Sides

Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fig and Olive Oil Challah

Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

On Rosh Hashanah, I did something really un-Jewish and un-Kosher by making shrimp for dinner. But I kind of half made up for it by making fig, olive oil, and sea salt challah from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. And that makes things kind of ok, right? (Let’s not even talk about the fact that there was no fasting or breaking of fast on Yom Kippur as I had band practice and work, both of which require much sustenance. Don’t tell my Bubbe.)

This challah has been on my “to make” list for so long. I was waiting for figs to be in season (only to realize after I went to the store and bought fresh figs that the recipe calls for dried figs… oops… way to follow your own rules, Annie) AND I’d never made challah before. TERRIBLE JEW, I know. But you know, bread is mildly scary to me, and braided bread that’s supposed to look all shiny and pretty? That much scarier. But a holiday is a good enough reason to man up and do anything, so I went for it. And man oh man, it was good. This recipe is pretty much straight from Smitten Kitchen.

Fig and Olive Oil Challah

Ingredients

Bread

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil, plus some for the bowl
2 eggs
2 tsp flaky sea salt (such as Maldon, which you really should have around because you should be putting it on everything because it is awesome)
4 cups all-purpose flour

Fig Filling

1 cup dried figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/8 tsp orange zest (I eyeballed this, because you know, who has an 1/8 tsp measure)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (you’ll only need a few grinds)

Egg Wash

1 egg
flaky sea salt

Instructions

Bread

In a small bowl, combine the yeast and 1 tsp of honey with 2/3 cup of warm water. Stir it up, and let it sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy. In the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment (or you know, with a wooden spoon and a bowl if that’s your jam), combine the yeast mixture with the rest of the honey, the olive oil, and the eggs. Then add the flour and salt, and mix it until the dough starts to come together. Once it comes together, switch to the dough hook and let it run on low for 5-8 minutes. Put the dough on the counter for a moment while you coat the bowl in olive oil, put the dough back in the bowl, and cover with saran wrap for an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Fig Filling

While the dough is rising, it’s fig paste time. Put the figs, zest, water, juice, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook this fig mixture until the pieces of fig are soft, having absorbed the water and juice, stirring occasionally (should take about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat, and allow to cool for a while before putting it in a food processor and processing until it resembles a paste, like a relatively smooth jam. Set it aside to cool the rest of the way.

Once your dough has roughly doubled, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Roll the first half out into “an imperfect rectangle,” spread half of the fig filling over the dough, and roll it up into a long log, trapping the filling within. You’ll want to be careful when you roll out your dough that it still has some thickness to it, as I had a few tears in mine which made everything a little tricky for me. Roll out/stretch the log as long as you can without breaking or tearing it, and then divide it in half. Repeat this whole process with the second half of the dough. You should have four fig-filled ropes of dough.

Next comes the weaving, which I’m not even going to try to explain. Instead, you should head to over to Smitten Kitchen to look at the pictures and read her instructions. I never could have woven it without those pictures. Oy. Once woven up into a beautiful mound of deliciousness, transfer the dough to a baking sheet prepped with parchment paper (or silpat, I suppose).

Egg Wash

In a small bowl, beat the egg for the wash, and brush it over the challah. Let it rise for another hour, but start heating your oven to 375 degrees about halfway into the rise. Before putting it in the oven, brush the challah again with the egg wash, and bake it in the middle of your oven for 35-40 minutes. If it starts to get dark (like mine did), you can cover it with foil for the rest of the bake (like I didn’t). Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Tear off pieces with loved ones, and add a dab of butter and jam, if you like. Enjoy.

Corn Salad // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Corn Salad

Corn Salad // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerCorn Salad // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Guys, it’s September, and I have a few summer recipes, like this corn salad, to get to you before the season slips from our fingers. At this point, it feels like summer might never end in Portland – it cooled off a bit last week, and this week hit a high of about 98 degrees (get it? like the band? ok. I’ll stop.). But this weekend, it’s supposed to rain, and the temperature is supposed to drop, and I am feeling strangely ready for that to happen.

