Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chewy Oatmeal Cookie Bites w/Walnuts

Is there anything more comforting than an intensely chewy oatmeal cookie? I mean, maybe, but I can't think of anything right now. And the key to a chewy cookie is simple (but not necessarily easy) ... be patient enough to chill the dough before baking. That's it. But once that batter comes together, it is admittedly a challenge to delay cookie-eating for an additional 20 minutes.

This cookie is not very sweet at all and if you made larger cookies, you could slice it and pan fry it like a muffin for a decadent breakfast treat. (note to self: do this sooner rather than later.) One could very easily use raisins in lieu of walnuts or use both, but I'm not a huge fan of raisins in cookies, so I just used walnuts to add some texture to each bite.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookie Bites
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and egg. Mix until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat on medium.

3. Turn the mixer down to low. Add the oats and walnuts. Mix until just incorporated.

4. Chill the dough for 20 minutes.

5. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place scant teaspoon-sized ball of dough about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sour Cream Pecan Coffeecake

When most people hear "spring break" they probably think of warm beachy places and questionable decision making, but my spring break (which started yesterday!) will mainly consist of studying for finals. Since Passover happens so late this year, our break is about 3 weeks before our first final, which means it really should be called something like spring not-so-much break.

But I'm not really complaining, because I've blocked out a good hour each day to just wander around the park, enjoy the warmer weather, take some pictures, (and think about property law).

So in honor of the fact that I don't have to set foot in the law library until April 27th, I baked a coffeecake. A "spring break coffeecake" if you will. There wasn't really anything springy about it. In fact, I accidentally put a dash of nutmeg in it (which I mistook as cinnamon), so if it belonged to any season, it was probably autumn.

But nobody at school complained. And you can always just not accidentally put nutmeg in yours, for a more "season-neutral" version. The cake is a snap to make. And it isn't too sweet, which is why the vein of brown sugar & pecan running through it is so nice.

I baked mine in a bundt pan, because I think the slices seem more like coffeecake that way, but you could also throw it in a loaf pan if you are so inclined.

You could also make more of the "filling" and use 1/2 as a topping ... but I didn't want mine to be overly sweet. For the sole reason that it was easier to justify eating it for breakfast. Which is a pretty silly justification for someone who is perfectly content to eat birthday cake for breakfast. But I digress. Happy spring everyone!

Sour Cream Pecan Coffeecake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Add vanilla extract.

2. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

3. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Add half of the sour cream, the rest of the flour mixture, and the rest of the sour cream. Mix until fully combined.

4. In a separate bowl mix the brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, and cinnamon. Grease a bundt pan and pour in half of the batter. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly and top with the rest of the batter.

5. Bake for 25 minutes and check with a cake tester (it may need up to 10 more minutes). The tester should come out clean. Let the cake set for 10 minutes and then flip onto a plate.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Restaurant Daniel

photos in this post are by Justin & Mary Marantz

I have a great chewy oatmeal cookie recipe to post. But it will have to wait, because in honor of our 1st wedding anniversary (!!), I simply have to share the marvelous dinner Tom and I had at Restaurant Daniel this past Friday.

For those who don't know, Tom and I were married at Daniel
last April, surrounded by about 35 of our closest family and friends. It was the perfect day. And perfectly us. And one of the awesome perks of getting married at a phenomenal restaurant, is that it is an excuse to go back each year and have another to-die-for meal.

So without further ado; the food:

The amuse bouche was a trio of eggplant, featuring a smoked salmon, eggplant, snap pea combo; an eggplant mousse; and baby shrimp with eggplant.

Knowing it was our anniversary (and because the service at Daniel is beyond compare) we were also treated to champagne, a razor clam ceviche, and a spinach and ricotta raviolini - with compliments!

For our starters I got Florida frog leg and Jerusalem artichoke soup (which had insanely good tiny scallops, Honshimeji mushrooms, and what I can only describe as 3 deep-fried frog leg pops) and Tom got Maine sea scallop rosette with tandoori, Hawaiian hearts of palm, and shiso-mango gremolata.

For the main course, I got what we served at the wedding: beef duo (black Angus short ribs with beet marmalade and seared Wagyu tenderloin with braised savoy cabbage, crispy chickpea panisse) and Tom tried something new: trio of milk fed pig (roasted chop with glazed turnips, braised shoulder with cucumber, and smoked ribs with fennel-avocado coleslaw).

And then, dessert. I will admit that it is very hard (impossible) for me to order a fruit dessert, when chocolate is available. So even though I was tempted, I got the Manjari chocolate mousse, with nougat, pistachio cream, and toasted almond ice cream. And Tom got the Jivara chocolate mousse with espresso biscuit and Kenyan coffee ice cream.

But here's the amazing thing. As though reading my mind, they brought out a third dessert (with "Happy Anniversary" in beautiful blackberry syrup script), so that I didn't have to miss out on a fruit dessert after all! This was Blackberry and fromage blanc vacherin with Swiss meringue, and creme Chantilly.

Rounding out the evening (and our midsections) were freshly baked madeleines and three of the tiniest chocolate squares flavored with basil, praline, and cinnamon respectively.

After an incredible meal and a lot of fun reminiscing over how wonderful the past year truly has been, our bellies were full and our hearts content.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Breakfast Crepes

Sometimes you need something crazy and a little scary to remind you what is really important in life. A reality check. So you can assess priorities with a little more perspective. All of that is my way of saying that a big Sunday breakfast is one of our re-discovered priorities. With potatoes sliced thin and pan-fried with scallions. And uncured bacon. And good eggs.

So to make things a little more special to herald the return of our big Sunday breakfast, I made crepes. We filled ours with those good eggs, scallions, and uncured bacon mentioned above. And to mine I added Jarlsberg cheese. But you could fill yours with anything you like. Anything that would make Sunday special. Like swiss, egg, and spinach. Or cheddar, bacon, & cherry tomatoes.

Oh, and if it seems like our breakfast couldn't get any better ... maybe the best thing about crepes for breakfast, is the extra batter that becomes crepes filled with butter and sugar for dessert. Because why should dessert be reserved for after dinner? Happy Sunday!

Simple Crepe Recipe
Be sure to cook your filling ingredients ahead of time. For dessert crepes (see above), on step three coat with a little butter and a palm-full of sugar.

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp melted butter

1. Whisk together flour and eggs. Slowly whisk in milk and water. Add salt. Slowly add butter. Whisk until fully incorporated.

2. Heat a pan over a medium-high flame. Butter the pan. Pour in 1/3 cup of batter and move the pan in a circular motion to coat the entire bottom with a thin layer of batter. Cook for 2 minutes.

3. Flip with a spatula. Cover with fillings of your choice. Cook for 2 minutes and fold over.