Friday, January 31, 2020

Coconut Shortbread

For someone who loves food, loves to think about food, loves to talk about food as much as I do, I'm really bad at recording and remembering all the things I've loved. Sure, it's easy enough to forget failures and dishes gone wrong, but horrifyingly enough, it seems to be just as easy to forget the triumphs, those fabled, beloved dishes we vow to make again and again.

In an effort to remember better - and also to keep some sort of record of my life - I've started keeping two little notebooks in the kitchen. One is a catalog of my weekly CSA deliveries and what I've cobbled together with the bounty, and the other focuses on the dinners I cook for others. What did I make? Who attended? Did anything especially salacious occur? The answer to that last question is almost always a resounding YES.

I know these notebooks will be of little interest to anyone but me, but even now, just a year after I started jotting it all down, I find myself flipping through them from time to time. Sometimes, I'm seeking inspiration. Sometimes, I simply want to be transported back to another time. Most of the time, I'm just trying to remember what the f**k I ate.

Recently, I started to feel a little despondent that there is this gaping hole in my culinary history. There are years and years worth of wonderful things I've made that I cannot for the life of me remember. But a conversation with a dear old friend bemoaning just this reminded me that, in fact, that was not quite the case. Because after all, I had this blog.

It may have lain mostly dormant (much like my 'love' life) over the last decade, but occasionally, I'd pop back in to share a recipe. So while it may be just a loose skeleton, scrolling down the homepage here gives me little flashes of memory, little indications of what I was eating and what I was cooking. And I like that.

I'm certainly not going to promise I'll post on here more (also, apart from a few robots, I'm pretty sure no one is reading this stupid thing anymore), but I will make small efforts to keep on recording. I hope that somewhere down the line, I'll be able to look back and say, "Damn, I ate well."

Now for what you're probably here for. If you're here at all, that is. Without further ado, I present these toasty, sandy little fellas. I give you: coconut shortbread.

Coconut Shortbread
2 ¼ cups spelt flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon salt
200 grams good unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup toasted sugar (you’ll need to toast it in the oven ahead of time – I recommend doing a bigger batch so you have it on hand. You simply put it in a glass baking dish at 300 degrees and toast for about 2 hours until it’s golden and fragrant. You’ll need to stir it every 30 mins to make sure it isn’t burning)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Crystal sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a square baking tin with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, coconut and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and toasted sugar until light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved somewhat. Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to mixer, beating until just combined. It will be a bit crumbly, but that’s ok. Press the dough into the prepared baking tin until it’s snug and the surface is more or less level. Cover and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Once it’s chilled, score the dough with a sharp knife into desired shortbread shapes. Prick the top of the dough with a fork. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top has browned slightly and you can smell that delicious scent wafting from the oven. The top of the cookies will also feel firm to the touch. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, slice along the scores you’ve made and allow to cool completely. Enjoy with a nice milky cup of tea!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

PB & B Bread

It's official. I'm all out of ideas. I don't know how it's happened, but two of the four recipes I've posted in the last three (gasp) years have been for banana bread. How embarrassing.

The strangest part is I never even really liked banana bread all that much. Sure, it set my mind percolating, ruminating on those steamy South Carolina mornings when my classmates would gleefully tote loaves their mothers had baked into school. But really, I always found it kind of unremarkable.

These days, however, I do enjoy a slice or two, toasted up until crisp and fragrant, slathered with lashings of salted butter. And maybe a schmear of raw honey. Yes, it's basic. Yes, it's been "done." But you know what? That's alright with me. I'll take delicious over cool, any day.

PB & B Bread
3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork, and 1 not-so-ripe banana, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, peanut butter, vanilla and egg yolks. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. While these are whisking, add the coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the banana mixture. Stir to combine. Carefully fold in the whipped egg whites. Fold in cacao nibs gently, careful not to overmix, lest your egg whites deflate.

Add batter to prepared loaf pan. Arrange banana slices on the top as you like. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until fragrant and knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Roasted Tomato Garlic Tart

I think we can all agree that summer is a pretty fantastic time of year. The days seem endless, and pretty much everyone looks just a little bit better -and thank god for that. But do you want to know what my favorite part is? The produce.

Think about it. Biting into a fresh, juicy summer peach (cue Call Me By Your Name flashback). Nibbling on that sweet, refreshing watermelon and letting the juices run down your chin. Sweet and smoky corn just kissed by the heat of the grill. Pretty f**king good, no?

So, what to do when you have the best of the best at your fingertips? Make the best of it, of course. And since tomatoes tend to be the absolute worst when out of season - pale, mealy & flavorless, like your last bad date - they are also one of the greatest gems of summer. And while you can certainly eat them simply sliced, drizzled with olive oil & sprinkled with salt, I have an idea for you, a gentle suggestion. A roasted tomato garlic tart.

The tomatoes become rich and caramelised from the heat of the oven, and the mixture that holds it in place is unctuous & tangy with hits of herbaceous freshness from the thyme. It's ideal served with a bright green salad for dinner or munched on for breakfast with a few slices of streaky bacon. No matter the day, no matter the time, a slice of this is never a bad idea.

Roasted Tomato Garlic Tart
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Originally posted on gloobles
1 kilo mixed colour tomatoes, seeds scraped out and cut into slices
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
115 grams cultured, unsalted butter
6 large cloves garlic, smashed and skin removed
250 oatcakes, finely ground in a food processor
2 large eggs
300 grams Taleggio, rind removed and coarsely grated
70 grams Parmesan, coarsely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke's or Kewpie, if you can find them)
1 bunch lemon thyme, leaves stripped from stems

Preheat oven to 250 with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Arrange tomatoes in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes until the tops start to dry out a bit. Remove from the oven to cool. Reduce oven to 190.

While these roast, place butter and smashed garlic in a small saucepan set over low heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until butter begins to foam and the butter takes on a light golden colour. Be careful not to let the garlic burn! Strain garlic butter through a fine mesh sieve into the food processor with oatcake crumbs, setting the crispy, golden cloves aside for later.

Add the eggs to the food processor with the oatcake crumbs and garlic butter. Add a 1/4 teaspoon salt and pulse to combine until mixture looks like wet sand. Press into a 23 cm fluted tart pan. Bake for 8 minutes until it starts to take on colour. Let cool.

In the meantime, mix together Taleggio, Parmesan, mayonnaise, pepper and thyme. Dollop half of mixture into the tart pan and spread to the edges. Layer half of cooled tomatoes over top. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and crust is browned. Allow to cool and sprinkle with thyme leaves for colour.