’s a phenomenal career trajectory for Natalie Leticia Morales, who went from East coast to West coast as the anchor of the Today Show, and just came out with a gorgeous cookbook titled At Home with Natalie (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018).

Wait. Natalie Leticia Morales? Yes, we share the name Leticia! And that’s just the beginning, we also share a passion for Brazilian culture and cooking!

At Home with Natalie, features recipes like Tortilla Espanola, Huevos Rancheros, Ropa Vieja, Brazilian Style Kebabs, Black Bean Veggie Burger, Berry Parfait with Coconut Granola Crumble to name a few.The book really feels like a rare invitation to her home, to meet her family and cook recipes that belong in her cultural backround.

The first time I went on the Today Show, I was promoting my own cookbook The Brazilian Kitchen. I was incredibly nervous and excited to do a segment with Natalie, whose mother is Brazilian and speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish. She also lived in Brazil, Panama, and Spain as a “U.S. Air Force brat”, so I knew I had to make things right.

Natalie and me on the set of Today Show

Natalie and me, on the set of Today Show

 

I was wondering if she would make me feel nervous during the segment. She didn’t. I was wondering if she would be as kind in person as she appears on TV. She was. I was wondering if she would look as beautiful in person as she is on TV. Even more! I was wondering if she would write a blurb for my book. She did! And it helped me tremendously!

With Natalie, it’s like this: What you see is what you get!

If you are as big a fan of Natalie as I am, you can get more of her in the cookbook. I have been making the recipes mentioned above and I’m delighted to share one my favorite recipes from her book here on my blog. This Healthy Sweet Potato Salad is pretty easy to prepare and already became part of my lunch repertoire.

You can also watch Natalie anchoring Access Hollywood on NBC with co-host Kit Hoover.

To know more about Natalie, visit her web site Natalie Morales.me

 

Healthy Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad adapted from At Home with Natalie

Sweet Potato Salad, adapted from At Home With Natalie

 

Serves 6

4 large sweet potatoes (2 ½ to 3lbs), peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup + 3 tablespoons EVOO

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup tiny sliced celery (about 3 stalks)

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup thawed and shelled frozen edamame

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

Toasted pepitas

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
  • Put the cubed potatoes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, ensuring all of the cubes are coated. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and browned, stirring them halfway through roasting time. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the celery, red onion, and edamame. Stir the potatoes into the onion mixture and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the potatoes and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and chives and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate, adding the herbs just before serving. Sprinkle with pepitas if you like to add crunch.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

A Pie from the Sky: Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

In praise of summer, this Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart is the dessert of now!

it’s a pie in the sky, adapted from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook Bake! (Kyle Books 2010)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Makes a 10-inch or 8 to 10 servings

The dough is enough for 2 tarts

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

¼ cup (52g) slivered almonds

¾ cup (108g) confection sugar

2 ½ cups (405g) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Almond Crumb Topping

1 ¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65g) organic sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confection sugar (more for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (or quartered if large)

 

  • Prepare the Dough:Combine the almonds and confection sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse well. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough form a a ball.
  • Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, or at least 1 minute. You can prepare the dough u to 5 days ahead.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature at least 20 minutes before handling. Flour the surface and dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  • Warp the dough on the rolling pin, lift it onto the tart pan, and unwrap. Fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess.
  • Plate the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes before blind baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake until the crust is dry and looking set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart to bake until the crust is evenly lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool the crust on a rack.
  • Prepare the Almond Crumb:In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds and butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes then use your fingers to break the mixture into ¼ – to – 1/2-inch crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until deep golden brown.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the confection sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the Tart:Spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, dust the top with confection sugar.
  • Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter and serve.
Summer lobster rolls

Summer Lobster Rolls

Oh, do I love sunny days in Connecticut! Every ray of sun, every piece of light I get in my kitchen it is used with a purpose. And then, art, creativity, cooking and writing happens all together. If there is a recipe with the face of summer—is Lobster Rolls. Cook it today, cook it tomorrow, but cook this summer!

 

Makes 6 to 8 rolls

 

Lobster Rolls

For the Salad:

3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 bunch chives, chopped

4 celery sticks, diced (save leaves to use as herbs)

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

1 ¼ pounds (about 3 ½ cups) cooked lobster meat, cut into ½-inch pieces ***

2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

¼ cup store bought whole mustard vinaigrette (more if needed)

¼ cup light mayonnaise

grated zest of 1 lemon

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

For the Rolls:

8 hot dog rolls

½ stick butter, melted

  • Prepare the salad: in a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together and fold carefully, making sure each and every ingredient is well coated with vinaigrette and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Taste and season again if necessary.
  • Warm a pancake pan or griddle. Open hot dog rolls and brush them with melted butter, making sure they remain attached in the middle). Working in batches, place rolls cut side down and sear them until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them and heat lightly on the other side, about another minute. Transfer to a plate.
  • Spoon about ¾ cup into each roll and top with arugula. Sprinkle some crystal salt and serve immediately.

*** If you prefer to buy live lobsters and cook them yourself, 3 to 4 two-pounders will yield 1 ¼ pounds of lobster meat.

 

 

 

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