Tag: an everlasting meal


Well friends, this is post #200 on Serious Crust. It has been roughly 2 1/2 years since I started Serious Crust, and while 200 seems like both a big number and a small number at the same time, I’m definitely feeling a little proud of myself. I wasn’t sure whether to make this post just a normal recipe post, or a review, or a little recap of some memorable moments. After some deliberation, I decided on the last option. I’ve learned a lot about cooking and eating since we first started this blog, and I want to revisit some of my favorite posts that have really made a big impact on my culinary experiences. So, in no particular order…

1. Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

200! Top posts: Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Perhaps my favorite cookies on the blog…

These cookies are definitely one of my most revisited and recommended recipes. They where, I think, the beginning of my passion for interesting flavor combinations. I love the earthiness of them, the slight saltiness, the melty chunks of chocolate.

2. Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal”

200! Top posts: An Everlasting Meals // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Definitely my favorite food-related book.

This book has had a big impact in the way I think about food. I use more of my ingredients, I am more thoughtful of using my leftovers and how I can re-invigorate them, and I am more confident in cooking without recipes. A must read for anyone who likes food, cooking, and eating.

3. Lemon Baked Cod

200! Top posts: Lemon Baked Cod // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This lemon baked cod is one of our top hits on Serious Crust.

Funnily enough, of all the things we’ve made on this blog, this recipe is one of the most consistently shared on Pinterest. It continues to be one of the most visited posts on the blog. I can’t remember whether Jonah or I wrote it (it says it’s by me, but I think Jonah is the one who made the fish), but needless to say, it’s delicious, and obviously people like it.

4. Lamb & Love

200! Top posts: Lamb & Love // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
This leg of lamb made for a memorable night.

This lamb meal was certainly a memorable one for us. First of all, we got a giant leg of lamb in the mail for free. Second, what was supposed to be a dinner gathering for about 6 people quickly turned into 11 people, and while that was stressful, it also ended up being a wonderful evening of delicious food and games with some of my favorite people.

5. Restaurant Review: Besaw’s

200! Top posts: Dinner at Besaw's // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
What a lovely spot with delicious food for an awesome dinner.

While this dinner at Besaw’s was absolutely delicious, it was also an eye-opening experience for me. It was the first of what would become many media events, and also was the tip of the iceberg that is the food (and food blogger) community in Portland. There are some extraordinary foodie women out there, and they are so inspiring to me. It was ridiculously fun to sit around a table with them (and Jonah), talking and laughing and eating and drinking and learning. I hope to have many more experiences like this one.

Also, keep your eyes peeled in the next week or so for a new look. A little birthday face lift, if you will, for this beauty of a blog.

Fresh Pasta with Pancetta, Leeks, & Breadcrumbs with Porcini Powder

Fresh Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Leeks, and Pancetta // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fresh Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Leeks, and Pancetta // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Fresh Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Leeks, and Pancetta // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fresh Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Leeks, and Pancetta // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Porcini powder. Porcini powder? Yes. From the farmers market. I was told it was wonderful, and was given a little bag as a gift. But what to do with the stuff, that’s the question. I’m not sure I made the right choice… This pasta dish had so much going on in it that the porcini flavor was hiding. It was hiding behind the sourdough breadcrumbs and butter it had been sprinkled into, and under the pancetta it had been tossed with, and between the fresh pasta noodles it had been swirled around with.

All that being said, this dish was dang good, if I do say so myself. There were a few elements, and it took a few pans to get it all prepped. So no, this is not one of those magical one pot meals. Certainly not.

My dear friend Elsa was staying with us, and my friend Dylan came over for dinner, as well as Elsa’s friend Sarah, so we had help in manning all the pans. Tamar Adler said in The Everlasting Meal that there is value in, when a guest asks “is there anything I can do to help?” being able to say, “yes.” I have found that to be very true.