I usually mourn the end of summer, but lately I have been craving heartier dishes and squash, specifically butternut and acorn. I’ll take peaches and tomatoes, but the hankering for those fall dishes is starting to nag at me.

But while it’s hot and there are still things like corn and nectarines, you should eat things like this corn salad. Inspired by a few different recipes, this is one of those dishes that uses corn as a base, but you can really toss in whatever you have around. Quickly cube and cook up some zucchini and throw it in, or add in some chopped tomatoes (seed them first), or chop up some basil. Here’s what I used.

Corn Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 ears corn, lightly cooked (boiled), and kernels cut from the cob
2 nectarines, cubed
1 bell pepper, cubed
1 jalapeño, seeded, chopped
1-2 limes, juiced (start with one, see how you like it)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a bowl, stir it up, add more of anything you like, and eat with friends as the hot day starts to cool off, preferably accompanied by grilled chicken or fish or something like that, as well as some cold beers.

Fried Baby Artichokes

Fried Baby Artichokes

Fried Baby ArtichokesFried Baby Artichokes

We have been hitting up our local farmers market like crazy. If you live in Portland and you don’t go to the PSU Farmers Market on Saturdays, you are seriously missing out. Especially when the weather is beautiful and there is SO MUCH PRODUCE everywhere to be found. It’s really incredible.

Lately, Jonah and I have bought chanterelles, fennel, fiddlehead ferns, rhubarb (so much rhubarb), strawberries, a chicken, radishes, leeks, lamb steaks, sunchokes, spring onions, cheese… the list goes on. There is so much delicious local food to be found, it’s like being in heaven. And these mounds of food and people walking around in sundresses and shorts with bouquets of flowers are all so beautiful.

Anyway, one of my favorite things we’ve found at the market is baby artichokes. Have you ever had fried baby artichokes at a restaurant? It’s a common Italian dish. The leaves get crispy and a little burnt and it’s really yummy. So when we brought these home, we knew we wanted to make that dish. We found a simple recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, and Jonah took over the making of these little guys. We bought 8 of them to cook, but the recipe is obviously variable depending on how many you want to make.

Fried Baby Artichokes

Ingredients

8-12 baby artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus some for serving
4 cloves garlic (or more, if you want), lightly crushed
lemon for serving

Instructions

Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves, cutting off the top third of the , and peeling the tough dark green layer from the stems with a paring knife. I know, it seems like you’re losing a lot of artichoke here, but you’re really just getting rid of all the really tough parts that would make this whole thing harder and far less pleasant to eat.

Pour the oil and 1/2 cup water into a medium sized, deep, heavy pot and add the artichokes and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Turn the heat on to medium-high, and let them cook, turning them over occasionally (you don’t want them to get burned on one side). Cook them until the water has evaporated and the oil starts to spit, which, trust me, it will. This will take about 8-10 minutes.

When the water has cooked off, add the garlic to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot with a spatter screen or an sieve turned upside down (Nice tip Martha! Sadly our sieve wasn’t big enough for our pot… I’m thinking it’s time to invest in a spatter screen). Continue cooking the artichokes and turning them occasionally, until they’re tender and golden brown all over (should be another ~10 minutes). Now take some tongs and put them upside down (or cut-side down, however you want to think about it) in the pan, pressing them down and wiggling them around to kind of loosen up and separate the leaves. Leave them upside down and let them cook like that for another 5 minutes, until the leaves/edges are dark and crispy. Using your tongs, transfer artichokes and garlic from the pan to a plate covered in paper towels. Put the artichokes cut sides down at first, if you can, so they can drain a little bit.

Sprinkle them with salt, squeeze some lemon over top, and serve!

Kale, squash, and a runny yolk

Kale, Squash, and a Runny Yolk

Kale, squash, and a runny yolk

Sometimes you just need an easy dinner. You need to comb through your fridge, scrounge what ingredients you can, and stand there, for a minute, gazing at your collection, trying to figure out what you can make with all of this. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even graceful, but tasting good and mildly cohesive would be nice. You’ve got a bunch of kale that you really should use soon, a small, friendly looking butternut squash, and a jalapeño. And eggs. Luckily, the roommates always keep lots of eggs around. And do you know what brings a dish together with ease? A runny yolk.

