March 18th, 2009

bialys

bialys

whew, if feels like it’s been forever! how are you? i’ve been better. actually, right now i’m feeling pretty healthy, but for the past week i was feeling particularly unhealthy – the kind of unhealthy that makes you not want to go anywhere near the kitchen. the kind of unhealthy that makes you wish you had bought stock in the kleenex corporation a week ago (not to mention nyquil inc). but i have returned, and i did miss you all. i bring you wishes of good health this spring, and this recipe for bialys, because why not have breakfast all day long?

bialys

i had never even heard of bialys before (which explains why when i asked the girl about them, i kept calling them “bilays”), but the way she described them – lots of onion and lots of poppy seeds – i had to have one. i love onion bagels, and i love poppy seed bagels, so combining them and getting rid of the hole – essentially adding more bagel – is genius.

bialys

i’ve read extensively about this, but i’m pretty sure there is no fool-proof way to keep from crying when cutting onions. i’ve tried cutting next to an open flame and cutting next to a running faucet, which both work for a brief amount of time, but sure enough, 3 minutes later, i’m bawling like i’m watching that aspca commercial with sarah mclaughlin. my method has pretty much become cut, stick head in freezer to stop from tearing up, cut for another few seconds, stick head back in freezer, repeat. oddly enough, it takes me a long time to cut an onion and i always end up with a wicked brain freeze.

bialys

since the recipe is from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, it’s a cinch to make. the drawback is that the finished bialys are missing that “something” that you get from a good new york bagel dough. this can be traced back, most likely, to the absence of malt syrup, but sometimes the benefits of an easy dough can simply be too great. plus, the sauteed onions and poppy seeds give the bialys a sweet richness that makes you wish the whole thing was coated in the filling (maybe next time…).

bialys

this will definitely not be my last experience with bialys. for some reason, when it stays lighter later at night, i’m inspired to have breakfast for dinner, and bialys are a food that just begs to be experimented on and tried with different fillings. what if i cracked an egg in the middle? added bacon? sausage? bacon and sausage? and cheese? this is going to be good.

bialys

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March 10th, 2009

pistachio tuiles

pistachio tuiles

gourmet magazine put out a feature on their favorite cookies – one for each year from 1941 to 2008. i’ve got this crazy notion that maybe i can tackle every. single. one. not all at once, mind you, or even in order, but i’d like to keep it in my brain as a “someday” goal. i’ve gotten a few suggestions for which i should bake next via the magic of twitter (seriously, why aren’t you following me yet?), but wanted to start off with this classic from 1988. apparently when i was 4, pistachio tuiles were the best thing going. at the time, my favorite food was probably hot dogs. or a good grilled cheese. or baloney sandwiches. come to think of it, not much has changed.

pistachio tuiles

tuiles get their unique shape after they bake. you have to scoop them off the baking sheet with a spatula really fast and then lay them over a cylinder to cool. there’s a 10 second window to get this done, so if they stick to the sheet or cool too quickly, put them back in the oven for a few more seconds to loosen. things i loved about this recipe: i happened to have all of the necessary ingredients in my kitchen at the time, they take about 10 minutes to make from melting the butter to pulling them out of the oven, and they’re basically sweet pistachio potato chips. how great is that? oh yeah – and they taste awesome. use them as a scoop for a big bowl of ice cream (pistachio flavored?) or be classy and enjoy with a glass of wine (port?).

pistachio tuiles

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March 6th, 2009

rugelach

rugelach

i’m not sure if it’s the weather, but lately i’ve been craving christmas cookies. it actually snowed here a few days ago, and since i’ve associated being cold 24/7 with stuffing my face with festive baked things, it’s been a delicious week. although rugelah are decidely jewish, we always had them on christmas morning with breakfast as a treat.

rugelach

i don’t mention my day job very often, but i’m privileged enough to work a place where i can use my passion for food every day. i don’t want to get into much more detail, but one of my perks is occasionally getting free cookbooks, likeĀ  joan nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen. i’m especially excited because her challah recipe was my first yeast bread.

rugelach

does this look like a lot of extra filling? it is. i accidentally halved the dough recipe but kept the filling recipe the same, so not only were the cookies stuffed, there was a bunch of spill-over. luckily, when sugar coated raisins and nuts get baked, the result is an incredible caramelized trail mix (minus any redeeming health benefits). i’ve been eating it by the handful since.

rugelach

rugelach

i’ve had trouble in the past with doughs that need to be refrigerated and then rolled out later, but this one seemed to hold together perfectly. it didn’t stick to the table when i rolled it out, and it puffed and crisped every so slightly and perfectly in the oven. don’t like raisins and nuts? try any kind of jam or preserves and whip up a batch. then eat them in front of a roaring fire with big cup of hot cocoa to stave off freezing. spring, get here NOW!

rugelach

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