Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Decadent Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel apologetic about these cookies. They seem to need justification, in the form of a "decadent" before their name. Like many people, my favorite cookies are the large, chewy, thick, bakery-style cookies. But...these were...incredible.

The flavor of a super caramelized, shatteringly crisp (Mary Barry would be proud...just imagine her saying "crisp" in her perfectly articulated British accent) cookie laced with lots of chocolate chips, in a just right batch size of 15 cookies.

I was so excited to try a recipe from Alice Medrich's cookie book. Cookies are my favorite, and she is the queen of chocolate. My cookbooks were lost in the mail (well, the post office hasn't found them 2 months later), so I bought myself this cookbook at my neighborhood used bookstore. I'm so glad I did: the first week, I put approximately 50 post-it flags in the book on recipes I want to try!

So, these cookies. They are unapologetically crisp, despite my apology at the top of this post. They have no egg, contributing to their crispness, and start with melted butter (thank goodness for not having to soften the butter).

The batter is rested overnight in the fridge, or for however long you can spare, which is recommended for lots of cookie recipes. It's a bit fussy, but if you think ahead it breaks up the work nicely over two days. I wanted to try the recipe exactly as written, but on tasting, I think a sprinkle of nice sea salt would not go amiss.

A radically different cookie than both Chips Ahoy and the typical chewy chocolate chip cookie, they are delicious with a glass of cold milk or just snuck in shards from the cookie jar.

Decadent Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 15 large, flat, and delicious cookies


  • 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) brown sugar (dark brown is best) 
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (2 ounces) light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces or 1 generous cup chocolate chips or chopped bitter/semisweet chocolate


  1. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, oats, sugar (granulated and brown), corn syrup, milk, and salt. Whisk to combine, then gently mix in the flour mixture. If the mixture is still warm from the butter, let it cool down a bit before mixing in the chocolate.
  3. Let batter rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, up to probably 3 days would be fine!
  4. When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees F. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with foil, dull side up, and put an extra foil liner on a spare part of countertop. Divide dough equally into 15 pieces, roll each into a ball, and place 5 on each baking sheet/liner. Smoosh each ball down until the dough balls are about 3.5" in diameter.
  6. Bake sheets 20-25 minutes, rotating and flipping sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies are thin and quite brown. This makes the caramelization and makes them completely dry (that is, amazingly easy to store). Slide the extra liner onto one of the baking sheets and bake the third sheet like the others. 
  7. Let cool to room temperature on wire racks, then store in an airtight container as long as they stick around.
Recipe from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ginger Veggie Udon Soup

It's a warm fall in SF, but a little veggie soup never went amiss. This one is gingery/miso-y, with yummy soft udon noodles. It would be great for fending off a cold, with all the vitamin-filled veggies, lime juice, miso, and ginger. Knock on wood...

I bought a pack of udon noodles from the Japanese supermarket, and couldn't even read the numbers to tell how long to cook it for...Google Translate to the rescue! Their app allows you to take a picture of text and it will translate!

In a nutshell: You simmer the broth for about 15 minutes, and while that's happening boil the noodles. Chop up a whole lot of veggies in small strips, then cook some with the broth and leave some raw to be softened by the residual heat of the broth. It takes less than half an hour and is immensely satisfying.

Get your bowl, plop in a bunch of noodles, add raw carrots, then pour the broth over the whole thing. The result is a fresh, bright, light soup. Finish it all off with a squeeze of lime, green onions, and some sort of spicy situation if you want (I used a serrano chile, seeds removed and chopped fine).

To make it heartier, you could always add a soft boiled egg or some tofu. I'll probably do this with my leftovers!

