summer grain bowl

 

 

 


 

summer grain bowl

I often wonder why comfort food is reserved only for winter. This dish combines all of the comforts of summer — hearty grains, flavorful vegetables, and fresh herbs — in one unassuming, yet delicious bowl. The recipe makes enough for 2 and can be enjoyed as a healthful and energizing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Any leftover vegetables are also delicious the next day. 

 

serves 2

for the walnut pesto:

¼ cup whole walnuts, toasted in a dry pan

2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

½ small clove garlic

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons roasted walnut oil (or olive oil)

juice of ¼ lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil 

 

for the bowls:

6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed

1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise into 8 spears

8 cherry tomatoes

2 eggs

1 ½ cups cooked quinoa

fresh mint for garnish

flaky sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

 

 

In a mortar and pestle, grind together the walnuts, mint, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt until coarsely ground and fragrant. Add the walnut oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Set aside. 

Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, remove the beans from the ice water and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Once hot, add the zucchini spears in one layer and cook, undisturbed, until browned on one side, about 2 – 3 minutes. Flip and cook the spears for another 2 – 3 minutes, until tender. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour half of the walnut pesto over the warm zucchini and toss to coat. Set aside. 

Add the blanched green beans to the hot skillet, adding more olive oil if necessary, and sauté until just starting char in spots, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the skillet, transfer to a bowl, and pour the remaining walnut pesto over and toss to combine. Set aside. 

Add the tomatoes to the hot skillet and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until just blistered and warmed through, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove from the skillet and set aside. Remove the skillet from the heat. 

To poach the eggs, fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and heat until bubbles start to form at the bottom of the pan, but don’t break the surface. Carefully crack 1 egg into the water and swirl the water gently with a spoon to ensure the egg does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Crack the second egg into the water, gently swirling again. Cook the eggs in the warm water, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the water just below a simmer, for about 4 – 5 minutes, or until the yolks are cooked to your liking. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs, tapping them on a paper towel to remove any excess water before setting them aside. 

To assemble the bowls, divide the quinoa between 2 serving dishes. Arrange the zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes alongside. Top each with a poached egg. Garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh mint and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to finish.

  


croissants and pain au chocolat

I hesitated sharing this post with you, as I realize how labor-intensive and unrealistic making croissants at home can be, especially considering the multitude of bakeries that offer high-quality, delicious pastries without any of the work. I also can’t take complete credit for this recipe, as I only slightly adapted it from The Faux Martha, who adapted it from Tartine. And, while this space was once more of a reflection of others’ recipes that I had tried and loved, it has since evolved into an almost exclusive journal of my own recipes  — hence my hesitation to share something I couldn’t truly take credit for. But, after making these croissants, tasting them, and feeling the profound sense of accomplishment in having created them, I couldn’t help but share the process with you.

So, if you ever find yourself at home over a weekend, without many plans, I hope you’ll think to visit this space and try your hand at making croissants. I promise you that biting into a buttery, flaky, warm croissant that YOU have created in your own kitchen, is reward enough for your efforts.


croissants and pain au chocolat

These pastries are the epitome of decadence and comfort. Buttery, flaky, and simply all around delicious. While they are labor-intensive and take almost a full weekend to make, the effort is completely worth it. This is not a process to rush — enjoy the slowness and exactness of it and you will be rewarded.

Slightly adapted from The Faux Martha’s recipe, which she adapted from Tartine.

 

ingredients

preferment

3/4 cup nonfat or lowfat milk

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

dough

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 3/4 cup whole milk

5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

roll-in butter

2 3/4 cup (5 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but pliable

egg wash

4 large egg yolks

1/4 cup heavy cream

pinch of sea salt

 

instructions

Preferment: In a small sauce pan, heat milk until just warm [approximately 80-90 degrees]. Pour into medium bowl and add yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Dough: [Throughout these steps, try to work the dough as little as possible. An overworked dough will result in a tough croissant]. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the preferment mixture and 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant yeast to the bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides if necessary. Increase speed to medium; while the mixer is running, gradually add half the milk and beat for 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add remaining milk, 5 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix until a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, set the mixer to low speed and add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is smooth and elastic [not sticky or dry]. [You may not need to use all of the flour — I only used 1/4 cup additional]. If you find that your dough becomes too dry, you can add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer dough to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a cool place for 1 1/2 hours [dough should double in size].

