Do eggs straight from the chicken taste any different? Yes! These eggs are from my friend Cooper’s farm where he has a beautiful array of chickens. That’s me, holding a basket of them after washing them clean. The yolk is richly yellow and deliciously flavorful. Endless egg possibilities here!
I love this time of year! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything on my blog, but this photo offered a little inspriration. So, I got to thinking that while I’m sometimes short on words (or time) to post, I almost always have some food to share (creatively, that is). Now my posts are going to be short and sweet (and sometimes savory). If you’d like to know more, shoot me a line, but this way I’ll update more frequently in my attempt to become a more active member of the World Wide Web.
I love a good sugar cookie and these are the perfect way to show some love for your Valentine this year. They also make a great companion while watching part 3 of the RHBH reunion!! They could all use a sugar cookie.
Perfect Sugar Cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar at high speed until fluffy and light yellow in color, about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during this process. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. With mixer on low, slowly add baking powder and flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Don’t over mix!
Flour work surface and rolling pin and roll dough out to 1/4 inch-thick. Cut out with cookie cutters and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking pan liner or parchment paper. Bake for 9-10 minutes, rotating sheets half way through. You don’t want golden color on these cookies. Remove them from baking sheets and place on a cooling rack.
Once you are ready to decorate them…
3 oz pasteurized egg whites (the stuff that comes in a carton)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix egg whites with whisk attachment until frothy. Add vanilla and mix. With mixer at low speed, slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down bowl as necessary. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, bring up to high speed and mix until fluffy and glossy, about 3-4 minutes. Add half the lemon juice and mix. Check icing for consistency. Add remaining lemon juice to thin, if desired. Divide icing into bowls and color with food coloring. Place in piping bags and get decorating! Allow icing to dry before stacking or packaging.
I am a big fan of wings. These here are baked wings so I feel a little less guilty eating a whole plate full of them. I like to serve them with a pile of celery and carrots. It’s almost like eating a salad that way…right? Don’t forget the beer and napkins.
I am Florida right now getting ready to film a live premiere for the new Bon Appetit line of cookware on the Home Shopping Network (check your local listing). It will begin tonight at midnight and run through tomorrow at different times with various products. I will be on air throughout the premier at different times, acting as sous chef to Ryan Scott from Top Chef. See below for times to watch!
This colorful Roasted Vegetable Tart is straight off the cover of the January issue of Bon Appetit. It takes some time, but the result is well worth it. I roasted the vegetables yesterday (along with a few extras to minimize dinner prep) and made the crust today. The third image might look like a pie made of space balls, but it’s a very important step called blind baking. The pie weights (aka the space balls) prevent it from puffing up since the filling still needs to go in. All in all, I love the flavors and the result is oh so pretty!
Pizza night is one of my favorite meals because I don’t have to do a thing! My husband takes this task very seriously and does it from start to finish—I just tell him what I want on mine. Here, you can see two of the pies that he cranked out. He likes to use Lidia Bastianich’s dough recipe. He tops the pizza sparingly and places the sliced fresh mozzarella on paper towels before using it. If your toppings are too moist (or generous), that will make for a soggy pizza. And your oven needs to be very hot (he has ours set on the maximum temp of 550). Also, he uses pizza stones for maximum crispiness. Papa who?
The ultimate accompaniment to a DVR full of RHBH? A big bowl of cacio e pepe. This pasta is super simple and oh-so-good. Don’t skimp on the cheese or butter. And save a little extra pasta water in case you need another splash once you’ve add the cheese. The key to getting the pasta and the sauce together in perfect harmony, so that every strand is coated and singing with flavor, is to keep tossing the pasta once you’ve added it to the saute pan (as seen in photo 2). There won’t be leftovers.
Today I was in the BA Kitchen (aka my office of sorts) and cooked up about 300 Pecan and Chocolate Pralines. They are easy to make and decadently delicious. After making about a dozen batches, I would say my biggest tip is to work quickly once you have the pecan mixture to temperature and are ready to spoon it onto your parchment paper. The best tool to expedite this process is a dough scoop, which I use all the time for all sorts of kitchen tasks. By scooping quickly, your praline mixture will spread just enough to keep the right shape and maintain a glossy finish. All this talking about pralines is making me hungry…I’m off to the kitchen!
A look back at a few of my favorite bites from 2011…
This was a good year. And among the highlights, the day I got married leads the pack. A friend of mine who owns Fish Restaurant in Philly did the catering. I am still dreaming about the handmade cavatelli with chanterelles, fava beans and truffles…
Also served at the wedding (and enjoyed many times over since then) is possibly my favorite food of all time. I love oysters. Not just a little. I could eat them every day. I did, in fact, eat them almost daily for about a year while working at the aforementioned Fish Restaurant. I was the oyster shucker du jour for many a long nights…eating them was just part of my job.
After the wedding, Mr. J and I went on a lovely honeymoon to Kauai. We ate lots of great things, but this meal was especially memorable. We walked to the fish market where we picked up that beautiful tuna roll. Then we stopped at a little food stand for a tasting platter with some pork laulau, rice, BBQ pork, macaroni salad and tarro bread.
In July we took a trip to New Orleans. I stopped for one of my favorites: a muffaleta from Central Grocery. The salty meat and cheese slathered with vinegary olive salad is, in a word, amazing. I could go for one of those. Right. Now.
Finally, and most recently, my very talented sister-in-law treated us to a post-Christmas meal of roast chicken with mushroom gravy, green beans, French fries and sauteed kale. This was the perfect way to end to a pretty delicious year.