Hummus

Oren’s Hummus is a restaurant in Palo Alto that my family and I go to all the time. All of the food at Oren’s is traditional Israeli food, from the chicken skewers and shakshuka to the wonderfully smoky babajanoush. The main attraction, of course, is Oren’s Hummus. The hummus comes to the table in big bowls with olive oil, fresh herbs, and paprika alongside harissa paste and unlimited free pita bread that’s fresh from the oven. It is the creamiest hummus I have encountered, and it’s packed with tahini and lemon juice, giving it the perfect balance of acidity and richness.

I have always wanted to recreate that hummus, and I finally found the perfect recipe, straight out of the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi—which if you’re unfamiliar with the book, is pretty much the encyclopedia for vegetarian Israeli cooking. It’s a very simple recipe, that adheres to the traditional flavors of traditional Israeli hummus.

To make the hummus, you start by peeling the chickpeas so that the hummus becomes incredibly silky and creamy. It takes a few extra minutes, but it makes all the difference, and the skins slip off easily by pinching the chickpea with your thumb and index finger. Then the chickpeas and pureed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil until the texture is to your liking. A sprinkle of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil finishes off the recipe. I like to serve it with warm pita bread for a simple lunch, but you could always incorporate it into a larger Mediterranean dinner with falafel, Greek salad, feta, pita, and good olives.

Hummus

Adapted from Plenty

Makes about 2 cups, which serves 4 for lunch with pita bread

1, 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed.

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup tahini

½ teaspoon sea salt

4 teaspoons olive oil

2-4 tablespoons water

Paprika and olive oil, to finish

  1. Spread the chickpeas out onto a large plate, then peel them by slipping the skins off with your index finger and thumb. The skins should come off quite easily. Discard the skins and place the peeled chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and salt. Puree until completely smooth.
  2. With the mixer running, drizzle in the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the water until the hummus is smooth and has a loose consistency. Add more water as needed to reach the desired texture. Place the hummus in a shallow serving bowl and sprinkle with a few pinches of paprika, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve with warm pita.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Green Tea Cookie Bars

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

I came up with the idea for these cookie bars while brainstorming what to bring on the bus for my latest choir trip. I needed a recipe with a high yield that I could make quickly and didn’t have chocolate so that all of the lent observers would be able to enjoy the cookies along with the rest of us.

Fortunately, these bars came out delicious and worth repeating. They have a rich, buttery center that’s infused with the earthiness of green tea powder and are topped with a crunchy layer of sugar that caramelizes in the oven. They were gone in minutes after one pass down the bus aisle, and I’d like to think that they gave us enough energy to make it through the long bus ride to Southern California. My only regret is that I’d didn’t make a batch for the trip back.

Green Tea Cookie Bars

Makes 36 small bars

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons matcha powder

1 egg

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

  1. Grease a 13 x 9 glass baking pan and preheat the oven to 350F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the matcha powder and beat well to combine. Add the egg and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined.
  2. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the surface, then bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven until golden brown on the edges and set in the center, 23-26 minutes. Let cool, then cut into 36 bars.

Note: If you have matcha latte mix, not matcha powder, substitute 1 cup granulated sugar and ½ cup matcha latte mix for the sugar and matcha powder.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Buckwheat Strawberry Thumbprints

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

I know a lot of people have tried buckwheat pancakes or waffles before, but cookies with buckwheat flour are not as well known. With good reason, probably, because buckwheat cookie dough has a tendency to more closely resemble wet cement than buttery cookie dough. What buckwheat cookies lack in aesthetics however, they more than make up for in taste. The slightly bitter edge of the buckwheat flour prevents the cookies from tasting too sweet, and the fresh acidity of the homemade strawberry filling complements the earthiness of the cookie. While the cookies bake, the filling comes together quickly on the stove so that it’s ready to seep into the centers of the cookies. You can let the cookies cool to make eating them a little neater, but I think they’re best when the filling is still warm and sticky so that the berry flavor permeates every bite.

These are the perfect cookies to serve with a glass of lemonade or iced tea now that the weather is warming up, and I’m sure they’d make a nice end to a picnic lunch or potluck dinner.