So you slice up the butternut squash, drizzle with olive oil and salt, mix in some chopped garlic, and lay it out on a baking sheet, laying a couple rosemary springs atop it all, sliding it into the oven to roast. You sautée up the kale with more oil, salt, and garlic, and even some jalapeño. And then, to finish it all off, you soft boil a couple of eggs (one for you and one for the tall fellow you eat dinner with). Simple as that, you have dinner.

Kale, Squash, and a Soft Boiled Egg

Ingredients

A small butternut squash, olive oil, and salt (and anything you’d like to roast with it)
1 bunch of kale, garlic, olive oil, and salt
Eggs

Instructions

Peel and cube or slice the butternut squash into whatever shapes you like to eat. Slide into the oven at about 375 and roast until easily pierced with a fork. Sautée kale with a tsp of olive oil, chopped garlic, and a sprinkling of salt. If you want the kale to steam and wilt a little more, you can add some water to the pan (no more than 1/4 cup) and cover with a lid. After letting the kale steam for a bit, remove the lid and let the water cook off.

To soft boil the eggs, bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the eggs in, allow to cook for 6 minutes (this can be adjusted depending on how you like your eggs). After 6 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, run under cold water, and peel.

Put your egg on top of your kale and squash to let the yolk run over the veggies a bit. It adds a nice rich creaminess. Enjoy.

Rice Cakes

Rice Cakes (using rice gone wrong)

Rice Cakes
Rice Cakes

Rice Cakes

Sometimes you’re in the kitchen and you have a lot going on and you miss something going wrong. Maybe you accidentally over-salt your pasta or you burn your veggies. There’s a whole (albeit little) chapter in Tamar Adler’s book all about how to save your mistakes. For example, turn those burned veggies into a smoky veggie salad. Or take that over-salted pasta, mix it with some herbs and butter, and make a frittata. The possibilities are endless.

A while ago, Jonah and I made these rice bowls. We doubled the rice recipe, and I must’ve done some math wrong and put in way too much liquid. So, while the rice tasted good, it was definitely a little mushy. After sitting in the fridge sadly for a week, I was thinking of using it to make rice cakes. Jonah reminded me about the “Further Fixes” chapter in An Everlasting Meal, so to the book I went. It kind of told me what I was already thinking of doing, so on I went.

Rice Cakes

Ingredients

roughly 3 cups of overcooked rice
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 leek (if I’d had a whole one, I’d have used it), thinly sliced
salt, pepper
garlic powder
parmesan cheese
olive oil for cooking

Instructions

I heated up the rice in the microwave, drizzling it with water to kind of re-steam it. If your rice won’t stick together (perhaps it’s not quite as mushy as mine was), feel free to stir an egg into the mix. Stir together the rice, shallot, and leek, and add any seasoning you like. I added a few shakes of garlic powder, probably 1/2-1 tsp salt, and probably 1/4 cup grated parmesan. But none of this has to be exact. Put a bunch of stuff you like in there. I bet chopped sage would’ve been good, as would onion and garlic.

Heat some olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat, form the rice mixture into patties, and cook on each side until golden brown, roughly 3-5 minutes. Add more oil as you need it. You want them to have a nice crispiness on the outside to add some texture.

We ate them alongside some delicious panko-crusted tilapia and roasted broccoli. They would make a great appetizer for a fancier dinner. Also, they would make a delicious breakfast had I put a fried egg on top. Or melted a slice of cheddar. With some breakfast sausage on the side. See, there are so many uses for botched food! Now go mess up some rice.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pâté

Chicken Liver Pâté
Chicken Liver Pâté

Recently I have discovered my love of liver in pâté form. When I was younger and my parents would eat liver, I would screw up my face and impolitely decline a taste. Now I wonder why I was so against the stuff. It’s rich and creamy and makes a delicious spread for a snack or appetizer.

