Anglo-Australian scones

For the first twenty or so years of my life, I did not like scones. I found them hard, dense, triangles that, though loaded with sugar and dried fruit and often coated in more sugar, somehow managed to taste like nothing. (Really, how is that possible? At that point, shouldn’t you just call it a day and bake some cookies?)  Presented with the option of scone or any other baked good, I would choose any other baked good. Bah humbug.

Then I moved to Sydney and encountered a different kind of scone. Pronounced “scawn,” Australian (really, British) scones are more like a sweet American biscuit than those dry, brick-like triangles that we call scones in America. They are light and bready. They are only slightly sweet (the idea being you pile sugar and clotted cream on top, rather than baking the sugar into the scone itself). And they are oh-so-nice with fruit for breakfast or with tea in the afternoon. Continue reading “Anglo-Australian scones”

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Baked eggs with smoked salmon and kale

Have guests staying at your place for the holidays and need a make-ahead brunch? These baked eggs are the go. The combination of eggs and smoked salmon will always feel luscious and celebratory. Yet with the addition of kale and goat cheese (and the omission of hollandaise), this feels a bit more balanced than your typical salmon Benedict.

Plus, after 30-45 minutes of prep, these can sit in the fridge for a day or two before you are ready to bake them. (With plans to make these for a friend’s wedding brunch, I tested make-ahead time thoroughly on this recipe.) This relieves you of the need to cook guests brunch when you are also trying to cook dinner–or just enjoy time with visiting friends and family.

Continue reading “Baked eggs with smoked salmon and kale”

Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad

So often, winter comfort food is heavy. And look–I am passionate about ragù. But if you’re looking for comfort food that doesn’t weigh you down, try this.

This grilled cheese makes the best use of winter produce–beets, fennel, and persimmons burst with bright flavor that is uncharacteristic at this time of year. Yet, as a grilled cheese, it also ticks the comfort food box.

img_0630 Continue reading “Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad”

End-of-summer panzanella

This week, butternut squash arrived at the farmer’s market, co-existing with the last of the bell peppers, tomatoes, and basil. The end of summer produce season is upon us.

Consider sending off the season with this recipe, which embodies everything that is good about summer cooking. High-quality fresh produce? Check. No oven and only one pan required?  Got it. Acidic tomatoes that burst in your mouth? In abundance. (Insert heart-eye emoji here.) Best served with chilled rosé? Oh yes.

So, one last time before next summer: chop up some fresh vegetables, toss with some crusty bread, mix everything with an easy vinaigrette, and call it dinner. When you dig in tonight (and for lunches this week), you’ll be giving the best food season the farewell it deserves. Continue reading “End-of-summer panzanella”

Chocolate, cherry, and hazelnut fougasse

A little over a year ago, a dear friend (and fellow graduate student) and I had an idea: to cook our way through an entire cookbook. Think Julie & Julia, but with more camaraderie and a tighter budget. We settled on David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen because it boasted solid reviews, stunning photos, and stories about Paris that delighted us with their enthusiasm and their sarcasm. (Sorry, France, I love you, but you do bring it on yourself sometimes.)

And so, every Sunday night for a year, my friend and I convened in her kitchen or mine to chop, sauté, braise, boil, and bake. She is impatient with processes—why does hot cheese take so long to cool?—and hates buttering baking dishes. I am far too cavalier about touching hot pans and foods. We came to refer to David Lebovitz as “Daveed” and talked about him as if he were in the kitchen. (“Daveed didn’t explain what milkshake-like consistency meant!”) But we shopped, chopped, cooked, ate, counseled, and laughed together, proving that the very best thing about food is how it brings people together. (And that is saying a lot coming from someone who can rhapsodize about eggs simmered in tomato sauce.) Continue reading “Chocolate, cherry, and hazelnut fougasse”

Crackly banana bread

Cooler weather today meant that my way, way overripe bananas were not destined for an icy smoothie. No, it was time for banana bread.

But I’ve always had a problem with banana bread. For me, it is too sugary for breakfast, but not sweet enough for dessert. This leaves it firmly in afternoon snack territory–but the idea of baking something only to be a snack (rather than a full meal or a proper, killer dessert) has always left me uninspired.

So, I set to work. I jiggered a Smitten Kitchen recipe to make it more fibrous and less sugary–and also to accommodate what I had in my pantry. The result is only very lightly sweet, wheat-forward, crackly, distinctly banana-y, and only requires one bowl. It also keeps me full (see blog name) and completely avoids the 10am sugar crash that comes with more sugary banana breads. Problem solved. Continue reading “Crackly banana bread”

Squash toasts with goat’s cheese and caramelized onions

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It is (still) winter–indeed, still February. Winter squash season has been going strong for five months. In October, it was exciting. Turning on the oven! In November, I still happily tossed roasted squash into salads and soups. In December, I stirred it into a big chickpea curry, served with cardamom-scented rice.

But now, in February, the act is getting old. Turn on the oven, again?

And yet for this recipe, you’ll want to. Crumble some goat’s cheese (or feta, or ricotta) onto a thick, crusty piece of bread. Turn on that oven. Roast squash, then pile on top of bread along with sweet caramelized onions. Sprinkle with mint to brighten things up, and call it dinner. Continue reading “Squash toasts with goat’s cheese and caramelized onions”