I would like to thank Arjun Narayen for taking the incredible pictures of these cookies. You can find more of his photography on his Facebook page, Arjun Narayen Photography.

Buckwheat Strawberry Thumbprints

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Filling:

1 cup diced fresh strawberries

1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on the ripeness of the berries

1 tablespoon water

Dough:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons buckwheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1. To prepare the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, then mash the strawberries with a fork or wooden spoon. Continue to cook for 5-8 more minutes until the filling is thickened and the strawberries have broken down. Transfer to a bowl to cool while you prepare the dough.

2. For the dough: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, then add the flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined.

3. To shape the cookies: Roll 1 tablespoon sized portions of the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven, then gently press a small indentation in the tops of the cookies using the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack, then fill the indentations with the strawberry filling. Let cool, then serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Oatmeal Speculoos Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:


One of the most well-known sayings among swimmers is, “Where there’s food there’s swimmers, but where there’s swimmers there’s not always food.” Competitive swimming involves so many hours of exercise that we pretty much eat every two hours throughout the day. All four dozen of these cookies didn’t stand a chance at a swim meet a few weeks ago and in less than five minutes all I had left to take home was an empty Tupperware.


However, I think that even if we weren’t too hungry the cookies would have been eaten quickly anyways, but these soft and chewy oatmeal cookies with a hint of gingersnap flavor are just too hard to resist. Aside from the speculoos (Cookie Butter), they’re simple oatmeal cookies without any over-the-top additions like dried cherries or cornflakes. A batch of these comes together in less than ten minutes and stays fresh for a few days, which makes these cookies perfect for afternoon snacks, Monday night desserts, and swim meets.


Oatmeal Speculoos Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

14 tablespoons (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup speculoos spread (cookie butter)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups rolled oats

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and table salt.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the speculoos spread and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer and add the eggs and vanilla then beat until well incorporated, 1-2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, then add the rolled oats and mix on low speed until the dough is evenly mixed and no pockets of flour or oats remain.
  3. Scoop tablespoon sized portions of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, placing them 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown but the centers remain soft. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Eggplant Tartines with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Olives


Recently, I’ve started listening to the Spilled Milk Podcast, which is (no surprise here) a food related podcast hosted by two Seattle-based food writers, Molly Wizenberg (of Orangette and Delancey) and Matthew Amster-Burton. Other than America’s Test Kitchen and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, it’s the only podcast I listen to. Each episode is about 20 minutes long and revolves around one ingredient. It’s so nice to know that there are other people out there who could talk at length about something so simple yet complex as onions, dried beans or even jam, and I think my friends are relieved that know they no longer have to listen to me discuss the pros and cons of various pasta shapes.

Thanks to the honey episode (not the eggplant episode, as you might think) of Spilled Milk, I came up with this idea for Eggplant Tartines with goat cheese, honey, olives, and fresh mint. They were talking about savory dishes with honey and Molly mentioned pairing eggplant with honey, goat cheese, and green olives. Obviously I had to try out that combination, and thought on and off about it for a few days when this tartine idea came to me during a long swim practice.


It all started with a batch of crusty bread (much like my No-Knead Walnut Bread, sans walnuts) and a pan of roasted eggplant.



Once the eggplant was nicely browned and tender, I layered it on some thick slices of the bread, then added fresh chevre and a drizzle of honey. (I used lemon flower honey because I like to collect those sorts of things much like other people like to collect state quarters, but any regular clover honey will work.)


After a quick stint under the broiler, the tartines were topped with Sicilian green olives, fresh mint, and a little black pepper. Even after just one bite, I knew that I had come up with something good. The goat cheese melted into the tender eggplant and the honey offset the pungency of the olives just enough to keep the flavors in balance. The mint tied everything together and enhanced all of the Mediterranean aspects of the dish. Two of these tartines is the perfect springtime lunch dish that’s filling and nutritious but not heavy. For those of you that think eggplant is bland or spongy, give this recipe a try—this is eggplant at its best.