After seeing a recipe in An Everlasting Meal for chicken liver pâté, I had been wanting to try it. But, like anything I’ve never cooked before, I was a little nervous about it. I didn’t know if it could go wrong, and if it could, how badly. I had been checking the meat counter at my grocery store for a few weeks and hadn’t seen any chicken livers until one day, there they were, slimy and maroon, in all their glory. So I grabbed a pound of them. How much did a pound of chicken livers cost me? $2.73. This stuff is cheap AND delicious? I’m so in.

I got home, pulled out my book, and started cooking.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Ingredients

1 lb chicken livers
salt and pepper
roughly 12 Tbl butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 Tbl white wine (sherry, bourbon, scotch, cognac, or brandy will also do)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 leek, finely sliced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl water
a pinch of cloves
a pinch of cinnamon
1/8 bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped (I didn’t do quite a quarter of a cup)

Instructions

Trim any connective membrane type stuff from the livers and season them with some salt and pepper. Melt 1 Tbl of butter in a nonstick pan. When it’s starting to sizzle, add a batch of livers (depending on how big your pan is, you’ll need to cook the livers in 2-3 batches). Don’t crowd them in the pan; leave some space around each liver. Let each liver brown on one side, then flip and brown on the other side. Put the livers on a plate or in a shallow bowl – they will release some juices. Add 1 Tbl of wine to the pan and scrape the brown bits from the pan. Pour the wine over the cooked livers. Add more butter to the pan, and cook the rest of the livers as you did above, skipping the wine step.

After you’ve cooked all the livers, add the shallot, leek, and garlic to the pan with the remaining 1 Tbl of wine and 2 Tbl of water. This will help the veggies become tender. Cook the veggies over medium heat until they’re tender.

When the veggies are done, add them, the livers and their juice, the cinnamon, clove, thyme, and bay leave to the blender. Don’t blend yet! Cube one stick of butter and add the cubes to the blender too. Blend it up and taste. Season as you see fit (I found myself adding more salt…). When it’s seasoned to your liking, put the pâté in a bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. It may seem liquidy, but it will solidify as it cools. If you’ve got leftovers (like we did), melt some butter and spread it over the top of the pate, and allow to cool. You can store it like this (according to Adler) for up to 2 weeks.

We liked our pate with crostini and herbed goat cheese, or nut thins and various cheeses from our grocery store’s scrap bin as well as one from the PSU Farmers Market.

beet tart

Beet Tart

beet tart

OK people – I know we read a lot of food books and talk about them all the time, but if there is ONE book you are going to read from our suggestions, let it be An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.  It is amazing book that changed my life, and is sure to make you think and act differently around food.  If you have not read it yet, go read our blog post on her book, and then continue below.

This beet tart is a perfect example of Tamar’s philosophy and grace: if you attacked this beet tart recipe from start to finish in one cooking session alone – it would take most of your day; first you would have to roast the beets (which takes a long time anyway), then make tart dough and chill it for an hour, then bake the tart dough, then put together the filling, bake some more, add the sliced beets, and bake once again.  Sounds daunting! I would never have done this recipe if it wasn’t spread out over many days and incorporated in the general meal preparations for the week.  However, the manner in which it was made made it feel like I was just throwing leftovers together in a very creative way, rather than a labor intensive ordeal.

Here’s what happened: A few days before, Annie and I roasted a whole bunch of veggies for dinner (or was it lunch?).  We filled the whole oven and roasted lots of different veggies with olive oil and salt.  I fit the beets in a small pan with a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom, covered them with foil, and let them roast for a long time (probably too long, I may have forgotten about them).  We ate the other roasted veggies as part of our dinner that night, but we had no intention of eating the beets that day, so we didn’t have to wait around for them to roast.  We let them cool and then peeled them and put them in the fridge before bed.  Now we had roasted beets peeled beets in the fridge.  We had no plan but we had ideas: beet salad, beet pasta, or beet anything; they were simply a nice starting point.

A few days before roasting the veggies, we had made a different veggie tart using the Olive Oil Tart dough recipe that can be found in Tamar’s book, so we had some leftover in the fridge.  A few days later, I looked in the fridge and saw that a perfect storm had brewed for a beet tart.  There, sitting in the fridge waiting to be used, were roasted peeled beets, tart dough, and some leftover ricotta cheese.