After 1 1/2 hours, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Press into a rectangle, about 2 inches thick. Wrap lightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Allow to rest for an additional 4 hours.

Roll-in butter: About 3 hours into the dough’s resting period, prepare the butter. Add butter to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium until malleable, about 3 minutes. Wrap butter in plastic wrap and shape into a square, about 1-inch thick. Transfer butter to fridge to chill, but not completely harden.

Laminating process: Remove dough and butter from fridge. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. With the longest side of the rectangle closest to you, add the butter square to the left side of the rectangle. Spread butter over 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving the right-most 1/3 of the dough uncovered. Fold dough in thirds, like you would a letter: first folding the right, non-buttered portion over the middle, then the left, buttered portion over. Press the seams together to seal the butter in. This is called a plaque.

Turn the plaque so that the long edge is closest to you again. Roll out into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. Fold dough in thirds again, and wrap lightly in plastic wrap. Return dough to fridge and allow to rest for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove dough from fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough into a 28-inch x 12-inch rectangle. Fold dough in thirds. The dough should measure 9-inches x 12-inches, and be about 2-inches thick, once folded. Wrap again in plastic wrap, but this time place in freezer to chill for 1 hour.

Assembly: Remove dough from freezer and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll our into a 32-inch x 12-inch rectangle, about 3/8-inch thick. [This is not the easiest step — just keep at it!] Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut long triangles, 4-inches wide at the base and the length of the short side of the rectangle, for croissants. For pain au chocolats, cut 6-inch x 4-inch rectangles.

Line a baking sheet with a Silpat, Silpain, or parchment paper. To shape the croissants, begin with the base of the triangle closest to you and tightly roll away from you, towards the point. Make sure the point sits under the croissant. [I found that it was easiest to stretch my triangles slightly before rolling, so that the croissants weren’t too squat]. To form pain au chocolats, add a chocolate baton or dark chocolate chips in a row along a short side of the rectangle. Beginning with the end with the chocolate, roll tightly away from you into a cylinder, making sure the seam is under the pastry. [Same with the croissants, I felt it was easier to slightly stretch the rectangles before stuffing and rolling. Make sure NOT to over stuff with chocolate, as it will ooze out during baking!]

Place pastries on the lined baking sheet, at least 2-inches apart on all sides. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free room for 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size. [At this point, you can retire the pastries to the fridge, and bake them off the next morning, or freeze them and bake them another time. Make sure to defrost frozen pastries on the counter, or in the fridge overnight, before baking].

Egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, heavy cream, and salt until pale yellow.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Using a pastry brush, carefully paint the pastries with the egg wash, being sure to cover all sides. Once pastries are covered, make sure to wipe any drippings off the baking sheet. Allow the egg wash to dry slightly before baking.

Place pastries in oven and immediately turn heat down to 400 degrees F. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven, and transfer pastries to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Make sure to eat warm!

Storage: Once cooled, keep pastries in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one day. Or, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat before serving in a 375 degree F oven for 7-8 minutes.

makes about 14 – 17 croissants

winter citrus smoothie

I’ve been feeling uninspired lately. The lack of color, bitterly cold days, and fleeting sunlight seem to suggest nothing more than big, comforting pans of lasagna and hearty bowls of carbonara. While I enjoy these meals, the monotony of eating them everyday leaves me craving something bright to refresh my palette and my mind.

I spent most of last week sick, and longed to lift the fog that had settled in my head. I didn’t feel well enough to leave my apartment, nor did I have much produce on hand other than oranges. A can of coconut milk in the front of the pantry caught my eye though, and I thought the combination, while unfamiliar, seemed intriguing. I threw the two together in a blender, along with a touch of freshly ground nutmeg [for a bit of warmth], and chia seeds [for the added nutrients].

