Cod with Tomato Olive Compote.

What’s better than a delicious recipe that fills you up and leaves you feeling healthy and happy? One that looks super fancy and  like you slaved in a Mediterranean olive orchard, tomato field, on a Atlantic fishing boat, and over a hot stove for hours when really all you did was bake something for 15 minutes and sauté a handful of ingredients for just as long. Part one in a continual series of dishes that look awesome, taste great, and didn’t really require that much effort. Recipe, here

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Kaya Toast with a Poached Egg.

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Let’s be honest—there’s nothing that makes a better food picture than a poached or soft boiled egg just popped. All that oozy yolk, that richness flowing across something that’s sure to have just gotten all the more delicious. It’s practically food photo cheating and I’m happy to admit my guilt. Because after these shots were taken, I got to partake in something that was even more tasty than it looks. For every shot of an oozing egg, there is a happy tummy.

So…sri kaya. It’s coconut jam that’s some magical mixture of egg yolks, coconut, and sugar and it cooks down into something the texture of a smooth caramel or unpasteurized honey. It’s sweet and coconut delicious and is perfect on everything from toast to pancakes to yogurt to ice cream. Probably even more, but I can hardly wait for the amount of time it takes to toast something because this jam is so delicious. I’d eat it on crackers, or off a spoon…

As tasty as sri kaya is, it gets a little weird. One way to eat it, as popularized in Southeast Asia, is on buttered toast and dipped into a soft boiled egg. Susan Feniger’s LA restaurant STREET takes it a bit further and tops it all off with a rich soy sauce and white pepper. Having just acquired a jar of Hey Boo Coconut Jam from the stinky cheese heaven known as the Bedford Cheese Shop, I pulled together a version of kaya toast and while it may sound a little weird, man it’s good. The creaminess of the yolk matches the sweet richness of the jam, cut through with cultured and salted butter and spicy pepper. The  soy sauce perfectly cuts through the sugar for a salty and sweet combination. and I even dragged local mustard greens into the mix, which was a weird and delicious addition.

For all the coconut lovers out there, I can only insist that you track some of this jam down. And if you’re in the mood for something completely different, give the jam/egg/soy sauce/pepper combination a try.

Continue reading “Kaya Toast with a Poached Egg.”

Smoked Sable Salad with Horseradish Dressing

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The inspiration for this salad comes from, like most good things, the backyard setting of a whiskey- and jazz-soaked wine bar. This particular one being located in New Orleans, so you can be certain that the food, if anything, pairs well with all manner of drink. But truthfully, who needs anything else when your salad is layered with crisp, sweet apples, spicy and creamy dressing, and flakes of perfectly smoked, moist sable?

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Not me. Set me up with a bowl of this stuff, or four, and leave me be.

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In terms of food delay, I’m quite sorry. You see, I first had this salad back in February and while I’ve been thinking about recreating it for quite some time, it took me a couple weeks to make it to one of the most wonderful places on Earth, the smoked fish heaven known as Russ & Daughters. To be clear, it’s taken this long not because Russ & Daughters with competing cases of bakery and smoked fish lining the most wonderful store possible is far away, but because once I got started down this smoked fish path, there was going to be no stopping the smoked fish creations. Just the other day I had smoked salmon and potato croquettes with horseradish dipping sauce which begged to be recreated. Imagine, the smoked fish tartines, smoked fish pizzas, smoked fish tacos…

So, this salad has opened the Pandora’s box of smoked fish creations, and I do hope that you love the stuff as much as I do. Because now the floodgates are open. I may very well be one of the first people to go bankrupt because of smoked sable. And don’t forget about the whitefish, lox, tuna…

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Chocolate Coconut Loaf.

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Sometimes, you just have to know when to cut your losses and…eat cake. One instance, which happens more than you (let’s be real “I”) would hope is when, in your smaller than average Brooklyn kitchen, the one window in the entire apartment which provides any decent light is not doing its job. Yea, sure it’s letting in a few UV rays and if we were a couple weeks along I probably would even crack the window and let some sweet, fresh air in. But those UV rays are not lighting my nicely styled food in the proper way. Even though it should be soft morning light, it’s all harsh and shadowy. Bleh.

Thankfully, as with most instances in food blogging, if the pictures aren’t turning out, at least you have something tasty to eat. And in this particularly instance, after a few failed attempts to get an overhead which finally culminated in the two slightly weird little shots you see here (backlight and looking over the back of the cake like a creepster?), I got to eat cake.

So all in all, a win.