If you want to make this recipe from start to finish, more power to you.  However, I would suggest at least making the tart dough a day ahead, and then looking through your fridge to find any vegetables that would work, roast them, and put them on top of the tart in place of beets.

Beet Tart

Note: You’ll want to roast your beets or other vegetables before you make the tart dough.

Ingredients

Olive Oil Tart Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ice water
1 teaspoon salt

Beet Tart Filling

1 1/2 cups ricotta (fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tb. cream (I think I just used leftover creme fraiche)
1/2 t. salt
2 egg yolks
a pinch of fresh thym or rosemary

Instructions

Olive Oil Tart Dough

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. If its too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Divide the dough in half and roll into balls, then put them in the fridge to chill.

Take out one dough ball (you get to save the rest for another day!) and roll it out on a floured counter until its about 1/4 inch thick. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and dust with a bit of flour. Lay the crust in the pan and trim the edges. Prick the bottom a few times (this dissuades bubbles from appearing in your tart dough). Cover the crust in aluminum foil and put some dried beans or pie weights in to fill the tart and hold down the dough. Bake for 20 minutes.

Beet Tart Filling

Whisk together filling ingredients. Pour into the pre-baked tart dough (remember to take out the dried beans and aluminum foil!) and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Now lay your beet slices (I cut mine into half-moons) on top of the ricotta filling in a single layer and bake for another 10 minutes.  Let it cool and eat at room temperature.

It is very filling and great for lunch the next day and many days after!

Kumquat Arugula Salad + A new cookbook

Everything all tossed together, ready to eat.

Alright, it’s been a while. Let’s rewind a little bit to the holidays. The holidays were great. Why? I got a white Christmas, lots of good food, time with Jonah’s family, time with my family, and 3 new cookbooks. My sister Emily gave me this beautiful book called “Ripe” by Cheryl Sternman Rule (not to be confused by a cookbook by the same title by the author of “Tender”). Emblazoned with a beautiful peach on the cover, Ripe is perfect for the artistic/visual cook because it is arranged by color. That’s right, color. The first section is reds (tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, pomegranate, cranberries, etc.), followed by orange (carrots, butternut squash, clementines, kumquats…), yellow, green, purple and blue, and white. In each color are pages of produce, and for each produce item, one recipe. Yep, only one. I was excited to get this for many reasons: it’s pretty, the recipes look delicious, and because there’s only one recipe per main ingredient, it is forcing me to branch out and try things I haven’t tried before. For example, kumquats.

When I was growing up, my grandfather’s favorite restaurant in Tucson called Caruso’s, was a frequent stop when we went to visit. And because my sisters and cousin and I were all young, we had trouble sitting at a dinner table for an hour or 2, as my family often does. So we would always run around the restaurant. In front of the restaurant and out in the courtyard, there were many kumquat trees; I don’t think I realized that kumquats weren’t just little oranges, but their own entity entirely. We would stand under the trees, reaching up and plucking these little orange gems from the branches, and squealing when we bit into them because they were so sour (we didn’t realize at that age that the fruit just probably wasn’t ripe yet). This memory of kumquats has always been sweet for me, but because especially so when I lost my grandfather a couple years ago. Remembering him reach up into the branches to pick kumquats for his granddaughters and the wonderful meals we had with him at that restaurant will always make me smile. This is possibly my favorite thing about food: the memories that are associated with it, the adventures it takes us on, whether new or past.

Anyway, coming back from memory lane: Jonah and I owed my mom dinner. See, Jonah is making an album, and raised the funds with Kickstarter. My mom chose the option to have us make her dinner in exchange for her donation, and so we decided to use my new cookbook (and an old favorite, Plenty). We picked the kumquat arugula salad with currant-walnut vinaigrette. And it was wonderful. Light and rich at the same time thanks to the walnut oil. The little pieces of kumquat were like little bursts of brightness in this salad.

Kumquat Arugula Salad

Ingredients

1/4 cup dried currants
15 kumquats, divided
3 cups packed baby arugula
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/3 cup walnut oil
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar (or more. I added quite a bit more.)
salt and pepper

Instructions

Put the currants in a small bowl and cover them with about half a cup of hot water. This will rehydrate them, or “plump” them. Let them sit in the water for about 5 minutes, then drain. Set aside.

