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Just a light work lunch at 900 Grayson in Berkeley, California.

- Nellie

So apparently toast is all the rage nowadays, which is great, because with about 50 days to to until my wedding, I’ve had zero interest in cooking. The thought of having to clean my kitchen afterwards gives me hives. Behold, the Jelly Cream Donut Toast! It’s Trader Joe’s Pain Poilane, toasted with whipped cream cheese and blackberry preserves. I won’t even deign to call this a recipe, because it’s toast. But it is delicious.
Nellie

Looking for a way to ruin some perfectly good corn? Hate it when your cobs are prepared in an appetizing way? Then definitely check out this NY Times chilled corn buttermilk soup. The soup was actually pretty tasty up until we strained it; somehow, the sweetness of the corn and our hopes for a better dinner got left behind in the sieve and it just tasted… funky. 

Clutch that sweetcorn close to your heart and run far from the blender; seek refuge in our version of elote (Mexican street corn) salad instead. (Oh my stars, remember when scallops were affordable?)

-Paulina

Grilling pizza! You’ve probably tried it, but you haven’t perfected it like our mother has. She has a litany of supplies and tricks that are specifically for her grilled pizza habit, and has kindly acquiesced to share them with the world.

You can find general guides for grilling pizza everywhere on the internet, but here’s the basic premise:

1. You make your pizza dough 1 to infinity days in advance. Nellie and I love Jim Lahey’s No-Knead pizza dough, but that recipe makes an inordinate amount of pizza dough. So much pizza dough you might be like “I’ll invite all my friends over” but it’s not possible to have so many friends who all happen to be free on the same night, on the same weekend? No. Not even Jim Lahey can imagine such a luxury, but he likes to front for us.

If you have the freezer space, you can separate and freeze the dough for later; if you don’t, halve the recipe and you’ll still have enough for at least two pizzas.

~DAY(S) PASSING, SEASONS CHANGING, NOT TOO MUCH THOUGH BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO BE NICE ENOUGH TO GRILL STILL~

2.  You roll out your dough. Now, what our mom does it choose her favorite pizza pan (a round, cookie-sheet esque thing) and trace the circle on parchment paper. She then flours it lightly and rolls out her pizza dough super thin on top of the parchment paper so it’s roughly the size of the circle. This has two purposes: 1) your pizza will fit perfectly in the pan for serving, or if you want to do a quick oven broil later on and 2) the parchment paper keeps the dough from slipping into the grill.

3. You do the first grill on your pizza dough. Preheat the grill to about 450F, then slide your parchment paper circle and dough circle onto a flat baking sheet. Once the grill is hot, you can slide the parchment and dough onto it. A lot of websites don’t use parchment, but if you like your pizza with super-thin, crackly crust it’ll slip through the grates if you omit it.

You only need a two minutes on the first side with the lid closed on the grill. If you like the cross-hatch pattern on your dough, rotate the pizza 90 degrees after it starts to cook. Once the first side is cooked, you can toss the parchment paper; the dough will hold together now. Cook the second side a little less than the first - this side gets a second grilling, so it needs to be just barely done.

4. Bring the dough back inside, put it on a cooling rack, and top top toppings on heaven’s door.  Variations on this are infinite, but for the one above we brushed the cooked, cooled pizza dough with a tablespoon of garlicky, rosemaried olive oil; added half a pound of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella and some nice prosciutto, then topped with a quickly-sauteed shallot and shards of parmesan cheese. This pizza is not for the faint of cheese.

5. Grill Part Deux: Revenge of the Grill 3D. Use your sheet pan to bring your gussied-up (oh this old prosciutto? I just found it aging around the fridge somewhere) pizza over to the grill and slide it on, closing the lid for about five minutes. This goes quickly, so don’t get distracted. Stare at your closed grill, arms crossed, without an ounce of humor dancing in your heart. 

After removing it, we topped our finished pizza with baby arugula dressed up in its Sunday finest of lemon juice and olive oil, but later agreed it would have been better just plain and dry. A rare win for little baby arugula, but a fair one indeed. You, however, can afford to try it both ways! You have so much pizza dough left over.

-Paulina

emchughes:

wnyc:

This is brilliant. Also, we do recommend the fish slivers.