Eggplant Tartines with Goat Cheese, Honey, and Olives

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as an appetizer

Inspired by the “Honey” episode of the Spilled Milk Podcast

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 Italian eggplants, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 3/8 inch slices (Italian eggplants are on the small side, about 6 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Use 1 globe eggplant if you can’t find any.)

½ teaspoon sea salt

4 slices artisan bread

2 oz. fresh goat cheese

2 teaspoons honey

¼ cup green olives, sliced (I used pitted Sicilian green olives)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 500F. Spread a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil, then lay the eggplant slices out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with the salt, then roast on the top rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula, flip the eggplant slices over and then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Remove the eggplant pan from the oven, then turn the oven to the broil setting.
  2. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet, then place the eggplant slices on top of the bread slices. Put ½ oz. of the goat cheese on each slice of the bread, then drizzle each tartine with ½ teaspoon honey. Place on the top rack of the oven under the broiler element, then broil for 2-4 minutes until the edges of the bread are toasted and the goat cheese is golden brown. Remove the tartines from the oven, and place 1 tablespoon of the olives on each tartine. Scatter the fresh mint over the tartines, then top with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I’m pretty sure I managed to catch a leprechaun in my leprechaun trap above. Obviously, he climbed his way up to the table on the piece of bakers twine, climbed across the plate of cookies and left a trail of green sprinkles in his wake before getting trapped by a green coffee mug. Good thing I took a picture to document this, otherwise I would never have any proof that one of my traps finally worked.

All through elementary school I would make leprechaun traps without fail the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Most involved elaborate schemes to lure the leprechauns through our backyard and into the kitchen with a path of gold coins (uneaten Hanukkah gelt) up a cooling rack that was slicked with Elmer’s glue and onto a table or chair that had a hanging (empty) oatmeal container above it so that I could trap the leprechaun. I also had back up scenarios—if the leprechaun didn’t climb up the cooling rack, I would hang a piece of dental floss from the chair and slick that with Elmer’s glue as well so that no matter what, I would find a trapped leprechaun in the morning. Surprisingly, I never caught one, but my parents would always mess up the trap to make it look like there had been a little green man looking for a pot of gold late at night.

Leprechaun traps weren’t the only way we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. My brother and I would always dress in head to toe green and my mom would put green food coloring in the milk and water before we were up to make it look like we had some mischievous visitors the night before. One year she even dyed the eggs bright green. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun every year on St. Patrick’s Day.

This year, I decided I would make a green cookie to celebrate the holiday. I could have made some shamrock cookies and frosted them with green frosting, but what I really wanted to do was make the cookies themselves green. It’s a little strange, but there’s actually a way to accomplish that without green food coloring. All you need is a little baking soda and some sunflower seed butter (which is like peanut butter but with sunflower seeds). Sunflower seeds act as a basic pH indicator, which means that when then encounter a solution that has a pH greater than 7, they turn green. Once those two ingredients are whipped into a cookie dough and allowed to sit in the fridge for a few hours, the interiors of the cookies begin to turn a deep forest green. It’s hard to see in the above photo, but the centers of the cookies are beginning to turn green.

The cookies themselves taste like a good peanut butter cookie: tender and sweet with a rich center and the nutty flavor of sunflower seeds. A final topping of green sprinkles makes these a tempting bait for people as well as leprechauns. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup sunflower seed butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons green sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light a fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the sunflower seed butter and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat to combine, then add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined and no flour streaks remain. Take two tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls (the dough will be sticky, so dip your hands in water to make this step easier), then place 2 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the balls of dough into 2 inch disks, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sprinkles on each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookies have spread and risen but still look slightly under baked. Let cool on the cookies sheets for 6-7 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. To turn the cookies green, chill them in the fridge overnight, then serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Mujadara


There’s and ongoing joke between me and one of my friends about how often I eat lentils. (“Kinsey, what are you eating for lunch? Lentils? I thought so.”) On any given week I’ve probably had lentils for at least five meals. If that sounds boring, I can promise you it’s not. The many varieties of lentils show up in dishes from all around the world that makes for many permutations of this basic legume. Red and yellow lentils form the base for Indian Dal, Castellucio lentils are excellent with Arborio rice and parmesan from Italy, green lentils with Berbere spices are perfect with injera bread from Ethiopia, French lentils du Puy are fabulous with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette and fines herbes, and nearly every variety of lentil can produce a quality soup with some aromatics and vegetable stock. The list goes on and on.

