birthday | checkerboard pâte sablée

checkerboard pâte sablée

it snowed for the first time on saturday.
we finally turned on our heat,
over-bundling of winter layers wasn’t cutting it.
life has been specially sweet lately,
and i am grateful.
forty looks good,
and i am reminded,
often,
that though the days blur sometimes,
that there’s more disappointment than
enough fingers to count them,
it can be balanced with kindness,
thoughtful friends,
mindfulness,
and
cookies.

thanks for visiting, friends. ❤

checkerboard pâte sablée

Checkerboard Pâte Sablée
adapted from baking obsession, sadly now defunct, with slight improvement from previous attempts at assembly and photography

Makes about 8 dozens

5 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 sticks of butter, at room temperature (i use green valley organics)
2 cups sugar
1 TBL vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

sift dried ingredients in bowl. set aside.

in a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light + fluffy. beat in eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract. add in the flour mixture and combine.

divide the dough in half.

in the mixing bowl mix the cocoa powder in.

last, divide both halves into half again. you’re going to end up with 4 quarters: 2 vanillas and 2 chocolates. wrap individually in plastic and fridge for up to a day.

when ready, take 2 quarters of different flavors out & allow to soften for about 15-20 minutes. btwn parchment papers roll out a quarter dough into 1/2″ thick rectangles, measuring 12×5″. repeat for other quarter.

using some sharp object, knife, dough scraper (preferred tool) or pizza cutter, cut out a nine 1/2″ wide stripes.

being gentle, but not precious about it, form two checkerboard logs switching btwn the chocolate and vanilla strips. press gently so that the strips will adhere to each other, try not to smooch them. you’re aiming for cubed logs, roll the logs from side to size for sharp, right angle quarters. good luck with that. wrap in plastic wrap and fridge, until firm. (*note: logs can be frozen at this point, as long as well wrapped).

repeat with remaining two quarter doughs.

when ready, preheat oven 350F.

prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (very important!)

using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/4″ thick slices. place on prepared baking sheet, but leave about an inch space btwn cookies.

bake for about 12 minutes, don’t go more than that though, cus you want the color contrasts to be pronounced. as the cookie cools, it will firm up. cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer on wire rack. if you don’t parchment your baking sheet, don’t let the cookies cool directly on the pan, cus you’ll be scraping that shit off.

will keep, well wrapped, in fridge for awhiles. in fact, i had it on the counter, not so very well wrapped for a week and they were fine.

BAM!

checkerboard pâte sablée

4 years ago: peppermint chocolate ice cream
3 years ago: gingerbread cake
2 years ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise
1 year ago: kefir biscuits

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garbage plate

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

i don’t remember thanksgiving growing up.
sure, we had school off,
but thanksgiving meals were …
non-existent?
i seem to recall a time when
we had black duck soup.
other than that,
it was just another meal.
this resulted in me as a grown up
with lukewarm aspirations for
turkey and all the fixings
(though, i will eat the shit outta some stuffing).
despite this,
most years we’ll mark the occasion
with something special.
this year,
dw re-created a regional favorite,
that region being Rochester, NY.

i won’t lie,
i only managed 1 1/2 sittings,
out of like 5 sittings,
but dw,
he was in a fog of nostalgia each time.
he planned this meal for weeks,
dissecting various recipes,
discussing with friends,
and all i did was take pictures.

it is a season of gratitude,
and i have much to be thankful for,
notably,
you all.

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

Garbage Plate
as written up by dw, with proper punctuation and complete sentences.
this was served with healthy slices of molly’s scallion pancakes challah

Meat Sauce (I used this one. Very good taste and texture. Doubled the spices) – (Warning – Plays a MIDI song on load)

1 lb. ground beef
2 tablespoon minced onions, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed thyme leaves
2 ½ cups water (I just used as much as needed, and added more when it cooked down.)

Method: (This is my method that I wrote)
Saute some finely diced onion in oil.
Before the onion takes color, add the ground beef breaking it up and stirring constantly until it is cooked to a fine consistency.
Add spices, stirring well. Perhaps double the amount of spice for extra flavor
Add water to the sauce so that it has a bit of a runniness. It should have enough that it will trickle through the other elements for added flavor.
Let it simmer as long as you want. Add water as needed.