-Jody, BL Show-

(via eater)

"Moules frites that spent a semester in Thailand" I die

(via wallofdis)

Chef’s salad: a classic summer dinner we had growing up, served with warm baguette + Kerrygold butter on muggy, humid Illinois evenings accompanied by a deafening cicada soundtrack.

Adapted from Bon Appetit. August 2003.

Summer Chef’s Salad (recipe)

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 5 cups butter lettuce (3 oz)
  • 10 ounces Black Forest ham, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded peeled carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (stack leaves, roll into a tube then sliver)

Puree olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and oregano in blender or food processor until smooth. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. 

Arrange lettuce on large platter. Arrange ham strips, cheese strips, shredded carrots, and halved tomatoes in spoke-like pattern atop mesclun. Place egg wedges around edge of platter. Sprinkle with slivered basil. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve. 

-Paulina 

One of our ~followers~, Anna, asked if we were Dutch and oh my lawd are we ever (half) Dutch! Our papa is from a small province in the south of the Netherlands, a historied legacy of Catholic potato farmers who spoke only in Zeeuws, a dialect incomprehensible to most of the country. We grew up visiting our cousins in Holland almost every year, and as a result consider ourselves minor experts in the (purely academic, sociological) study of Dutch snack foods. 

The Dutch are not a classical cuisine culture, but maybe more as a result of the extremely down-to-earth approach to food than the actual quality of what they make. Because the food there - in restaurants and grocery stores - is incredible. Of course, Nel and I generally focus on grocery store snacks (above) and greasy snackbars with frikandel (hot dog boiled in OIL), kaassouffle (basically deep fried cheese), fries with mayo and peanut sate sauce and other frittered delights because of our priorities in life. However, if you are a fancy foodie and prefer gem lettuces and ramps you can get more than your fair share; the Netherlands are, after all, one of the largest exporters of agricultural and food products in the world.

A SNACKSCUSSION

Hagelslag and Calve Pindakaas: we’ve talked about this before. Nothing compares to Dutch peanut butter and sliced bread, and putting chocolate sprinkles on top and calling it breakfast? GODDANG.

A bottle of white wine: because everything tastes better when you’re buzzed.

HARIBO: this is a bit nostalgic, since we lived in France from 1990-1994 as wee lassies. I loathe marshmallows but these bananas are the best, especially when they get stale; crack the bag open a day before you plan on eating them. Dragibus are oversized, delicious round jellybeans. Pinballs are sort of the sour version of Dragibus. Whatever you do, never buy the little fried eggs. Once before a trip to Switzerland we were each allowed to get a bag of Haribo for the train, and I was lured into the eggs’ cute trap and spent the entire trip extremely upset and jealous of Nellie’s strawberry softies. 

Milka with Tuc: Milka is a wonderful super-creamy type of chocolate bar. a Tuc is a French brand of the most delicious, buttery, crispy salty cracker you can even imagine times two. They made the Tuc tiny and jammed in a Milka Bar and it is unbelievably delicious - the buttery, super saltiness framed by soft milky chocolate. 

Conimex Nasi Goreng mix: Conimex is a popular Dutch brand of grocery store fast Indonesian food; this mix is delicious in fried rice with cut up bacon and chicken and fried egg. 

Fristi: a delicious sweet yogurt (or “joghurt”) drink for kids; it’s shelf stable because duh, mega-pasteurized boxed milk is big in Europe. It’s got an iron tang I could never get behind, though.

Vla: vla is a very important custard and pudding thing that usually comes in big milk cartons and you just fill up your bowl and frost it with whipped cream in a can and call it a day.

Albert Heijn Blueberry Muffin Yogurt:  this isn’t some Yoplait Whips Key Lime Pie bullshit. This is full-fat yogurt with crumbly chunks of an actual blueberry muffin floating around inside. It is unbelievable.

Lotus speculoospasta (“speculoos paste”): you know Trader Joe’s crunchy cookie butter? They’ve had this in the Netherlands for years. Decades, even. You probably feel like you’ve been living in the Soviet Union knowing that now, don’t you. 

Chocomel: is very delicious canned chocolate milk and appropriate for all occasions. We have never tried to mix it with alcohol but I imagine some Bailey’s would be out of this world.