Ginger Veggie Udon Soup
Yield: 3 servings


  • Broth:
    • 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled (use a spoon to scrape off the skin) and chopped into 1/4 inch thick rounds
    • 1/2 large carrot, chopped into 1/2 inch rounds
    • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
    • 5 cups vegetable stock or water
    • 10 sprigs cilantro
  • Other ingredients:
    • 7 ounces udon (find in a Japanese supermarket/specialty store or online)--rice noodles or soba would also be good!
    • 1/2 head of broccoli (mind was leftover from roasting a head)
    • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
    • 1/2 large carrot (the other half), cut into matchsticks
    • 1 rounded teaspoon red miso paste
    • 5-6 green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
    • *Note: use whatever veggies you have leftover! Thug Kitchen suggests thinly sliced snowpeas in place of the red pepper, but I bought red peppers at Costco so....
  • For serving:
    • lime
    • serrano chile or sriracha
    • sesame oil (I didn't do this but it sounds good!)
  1. In a medium/large pot, heat over medium heat and then add the carrot and ginger chunks. Cook without oil, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the carrots start to brown. Add garlic and stir again for about a minute to take the edge off. Add the stock or water and cilantro and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While you're waiting, cook the noodles according to the package. Mine went for 5 minutes into boiling water and were rinsed after cooking. Set the noodles aside (it's okay if they don't stay hot).
  3. Chop up the rest of the veggies! Once the stock is done with its 15 minutes, remove the ginger, garlic, cilantro, and carrot as best you can. 
  4. Add anything that you want to cook a bit to the stock now: broccoli if it's raw, red peppers, etc. I left the carrots raw, but you do you. Cook for just long enough for the veggies to lose their rawness--a couple of minutes. 
  5. Stir the miso paste and a ladle or two of stock together in an extra bowl, then dump back in the soup. and stir to combine.
  6. Put some noodles and carrots in a bowl, and ladle the soup over everything. Serve with garnishes or an egg as desired! (if you let this sit for a minute the carrots and noodles can warm up a bit).
  7. Enjoy!
Recipe slightly adapted from Thug Kitchen.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Saag Paneer [mini-post]

So, this kind of blew my mind. Once you get the ingredients for Indian food, you can make Indian food!

Aarti's party on Food Network gave me the glory of this recipe, so I'm not going to wax on too much. Just know that the paneer is marinated and fried. As in, fried cheese!! Find the recipe here.

P.S. I didn't make my own paneer and it was still amazing. We got ours at Costco, and apparently you can freeze it so...looking forward to many more paneer filled meals.

P.P.S. Don't overeat on this. It's easy to because it is dense and delicious, but you will regret it.

P.P.P.S. I bought naan from safeway to eat with this. There are only so many new things one can try at once. Don't let anything limit you from trying new food!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Banana Granola

Hello! I hope you are feeling as sunny and warm as the bay area was today!

Even if not, though, this granola will bring the sun inside. Our whole house smelled like the most glorious baking for aproximately 6 hours. The granola was not even baking for an hour, but its fragrance lingered in a wonderful way.

My housemates and I hovered over the pan all morning, grabbing bites here and there. You can also make this delicious, crunchy, addictive granola to give away as gifts (I don't know anyone who wouldn't be thrilled with a bag of their own!). It's easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

The golden clusters are hearty from banana, oats, and slivered almonds, and indulgent with coconut oil, honey, and a long caramelization time in the oven! It's great over yogurt with banana and honey.

Also, this was my first time baking with coconut oil...I loved how it complemented the sweet, toasty flavors of this granola. I will definitely be using it again in the future!

Banana Granola
Yield: About 5 cups of granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats (no quick oats here--the texture is important!)
  • 1 cup (or more) puffed rice
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds (I got mine at the bulk bins at Safeway)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) coconut oil
  • 1/4 (approx 85 g) maple syrup, agave or honey if not vegan
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, convection if you have it. Line a rimmed baking sheet (or two, if you have two) with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Mix oats, puffed rice, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan or microwave container, melt together coconut oil, syrup/honey, and banana. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well to combine. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s).
  5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the granola is well caramelized and mostly dried. Since there's more banana, it might take longer to dehydrate than normal granola, but stick with it.
  6. *Note: if you like more clumps, don't stir the granola, but be aware that if you only have one baking sheet like me, the edges will probably burn before the middle is dried out, so you might have to take the cooked parts out while you wait for the middle to dry.
  7. Serve with yogurt, honey, and more banana! handfuls...
A few notes:
The recipe did seem a bit sweet for my taste, so the recipe above is adjusted to have a slightly reduced quantity of sugar/honey.
I also love to include puffed rice in granola (I found it at whole foods, though I'm sure it's available elesewhere too--or try rice krispies!) since it lightens the mixture. Next time, I'd probably add some more, or change the ratio with oats, so use as much or as little as you would like!

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lickety Split Pasta

This is totally cheaters pasta. Or at least it feels like it. It's definitely not a long-simmered, lovingly-tended sauce made in a huge cauldron. It makes as many servings as you feel like having in your fridge left over, if you, like me, are cooking for one.

It's quick as a bunny, and flexible to what you've got on hand. Since I didn't use a recipe, here's what I did, not in recipe form (ingredient list at bottom).

Onions get sweating in a sauna pan. Now's a good time to add some dried oregano/red pepper flakes, too, if you'd like.

[boil water for pasta, put frozen peas into a bowl]

Italian sausage joins the party--take your pick of hot or mild, and your choice of meat. I went with mild chicken. Once it's browning, add garlic.