Take 10 of the kumquats and slice them thinly, removing any seeds. You will want a nice sharp knife for this, as these little rinds can be tricky. Put the kumquat slices in a salad bowl atop the arugula, and sprinkle over the walnuts and half the currants.

Chop the rest of the kumquats, getting rid of any seeds, and put them in a mini food processor with the remaining currants. If you don’t have a mini food processor, a blender or a regular food processor should work… Pulse to mince. Add the walnut oil, vinegar, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Puree until you have an emulsified dressing, or about a minute. There will still be little chunks of fruit, and that’s totally ok. Adjust seasoning to taste (as I said above, I added quite a bit of red wine vinegar as I just really thought it needed more acid. Pour about half of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently. You can put the rest of the vinaigrette on the table with the salad.

Latkes (and Belated Happy Hannukah)

These latkes get 2 thumbs up.

Yes, I know. By the time this post gets published, Hannukah and the time for latkes will be over. But if there is anything I’ve learned from the past week, it is that latkes should not be a “once a year” dish. They make a great little side dish, or a base for eggs benedict, or even just a fried egg on a Saturday morning. This is especially true once you’ve found a recipe you really like. And I have. After doing some hunting around and even trying another recipe I found, I made the latkes from “Jerusalem,” a cookbook I have previously written about, by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Now this recipe is what made me really want this cookbook. I thought it was interesting that there weren’t onions in it, and I also had never tried latkes with parsnips, although I know it’s not an uncommon thing. And here’s what I liked about these: Not too salty (an issue with the first recipe I tried this season), I liked having the chive flavor in there (although I halved the chives, because one of the people I was cooking for doesn’t like them), and the parsnip and very dried out potato made it extra crispy. Also, the fact that you fry them in a combination of butter and oil didn’t hurt.

Potato & Parsnip Latkes

Ingredients

5 1/2 cups peeled and grated waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
2 3/4 cups peeled and grated parsnips
2/3 cup finely chopped chives
4 egg whites
2 Tbl corn starch
Butter and oil (preferably canola or sunflower) for frying
salt and pepper
sour cream and applesauce to serve

Instructions

For all of the grating, I recommend the grater attachment for a food processor, but if you haven’t got one, a box grater will work just fine. Then maybe you’ll have done enough physical activity to justify the fried potato goodness you’re about to eat.

Squeeze the grated potato out in a clean dishtowel (make a little satchel, twist the ends, and squeeze!) into the sink. Some recipes reserve the juice, let it separate, and then add the starch back in. This one doesn’t call for it, but if you want to, go for it. After you’ve squeezed out the potato, spread it out on a clean kitchen towel to dry as completely as you have time for. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potato, parsnip, chives, egg whites, corn starch, 1 tsp salt, and as much pepper as you’d like.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, and in the oven place a rimmed baking sheet with a cooling rack on it. Also prepare a plate or baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towel.

In a (preferably non-stick) pan, heat enough butter and oil so it’s ~1/4-1/2 inch deep over medium-high heat. To see if your oil is hot enough, drop in a little chunk of your potato mix. It should sizzle and bubble a bit without spitting violently. If it isn’t hot enough, take out the potatoes and keep heating and try again. When it is hot enough use a spoon to scoop about 2 Tbl portions of the potato mixture, squeeze out some of the juices, and shape into patties and carefully drop into the oil. Or, you can use my tried and true method: squeeze out the juices, drop into the oil, and then quickly use your spoon to spread and press the mixture into a patty. Fry for about 3 minutes a side, or until they are as dark/cooked as you like them, then flip and cook the other side. Remove from pan to the paper towels, then keep warm in the oven. Serve with sour cream, applesauce, and holiday cheer 😉 Enjoy!