Think of this recipe as a guideline. Or a lightly painted upon canvas. You can remove, add, flavor, sprinkle, drizzle anything you like. I must say, though, that I used a different pasta recipe this time, and I liked it much better than the one I had been using. There’s something to be said for trying something new.

Fresh Pasta with Pancetta, Leeks, & Breadcrumbs with Porcini Powder


Fresh Pasta

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs


Olive oil
1 large or 2 small leek(s), sliced and rinsed
1 small white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Pancetta – the amount is up to you. I like the pancetta that is thin, almost like prosciutto, though that isn’t what we used here. I think if we’d used the thinner kind, it would’ve clung to the noodles better.
Fresh breadcrumbs
Porcini powder
Salt and pepper


Fresh Pasta

To make the pasta, pulse the flour alone in a food processor a few times. In a bowl, beat the eggs and then add them to flour, and process until the dough forms a ball. If your dough is dry and looks like little pea sized pieces of dough, you can add water 1/2 tsp at a time. If it sticks to the bowl of the processor, add flour 1 Tbl at a time. When the dough has formed a ball, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1-2 minutes. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and set it aside for up to 2 hours to relax (at least 15 minutes). Then roll out the pasta as you usually do and cut it as you normally would.


In a pan over medium (or medium low), cook your pancetta, then set aside on a plate with a paper towel on it. Once the pancetta is removed, you can use that same pan to sautée the leeks, onion, and garlic, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. You may want to add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan to help keep things from sticking. But then again, maybe you won’t.

In another pan, melt some butter, then add the breadcrumbs and as much porcini powder as you feel like adding. Toast the breadcrumbs on low heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

As things are moving along, get out a big pot, fill it with water and a healthy serving of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta (I like to cook fresh pasta in batches, as it makes it less likely to stick together). If you’re cooking fresh pasta, it really only needs to cook for a few minutes. I like to remove it when all the noodles are floating. Do you have a better method? I’d like to know it. If you’re cooking your pasta in batches, you can remove it with tongs into a colander to keep the water boiling on your stovetop.

Strain the pasta, put it in a bowl, and toss with all the various bits and pieces. Enjoy with a glass of buttery, nutty white wine and friends, around a table, on a sunny evening.

Simple Brownies with Almond

Simple Brownies

Simple Brownies

My co-worker Kelly, who I’ve written about before, has a commune dinner every Monday night. He lives near a bunch of his friends and all of them and their kids (and their pets) all convene for dinner every week. A few weeks ago, Jonah and started joining in. It’s really nice to have that sense of community, which I think can be hard to find when you’re in your 20s and you don’t live near your family.

Going over to Kelly’s on Mondays is so calming. Every member of this group is so kind and funny. They have been having these meals for I’m not sure how many years, but they weren’t even phased when Jonah and I started showing up every week, and have been so incredibly welcoming, pulling up chairs to the table and always making sure we have a drink in our hand. It immediately feels like we’re a part of this family, with the two little boys running around the house and the dogs barking outside. And they feed us delicious food, so I can’t complain.

The first night we went, instead of just grabbing a bottle of wine and heading over (which I was later scolded for not doing), I decided to whip up a batch of brownies. There’s a relatively quick recipe in An Everlasting Meal, so I pulled it out and made a couple of adjustments (mainly replacing half a teaspoon of the vanilla extract with almond extract), and they turned out to be a huge hit. The almond was a really nice and unique flavor with the chocolate.

Simple Almond Brownies


4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 sticks butter
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
a handful (or 2) of chocolate chips, or walnuts


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch baking dish or pan. In a double boiler on the stove (or a heat proof bowl or a pot over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring so it’s all nice and smooth. Remove the bowl or pot from heat and let it cool. Once it is cool, add the eggs, beating after each addition. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond, stir, and then add the flouring, stirring until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips (or walnuts, if you’re using them) on top. You can put on as many as you like or as few. Bake for about 30 minutes, but do the clean knife/toothpick check at 20. Mine took roughly 35 minutes. Enjoy!

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


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)


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.