The end result was exactly what I had envisioned, and craved — a creamy, comforting base with bright notes of citrus.  An unexpected combination, that together made perfect sense. After writing the recipe, I came across a few other bloggers who had put together strikingly similar combinations, and I realized that I wasn’t so inventive after all [I guess in the heart of winter, there are only so many combinations to be made from the produce at hand]. While acknowledging the redundancy, I’m sharing my recipe with you anyway, as in my mind there can never be too many takes on one thing. I hope it brightens your day the same way it did mine.


winter citrus smoothie

This smoothie combines bright citrus with an unexpected warmth from freshly ground nutmeg. The two together work beautifully, especially amid a creamy, rich base. Comfort in a glass.

ingredients:

1 orange, peeled and cut into segments

1/3 cup whole fat coconut milk

1/4 cup plain yogurt 

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3-4 ice cubes (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender (ice cubes are optional – I like my smoothies to have an icy quality, but if you prefer yours creamier, feel free to omit them), and blend until smooth. Serve in a glass and garnish with chia seeds and nutmeg. (Serves 1).

stone fruit cobbler

we had a name picked out for him before we even saw him. it came to me one day – i’m not sure what sparked it, or where I was, but it came to me and it just made sense. i thought, his name is going to be miles.

we saw him on a warm spring day – it was one of those days when you still appreciate the sun in contrast to the long, cold winter. it’s hard to remember that feeling now, as i sit here wishing for the crisp chill of fall air. we saw him, peering out at us with a look of resignation in his eyes. he had been alive for 15 weeks – what were those weeks filled with? confusion, uncertainty, fear?

it took two days, but we brought him home. actually, henry brought him home. he was scared and we were scared. excited, but scared. we were proud of ourselves for making a decision solely for ourselves – free of judgment or out of doing what was expected of us – but for the first time in our lives, we had something that truly depended on us.

it has been four months now, and it’s been a journey. this dog – he has taught us more than we could have ever imagined. it’s almost as if our feelings are amplified; our love is stronger, our appreciation greater, our priorities realigned. miles challenges us to be better – to be patient, to be genuine, to be mindful, and to be grateful. he makes us stop and reconsider the confusion and chaos that we create for ourselves. he inspires us to be curious, to once again find amazement in things that we’ve grown accustomed to.  he inspires us to love unconditionally. every day, we strive to enjoy life as fully and freely as he.


stone fruit cobbler

this simple and rustic cobbler celebrates the end of summer with delicious, plump stone fruit. the fruit gives it a sweetness and a tartness, while the whole wheat biscuit topping gives it a heartiness that makes it a satisfying breakfast. serve with some heavy cream for an extra special treat, or ice cream for a country-inspired dessert. 

for the whole wheat biscuit topping:

recipe adapted from

bon appétit 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour if you would like a less hearty taste)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup sour cream

in a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. add the butter to the mixture and incorporate using a pastry blender until only little pieces of butter remain, mixed throughout. add sour cream and mix gently. knead the mixture with your hands until ball of dough forms – being careful to not over mix. refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

for the filling:

5 or 6 pieces of stone fruit (I used 2 peaches and 4 plums – apricots would be great in here as well), cut into segments (you can also remove skin, but this is optional)

1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds removed

the juice of 1/4 of a lime

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

pinch of kosher salt

preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl combine fruit, sugar, the seeds from 1 vanilla bean, the juice of a 1/4 of a lime, and salt, mixing gently. add 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to incorporate (depending on how juicy your fruit is, you may want to add slightly more flour, but your mixture should be loose).

pour mixture into a cast iron skillet. remove the dough from the refrigerate and, using your hands, break into small pieces (about the size of golf balls). scatter the pieces over the top of the fruit and bake until golden brown and fruit is bubbling (about 45 minutes).

remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack. serve warm with vanilla ice cream (if desired).