Home Fries
Potatoes – Cubed
Oil
Salt/Pepper
Place cubed potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover
Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 3-4 minutes.
Drain very well
In a large skillet, using a generous amount of oil, fry the potato cubes. Take care not to move them too much, but careful to keep them from sticking. Cook until beautiful.
Season generously with salt and pepper

Macaroni Salad
Elbow Macaroni
Mayonnaise
Carrot
Celery

Cook the elbows perhaps a bit too much for soft texture
Dice the carrot and celery to a fairly small size.
Add a bit of mustard if desired. Ties in the plate flavor and reduces the amount of mayo needed.

Meat (Choose one and use two per serving)
Sausage – Weisswurst is perfect to represent a white hot
Fried Egg – Runny yolk
Hamburger
Cheeseburger – Cheese should be white
Other
White Onion – Chopped coarsely
Mustard – Brown, and should be loose/runny

Final Method:

On a standard dinner plate, arrange one side with the mac salad, and the other with the home fries. Don’t be stingy.
Add the meat. If patties, use two. If a hot dog or sausage, split in half lengthwise (Sear the cut edge on a skillet or grill) and use two.
Add a generous swipe of mustard across the plate.
Add a generous scoop of diced raw onion
Top with a generous scoop of the meat sauce. It should be runny enough to wet the plate through the mac salad and home fries.

Enjoy!

Garbage Plate + Asian Challah

4 years ago: pumpkin challah chips
3 years ago: chocolate chip pb cookies, vegan & gluten free
2 years ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise, lactose free
1 year ago: kefir biscuits

bánh canh cua – Vietnamese Udon Noodle Soup

Banh Canh Cua

around this time of year,
while the majority of the country
is thinking/talking/consuming all things:
pumpkin, turkey, stuffing, cranberries, eggnog,
i’m craving random,
not as well-known vietnamese noodle bowls
that take a full day to make
and then even more dayyyyyyys to finish.

the season is in full swing,
and though we don’t partake in festivities often,
we still find ourselves succumbing
to the stray dinner and drink and party invites.
december:
you’re the last one,
so be the best one.

Banh Canh Cua

bánh canh cua – Vietnamese Udon Noodle Soup
this makes an ass-ton, like i don’t know how much in measurements, but we were eating this for a number of nights straight.

to me, this dish is more about the noodles than anything else. there’s a bouncy chewy texture to them, kinda sorta like udon noodles. there are plenty of different resources online that will have the full exact measurements of the seasoning, that is authentic, but this version worked for me and my hankering for some random not-often consumed viet noodle bowl was sated.

stock
3 lbs pork neck bones
1 onion
carrot & celery (optional, i added this because it felt weird to not have them in when making stock)
6 cups chicken stock (homemade or store bought)

in a big stock pot bring a pot of water + pork neck bones to a boil. drain the water and wash the bones and clean the pot. put bones back into the pot with the onion and fill with water. bring to a boil and lower heat. simmer slightly covered for a few hours. skim accordingly

after a few hours, remove the bones (discard them, or if you’re like my gpa, pick at the bones, dunking the morsels of meat in really good & spicy fish sauce)

add the chicken stock and stir to mix.

crab + shrimp balls
1 clove garlic
half onion
salt, pepper, sugar – to taste
1/2 lb cleaned/deveined shrimp
1/2 lb crab meat
splash fish sauce
1 – 2 tsp of annatto oil (to make: 1/3 cup of neutral oil warmed gently with 1 TBL of annatto seeds)
1-2 tsp crab paste in soy bean oil

in food processor add the shrimp and alllllll the ingredients, except the crab meat. pulse until the shrimp is roughly chopped. then add the crab meat and pulse for about 5-10 seconds, taking care to not mush up the crab meat, you’re aiming to bind all the ingredients together.

shape into ping pong sized balls. fridge or freeze until ready to use

garnish
green scallions, chopped
cilantro, finely chopped
chili pepper, thinly sliced
lime wedges
optional fish and shrimp and crab balls, already prepared, can be found in frozen aisle at asian markets

banh canh noodles
1 bag rice flour (16 oz)
5 TBL tapioca starch or flour
1 1/2 cups of super duper hot boiling water

mix rice flour and tapioca starch, set aside
in a kettle, boil water and pour it into the flour mixture until a dough is formed, it won’t be too wet or dry. the consistency reminded me of play-doh. wrap in plastic and ignore for 30 minutes

here is where you can shape/cook the noodles the way you want. you can put it through a potato ricer or roll out the dough into a disc and cut into 1/4 inch strips. we attempted both and will now just buy already-made udon noodles.

