Tag: Smitten Kitchen

Weekend Finds 2:16:14

It’s time for weekend finds! It has been a quite a week – the snow melted, I made a trip to the coast with friends where I baked some delicious food (more testing and then a recipe to come). And then… it was Valentine’s Day. We visited Expatriate after I got off of work, which I had been wanting to try for a long time! And now I’m baking for Carmelle’s birthday – details in find #1!

1. Ice cream cake

Ice Cream Cake on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Ice Cream Cake! Photo from Not Without Salt

I’m making ice cream cake for my roommate’s birthday tonight! Her birthday was on Friday, but today was the first day I’ve had to bake her something. We’re going to the Amos Lee concert tonight with her (her boyfriend got her tickets for Christmas, and I got Jonah tickets for his birthday), so we’ll eat it after listening to an evening of sweet crooning. It’s kind of a mixture of a bunch of recipes, including chocolate wafers from Smitten Kitchen and fudge sauce and assembly tips from Not Without Salt.

2. Interview with Rachel Cole

Rachel Cole Interview from The Kitchn on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Rachel Cole Interview from The Kitchn

I’ve never heard of Rachel Cole before, but after reading this interview with her on The Kitchn, I am loving what she has to say about food and eating. I particularly like what she says about having your compass needle point towards pleasure, fear of food, and the importance of fresh food.

3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Homemade Cocoa Mix from Food 52 on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Homemade Cocoa Mix from Food 52

I love hot cocoa, and I love the convenience of hot cocoa packets, but I don’t love that I don’t always know what the ingredients listed on the packets are. I am really into making this homemade cocoa mix, especially to go with the vanilla marshmallows I got for Christmas!

4. Miso Roasted Vegetables

Miso Roasted Vegetables from Food 52 on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Miso Roasted Vegetables from Food 52

More, I say, more! Remember when I told you about those miso and harissa roasted vegetables? And how amazing they are? This seems like another great recipe to try, and I love the addition of the maple syrup and rice vinegar.

5. DIY Puff Pastry

DIY Puff Pastry from Food 52 on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
DIY Puff Pastry from Food 52

Ok, so making your own puff pastry takes a lot of time, many hours of rolling and chilling and rolling and chilling, but wouldn’t it be cool to make it yourself instead of buying it at the store in the freezer aisle?! I don’t know when exactly I’m going to try this puff pastry recipe, but I’m going to try it, darn it!

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce // Serious Crust by Annie FasslerEasy Year-Round Tomato Sauce // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Over Christmas, my sister Emily was raving about this tomato sauce on Smitten Kitchen that I’d seen several times. For some reason, it never really stuck out to me. It’s almost too easy.

But for New Year’s Eve we were having some friends over, and I decided to make fresh pasta with homemade sauce. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to find incredible fresh tomatoes, I decided to give the recipe a shot. And you know what? It was awesome.

I did a few things differently. Firstly, I doubled the recipe. I probably could have still only used one onion, but I used two. Instead of just mashing the tomatoes against the side of the pan, after removing the onion I used an immersion blender to slightly puree the sauce. I’m not a huge fan of chunks in my tomato sauce, so it was a personal taste thing. I also added some chili flakes for a bit of heat.

Easy Year-Round Tomato Sauce


1 28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano (yes, you can taste the difference)
5 Tbl unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
Red chili flakes


In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine butter, tomatoes, onion, and a pinch of red chili flakes. Choose a pan bigger than you might think. The onions can be a little unwieldy while stirring as they’re in such big chunks. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain that simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while, and smashing the tomatoes against the sides of the pot (be careful not to squirt all over yourself here). Remove onions from sauce, turn off heat, and, if you’d like, use an immersion blender to lightly purรฉe the sauce. If not, that’s ok too. Season to taste. Use sauce to dress your favorite pasta (homemade or otherwise), or in a lasagna or on pizza.

Weekend Finds 11:10:13

Weekend finds this week are all over the place. But you know what? So am I. I finished up my birthday celebrations this week, had a wonderful time at a blogger event (post coming soon), and have been trying to get used to just living at home for a while without jetting off some place every week. So maybe I’m not all over the place, but right where I’m supposed to be.

1. Oyster Shell Salt Cellars

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Gold leaf painted oyster shell salt cellars. Photo credit: Design Sponge

I know the DIY for these gold painter oyster shells says “WEDDING” on it, but please. These would be so gorgeous on any table, whether it be for Thanksgiving or just your everyday dinner. Now I just have to find oyster shells…

2. Tips from Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tips from Isa. Photo Credit: The Kitchn

These are some great tips from vegan chef Isa Moskowitz. My favorite? Master 5 recipes – memorize, know them backwards and forwards, and then you can start to riff and improvise.

3. Cardamaro

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Cardamaro – something to try. Photo Credit: The Kitchn

A wine based amaro, huh? The name tricked me into thinking it had something to do with cardamom. And it doesn’t. But that’s ok. I like wine and I like amaro, so I think I’d like to give this liqueur a shot.

4. Ox Restaurant, PDX

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
The beautiful wonderful Ox. Photo Credit: Portland Monthly Magazine

Jonah took me to Ox for my birthday this week. While the wait was an hour (!), we enjoyed oysters and cocktails next door at Whey Bar while we waited. And when we did finally sit down, the staff (Elaina and Adam in particular) were so welcoming and fun, the food was impeccable (I recommend getting the carrots and the Uruguayan grass-fed ribeye), and the atmosphere was so warm. What a lovely way to celebrate.

5. Eggs poached in white wine from 101 cookbooks

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Wine poached eggs sound so lovely. Photo Credit: 101 cookbooks

I’m relatively new to the egg poaching game. I’ve done it successfully a few times, but I still don’t think to do it that often. Still, I wonder why I never thought to poach eggs in liquid other than water. This recipe for eggs poached in white wine looks lovely, and her suggestion to use it to top a winter root vegetable gratin sounds heavenly.

6. Chicken stock from Smitten Kitchen

Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Clean and simple chicken stock from Smitten Kitchen. Photo Credit: Smitten Kitchen

I’ll admit, I’m planning on making this easy chicken stock tonight. We’ve had a cold going around our house (Jonah has gotten it, so I know it’s only a matter of time) and I can’t imagine how nice it’ll be to have this waiting for me in the fridge/freezer when I inevitably get a sore throat and the sniffles.

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.ย This recipe is pretty much straight from Smitten Kitchen.

Fig and Olive Oil Challah



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



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.