The latest meal that I’ve made with lentils is called Mujadara—a Persian rice and lentil dish with caramelized onions and few spices. A pan of onions are caramelized while the rice cooks so that by the time the dish is finished, the lentils and rice are combined with what becomes almost a thick onion jam or confit, punctuated by subtle notes of cumin and cinnamon.


A few finishing touches of parsley, lemon, and butter finish off this nutritious dish. Cinnamon in savory dishes is a fairly uncommon thing to see in the states, but I really love how it adds a slight sweetness that prevents the cumin from overpowering the dish. I often serve this with a fresh green salad for a simple lunch or dinner, but for a bigger meal Mujadara can be served alongside labneh (yogurt cheese) and warm pita bread.


Mujadara

Serves 4

1 cup long grain brown rice (basmati or jasmine)

1 ¾ cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

½ teaspoon sea salt, plus additional to taste if needed

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons water

2 cups cooked and salted green lentils

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

  1. Cook the rice: If you have a rice cooker, place the brown rice and the 1 ¾ cups water in the rice cooker, then close and press start. If you don’t have a rice cooker, combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 40-45 minutes, then take off heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes.
  2. While the rice cooks, prepare the lentils and onions: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot, then add the diced onions. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until softened and reduced in volume, 5-7 minutes. Add the sea salt and reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly for 35-30 minutes, until the onions are a deep golden brown and well caramelized. Increase the heat to medium, Add the cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the spices toast and are fragrant, about 45-60 seconds. Add the 4 tablespoons water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized bits of onion stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked lentils and stir to combine so that all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add the cooked rice and stir thoroughly, but gently to avoid breaking up the lentils.
  4. To finish, add the minced parsley, lemon juice, and butter and stir until the ingredients are well combined and the butter has melted. Adjust salt to taste, then serve.

Note: If you do not have access to pre-cooked, seasoned lentils. Place 1 cup of rinsed, dried green lentils in an oven safe saucepan with 3 cups of water and ½ teaspoon sea salt, then bring to a boil. Cover the pan, then bake at 350F in the oven for 40 minutes, until tender.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

In the past few years, the food world has seen a lot of debate over what constitutes the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Restaurant chefs and home bakers alike have used overnight rests, browned butter, bread flour, and super high oven temperatures in attempts to create the perfectly chewy cookie that’s full of buttery flavor and pockets of molted chocolate.


Yet through this whole period of manic recipe testing, I’ve been whipping up batches of my favorite chocolate chip cookies that are everything a chocolate chip cookie should be. A generous amount of butter and a minimal amount of egg keeps these cookies rich and chewy, and a relatively large amount of baking soda allows the cookies to rise in the oven but fall when cooling to allow the centers of the cookies to sort of rumple inwards and create a slightly under baked center—something that we all know if the best part of a chocolate chip cookie.


I’ve made this recipe so many times that I know the exact second to pull the cookie sheets out of the oven so that the undersides of the cookies are an even shade of golden brown with a hint of crispiness on the edges. Vanilla and good quality chocolate chips keep the flavors in the range of what’s acceptable for chocolate chip cookies; brown butter, spices, and special extracts have their place, but not in chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies have never been better tasting or easier to make.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 64 cookies

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) salted butter softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If your oven has a convection setting, preheat your oven to 325F on the convection setting.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then add the flour and baking soda and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until evenly distributed in the dough.
  3. Roll 1 tablespoon sized portions of the dough into smooth balls, then place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-9 minutes until golden brown. Take care not to over bake. If you are using the convection setting, the cookies will bake much faster—I find that 6 minutes 30 seconds is the perfect baking time for them on the convection setting.
  4. Let the baked cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Cannellini Bean Pot Pie

I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed about how thoroughly I have watched The Office. Our family has watched every episode at least once (the good ones upwards of 2-3 times) and all it takes is one four beat measure of the theme song to be heard before Aidan and I run into the living room because our unspoken rule is “leave no episode unwatched.” One of my favorite episodes is the one where Michael microwaves and eats an entire family sized frozen chicken pot pie at the office and them promptly falls into a deep food coma-induced nap. The rest of the office workers—namely Jim and Pam—then run around changing all the clocks to read five in the evening before Michael wakes up and announces the work day is over.