[add pasta to water, cook for a minute or two less than the suggested cook time--until al dente]

Deglaze with a bit of wine, if you've got it around. Then, in go the tomatoes and their juice. Absentmindedly crush them with your wooden spoon while you forget your woes.

[Drain pasta (reserve some pasta water, unless it's aggressively salty like mine was! Microwave the peas, too]

Dump pasta into pan with sauce, watering down as needed. Breathe in the steam. Enjoy the aromatherapy of cooking. Serve with grated (or shaved, with a vegetable peeler) parmesan cheese.

Hearty greens, such as kale or spinach, would be great added with the garlic (after the meat has browned a bit).

Ingredients: (amount for aproximately 2 large servings)

  • Pasta (5 or so ounces)--I used mini-penne
  • Half an onion--I used 3/4 because it's what I had
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Italian sausage--cook's choice
  • 1 14-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • A splash of wine--I used white
  • Frozen peas--but really, do what you want on this one
  • [greens, if desired]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Lemon Bar Tart

We do not have a 9 inch pan, we do not have it, Sam I am.

We do not like them in a square, it's so passé I wouldn't dare.

A round pan works, 'cuz in a pinch, you just pull out your bag of tricks.

Like cutting bars in the form of a kite, or sifting powdered sugar oh so white.

This tart, alas, dirties many a bowl, but the creamy custard's got me sold.

The crust's a very good bake, it's crisp for heaven's sake!

Lemon Bar Tart
Yield: One tart and one nibbling pan (4x4). Alternatively, a 9 inch square pan of traditional lemon bars.


For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar, plus more for decoration
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
For the filling:
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 7/8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (2 1/2 lemons gave me more than enough, but you might need more if they're small or dry)
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest (I needed 4 lemons for this)
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, cold
  1. Prepare the pans. If you're using a tart pan, butter the inside of the dish and disk, and butter a small, ~4x4 inch ramekin of some sort (this is for snacking, because the recipe is not designed for a tart pan!). If you're using a 9x9 inch pan, butter it and make a parchment or aluminum foil sling so it's easier to take them out of the pan.
  2. For the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour, powdered sugar, and salt a couple of times to combine. Add the butter chunks and pulse a few more times until the mixture looks like crumbs. Press into prepared pans, going up the sides if you're using a tart pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake crust for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling: whisk eggs and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and whisk again to combine. Add butter and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F, or until it thickens significantly (you'll feel it).
  5. Strain custard into a medium sized bowl, then stir in the cold cream. Pour directly into the hot crusts and bake again for 10-12 minutes, or until the filling still jiggles a bit.
  6. Cool on wire racks to room temperature, about 45 minutes, before taking out of the pan and cutting. 
  7. *While it looks beautiful to sift powdered sugar over the whole tart, it won't last in the fridge overnight so just sift over the pieces you're going to serve (ignore the pictures above which I did for beauty's sake sifting over the whole thing). Keeps in the refrigerator a few days, but top will get wet. Just blot off the moisture, sift some sugar over the whole shebang, and serve!
Recipe from Baking Illustrated, modified for pan size.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soda Bread: Or, reconnecting with my roots

Have you seen that video of the two Irish rowers being interviewed at the Olympics? It's great. " to put on the podium pants as well, so that was quite nice" like yes you did! They keep it real on the urine sampling too.

Well, I'm part Irish, and though I've never been to Ireland the rowers have me feeling a bit proud of me heritage. So, I made Irish soda bread, and loved it. It's a round loaf of bread risen without yeast--just with baking soda and buttermilk...basically, a large biscuit with slightly less butter, but you can slather as much as you want on a slice.

The bread is best the first day, but toasted the second day with butter and jam it does quite nicely for elevensies. The recipe I used calls for whole wheat flour and wheat bran, which adds a nice nutty heartiness to the bread.

Brown Soda Bread
Yield: 1 loaf


  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 7/8 ounces) whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the loaf
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in the upper middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment, silpat, or greased foil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all of the flours, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt. Rub in 2 tablespoons butter with your fingers until the mixture looks sandy/like crumbs.
  3. Add buttermilk and mix together with a fork until the dough comes together in shaggy clumps. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead just a few turns, until it comes together into a lumpy but cohesive dough (Baking Illustrated says 12-14 turns).
  4. Pat into a 6 inch diameter round and place onto prepared baking sheet. Score with a serrated knife in a cross, cutting about 3/4" into the loaf (pretty deep). 
  5. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown on the outside and a tester comes out clean from the middle. If you're using an instant-read thermometer, cook until the center is 190 degrees F. 
  6. Brush with melted butter immediately after taking the loaf out from the oven. Let it cool on a wire rack until room temperature, 30-40 minutes, before slicing in.
Recipe from Baking Illustrated.