There you have it - our souls laid bare upon this picnic bench outside the Buikslotermeer Albert Heijn. Dutch pals, what are we missing?

- Paulina

Happy Quatorze Juillet/Bastille Day! I made the French classic coq au vin for my mother and I, because apparently this is Valentine’s Day 1983 and I’m feelin’ fancy.

You MUST use Julia Child’s recipe (spoiler alert: saute everything in separate pans in lots of butter. Dirty as many pans as you possibly can.) Also, you MUST talk exclusively in a Jooollleeeeyyyyaaa voice, as interpreted by Meryl Streep in the modern classic Julie & Julia. I initially typo’d “Julia & Julia”, which is appropriate because I only watch the Julia parts. 

The recipe is available here; the best part is the obligatory first comment where someone said they just threw it all in a Crock-Pot, and I deeply wished I had done that instead when gazing upon the detritus of pans, cutting boards, and pathogen-breeding raw chicken juices splayed across the kitchen.

So celebrate instead with the Crock-Pot version perhaps, a glass of pastis, and several hours of gratuitous Tour de France château money shots.

-Paulina

OPA! Organic Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce [A Recipe for Tzatziki Sauce]

A few weeks ago, I got to use my amateur photography skills at home for a big grilling photo shoot for work. I also got to taste-test this burger and confirm that it was, in fact, delicious. 

Here is my favorite recipe for tzatziki sauce - it’s from Michael Psilakis’ “How to Roast a Lamb” - it’s edited a tiny bit, because I usually have cilantro on hand but not fresh dill. I also think he uses too much white vinegar, so I’ve reduced it down as well.

It’s summer, get out and get your grill on.

Tzatziki

Makes 1 quart (1 litre)

1 English cucumber, peeled and seeded

8 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

4 shallots, thickly sliced

1 cup washed and chopped cilantro

21⁄2 cups (625 mL) strained or Greek yogurt (full-fat, please!) or labne spread

2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Quarter the cucumber lengthwise and trim off the triangular wedge of seeds. Cut the cucumber into very small, even dice. Transfer it to a mixing bowl.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, vinegar, shallots and cilantro. Pulse until finely chopped but not puréed. Add the mixture to the cucumber; add the yogurt. Fold together with a rubber spatula, adding the olive oil and lemon juice. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper, starting off with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt. Taste for seasoning. You can store tzatziki in a covered, clean jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. This tastes best once it’s been sitting in the fridge for a while.

- Nellie

Cronus Devouring His Cronut, a nonconsensual collabo between myself and Goya.

- Paulina

This month’s Bon Appetit just came in the mail and it is all about grilling, which is my new favorite thing to do. I think I was kind of intimidated because I felt like my hot zone was never hot and the cold zone was oddly too scorchy. On a gas stove, things seem much more controllable and things don’t get leathery or stick.

I am contemplating starting a tag here called “Grilling Gals” because now we have a gas grill (for free) and a Weber charcoal grill (given to my fiancé for his 28th birthday a few years ago). So basically, it’s pretty easy fodder for content and I want to encourage you all to try it if you have access to some outdoor space and a grill.

Anyway, grilling always seems like this male-dominated domain of sorts, which is silly, because grilling is just appealing from so many angles - you’re outside, for one!

More to come on this front.

- Nellie

[Recipe] Mixed Greens with Roasted Asparagus and Apple
Makes 8 servings. Barely adapted from a June 2000 edition of Bon Appetit magazine.

When I was home this weekend, my mom whipped out her extremely large recipe binder (one of three binders, mind you) and started prepping the fixings for this salad, which is very good and has lots of sweet and salty components to it. 

I thought I’d share it with all of you - it’s a great early summer recipe and can easily be multiplied to feed a crowd.

Yes, roasted asparagus looks pretty gross, but it is really delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 24 thin asparagus stalks, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 5-ounce packages mixed baby greens (my mother’s religion is heavily based in using butter lettuce from Costco, or from her garden when available)
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored, diced. We used Fuji because that’s what we had.
  • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, cut into thin ribbons with vegetable peeler

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange asparagus in single layer on large baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast 30 minutes, turning once. Let cool 5 minutes.Try not to burn your mouth when you basically eat all of them at once, leaving very little for your family’s salad portion.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, vinegar, honey and garlic in small bowl to blend. Place greens in large bowl. Add vinaigrette to greens and toss to coat. Mound salad on each of 8 plates. Top with diced apple and cheese, dividing equally. Arrange asparagus on top.