Every time I see a reference to a pot pie, I think of that episode. Pot pie has never really been a huge draw for me because it’s almost never vegetarian, and the filling is often deadened by a creamy sauce that does nothing to marry the flavors of the various vegetables and herbs. Then I developed a recipe for perfectly creamy cannellini beans with just the right amount of garlic and rosemary and knew that they were just begging to be combined with a quick sauté of shallots and mushrooms that would support a tender whole-wheat and chive biscuit topping. It’s nothing like the sodium-laden monstrosity that sent Michael Scott into a stupor, but I can guarantee that though it’s tastier and lighter, this pot pie is still a hearty and comforting meal.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few episodes of The Office to watch.

Cannellini Bean Pot Pie

Serves 4

Filling:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 carrots, diced

8 oz. button mushrooms, slices

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups rosemary cannellini beans

1/2 cup water

Biscuits:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh chives

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

1. Prepare the filling: Heat the olive oil in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. If you do not have a 10-inch cast iron skillet see the note below for a substitution. Once the oil is hot, sauté the shallot for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and salt, and sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Set aside while you prepare the biscuits.

2. Prepare the biscuits: Preheat the oven to 450F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chives. Add the butter and work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter is the size of small peas. Pour in the buttermilk and fold gently with a rubber spatula until a cohesive dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into an 8-inch round, then cut the round into 8 even triangles by cutting into quarters, then eighths. Place the biscuits on top of the filling in the skillet, leaving a little room between the biscuits to allow for rising. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg, then place in the preheat oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven, portion into individual serving bowls, and serve.

Note: If you do not have a 10-inch cast iron, prepare the filling in a skillet, then transfer it to either a 9 inch pie plate or an 8 x 8 inch baking pan, then top with the biscuit dough as directed in step 2, then bake.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

I just love that it’s citrus season right now. It feels like such a treat to have so many varieties of bright oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits in all of the grocery stores in the middle of winter. (And by winter, I mean the Polar Vortex that I’m living vicariously through, because it’s been pretty nice here in California.) Citrus fruits lend themselves very well to baked goods because citrus zest packs a ton of flavor into a recipe without altering the hydration ratio of a recipe, whether the recipe is for waffles or cookies. Our Meyer lemon tree has already given us a prolific harvest this month, and we have more than a dozen lemons just waiting to be incorporated into dressings, sauces, and desserts.


These cookies are inspired by some that I bought from Amy’s Bread at the Chelsea Market in New York City a few years ago that had lime and cornmeal baked into a sugar cookie dough. The cookies were bright and sweet, but they had a nice crunch from the coarsely ground cornmeal that was a nice change from the traditionally tender butter cookies. By using lemon zest in this recipe instead of lime zest, the flavors are still slightly acidic and sharp, but without the bitterness from the limes. A final coating of lemon sugar incorporates a burst of lemon into every bite, and improves the aesthetics of an otherwise plain cookie. Whip up a batch of these next time you have a surplus of lemons, and you won’t go back to plain sugar cookies anytime soon.


Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Adapted from the Flour Bakery Cookbook

Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup coarsely ground cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and beat on low speed for another minute, to allow the oils from the zest to perfume the dough. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 1 more minute until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through to ensure even mixing.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined and no flour streaks remain.
  4. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, rub the granulated sugar and lemon zest for the topping together with your fingers until the sugar is slightly moist, 30-60 seconds. This will be used as the coating for the cookies.
  5. Scoop 1 ½ tablespoons of the dough into balls and roll in the lemon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges of the cookie are a light golden brown and the center is still pale, yet set. Let sit on the baking sheets to cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!