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”

Gravlax salmon with dill-mustard dressing and homemade pickles

It’s Labor Day in Australia this Monday, Columbus Day in America the next. Whatever the reason for your upcoming day off, we can all agree that three-day weekends should include at least one leisurely brunch, preferably with a group of good friends.

But may I make a suggestion? This weekend, trade the coffee queue (Australia) or brunch line (America) for a morning meal with friends at home, and serve this salmon.

It is impossibly easy to make: just pile salt, sugar, and dill on a piece of salmon, chuck it in the fridge, and let the fish cure for a day or so.

Continue reading “Gravlax salmon with dill-mustard dressing and homemade pickles”

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”

Shakshouka

Shakshouka: what is there not to love?

This egg-and-tomato dish nails the sweet spot between interesting (goodbye, bland weekend fry-ups; hello, cumin and za’atar) and quick (because one shouldn’t have to work too hard for the first meal of the day). It can be weekend brunch or weeknight dinner. It can be a survivor meal: so long as you have a can of tomatoes, eggs, an onion, cumin, and pepper flakes, you’re good to go. But you can also do it up: add red peppers, greens, cheese, and more spices. It bursts with umami, thanks to the tomatoes. It involves runny egg yolks—or not, if that’s not your thing. Its dregs beg to be sopped up with good bread or toasted pita. It can be scaled down to serve just one or up to serve a crowd.

Try this just once–and then watch it become part of your repertoire. Continue reading “Shakshouka”

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”

Mango chia smoothie

In the winter, I am happy to eat nothing but oats (and this black rice coconut porridge) for breakfast every. single. morning. In the summer, it’s smoothies: strawberry-orange smoothies, watermelon-strawberry-basil smoothies, peach-vanilla smoothies, and on and on and on. But I have always wished there were a way to make smoothies in advance,  without everything separating and the texture just getting generally…weird.

Enter this chia smoothie. Made in advance, the smoothie thickens overnight with the help of the chia seeds. The seeds then keep the texture perfectly consistent over a few days in the fridge, so you can make a batch on Sunday and grab a jar on your way out the door for the rest of the week.

More importantly, the combination of chia seeds and almond milk lend the drink a texture that can truly only be described as luscious. I’m ambivalent about chia seed puddings, but I love this. And because the seeds are the only thickener–no bananas, no ice–the flavor of the fruit absolutely sings.

Make with frozen mango (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), or fresh, good-quality summer peaches or blueberries. Continue reading “Mango chia smoothie”

Sweet corn tofu frittata with roasted cherry tomato compote

Fretting about the impending end of corn season? Can’t face the idea that tomatoes will soon disappear? Wondering what kind of unjust higher power might make summer produce season so short and winter “produce season” so long?

Same here.

Make this to embrace the best of your farmer’s market, while it lasts. It is Sunday cooking: you have to prep the frittata, bake it, and let it set before serving, plus you have to roast the tomatoes. But it serves six–enough for a Sunday dinner with friends who also want to squeeze every last bit of summer weekend goodness out of the day. Or, you know, to provide a bright, filling lunch for you, the chef, every day of the week. You choose.

This recipe is vegan. I am not. Fellow non-vegans: do not be put off by the tofu filling. You will be licking the leftovers out of the food processor. I promise. Continue reading “Sweet corn tofu frittata with roasted cherry tomato compote”

Muesli with nuts, dried fruit, and coconut

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Every Friday I lead an 8am discussion section. I am embarrassed to report that I arrive as bleary-eyed as the 18-21 year olds whom I teach. Apparently, none of us leap out of bed at 6:30am to go discuss the 19th century, however much we (or maybe just I) enjoy it once we are there.

So every Friday, I’m crunched for time. Even making oatmeal takes too long. But my growling stomach says skipping breakfast is not an option. Nor is a fast bowl of cheerios–I’m hungry again an hour later.

Enter this muesli recipe. You can have it simply, with just milk or yogurt. You can add fruit–raspberries or strawberries or (omg) peaches in the summer, or a chopped apple or sliced banana right now. And since the recipe itself doesn’t include any sweeteners, you can top with a dollop of jam or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if you’re so inclined. All options are as fast as the cheerios but as filling as oatmeal. Continue reading “Muesli with nuts, dried fruit, and coconut”

Black rice breakfast porridge

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Somehow, though I am loath to repeat dinner recipes (so many new foods to try!), I dig in—with gusto—to the exact same breakfast every weekday in the winter: oatmeal with apples, walnuts, and brown sugar.

This recipe won’t totally unseat my oats. But it has created a spot for itself in a newly-created breakfast “rotation.” It has all the good qualities of my dear oatmeal—warm, filling, cooks while I shower—plus offers the chance to eat something tropical-ish while I stare out at a decidedly un-tropical February ice storm.

Note: you need to soak the rice overnight before cooking. Continue reading “Black rice breakfast porridge”