This past weekend a small group of us made our way to the family country house of one of our friends. We had one simple goal: relax. With some additional goals to be met if we felt like extending ourselves: cook, eat, swim in the pool, watch the Yankees, play bocce ball. I'm happy to report that we did ourselves proud.
Our menu was loaded with amazing foods, but some of my favorites include baby chocolate brioche, grilled salt & vinegar potatoes, gazpacho Andaluz, and blueberry & peach cobbler. It was so much fun to cook with Shannon, Ethan, Peter & Emily ... I'm smiling just thinking about it. And wishing that I was having half as much fun with my dinner preparations for tonight.
Shannon and I came up with a wonderful premise for what our cooking show would be (if any network execs are out there, pay attention!). We would break into houses in well to do neighborhoods and have to make dinner with whatever ingredients and equipment they had in the kitchen. And the name of our awesome program (thanks to the lovely and talented Shannon)... why, "Baking and Entering" of course! LOVE
Baby Chocolate Brioche Adapted from At Home In Provence by Patricia Wells
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 cup lukewarm whole milk
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
About 1 1/4 pounds flour
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, divided into 10 pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1. In a medium sized bowl combine the yeast, honey and milk; stir to combine. Let stand until the yeast foams, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil, eggs and salt.
2. Add the flour, a bit at a time, stirring gently until most of the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms a ball. Be careful not to add too much flour, slightly sticky dough is better than too dry dough. Knead the dough until it becomes satiny but still firm, about 4 to 5 minutes, adding additional flour to keep the dough from sticking.
3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let the dough rise until doubled or tripled in bulk, about 8 to 12 hours. (I let mine rise overnight)
4. About an hour before you plan to bake the rolls, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Punch down the dough and divide into 10 even portions. With the palm of your hand, flatten each portion into a disc. Press a piece of chocolate into each portion of dough and shape into a neat round, pinching the dough together around the chocolate to form a tight ball. Place the portions of dough on a baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
6. Prepare the glaze: Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and beat lightly. Add the milk and sugar and whisk together. Remove the towel and brush each piece of dough with the glaze. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake until the rolls are a deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, turning the baking sheet from time to time if the oven is heating unevenly.
7. Remove the rolls from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If stored in a sealed plastic bag, the brioche will keep for 2 to 3 days.
Salt & Vinegar Potatoes from Martha Stewart Living by way of 101 Cookbooks
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 pound fresh from the garden potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan, then stack (or arrange) the potatoes so the vinegar covers them completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. Let the potatoes cool in the vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, then very gently toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.