to assemble
best to make 2 servings at a time

in a medium sauce pan, portion out enough stock for 2 servings. bring to a boil, lower heat and season according to taste, with fish sauce and sugar

add in the homemade shrimp/crab balls and any other prepared balls you want. when the pot reaches a boil again, add in the noodles. unlike pasta, don’t stir. allow for the noodles to cook to al dente, it’ll swell, around 5 minutes, but do keep an eye out for it. the stock will thicken, it’ll go from brothy to stew-y. don’t be alarmed

portion into bowls. top with green scallions, cilantro and a healthy drizzle of annatto oil and spritz of lime juice

BAM!

4 years ago: cauliflower + pumpkin gnocchi
3 years ago: garlic panna cotta + curried root vegetable soup
2 years ago: vegan carrot cake
1 year ago: brownie cookies

sausage corn chowder

Sausage Corn Chowder

corn season is over,
i know this.
i despair this,
but if you’re down with using frozen corn,
make this.
i usually make this when i’ve had my fill
of corn for the season,
but i still have about 5-6 cobs leftover,
cus i went crazy at the market.
it’s warming,
it’s filling,
it’s summer in a bowl,
if summer was a chowder.

it hit into the 20s over the weekend,
we are holding firm & not turning on the heat,
hygge is in full effect,
under heated blankets.
stay warm, friends.

Sausage Corn Chowder

sausage corn chowder
makes about 4-6 portions

1 lb sausage, you can use the crumbly sort, sweet or spicy, or the links kind
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
5 ears of corn, kernels shaved, and cobs reserved
2 large potatoes, diced
2 cans of coconut milk
2 cups of stock (i usually make a quick stock of veg scrapes + the cobs)
handful of copped kale, or greens
salt and pepper to taste

cook the sausage in a large soup pot. remove from pot but don’t discard the oil. eyeball it, if you need more fat, add some olive oil. throw in the onion and garlic to the pot, season with salt & pepper and saute till translucent. add in the potatoes, again season with salt. you’re aiming to coat everything in the oil.

add in the coconut milk and stock.

bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer till potatoes are tender.

add in the corn, kale and sausage, heat through, season as necessary and serve.

BAM!

Sausage Corn Chowder

4 years ago: blueberry jam danishes
3 years ago: za’taar socca + middle eastern smashed avocado
2 years ago: vegan carrot cake
1 year ago: curried broccoli & cheese soup

dark molasses pear bread

Molasses Pear Bread

Molasses Pear Bread

a little over a month ago,
while going about my business on a thing called Work,
a work much entrenched in judging resumes,
i realized that i needed to work on mine.
it had been a rather disappointing summer,
career-wise,
and rather than harp about it,
i decided to do something about it.

tl;dr; i applied for a job,
i started said job last week.

happy autumn,friends.

Molasses Pear Bread

dark molasses pear bread
adapted from epicurious

*note: i’ve been sitting on this recipe for years, playing around with ingredients, adding and subtracting here and there, following the recipe exactly to not at all. it’s delicious with tea, or an after dinner treat.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 TBL olive oil
1/4 cup coffee
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (actually, i don’t pack it in too hard, sweetness level up to you)
1/2 cup molasses
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated peeled ginger, or if you’re lazy, minced as fine as you can manage
1 Bosc pear, diced
sprinkle of cocoa powder, about 1/4 – 1/2 a tsp

preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. grease loaf pan, set aside.

mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a small mixing bowl, set aside

add the coffee with olive oil, set aside.

using a stand mixer, beat the brown sugar with molasses. add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. throw in the dry mixture until just combined. next add in the liquid with ginger.

pour into prepared loaf pan.

in bowl, add the pear pieces, sprinkle with cocoa powder. scatter the pieces over the batter. (the cocoa powder should help a little from keeping the pieces from sinking to the bottom of the pan. it works sometimes.)

bake for 35-40 minutes. cool.

serve sliced with a spot of tea.

BAM!

Molasses Pear Bread

4 years ago: carrot bread
3 years ago: three bean chili
2 years ago: apparently i didn’t do shit.
1 year ago: lemongrass chicken & rice soup