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Losses than have been cut and resulted in cake are not only to be found in the food blogging space. In simple baking, you often end up with cake. Especially when you venture into the realm of breakfast “breads.” You know what I’m talking about. Looking at you banana walnut, carrot raisin, and apple. The breads that, if we were perfectly honest, are really just cake that you can throw in the toaster and heat up, real nice. To do away with any pretense that this coconut loaf was actually bread, I added a decent sized handful of chocolate chips.

By which I mean a cupful. And let me say, it improved the “bread” quite nicely. All studded up with coconut, scented with vanilla, this really is one of the best pieces of bread a girl could have.

Continue reading “Chocolate Coconut Loaf.”

Olive Oil Cake with Caramelized Pears.

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This is going to have to start with an apology, because this cake isn’t new to my dessert rotation. In fact I’ve been baking, caramelizing, artfully swirling, and yes, eating this cake since I was an intern at Martha. Yup, that’s right. I’ve been hoarding this cake, all on my own. For more than half a year.

Truthfully, what’s been keeping this cake off the blog is the fact that it’s best eaten right after assembly, and that as soon as it’s assembled, everyone in sight seems to gobble it up. Cake gone. Empty platter, only. Hence, no photo evidence. And while a written recipe and a cute little story is all well and good, let’s be real. It’s better with photo evidence.

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For this cake, you could skip the vanilla bean yogurt just like you could skip the caramelized pears. Because this cake is really perfect sliced, toasted, and spread with honey as is. It’s also good eaten unsliced, by the handful, in a style best known as starving Frenchman with a big baguette. You know, that full-on tearing into a giant loaf of something. Except, this would be me. Not-starving Brooklynite, with a loaf of cake.

Perhaps for civility, I should stick to adding the yogurt and pears. As a bonus, they are really, quite delicious. And pretty. Stacked up like little pear buildings.

Continue reading “Olive Oil Cake with Caramelized Pears.”

Chocolate Coconut Trail Mix.

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You know this time of year, when the days are still short, the weather is cold in a way that keeps you inside with a warm cup of tea and a blanket, and you’re just waiting for spring. But this time of year is also one of my favorite times of year because it is an actual, honest-to-god cookie season. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, and it comes but once every 365 days. (As seasons tend to do…) Sometimes, I celebrate by turning the most perfect of all cookies (debate me on which one if you’d like, but I’ll say that chocolate, coconut, and caramel always wins), the Samoa, into ice cream.

But since I can’t eat ice cream all day, mainly because it wouldn’t survive the subway trip, there are other ways to pull out the very best of the Samoa cookie, the chocolate, nutty coconut, the crunch and the sweetness and turn it into an all-day, everyday sort of snack. Trail mix is one way. And with this chocolate coconut trail mix, you really get a bag full of something you can haul around. On the subway, to the dinner table, at the movie theater…man. If you had problems with limiting the amount of Samoas you consume, I actually recommend against this snack. But if you’re daring and strong of heart and stomach and not particularly prone to sugar rush, the recipe is here.

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Polenta al Forno with Spinach and Ricotta.

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Even though it’s getting close to the end of winter, the end of the cold, of the short days, longs coats, and snow-covered ground, I’m nowhere near done with winter comfort food. Seasonally appropriate meals? Not to be found here.

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Long into summer you’ll find soups and more than likely there’ll be something cheesy and starchy thrown up on the site in June. Maybe even with a poached egg and bacon. Who knows. This blog knows no rules when it comes to limiting your comfort to the cooler months of the year. Blame it on my California upbringing, where if you were waiting for 40 degree weather to break out the mac ‘n’ cheese and mash potatoes, they’d rarely, if ever, make an appearance on the dinner table. And so, check back here around May, when it’s heading up to warm, sunny, and clear blue skies.

You’ll find something along the lines of this polenta and spinach bake. Because even though a three-cheese spinach filling in a creamy polenta bake is exactly what you need in February, there’s no need to limit the polenta love to just one season. Not only would that be disrespectful to all those hard-working polenta mills, but it would complete disregard the wants and needs of my stomach. Sad and empty, missing all the satisfaction of a scoop of hot, baked polenta puffed up the with the help of ricotta, cheddar, and parmesan. Let’s be honest, no one should have to go without polenta. Especially when the possibilities are an endless variety of baked, soft, grilled, topped with all sort of sauces and stews. Just think of the options. More than a year’s worth of recipes.

Continue reading “Polenta al Forno with Spinach and Ricotta.”