Beer Bread

This recipe is a bit famous in my family. And I wanted to be sure to share it with you while there is still Pumpkin Beer on the shelves because that’s my favorite kind of beer to use. We got this bread recipe from a friend of my sister’s from college, Graham. As soon as Emily introduced me to it, I was hooked. However, it’s not the healthiest (as you will see, you dump a melted stick of butter over the whole thing), so I try not to make it all too often. This specific one I made to take to the first rehearsal of a play I was just cast in. Baked goods always make a good first impression.

Beer Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

3 cups of flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 can/bottle of beer (12 oz) – Having made this a few times, here is my take on what beer to use: Nothing too dark or hoppy, it gives the bread kind of a funny aftertaste. Seasonal beers are nice (think pumpkin ale or christmas beers), as are more fruity beers (back when the only beer I liked was apricot hefeweizen, that worked well), and anything on the lighter side. But I would steer clear of IPAs and reds.
1 stick of butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add beer, stir to combine. Grease a bread pan, and dump the dough into it. Warning: the dough will be sticky. Put the bread pan on a rimmed baking sheet – this is important as you won’t want the butter to seep over and just end up in the bottom of your oven. In a small bowl, melt the stick of butter in the microwave. Pour the melted butter over the dough in the bread pan. Bake for 1 hour, turning halfway through.

Remove the bread from the oven, run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn out onto a cooling rack to cool. This bread is pretty crumbly, so good luck getting it to stay in one piece when you slice it. But it’s so worth it. Enjoy!

Fried Fish and Corn Salad | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fried Fish and Summer Corn Salad

Corn salad

Fish and corn
fish and corn

Jonah here.  I haven’t posted recently, but I was proud of this dinner I made a few weeks back, so I had to get on this blog and tell you all about it!

Recently, it was a nice warm summer day and I wanted to make something summery.  So I modified two recipes from Food52.com, a great site Annie introduced me to: Fried spiced fish and summer corn salad. You can find the recipes that this meal is based on here and here.

Fried Fish and Summer Corn Salad

Ingredients

Panko Fried Fish

4 fillets of fish (I used cod)
2 Tbl Chilli powder
1 Tbl Turmeric
1 tsp Black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Lime juice
Salt to taste
Panko bread crumbs to coat
Oil for shallow frying

Summer Corn Salad

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 jalepeño pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 handfuls fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 ears fresh corn on the cob, kernals removed
1 handful fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt, to taste

Instructions

Panko Fried Fish

Clean, cut and wash the fish. Prepare a thick paste with all remaining ingredients (besides the panko and oil) and apply it to the fish. Allow it to marinate while you prepare the corn salad, instructions below. When you’re ready to cook the fish, coat it with Panko, shallow fry in oil and remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

Summer Corn Salad

Heat olive oil in saute pan to hot, but not smoking. Add in shallots and peppers and a pinch of sea salt. Saute 2-3 mins over medium heat, until shallots start to get translucent. Add green beans and saute another 5-8 minutes, until everything is tender, but still has a crunch. Add corn kernels and saute 2-3 minutes. Take pan off of heat, tear basil into large pieces and stir to combine. Heat will wilt basil, but not over cook.

In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard and 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, mixing. Pour over corn and pepper mixture. Toss to coat all the veggies.

Put everything together in on a plate, and enjoy! Happy summer!

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Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

In the summer, when the heirloom tomatoes are big and soft and perfect, there is perhaps nothing better to do with them than to make a caprese salad. For the past two summers, my little sister has worked at a tomato stand at the farmer’s markets in the greater Seattle area. And sometimes, if I’m lucky, when she comes to visit she brings me the most beautifully colored, gigantic, perfectly ripe tomatoes.

The other day after work, I went to the grocery store to grab some beer (it had been a long day – and I’m currently in love with Deschutes Brewery Chainbreaker White IPA… if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it). At the store, I saw this giant pile of tomatoes and almost bought some until I remembered I had my own even better ones at home. So I bought the freshest mozzarella I could (my local grocery store doesn’t carry mozzarella de bufala, but if yours does, that’s what you want), brought it home, sliced up the tomatoes and cheese, drizzled a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and voila: the most wonderful summer salad, great for an appetizer or snack. (If you feel like buying basil OR you’re one of the lucky ones who has it growing in their garden, throw a leaf on top).