Walk outside and take a picture of your plate out in the grass, because it’s SO GREEN IN ILLINOIS!

- Nellie

[Recipe] Spicy Coconut Mussels with Grilled Sourdough

New mussels recipes are always a risky venture because there’s nothing sadder than killing 300 little animals for a mediocre dish. Thankfully, this one turned out absolutely delicious and will forever be in my repertoire. I had the unforgettable coconut-curry mussels with grilled sourdough cubes at Five Leaves in Greenpoint sometime, oh, four years ago and knew I needed to one day make an at-home version.

Spicy Coconut Mussels with Grilled Sourdough, adapted from the New York Times. This versions serves 4 people who love mussels (including the other half of Faux Pasta, who is at home with me right now!)

Ingredients

4 tbsp coconut or neutral oil

In a separate bowl, combine:
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks lemon grass, trimmed (outer layers removed) and finely chopped - use the back of your knife to crush the stalks, then slice them lengthwise.
1 small hot chile (like Thai bird, Serrano, Scotch bonnet or jalapeño), seeded, ribs removed, and finely chopped
1-2 tbsp finely minced, cleaned cilantro stems

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk - light works fine, but heavy is richer
6 pounds fresh mussels, rinsed well
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
1-2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1 cup whole cilantro leaves (pull the leaves off when dry, then rinse them in a strainer. Rinsing before makes them hard to pull apart.)

1 sourdough boule, cut into thick slices
Olive oil for brushing

1. Inspect your mussels, tossing out any that are already open or broken. Pull off the fuzzy “beard” that may remain on the side, and soak them in a large bowl for 10-15 minutes.

2. You may have to use two pots to do this, unless you have a tremendously large stock pot. Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot (or two, dividing the total oil above) until hot. Add the shallot, garlic, lemon grass and chile. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes.

3. Add the coconut milk and mussels. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pot. 

4. Stir the lemon zest and juice, fish sauce and cilantro into the pot. Taste and add more fish sauce and/or lemon juice if needed (fish sauce provides the salt and a rich, brothy taste.) Pick through your mussels and find any that haven’t opened yet, and drop them back into the pot - they might just be late bloomers. If they haven’t opened in a couple of minutes, discard them. Deadbeats.

5. As the mussels cook, heat the broiler or grill. Brush the sourdough with olive oil on both sides and grill or broil until crusty.

6. Pour the broth into 4 bowls, and top with mussels. Bring the remainder in a pot to a table so everyone can re-up their bowls over the course of the dinner.

- Paulina

[Recipe] Green Chile Chicken Tamales

I plunged headfirst into a tamale-making project the other day, when a perfect storm of:

1. Unemployment
2. Saw my mom scope out the tamales at Costco last week

brewed to a head.  However, without the steady ship’s captain of someone’s kindly abuelita showing me how to gently massage the secret ingredients of love (amor) and compassion (Crisco) into the masa harina, I turned this project into My Struggle, which I shall share with you. I’m your abuelita now, and you’re my niece now.

I used this recipe for Green Chile Chicken Tamales from Epicurious, except for in the above close-up which represents when I ran out of filling and slapped in some canned Goya black beans and cheese. 

HOT TIPS for HOT TAMALES! 

1. Those little tied up packets do look cute and provide closure for everyone involved, but it looks like most places do an open-ended packet that would have slowed the onslaught of carpal tunnel syndrome.

2. Steam these puppies for 2 hours, not 45 minutes. Check the Epicurious comments if you don’t believe me. 

3. Chilllllll out, bro! No, really: let your tamales cool down after this steam sesh otherwise they’ll be super mushy and your audience will smatter the conversation with weak compliments about how they “like it better mushy anyways.”  I don’t like to cool down either, ESPECIALLY when I exercise, and that’s why I have a stress fracture and a full calf orthopedic boot just in time for summer. Don’t repeat my mistakes. 

- Paulina

My friend Kate also made a great kale and apple salad for a dinner party along with coconut amino kelp noodles with shrimp. Super tasty (and healthy)- I’ll get the recipe from her and share!
Nellie